Friday, January 19, 2007

So What I'm Different

It has been a few interesting days, from India to Britain. Goes to show the ocean may divide us physically but when it comes to one of your own, that's all it is. A physical divide and you can change all of that with your voice. Speak out. When the government of a nation speaks out about one of its citizens, then you are pretty special. The burning of effigies in protest to the treatment of Shilpa Shetty, the Bollywood star in Celebrity Big Brother and the 22,000 people that have called Ofcom to date, complaining about racism on the show. Yet CBB is still on our screens and we are glued to it. Thank goodness we don't pay TV license for Channel 4 because this will be one very good reason to scrap it.

Ignorance has been on earth for as long as I can remember; well for the few years I have been here that is. I don't think it can be eradicated and that is disturbing but then again, naivety is just as bad.

When you agree to sell your soul on reality TV in order to make grade D celebrity status, be classy about it. The least expected of you would be to do it gracefully. No disrespect intended just an observation.

So, here we are, embroiled in a race row, one or two people are beginning to feel the pain in their pockets. A contestant, no name calling just lost a lucrative modelling contract. Ouch! That hurts, sorry but next time think before you speak.

Racism, lets take a minute to define the word. Then again, there is no need for that. We all know the meaning don't we? Say no more. I don't think you can change people but you can change how they make you feel. Yes it hurts and it's real hard to deal with but you must learn to rise above it and refuse to be boxed up by their mentality.

When I experienced what is termed racism, it was in the most unusual circumstance and that is why to date, it remains an ironic experience. I remember ever so clearly. His words were, "Go back to your Africa and..................." I will say no more and guess what he was a doctor. A desensitised doctor, I wish I had him struck off but you know the beauty of that experience. I'm here and I still see him around in his cheap suit, no disrespect, just an observation and guess what I can laugh and say how do you like me now? One day real soon, I'll remind him and tell him I am not bitter. I am too blessed to be bitter and because of him, I am better off. My mind is educated enough to know he was just a little glitch on the part of life and he does not matter. Meanwhile I will continue writing my story on the pages of life. He is too small to turn me into a myopic b**ch. Sorry but that's the word that came to me and no I didn't have to use it but it describes what I am not. So swallow and stick with me on this.

This old age disease called racism will never go away. If it can get into politics; you don't mind if I ask, who is your local councillor? I'll say no more. It is ingrained deep in the veins of a minority but then again, we can't be so sure. Can we?

I have worked in a predominantly white environment before and yes that can be daunting because it can be hard due to the cultural differences and way of life but they treated me like a human being and with respect. If anything at all, I needed the culture shock to get me out of my comfort zone. When you have no respect for another life, you think it's okay to say whatever you like and that's one of the problems. Some people don't know what it means to have respect for another person regardless of race, colour and creed or where their crib is at. Hillary Clinton was right after all, 'It takes a village to raise a child.'

As far as I am concerned, yes I am black but that's not all there is to me. No matter how negative the energy around me gets, I refuse to give in and accept that I am not an equal. If you have one head, two hands, two legs, one heart, one liver and the same red blood flows through our veins. Then it doesn't matter what colour you are; as long as your blood is red, we are equal. We have been equipped with the same body features. You may be taller or shorter, let's just say the big man upstairs knew better on that one.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Dream Like A Fool!

"In a doubting world, dreamers believe. In a slow world, dreamers run." - Dr Bridget Hilliard.

Wow! Dream like a fool. What does that mean to me? It means having crazy dreams no one else believes in but me. It means having a dream that I am afraid to share with people because I don't want them to laugh at me or my dream. It means the audacity and the boldness of my hope and the confidence of the actions I take today in order to maximise the full potential of my tomorrow.

Its 2007, a brand new year, filled with 365 days, 52 weeks, 12 months, 4 weeks per month, 7 days in the week and 24hrs for each day. What are you going to do with yours? It has become a thing of the norm, to set New Year resolutions but no priorities. We have ideas of what we want to do but we don't write the vision down. We forget that without a vision, you lose sight of your purpose and without a purpose; you fail to set goals for each day. Hence you wake up on a daily basis with no agenda and flow with the season but no action plan. In essence, we fail to stick to the business of living life to the fullest.

I am no expert on the business of life but I have come to understand that when you lack passion, you lack ambition and without ambition you have no drive for the future you desire. So, what do you do when you have nothing but just an idea? Bottled up at the corner of your mind, yet it nags at you like a bad toothache. There is power in recognising that within you is an asset no one else has and it is your job to conceive, believe and achieve it.

To fulfill your dream, you need to work smart and hard for it. This is where your ability to stand strong and tall in life comes into the picture. The way you see yourself will be of great help in the season of toiling because your ability to believe in what you are pregnant with, will carry you a long way even if no one else sees it. Truth be told, "Once you start believing in yourself, you start disconnecting from the crutches you used to need." TD Jakes.

Then you need to ask yourself, what am I going to do each day that takes me one step closer to my vision? What is your action plan for today that will make tomorrow a little easier to handle. Don't get me wrong, at first you are excited about it then you get overwhelmed because it all seems so daunting and for a while you tell yourself, this dream is not mine. I can't do it. Now please understand, this is where you change your vocabulary and start saying to yourself; I have been equipped for this season of my life. I have the resources within me to make this happen. I am my own power house. I am the generator of all I need to make this happen. I was created with the ability that will make this dream go from seed form to fruition. Train your mind because the undisciplined mind becomes a lazy mind. What books do you need to read to enable you learn new things? Feed your soul, train your body and nurture your spirit. How you do all of these, is down to you. Your way of doing things is different to mine and that is what makes it unique to you. Go ahead, just do it.

This is where I ask, who are your friends and who do you know? I remember saying to someone a little while back that I am a relationship type of person but you know what, I think we all are. We may relate to people in different ways but we need relationships to survive. It's your decision who you want to relate to. You were not created to live in isolation and that will be a selfish thing to do in the first instance. Share yourself with others and you might be surprised at the outcome. While I am no relationship expert either and yes they sometimes drive you crazy but that's the reason we are in the classroom of life; learning how to have better relationships. So, do your friends prod you up or is your relationship for the sake of niceties and the pleasantries of knowing them. Don't get me wrong, have fun, enjoy yourself and by all means don't lose the plot because you are working every minute to make it happen. Take some time out and relax. Hence plan your time and when you have done the work, have a 'Me time' for just you, yourself and you and if you want to, have a great time with your friends. Go ahead, have a blast and don't forget to pick up the tab. Just kidding, on a serious note, your relationships have the power to make or break you. Who challenges you? Who are you investing into? What are your relationship non-negotaibles? I'll leave you to answer all of that for yourself but will end on this note; the person you know today has an input into the tomorrow you dream about.

So, we have talked about the dream, having an action plan, your circle of relationships. Now what? Well, in order to keep this short and if you are still with me, please stay with me on this. You might think, well its easy to write all of this down and yes, sometimes talk is cheap and actions expensive. This is where I tell you, one of my goals for this year is to write a full stage play and send it off to a theatre company for critical analysis. Basically giving myself up to be slaughtered and my world, I am nervous and if you allow me to be honest, really scared. The last stage play I wrote got me a first class grade at University but its time to test that grade out in the real world where the critics live and see what more I need to do to become a better playwright. Suzan-Lori Parks, an American playwright with a Pulitzer Prize to her name for Topdog/Undergog, wrote a play each day for a year and ended up with 365 Days/365 Plays. When she told her husband about her goal; his response was, "Yeah baby, that'd be cool." She started November 13 2002 and by November 2003, she had 365Days/365 Plays. Guess what? She did and so can you. Meanwhile, I am going to get working.

If you are still feeling jittery and thinking who am I to think I can do it? Well how about this from pen of one our great writers.

"We ask ourselves -- Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are we not to be?" - Marianne Williamson