In My Write Mind
1.30.2005

LIVING STRONG...



That's what the bracelet that adorns my right wrist says. It has served as many things since I purchased it a few months ago: a conversation starter, for one. A silent curiosity. An ensemble color-clasher. lol Almost everyday, someone on the train will ask me what the bracelet is all about. Before I got it, I was one of those people who were ignorant to its meaning, just thinking it was the latest fad or a variation of the WWJD bands that were circulating.

And truthfully, it's been all of those things and so much more. Because it means more than the color yellow. It means more than a lot of the cliches we hear everyday. What makes it mean more is that it's more than a cliche--it's two words that should be instilled within every human being upon birth. It should be the second most important thing, after potty training, that a parent should train his child.

That's why I wear the band--as a constant reminder, as a constant command--to LIVE STRONG.

Living strong isn't a stern inner directive to lift weights; nor is it an order to be abrasive or irritating. It's more a mindset, an approach, a way of life. Living strong is a way to clear mental and physical hurdles from our paths, extending ourselves past our comfort zones, following our dreams until we've caught them, or at least until we've exhausted every means in the attempt to acheive them.

I used to think living strong was difficult. I spent most of my life doing just enough to get by, not wanting to "put myself out there" or draw any undue attention to anything positive I'd done. I'd host a show, people would appreciate my abilities, and I'd deflect attention from what I did and praise the performers. People would say something positive about things I'd written and I'd sheepishly acknowledge the kudos. Not.living.strong. At.all.

It would be easy to say that something I saw on television or read about or heard about third person is the reason why I've decided to all of a sudden live strong. But I can't say that. I've grown up surrounded by examples of athletes, family members, acquaintances and friends who have gone above and beyond; people who have made the most out of their abilities and positively affected the lives of others.

In fact, the bracelet itself is a testament to the determination of Lance Armstrong, six-time winner of the Tour De France, a skills competition for the extreme athlete that includes riding bicycles through the mountains. Armstrong overcame testicular cancer midway through this six-peat and started a research foundation, thus ensuring that others diagnosed with cancer would have every opportunity to overcome as well. Inspiring, right? It truly is. And it would be easy to say that his determination, the difference he's made for thousands, is the reason I wear the band.

It's not.

You see, living strong isn't something you can do just because someone else does it. It's not something that can be copied like BLOG ENTRIES (WTH) or a math test or house keys. Nope. Living strong is something you must steel yourself to do, something that comes from the inside and hopefully shows itself on the outside, shows itself in what you do with your life. It's tackling your dreams head on, not putting them to the side because "the time isn't right." It's helping your situation in order to make the pursuance of the dream possible. It's not reveling in Sunday mornings, which are easy; it's taking on the Monday mornings, which aren't.

It's something I'm determined to do this year and from now on. I've been working on my book for a while now; it's time to finish and see that work pay off. I've been saying I want to change jobs and avail myself to all opportunities that come my way; what better time than the present to do just that. If I plan on moving, now's the time to stop waffling and do it. I could go on and on (lol). The point is, there is definitely something greater out there for Will Dawson. Something greater than the Urban League, greater than the sports magazine, greater than a 9-to-5 with benefits and a pension plan. It seems that for years, everyone I've come in contact with has tried to convince me of that. Living un-strong prevented me from convincing myself.

Not anymore.

This is usually where I'd say something like "it's what my dad would've wanted for me." Don't get me wrong. He did want the best for me and passed away before I was able to reach my full potential. So that statement is true. I'm just not going to say that anymore. Because now, finally, at long last--it's what I want! What I deserve. It was in me all along, stubbornly refusing to do its job like that one barbecue coal that finally ignites after several douses of lighter fluid.

To think, this all started with a bracelet. And the next time someone asks me what it is, I will tell them without hesitation that, to me, it's a way of life. My way of life. I'm living strong and won't allow anything to stop me. Not even my current job, which, for the record, I won't quit all willy-nilly.

The bracelet on my wrist says LIVESTRONG, not live stupid. LOL



scribbled by Will at 1/30/2005 03:30:00 PM
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Mind Droppings

I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. (Joan Didion)



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Will. Lefty. Since Summer 1971.
Over the next six months, I'll be saying some hellos, some goodbyes. Living, laughing, growing. Don't.miss.a.word.
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