“I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.” -Toni Morrison
I had a wonderful evening back in August honoring HBCU students who created a film project from pitch to screen. I always love going to creative industry events because it sparks those creative juices within me, and I never leave without some sort of Divine inspiration. I was so proud of these young folks and deeply moved by their hard work, intelligence, and brightness that individually reflected off each one of their faces. A part of me became excited for parenthood, as I imagined what amazing foundations must have been laid for them to become such bright and productive young people. The other part of me (deep inside) felt a tad disappointed that in my day this type of opportunity wasn’t around.
For years now, I have struggled with my decision to back away from the entertainment industry. It’s always been embedded into the fabric of who I am. Yet, I’ve always been split down the middle with this “greater call” to help people. Part of the work that I do now is in a MUCH different industry than entertainment…(I also work in education), and though I love what I do…I’ve struggled for YEARS with the fact that I felt like I was living in someone else’s lane due to my not having the same linear path as those around me. Entertainment is where I belonged…helping people is where I belonged. It probably explains why all throughout my graduate program I worked as a makeup artist the entire time. The day after I submitted my thesis project for graduation from my MFT program, I booked a makeup job on a television show. My life has never made sense. My path has always been narrowly traveled. I have never looked to the left or right of me and felt like I could relate to someone’s journey for REAL. What I did do was look to the left and right of me and felt slightly envious that everyone else (seemed to have) had a clear, linear path… except for me.
For anyone out there that may be reading this and struggling to “fit” into one lane…I choose to empower you (and myself) today. I was a damn good waitress. I was a dope bartender. I developed a reputation as the most caring substitute teacher. I have always been the chosen DJ (smile). I shined while being a makeup artist. I was offered a permanent job at a glamorous company the first day I did commercial property management. I was a very unique and thorough celebrity assistant. I was said to be “one of the best” road managers. I paved a path for myself to be a super committed, well-rounded Executive Director. I was always complimented on being a warm and empathic therapist and life/relationship coach. Though these don’t even encompass ALL the titles I’ve held throughout my life, what I know for sure is that my “dopeness” has followed me in each lane that I’ve traveled. I finally own this epiphany in this new decade after toiling over the fact that “I’m not over in the world where I used to be,” and that I can’t fully encapsulate all that I do and all that I am into one title. God uses us in many ways that sometimes we can’t even imagine. God knows my creative heart. He knows my burning desire to merge my helping profession with entertainment. He has created a path for me that only I can walk.
I hold my head high and choose to no longer feel guilty or torn for how I lead an uncommon, non-traditional path, and that “I am not where I used to be.” Sometimes we don’t realize how we can move through life holding onto old titles, old significance, old friendships, old status, old career choices, OLD STUFF. I thank God for using me according to HIS purpose. I encourage all who may have similar struggles to BLOOM WHERE HE PLANTS YOU, as you never know what/how your dopeness will affect the environment around you. It has taken me 8 years to really own my decision to leave an industry that I so completely defined myself by. I am grateful to witness that inspiring event that night. To see someone’s dream manifested with so many synchronicities and Divine connections among the industry execs…coupled with the palpable emotion and fulfillment felt all in the room by those connected to this organization…made me praise GOD for HIS PERFECT PLAN for His children. I am a woman of Faith, and I KNOW without wavering that HE has a plan for YOU and for ME. Walk in your dopeness, whichever lane, whichever job or career that you find yourself in today. It may not be what’s on your vision board (yet), it may not be something you ever thought in a million years that you would do. What I know for sure…is that God (or the Universe…whichever name resonates with you) is crystal clear on our heart’s desires… all seasons will change… and that wherever you find yourself today… someone needs you there!