photo above courtesy of vigilantcitizen
You see those drums above? Yeah, me too – those drums have played a significant part in my life – all my life actually; As I watched year after year after year of those drums just sitting, waiting on someone to give them a good “BANG!” I couldn’t play them because I never learned how. Can you believe, I just learned how to play them in my very late thirties and oh, how I love the sound – why hadn’t I learned how to play them all along?
Let me explain…
While those drums are very real, they aren’t ones that I actually own. You see, I believe in life we all have our very own set of drums that sit in front of us each day, waiting on us to give it a good “BOOM!” Those drums represent our voice, our personality, our characteristics in which makes us totally different from others; those drums represent our life and determine if that life is ran by our own motivation or lessened by the un-motivation of others.
When I was a little girl, my stepdad hated the way I talked….he would tell my mom “Make her quit talking like that!” this confused my mom as she was trying to figure out “Talking like what?” According to my step-dad I talked too proper, in which he later referenced as “White-folk talk” and felt like this little black girl, shouldn’t talk like them. I mean, I didn’t know their was a differential “this is the way you talk” language for whites or blacks, or any other race for that matter. I didn’t understand what he meant, all I understood was that it made me feel bad and for a long time….at that point I dumbed down and wouldn’t hardly speak to anyone….if I got criticized for using my voice, then why use it at all.
As I got older, I began to realize that I was different from other family members – I loved to read and found it very comforting, a hobby that not everyone found fond. But reading took me away from the abusive world in which I had come to know, like when my step-dad would get drunk; he would come home and let’s just say “All hades would break loose” it was a very difficult time; so getting lost in a book and being taken away by someone else’s “perfect” world was my escape. I loved to spell and could spell anything…one day, my uncle got the dictionary and began to call out words to me and I would spell those…I was curious about the reproductive system and found reading, writing and poetry fascinating…but when people got jealous because they felt as if, I knew more than they….I dumbed down, soon those A’s and B’s became C’s and D’s.
“Are You Serious?” was the question my aunt asked me one day when I volunteered to go to the grocery store with her. She had just gotten her food stamps and told me that I could get anything I wanted out of the store for coming with her – well, after browsing the store I decided that I wanted some cereal, but not just any kind of cereal – I wanted a box of “Frosted Shredded Wheat” which are still my favorite cereal today. When I took the box off the shelf and brought it over to my aunt to put in the basket, she looked at me with this puzzled look on her face. “Nikki, are you serious?, this isn’t’ what you want – go and pick out what you want, I said you could get anything! she said laughing, but I didn’t budge – because those were what I wanted – after going back and forward with trying to convince her of my choice, she abruptly stated “Those are white people cereal, you ain’t white!” – Really? because I didn’t know certain cereal were made for certain races/cultures. After we got home and hearing her mock me, laugh and basically call me weird…..I dumbed down, maybe it was best to just be like someone else – after-all, there was obviously something wrong with me.
Because of those incidents and many more similar or like them, I have to be honest…being “me” was not on the good list of things that I wanted to work on or through. I always desired to be someone else, someone new, someone popular, someone cute, someone special, someone…….other than Roshonda and I dumbed down to that for many, many years. When I turned 30, it was like a light bulb went off and I had did this 360 over night; call it what you will but for me it was liberating, I suddenly didn’t care what anyone thought – I wore what I wanted to wear, no matter how unmatched or weird it was and did my own thing – those drums were getting a good dusting off and I was geared up to give them their first concert. My “let’s do this” personality and award winning smile (so I’ve been told…lol) were getting me noticed and I liked it, but just like it was when I was a kid/teen/young adult – not everyone did. Soon, I found myself going back into the dumb down hole of mediocrity like everyone else, ever heard the term “When you’re in Rome, You do as the Romans” yesss…while that may be true, it’s not always good to be like everyone else just because EVERY-ONE else is or chooses to be….sometimes it’s good to veer off course and just – do – you.
So, what are you saying Roshonda you may ask – well, I’m saying you were given one life and in this life you sometimes have one shot to make a difference or live your life the way you want too. Don’t let someone make you feel bad about your bubbly persona or your sunshine smile or even your positive personality. My mama used to always say this about cliques/friends and/or people “Either they are going to pull you towards them or you’re going to pull them towards you” but mama left out the part…..you can just leave the group =)
You my friend were born to STAND OUT! you were never meant to FIT IN! or Dumb Down to someone’s level – you were created to make them rise to YOUR level. Don’t ever be afraid to be you because those drums are waiting on a player, will you be the one to book it’s next gig?
This is for you
Because if you’re not being YOU, you’re not being TRUE! And who wants to leave this earth being a copy!
Roshonda N. Blackmon – Creator of A Blog, A Magazine. It’s JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager