Personal Reflective Essay
In my family, contributing to the Black community is very important. Supporting smaller Black-owned businesses is something we tend to do as much as possible. Even when buying just the smaller everyday things, we like to know that taking even the smallest action it’s helping our people evolve in a positive light and investing into their talents. A conversation I had with my Great Aunt the other day inspired me to utilize my talents and be more open-minded when it comes to trying new things that I feel I’d have no interest in, instead of just simply not doing it while having no actual personal experience to whatever the subject may be.
Aunt Joyce has had her own business for as long as I can remember. Her theatre business, located in Richfield, the members are predominantly Black children from tougher life circumstances like poverty, gang-violence, or depression. She writes Christian plays and provides many other programs within the facility to instill positivity into kids who may not live in very positive areas. There was this ongoing cycle of her tracking me down at the family get-togethers and trying to persuade me to attend one of her acting classes or to audition for one of her plays that she holds at the church every holiday. The conversation always ended with me telling her “I’d love to!” or “I’ll try to show up when I have the time.” but I had no intentions on actually showing up. Just last week she held a class called, Writers Workshop. I made time after-school to go, which is something I don’t usually do because I’ve always thought attending the program would bore me out of my mind. In the beginning, I didn’t take it too seriously. She put a piece of paper in front of me and a few other girls and told us to write a poem about where we see ourselves in the future. I just made a few jokes about how my skills in poetry are terrible and I made it clear that I had no interest in this type of activity. Instead of giving me a pass for the sole reason that I suck at writing poems, she egged me on and made sure I kept writing, even if what I had to say was completely random. After a few sessions of me standing up and sharing sarcastic poems in hopes to make others laugh, my aunt got into one of her many lectures that I also, at first, had no interest in whatsoever. She kicked off her short speech with a popular story. We’ve almost all heard this story before: An eagle was born and raised to be a chicken. He ate like a chicken, walked like a chicken, and he was under the impression that he was unable to fly because chickens in fact, don’t fly. He was sure that he was a chicken. Another eagle spots him and is astonished when he finds out that he’s been living as chicken for so long and is determined to teach him to fly so he can know his true potential, so he can know that he is an eagle, the “King of The Sky”. After a few attempts to get him to soar, the eagle finally figured out what he truly was capable of, found his worth and flew away from the farm never to return.
Her telling this story led us to a completely new topic. She asked us one question, “What is your purpose?” This was when I decided to tune in, because I found myself struggling to find my
answer when she finally got to me. It felt like everyone had a well-rehearsed and put together answer except for me. She continued to say, “Everyone in this room has a purpose, a reason for being here right now. You have to know what you want to do and why you’re doing it, or else you’re gonna have to live with someone always telling you what to do, where to go, how to do this and how you should do that...When you’re completely capable of working for yourself. Don’t you want to work for yourselves?”
The rest of her lecture was based around telling us to keep our options open and be involved in many things in life so we can leave our mark, keep in touch with all of our talents and conquer whatever we could possibly get our hands on. “we could be apart of a revolution.”The fact that she could decipher all of that from one childhood tale amazed me because I’ve heard the story so many times before that and never actually stopped to actually think about the message. It also made me realize that all of these years while I’ve been avoiding my Aunt’s invitations, she’s been doing something positive to help her community prosper and evolve as a people, and I know she just wants to push me and all of my siblings to do the same. The world isn’t going to wait for me and there’s no good in waiting on the world. She made me want to find my passion and make sure anything I do has a true meaning behind it.
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