Today is a rainy day, and I have retreated to my writing corner with my laptop, cozy blanket and — if I am really industrious — I may even add some peppermint tea to the mix. I like days like today, when I can stay wrapped up in my thoughts without many distractions. These are also the days when my brain does as it chooses and I end up writing what I feel, as I feel it [without filters].
Lately, my main thoughts have been those of Dreams and Their Silent Applause. And no that is not the name of a musical group [at least I don’t think so]. They are, however, where my mind goes when I look towards the seeds of 2018 and when I glance back to previous years’ fruit. And as you are already here, I might as well take you into my thought process. Hopefully, by the end of it, you will be able to find your own dreams and your own applause.
Someone posted on Facebook a few days ago to “keep a close watch on the people who don’t celebrate you when you win…” In so many ways he was right. He wasn’t showing shade… or at least I don’t think it was. He was simply stating a fact of life. Though I wish it wasn’t true — it is. You have to honestly look at those people who celebrate you and look at the way that they celebrate you. There will be times when you will have to walk your journey all alone. Even when you reach the high points of your journey, you may look around and realize that there is no one there. Try not to let this shake you or make you feel unworthy. Instead, take a look back from where you started and all of the hurdles you had to jump over to reach where you are standing now. Lift your head up and soak it in. You did it. You made it. And though there may not be loud marching bands playing to your praises, you did it!
You see, today, standing in this silent yet deafening position may be lonely, but you have to understand that not everyone was meant to stand on your podium. We all have our own races and battles in life to fight, and many people choose not to even approach the starting gate, let alone make it to the finish line. So, when you don’t see them cheering for you at the end of the race, just know that many of them have never seen a finish line for themselves and may be foreign to the idea of achievement. This is just one of the reasons that you may remember hearing so many voices at the beginning of the race, yet so few at the end. For at the beginning of most of life’s races/competitions, you will hear many people telling you how it should be done, and what you can’t do, and how no one else has done it that way before. The air would be filled with mumbling and hissing, and when combined with the fake well-wishers, it all sounds like a steady and — forgive me for saying — useless crowded roar. And though your start may not have been as fast as you first envisioned, I am sure you have noticed that along the way the only time you would hear the roar or see the crowds was when you met up with a stumbling block/hurdle. Oh, their fanfare could be heard over the oceans when you fell, even offering their versions of wordy bandages for your bruised tears. But if you’ve paid close attention, as I have over the years, the moment that you got up and dusted yourself off to keep going was when the crowd would pull away, offering little to no comment as they watched in shock, and somewhat disgust, to your determination and will to achieve outside of their gilded box.
The inability to applaud each other, especially when someone goes against the norm, is nothing new. I don’t think that we, as a people, have changed or made less emotional from who we have been. We just have more tools available to show who we really were all along. A bunch of likes on your social media post does not reflect genuine empathy to your journey or appreciation of your achievement. To celebrate someone is to tell them and others [and genuinely mean it] that they did a good job and you are proud of them, expecting nothing in return for your acknowledgment. It goes beyond the basic twist of words to form the socially expected phrases. And it goes way beyond asking or expecting favors/handouts in return. A genuine celebration should be felt more than it is heard. It does not require perfection from neither you nor the person being celebrated, as no person walking on this earth has ever achieved perfection. But it does mean taking a minute, and in that moment speaking positive words into someone else’s life and their purpose.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I do believe that a person can achieve a lot on their own. However, I also believe it is empowering not only to that person, but to everyone when we stand together and applaud those who are striving to achieve greatness in their own way. Whether it is the single father raising his child to the best of his ability; where he would go above and beyond any faulty stereotypical model set before him as he tries to raise kings and queens [even though he had no father around to nurture or provide for him]. Whether it is the young person who, uncomfortable with the status quo, decides to find inspiration from television and create her own cupcake company, taking it from just a startup to a brand. Or maybe it could be the artists who have developed their plays, paintings, poetry and films, not just for a mere dollar, but who take time, blood and tears to find inspiring and thought-provoking glimpses into society’s/culture’s hidden and unspoken webs. No matter the path, there is greatness in each of us, and one person should be seen as a domino piece who, with the right encouragement and support, can encourage a tsunami of growth and development that would go beyond their communities.
But just in case you never receive the living applause from the ones near and afar, I want you to know that I stand with those that came before you and those that will come after you. Yes, there may be some of you who are able to take the silent applause and, like me, smile and use that as a fuel to build and go even further [that is a whole blog post on its own, trust me when I say after the silence there is always a rebuild]…. but everyone isn’t like that and that is okay. For everyone else, know that we are still standing in ovation for what you have accomplished and what you are yet to accomplish. For I know that within any achievement there was pain, sweat and many times tears. Though you may have felt lonely in your struggle, know that there are many uncaged believers/entrepreneurs/creatives/parents who may not personally know you, but they are applauding for you. They are rising to their feet, shouting out support, and sending positive energy out to you. And just like love, positive energy and words can travel over oceans to find you at your podium. Once you have felt our support and soaked it in… get ready… it is time to start your new race.