When my friend invited me to my first Urban Tellers show at Hipbone Studio my immediate reaction was how much fun to tell your story to an intimate audience...I'd love to do this!
Then I quickly remembered that I HATE to get up in front of people - friend, foe and stranger alike - and speak. I HATE attention. My skin covers in red splotches like I'm coming down with some infectious outbreak and my mind uncovers any and every possible "what could go wrong" scenario leading to possible anxiety attacks (not really, but you never know what could happen).
Urban Tellers is a workshop of six adults that get together for four sessions to share and uncover the
stories needed to be told. And then without a script or notes each of the participants share their personal story with a live audience...completely improvisationally.
Then I attended my second show, The Game Changer, that my friend Tamara Lynne participated in. Of course she was great, she performs for a living. How could a former accountant turned young adult writer (introvert alert anyone?) possibly think she could get away with this?
Why couldn't I? I've noticed that a lot of things are coming up that I would love to do, but once I think too much about it, fear sets in and I quickly dismiss and avoid. I promise myself moving forward to take baby steps. Picture myself up on that stage sharing my story. Who knows? Maybe I'll actually sign up for the class one day. Even if I don't, it feels nice to embrace the possibility.
I understand that social status, opportunities, education, and so on are more afforded to those with the lightest skin. I've seen it in action...the way people (sales clerks, strangers, neighbors, etc) treated my mom, who is German, versus how those same people treated my dad, who's Black, not knowing that the two were husband and wife.
I understand the history beyond my parents, but can't we move forward and create a new future?
Why are we so concerned with outside opinions and critics?
Why do we judge only with our eyes instead of our intuition and heart?
Why can't we look at our reflection and smile at what we see?
Why do we believe someone else's story? Just because they've set up limitations, hurdles or roadblocks, doesn't mean that those stumbling blocks apply to me.
Why can't we fully embrace all that we are? Fat, skinny, curvy, black, white, mixed, dark chocolate, pasty white vs caramel colored, freckles, wrinkles, hairy, bald...
Imagine if you sat down to color and the Crayola box held 64 crayons all the same color. BORING.
Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and shades. And I hope someday every little boy and girl can stare at differences in awe and appreciation rather than in fear or envy.
Why not make a difference? Use your voice and match your actions to spread love for every detail that makes each of us unique and beautiful.