I was on my way to one of my favorite places – The Coffee Bean – to meet with a new co-worker who was rapidly becoming a good friend of mine. My friend’s name is Jimmy — he is a young man with an old soul. I swear after talking to Jimmy, you would think that he has lived a few lives already lol. In addition to working for the same organization as me, Jimmy is a creative and has just developed his own Vlog on Youtube called P.O.C. Today (People of Color Today) which is dedicated to shining light on the various stories and perspectives of people of color in America. He is someone who is using his time to focus on those people who would normally go unrecognized and unheard.
Jimmy and I start talking and the conversation flows from one thing to the next and soon we start talking about relationships. He tells me that it’s important that he gets into a relationship with someone who understands he doesn’t have a regular 9am – 5pm job, but that he is a creative and that the work he is doing is important to him. Jimmy explains that there are some people out there who question and negatively judge what he does. I can attest to these types of responses considering what I do for a living : writer, speaker, teacher. When you choose an occupation that is “unconventional” it can be difficult for some people to understand. The first question that comes to their mind is, “Well how are you going to make a living doing that?!” It can be especially difficult for creatives to walk through the trenches of other people’s doubt.
But I reminded Jimmy – and myself — that we are visionaries. As visionaries we can’t allow the thoughts and opinions of others who are not visionaries to weigh us down. Also, we should not become upset or get offended by those comments because they are not the visionaries and it is not their fault that they can’t see what is so clear to us. Those type of people have to see to believe, but creatives see the vision first and then manifest it. Our only role as creatives is to manifest our vision and provide the nay-sayers with what they initially had trouble seeing and believing. As artists we have a very important role in society because, not only do we reflect what’s going on in our communities, but we bring life, culture, enlightenment and beauty to the world. We shape the world. With our music, poetry, dance, paintings, vlogs, cuisine, books, fashion, designs, podcasts, movies, etc. we revive and rejuvenate those who come into contact with our art, and the creative energy and foresight that we have been blessed with has a ripple effect and can serve as a catalyst for positive change.
So to all my creatives, hold on tight to your vision and do what you can to bring it to life. To deny the expression of the creative energy within you would be to deny a major part of who you are. I’ve met creatives who stopped creating in order to do something more “professionally appropriate” and they were so unhappy and unfulfilled. It would also deny the specific gift that God has given you, and the gift that was given was not for you to conceal but to reveal for the elevation of humanity. Your gift is to be used to serve others. Now get up and go out and let your light shine, bring someone out of the dark.