Monday, January 19, 2009

Embrace the Unknown and Never Give Up On Your Dreams

Embrace the Unknown and Never Give Up On Your Dreams

Last year in October, I received an invitation to join this new exciting site called IntownColumbus.com. I took the site creator Abe up on his invitation and began a thrill ride that would help tear down the walls of depression that I was living in due to the death of a very special family member in my life, a person who was there for me when I was young, a person I could always talk to and a person who always encouraged me to live my dreams and always be myself. A person who brought so much happiness into my life, that I gave the last two years to be there for her and at her side until the day she died.

For about a two month period after her passing, I wandered around this house sulking and my mind was just a total blank. Before she had passed, I began writing my first novel. And let me tell you something about ADHD. Trying to write a book is probably one of the hardest things to do if you suffer from this, because your mind is 90 to nothing with ideas constantly racing through your head, so as you can imagine it's hard to stay focused at times especially when you're trying to get your ideas and words onto a page. I sometimes wish we had technology so I can record and capture those brain waves and thoughts, because at times they race by at too fast of a speed, or they'll come to me when I'm trying to concentrate on either my writing or simply something else I am doing and I end up forgetting them altogether.

But after my Great Aunt died, it was like my brain was in standby mode for about two months. Things moved me, but didn't move me enough to want to get up off the couch and write about them. My HIV organization suffered some as well, because I should have been out there getting up the funds for our 1023 Application and building up sponsorships for the Walk Run event we have scheduled for later this year. I should have been writing grants left and right, but as I said before I was operating on minimal power and my desire and drive just wasn't there. But then this invitation came via email.

I had no idea what I was opening, but if I had any idea what that email had in store for me, I would have opened it just like Charlie did when he bought the final chocolate bar that contained the Golden Ticket. Now I will not get into song and dance with you, but ITC was just that for me, "I've got a Golden Ticket", ok, ok, really that's all the song and dance I'll do. Oh great, ADD strikes again, because the entire song is playing over and over in my head at Chipmunk speed, right when I am trying to write this article.

That invitation to ITC as I logged in and began reading what folks around here in Columbus had to say, those neurons that hadn't been firing for a while, got a surge of energy and my brain was back and functioning again. I was actually writing again. I was communicating again with folks, something I really hadn't wanted to do for a while I suppose due to depression. And when I first started out, I had about 15 members as friends on ITC, then I would loose a couple here and there because of some things I had posted, well that simply they just didn't like and didn't want to be associated with. We all do the very same thing in our lives. We pick and choose our friends and we eliminate the ones who we really don't have anything in common with, or don't quite fit into our way of thinking and some of those folks can be infuriating to us so we choose not to be friends with them at all. "That's just the way of life." "You can't make everybody happy." "No matter how hard you try, Not everyone is going to like you." These things were told to me so many times as a child, but I just couldn't fathom that as reality. I felt in my heart, I knew it couldn't be true. But sadly, as we get older our dreams meet reality, because almost all the things that I was told as a kid, the things I wanted to disbelieve, well they did come true. And I'll tell you another thing, that no matter how many times it happens, every time is still as crushing as the first, because you just cant understand why someone would dislike you just because you had a difference in opinion from them. But so is life, Right? Wrong!

The day we begin to settle for less, that is the day we begin the downward spiral of letting our dreams die. I've never given up on the dream of a world where all can get along, where indifference doesn't create distance, where each person is respected for his or her own beliefs because we respect their individuality. We expect people and say to them all the time "To Just Be Yourselves". But then when they are, they are ridiculed, verbally attacked, threatened, and even still today in some cases, they are murdered.

The man's birthday we honor today as a nation is a testimony to the power of indifference. Martin Luther King, Jr. stirred up enough hate that his very life was taken all because of indifference over his words, his message, his dream. But even though Martin Luther King, Jr. is no longer with us, his dream still lives on today, tomorrow being a standing testament that his dreams and ours never die, unless you let them die. In Star Trek 6, The Undiscovered Country, The Klingon Moon of Praxus had roughly 50 earth years of life left to it, and Spock said to Kirk "But Jim, They are Dying" and Kirk's response to Spock was "Let them Die". I hope none of us ever consider that type of mentality regarding any life. But as is tomorrow, as was then, those who oppose this new era and stand against it even before it has begun, those are the ones who have already let go, become complacent, and let some of those dreams die. Another line from Star Trek 6 was where Chancellor Gorkon tells Kirk that "If there is to be a brave new world, our generation will have the hardest time living in it." Elsewhere a somberly reflective Kirk asks an astute question — "How can history get past people like me?" It's a meditation that feels even weightier today than it did when Undiscovered Country opened in theaters almost two decades ago.

Today we honor the man who had a dream of this "Undiscovered Country" and tomorrow the epiphany of his dream shall become a reality as President Barack Obama takes center stage. History can get past indifference. History can move forward. You can either embrace it or "Klingon" to the past. I urge everyone to embrace the unknown because I believe in my heart that once you do you will find that you're not so different after all and the only thing you had to fear was fear itself. Let your heart and your conscience be your guide, put all indifference aside. Reach out to everyone you know and embrace all those you don't know.

Because of that very same mentality, because I choose to reach out to everyone I meet, because I choose to respect each person's individuality, my ITC friend list grew from a spiraling 15 members to over 165 as of today. And I thank each of my friends for respecting my opinion and respecting my individuality. Now true there are still some who are the antagonist of everything I say, no matter what it may be, they are there to offer the opposite in belief, but yet, I still respect them, because I respect their individuality, I respect their opinion, I respect them. So be sure to always respect the thoughts and ideas of others, even if they don't quite fit into your way of thinking. Because who knows? That person's opinion, that person's dream, may become tomorrow's reality.

Never stop envisioning a better world. Never stop believing in yourself. Never stop speaking out on what you believe. And no matter what you do or what people may say or do to you, Never, ever stop dreaming! Your dreams and your ideas are the foundation and mortar of tomorrow's future. As we go about our lives, always stop, look, and listen and embrace the unknown. The Undiscovered Future of our Country that awaits us, is depending on each of us to bring forth new ideas of innovation and ideas of change. Everything we have today all came from someone's dream. So no matter how far fetched your dreams and ideas may seem, I implore each and every one to never give up on your dreams.