Let’s say that I took you to Baltimore City. Now I take you to some random young black boy and I said to you, “That kid right there. He is going to grow up to be an amazing writer. He will also be greatly inspired by a woman who happens to be white and is a professional actress. He will tremendously admire this woman, who at some point in her life will play a country music singer on a country music-themed television show, and that is where he will first see her and begin his admiration of her, even though he isn’t currently the least bit of a fan of country music,” I would not blame you if you had a hard time believing that.
Hell, I would have a hard time believing it, and I AM the black kid in question here.
There is no way you could have told me this as a child and I would have believed you. No spin and no amount of convincing would have worked. Yet, here I am, at age 36, and yes, if you follow me on Facebook, Twitter or on here, you already know the woman I am speaking of. Nashville (ABC) actress Connie Britton. I’ve talked about her more than enough, but I hope everyone who reads this understands that it’s purely out of respect that I have mentioned her as often as I have. I can imagine that questions have come up concerning how my wife of sixteen years would be okay with me talking about her so often, but when my love is writing and that’s largely what my speaking of her consists of (along with how I feel about her an amazing actress), then of course, my wife completely understands it and anyone else should as well.
However, this whole blog post isn’t about her. It’s about INSPIRATION.
The funny thing about inspiration is that it come from anywhere. There are no rules, nor limits. Stories of successful people are filled with instances of inspiration coming from strange and unusual places. I can’t think of any at this very moment, but I’m sure that many of you already know a few. Hell, you can probably think of some instances in your own life where you were inspired by something you would never expect.
Think long and hard and I am most certain there is at least ONE instance where something has inspired you that you would have never expected.
Now let me talk about goals and dreams. Sadly, I think the reason a lot of people out there don’t follow their dreams is because of what has inspired them. They may be okay with it personally, but they convince themselves (of course, with the help of society) that for some reason it’s NOT okay to be inspired in whatever manner.
For example, I’ve been asked the question before as to why I chose a woman who happens to be white to be inspired by. Oh yes…it’s happened more than once. See, in the black community, one of the many ridiculous “unwritten” rules is that I’m only allowed to be inspired by other black people. But it’s true…I’ve been told things like, “You’re embarrassed of your race!” and “What are you doing liking a white woman? Don’t you have respect for yourself?!” and “Don’t call yourself a black man, because you’re the furthest thing from it!”
And those were the nice ones.
Fortunately for me, I never asked for anyone permission and the main reason I didn’t is because I don’t need it. However, it’s sad that some people are definitely influenced to not be influenced by this or that because they somehow believe they aren’t supposed to be.
How many of us have “embarrassing” or “guilty pleasure” songs in our music playlists? My guess would damn near all of us. That song or those songs that we would absolutely die if this person or that person knew we had them there. Absolutely. I’m getting dressed in the locker room at the gym here and as I’m listening to the music on my phone, everyone is disturbed with Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” of course, at that precise moment that I forgot I turned my volume up to max. And yes, that “volume down” button seems to elude us very cleverly after this happens.
However, what reason did we choose to add those songs? Each of us has our own reasons and none of them are the wrong reasons. They inspire us in some way. It’s not about it having to inspire the person to our left and right. I have the songs I do on my phone because it’s what I’M listening to when the mood strikes. Everyone who feels I should be embarrassed to have certain songs on my playlist are nowhere to be found at the times I want to listen to them. So why in the hell should their opinions matter?
I mostly listen to my music when I’m working out, running, driving on long trips, or when I’m writing. Pretty much NONE of those times are the people who put down my music present. So again…why would I concern myself with what they have to say about it?
The beautiful thing about inspiration is that it simply makes us feel good. That’s it. It’s puts us in better moods. It gets us out of bed each day. It allows us to work harder and not give up. And the list goes on.
So how do we know when inspiration strikes us? Many times, we don’t. It’s just one of those things where when it happens, you’ll know.
And the worst thing you could ever do is to deny that because of what other people have to say.
We should always do what makes us happy. Period. Of course, that’s within reason, but the happiness will last in us LONG after those who try to dictate our lives leave us. Most of the time, they’re not there for long to begin with. As far as inspiration is concerned, don’t set rules as to what you’re allowed to be inspired by and what you aren’t. And certainly don’t let society dictate any of this for you.
People these days seem to think that their opinions are the best things since sliced bread. Won’t give two you-know-whats about your opinion, yet when they give theirs, the red carpet should be rolled out on the very breath that their words are spoken with. So they also seem to be the expert on everyone else’s lives and figure they have all the answers.
Spoiler alert: They don’t.
I cannot tell you how to be inspired. I can talk all day about what inspires me on a daily basis, but I have no idea where your mind is, what dreams you have and what your goals are. All I can tell you is that when inspiration hits you, let it hit you HARD. Don’t fight it, and certainly don’t miss out when it does show up.
Another thing: Don’t avoid looking for it because you figure it won’t be wherever you’re looking. Once again…it can come from anywhere.
I’m a 10-year-old child growing up in Baltimore City, I see a promo on television and then I hear, “Nashville, 10/9 central on ABC,” and I don’t think twice about it. Back then, of course, not feeling like I was “allowed” to like a show like that and not being a fan of country music, I very certainly would have stayed away.
Always keep your eyes open, because you truly never know. Inspiration can come from the unlikeliest of places and it doesn’t always have to be someone as big as a Connie Britton who you could be inspired by. It could be a child suffering from some illness or disorder and maintains a positive attitude throughout his or her time. Don’t assume that just because they’re younger than you or different than you in some way, that means you shouldn’t be inspired. Don’t assume anything about anything that inspires you.
Just let it happen. You never know just how it will touch your life. The right inspiration always will.
Thanks for reading.