One of the crucial questions that I ask as an ethnomusicologist, pageant judge, and writer for outlets such as Heed Magazine is “How Do You Define Success?” As I reflect on this question on my birthday, my answer is “I define success as, in the words of the great Rev. Gardner Taylor, knowing what belongs to my peace.”
As someone who is a professional caregiver, it’s hard to express the ways in which I wrestle with negotiating my thought life. When I talk about peace in my thought life, I am not just talking about obtaining perfect achievement in academia or in the life of the mind. I am not talking about some romantic ideal of beholding beautiful vistas all the days of my life.
When I talk about peace in my thought life, I am talking about the ingredients that preserve my mental wellness, positive energy, and balance. Today, I have recommitted to myself that as a GROWN WOMAN I must take command of the ways in which I spend my energy.
My definition of peace is a state in which there is nothing missing or broken in my life. I experience it as contentment. I believe peace is finding possibilities in the silence, enjoying hermitage, emerging renewed, and being able to serve from my overflow. It is my ability to do the work that mutually nourishes, a work that adds value to my beloved communities.
A peace that passes my understanding. It is taking seriously my wholeness and individuality, releasing myself to be unafraid of failure. A peace that is forgiving of my past childish ways and kind to those with whom I have differences.
I aspire toward peace that can hold socio-cultural complexities and tensions until I find a solution that removes barriers at which others may have previously surrendered or just short of which many may have fainted.
My peace is found in taking my portion –however great or small – blessing it, breaking it, and passing it along so that we may be collectively sustained. It is a compelled and willing self-giving.
My peace is an unutterable knowing that when I depart from this side, my work will resonantly speak for me.
To find out more about the work that I do and to celebrate this birthday with me click here.