As I reflect on the tremendous beauty and genius within our community, I stand in awe of the brilliance I have had the chance to witness among my friends, my brothers and my comrades in our fight to have our humanity fully embraced while combating continued racial and sexual discrimination.
From homophobic and racist public policies that challenge the advancement of queer communities of color to religious ideologies that seek to manipulate our spiritual well-being, we know that there are obstacles we must stand against individually and collectively. But if you ask me what troubles me most these days, it might be the ways in which we stand in the way of freedom and healing for those who look and love the way we do.
My close friends can tell you that I am no stranger to throwing a little shade in a playful manner over drinks, but what keeps us together is the awesome light and love we throw at each other and our brothers—whether well-known or not—every chance we get. Shade and sarcasm can be amusing when they’re innocent and in jest, but far too often I’ve seen brothers intensely searching for opportunities to tear each other down in attempts to feel taller.
Just in the past three months, I’ve had to show emotional and spiritual support to too many friends who’ve come under attack because other people can’t manage their own insecurities. We’ve all had those moments when we’re trying to shine and it seems like the brighter we become, the more others want to dim our light.
Whether you are celebrating a promotion, getting fit or simply wearing a smile more often, you may notice that some people within your circle shy away from you when you are at your brightest moments.
Like most people, you might be susceptible to allowing such energy and passive judgment to influence the way you see yourself. You may talk about your successes less or shift your focus from holding on to your joy to trying to figure out how you can support others. Worst of all, you may spend so much time and energy trying to convince others of their greatness that you forget to cultivate your own.
If you are moving closer to your destiny you may very well be forcing those around you to reflect on their own lives, and in doing so, they may find moments of discomfort as they imagine the life they want and take a hard look at the life they live.
It can be a painful process, and in your journey, some folks may decide that you’re walking too quickly or heading in a direction that’s not for them, and they may decide to walk away from you. If you’re susceptible to dimming your light, you’re also prone to chasing after folks who want you to run toward them and away from your purpose.
From one brother to another, I dare you to resist! I encourage and challenge you to stand firm in your own truth and light and be not afraid of losing those who would rather see you remain hurt, penniless, under-employed and/or single, all because they’re afraid your change might change something in them.
When you are in someone’s home and you walk into a room that is too bright, perhaps there is a switch that allows you to dim the light or turn it off completely. Just as you use a switch to dim a light, the walking away, the constant reminders of the times you were broken, the cries for attention, are all tactics people use to manipulate the brightness of your light.
The next time someone tells you your light is too bright, or the next time they try to convince you to fear the impossible, you tell them that your destiny has no switch. Tell them that your purpose cannot be dimmed nor damaged.
Tell them that you know and affirm who you are and that you do not fear your own light because it is indeed your ultimate gift. Tell them that you are not a room with a light switch, but a human being with a unique assignment.
You tell them if they can’t handle your brightness then they ought to look away. Don’t dim your light for anyone! And as you continue to embrace your own power and beauty, find ways to throw light and love at those around you – because if we can’t love ourselves, who will?