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The Beginning of a Lesson Well Learned

I have struggled with the idea of writing about the death of Nipsey Hussle, partly because I mourned his death more than any other celebrity, but also because I didn’t want my words to come from a place of “trend”. Seriously, most of us were alive when 2Pac was murdered, but this one felt different. We noticed in an instant that the changes 2Pac spoke of, were being manifested through the works of Nipsey Hussle. As I thought more and more of his life and legacy and how his passing affected millions, I began to think more on how the hope of change had magnified. Then I began to think heavily on how I could be a part of that change, perhaps in my own mind and body first, before having the gull and authority to change the environment and systems outside of that. Or maybe, just maybe, it was the fact that I just lost someone close to me and that combined with the grief I felt for Nipsey’s death truly shocked me. With that, I struggled, and wasn’t sure I could write an article worth reading amidst the media storm that had already erupted.

See, upon Nipsey’s passing, I was already in a deep phase of self-reflection, and when this phase hits, it hits HARD. Thoughts of “Why am I not where I want to be?”, “Why am I not who I want to be?”, “Why is MY time taking so long?”, “If I leave this earth, what would I have left for my children?” had consumed me. It was evident that I was going through every single emotion a human being could feel over the course of five to six weeks. Not only was it difficult for me to comprehend my emotional and mental state, I was equally unable to discover a solution or reach a point of positive thinking. I reached out to friends and family, therapists even, to find clarity. This was NO joke. Now combine all that with grief followed by more grief. These were feelings I could not escape, but I continued to pray and a part of me could not let go of learning more and more about the messages and legacy of Nipsey Hussle as a coping mechanism. In doing so, the Thursday after Nipsey’s passing, I came across a video. In this video, Nipsey was being interviewed by Big Boy of the Big Boy’s Neighborhood Radio Show and there was a moment when Nipsey explained or defined the word that would become his brand and synonymous with his legacy, MARATHON:

“…I just didn’t quit. That’s the only distinguishing quality for me and probably whoever going through this, or went through this, or is gonna go through this, is that I ain’t quit. I went through every emotion. I went through every emotion with trying to pursue what I’m doing, you know what I mean? And I think that’s what’s gonna separate whoever’s gonna try to go for something is that you ain’t gon’ quit.”

WOW. I felt something come over me that was both calm and explosive at the same time. I could do nothing else but pray in that moment. I Literally fell to my knees (no drama). Here I am, 32 years-old, having what I thought was a mid-life crisis because according to the Book of Tiara, I was not where I wanted to be. I have dreams, passions, and talents and had been feeling as though I’ve done nothing profound with any of them; fearful of God taking away such gifts because they have yet to manifest into something BIG in MY life. But one thing always remained true, so much so, that the poem still hangs on my childhood bedroom wall regarding a characteristic I try to stay true to…I NEVER quit. In a constant mode of “creation”, my mind doesn’t allow me to harbor ideals of failure.

So, there it was.

My breakthrough.

In that moment I knew that I was on the right path and was reminded in an instant that I am guided on this flight called life, but I am not the pilot. Because of these defining moments, I am learning to stop in the moment and spend time on planting the seeds with dreams of fruition instead of counting myself out with doubt and fear. Now let’s pause for a moment and discuss that word: FEAR. Something else I learned through this phase of life is that fear is not a natural feeling and if we allow our mind, body, and spirit to live in that feeling, we continue to stop ourselves and stand in our own way. Think about it. How can I master a goal if I fear what it takes to get there? Not only will I stop myself from making the moves, I’ll stop myself from even acquiring the knowledge. When we think of the GREATS and what they endured, a scared man or woman would not have stood the chance.

Trying, falling, getting up and trying again is all a part of who I will become. The story that is being written has yet to reach its climax, but the understanding of what it takes to get to the peak has cleared my vision and adjusted my focus. Did it take losing an incredible person in my life at the time where things were beginning to happen for her? I’m sure it did. Did it take for the nation to bring to the forefront the pain of losing an empowered man on his path to greatness? I know it did.

As we continue to remember and honor the life and legacy of Ermias “Nipsey Hussle’ Asghedom, I hope we all continue to reflect on ourselves in a way that brings about constant evolution. Pushing past our comfort zones can easily be the most challenging obstacle while trekking towards success, but nothing great dwells in complacency. Losing a humanitarian such as Nipsey has awakened our senses, especially members of the African-American community, on what needs to be done to improve the lives and communities of those around us. But, before we can do that, the bigger lesson we must learn is how to start with Self. I can’t heal a community with an unhealthy mind and spirit. I can’t preach positivity if I tear myself down and lack the confidence and security to excel. What will I pass on to my children if they see me wallowing in self-pity and giving up? Not a damn thing. I challenge all my readers to identify what needs to be healed within self and allow those thoughts to breed images of how that healing contributes to the greater good.

I will continue to pray for those who loved and were loved by Nipsey, as well as other Kings and Queens who left behind more than weepy eyes. It is through their inspiration that we must build the strength to discover and flourish our abilities to change the trajectory of our lives.

And with that…never look down upon your fallen brother or sister without reaching your hand to lift them up.