It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog but I’ve actually been off doing non-Tasha like things like sleeping late, reading fiction books, eating gummy bears, drinking other things at Starbucks besides my tall soy sugar free hazelnut latte and wearing non-gym clothes. All of us need a break from the norm. Yet it all brings us back to ourselves.
I also went to a film festival this past weekend.
For someone who can’t seem to sit still for longer than ten minutes (especially in clothes not made of spandex) going to a film festival just seems like a ridiculous idea. I rarely even watch movies unless it involves 1) Morris Chestnut 2) My bed, an IPad and snacks 3) music and dance 4) Morris Chestnut 5) historical significance 6) free tickets or 7) Morris Chestnut. Yet, for the past few years, I’ve attended the International Black Film Festival in Nashville. Every year I come away with something. This year, I was blown away, as a professional, as an African American, as a person who strives every day to live from her soul but still struggles from time time.
I’ve known Brett Dismuke, CEO and founder of So Chi Entertainment for about two thirds of my life. I know he’s probably spent half of that time saying, “Tasha, just get to the point.” After listening to him give one of the most heartfelt, honest and powerful offerings I’ve ever heard him deliver at a dialogue after the screening of “The Birth of a Nation,” (deep breath) I attended his tutorial on delivering an effective fast-pitch; basically your elevator speech for those of us not in the industry. As I listened to people share and as Brett offered his feedback, I began to understand why he has been telling me to get to the point all of this time and why I haven’t been doing it. It’s important for us to know the essence of what we are trying to communicate, the why behind our what and to display confidence when we are asking people to accept what we have to offer. The reason we (I) beat around the bush is because we want to reel people in with pleasantries, hoping that if we are nice enough, pretty enough, accommodating enough, we can hide the fact that we have NEVER gotten to the point because we are afraid of rejection.
Whoa. That was a big one for me. I walked out of that room feeling like I had had an “Iyanla, Fix My Life” moment.
Who are you? What do you want? Tell the truth. Be willing to go other places if where you are comfortable is not the place to grow your dream. Be willing to start over.
Lamman Rucker (bless his heart. He was so sick and all I could think about was calling him “Troy” and saying, “You know, I’m so glad you got with Jill Scott,” even though it was just a movie) whom you probably recognize from Green Leaf was equally as passionate. While I missed most of his presentation (why can’t phones just stay charged forever?!?!?!), I was moved by even the little time I spent listening to him. Lamman made it CLEAR that while he was afforded some unique opportunities in life NOTHING was given to him and success is earned. He mentioned how we see people and think they got there “all of a sudden,’ not knowing AT ALL the steps they had to take to get there or ANY of their struggle. I struggle with this from time to time, believing that some people get ALL the breaks when I never know their back story and people feel the same way about me. Lamman also discussed the importance of community. This is a big one for me; not just a fitness community but a cultural one too which is why IBFF and its discussions were so soul touching for me. Rarely am I in African American dominated settings where issues that affect our community directly are at the forefront of the conversation. While I am a part of the world, I am never able to forget the fact that I am an African American woman IN the world. These conversations gave me life.
And then…..then there was David E. Talbert.
My introduction to David and his work (I cannot WAIT to see his movie “Almost Christmas” which is being released on 11/11) was when I had gotten a free trial to the Urban Movie Channel and spent the weekend in my bed, binge watching plays and movies. The first one I watched was “Love In The Nick of Tyme” which happened to star Morris Chestnut. But I digress.
I had the opportunity to hear him speak on two separate occasions over the weekend. I could hardly keep up. I, honestly, felt like he was speaking my life and my language. I actually thought a couple of times they were going to put me out of the auditorium because I was co-signing so loud. And when he started quoting Bible scriptures, I might have been doing my praise dance over there in the corner. On the way to hear him speak the first time, I actually had to ride by the cemetery where my son Jordan is buried. As I swallowed the pain and remembered the day I thought my life was over, listening to David talk, listening to him telling a young man at Tennessee State University (my alma mater twice over) that NOW is all we have, listening to him tell another student be willing to change directions and live, breathe and create from your soul, I started to process what Jordan’s death had signified in my life….and it wasn’t all bad. When David started talking about his love for his son, I remembered that God had given me another son the next year and a daughter six years later. Praise dance in progress for sure.
Some of the other common themes I heard between Brett, Lamman and David were 1) be willing to do it all (you want to be the director but that may not be where you start and are you willing to start where you need to?), 2) stop apologizing (you are dope. own it), 3) be the person who creates the standard, be ready when opportunity comes and 4) sometimes “challenges” can be the change you need but were to afraid to take. Let’s say that challenge was losing your job. Let’s say that’s how I ended up in the fitness world.
And, I have to say, one of the BEST points I got from the weekend wasn’t from either of these gentlemen but was from Mr. Turner, the dancer/choreographer/plumber/driver/teacher/world traveler I met this weekend. On the ride over to TSU, he dropped this one on us, “If procrastination is the stealer of time, then discipline is its master.”
It’s time for me to get on with my life. No apologies, in the face of fear, from my soul, held up by Jesus. And I’m not going to take all day getting there. 🙂