FIVE IN THE STREET: HOW TO PLAY LIFE WITH HAND YOU’RE DEALT

cards, chance, deck

“Just because you were born at the bottom, doesn’t mean you have to stay at the bottom.”


For myself, as with many like myself, I am starting my life from humble beginnings. And when I say humble beginnings, I mean growing up poor. My mother is what you would call the working poor. Where one missed day of work, one sick day could have placed her, my two sisters, and myself in a homeless shelter, or worse in the street. But does that mean our lives have to stay that way? No, it does not. Because living in America, we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. My two siblings are currently steadfast in their careers, and am actively pursuing my own path in life. So if you’ve been dealt a bad hand, how do you win with that hand?

Well, for starters, it comes by way of education. At a young age, my mother started to invest in our education. And when I say invest, she didn’t have money set aside for us as children. But she did make sure that the schools we went to were good enough and safe enough. She waited in lines to enroll us in school. She didn’t sleep in the bed and not make an effort to get us into a good school. She made it her mission, at times sacrificing her own well-being. Even though we were in public school, with my oldest sister attending private in high school, the schools were decent. The school wasn’t a place where all the kids were focused on being cool kids. You were encouraged to expand your mind past how you were being perceived by your peers. So you were able to focus on your education.

So now that education was taken care of, my mother cultivated a household where our minds could grow. At a young age she would take us to the library where we took part in various activities: reading, writing, and putting together puzzles (which was an activity I loved). We even had times on Friday nights when she would have long conversations with us about life. Little did I know those conversations and those weekend trips to the library were getting us prepared to deal in life. It taught me patients, hard work, persistence, and dedication. In addition, I also have to not forget those trips to the zoo and museums, where we were encouraged to have an open mind to many different cultures and experiences.

So now that my sisters and myself are adults we can pursue our own endeavors with the confidence needed up to this point to succeed. So what does all this have to do with winning with a bad hand; well, a lot. Everything that I was taught growing up, in combination with my own cultivated intellect, we have always been able to prosper. Now, everyone did not grow up in a household where their talents were nurtured. Some people have some very tough lives that are far beyond my life. But understand, that your story and my story is not unique. There is always someone that looks like you, and have come from where you have come from to succeed. So in the end, there is always going to be people dealt a bad hand. Some will overcome their struggle and others won’t. Sadly enough, that’s just some of the outcomes of life.


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Our Deepest Fears: What Marianne’s Words Meant To Me.

“Our Deepest fears are not that we are inadequate…”

The author Marianne Williamson stated in her novel A Return to Love that, “Our deepest fears are not that we are inadequate.” “Our deepest fears is that we are powerful beyond measure it is our light not our darkness that’s most frightens us.” The entire passage is one that I have come to know by heart because the meaning behind the words resonate so much with me. The quote prior resonates because you would think people would be afraid of their failures in life, yet it is success that scares them the most.

Well why does success scare people so much? Is it that they won’t be able to handle the attention that comes with it? Or is it the idea that the more you give to people the more they want; and you fear not being able to satisfy their need? Marianne went to answer these questions by saying, “We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous.” “Actually who are you not to be?” Which only meant, when you look into the mirror, why second guess the reason you are in the position you’re in or was given the talents you possess? Why not you?

Marianne went on to state, “Your playing small does not serve the world.” “There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that others won’t feel insecure when they’re around you.” We who possess such skills that set us apart from everybody else forces you to want to take a step back. We want to run with the pack even though we run faster than anyone in the pack. Why? Because we don’t want anyone else to feel insecure because they can’t keep up. So what do we do, we run with the group because we think it makes us noble. But it actually uncovers a character flaw that exist inside of us.

She let us know that, “You were made to manifest the glory of God that is within you.” “It’s not in some of us, it’s in everyone.” “And as you let your own light shine, you can unconsciously give others permission to do the same.” “As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” These quotes let us know that your power that you possess is not just in you it’s in everyone around you. The only difference between you and them, is that you actually will do what they only dream of doing. But once you step out into the world fearless and confident, this confidence frees up so many other people seeking to be just as great as you.

What’s interesting about Marianne Williamson’s novel, A Return to Love, is that our deepest is only a passage in the book. The book contained so much more than our deepest fears, yet our deepest fears are the constraints which harbor so many people from being the greatest version of them they can be. How did this passage help me? It freed me up to pursue my dreams in life. Dreams so many will never attempt; becoming a successful author and filmmaker.

You see, growing up for me was about going to college attaining your education. Upon leaving school, finding a job that not only pays every two weeks, but hopefully one which will assist in paying for graduate school in the process. Well, while going to graduate school, I found myself looking over my screenplay which had not been completed. Writing the script was a daunting task. So difficult I tossed it partially finished and continued to pursue my MBA. It wasn’t until I was almost complete with my degree I felt a lack of accomplishment.

Why? Because I was not pursuing anything I was passionately willing to do for the rest of my life. It was while finishing up my MBA I began to work more in New York City’s theatre scene that I picked-up my script once again. Finishing the script I took on new ideas and a new way of thinking. It was then I knew I didn’t belong in a corporate environment. Because the stories I have to tell, people need to read and listen to. That’s when Marianne’s passage started to resonate with me. My only reasons for not pursuing my dreams is not out of failure, it was fear of what comes with the success.

But the cost of me doing nothing felt like much more hurtful than doing something. I can live with working toward something and failing. What I cannot live with is the idea of reaching the age of 70, 80, or even 90, looking back going I should have. Because if you ask any man or woman in their elderly years what was their biggest regret in life they’ll tell you it’s no being reaching for the greatest them they could be. And that is more of a fear for me than anything in life. Getting to the end of my life and realizing it was for nothing. People might look and go, it looked nice to me, but what was it for me. Regret is one of the biggest pains of anyone in life. So in closing I say thank you Marianne, those words have been that bit of logic that have stuck with me for the past few years now. Those words as I journey through this tough terrain as a novelist and filmmaker: “Our deepest fears are that we are inadequate.” “Are deepest fears are that we are powerful beyond measure.”