Searching for Greatness

“Tell me what do you see, when you’re looking at me? On a mission to be what I’m destined to be…I done’ been through the pain and the sorrow, the struggle—it’s nothing but love. I’m a soldier, a rider, a ghetto survivor and all the above…” These are not the words of any well-known poet or dignitary, but the words of rapper Maino. As I heard the song, I began to think about how many of us live in mediocrity and fail to live up to our full potential. I’m not sure that many women acknowledge the fact that we are descendants of greatness regardless of our ethnicities. I began to think about what that means one day and I nearly came to tears. I am African-American and I love to read about great women who have overcome unfathomable struggles. I read about women like Sojourner Truth, Mary McLeod Bethune, Rosa Parks, Ida B. Wells, Dorothy Height, and First Lady Michelle Obama. I have an overwhelming sense of pride and respect for these women and so many like them, but I understand that I have a responsibility uphold the torch of wisdom, civility, and sisterhood.

What does it mean to demonstrate greatness? All of us are born with extraordinary gifts that were created for just us. I think about people Michael Jackson and I think about the fact that he came from humble beginnings to become arguably the greatest entertainer to ever live. He worked tirelessly even in the midst of adversity to reach the pinnacle of greatness. Why then, do we as women, often tear each other down? I see how some of us hate so openly on another woman when she is doing the best that she can to make it. We get jealous of clothes, hair, men, education, and positions in the workplace. If we understood that each of us serves an individual purpose, maybe we wouldn’t be so concerned about other people. Maybe we wouldn’t hold, what I call, “hate fests” because we know our blessings or seasons will come delicately designed just for us.

Women like our First Lady aren’t the kind to terry over others. They do what is necessary for themselves and their families all while seeking to uplift the community– if not, the world. It is possible to be humble and benevolent all while presenting a fierce and hard-working persona. I have never been able to understand why some women claim to be “strong” or “independent” or “high maintenance,” but somehow present themselves in an arrogant or unapproachable manner. Historically, many of the strongest women were also those who helped others succeed too. Yes, many of them were a forced to reckoned, but the size of their hearts and their individual triumphs surpassed anything that they could ever say about themselves. Strength is not something that you have to go out and broadcast–it just is. No one ever questions buildings and bridges on a daily basis to see if they are strong enough—they just simply do their jobs. They stand still and they ultimately let God do what he does best. In my opinion, people should be the same way. We shouldn’t walk around boasting about how strong we are–we should just do it. That is what I think a true woman is, one who uniquely stands on her own without definition, but with assurance and tenacity. If only the strong survive, she should be the last one standing! That is what I believe is the definitive power of greatness.

My question to you is how are you fulfilling the purpose that was created for you? Are you settling for mediocrity or are you striving for excellence? Are you honoring those who have paved the way for you or are you just existing instead? I believe that it is time for us as women to embrace more of who we are destined to be. It is true that fear and doubt can paralyze a person, but I have learned that people who sit by and watch things indefinitely, seldom change the world. We should let our lights shine without running over others in the process. I believe that we exhibit the greatest level of “greatness” when we pull others up as we are striving to succeed. I have made a choice to “speak about and be about it” just as my ancestors and so many other women have. I refuse to allow myself to do or be anything that is less than my best. Life is too short to be mediocre. I, as well as you, have a destiny to fulfill.

Brandi Brown is a 27 year old educator and writer from Ocala, Florida. She is a graduate of the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida. She currently resides in the Orlando area where she is an English teacher and counselor. Her favorite hobbies are reading, singing, dancing, dog sitting, and being with family and friends. An avid writer and editor, she is also the creator of a blog. For more information about B. Brown please log on to http://epiphanybrandib.blogspot.com.

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