BLAQ…is the process.
It’s an illustration of the dark moments in life that are meant to teach humility, strength, and give perspective. These times are usually unpleasant and difficult, but necessary if we are to grow. BLAQ can portray change, those situations that require us to step outside of our comfort zone, it can be the consequences of poor choices or the epiphany of what lies ahead. For me, my BLAQ has been a culmination of all of these. I’ve had to embrace situations that challenged and pushed me beyond my comfort level, reflect and learn from decisions that were made in the absence of wisdom and find understanding in the revelation shown to me about my destiny. All these factors were prevalent in catapulting me to my promise.
Apple CEO Tim Cook once said, “The truth is we all have the same purpose, and so we should all quit looking. Our purpose is to serve humanity.” I couldn’t agree more, our purpose in life is indeed to serve humanity. However, the discovery process begins as we learn how we are to serve humanity with the gifts, talents, and passions we possess. It was during the most challenging time of my adult life I discovered that my contribution to humanity would be through my story. And that is how the BLAQ Diamond Sports apparel line of statement tees came to be.
Behind each statement is a story.
A story of a little girl who was born to a teenage mother and later given up for adoption when she was four years old.
That little girl was me.
My biological mother made the decision to give me and my little sister up for adoption when we were three and four years old. We were the oldest of the four children she had at that time. For 2 ½ years, we were shuffled around the foster care system. We stayed in a children's home when there were no foster homes available. We moved to foster homes when there was space for two children since they wanted to keep us together and then to shelters when in the transition to wherever we were going next. Eventually, we were adopted, and we lived happily ever after.
If only this were a fairy tale that might be true, but my story is anything but a fairy tale. No fairy god-mothers or Prince Charming riding on a white stallion to save me, nope just prayers to God that he would send me both. Or anyone who could rescue us from the evils of the adoptive mother we had inherited.
She was mean.
And through the eyes of a young child, she seemed to take great delight in punishing and mistreating me and my sister. We were constantly being reminded that we were not her kids and that it was obvious that we were adopted, and we act too stupid. One vivid memory I have yet to forget is one evening she was teaching us how to fold the bottom bed sheets, but for some reason, my sister and I could not seem to get it right. She angrily grabbed my head and my sister’s head and rammed them together. It was done with such force my eyesight was blurry for a quick minute. I’m not sure who I was angrier with at the time, her for being so malicious or my sister for having such a hard head. After that, we quickly figured out how to fold the sheet the right way. That is just one of the many memories I have tried to never remember, but as I write this it’s the first thing I recall.
We were with our adoptive family for eight years and during that time we would still visit shelters and frequent foster homes, it was her way of reminding us we weren't her ‘real’ kids. For eight years we endured this emotional and mental anguish. There was physical abuse, but many of the scars came from never having the security of a safe and happy place to call home. Or never knowing what it felt like to be loved, accepted and wanted. Scars from the anxiety of not having the privilege to rest because of fear. Fear from doing the wrong thing and being severely punished. Fear from coming home after school and finding our bags packed to go to a shelter or foster home. Fear of just living life because of all the constant turmoil. We were placed back in the foster care system eight years later and the cycle of different foster homes and shelters continued until I graduated high school. Halfway through my senior year I learned I had enough credits to graduate early so I did and at the tender age of 17 ½ I decided to join the Army, in search of a better life.
Joining the military was my escape from a childhood I didn’t want to think about ever again, everyone and everything was going to become a distant memory. So, I concealed all the scars and pain under a smile and blocked out the memories. And I decided to find the happiness I never knew as a child. I looked for happiness in relationships, jobs, degrees, promotions and having children. It wasn’t until many years later I realized the happiness I was searching for outside myself would never materialize until I found happiness within. And there was only one person who could give me that.
And with that revelation, began a process that would lead me to a promise.
Diamond is the promise.
Mark Twain once said: “The two most important days of your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why.” A few years ago, I found out ‘why’, and that discovery led to my promise. For me that ‘why’ was connected to my destiny, it wasn’t until I was able to figure out my ‘why’ that my life and all its convoluted situations began to make sense. Diamond or the promise represents the discovery of my destiny and stepping into my purpose. It was the experience of the process that unveiled my destiny and empowered me to walk in purpose. Without process, there can be no promise.
I’ve learned the processes of life are much like the process an actual diamond goes through. A diamond is formed under extreme heat and great pressure, but once it has gone through the heat and pressure a beautiful jewel is formed. If it does not endure the process it will never achieve its best definition. I’d like to believe the hotter the heat and greater the pressure the bigger the diamond and brighter the brilliance. After enduring the process, just like a diamond, I emerged a better version of myself. I am wiser, stronger and bolder because of all I’ve gone through.
Your promise may be something different, but to receive your promise you cannot let the ‘blaq’ moments of life stop you. Choose to grow through those moments rather than anchor in them, so just like a diamond, you too will become a better version of yourself. If you resolve to do this, you will begin to live a life full of promise.
Sports is the moto-inspired theme.
A theme that is rooted in the belief that freedom is on the other side of fear. I have always admired female riders; mesmerized by the audacity of their boldness to ride despite apparent dangers that are evident when getting on a motorcycle. I found it exhilarating that I would hear the bike before I saw the motorcyclist, eagerly I’d look to see if it was a female rider, if it was, I would think to myself, wow she’s fearless. My fear of the what if…What if I get in an accident? What if I fall off?...the what ifs kept me from pursuing the desire to learn how to ride a motorcycle. Years later a shift in mindset caused me to ask myself…what if I don’t get in an accident? What if I don’t fall off the bike? What will I think if I look back in my final years of life and realize I didn’t even try to pursue the dream? How would I feel? The answer to that question made me decide not to wait until the end, but to go for it now. At least try. Do not let fear hold you for ransom, pay it no mind.
Yes, the simple desire to ride a motorcycle might not be life-altering or world-changing, but the decision to not allow fear to influence my decisions is what was revolutionary. That commitment spilled over into every area of my life. It gave me a freedom that can only be found on the other side of fear. So, whatever ‘what ifs’ you’re debating with that are stopping you from moving forward, begin to speak life to them, what if it does work out? What if I did it anyway? Fearless doesn’t mean the absence of fear it simply means I decided to do it despite my fears. Bishop T.D. Jakes once said “You cannot let your fear hold you back from your destiny. Do it scared. Nervous. Broke. Feel the fear and do it anyway.” That’s the mindset you must cultivate to KeepRiding.
BLAQ Diamond Sports…from the process (BLAQ) to the promise (Diamond) and moving forward fearlessly (KeepRiding). KeepRiding as you go through the process, so you can see the fulfillment of the promise of God in your life. That’s my message. These are my stories.
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