After spending 10 years in one state in the U.S., I find myself traveling back to the state I spent all of my previous years on earth. The decision is all about the work I want to do, who I want to do it with, and the environment I want to do it in for the few remaining years I plan to stay in this country before transitioning home to Africa. As I prepared to leave, I tried to do what I could to avoid my departure being an issue. Not because I have some false modesty or fake humility, but because its all genuinely embarrassing for me. The U.S., all of it, is a slave plantation for African people in my mind. So, just like I cannot envision my ancestors celebrating moving from one plantation to another, I honestly cannot see celebrating my movement any differently. When, I move to Africa, that will be a celebration!
Still, I am writing this because I have been moved beyond words for the level of sincerity so many people took to express their appreciation for my work. I've had truly wonderful people dedicate songs to me. My A-APRP comrades here started a wonderful chain of statements of thanks for my influences into their lives and one of them even used their platform as M/C as a huge event we hosted last week to speak about my personal impact on them. At a luncheon of about 20 work colleagues yesterday, I was given a card with a collection of traveling expense money and one employee wrote and read an impromptu poem in my honor in front of the entire restaurant. A good friend and a great local journalist wrote a wonderful article about my leaving. There have been a lot of tears from grown folks, mine leading the charge. I have received so many emails, text messages, phone calls, and Face Book statements of love and well wishes that I cannot count and/or respond to them all. The reoccurring theme in all of this that stands out to me is the extent to which people are expressing their appreciation of a mentoring role I played in their personal development. People have repeatedly used words like integrity, courage, and commitment. I've also heard very personal testimonies from people I had no idea I was having such an impact on which reinforces why its important to believe in everyone because like Marcus Garvey said, we have no way of knowing what impact we will have on others. The entire scenario deeply humbles me and makes me feel like I need to continue to work harder to earn the accolades people have been bestowing upon me.
Of course, the true deep-seated emotions I'm fighting are those so hard to overcome feelings that these people are really talking about someone else and not me. That it must be someone else because clearly, if they knew me and all my imperfections, they wouldn't see me in the visions they are talking about. These are the demons that regularly haunt my existence, and yours as well. And the reasons I'm talking about them isn't to draw your attention there and certainly not to attempt to generate any sympathy on my behalf. The reasons I'm talking about this is because I know that all of us are besieged with these types of negative feelings because this backward system breeds that within us. My hope is by talking honestly about it, it can hopefully help others who probably believe they are the only ones battling these dysfunctions.
I spend an awful lot of time challenging my demons with pre-designed and positive self talk. I've found that the more I do it, the more it works. I've been doing it for years and now I've trained myself to almost automatically respond with positive self talk to any negative thoughts that creep into my head. What I'm telling myself today is that I need to use these few days to truly enjoy the love I'm receiving and to reflect on what I've done to generate it so I can continue to feed that reserve. I'm telling myself to nourish on the warmth these sentiments provide for me in a way that's eerily symbolic of the warmth I'll experience from moving from cold Oregon to much warmer California.
I really want to thank all of you for your expressions of love. I appreciate you equally. I'll promise to keep doing whatever I can to try and help us move forward. And, I'll also promise to keep in touch, really. At this stage in my life, I realize all we really have is our human relationships so I'm focused on maintaining the ones that I have. I encourage you to keep banging. The more we fight the enemies of humanity, the more we claim our legitimate humanity. Thank you for helping me wage my battle and if in doing so, I've helped you in a similar way, its only fitting in my book.