Impact: a powerful word that is often given very little reverence. We go through life and forget that we all have an impact on this world. We impact the people around us. We impact the planet. We impact the morals of our policies and how we treat people. But, more often than not, we forget this simple reality leading to poor self-image, depression, and in the most extreme circumstances, suicide.
This competition is a fantastic example of how that impact is so important (whether we choose to recognize that or not). The young girl I am chaperoning remembered me from my first year of competition. She was so impressed with my talent (spinning a rifle) and it has stayed with her for eight years. Her father worked on the music for the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. I just came from that very show a few weeks and was impacted by the experience I was brought to tears. That experience will stay with me for years to come because one man decided to dedicate his skills and talents to such a worthy cause. How blessed I was by that man, who may never meet me and may not think what he did was anything special, but he made an impact on my life.
This impact is often best seen through our skills and talents, but it can also be seen through our weakness and failures. This often hits home when one considers things like watching an “aha!” moment arise after many failed attempts. More often than not we see this in science when the serendipitous accident results in the finding of a cure of balding (Rogan) or treatment for a disease. But what about situations a little closer to home: job hunting (my city has been in double digit unemployment since 1990), that class you have to retake because you just didn’t understand the criteria? When people watch how you handle that failure, it is impactful (either for good or ill). I have been denied a job in my field four the past four years, but that failure to find a job has not kept me from looking. I have been told by many that this has been a testament to them in a variety of fields.
Who you are makes a difference. If we all just believed that truth and shared that truth with the people around us how the world would be different!
All this to say that this competition is still impacting me – even though I am not a competitor this year. Between the workshops and the people it is still a learning experience.
I was lucky today to hear a wonderful keynote speaker, encourage more than one of the contestants, and get to help write. To top it off, I was confirmed as a paid writer for Examiner.com (it is official!) The trick is to pass it around because I am paid per view of my page, not article written, so please go follow my articles and take a look: examiner.com/andriablack.
I also got to text my sweetheart who never ceases to make me feel special. Just the nick name Angel makes my heart flutter. He is also so supportive of my work here with these youth, but also my trepidation about seeing my ex-fiancé. The good news is I have to rush back home to my sister’s birthday party Friday so there shouldn’t be any problem with escaping him. Robert has made me laugh and feel like a princess so much, but especially when I am surrounded by so many crowns it means a lot.
The day has mostly been one of contemplation in its purest form and I blessings in its most tangible form. How blessed I am to be able to lend some of my talent for words and public speaking to these youth and encourage them in their efforts. Thank you for letting me make a difference.