In February of this year, I facilitated a workshop with young ladies aged 8-16 years-old where I guided them through a self-awareness activity so that they could later create Vision Boards of their own. I was hired by the organization Sisters4Sisters, Inc. which runs the youth program Daughters of Destiny which was the program these young ladies were members of.
All of these young ladies created boards expressing a vision for themselves that is filled with money, glamour and true love– of self and from friends and family. Of course, none of the visioning boards included strife, conflict, struggle and poverty. This was not surprising at all. When we are young, we set our minds on our goals and rarely envision the struggle it may take to reach many of them. But, why does that change when we get older?
It is common, as adults, to shoot down our own dreams before they can take a foothold in our consciousness. We anticipate the challenge, discomfort and criticism that many of our dreams may require and we give up before we have even begun. Why this happens is understandable. By the time we become adults, we realize that we are not at the center of the universe, we have experienced disappointment and we have most likely encountered people who have tried to tear us down emotionally or mentally. Most likely, we have encountered people who have beat our dreams down so much that once we become adults, we begin to become our own dream beater, dumping on our dreams before someone else has the opportunity to do so. By the time we have become adults, we have most likely lost the sense of wonder that often fashions our dreams when we are very young.
But, becoming an adult should not be the end of our ambition to envision our goals and reach them.
Declaring Your Vision
Age should never impact your decision to declare your vision.
For me, I performed, engaged in creative writing and enjoyed new things as a young person. Finding joy in music and writing early on led me to realize that I would most likely be doing this for the rest of my life. I was encouraged as a young person by teachers and peers and when I got older, I was encouraged as well. But, while I had those who supported my dreams, there were many more who criticized and tried their best to discourage me. Whether it was telling me I didn’t have the “look” of a performer or I was not talented enough, the detractors seemed to be intent on seeing me abandon my goals. Yet, upon closer look, I noticed that this was exactly what they had ALL done in their own lives– given up.
I stayed steadfast on my course in the arts because I recognize how the arts can inform, heal, transfom, and entertain others, but, most importantly, they sustain in the artist the very qualities that one treasures in youth– hope, excitement and newness— in each new creation. I become inspired when I think of all of the other adults who not only continued to declare their vision, but, got re-connected to their vision after early discouragement or a late start.
There’s jazz vocalist Al Jarreau who didn’t release his first album until he was 38. Renowned culinary artist Julia Child published her first book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, when she was 49. Her television debut came a few years later when she was in her early 50s.
Mark Twain, whose first work appeared when he was 30, created his more well known reads while in his 40’s.
Comic book legend Stan Lee was in his early 40s when he created Spider-Man and most of his other legendary superheroes while his partner, artist Jack Kirby, started drawing The Fantastic Four when he was 44. And, the list goes on.
I challenge you to start today with declaring your vision. You have the singular power to make your dreams come true.
Khadijah “Moon” Ali-Coleman is a writer and an arts communications professional with significant work in theater arts, music, and youth development. She has performed nationally as a vocalist and theater actress for over fifteen years. Moon’s prolific work has positively impacted the exposure of numerous emerging artists through her various roles as a journalist, event producer and educator. To hire her as your personal Creativity Coach, contact her at KhadijahOnline@gmail.com