Since the passing of my very good friend and brother David Baldwin Barnes I have had very little desire to write. I have been searching for inspiration and coming up short at every turn—that is until today. This past weekend we laid our dear friend to rest after an arduous process of getting him back from Ghana where he was living his passions and working with his best friend.
David was the epitome of a storyteller. His words and charismatic nature would just draw you in.
While we celebrated his short but extremely impactful life this past weekend we recognized the theme that David had been living throughout his life—be exceptional. David didn’t wait for others to tell his story—he possessed very clear vision, focus and faith that carried him to extraordinary heights. As many said during his funeral he glided (he never walked) to his own beat.
David’s life sketch got me thinking about the rest of us… Are we the narrators, directors and scribes of our own stories? Are we walking our destined path? If we are not writing our own stories, then we are leaving others the freedom to craft our life by their own metrics.
I remember as a youth being so frustrated in my history classes because I couldn’t believe that out of a textbook that was over 700 pages there were just mere paragraphs dedicated to the contributions of African American people. I questioned my teachers about this blatant oversight and asked why they didn’t take it upon themselves to right this very terrible wrong—realizing if they wouldn’t, I would.
From that moment I took it upon myself to “educate” my teachers as much as possible. I wrote papers, essays, poems etc about the lives of African American people both known and unknown. I figured if they wouldn’t take the time to educate themselves about our story than I would. Those who write the stories tell our history. Thankfully, David left parts of his story told on his blog Baldwin Said.
When I started blogging back in 2008, I was nervous that no one would read what I wrote. It was David that told me “it doesn’t matter who reads it, it matters that you say it”. No one can deny your lived experience and it’s our responsibility whether through writing, music, art etc to share our voice, our perspective and our journey to self.
You and you alone are the architect of your own path and the narrator of your dreams… So, as David would say “be exceptional, be outstanding” and write on!
Musical inspiration after the jump… What will your “Journey In” look like?