Free Your Mind, Man! Free Your Mind! - Advancement Project

Free Your Mind, Man! Free Your Mind!

On honoring your ancestors by doing what they did for centuries-being bold and courageous enough to have a stubborn belief.

February 12, 2018

by Robb King

I reached a quarter-century of life this past November, experiencing 25 full rotations around the Sun; 9,132 planetary spins of the Earth’s axis; and 219,168 hours of time breathing-and yes, I accounted for leap years. See, some folks see life as being short, like a fleeting shadow; but for some reason, life seems quite long to me-long enough to create, assess and reinvent one’s self over and over again. And as my 24th year of life set, my assessment of what I had created illuminated before my eyes.

In that time of living, I noticed I still lacked a quality understanding of the term liberation. For the majority of my life, I thought liberation was a seat at the table and I spent much of my time striving for that seat. In my naiveté, I failed to realize that changing who sits at the table only changes the people at the table, not the table itself-which started to feel like a problem. I thought success would bring me liberation. Yet, I slowly came to realize that my definition of success was never really mine but one given to me by those who “knew better”. Ain’t that something? I was out here chasing things I didn’t even want and in the process, negotiating pieces of myself to get it.

Now, I know for many people 25 ain’t a long time; but for me, it was enough time to realize that liberation was something I had to define on my own terms. You see, I had spent so much time seeking a distorted view of physical liberation that I had neglected the liberation of my own mind. For as the mind thinks, so the body commits to action; and my actions were preceding anything my mind had established. Liberation, for me, has to start from within now; it must be born internally from a stubborn belief in one’s self and the life one deserves to live. A true, sustainable concept of liberation cannot be born out of physical accomplishments, accolades or seats earned; nor from the beliefs and definitions of others-for it can only be sustained by one’s own stubborn belief.

So to celebrate this 25th year of life, I decided to dedicate an entire year to doing just that-liberating my damn mind by doing things that force me to create a stubborn belief in myself. Things that force me to see myself for who I am and to embrace it without apology. And isn’t that the best way to celebrate not just Black History Month but Black history? Honoring your ancestors by doing what they did for centuries-being bold and courageous enough to have a stubborn belief. So, as the beautiful, Black sirens of Black history (aka EnVogue) once sang, “Free your MIND and the rest will follow!” That’s what I’m doing.

Peace.

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