(Please don't mind this really, really cliche quote! It's just so fitting! LOL)
On my birthday this April, I had a strange moment. I was en route to Hilton Head, SC for my birthday weekend and I just had a moment where everything seemed really still. I looked around and felt a very real sense of peace that I hadn't known before. I looked back on all of the crazy things that have happened in the last year. It's very well documented about me that I started this journey because of being given a literal dream and a series of very insistent numbers. I then realized that it all came from having faith that no matter the challenges I faced, I was here to see it through another birthday and live the life that I'd always wanted.
Faith is a funny thing though. It requires so much of us, and yet its immediate payoff is close to nothing. Moving into faith feels like hell. It's discomforting. It's intangible and makes us squirm with displeasure. Faith is demanding. It requires that we just move into flow and acceptance that we are going to be okay no matter what, but it feels initially like we are being duped. You want me to just do this "thing" with no reassurance of the outcome? NO.WAY. It's humbling, to say the least.
The human mind is designed to inherently avoid pain and discomfort. And to the rational mind, the faith that is always required to get past our initial fears seems like a guarantee for pain and misery. By and large, the response that I get from individuals about my leap of faith is always shock and awe. And a deep respect. Many even regard the ability to step past my fears as almost superhuman, not realizing that they are just as capable! Well, I'm here to tell you that you are just as capable, and you are worthy of seeing what lies beyond that curtain of fear too. What lies beyond that wall of self-doubt and your fear is something incredibly beautiful. It, I feel, is the very reason why you are here.
I was on TV!!!
I was so so nervous haha, but the video has arrived and it was incredible! Take a look at the interview below if you'd like! We go a bit into my extremely bizarre journey, the beauty of the arts and why understanding our emotions is so important!
April was huge for me for several reasons. Again, with the topic of faith, I decided to share my fan-artwork of Rihanna and Lupita Nyongo on Twitter and tag them in it on a whim. Twitter had come up with an amazing story with both women, and I loved it so I had to join in the conversation. Shortly thereafter, I got a message on my phone that LUPITA N'YONGO HERSELF had tagged my work and called it "amazing"! I dropped dead instantly. Then afterwards, I saw that it got retweeted by AVA DUVERNAY, the famed and incredible director. I came back to life just to die one more time. AND THEN it got picked up by Blavity where the author of the article said that my work could easily be a storyboard from this story regarding the two. I was in heaven.
My brother and friend Eric Thomas introduced me to Professor Bwire of The College of New Jersey! Professor Bwire then offered me the opportunity to share my artwork with his students ! The students used my book to come up with a mock curriculum for 4th and 5th graders. It was really amazing seeing how something that I created can be used to teach and educate in such a formal way. (Photos of students taken with their permission)
It was definitely a HUGE difference between presenting to 4th graders and college students haha, but it was still a great response nonetheless. I even made a few sales too!
I was contacted by a teacher of mine from High School (it REALLY pays to be kind to everyone you meet...ESPECIALLY your teachers! LOL) who thought I'd be good to offer a workshop to the students at her new school called Purnell. I thought this would be an amazing opportunity - though to be truthful I WAS SHOOK. Haha. I was so incredibly nervous as this was my first workshop that I'd ever offered. At this point when I'm this nervous, I just give it up to the ancestors, pray and fake it until I make it. Thankfully and amazingly, the workshops turned out INCREDIBLY. The young ladies were SO enthusiastic about what I offered and even begged to have more time to finish their character designs! That brought me an incredible amount of joy. The students pictured here are from my first workshop, and I unfortunately don't have pictures of the women from the second. But both were incredible. Even the teachers who were there to witness the workshops were impressed with the content of the workshop and how I worked so well with them. It felt very natural! These were some of the really awesome and intentionally hilarious characters they came up with too! :)
Lastly, for this past Free Comic Day, I I spent the morning with Simone's Sheroes at Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse, Inc. in Philly! I was NOT ready for how cool the space was, and I definitely was not ready for how cool everyone in that space was. I got a chance to meet the really dope Philadelphia Avengers and posed with them cosplaying as the Punisher. I THEN had a chance to meet the woman who opened this space, Ariel! But most importantly, I had the opportunity to share some art tips with the girls and boys who love superheroes and creative work! To see them so passionate about their dreams and interested in the arts made me so happy. That and to be around other POC who were nerds too was quite a healing moment! Thank you Chaundra Daniels and Leslie Crudup. It was great :)
Faith has given me the opportunity to soar and break through the wall of fear that held me back so long. Even if this post does nothing but provide some cool photos, I hope that it lets you know that your dreams are valid and you are more than worthy of living them.
Lots of love to you all until next time!
Rashad Malik Davis