Growing up in Rexdale (a small neighbourhood in Toronto), I struggled with my identity. I was a young black boy being raised in an environment that some would say was a jungle, but to me it was my normal. I grew up in an environment where the statistics said that I’d either get involved in gangs/violence, get incarcerated, die at a young age, or if I was fortunate enough to overcome all that, then I would end up with a low paying manual labour job.
The prospects of this type of life were not enticing for me, so I looked to the world for my model of living. Media told me that I could only fit in the world as an athlete, rapper, womanizer, thug or comedian.
I’m embarrassed to admit it, but truthfully for a great part of my life I believed this to be my reality, and so these labels had power and dominion over me. We need to understand the power words truly have.
The word “I” is the key that starts the engine of creation. Everything that follows after “I” becomes reality, hence why “I am” is the strongest phrase we have in the English vocabulary. For many years I believed that I was not worthy or good things, I believed that I was just a delinquent kid from Rexdale and had to follow the narrative of what a kid from Rexdale was supposed to be.
Through the sport of football and tragic life experiences I was able to wake up and see my life for what it could be. I began to see my potential; I began to invest time into cultivating my gifts and grow into a man who is not afraid of failure. We all have gifts and talents that we were born with, but our world has told us to neglect them and hide them because no one will think we are good enough. We start comparing ourselves to others and allow comparison to steal our joy. We start doubting ourselves and speaking negatively to ourselves.
My mission in life is to plant seeds of greatness in everyone I meet, to speak life into
those who feel lifeless and to light a spark into that gift that has laid dormant. I want people to take the time to know themselves, I want people to begin to invest in positive self-talk, which will lead to positive action and ultimately feelings of love and growth.