Every sports fan knows this photo.
I, like most sports fans, watched The Last Dance documentary series about Michael Jordan and the Bulls when it came out; all other sports were cancelled due to COVID! I knew that Jordan had won 6 rings and was the GOAT but it was amazing to see the behind the scenes footage and the details of what happened.
This photo is of MJ holding his first championship trophy in 1991. MJ was drafted in 1984. When we think of MJ, we think of six rings. We don't tend to think of 7 years of disappointment. 7 years of losses. 7 years of wondering if his dreams of winning the championship would be fulfilled. 7 years of blood, sweat, and tears, but no trophy.
To me, those 7 years are what make this photo so meaningful. Each playoff loss. Each time watching the opponent celebrate. These moments made holding the trophy that much sweeter for MJ.
7 years ago, when I was 19, I wrote and performed my first spoken word poem. This began my passion for using spoken word and music as a way to inspire people and share with them the hope and love of Jesus Christ.
In the last seven years, I have definitely taken some losses, both in my music career and my life. I got into bad management deals. I spent money in the wrong places. My music didn't blow up how I envisioned. Then, I was diagnosed with Friedreich's Ataxia.
At many times, I have wanted to give up. No more music. No more merchandise. No more spoken word. No more shows. No more speaking. No more blog. Something inside me won't let me quit.
I always say that it is not about comparing yourself to others; it is about being the best possible version of you. There will always be something you can't do but at the same time there will always be something you can do. Do that.
This change in perspective allows me to keep going. To keep adapting. Then, this happened.
Boston is a young man who also has FA. His family found my music on Facebook and showed it to him. Boston decided to send me this shirt as well as a hand-written note. He thanked me for making music and for the uplifting words I say.
This picture is my equivalent of MJ holding the trophy. It symbolizes 7 years of hard work paying off. It symbolizes a dream coming to fruition.
As I wore this shirt for the first time, I felt that all my losses and all my pain had been worth it. Every late night studio session, open mic, monetary investment, and the countless hours spent learning the music business - worth it. The times I spent crying out to God, wondering why He didn't just heal me - worth it. To know that I could impact another person, especially one with FA, makes it all worth it.
MJ didn't stop after one trophy. I won't stop either. I will keep adapting. I will keep fighting. And, Lord willing, my story will help to give others the strength they need to persevere through whatever it is that they are facing.
What is it that you dream to accomplish? Are you willing to take losses? Are you willing to face disappointments? Will you keep on fighting?
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
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