In high school, I would listen to music on my hot pink ipod nano every morning. This routine was more than just an ordinary angsty teen’s alternative to listening to their parents chat in the car or block out the hordes of other teens yelling on the schoolbus. This was my ritual. My saving grace. The first song in my rotation was always the same, “Legacy.” Synthesizers and heavy guitar riffs permeate my eardrums and my heartbeat slows, my head bobs up and down, and my lips prepare themselves to silently mouth the words.
Chances to move mountains are few and far between,
But only unseen by those who choose them to be.
Live every day like it's your last chance to be heard and seen,
'Cause the good die young and the great change the course of history.
Everything in my world changes. My paradigm shifts. My heart soars.
Stop blending in and start speaking out!
You'll never know what you can do if you don't try now.
Lift up your eyes discouraged one.
Keep moving forward till your battles have been won.
The grumbling of the vocalist comes to a halt, and he begins to sing loud and clear:
They say you were created to do great things,
But words only come to life when you believe.
Stop blending in, start speaking out!
Don't miss your opportunity.
The chorus speaks directly to my soul and reminds me to use my voice to speak up not just for those who can’t but also because opportunities are both scant and fleeting and life is too short. This song shook adolescent Erica to remember that life is precious. That MY life was (and still is!) worth existing in this wild thing called life. I was forced to reach beyond my comfort zone, seize every single chance that I could, and achieve my true potential.
Do you have the courage to follow your heart?
Your life could be over before you ever had a chance to start.
Take what you can get while you can get it
And don't let anybody stand in your way.
If you've got what it takes, make them believe it.
They need to hear you from a mile away!
Life Together has reinforced that I have a legacy to leave behind.
Joining Life Together after college was something that allowed me to use the courage that I have to follow my heart. I was then met with curiosity, community, and cans of beans. Seriously, we cook with so many beans. In addition, I also began to ask questions. Why must my voice be stifled? Why can’t I do what my heart desires? How can I dismantle the injustices, fight against systematic oppression in the world, and also enjoy life at the same damn time? Why is the world against me?
Lift up your eyes discouraged one.
When you feel like giving up,
When they say it can't be done
It's up to you to show them why they're wrong.
Show them they’re wrong!
Lately, these words have fallen short of what I have needed. Depression comes around and burnout takes up my time. Post-grad life has been the rollercoaster that I never expected and my time at life Together has brought me through the loop de loops of chaos. But when these tough times come around, I remember what I have- a legacy. MY legacy. The legacy that has brought me here by my ancestors and through the work I have done to keep myself alive.
What you do is up to you.
Follow your heart and you will never lose.
Reach for the sky!
Nothing's impossible when you realize the strength that's inside.
Embrace the struggle when it's all you can see.
Words only come to life when you believe.
So, dear friend, take there words. Allow them to melt into your heart. Reflect on the strength that has brought you to where you are. Look past all of the shit that may have brought you to this space, and think about the fact that your heart is beating. Your heart is beating! You are breathing! You have another opportunity to allow yourself to make the next second better than the last. Ask yourself, what does it mean to believe? To believe in yourself? Channel that. And once you have channeled that, let me know.