Shakespeare wrote, “To thine own self be true.” Obviously, that’s way easier said than done. O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba said, “True victory is victory over oneself.” Overcoming myself, getting out of my own way, being as true and authentic as I can be is the journey. That’s the bigger, bigger picture.
Really, those with whom I share the journey shall determine if I came as close as I could have. All I can do is to be as authentic as I can be in the context of making a difference either small or profound. I give it all away. Hopefully, others will remember me kindly. Perhaps.
I have nothing but mad love and respect for Dwayne Wade, future First-Ballot Hall of Famer and 3-time NBA Champion. “D-Wade” retired from the Miami Heat last year. Much like the late Kobe Bryant, he evolved the greatest version of himself as a player, now it’s on to what’s next. For D-Wade, it’s TNT basketball analyst, where he gets to talk about his ‘brother’ Lebron James on the Los Angeles Lakers, for instance.
D-Wade is the dedicated father and husband to his family. Recently, his 12-year-old child Zion came out as transgender. On “The Ellen Show” D-Wade told* Ellen DeGeneres:
First of all, me and my wife Gabrielle, we are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community, and we are proud allies as well. . . I don’t know if everyone knows—Zion born as a boy, came home and said, “hey, so I want to talk to you guys. I think going forward, I’m ready to live my truth and I want to be referenced as she and her. I would love for you guys to call me Zaya.” And so internally, now it’s our job to, one, go out and get information, to reach out to every relationship that we have. My wife reached out to everybody on the cast of “Pose.” And we’re just trying to figure out as much information we can to make sure that we give our child the best opportunity to be, you know, her best self.
Dwayne has nothing but mad love and touching respect for Zaya.
On ESPN “First Take” D-Wade talked about giving his voice to the “voiceless”. He gladly accepts the leadership role with the platform he’s been afforded. He along with Lebron or Kobe, represent other NBA players, who champion social issues and call out social injustice.
D-Wade said that his consciousness started back when he and Lebron were with the Miami Heat, during the shooting death of African American teen Trayvon Martin. He and Lebron gave a voice to social justice. They were willing to take the ‘heat’ for their actions, for their voices. Yeah, pun absolutely intended.
Dwayne uses his platform for good. He uses his powers for good, to make a difference in the world. D-Wade is true to himself, is true to Zaya. More than the legacy of inclusion, D-Wade creates a culture of compassion where people are free to be who they are. That’s a powerful platform.
I’ve been very lucky. I’ve been so very fortunate to be afforded my own platform. I’ve gone through my own trials and tribulations, none worse than others out there. Suffering depression and losing purpose, I worked with my therapist Lance to begin my self-healing journey. I had to learn to stop hating on me and start loving and forgiving myself. I continue to just train.
Ironically, rather humorously, because I had no fucking interest in composing a list of attributes I wanted in a woman in a romantic relationship, I ended up writing a book. WTF? I worked on the book with my best friend from high school John. I shared my work with another dear high school buddy Ken, who was a 2-time best selling author. Ken thought what I had to say was meaningful. So I followed his recommendation and self-published on Amazon.
Get that I had no intention of becoming an author. No, my book was not a fairytale best seller. Yet, those who read it got something from it. I grew in that journey.
Meanwhile, Ken hooked me up with Lisa from The Good Men Project. Lisa is my Editor, who helped me evolve as a writer. With Lisa, I boldly explored topics that were meaningful to me. I’m so proud of the work we’ve accomplished together because I think we’re making a difference.
Lisa laughed, “I know you better than you know me.” Yep, she has to read and edit my shit. Just saying. That being said, I have nothing but mad love and amazing respect for Lisa.
I’ve endured my trying darker times, like my less than ideal childhood or forsaking romance and parenthood fearing what I might become at the time. Yet, I put in the work, I grind it out. Perhaps, that was something I could give back to those like me, who had suffered in the quiet. I hoped that I could give some measure of inspiration. The kind of inspiration I got from Mizukami Sensei and Mom in my life.
I was never going to be the GOAT (Greatest of All-Time) of anything. Nor did I have any interest or desire. I got from Sensei over my 25 years of training with him that I was okay. What a blessing. That I could always become greater. I had to “just train”. I also had to be of service, make the world a better place. Be of service like Sensei was to me and all his students.
So on my platform, I remind myself and you: You are greater than you know yourself to be. Life ain’t about being the greatest, being the GOAT. Life arises in making yourself greater than your own ‘zero’, greater than your starting point. Either succeeding or failing, that becomes your new ‘zero’. So, create your next greater-than version. Stay humble. Be grateful for those, who love and believe in you. Put in the work. “Just train.” As Sensei would say.
You might not necessarily have the generous platform I’ve been granted. Yet, we all have a voice, we all have something to say inside that people want to hear. As Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson said, “The most powerful thing we can be is ourselves.” Amen.
Whatever your platform, in whatever your sphere of influence, in the bigger picture be authentic as you can be, and make a difference for others. More than just saying.
* Dwyane Wade’s Candid Talk About Supporting His 12-Year-Old’s Gender Identity
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Photo credit: Screenshot from EllenTube video