That Time When I Stood Up For What I Believed In

Hello People!

I’d like to share with you two personal experiences that I hope will shape and inspire my future.

In return, I’m asking you to send me the experiences that have affected the way you live your life. I had the idea of creating an anthology of all YOUR most memorable and meaningful life events. All you have to do is comment your story, along with what it taught you in life. Then I’ll put them all together in a post (or two!), like a virtual book. P.S. If it’s a bit longer or more detailed, post it on your own blog and send me the link. Anyone is welcome to take part, so please don’t hesitate.

I’ll start off the anthology with mine. One of mine happened a long time ago and the other only yesterday, but both of them have made a huge impact on my life and thoughts, they’ve both taught me priceless lessons and showed me things I never really saw before.

I’m sorry that this post is so long, but please keep reading, as it’s so important to me and I’d love you to give me some feedback.

Today I’ll start with the first one, which was about three and a half years ago. The second one will be coming very soon……!

That Time I Stood Up For What I Believe In by Gracie Chick (ME!!!)

 I walk across the shiny wood floor, my walking boots thud dully and I listen to the sharp clackety- clack of all the other kids smart, black polished school shoes. I stride towards the other ten year olds, my usual shy smile replaced with a proud, confident beam. The source of my strength comes from the two gold lines that run down the sleeve on my ironed green sweater. Last week I was made a Sixer, an honour given to a few responsible, respected cub scouts. 

As I stand beside my fellow cub scouts, I can almost feel those lines radiating heat. “Gracie Chick!” A voice snaps me out of my imagination.  As I hear the leader’s words, I learn that the legendary Sixer’s conference has been called and I am told to join them, I need no encouragement.

All the younger and newer cubs, that I had once been a part of, whispered about what went on in that back room and, although everyone had their theories, none of us really knew. I knew that I was entering a new and exciting world now.

I watch as the more experienced and older members discuss what we’ll do on the special day that we get to ourselves, to practice team building and leadership skills. 

The suggestions keep on coming and I listen with interest. Suddenly someone says “What about laser tag?” and everyone agrees. “Yes! Yes! Laser tag. Perfect.” “Okay, well that’s settled then.” The leader glances round the room. Slowly and nervously I raise my hand.

“Yes, Gracie?”

“Um, what’s laser tag?” I asked tentatively. 

Everyone jumps in to try to explain it to me. 

“Basically, it’s a dark room and you get a laser gun and run round trying to shoot each other.”

“Kill as many people as you can.” 

“It’s just a game really, but it feels like a proper war.” 

I leave cubs that night with a furrowed brow and troubling thoughts on my mind. In the car on the way home to the farm where I live, I relay all the information to my Dad. I finish with “I can’t believe they find that fun!” 

My Dad thinks for a while and then says this, “Me neither Gracie, killing is never a game. Pretend guns or real guns, shooting is shooting. For too many people all over the world, war is real life. What would a kid who’s lost his family to war say if he saw people treating it like a game?” 

“I don’t want to go, Dad.” I whisper “I think it’s wrong, totally wrong.” My Dad nods sadly, he knows how much it meant to me. 

When I go home that night, I tell my Mum too and between my parents they come up with an idea. “Why don’t you email your leader and tell her how you feel about laser tag? Maybe you could talk to all the others about your reasons.” 

So I sat down and wrote this email to my cub leader. 

Dear Akela  (That’s what we call our leader)

I just wanted to talk to you about why I’d rather not do laser hub.
I feel that running around shooting people is not a game, because war makes people suffer and die!
If you’ve already booked it, it’s ok! I’d just rather not come. Maybe if you haven’t already booked it we could have a meeting about it in sixer and seconder council and I could share my views? Then we could have another vote? I’ve got some suggestions if it’s not too late.
I’ve never played shooting games with other kids and I don’t really feel comfortable doing it at cubs, if that’s all right.
I’ll mention my ideas when we have the meeting (if we can have it).
Yours,
Gracie

 

She replied the next day: 

Dear Gracie.
Thankyou for your thoughtful e-mail, I do completely understand your point of view, my own children were strongly discouraged from playing with guns when they were growing up for exactly the same reasons.
Having said that I do feel that Laser gaming is just that – an  imaginative game which has developed with all the new technology out there & I suspect that those Cubs who came up with the idea & who voted in its favour do not necessarily equate it with real life warfare. You are absolutely right that if at all possible we should discuss it.
I have added it to next week’s programme (Sixer / Seconder Council) although suspect it could develop into quite a debate. Just so you know where we are with planning,
Keego & I had discussed the possibility of going to a centre in Eastbourne where there is a laser quest option but there is also bowling. Can I talk to you tomorrow at X Country?  Akela
I started thinking immediately. What would I say? How would I explain myself? To this day, I still swear that it was one of the most nerve-racking experiences of my life. I wrote draft after draft on paper and then I scribbled it out and started again. 
Finally I decided on the words I would use and I was ready that next Wednesday nightthough my heart kept doing somersaults and I was scared of what the other kid’s reactions might be. They’d been so adamant about laser tag, how would they take to my suggestion? Would they think of me differently after this day?
I clutched my piece of paper as I walked through the door that night. I still remember the clean white kitchen, with out-of-date custard creams and black currant squash on the side. The other kids all gathered around the table. My Akela nodded at me and I managed a quick nervous smile before I began reading off of my paper. 
Last week we discussed the possibility of doing laser tag as our Sixer’s day out. For my own personal reasons, I’d rather not do that. If you’d like to know what they are, please feel free to ask me later.  However, I have another idea. I’d like to invite you all to come to my farm and play night games in the woods. We can light a campfire and cook over it.” 
Akela stepped in. “Who likes Gracie’s idea?” She asked brightly. A flurry of enthusiastic voices filled the air and almost made me fall over with surprise. I’d been gearing myself up for disagreement and disappointment, yet everyone seemed to positive.
And so that’s how it happened, my boldness changed their minds. We ran around the woods for hours, laughing and joking. We made our own food and stuffed our faces with chocolate fondue. Our bonds as a team certainly became stronger and we all made memories that night. 
And what did I learn from that experience? It taught me that I had to be the change I wanted to see in the world. It taught me that people will listen if you give them good reason to.
I want to know about the experiences that have shaped your lives? What’s the most meaningful thing that ever happened to you? Tell me your stories, I’ve told you mine. As I always say, your beautiful comments always fill me with hope. 
I especially value your opinions on my more personal and thought-provoking posts, so please send me a few words and I’ll reply. I’m also welcoming of comment discussions! 
Don’t forget that the second experience is coming soon, so watch this space….
Goodbye for now and remember to send me your own stories and thoughts!
Gracie
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The Book Of Our Lives

Wake up, Gracie!  
This isn’t a novel you’re reading, 
A book you can tear yourself away from whenever you feel like it. 
This is your life, your story. 
You decide the ending, you are not a spectator. 
You’re the main character.  
 
It’s down to you to decide what happens. 
You can change your fate. 
Come on, it’s still a draft. 
This story hasn’t been published yet. 
 
You write the storyline, 
Who plays what part? 
Is there a mystery? 
A twist in the plot? 
 
Is it a tragedy or a fairytale with a happy ending? 
That’s in your hands. 
You are the author of your own life. 
 
THE END 
 
 
Hi Everyone! 
 
We are all the writers of our own story, we can edit it and choose the words we use. Suddenly 
we are not reading someone else’s life journey, we are penning our own. 
 
We battle on through disaster and good times, struggles and joy. Through the predictable and 
the unexpected, the happy and the sad. Each event affects and shapes the future of the story 
and your, and my, book of life. 
 
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Gracie  🙂 🙂 🙂
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Livin’ In A Bubble

Hello There Everybody!  Trust Katy Perry to bring out another catchy song just as I was beginning to get ‘Roar’ out of my head. Every time I turn the radio on, Chained To The Rhythm is playing over and over and over again. And again. And again. And again.

At first I didn’t like it. Then I started listening to the lyrics, I didn’t have much choice, it’s being blasted out of speakers wherever I go.  Then I began to see the message behind this previously annoying pop song. Just read these words:

Are we crazy?
Living our lives through a lens
Trapped in our white-picket fence
Like ornaments
So comfortable, we live in a bubble, a bubble
So comfortable, we cannot see the trouble, the trouble
Aren’t you lonely
Up there in utopia
Where nothing will ever be enough?
Happily numb
So comfortable, we live in a bubble, a bubble
So comfortable, we cannot see the trouble, the trouble

Ah, so good
Your rose-colored glasses on
And party on

They got me thinking, maybe she’s right. Perhaps we all live in a bubble, thinking everything’s fine within our own little world. Maybe we don’t want to open our eyes to the rest of the planet and see what’s going on beyond our comfort zone. If we did, we’d have to do something about it, we’d see the poverty, fear and oppression that exists outside of our ‘bubble’. I guess everyone has one, though they’re all very different. Some people wear dark rose-coloured glasses and can see very little, others wear light ones, but rose-coloured all the same.

I think the challenge is to be able to pop your bubble and step out into the big, wide world. So much awaits you and you can do so much to help others.

 

I’d love to know how you feel? Your heartfelt, encouraging, kind and thoughtful comments always make my day so please don’t hesitate to leave me one. I am interested in all your opinions, comment discussions are always welcome. Thank you in advance,

Gracie,

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Waiting For The Turtles: A Story + A few Other Goodies…

Hello there all! I’ve got another story to share with you today, as well as some other blog-related bits and bobs.

I wrote this for my inspirational and absolutely amazing Mum for Mother’s day and I hope you enjoy it as much as she did.

Waiting For The Turtles 

I kneel down in the water and the liquid lifts my dress to float around me, a yellow hued raft. I can hear faint whispers of music on the breeze, the low, rhythmic strum of a guitar and the clear hearty voices of people having a good time. I raise my eyes to the sky, the pale pinks, melodic blues and metallic golds of sunset burn on the horizon.  The air is salty and cool against my skin, breaths of air blow a rusty drinks can across the beach. The ocean is still and almost expectant, waiting sullenly, lying low. It’s moment will come.

The cold pulses through my body, making me shudder and wrap my arms around my drenched torso. But I wouldn’t miss this for the world. My dress clings to me, soaked through with the scent of the ocean. It seems to want to drag me down into it, drown me within its depths.

The birds are circling the beach, harnessing the winds and soaring high above. They seem to know it’s time. They look so menacing up there, waiting, just like me. I glare at them and rise out of the water to wave my fists. They squawk in alarm, but then their attention is taken by something else, something further up the beach.

I can see it now, damp sand spraying up into the air. They’re erupting everywhere, fountains of sand flying up from all over the beach. The birds are getting lower in the sky now, their beady eyes watching every movement intently. I’m racing down the beach now, yelling up at the gulls and watching my feet, careful not to tread on any new arrivals.

I hurriedly unzip the waterproof pouch at my waist and brush the sand off of my hands, then I yank out my mobile and punch in a number that I know by heart.

They pick up immediately, they were waiting for my call. Waiting, just like the ocean, just like the birds, just like me. But it’s started now and there’s no time to wait anymore.

“Marion. It’s Susanna. Yes, it’s begun. I need you all here right now. The birds are already picking the first few off. Okay, bye. See you in a few minutes.”

I hang up and practically chuck my phone back in its pouch. I jump as something starts burrowing its way through the soft sand just beside my foot. I crouch down and scoop up the tiny creature in my hands. “Welcome to the world, little turtle.” I whisper. I tighten my grip on it’s smooth shell and rush down to the water, then I set it down and it floats off, battling the waves, flippers paddling frantically.  

The birds are diving like torpedoes, snatching the babies as they emerge into the light. I grab as many as I possibly can, holding them in my arms and carrying them swiftly to the water’s edge.

I hear the screech of brakes and look to see a van careering round the bend and coming to an ungraceful halt. A girl of around my own age leaps out the passenger side and two boys with armfuls of bags get out the back. They all jump off the concrete wall and land on their feet in the warm sand.

“Quick! Open the bags. Get as many in as you can. Marion and I will take one, you two guys take the other.” I instruct.

Marion and I fall on our knees beside a burrow teeming with the tiny turtles, as we scoop them into our hands and lay them gently, but carefully in the bag, we smile happily at each other. The mass of wriggling, squirming little bodies clamber all over each other, their flippers pitter pattering on each other’s shells. Their squished up faces look up at us with confusion and I like to think they’re wondering at the marvel of us, just like we marvel at them.

One of them slithers up my arm and drops on his back in the sand. “Hey!” I laugh and hear Marion’s cheerful chuckle beside me. Suddenly something fast flashes past our eyes, before I can comprehend the situation, the bird has got the tiny turtle in his grasp and is flapping off with his bounty, his evil cackle echoes round the beach, joining the hullabaloo of cries from all the species of birds at this banquet.

We work in silence for a moment, the loss of this new life may be amongst many today, but it is felt nonetheless. After a while, Marion looks up from our umpteenth burrow. “My Father says that each gull is the ghost of a pirate, who wanders the seven seas, never able to tear himself from the life he has always known. I could believe it with these birds.” “Yeah.” I agree. “They’re thieving bandits.”

“I’d say we’re full up.” Marion glances at the bag and then at me. “Okay, let’s go.” This is always my favourite part, setting the turtles off on their life journey. One by one, we lift them out and put them in a row where the waves crash onto the shore. The white foam splashes onto their noses and they splutter and sneeze. We giggle and sit back to watch them take their first tentative steps towards freedom and adulthood.

They stumble over pebbles as they walk into the water. “Yay!” I cheer as the first one rides a wave and begins to swim out into the ocean, reminding me of the small children I often see bodyboarding on their stomachs. I turn to Marion for a high-five, but she’s not there. “Mari-” I break off as a hard push on my shoulder makes me fall forward into the surf. “Hey!” I topple into the ankle-deep water with a shout. The turtles swim around me and I look to see Marion grinning beside me. We turn over onto our tummies and begin to swim out into the ocean.

 

The little animals follow us, pushing each other to be first in line. “Ha!” I gasp as I duck under water and force my eyes to open, despite the salty sting. In the blurry bluey green, I could make out Marion’s legs thrashing beside me and the bottom far below. I kick my legs and spiral to the depths of the ocean floor. I glance behind me to see Marion blowing bubbles through her nose. I do the same and the turtles play like puppies of the sea, chasing each other and popping the bubbles with their hard snouts.

I feel a sharp tapping on my back and spin round to see my friend wildly gesturing towards two large dark shapes looming out of the shadows. I gasp and we clutch hands and wait, the oxygen rapidly draining from our lungs.

Two adult turtles emerge, swimming serenely towards us. The babies seem to recognise their own kind and they greet them with excitement, orbiting around them like moons around great planets.

I squeeze Marion’s hand and we rise to the surface together. “Time to go..” I mutter, gasping for air. She just nods and we swim quietly back to land, passing the odd stray baby turtle as we go.

We crawl up the beach and lay down on the warm sand. “Our work is done.” Marion says and I agree. The beach is littered with holes like mines, dark patches in the gloom of dusk. “The light’s fading. I think we’d better go.” I whisper. I feel as though I don’t want to disturb anything, it’s so tranquil and still after the chaos of the day.

“Where are the boys?” my companion asks suddenly. “Bet they’re sitting around that campfire, singing songs and eating hotdogs.” I laugh. “I reckon we’d better join them.” Marion says, leaping to her feet. “Alright.” I reply and we run off along the beach, hand in hand.

THE END

When I was writing this I had a thought. Do all writers think up the character and then base the name on him/her like I do? Or do some people think of the name then build the character around that? Any opinions and answers to my writerly wonderings would be greatly appreciated!

Talking of names, I am always on the look out for new names to use in my stories and novels. I thought it would be great to have some suggestions from my readers and followers. Currently, I seem to have several ‘favourite names’ that I use in all my pieces. It’s time for a change, people, and I want your help. Let me know in the comments. You may see some of your own ideas popping up in my stories in the future.

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Moving on, my blogging friend Emma, from Book Emma, is hosting a writing competition. I know, how exciting! Anyway, you can find out more on her blog. Please do enter!

I think that’s all for now. As always, your comments and replies mean so much to me and I always value your opinions and thoughts. Constructive criticism always welcome too. 

Bye for now,

Gracie….

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Something Inside So Strong…..

Hi Everyone! It’s Gracie here.

Sometimes there are things you just can’t ignore, things you have to put out there, share with others. The lyrics to this song haunt me in a good way, they are stuck in my mind, heart and soul forever.

They remind you of the injustice, prejudice, cruelty and darkness in this world. But they also convey pride and determination. They fill me with genuine emotion, especially when I hear them to the music, sung in that soulful voice that rings out with raw honesty and utter dignity, refusing ever to give in to the ignorance and oppression of society.

This is the tale of standing up and standing together, fighting for your rights. Listening to the song empowers and inspires me, I hope you feel the same way.

Without further ado, I present to you, Mr Labi Siffre!

 

What did you think? Am I the only one who is close to tears listening to this? What does the singer motivate you to do or change in your own life? I would love to hear from you, you always make my day with your kind, encouraging and touching comments. Thank you so much! 

Here is a reminder of the lyrics. Trust me, the more times you read them, the better they seem to become!

The higher you build your barriers
The taller I become
The further you take my rights away
The faster I will run
You can deny me, you can decide
To turn your face away
No matter ’cause there’s

Something inside so strong
I know that I can make it
Though you’re doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone, oh no
There’s something inside so strong
Oh oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, something inside so strong

The more you refuse to hear my voice (ooh-weh ooh-weh ooh-weh ooh-weh)
The louder I will sing
You hide behind walls of Jericho (ooh-weh ooh-weh ooh-weh ooh-weh)
Your lies will come tumbling
Deny my place in time, you squander wealth that’s mine
My light will shine so brightly it will blind you
Because there’s

Something inside so strong
I know that I can make it
Though you’re doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone, oh no
There’s something inside so strong
Oh oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, something inside so strong

Brothers and sisters, when they insist we’re just not good enough
Well we know better, just look him in his eyes and say
We’re gonna do it anyway, we’re gonna do it anyway
We’re gonna do it anyway, we’re gonna do it anyway
Because there’s

Something inside so strong
I know that I can make it
Though you’re doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone, oh no, oh no
There’s something inside so strong

~Labi Siffre~ from the album So Strong

Bye for now….

Gracie

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Into The Sunset: My Purpose In Life And My Dreams For The Future…

Hi Everyone! There’s something I’ve got to tell you all. In a few weeks, me and my family are setting off into the sunset in our unusual, slightly cramped, but quirky and beautiful Morris Traveller. Some of my readers may be classic vehicle enthusiasts, but for those who aren’t (including me!), a Morris Traveller is a 50-year-old British car.

My Dad converted it into a camper van, affectionately known as Mo,  that will house me and the rest of my crazy family for the next stage of our life. We’re journeyers, literally and figuratively. We’re searching for the way forward, a way to contribute to making a better world, a way to come even closer together, a way to learn and teach, give and take.

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Home Sweet Home!

Being the enthusiastic, maybe a little mad writer that I am, I decided to sit down and write my life’s ambitions on paper. I needed a plan in my head, I needed some sort of map, a way to let my feelings out, be completely and utterly honest about going away and starting a different life.  For me the only way was writing, and I mean serious writing, pages and pages. I sat up long into the night, head bowed over notepad, scribbling furiously until I was happy with it.

 

And I’d like to share bits of it with you guys today.

I’ll start off near the beginning:

I was born a writer, but I always wanted to teach. I love the sense of empowerment and delight that learning gives me, I thrive on it and want to share it with others, even those who find hard and unrewarding. I want to bring out the best in every person I teach.

I’ll have to learn a lot, teaching doesn’t come naturally to me. But I’m willing to work hard, make sacrifices and be determined if it means I can have my school one day. The one I’ve planned for years and years. You wouldn’t believe the amount of excitement and motivation it gives me, just thinking about it.

I don’t know exactly what shape or form the school will take, but I know that people will be central to it. It will be based around a strong, fair and kind community who want to teach the next generation the skills they need to live in the world and make it a better place.

This is all I want, it’s simple really. Just to live in place where I can learn and teach, make a difference in the world and be surrounded by people who care about the planet and each other.

I then go into the future, describing the school that I want so much:

I can hear the sound of laughter getting closer, the kids pile into the large, homey kitchen. The tinkling of water mixes with their joy to create the perfect melody as they wash their hands. I can feel the soft smoothness of dough as I knead and they copy, studying my hands in concentration. They are so eager to get it right, this will be their lunch.

We sit down around the table and I begin to read them a piece of poetry. I taste the words on my tongue, rolling them out into the air, popping each one like a giant gum bubble. Their young faces are filled with wonder and fascination. I tell them to write their own, using the emotions in their bodies to inspire them. They put their heads down and start scribbling.

Some of them take longer, savouring the language they use. Others rush through it, dashing to put on their wellies and run outside into the sunshine.

When they come back in they’re smeared with mud and grass stains and they smell like summer. They’ve been chasing each other around the meadow, foraging some salad ingredients from the hedgerow. They argue over who’s going to tell me about the lamb they saw being born.

We all sit down for lunch. Warm, happy voices and friendly, but passionate debates mingle together, filling my heart with contentment. The pasta is delicious and the children feel so proud of their work.

When darkness falls and they’re in bed or they’ve gone home, I log onto my computer and sign into WordPress. I type furiously, my fingers flying over the keys. I whip up a whirlwind of words that challenge, inspire and inform the reader. I become graciechick, writer, blogger, Light In The Darkness. Changing the world from her desk.

Then I talk about the struggles of leaving everything behind and going out into the world:

I’ve got  friends here, I’ll have to leave them behind. In a way I feel like any other thirteen year old, the idea of having friends over and carrying on all the fun activities is quite tempting. But I want to teach and I’m dedicated to my future.

Going away will be enriching and I’ll experience things I never imagined was possible. I’ll learn from life and learn to teach. I’ll gain the experience and knowledge needed to be a good teacher. I want to quench my thirst for understanding. I’ll meet people who already possess the wisdom needed. I’ll visit places that will inspire me and push me to the limits, but it will all be worth it. I’m working towards that dream of starting my own school and changing the world.

I don’t want to travel forever. When I find a place I feel I belong and an environment where I can grow and flourish, I’ll definitely think about wanting to stay. I’m not one of those people who travels for the sake of travelling, I’m looking for something.

Travelling is brilliant. Every day, every place I go, every person I meet is an opportunity to learn something new, to add to the library of my mind. But friendships can’t really be formed when you’re always moving on. Friends are so important to me, just like they’re central to any kid’s life. I want to able to forge good relationships with people my own age. Of all the things about the lifestyle we are about to adopt and have experienced in the past, the only bad one I can think of is friendships.

I want to be able to have my friends over to stay, to be more independent and to go out with them by myself. I want to be able to laugh and have fun with them and to see them more than once a month.

You could see this as a negative thing, but I can see through that and see the good in it. I’m searching for a place where we, as a family, can find the right friends, like-minded people who’ll join us on our journey through life.

I apologise that this post was so long and I hope that you enjoyed it. Blogging on A Light In The Darkness is extremely important to me and I will never stop writing my thoughts, ideas and stories on this site, although I may not always have an internet connection! So bear with me, good followers, for I will never abandon you.

Goodbye for now and wish me luck!

Gracie 🙂 🙂 🙂

 Do you have ambitions for your life? Can you relate to my dreams and struggles? I always deeply appreciate your comments and feedback, so please don’t hesitate to send me a few words, they always make me smile. 

 

My Campaign: Tackling Racism With Haikus

Hi Everyone! So here is the link to a new page I just created! A while ago I started a campaign called Tackling Racism With Haikus, based on fighting racism using poetry. Some of my loyal followers got involved and it was great, but I didn’t want it to just disappear into my archives as time went on. I want it to really make a difference so the more people who join in the better.   I’d love you to head over to it and leave me a comment saying that you’d like to be a part of Tackling Racism With Haikus!

My Campaign: Tackling Racism With Haikus

Thanks so much!

Bye…..

Sojourner’s Truth

He said he’d set me free in a year if I worked hard. I did my best, I was so hopeful that me and my family would have a better future. When the time came, I reminded him of his promise. But the man had changed his mind. Back then I didn’t know that slavery was due to be abolished in New York when that time was up. Really he had no choice. 

Now it had been postponed and he, my slave master, had no intentions of letting us go when it was unnecessary. He was a cruel and self-centred man.  I remember the day I heard that news. The anger, disappointment and frustration that had been growing in me for so long reached its climax. I took my daughter and fled that place forever. 

We sought refuge with a family who abhorred slavery, me and my daughter were safe with them. Especially when they bought us for twenty dollars and gave us our freedoms. Of course I was happy, but I couldn’t help thinking of my fellow slaves, my many children, all of whom I knew were still toiling in the fields and bearing the lashes of the all too frequent whip. 

Slavery was abolished in our home state of New York soon after, to my absolute joy and relief. But when I tried to reunite with my son, I found out that he had been sold to someone in Alabama. That was against the law. Again, I felt that same strength inside me, fuelled by my grief and outrage. 

I was black and I was a woman, even though I was free, my rights were still little or nothing. What chance did I have of getting my son back? I didn’t know, but I had to try. I went to court, believe it or not. And I stood, in front of a crowd of all white men, and I stated my case. I was brave and it paid off. I won and my son came home to me. 

You may think I would be content with that, but no. I couldn’t bear the thought of all those slaves who were still under the power of their mean and heartless masters. The thought of the sickening stench of sweat and blood that I could still smell when I lay awake at night. When I closed my eyes I could see the straining muscles and pained expressions, hear the desperate cries resounding in my ears.

I didn’t know what I could do, but I knew that I had to do something. One day I just left my home and began walking. I changed my name to Sojourner Truth. A sojourner is a person who stays in one place for a short time, before moving on. A journeyer, a wanderer, a traveller.  I was searching for the truth. I was open, I learned as I went. I spoke, but most importantly, I listened. 

I walked the length and breadth of America, telling people about the plight of us slaves, about how skin colour doesn’t matter, how we feel things the same as anyone else, we are smart and brave and loving and loyal too. I told them about equality between humans, black and white, male and female. 

People got to hear of me I guess. I was known throughout the nation as a civil rights activist. I never really set out to be one, I was just a woman with faith and a message to share with others. I was some’s heroine and other’s enemy. But I didn’t care, I knew what I believed and I stood up for it.

I dedicated my life to the abolition of slavery in the U.S. Met Abraham Lincoln and told him the story of my life, played a part in recruiting troops to fight in the civil war to free my brothers and sisters who still suffered at the hands of their masters. I did everything in my power to wipe slavery off the earth.

That was the true story (retold by me) of a black slave woman named Isabella Baumfree, who became Sojourner Truth, a celebrated and admired civil rights activist, author of the famous and emotive speech ‘Ain’t I A Woman?’ which you can watch below.

What do you think Sojourner would think of the world how it is today? Does she inspire you like she inspires me? What emotions does the video provoke in you? Do you have any questions? Please let me know how you feel about this post as I really value all your opinions and ideas.  Comment discussions always welcome! 

 

 

 

Kindness Is Always A Choice

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Travelling round the world on a bright yellow motorbike relying entirely on the kindness of strangers? “Impossible!” I hear you cry “Crazy!” Well, that’s exactly what Leon Legothetis has done. He’s made a documentary about it too, Kindness Diaries.

You know when you watch something and it just sets off a whole load of exciting thoughts in your head, like an explosion? When one leads to another and suddenly you have this brand new and amazing idea that you can’t stop thinking about? When you start to write the words in your mind and imagine what they’ll look like on paper? When you sit down to type them up on your blog to inspire others like it inspired you?

Well, that’s what I’m going to do. Listen up because I’m about to share an incredible story with you……

In short, Leon was a successful businessman who realised that life wasn’t all about money and self. So he decided to go off around the world experiencing human kindness and paying it back where he could. He bought an old motorcycle that he nicknamed Kindness 1 and off he went, with no money, food or belongings.

After seeing this program it made me form an idea I’m calling ‘world kindness’.

Watching Leon and Kindness 1 in The Kindness Diaries made me realise just how simple kindness really is. It all boils down to just one choice, to be or not to be, that is the question. There are no ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ about it.

In that moment you can think of yourself or you can think of others, the thoughts in your head and the decision that you make are the only determining factor of your kindness.

Anyone can make the choice. People can surprise themselves by just pushing everything self related to one side and saying yes. 

It can be quite a challenge to put human nature aside and go against your instincts, but there is kindness in all of us. We just have to let it take control. It’s that choice thing again!

The effects of world kindness could be unbelievable. All through history, war and greed have dominated. People have fought and killed over power and riches. But if every person on the planet decided to be kind perhaps we could break that pattern of thinking about self and make the future look a thousand times brighter.

We could defy the urge in us to think only of ourselves. We could stop arguing and fighting. We could start sharing instead of taking. We could achieve so much if we worked together. People would be happy and content. Because when you pay out kindness, it always comes back to you.

Imagine the world I have just described to you and remember the cost: just one, simple choice.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Your feedback and comments mean so much and I always want to discuss things with others.  Different opinions and ideas are always welcome!  

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