All that was necessary was an opportunity. What I had here was the classic DIKW pyramid; I had data—I knew what was what. I identified and classified that data, turning it into Information the moment I realized there had to be more. I needed to convert that, Now that I knew what it was and that it wasn’t enough, I had to act on it. Now I had knowledge. I put that knowledge to use remembering that knowledge was power. For me, it was as simple as saying, “I’ve had enough of the Kool-Aid. I’m taking my experiences and I’m saying I’m going a different route now.”
I had a tremendous education, not because I had a great school or great teachers (although I would have a couple of great teachers later on) but rather because I knew that I could pick up a book, any book and devour the contents! I could listen to someone’s lyrics and experience what they had experienced, I could expand my mind through music and poetry.
I had taken the passion and compassion and love for humanity I had learned from Alan Alda and the class and style I picked up from Dr. J. I learned about camaraderie and loyalty and the desire to do the right thing from Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul even if it meant going against the grain. I learned that it was okay to fail, as long as you kept trying from Jackie Gleason. I learned that the most unlikely of individuals could make a difference from Huey P. Newton and Chairman Fred Hampton. I learned that heroes can be awesome and don’t need recognition, that talent can be bold and daring, that baring your soul can leave you vulnerable but it’s something you should do from time to time anyway.
These actors I was fond of were selling an idealism that someone else wrote, they sold it well, but that’s not the point. The point is, someone had to experience something in order to write it for these actors to sell it. The athletes worked hard and were sincere in displaying their talent, the musicians, the poets, the singers, perhaps the most vulnerable of them all. This was what I was learning. People risking everything for good reason.
Most importantly, I learned that I didn’t have to play the game, I didn’t have to fulfill the ghetto prophecy. The only limitations I was subjected to were really self-imposed. Because I was free in my mind. I had ALWAYS been free. I never fit the profile. I wasn’t like EVERYONE else.
I was stuck in those four square blocks while never being stuck at all. The moment I adopted that perspective my life changed and by changing my life I was able to help change the lives of others, to bring them the ability to embrace change. EMBRACE CHANGE. Change is Revolution and being Revolutionary is what it’s all about. Everything I learned was mine to keep, forever; I can share it if I choose and yet it’s still mine to keep. How amazing is that?
So now I will pose a question: What four square blocks are you confined to? Break free of your limitations by realizing they are really self-imposed—change YOUR perspective. I believe that if you change your perspective you can change your life and if you can change your life it will affect and impact the lives of those who are around you; that spreads. Through that we CAN make a difference, it may be two generations down the line before we start to see those changes but if enough people do it we CAN create change. It starts with YOU.
Diego Morales is a father of four, poet, published author, actor, and working musician/entertainer performing in the West Michigan area and beyond for over 12 years. Diego works tirelessly at community outreach – pioneering programs in our area such as Circle of Parents, Just for Dads, (Holland and Grand Haven) and Inside Out Dad at the Ottawa County Jail. Diego also developed something new for At-Risk Teens called Real Talk – a peer-based mentoring program that pushes critical thinking and focuses on education. Diego continues his work in the community as General Manager for Partners in Outreach – a non-profit, human /social services agency in Holland, Michigan.
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