What happens when I drop the mic?
Does it bounce? Does it fall flat? Does it shatter?
I stepped up to the mic because I had something to say. I really want to say it, but I’m nervous. I twirl the cord around my fingers, and I look into the audience for a familiar face. It’s a tough crowd out there tonight, and I’m not sure what they’re going to think about what I’m going to say. Should I be politically correct? Should I use carefully-crafted, non-inflammatory language that I know most would agree with? Should I be myself, as blunt as that may be? I’m naturally funny, but it can come off the wrong way sometimes. Do I let it fly, or do I keep it to myself?
When I try to say something important, will the mic get taken away from me? If I drop the mic before I’m done with it, will someone else pick it up and continue with what I hope I would have said? Will they take the mic and let their own stream of consciousness flow through? If I drop the mic now, will I miss my only opportunity to say what I believe is important for people to hear?
If I say what I want and then drop the mic, do I pick it back up to defend myself from the naysayers, the haters, and the well-intentioned? Do I fall back on my own belief system, or do I let their reactions dictate the next few things that I have to say? Will I say anything important at all, or am I hogging the mic from someone who will say something that will effect change?
The narrative that runs through my mind is a fast-paced one fueled by too many nights of reading about how Black lives should matter, why a rich country such as ours can have so many starving people, and how we can often turn a blind and ignorant eye to the sufferings of others who do not look exactly the way that we do. The narrative is punctuated by days that are longer than nights, days that are filled with deadlines and priorities that have nothing to do with the goodness of my soul. The narrative is not here to tell my story, but to tell the stories of everyone else that has not had the opportunity to say what they need to. There are many who missed the chance to let the world know who they are.
So what is my responsibility when I pick up the microphone? Do I selfishly tell my own story, or do I use my time to tell the stories of everyone else that wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Do I share the spotlight with my fellow human beings, or do I get to only worry about myself. Is my priority to myself or is it to my people? My people are not just the ones who look like me, speak like me, live like me, or die like me. My responsibility at this microphone is to make sure that I don’t waste this chance. Everything else is just another detail.