Last night I saw the movie – Get on Up – which documents the life of James Brown. The movie was co-produced by Mick Jagger who says that Brown influenced his career.
I appreciated the positivity of the movie, even as it unapologetically showed the harshness of the times and sometimes, the man.
There was no sugarcoating of the abuse, neglect and abandonment he suffered as a young child. In an early scene, Child James, takes a lynched man’s shoes even as he hangs from the rope. He is captured in these shoes as a young adult for stealing a three piece suit. James could have spent up to 13 years in jail for this offense; he could not be paroled as he had no permanent address and “no folk around here”.
All of these themes underpin the show, while showcasing his talent, his musical contributions, his strong business sense, his courage, and his pioneering actions. There are no lies about his women, his drug habit and his irrational and impossible behaviour. His life is put on display for us to take from it what we will.
This for me is a story told with great respect for the man, his contributions and his adversities. It is a powerful story that simultaneously holds both the negative and positive aspects of his life.
It was an empowering story for me; that tells me that despite my flaws I could still make a difference; that I could own my imperfections while being perfect in the things that I do and that my character flaws do not prevent me from inspiring others.
What a relief! I can show up each day as myself and still bring some good in the world.
Each of us, has the ability to tell our story and determine how we tell our story. We can tell our story in a positive way that respects our journey, and inspires the people around us. We can tell our truth and not be embarrassed about our failure, our hurt or what we have not been able to achieve. We can honestly tell our story so that others find light in our darkness and we can show others the way.
I will continue to share my story with you, and love of course for you to share yours with me.
How do you tell your story? What can other’s learn from our darkness?