Today's post is a lot somber. You all may or may not have heard of John "Choco" Knight's passing. If you are not sure who he is, you can Google him to see what a huge impact he has had on the salsa community.
I remember him from the days when I was very active in the professional salsa circuit. I considered him a good dude - always happy to see people. Always supportive of other innovators in the salsa community. But more so than anything else - always on the grind.
That's actually what I remember most about Choco. He seemed to always be moving and shaking - hustling. He had that drive to keep doing the next thing and yes to keep making money hand over fist. (Which is not a bad thing ladies - I'm learning every day that money can not be a dirty word!)
What I learned though from the way that Choco's passing came to me was that it's ok to slow down and that it's ok to choose self sometimes.
Let me explain.
Last night, I was feeling pretty guilty about not attending a local event. It started REALLY LATE, lol. My intent was to catch some rest and then head out to it to support another local DJ and party promoter. But as life can be, the whole rest thing didn't work out AND I sustained a football player level injury hours before thanks to my beautiful niece and her frantic attempt to run away from a scary monster at a haunted house. (Ok, it wasn't that bad but she had me bear hugging her which resulted in me landing flat on my back and her landing on top of me - OW!)
So needless to say, I wasn't really feeling going out. BUT I felt this major sense of obligation and this major dead weight of guilt about being so selfish and un-supportive. "I mean gosh Leah - you are just a little sore, it's not like you broke something. You are just a little tired. Drink some coffee lazy girl. Man, how do you ever expect people to support you if you don't support them. Dang Leah, you are your own problem. Ugh, I'm so done with you."
Anybody else have a track like that running through their mind?
Luckily I have some good friends that encouraged me to chill, ice my back, and be easy on myself. But you know those voices don't let up easy. They like to cause a little thing called insomnia. They can really mess with that whole rest thing. I know I'm not the only one ;-).
So I was still negotiating with not feeling bad about choosing myself last night when I woke up this morning.
And then here comes news of Choco's passing. And after the shock, the first thing I thought was - man Choco was always hustling. I wonder how many times he chose himself.
What I mean is this. How many times did Choco feel tired, sick, just plain not up to it - but went to the event anyway to support. How may times might he have wanted to take a weekend off - but instead worked through it because "you know, you gotta always be on the grind no matter what."
My point is this. You have to choose you sometimes and I'm even going to step out on a limb here and say all of the time. We all know what they say about trying to give when your tank is on empty. And trying to give from a place of guilt is just not ever going to work out long term. It's just the smart thing to do to listen to yourself above all other voices. Pushing yourself for the sake of anything outside of yourself (save someone's life or death) is a dangerous gamble to play, especially long term. Mentally it drains, emotionally it depletes, and physically it dials back your years with us.
A beautiful person told me "Leah there are always going to be people that judge and hate you. And there are always going to be people that appreciate and love you. You can't worry about and tally up either. You have to operate from your own sense of completeness and what's right and wrong for YOU alone."
So ladies, if you are finding yourself feeling guilt and practicing self-loathing because you just can't keep up with those demands that are coming from outside of you - resolve to choose YOU from today on. Make a pact with yourself that you are going to listen to your inner wisdom, that you are going to respect that intuitive, guiding voice in your head that says I'm just too dang tired, and you are going to preserve YOU so that YOU are here as long as you can be. And further that pact with affirming that you are NOT going to feel guilty and that instead you are going to feel THANKFUL for the opportunity to pour a little bit more into your own cup.
I really don't know what caused Choco's passing. I don't want you to think that I do. But I do know that the Universe sent me my message loud and clear through Choco's passing. I'm making the pact too :). And I am grateful.