Your superpowers allow you to express yourself. In this episode, Jadyn explores his superpowers and shares how his learnings from a nonprofit leader helped him see how our skills are constantly evolving.
How do you show up in the world?
Avatar Aang was born as an Airbender. The ability to Airbend; however, does not come naturally, it’s a skill that he and other Airbenders alike must learn. For Aang’s case, he must learn all four elements as that’s the responsibility of the Avatar.
Superpowers (skills) are a form of self-expression. I used to be deathly afraid of public speaking. My middle school used to require students to “apologize to the community for being late” and I would be sure to arrive AFTER our morning meeting (the time when the entire school gathered).
It wasn’t until finding things like The Secret and Social Justice when I finally broke out of my shell and decided that public speaking is a skill that I will master. Speaking is how I share my message with the world. When I’m on that stage, my superpower is on full display.
Superheroes show up in the world through their superpowers.
Even listening to leaders like Dr. Janiece Mackey, over her 10 years as the co-Founder and Executive Director of YAASPA – you’ll see that she lives out these very traits in the very way how she shows up in the world – her presence is commanding.
“I tend to love to use research and language in ways to inform activism, right. And so that’s really what I envision as being a scholar activist is a lot of the ways through which I protest is through words and the way I clap back — is through scholarly work”.
Being met with a lack of reciprocity, she begins internalizing the power of her village work. Caring for those she loves the most.
“and back to [YAASPA’s] mission and vision, right, which is to really center black brown indigenous students in reclaiming academic career and civic spaces, like, that’s my village work, I feel like, right”.
When thinking about white supremacy and even the education non-profit ecosystem; there are many well intentioned white folks.
Village work looks like caring for those around you. Engage in the discomfort and checking your people when they express racism, xenophobia, and anti-immigration rhetoric. It means more to get checked on a problematic belief when it comes from someone who also looks like you.
“And so I just kept being met with a lack of reciprocity, like, hey, I’m doing my village work, — a way you can help me is to do yours”.
You don’t need to swing a sword like a Jedi, bend the elements of the Earth, or fly around like Captain Marvel to be a Superhero with Superpowers.
Superpowers allow you to express yourself and share ideas with the external world.
Superpowers or skills as I like to call them, are born out of necessity, Aang had to learn how to bend the four elements – I’m learning the art of public speaking – and even after 10 years of leadership in the nonprofit space, Dr. Mackey is continuing to learn from her experiences and day to day life.
They’re skills you learn in the gutter, putting forth your hard work to become a master of your craft so that you can complete your journey.
Ever see that picture of the big fish eating the little fish? And under the word organize you see all of the little fish joining forces; to make a bigger fish than the one that previously tried to eat them? Yeah! The community organizing picture, that one!
Community organizing in itself is a BIG superpower!
My friend, the Superhero Mindset has always been vested within you. The best thing Superheros do is use their powers or skills as a form of self-expression.
It’s not a coincidence that the most general life advice we got as kids was to ‘ be ourselves’.
Your skills and abilities are not fixed. Neither is your identity.
The reason why learning is a never ending cycle is because you can never max out your skills, they can only evolve into better forms – forms that may not even exist yet.
Your identity is an example of personal evolution – can you really tell me that you haven’t changed, even since middle school?
Because as each day goes on – you learn more and more about who you are and why you’re here on this Earth.
My plea to you as I’ve learned from Dr. Janiece Mackey: Is to go out and take up space – be your full self – and use your skills to show the world who you really are.
Your Superpowers don’t make you. You make your superpowers.
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