I have to unequivocally name Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Can’t Hold Us” as my official theme song for 2013. Every time I hear those infectious hand claps, churchy foot stomps, and that clanging piano at the beginning of that song, I have absolutely no choice but to get up and shake what Ida Mae gave me. But beyond it’s catchy hook and rapid-fire verses, this song took on a deeper meaning for me this spring when I really thought about what it means to shatter a ceiling.
I was sitting attentively in the first few hours of a personal development course when a very impressive brother came up to the mic and began sharing all of his life commitments to his family, his career, and his community. As he shared his passions, I could tell that he was incredibly exhausted and stretched thin from all of his obligations. The leader of the course looked at him and said, “You’re exhausted because you’ve reached the ceiling for where you are in your life right now. The only way you’re going to break through is to make your current ceiling the new floor for the next level of your life.”
I’d never thought about it like that. When I signed up for this course in May, I took it to celebrate my 10-year journey into adulthood from my beloved Baltimore. I also embarked upon this course because I was hitting my head HARD against every ceiling in my life from my career to my lack of a love life to my relationships with everyone around me. As the course unfolded over the next three days, I could begin to see that I was indeed outgrowing some of the comfortable constructs I’d made for myself in the DC Metro area. Gone were my dreams of becoming a writer and editor in New York, finding the love of my life, and building a family of my own. Heck, if I was really honest with myself, I knew I wasn’t even jumping up at my ceilings the way that I used to. I was literally about two pivotal decisions away from making some really cushy life choices that would have been perfectly OK but certainly not worthy of the life that I’d dreamed of as a little girl.
But what if everything that I’d been blessed to live through, cry through, celebrate, and grow from in the last 10 years was simply the FOUNDATION for what came next? What if every failure was just another tool in my arsenal to be the great woman I was destined to be? What if every rejection prepared me to stand more securely in what I wanted and deserved in a future relationship? What if ever professional frustration was just a set up to give me the courage to become the architect of my own career? WOW! Talk about a ceiling not holding me!
With just that simple phrase “Making your ceiling the new floor,” I could now see that the possibilities were ENDLESS. Gone was the self-doubting conversation about Black girls from Baltimore not being able to create an editorial empire. My adolescent conversation about plus-size girls not being loveable. DISAPPEARED. My fears about moving to one of the largest cities in the world and creating a life for myself there? NOW A NON-FACTOR. Who could I now BE with my self-imposed ceilings out of the way? What could I achieve with my limits of what I thought I could do shattered? Most importantly, who could I touch when I stopped worrying about me and simply allowed my life to be a blessing to someone else?
We’ve all got ceilings in lives. Some ceilings are indeed necessary for our protection and peace of mind. Some ceilings are important to ensure our financial futures. But then there are some ceilings in our lives about our past, old lovers, family history, age, weight, race, religion, and sexuality that put a cap on our lives and limit the amazing wonder of who we can be. Two simple words of advice: STOP THAT! I KNOW that God has FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY made each and every one of us and anything short of us achieving the LIMITLESS potential that he has put in all of us just ain’t living.
As we look forward to 2014, don’t let ANY limiting ceiling hold YOU. Go back to school. Get that degree. Apply for that promotion. Start that business. Let your boo find you. Tighten up that waistline. Walk more. Join a new church. Get more sleep. Watch less reality TV. Read more books. Pray more. Love more. Forgive. This is YOUR time to turn your current ceiling into the new floor and allow the absolute BEST YOU EVER to be born!
My friends, may 2014 fill your heart, your mind, and your soul with ALL the joy you can stand. Love you all to LIFE!
And the ceiling can’t hold us…
AND THE CEILING CAN’T HOLD US!!!