The Shadows of Your Darkness Can Bring out the Light in Others
Be About Change is a nonprofit organization that promotes expression through writing and provides higher education scholarships for low-income students. The idea for the organization has been unconsciously developing in my mind my entire life, and it is simply a manifestation of the love I have experienced from everyone in my life.
In September 2015, I faced an incredible personal darkness. I was approaching a year of sobriety, of which I was fearful as it was uncharted territory. I didn’t know why I was doing what I was doing or where I was going. The urge to revert to my default responses was strong, and I knew the moment was either going to destroy me or…REALLY destroy me. So…I signed up for a half marathon – something I had never done before.
Physical Training as a Parallel for Overcoming Mental Adversity
I had run a few 5ks here and there, nothing serious. But I knew if I wanted a different outcome from the usual self-pity trips, I had to actually DO something different. So I trained for ten weeks. I had a love/hate relationship with the long runs, and the half marathon itself was grueling. Props to all you long distance runners out there. After the race, I was sore for weeks, but more importantly, I trained my mind to confront and embrace darkness as a part of me, and harness the energy from it to make myself stronger. This was a new concept for me.
Soon thereafter, I started writing a column for a local newspaper, writing stories about people that influenced our community in a positive way. One of my articles was rejected, with no specific reason or direction for edits for improvement. Like any artist, I was initially angered and frustrated, but I quickly remembered my recent mental conquest.
Use Setbacks as Setups for Comebacks
So I started my own blog, Be About Change, with the same premise. I knew I wanted it to have a meaningful impact, rather than simply be just a collection of articles, so I founded the nonprofit of the same name – Be About Change. Why the name, “Be About Change?”
I was talking with a good friend of mine some years back about personal goals and short-term plans, and his simple response to me was, “Don’t just talk about change. BE about change.” Although I failed at accomplishing those goals at that time, his words were ingrained in my mind. As a result, the people about whom I write are people that live this way – people that refuse to live passively in quiet observation of our world. People that strive to improve the lives of others. People that act as a resource of empowerment to those around them. People that ARE about change.
I recruited a board of these kinds of people, with diverse backgrounds and experiences, and the same core drive to affect our world in a positive way. Together, we promote expression through writing and raise funds for higher education scholarships for low-income students. I am determined to combat the air of negativity and materialism our culture embraces as a means to distract ourselves from our purpose–and that purpose, for me, is to love. It is to forgive when we have the strongest urges to judge and embrace wrath, and it is to help those our society punishes and leaves helpless. It is to adopt a lifestyle of rigorous honesty that promotes the concept that we ARE responsible for one another and we ARE capable of change, even when confronted with our darkest moments. In the end, they are only moments, and it is in this moment that we must love ourselves for better or worse, love those around us for better or worse, and learn to Be About the Changes we seek.
Written By: Marcel Hernandez, Founder