Paris Crayton III

Playwright / Actor / Director / Teaching Artist/ Motivational Speaker

L.E.A.P. "Remember YOU"

When I was younger, I was a huge gamer. I had every system. My dad would buy all of the newest games and consoles as soon as they came out. He even bought me a Colecovision (google it) before I was born. (My dad probably bought it for himself, but I like to say it was mine.) Out of all these games I had a few favorites, and a little race car game called F-Zero was one of them. I would spend hours racing until I finally got to the point where I knew all of the courses like the back of my hand. So what does one do when they've reached the end of a game and completed all the race tracks? Send the company new ones of course. Me and my best friend Donnie would sit in our stairwell and carefully plot each course. With the skill of Walt Disney, we would draw these race tracks, that would be included in the next game. They had to be perfect. We knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the game gods would receive our tracks and include them in the next installment.  So after our works of art were complete, we mailed them off to game land and then waited to play our new and slightly better version. 

As a child my imagination would sore. I've always been a writer and back then, I would write more often and different genres. Poetry, plays, music, novels, short stories, love letters, class notes; all of this was possible and ready to be created by my hands. No one could tell me that I couldn't do it  because it was already done. As an adult, I'm still writing, but my imagination has been slightly jolted. I guess that's what happens when you grow up. But why? Think about how creative and innovative we would be if we took that childlike imagination and applied it to everyday life. Back to the days when the word "impossible" didn't exist.

Take a challenge and remember you! Do something you haven't done in a while. Create! Draw a picture. Write a poem. Play! When was the last time you went outside just to play? How about we all go to the park and play one giant game of freeze tag. We'll put our feet in a circle and chant "Eeny Meeny Miny Moe..." to choose who's it. Do you remember how fun that use to be? Why can't we do it again? As adults, we take on a narrow view of the world and what we can do. Those who break away from that view go on to be the people we celebrate. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Einstein, J.K. Rowling, and others let their imaginations soar and look where it landed them. Or course we don't know if we'll ever be as rich and famous as them, but I think remembering who we are is a step in the right direction. . Always shoot for the moon, if you fall short, at least you'll be among the stars! A few more F-Zero games were made by the way and to those that created them, You're welcome!


L.E.A.P. "Are you Comfortable?"

I was a server for  7 years of my life. It was decent work. You get to meet new and interesting people. Sometimes you get free food and most importantly, (or so I thought) you have money in your pockets every single night. In your twenties, with a pocket full of cash is one of the best feelings in the world. I was comfortable working as a server and truth be told, if the right opportunity presented itself, I'd consider doing it again. With some stipulations of course. 

Now I wasn't getting rich as a server but I could pay my bills and sometimes have a little to spend on myself. Being in this comfortable position, people always question, why did I give it up? The answer is simple. I was unhappy. Every time I got ready to step foot inside work I would ask myself, why? Why am I doing this when I know that I'm unhappy?

I've always known my purpose was to change the world through art and I was doing it in small doses. I wasn't giving my all because I was comfortable at this job that was making me unhappy and taking up MOST of my time. You may not agree, but I don't think we were put on this earth just to be comfortable. Especially with this misconstrued idea of what comfort is. Let me break it down a little more. I gave more time to a job that I didn't like, than I gave to myself.  I sacrificed my happiness and gave 40+ hours a week of my life, just to pay bills. When did bills become more important than my happiness? Now don't me wrong, I am not saying stop paying your bills! I'm simply trying to shift our minds into thinking of ways to pay our bills without sacrificing our happiness. The only way I've been able to do that, is to pursue what I loved. Some people are ok with working long hours at different jobs. If it suits you, that's completely fine. I still encourage you to find time to do the things you love. Sometimes things and circumstances may slow down that process, but it should NEVER stop. I'll use my father for example. The greatest man I've ever met and a amazing artist! When I was younger, I use to tell kids at my school that my dad worked for Disney. He is just that good. He use tell me stories of him being in school and drawing often... but then I was born, so somethings had to change. He stayed at his job to support the family and honestly, he has to be the hardest working man I know. But as his son, I want him to do what he loves. What I want parents to understand is, your kids are rooting for you. When my dad is happy, I am happy. I know doing art full-time would make him extremely happy. I've always said, the first thing I'll do once receiving that big check is buying my dad a house, car, and a art studio.  

"If you do what you love, you'll never have to work a day in your life!"

 

It's been almost a year since I've had a "job". Some days have been extremely hard. Some days I didn't eat the recommended three meals because of funds or the bills may have been a little late, but I was happy. I took the LEAP into pursuing my love full-time. I decided to stop living in my comfort. I have a saying, "We are extremely comfortable, being uncomfortable" meaning, although we are unhappy with current situations, we stick to them because it's a comfort zone. Forget that we barely see our families. Forget that we aren't really living our dreams. Forget that we can't travel the world. We have bills to pay and we all know that is the most important thing in the world right? 

Let me let you in on a little secret. BILLS WILL NEVER STOP COMING! Even after you're dead and gone. My grandmother still receives bills from my grandfather and he's been in heaven for almost 30 years. You can try an beat the system and go live in the forest somewhere, but even then someone will come along and say that's their land and ask for payment. Now that you know that the bills won't stop, do you think we should put most of our efforts into satisfying them over ourselves? Let me reiterate, I'm not suggesting that you stop paying your bills! I am suggesting that you put yourself first sometimes. Bills will never care about your happiness. I've never gotten a call from a bill collector who just wanted to know how I was doing. If I want happiness it has to start with me. Not Georgia power.

Take some time and ask yourself these two questions. Are you "comfortable" right now and when was last time you got outside of that comfort zone? I know it's scary, but we have been put on this earth TO LIVE. That's a lot different from existing. You are the only person in control of YOUR life and I think you deserve to live it to the fullest. I hope that you agree. 

Take the L.E.A.P. "Living Exclusively Around Purpose"

I am so excited for this new journey I've decided to embark on, and even more excited that I have people ready and willing to take the journey with me. I'll begin with a testimony. Back in March, I decided to quit my job and take a LEAP. People told me not to do it and that I needed a solid back up plan. Some people even called me crazy, but none of that mattered. I was determined to Live Exclusively About my Purpose... I no longer wanted to do things that satisfied everyone else but left me high and dry. I knew the only way to discover if I truly had wings was to take the LEAP. I'm proud to say I am here almost a year later, flying high!

But enough about me, I have a question for you. An extremely important question that you may have asked yourself in the past. Others may have also asked you this question. I ask this question to myself time and time again and the answer never changes. Are you shivering with anticipation? Ok... the question is...

DRUMROLL PLEASE!

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WHAT IS HOLDING YOU BACK?

I want you to really think about it.  What is really holding you back from the life you want to live? Is it your boss? Is it your current career? Is it your spouse or your family? Ask yourself that question right now and be truthful with the answer. Got it? Good. I can tell you with 100% certainty that it's none of the things mentioned above. The one thing holding you back is extremely simple. No matter how much we want to deny it, we know the culprit.

That's right! The ONLY thing holding you back is you! It may be a hard pill to swallow but it's the truth. We have the capability to do ANYTHING we set our minds to. Somehow along this journey we were forced to believe that we are lesser than... We tell ourselves we can never do certain things. I don't have the skills. I don't have the money. I don't have the time. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought we all had the same 24 hours each day. Why do we always find a way use time as an excuse? We have become accustomed to our own excuses. They keep us tucked away in our "comfortable" positions and I don't mean comfortable in the way that you think. I'll save that for the next blog! I challenge you today to stop making excuses and get out of your own way. We don't know how many days we have left so make the decision to start living like it. Start the day with "I CAN" and then DO. The wise man Confucius once said...

He who who says he can and he who says he can’t are both usually right’

What is your safe-haven?

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Will we ever catch a break? It seems as if every single day, we wake up to more bad news. No matter where we turn, something will eventually remind us that our world is dark, and getting darker. If it's not stories of cheating teachers who've been sentenced to 20 years in prison, it's another black man/teen has been killed by a police officer. I could go on and on with the stories of our harsh realities but there's no need. You already know. 

So how does one maintain a cool head in the midst of warfare? With social media being the norm nowadays, and everyone's opinions flying your way at the speed of light, it's common-place to want weigh in on the subjects that affect you. I've made the decision to not post anything that might bring someone sadness. I try my best to be a light in a dark world, and I realize that everything that I do has to encompass that. So what is my release? How do I get my voice and opinions out to the world?

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Art is where I am free to let it all out and still feel completely safe. I can scream, vent, punch, kick, and kill with art and ultimately, it's for a greater good. No where else in the world do I feel as free than when art is near. It banishes all of the self induced limitations, and proves the world is mine, if only for a moment. It is my safe-haven.  What's yours?

It is extremely important to have some sort of "release." Something that helps you while not damaging those around you. Something or someplace, where you are free to do whatever it is you need to do to face another day. In a world that seems to be on a downward spiral, you need that thing that makes you, YOU! Find whatever that is, relish in it and change the world. We're waiting...