When I was eighteen years old, I learned that people were out in the world trying to “find themselves”.
Although there were earlier signs of my creative abilities, I knew, at eighteen, that I was not only an artist, but also a humanist. I tapped into what I believe was a divine assignment…a gravitation to something much bigger than myself.
On graduation night, I received a blue leather bound Bible with Clinnesha Nicole Dillon inscribed on the front. I highlighted my favorite verses inside. 1 Peter 4: 9-10 read:
I went to college with the ultimate goal of “f i n d i n g m y s e l f”. It was an obscure yet exciting thought! I remember during my sophomore year at Tougaloo, Keith and I got engaged. One of the reasons we ended that engagement after a couple of months was because I, of course, had not yet fully “found myself”.
I started grad school in 2006 which led to an interesting version of myself. I found both God and Amiri Baraka.
I was “grumbling” loudly, borderline hostile, and still very obscure when it came to identity. Although I had some sense of direction, I had no grasp on purpose or stewardship.
Self-discovery, unfortunately at times, led to confusion, thoughtless patterns, and hurtful words. I even forgot about some people who absolutely didn’t deserve to be forgotten about on my journey to self-discovery.
Because of self-discovery, a lot of us have had to learn more about the sub-journey of healing and reconciliation.
In 2009, I married the love of my life. Soonafter, I became a mom of three and a teacher/mentor to many.
Thereafter, I accepted my calling to be someone my family and community could call on.
In my life-walk, my identities have been convenient, but my “assignment” has been most fulfilling. My “assignment” has both held me accountable and steered me back when I have ventured off the path into the obscure.
This season, I am so grateful for the assignment on my life! ‘Cause what I didn’t know at eighteen or at twenty-one, is that knowing yourself actually comes down to losing yourself in order to experience a higher power within.
Clinnesha is a writer, wife, mom, meta-artist, and social entrepreneur who feels most accountable to southern, black citizen-artists, elders, children, and families. Her work is at the intersection of arts, culture, innovation, and community.