I just did something I am not proud of. Leaving a shoot headed out of an apartment building in the valley I see a young blond woman ahead of me with her small dog taking it for a walk. I notice that she notices me as she quickly turns right and heads down a slightly dark street where my car is parked (on the same side of the street as her) but because I knew that she was afraid of me (young black male/male in general/past experiences of people being afraid of me) I crossed the street and walked on the other side while she cautiously watched me. And then crossed back over to her side when I got close to my car.
I know that by doing that I was apologizing and further perpetuating something that needs to be put to rest. As I got in my car a sadness washed over me because that was an opportunity to teach her and myself that we need not operate from fear based mindsets.
I have done that in some form or fashion for most of my life. I say firmly that THAT was the last time. Light can only drive out darkness as love can only drive out hate as Martin luther king reminds us. In that moment I learned where I still have work to do. Any time we bump up against our past beliefs, ancestral pain, or societal stereotypes we have an opportunity. And as I strive to be more childlike and walk unapologetically through this life with a smile on my heart and a song on my lips, encounters like that one are beautiful nails on a chalkboard for me. I say thank you, because I know it is impossible to know left without right, up without down or fear without Love. There is nothing to heal only to reveal the truth of all of us.
I am Preston Smiles and I live by the creed “Love will find a way, everything else will find an excuse.”
Preston Smiles is a motivational speaker, inspirational writer and founder of ‘The Love Mob’, “organized acts of love through recreation, education and entertainment.” They are best known for their flash mob dedicated to the victims of Sandy Hook.
A spokespersons for Generation Waking Up, Preston has been featured in LA Weekly, Los Angeles Magazine and RYOT News and has a dedicated following on his “Questions with Preston” YouTube channel. His most recent piece on The Huffington Post can be found here. Preston is currently working on an inspirational book entitled “Love Louder.”