when I was 12 I fell in love with hiphop music it

when I was 12 I fell in love with hip-hop music it was the summer and I was at a summer camp and it was a sleepaway summer camp so we were aside two cabins when we got there and that day there was gonna be a talent show and I was on the top bunk in the cabin listening to my favorite hip hop song over and over again and this I’m kind of dating myself but I had to walk man or you got to hit the button and you gotta hit the button again and I’m wearing out the tape the other kids in the cabin were trying to figure out what to do for the talent show and they couldn’t figure anything out so something came over me I jumped off the top bunk and I said I got it I got what I’m gonna do I’m gonna rap my favorite song and y’all can dance behind me like in the music videos and we’re gonna win I’m kind of competitive we’re gonna win and they had no better options so they said okay so I get dressed up in my favorite hip-hop gear I’m standing on stage they’re behind me getting ready to dance curtains closed and then I hear the crowd on the other side and then it becomes real because I had never done anything like this before ever my heart’s pounding and then the curtain starts to open and the music starts to play done ten ten ten ten ten ten ten ten ten you know it’s coming and I just went for it I like big butts and I cannot lie you other brothers can’t and the kids went crazy ah I remember them jumping on top of the chairs he’s rapping about butts and the counselors were like no and very quickly the curtain was closed yeah very quickly because what I didn’t know at the time was the summer camp was founded on Christian values and the owner of the camp was the one working the curtain so he’s like not rooming it in ruining my reputation so he closed the curtain but that was it I fell in love with hip-hop music and over the years I started writing my own music and I really fell in love with telling stories I wanted to tell stories through my music and I chased this dream of being the storyteller for years until 2013 I had recorded 300 songs I had performed hundreds of times and it finally felt like I was about to achieve my dream and I’m at work and my heart starts racing and I can’t get it to stop racing and so I go back and I tell the nurse and he calls it ambulance and they sent me to the hospital and they took me for a heart attack and it turns out I wasn’t having a heart attack I was having a panic attack so the doctor gave me some medicine and said go home and get some rest and I tried I really did but over the next year I watched as I deteriorated into this person that developed multiple anxiety disorders one of them was a agoraphobia which basically meant it was hard for me to leave my house without panicking and if you’ve never experienced it before it’s like somebody’s trying to kill you only you’re just trying to buy some milk in the grocery store and there’s really nothing you feel like you can do about it I was down to five foods I could eat and the bottom was when I was in the spare bedroom that used to be the studio from the dream I was chasing but I can’t leave my house so how am I gonna perform and I’m just curled up and I’m holding my legs and I’m rocking back and forth and I just think why am i alive I can’t do this anymore and I remember telling my mom I’m gonna figure out what anxiety is I’ll figure out how to fix it and I’m gonna tell everybody so nobody has to suffer like me ever again so I started and I researched everything that might give me some clue as to what anxiety was neuroscience psychology physiology spirituality I turned to nature give me a clue and I would put myself in these situations where I panic and I would try out these little mad scientist theories I had a blackboard at the house and I would like to draw lines and write things and I would try these theories out and sometimes they worked and sometimes they didn’t I would regress I started having symptoms of PTSD but eventually for a couple years I started to develop these learnings I started to learn from things around me and I needed to simplify them and eventually I did and I was able to eat whatever I wanted to started leaving the house again and it was amazing and one day I ended up writing a story about it um I even wrapped the story a little bit here a little bit all right so everybody go like this I’ll replicate in front of our house made a red color brick a yard full of flowers and grass that was thick was home to a new little tree that was planted right next to an older tree bigger miss lanten hi mr. tree said the new little one hello there little tree where are you from I came from a nursery it was indoors but I’m loving it here there was sunshine galore he was playful and free with a heart full of Glee so grateful to be in that yard by the tree I was a little bit oh hey so I ended up just sharing the story with people because I was gonna keep my promise I was gonna share how I got to my storm so nobody else had to deal with theirs as intensely as I did mine and that took me from being stuck in the house to being on this stage – in the past five months doing 88 presentations for 39 days for 20,000 people so when I had the opportunity to share these lessons with y’all I wanted to do something different and do it the only way I knew how so I’m gonna tell you a story for dramatic effect I have this tool how to make it through the storms of life lessons from an old wise tree I heard you cry as you sat against me I’ve listened to your pain as you talk to a friend and walked by me I’ve watched you carved the initials of the one you loved on my trunk only to cross them out a few months later in tears I felt you hugged me sometimes you’re happy I think they call you tree huggers but sometimes you’re afraid and need something strong and steady to hold on to I’ve watched all of that and wondered how I could help you and then it hit me no I mean something really hit me I think it was a baseball but it was in that moment that I knew how I could try to help so I’ve put together a small list of lessons that I’ve learned over the years they’ve helped me get through the storms in my life and I hope they can help you get through the storms and years lesson one there will be storms as a little tree I loved it when the sky was blue because I could feel the warmth of the Sun of my leaves and the kids would use me to play hide and seek but sometimes this guy would turn black and a boom would shake the earth that sent everybody running in fear the heaviest rain would come pouring down on top of me and I’d be left alone stuck in the rage of a storm I was terrified eventually the storm would pass and the sky would turn blue again the Sun would dry up my leaves and the kids would hide behind me once more and I feel better I just wanted to be happy I hated the storm so much because they brought me such misery so I began to wish they’d never come back but they always did and over the years I learned that they always will because just like the sunny days the storms are a part of life too and that’s okay sometimes I see you laugh and play and sometimes I see you cry alone as you sit against me when your tears fall to the ground they look like rain as if a storm’s going on inside of you so maybe it’s the same for both of us some days there will be Sun and some days there will be rain and no matter how many times we may wish for the storms to never come back they always do so lesson one is simple there will be storms and that’s okay lesson two be still little tree be still sometimes I just want to die she said as they walked by me I pretend like everything’s fine but it’s not she quietly wept and asked her friend what’s wrong with me I just want to be okay I was reminded of the seeds I had seen planted around me the seeds of a flower grew flowers the seeds of a tree grew trees but not once and I seen a tree grow from the seed of a flower I understood her frustration now she was at war with herself and hoping to feel better planting seeds of pain and wanting peace to grow but there’s a better way see some time ago I would curse the howling wind because it scared me so I was planting pain and you can probably guess what grew one day another storm came but on that day I was through so I gave up and allowed myself to be shaken by the wind without knowing it I had chosen to be still within a different seed had been planted and not one of gloom and much to my surprise peace began to bloom when the winds blow against me now I take deeper roots then I sway with this door until the passes and I beg you to do the same be still little tree be still find your roots place your hand upon your heart or even upon my trunk do what you must to feel grounded then choose to make peace with the storm do so because anything else will only make you suffer the bigger the storm the more you’ll wish to fight with it but when you find yourself worried or shook by the wind choose to sow peace so you can have peace again and be still little tree be still lesson three the storms help us grow a young couple walked up to me one day they embraced each other as they carved their initials in my trunk shared a kiss and walked away a few months later the young man came back alone his head hung low like a wilting flower I can’t believe it he said as he held back his tears and stared at my trunk this went on for weeks and each time he looked worse than before eventually he stopped coming back he never did let himself cry many days brought many storms that year their rains crushed down on my branches and fed my roots and as I grew I shed my old bark and with it the initials they had carved upon it what remained was a stronger thicker trunk free of scars if you keep avoiding the rain you’ll never grow and your tender hearts will always be stuck with the deep painful past carved upon it but once you choose to be still and make peace with the storm you can soak up that experience and heal you’ll shed your old self and with it your old scars as you grow into a stronger wiser tree facing the storms helps us discover our strengths and then we feel brave enough to branch out and live imagine what your life would be like if you could have experienced that how free would you feel if you no longer feared the storms because you knew that once you made peace with them you would grow there is one last lesson I would like to leave you with alas as you read this I will be gone before I’ve been marked with a red X the same mark I’ve seen on the trees around me before they were cut down and the fear and anger I feel about that is just another storm to work with because I know that we all must go sometime but maybe it’s not our lives that matter the most but the gifts we leave behind even the paper you read this on was once a tree somewhere else but because of its gift you are able to read the gifts that I leave to you so consider this one day you will be marked to which gifts would you like to leave those who still stand and the ones who come next and as you go through your storms in life if ever the pain feels too much I hope when you see a tree that it reminds you that there will be storms and that’s ok because the storms will help you to grow so be still little trees be still thank you.

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