MidJourney Image created by me — I am teaching myself prompt engineering and other technologies to create amazing images.

Is It STILL Not Too Late to Be Awesome?

Chanelle Henry

--

A 2023 Perspective, an explanation, and some other words.

The Question That Never Gets Old

Ten years ago, I asked the world, “Is it too late to be awesome?” Fast forward to 2023, and I’m still asking the same question. Why? Because life happens. It’s like a Netflix series with too many seasons, and you’re the star whether you like it or not. I keep revisiting this question, and looking around wondering how I got here. On the anniversary of my great aunt’s passing, who was like a mother to me, it leaves me reflective. She passed in 1999, but it still feels like yesterday.

I’m getting off topic. So what the hell have I been doing?

The Silence: A Five-Year Hiatus

I’ve been MIA for half a decade. Not that many tweets, very elusive or depressing posts then deleting and cringing at the fact that I opened up. Even though I was receiving emails from people who were saying that I was brave, the people around me were exiting my life almost on queue. You may or may not believe in God, and my belief is very different than what was instilled in me at church (Church of God in Christ (Pentecostal), some Apostolic and American Baptist for those who were wondering), there’s a prayer I prayer maybe once a decade: “Remove the things and people that don’t belong in my life that are in the way of my path”. Soon after, I lost my job, and people were leaving my life in crazy unexpected and unbelievable ways.

I hate when I pray that prayer. But I felt stuck.

I was dealing with life events that could fill a season of a soap opera. I’m talking surgeries (brain), existential crises, and losses that make Shakespearean tragedies look like children’s books.

So, yeah, I’ve been busy.

The Existential Detour: Divinity School at Duke

You ever question your existence so much that you end up in grad school? That’s me at Duke University, diving into Divinity and Theological Studies. It’s like going to Hogwarts, but for your soul. And guess what? It’s not as boring as it sounds. But my experience there was tumultuous due to my reaction to anxiety and internalized homophobia and other things. I was… a mess.

This can’t be awesome.

When Grief Becomes a Constant Companion

Loss is a tough pill to swallow. I lost my great-aunt, my rock, and my father, a complicated figure in my life, and many others. And let’s not forget the miscarriage in 2020 — a profound loss that words can’t capture. Many people don’t talk about such a personal loss, but it’s like carrying a backpack full of bricks, and every loss adds another brick. And those around me, weren’t supportive in any way. I am not sure why, perhaps the pandemic made everything minimized, but it was huge in my world.

Survival Mode: The Enemy of Creativity

Being in survival mode is like trying to paint the Mona Lisa while your house is on fire. Creativity takes a backseat, and you’re left juggling life’s curveballs. It’s not ideal, but it’s the reality for many of us.

The Pivot: From Tech & Empathy to Tech & Mental Health

I’ve shifted gears. What started as “Tech & Empathy” is evolving into “Tech & Mental Health.” It’s like upgrading your software; you’ve got to adapt to the times. Mental health is no longer the elephant in the room; it’s the entire zoo. And I’m here for it. After all, I wrote a book about it in 2016, and it seems like I did things early and was almost foreseeing a future where I know loneliness was going to be an epidemic.

Midjourney image created by me

The Neurodiverse Perspective: A Fresh Take on AI and GPT

Being neurodiverse is like having a secret sauce. It’s no secret that I am on the spectrum, because I talk about discovering it late in life on many different platforms.

Sometimes I become fearful of telling people these days because of preconceived notions of what I should be even though someone like me is not represented on TV in anyway (they are usually cis het males, and Autism 1, formerly Aspergers, appears very different in females, and becomes complex in BIPOC cohorts). But I was excited when ChatGPT came out, and I have been doing some amazing things. I’ve been exploring AI and GPT from a unique angle, and let me tell you, the results are promising. It’s like finding cheat codes in a video game. More on that to come.

The Fear: Hitting the “Post” Button

Pressing that “Post” button is like skydiving. It’s exhilarating but terrifying. But sometimes, you’ve got to take the leap and hope your parachute opens. I have been thinking about this post for a few years and writing in my head, I’m excited and nervous to press this button.

Midjourney image created by me

The Connection: What We’re All Seeking

We’re all in this chaotic world looking for the same things: connection, peace, and a better tomorrow. And sometimes, that starts with asking the uncomfortable questions and taking the scary steps.

So, Is It STILL Not Too Late?

Nope, it’s never too late to be awesome. Your awesomeness isn’t defined by your circumstances but by your resilience and your willingness to keep asking the hard questions.

MidJourney image created by me

7 Action Steps to Reclaim Your Awesomeness

  1. Hit the Pause Button: Take a moment to reflect on where you are and where you want to go.
  2. Ditch the Comparison Game: Stop measuring your life against others. It’s a losing battle. Every. Single. Time.
  3. Celebrate Small Wins: Even a tiny victory is still a victory.
  4. Seek Connection: Reach out to people who uplift you.
  5. Be Authentic: Your uniqueness is your superpower.
  6. Take Risks: Sometimes you’ve got to roll the dice.
  7. Prioritize Mental Health: It’s not just a buzzword; it’s a necessity. No matter the cost.

Quote to Ponder

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.” — Lao Tzu

--

--