Ichien is a 16 year old who was born and raised in Queens, NY. During her free time, she can be found in the midst of crowded streets shopping, going to a movie theater, filming, reading or writing. She loves the bright city lights at night and adores the city that never sleeps. She has a passion for filming and writing and hopes that one day she can make use of her passion to inspire the world.
“You can be born into a nightmare but God can usher you into a dream.” Those exact words gave me warmth like sun rays sprinkling down upon me. Those exact words touched my soul deeply and granted me hope that I can a see a light at the end of the tunnel. It was the night of the NAACP awards and while Tyler Perry was reciting a moving speech after receiving the Chairman Award, tears were springing to life, glistening in my eyes. It was those exact words that I remembered until this day that inspired me to never give up on chasing my dream.
Tyler Perry’s personal story is heart-wrenching in the beginning but became a blessing in the end. Tyler was abused as a child and suffered many hardships while growing up. He wandered through life aimlessly before discovering his true passion. It all started when one day inspiration from watching Oprah struck Tyler. There was a comment on the show about how writing down one’s personal experiences can be cathartic. After that, Tyler began writing about the things that were happening to him but he changed the people’s names in case his journal was ever found. Tyler channeled his creativity into his first play called I Know I’ve Been Changed. His first play didn’t do so well and he was left broken, tired and homeless. However, Tyler refused to give up. He continued on with his passion and he worked various jobs trying to finance his production. Finally in the summer of 1998, Tyler had a breakthrough because the second time he financed I Know I’ve Been Changed, it became a huge success.
I was in awe of Tyler and admired how in the midst of failure, he became even more determined to succeed. Before you know it I became a huge admiring fan of Tyler Perry and vowed to watch all his movies. I even subscribed to Tyler Perry’s mailing list and I remembered there was this one message that not only inspired me, but also caused me to really ponder about my life and wonder where I desire to end up at. It really made me contemplate about my struggles and hardships that I had to endure, and how I should conquer them so in the end, I can finally say “I made it.”
In the message Tyler wrote about how he and his friend went mountain hiking in Hawaii and it reminded him about how he stuck through the hard times to make it this far. It was also an amazing experience. He described how on his way to climbing to the top, he had to stop and catch his breath from the altitude or regain his footing because of the uneven terrain. It was tiring and at times he wanted to just turn back. When he landed on one peak, he believed that he could finally rest now, but realized it wasn’t over yet because there were still many valleys to pass and higher peaks to reach. Finally, when Tyler reached one of the highest peaks, he turned around and before his eyes, witnessed the magnificent world of God’s creation. The Hawaiian Islands were protruding and the scenery was so rich in colors that Tyler mentioned, “not even Picasso could have out-painted the canvas that was before me. The heavens were declaring the glory of God. I saw Him in motion.” Tyler believed the experience of the climb is how it feels like when you’re after a dream. Many times he wanted to stop because of the pain, the struggle and doubt but eventually he kept going. The past memories of Tyler working several jobs to finance his production, trying to believe in himself, living every day looking down but taking one step at a time and wanting to quit and drowning in misery; taking a rest and wanting to stop dreaming because nobody believed in him; everything made him realized that the whole time he was in “the climb.” As each step he came to pass, he was getting closer to the finish line; “closer to higher.” “I don’t care how low you go, there’s an opposite of low, and as low as I went I wanted to go that much higher. And if there was an opposite of homelessness, I wanted to find it,” said Tyler Perry.
I thought about what Tyler said about “the climb.” I realized that the rough paths I encountered and every peak I passed, I was one step closer to reaching my highest peak. Like Tyler Perry my dream is to also become a writer, film director and producer. I want to tell a story by not only by putting words on a piece of paper but also to gather emotions and show the meaning behind the words. I want to use film to bring my stories alive; to not only entertain but also to inspire the public and make society think about the issues haunting this world. I was often rejected and doubted by people who I thought would believe in me. Some took me seriously but others laughed and believed it was just a phase I was in. Although I’m young and don’t have much experience yet, I learned that the first step to really achieve a goal is to believe. There were times when I questioned my ability and potential. There were moments when I was angry at God for putting me through so much and I thought, “I can’t take this anymore because why is it so hard to get what I want?” After my blinded thinking, my heart was telling me that the struggles I go through are nothing compared to the reward I’ll receive at the end because God has bigger plans for me.
Tyler Perry once said, “It doesn’t matter if a million people tell you what you can’t do, or if ten million tell you no. If you get one yes from God that’s all you need.” Nothing is impossible once you know that this is what you’re meant to do. The word “impossible” even contains the word “possible.” When you think it’s impossible to hold onto that dream, then it really becomes not possible. If you have faith and believe in yourself then nothing can stop you from going ahead to achieve your dream. I’m sure Tyler Perry heard the word, “no” countless times, but that didn’t stop him from not only becoming a director, producer, writer and actor, but also owning his own network and studio. “I wanted to use film to not only entertain but to let us know that we don’t have to wait for somebody to green light our projects, we can create our own interceptions. I wanted to use my television show to not only make us laugh but to show us we don’t just have to act in the sitcom, we can own the show and the network. And I wanted to own a studio to show us, we don’t have to wait for somebody to give us 40 acres and a mule, we can buy our own.”
Tyler Perry’s life story isn’t just some success story but a genuine reality about how far a person can go in life. It doesn’t matter how low in life you are right now because getting to the highest point in life isn’t far-fetched. He inspired me in so many ways that I don’t have enough words to describe how thankful I am to have a role model like him. Tyler Perry had determination and a drive to make his dream turn into a reality. As Tyler Perry said, “you’re in the climb.” Chasing a dream is all about perseverance and faith. Once you catch up to your dream and hold it down, you can finally look back and say, “I made it.”