Speech: Slow and Steady Wins The Race

Hi all, I recognize a lot of familiar faces in the room but before I begin allow me to introduce myself. My name is Sierra Ayonnie Dunlap, I’m a senior graduating in December with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, my focus areas are Creative Writing & Minority Studies, my double minors are Writing & Italian Studies looking to pursue a doctorate in Fiction, and yes that is a degree. I want to be the Dr. of Speculative Fiction and all things sci-fi.

But, in my writings I talk about multiple subject areas, tonight’s happen to deal with being a woman and taking your time in this fast pace society.

The oldest language on planet Earth is meditation

lean on it to grow closer to constellations

it is a language spoken without translation

amongst all humans, no matter the

gender, race, class or color

the stars have no discrimination.

When I look above and find my zodiac sign it is

confirmation that there is a heaven beyond the skies

and that my existence as a woman isn’t limited to the accusations of men who are not appreciative

of my soft skin but would rather just

sex me even though they

themselves have no substance within.

So, I find that my “boyfriend” becomes my

kid in the sense that I have to teach him

all the things that he should know, especially

meditation, prayer, and affirmations

he has to learn the oldest language,

he has to learn how to be feminine yet not too soft

but soft enough to understand a girl.

All of this serves as a declaration from my experience

to tell you that slow and steady does indeed win the race

the race that I so dare to speak of is

the one amid “man-kind” humanity and the pressures it has placed upon us in terms of

what to do and say, who to be, where to go, and how to grow and how to be a tall standing lady.

In school, we are not taught to sit down and be quiet

to listen to the sounds of our seven chakras and understand that

in deep contemplation we can become our own ruler of outcomes

and be the catalyst for change and when we whisper words into the atmosphere

to change the projections of tomorrow and to eliminate our sorrows the peace drowns out all horrors that stalk about.

The Yoga Sutras of Pantajali expresses that sorrow is a state of suffering

where you have been attached to something unlike immortality or not quite close to eternity

and you have to learn to detach in order to be

queen like in your structure, stance, and have pride in your demeanor

yet humble enough to not share the meaning of your worth

with those who do not understand

such as a sexist man.

When you close your eyes and

give your self time to

reflect, introspect, and understand that being slow is a queen like quality

you will find that the beauty of your demeanor lies in the silence of your mind

and that the steadiness of breath becomes the easiness of life which equates a greater wealth that holds you up when there is no man around to open the door in front of a puddle

on a rainy day.

Those rainy days are limited but with this inner gift of holding a vision you become the ignition for all things phenomenal.

You should be familiar with the story, the tortoise and the hare where the turtle took his time to cross the finish line meanwhile the hare couldn’t make it fast enough in time. Have the turtle’s mentality in order to succeed, it was humility that got him there quickly. It was knowing that there was nothing that could stop him except getting too giddy or the pride of not being satisfied with the pace that one is going.

And we see examples of this all throughout history, but

in order to keep this for the summit I’ll be referring to a poet who means a lot to me.

You may not know the poet Solmaz Sherif but she came to VCU yesterday, she signed my book and then looked at me to say, thank you.

I asked her about her poem “Lay” where she expressed that a person can lay down to sleep, to rest late at night, to waste before, across a stretcher, across a shoulder, over a leg, beneath an arm, in a shroud, in a crib, on top of a car chained to a bumper, beneath a bridge in town square, but nonetheless people lay everywhere.

It was not the metaphor of lying which brought me to crying, rather the saying of “lay down to sleep” that resonated with me. Sleep is the deepest form of meditation, so be patient and realize that slow and steady wins the race even in the midst of hatred, it’s alright to take a nap and dream of another world, you’ll still be in your bed but you have left. You have began to do intergalactic space traveling.

As women, we have to stand together and breathe in order to weather storms most of us can not foresee. As women, we have to be brighter than the star that’s twinkling because it is so easy to be depressed in a society that objectifies everything from your hair to what you see on tv, and the media’s portrayal of how to be a queen.

But, if you close your eyes, if you just breathe, if you just be slow and steady, you will see that your beauty is unique, you are the best you that you can be.

Thank you.

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