Live Out Loud

This week, I was reminded of the immense power we hold to craft our own legacy as well as the unnoticed impact we have on each other.

Last night, I attended the vigil for Nikki Delamotte, a local journalist and passionate advocate who was tragically killed earlier this week. I didn’t have the honor of knowing Nikki personally but was familiar with her work in Cleveland. Sadly due to her untimely passing, I’ve grown to know her more these last few days. Hearing from her coworkers, friends, community members- Nikki wasn’t someone who boldly boasted her accomplishments. On the contrary, her friends shared how humble she was and how tirelessly she worked to elevate the voices and doings of others around her.

I witnessed the spark that so many of Nikki’s friends referenced, light up a small part of our dark city last night. And as I gazed at the flame of my candle, listening to the outpouring of love and grief shared by her dear friends, I felt Nikki’s legacy shine.  I heard story after story about how Nikki went against the status quo by putting others before herself and her focus on creating real, authentic connection and community. She exemplified truth, compassion, courage and service. It made me wish I had the chance to know her.

Having the privilege of learning about Nikki has reminded me that creating our own legacy is not about sharing loudly what we’ve done and how. Instead, it’s about living out loud. It’s about showing up each day, committed to being yourself and taking small steps with big love.

It got me thinking about how often those with fame, notoriety, influence and success are placed on pedestals and defined as extraordinary. It has created this belief that to be extraordinary means we have to hold a uniqueness that only a few can achieve. It therefore feels exclusive and unattainable, minimizing the fullness of the life each of us lives. 

But I believe that we all hold a uniqueness-an onlyness that defies this definition. Our onlyness is what makes us extraordinary in our own regard. It’s the legacy in which the people in our lives remember us by and the impact we have on those around us. Each of us has the capacity to explore and embrace our onlyness in order to craft a legacy. However, the difference is where the intention lies. It’s not about living loudly but rather about living out loud. 

It’s those unseen and unheard spaces where we choose courage over comfort, forgiveness over resentment, love over fear.

It’s about being vulnerable, imperfect, and human but forging forward regardless and building resiliency along the way.

It’s how we show up and share who we are with the world around us, even when we want to give up or hide.

I didn’t know Nikki. I’m not sharing this to capitalize on her passing but rather to send her gratitude because living out loud also means loving out loud. We never know the impact we have on others.

This is a thank you note to a woman who taught me many things this week. Nikki reminded me to be grateful for all the ordinary moments that build an extraordinary life. What a gift we have to wake up and choose to live each day fully alive. Living out loud is how we take advantage of this gift we were given. I needed this reminder-now more than ever.

To live and love out loud is the why behind our existence. And Nikki Delamotte did just that. Her legacy has left an imprint on the heart of Cleveland and beyond. To me, that is extraordinary. 

Thank you Nikki. And thank you to all of her friends who shared her light and legacy with all of us who weren’t lucky enough to know her.

Katie Kurtz