My name is Adrian Noll. I’m 30 years old and I am a positive influence in society, an art student, and a human rights activist. My personal motto in life is simple: “Art saves lives.” The root of my belief has been watered with encouragement, guidance and positive support over the course of 13 years by someone who is now a dear friend of mine- Dr. Mutulu Shakur. I first introduced myself to him in 2004; I was 17 at the time, a senior in high school in State College, PA. I reached out to Dr. Shakur in hopes of getting some insight on his acupuncture work and to report back on his positive contributions to society. What I received was much more than an ‘A’ on my report at the time; Dr. Shakur wrote back and we’ve stayed in communication ever since. One thing that stuck out to me was his signature at the end of each letter: he would always sign “stiff resistance” in closure before signing his name.
But what does “stiff resistance” mean? To me, at 17, I interpreted this simply strong statement to mean, “Hold true to yourself.” Over the course of time, I’ve attached a few sayings to the phrase “stiff resistance” including:
1. Hold true to yourself
2. Don’t give up
3. Never quit
4. “Do not go gentle into that good night…”
To me, it was a statement to self awareness and to encourage others to allow their own light to shine, be it in faith, education, or whatever talents you might have to offer to the world. I read his salutation as a positive affirmation that, whatever good you are doing in your life, don’t let anyone stop you.
Now, at the age of 30 and with more life experience behind me, with more education and understanding of the world, stiff resistance has evolved into more for me. Not only is it a phrase I use to remind myself never to give up on what I’m striving for but also relating to:
1. Going for what you believe in
2. Building character that you are proud of
3. We live to learn, grow and develop
4. Setting goals and reaching them; a personal achievement of finding one’s true self.
All of these ideas of what “stiff resistance” means have a similar theme “Carpe diem” seize the day, be the best you can be, and dream big. That’s just what I did. I followed my heart behind the words ‘stiff resistance.’ I gave it a meaning that I thought Mutulu would be proud of and that I felt proud of. Ultimately, stiff resistance means:
1. Express your true self even when the odds are against you.
As I stated, the term “Stiff Resistance” speaks for it’s self.