In my lifetime, I have met so many people who have played a pivotal role in who I have become. Things that have transpired among us, good or bad have taught me so much about life and myself. Some things just happened and I couldn't control them, but some things I allowed because I didn't value me so much. The lessons of self worth are priceless but come at a cost.
I can recall my early years where I had teachers in elementary school, who nurtured me and encouraged me to enter the school play or recite a poem (In the Mornin' by Paul Lawrence Dunbar). During these years of my life my grandmother, Malteen and our family were my world. Everything centered around grandma's house. She was a lady's lady. She cooked every meal from scratch (until someone brought her that microwave, I think I know who that was), was always there when we needed her and was a very impressive dresser, which is a trait she passed to her daughters. Grandma was the confidant of everyone and she knew all the stories and even our truths. I spent many hours of my life in her house and especially at her snack bar, whether she was teaching us how to make something or clipping coupons for the next grocery trip. Now that I am grown, I see I need her more.
In middle school, independence began to kick in and I started to stretch my wings. I didn't need the advice of the grown-ups in the past, because I knew everything of course. Thank God even then, I had a well rounded support group. People who I knew would listen to the ramblings of a teenager and still give advice that would be beneficial. One of my teachers, Mrs. Howard, was very down to earth in her approach to us as young women. She would "tell it, like it is", which didn't go over too well at the time. But I do remember her saying to me privately, "You have to stand above the crowd, because there will always be a crowd to stand in." Back then, I was like, "What?", but she was telling me to be me, even in the crowd, I can still be me.
High School. Wow. There are so many things that can be said about my teens. I was not an angel but even broken angels have still have wings. During this time, I needed an attitude adjustment. Although I had a good time in high school, it came with a high level of low self esteem. My misunderstandings about who I was and who I belonged to, kept me trapped in a vicious cycle of the wrong thing at the wrong time. This baggage was so hard to let go. I let others determine my worth because I couldn't see that I was indeed worth a lot more. I don't blame anyone for my life experiences because now I can truly say, been there, done that, got the T-shirt and burned it. I can help someone to see that 10, 20, 30 years from now, you won't recognize yourself, if you make a change today. I made it through this period with the help of my friends. Some just told me like it was, and some shielded me from vicious attacks. Some were there when everyone else was gone and stood with me because they understood and loved me. (Don't get me wrong no one was killed during high school but many were injured.)
Adulthood is a whole 'nuther story. I now see why people said, "You'll understand when you get older," and why older people speak their minds. They have earned the right. As I reflect, I see that I have made a lot of mistakes in Mi Vida that seemed good at the moment but as time is progressing I am learning that I decide what I choose to accept. I can put my foot down at any moment because "I am not afraid of, what I got to pay for." (J.Scott). During my growing season in young adulthood, I became a lot more responsible. I thought that the number one priority was taking care of business. All business, everybody's business. It burned me out. Too much too do and so little time. Then one day a friend look me in the eyes and said, "But what about you?" I began to prioritize myself into the plan. Instead of Jesus, family, job, school, bills, house, men, women, cat, dog, fish, then me, it became Jesus, me, family, friends, etc. (Get in where you fit in but nothing is separating me from the Love of Jesus Christ.)
Throughout my life, I have been comforted by the support of people who love me, seen more in me than I have in myself, and who also have my back. This has been so valuable to me. You have been the ones who say the hard stuff and mean it. The ones who listen to me vent and then tell me to repent. The ones who laugh with me and make me laugh. The ones I am not afraid to cry in front of. The ones who pick me up when I am down and remember MY Birthday (that is huge). The ones I haven't talked to in months but we pick right up where we left off. The ones I see everyday and am glad to see. The ones who stick by my side and keep encouraging me to walk in Faith.
This is to you! It is great to be loved and to know that you are loved as well. In words we don't always express what we mean but today is my day to thank you for your support, love and help, for xx years of life.
Heels off to you!