Who Is Your Person?
Have you ever thought to yourself, "I wonder what babies think when they look at you making goofy faces at them?" Or have you ever stopped to just observe the wonder of a child? Your mind can take you in oh so many places.
Over the last several days I had the pleasure of spending time with my 10-month-old Goddaughter and her parents. There were lots of kisses, ahhing and ooo-ing, and making silly sounds and faces. But...there were also times that I found myself just looking at her thinking what it must be like to be 10-months old and literally not have a care in the world because she knew that her parents and Godmother would dote over every single thing she did whether it was crinkling her nose, babbling uncontrollably while kicking her legs in the swing, or crying because she was overtired and missed her momma who ran some errands.
As a young child, I do not recall being doted over by anyone except my own Godparent, my uncle, on the rare occasions that I would see him. But as I have grown into an adult, I am blessed to have others who love me and dote over me from time to time with their words of love, support, encouragement, and help when needed. I am blessed that even though I have gone through many traumatic situations throughout my life, I know that I have people in my corner cheering me on, teaching me new things, and loving me unconditionally just like I do with my Goddaughter.
In a few short weeks, my first children's book, A Caterpillar's Journey, will be released. It's truly about the journey a caterpillar must take to be the butterfly she desires to be. And though she feels like there is no one in her corner cheering her on, there is at least one person. We all have one person in our corner. Sometimes it's hard to recognize that person, but we do. We all go through many transformations in lives whether it be learning to sit up, crawl, walk, talk, change old behaviors and attitudes, make better choices out of our poor ones, or whatever. Who is your person? Who are the cheerleaders in your life? Don't forget to look for them. Don't forget to listen for their cheers even when they seem to be whispering as it's often the quiet voices that speak the loudest. I'm blessed to have many cheerleaders in my life.
Spring is in full bloom with his very confused weather. One day it's 76 degrees outside. The next it is raining. The next it is 40 degrees. I often feel like my mood has been on a roller coaster like the weather. One day I am escatic because my students have done something amazing. The next day I'm emotional when I think about all that COVID has taken away from me, my friends, my family, and people in general. Then I am nervous with anticipation of a new book comign out.
Spring is the epitome of transformation as flowers have been laying dormant all winter, dying to themselves, only be rise with beautiful blooms with the breath of new life. As the school year comes to an end this week, I feel the pains and joys of transformation in my own life as I step out in vulnerability.
What is this vulnerability I speak of? It is putting myself out there and sharing my story like I've never done before and using a variety of mediums to do this. A couple of weeks ago, I gave an interview regarding my first book, From Death to New Life: The Transformation of a Soul. I felt that the two-hour interview went well but found myself extremely anxious awaiting its publication. Why so anxious? I can only say it was because people would read it and learn some secrets I had kept for so long.
But if I was so anxious, why put myself out there like that?
I have reached a point in my life that I need to be intentional in being my authentic self. This means to be honest about my past. I am not my past but my past is a part of my life. You are NOT your past. I have also realized that I have a lot to offer others who have had similar experiences. I have survived and I am thriving. I do slip back into old behaviors once in awhile. But over all, I am thriving. If sharing my story helps one person, I will have fulfilled the mission I've been given by the Father.
Giving an interview about my book and my story is one way of being vulnerable. I have also stepped out and recorded my story on YouTube and created a podcast.
What are you doing to be more authentically yourself?
Seeing Our Gifts
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Every April for the last 10 years, I have reflected on the gift I was given. Gift? you might ask. Yes, I consider my journey of childhood sexual assault a gift, though I didn't always think it was a gift.
With the encouragement of some close friends, who have been parental figures to me, I walked into the Center for Prevention of Abuse in Peoria, IL about 10 years ago and into the office of one of the most amazing women I have ever known. Over the course of our sessions over weeks, months, and years, I was finally about to trust and open up. I trusted my counselor with intimate details of my life that my family and closest friends didn't even know. She made me feel safe. She asked the hard questions. She didn't let me get away with being silent...for too long anyhow. She knew when to push me and when to let me be. I was able to find someone who allowed me to truly be myself...angry, happy, tearful, frustrated, excited and everything in between. This was a gift. Eventually, I was able to take the tools she gave and taught me and put them into practice. This wasn't always easy. This wasn't always well received by my family and friends but I was able to find my inner voice. This was a gift.
When my counselor retired, it was the worst thing - or so I thought. I was scared. How would I be able to navigate my life without our sessions that began weekly and moved to monthly? Many tears were shed. She continued to assure me that I had the strength within me to continue the journey without her. After all, she believed in her work and her ability to help others. She was and is a gift to me.
I soon found out, YES! I was stronger than I believed. I was given an opportunity to prove my strength to myself when I was able to stand up in front of a room of strangers and share my story with them. Something I would normally have shied away from. I was proud of myself. I knew she would be proud of me. I quickly learned that I always had the strength within but I just needed to trust myself, trust God, and trust those who had always proven their love for me. This was truly a gift.
Who are the gifts in your life? What gifts have been given to you? What gifts are you giving to others? Please remember to take time to reflect on those gifts and thank God for them even if you don't think they are a gift at the time.