Learning to Love All of Me: My Road to Resilience
This post is part of Resilient Film Blog Tour which I am excited to be a part of along with many other bloggers. To learn more and to join us as we tell the world just how resilient we really are, CLICK HERE!
Last year I turned the Big 4-0. Some women look at turning 40 as a negative time in their lives, but for me it was a coming of age kind of thing.
Months before my birthday, I found my anticipation of turning 40 growing. It became so apparent, that my 12-year-old started a countdown calendar for me. Each day she would cross out another block on the calendar and announce how many more days were left before my big day. It became a big “thing” in our home.
My daughter never questioned the reason for my excitement because when you’re 12, birthdays are supposed to be exciting. However, I have plenty of girlfriends who couldn’t understand how I could possibly be so happy about turning another year older. …then I gave them another way to look at it.
When I was a young girl, I was very insecure. I grew up in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, land of the Geechee-Gullah. Growing up, I was made to feel ashamed of my Gullah dialect. People said my language was broken and it sounded uneducated.
When I joined the military fresh out of high school, the teasing continued. I was assumed unintelligent because of the way I spoke. People made fun of my dialect and I didn’t know how to respond. Instead, I became self-conscious. As a young girl away from home for the first time, my confidence and self-esteem plummeted. That experience stunted my personal and professional growth for quite a while.
After tearfully confessing to my mother how I was feeling, she reminded me about a bit of Gullah history that I for some reason had not held on to. The distinct pattern of my speech were remnants of the way our strong West African ancestors once spoke.
That little bit of education and insight into our history helped me embrace who I was and let go of self-doubt. That knowledge gave me the power to respond to those who mocked my dialect. I was the tender age of 18, a young woman just beginning to find her strength. That was when my resiliency (and my love of education) was born.
Overcoming that first issue of self-doubt was just the beginning. Once I realized my strength, there was no stopping me. I will admit that there have been trials that made me wonder if I was strong enough to overcome, but I always reflected on that very first triumph and found the strength to keep moving forward.
"Once you learn to love all of you, everything else seems to fall into place."
Today, I’m very different from that little insecure girl I once was. At almost 41 years old, I’ve been married for over 20 years, moved all over the world as a military spouse, raised two amazingly well rounded children, all while pursuing my own career in education and child advocacy. Recently, I pushed myself even further by publishing a book of strategies to help moms advocate for their children’s education.
So yeah, I’m perfectly flawed, have a long list of mistakes, and am still figuring some things out, but I love every bit of being ME in my 40’s. Resiliency is beautiful, so let the countdown to 41 begin!
"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style"
Dr. Maya Angelou
Turning your pain into power requires the kind of resiliency that comes from loving yourself enough to keep moving forward. Aprille Franks-Hunt created a powerful film about her personal story as a rape survivor in hopes to shed light on a personal topic that many are forced to suppress. She knows without any shadow of a doubt that this film has the power to change how women view themselves all over the world. We will not stand down – our voices will be heard! You can support the film here.