Today, I had the pleasure of meeting with a room full of individuals from all walks of life who were looking for answers, or as one woman said,
“I need a boost”.
When I say all walks of life, there were those who were full-time stay at home moms (carrying children in on their hips), former drug addicts (some who had been previously incarcerated), highly educated graduates looking for a change, and individuals beyond retirement looking to start something new.
The unfortunate common theme that cascaded throughout this group was a somber attitude which I perceived long before many of them opened their mouth to speak. Heads were held low, there was no pep to their step, and the stay at home moms just flat out looked defeated. I couldn’t help but imagine in the back of their minds they were thinking….
Look at this lady, all gussied up in her slacks and blouse, name brand shoes, and nice hair who is going to tell me I’m a screw up and how much better she is than me, blah blah blah.
I think I surprised them all when I said,
Rather than a boost, you need a swift kick in the buttocks!
I un-tucked my shirt, kicked off my shoes, introduced myself to the crowd and told them about my not so privileged upbringing. I grew up in a small country town, where living on a farm, milking cows, and cleaning chicken coups was a prerequisite. Sure I got a few laughs, but immediately they knew I was no better than them and that we had all just taken a different turn at the fork in the road. You see, growing up in a rural West Virginia town, I knew what it was like going without the niceties of name brand clothes, a nice car, and huge house. I am not afraid to say,
I grew up on a good ol’ fashioned egg salad sandwiches and when that wasn’t available a decadent PBJ!
Most would tell you where I grew up, no-one leaves. You are born, raised, and stay there. This often means you marry your high school sweetheart, live beside your kindergarten classmates as an adult, and are expected by your family to birth your first child by the ripe age of 20 (if not earlier)!
With the help of the most inspirational man in my life, ‘PA PAW Bill’, I received the motivation I needed in life to not let where I was from define me. I guess you could say that I was a rebel, but as scary as it was, I decided to break the mold. A defining moment for me was when I walked across the stage for graduation from West Virginia University making myself the first person in my family to obtain a collegiate degree. The next scary moment was six months later when I received the first bill for student loans that I now needed to figure out how to pay for!
Despite being told my entire life (yes I still get it today) that ‘No, you can’t do that’, when I truly looked deep inside, and remind myself of conversations with my late passing PA PAW, the words, “Who are you to say I can’t”? ring through my mind.
Because I did it, and overcame the many obstacles that came with being poor, always being told ‘no’ or ‘you can’t’, with confidence, I can say, “Yes YOU can”!
It is our human nature to make excuses, feel bad for ourselves, or even play victim to circumstances, trust me, I know! What I also know, is that if the willpower is there to do something about it, to make a change, and to see a new path ahead, YOU can change it!
I won’t say my life is now perfect, because lord knows it is not, and that really has never been my goal. Reaching a point of happiness, where I can be proud of who I am, what I represent to my children, and who I am to become is a constant ‘work in progress’, but what I do know is that “I” am the only one that can hold “ME” back.
No matter your “walk of life” or the road that you have been traveling, you’re the only one that should ever be in the driver’s seat. If you don’t have the wheel, stop making excuses, take it, and take it now!
It’s because of the pivotal turns in my life thus far that I can and will continue to grow and develop the very humbled country girl within me, and so will YOU, when you take control and own who you are!
It’s up to YOU to define, but as long as there is a desire within, you can achieve “IT”.
If you halfway enjoyed this read, I’d appreciate a like and a share, but I’d also love to hear from you! It is through the sharing of experience that we as individuals can grow ourselves and would be excited to hear your story!