Paul Taylor asked me awhile back if I would be a part of his project. I took a look and I thought “This is awesome. Yes!”…then it got lost in the shuffle. Why? At first, I was thinking through what my response would be to his open-ended question about handling life’s obstacles, overcoming them, or going against society’s preconceived ideas about appearance…As I thought, I felt burdened by the millions of different possibilities and situations I have encountered. Which situation that I faced would be the best to discuss? How could anything I say connect with someone in a way that could impact her life?
I thought…and I did nothing. Was I really trying to focus on one particular thing, or was I really flipping through a bunch of memories and situations I had discarded because I didn’t want to face them again? Hmm…
So here I find myself, a few months later…perhaps another year later, being asked if I would be a part of the project (thank you Paul, you didn’t have to ask again. You should never have had to ask again to begin with- that’s all on me. I take responsibility).
A good spot to start with was responding back with “I suck” – because that was the truth. I should have already done this because I said I would, but…sometimes we get in the way of ourselves. Often in trying to be the superwoman, we fail to acknowledge our shortcomings. Truth be told, I think part of not writing what I said I would write to begin with was half done out of safety…closing off less than desirable outcomes or situations in order to move forward and not dwell in the past, which is good on one hand. On the other hand, there is the other half which is probably out of fear of seeing times when my own naïvetee got the best of me, or that I wasn’t as strong as I would have liked to have been.
At one point in life, I was bullied at school and the person who targeted me made it a goal to find any way possible to humiliate me. That wasn’t fun. Because I knew that her hatred was something she was dealing with, I was able to observe how she treated others (because I was not the only target) and anticipate situations that she might try to take advantage of me in. For instance, I saw that she frequently ran around the gym and would try to humiliate girls by running up and pulling their gym shorts down. So, I made sure to wear a leotard underneath and when she thought she was going to get the best of me, I was able to laugh it off because I had some control over the situation and respond with things like “Wow! Didn’t see that one coming…oh wait…I did”.
Why was I target? Maybe because I didn’t hang out with her crowd? I don’t know… Frankly, I didn’t care. What I cared about was what I was doing for me and for the people who cared to be a part of my life. You see, people can say whatever they want about you. It is their perception. It is not your reality. You envision your success. You make it happen. Your life is limitless and through free will, you can choose whether to let someone else’s idea about you affect what restrictions you place upon yourself. It is sometimes difficult to get through mentally, and you may feel that when someone is trying to spit verbal venom in your direction that you have no control, but you do have control. You can control whether you listen, digest it and make that a part of your reactions and choices, or you can choose to divert away from that and focus on your skills, potential, and things that you enjoy. It’s not an easy battle, but with a little strategy and focusing your time with supportive friends and family, you will find your strength. You will get through it and although you may come out on the other end with some battle scars, you’ll be able to hold your head up high and say “I not only survived the journey, I thrived”.