Updated: Jan 20, 2022
It’s strange sometimes how certain memories come rushing back that have lived dormant for years. For me, this memory was a chapter in my book of life that was buried deep. Possibly, it was because of the complete humiliation that I felt while experiencing it at a crucial point in my development. Oddly enough, it came rushing back to me in a dream the other night. Though I feel right now the timing is right to revisit this chapter because I am finally confident enough and emotionally equipped to manage it.
When I was in high school, I always got good grades but it had nothing to do with intelligence. Diligence and perseverance are what got me through. Recently I was diagnosed with ADHD too and looking back now, I feel like discovering the differences in my brain helps me gain insight about why I always had to work so much harder to succeed.
While in high school during my senior year, I took an AP English class. After my first book review of the school year, my teacher approached my desk, squatted low beside me and pretended to speak in a whisper, “You know, you don’t have to take this class. It isn’t for everyone. Don’t be afraid to drop it if it’s too hard for you.” I must have turned beet red with embarrassment. At that moment I sent up a prayer for a fire alarm. The arrogant look on his face as he said this, made my stomach churn. I started to question things about my abilities and feel ashamed of my struggles. Despite my teacher's advice, something inside me pushed me to keep going and I decided to stay in the class until the end and powered through. I had always loved to read and enjoyed writing so I felt very defeated by the notion that I didn’t belong in that class. With the help of my stubborn spirit, I never gave up and ended up passing the class with an AP credit.
The last day of school my teacher once again approached me in a loud whisper and asked what my plans for the future were. Regretfully, I was embarrassed and told him I was going to be a hairstylist. He responded in a condescending tone, “Good for you, college isn’t for everyone.” I had sunk down low in my chair feeling completely deflated by the way he said this.
I persisted on, and I decided not to let his demeaning conversation quash one of my dreams. I loved doing hair and continued to do hair and esthetics and eventually even ended up getting my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
One evening while reading my toddler a bedtime story, the fire I used to feel long ago with literature, reignited inside me. That night, I wrote my first children’s book, based on a conversation I shared with my son as I cuddled him and rocked him to sleep. It was as if a lightbulb went off and right then and there. I decided I would become an author! Since then, I have published a few books on Amazon and continue to write nearly every day. I have never felt as creatively fulfilled as I am when I am illustrating and writing books. It has brought me joy that diminished years ago that I almost didn’t realize I was missing out on.
I would love nothing more than to send this teacher, that nearly extinguished my light, a signed copy of one of my books one day and feel like that day could come sooner rather than later!
I guess more than anything, I’m writing this to let others know that they are MORE than ENOUGH and they CAN do hard things, even if it’s in a non-customary way. Sometimes by only comparing ourselves to the expected, we miss out on sharing the true gifts we have to offer. We are amazing, creative, unique individuals and bring SO MUCH to the table! So, I leave you with a poem I wrote and hope that it gives YOU the strength to carry on and ignore any naysayers that you encounter along the way!
This is for all the can’t be’s and the won’ts.
Don’t you listen to them mama, no you don’t!
Attributes like diligent and creative,
always seem so very underrated.
They may not ever see your radiant, shining light.
But keep persisting, don’t forget to fight the fight!
Believe in who you are and what you do!
Create a perfect destiny just for you!
Confidence in all you bring to the table;
enticing recipe, without a generic label.
Write your story, draw your pictures, dance your dance!
You’re so much MORE than that one, first superficial glance!