Being a mom at 15, I had to grow up quickly… Life as I previously knew it to be was no longer. My choices and priorities had to change. I was no longer making decisions pertaining just to me. There was another life that I was obligated to care for and protect, and it wasn’t just physical protection I had to provide. I had to protect him from any negligent behavior on my behalf. This meant I had to do my best to avoid making poor choices, wrong decisions, and passing up on opportunities for a brighter future. It was difficult, and I failed at times. However, I had to constantly strive at getting better.
Being an adolescent parent was by far one of the toughest things I would have to face in my life. I had very little room for mistakes, so I took advantage of every opportunity that came my way. Education was my #2 priority. It was the only resource that would afford my son and I a brighter future. There was very little financial stability that I could provide for him at 15 years old, so I had to do my very best with the opportunities I had.
The very first opportunity I took advantage of, which actually turned out to be life changing for me, was attending the career fair at school. It gave me insight into professional careers, post-high school and college. I took this opportunity seriously and looked further into the career choices that most interested me. A year prior, I would have overlooked the potential this career fair offered, but becoming a mother made me think differently. Little did I know, this would change the trajectory of my life (more on this in the next blog).
How can you grow in this moment? Choose one thing that you can do immediately and act on it with intention, and purpose.
Now go and grow!
Move defined: To go in a specified direction or manner; change position.
When facing unimaginable hardships or struggles in life, the mind is where the transition begins. You have to revamp your way of thinking, and no longer make the same choices –
“we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”
Consider your options and make small mental shifts where you can. One mental move at a time…
Here are 5 small conscious thoughts that can help you through your day.
Hardships and challenges are inevitable. Keep moving and make sure the mental path you tread is leading you in the right direction.
Life experiences makes for the best lessons. Good or bad, these experiences can help you grow and become even stronger, or they can break you down and weaken you. You, I, have the power to control how we allow for our experiences to affect us.
The best thing we can do for ourselves is try to make the best of the not so good experiences. This is easier said than done, but it's something we must work hard at doing to prevent from deteriorating.
Experiences can teach you what to expect in future situations of similar circumstances, so that you are more aware and prepared to deal with them, as much as possible.
As you overcome trauma from sexual abuse, you have an opportunity to help someone else get through it. This can be another form of helping you cope and overcome your experience.
Be the survivor that becomes a hero for others who may have experienced similar trauma. Let your story about your traumatic experience turn into triumph by choosing not to allow it to dictate your future. You are a conquer and conquers have the strength to #overcome.
Sexual abuse is certainly not my favorite topic to discuss, but it’s one of my most important ones. #ChooseWisely #SexualAssaultAwarenessMonth #overcome
Is anyone listening??? Oftentimes, when people aren’t being heard by their loved ones, especially when something is wrong, they can feel powerless or invisible. This was the case with my parents. I tried countless times to voice my opinion and let them know how their choices were affecting me, but to no avail.
I was able to find my voice through writing. This led to teachers, principals, and faculty members hearing me, although I wasn’t being heard at home.
My writing became a form of expression, as well as a cry out for help, without even knowing it.
I’m hopeful my voice will inspire or help others to make better choices or overcome
any oppression they may be dealing with.
Find your voice - and use it with authority! What will your platform be?
Suffering sexual trauma is paralyzing… For so long I didn’t respect myself enough to fight back or stand up. I took the path of least resistance, because it was easier and, I thought, safer. It’s extremely important that boys, girls, women, and men command respect for ourselves, and do our very best to prevent anyone from violating us. Unfortunately, some circumstances are out of our control – but we can control how we move forward and live our lives from there on out.
Personally, I became overly defensive in demanding respect and not being violated. Unaware of what was happening within me, I became extremely sensitive, paranoid, and combative for the slightest reasons. I had to learn how to react cautiously and stay open-minded when feeling disrespected or violated. I began taking more time to think about situations from various angles. Conscientiously remaining calm and rational allowed me to see things differently, resulting in a better outcome.
It's very important that we do not remain in the mindset of when the trauma occurred as this could perpetuate the suffering and psychological abuse. Acknowledge your past and become aware of your present. Today, choose one negative thought that has held you captive for too long. Breathe…Release…and choose one positive thought to take its place. You’re on your way to freedom!
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
#MeToo is one of those hashtags that unfortunately bind too many of us women together. In the same light, it’s allowing us to shed light on the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment.
Growing up in disadvantaged household, kids who were in similar situations as myself were left vulnerable and at risk for dangerous or harmful situations.
Here are five warning signs that you can look for in a child who may be suffering abuse:
Think long-term when planning for a brighter future. Try not to get complacent with the gratifications from your short-term success. A common mistake made during the process of setting goals and executing them is getting caught up in the now – meaning, the moment when we start to see improvements or when things are going good, we often think that is enough; causing us to bask in the moment for too long and to lose sight of the remaining part of the process/journey.
Short-term success is typically something that satisfies the current circumstances and generally isn’t enough to sustain long-term. This type of success is usually short lived until the good is not so good anymore. In order to reach your end goal, you have to keep building on every short-term milestone and success you achieve. Don’t short-change yourself by quitting too soon and thinking your most recent accomplishment is enough to sustain long-term. You would only be doing yourself and your future a disservice. This is why it is extremely important that we do not lose sight of our end goal.
When I initially set out to achieve my goals, I, too, had short-term success and victories that improved my circumstances in many ways (i.e. more financial stability, less stress, and things were becoming somewhat easier), but I knew that these semi-improvements, alone, weren’t enough to make things more permanent. I had to keep going with the rest of the process in order to make my future whole. So do you!
This brings us to the end of the current blog series, but the key takeaways are:
Imagine if you became the vision that you saw when you were thinking of what success looks like for your future. Picture yourself in that futuristic moment. The mere thought of it should be enticing enough to make you want to go after it. But, first, you must get mentally prepared for the journey. An important step of the process is to change your mindset. You must have the mindset of working harder, making sacrifices, and becoming more resilient than ever before.
Setting goals and executing them is not as easy as it looks on paper. There are a lot of changes you will face during the process – some good and some not so good. The key is to not give up. As you are defining your goals, also identify ways to measure your progress. Keep track so you’re not aiming in the dark, so to speak. Always keep your end goal in mind throughout your journey.
Prepare yourself as much as possible for challenges you will face ahead. There more you are prepared, the better you will be able to get through them.
Your lifestyle will change, pretty much, while you are working toward your goals. As I mentioned previously; some good, some not so good. And sometimes, the “not so good” changes are actually good for you. You may not be able to see the “good” in the moment, but you’ll later realize that it played a part in your success. Some of the lifestyle changes you may have to make include, but are not limited to:
Another important step in the process - don’t beat yourself up if you get off task or fail. This will happen and it is normal. The key in this case is what?? You go it! Never give up! I can’t stress enough how important this step is in the process of achieving your goals.
One more critical step in the process - reward yourself! Each milestone you achieve is success and warrants a reward. Treat yourself to your favorite restaurant or to something you enjoy.
Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision into a reality. Gain that momentum and don’t stop!
The first half of the MarchMomentum series focused on managing your emotions. (If you haven’t read it, feel free to check my previous blog posts.) Now we are moving on to the act of goal setting.
Goal-setting is an integral, important part in living out our dreams. Goals can be divided into short-term or long-term.
Each goal will have a separate, different purpose, but its main intent and purpose is to achieve something in an organized and structured way.
Begin with home base areas if you need a starting point: education, career, daily personal goals (i.e. wake up, go to the gym, eat at least one green vegetable, the little things that add up), Financial, Relationships, etc.
My starting point was finishing high school on time, with an above average GPA. I had a lot of responsibilities while in high school that could have easily taken me off course. I became pregnant in my 9th grade year, and my circumstances at home were unstable. Most of my friends and young girls in my community were also teen mothers who had either dropped out of school or attended infrequently. I didn’t want that to become my story, so I had to set goals and standards in order to avoid going down the same path.
The goals that I set for myself had to be attainable and realistic. I had to be careful not to set goals that were too high and potentially cause me to burn out or give up. With all the things I had going on in my life as an adolescent mother, living in a dysfunctional household, being raised by a single-parent who was battling substance abuse - I could barely see what was in front of me.
My goals consisted of making the best out of my current circumstances. Completing high school on time with a healthy GPA was my primary focus, in addition to parenting my kid. In effort to achieve this, I had to:
Once I completed high school and enrolled in college, my goals changed, but were similar in a way. During college, I also worked, so my goals consisted of getting a job with a company that could provide an opportunity for me to apply my degree. In effort to achieve this, I had to:
The key to my success consists of learning from my failures, staying focused, and living life one goal at a time.
Acknowledge your reality and assess the nature of the situation or circumstances.
We have to learn to accept those things we cannot change, and focus, instead, on how to cope with them daily. Acknowledging the problem helps us deal proactively with less-than-ideal situations and make the best of them.
Here are three practical suggestions that you can apply to help you through challenging times.
Seriously, there are levels to this. I’ve been at the lowest level of #BeStill. There’s been plenty of times where I’ve almost lost my cool. It has taken growth and maturity for me to learn to exercise patience and control. By trial and error, I’ve learned that being reactive doesn’t always get me the outcome I was hoping for. I can’t change or control something that is out of my reach. Sometimes, all it takes is for us to #BeStill while nature takes its course. Whatever is destined for us will be for us. In the meantime, we should focus on the things that we can change, which is striving to be better while our blessing is in the making. When that blessing arrives, we will be in a better state to receive it.
Being still will actually help your momentum.