Nothing has been more inspirational to me than experiencing pain. Be it moments of losing a loved one, rejection, struggling, or falling short- pain has made my skin thick and my armor strong. Many people use pain as an excuse to why they "can't" do this or that; however, my faith in HIM- my belief that we sometimes have to walk through the pain to feel the joy- is what keeps me moving forward when my escalator in life wants to take me backwards.
Nothing is perfect. I can't think of one relationship or experience in my life that has been perfect. With that being said, I can think of many relationships and experiences in my life that are priceless. I can pinpoint the moment that I understood who I am; understood what I wanted to be known for- the footsteps of what I hope to be my legacy. It was the simplest of revelations, which made me a believer that little moments can often turn into some of the biggest moments of your life...
July 1999, I was at Mammo's house. My older cousins wanted to walk to the corner store, and I didn't have a dime to my name. I walked anyways in hopes that one of them would give me a dollar to buy something. When we arrived at the store, we all went inside and I watched as everyone raided the aisles. Candy, chips, soda- you name it and they had it. I stood by the door because I didn't have any money. Everyone got to the register, placed their items on the counter, and begin walking out with their bags. I remember wanting one thing that day: a Mrs. Baird's Apple Pie. They were always on display in the front of the store. As I stood and watched everyone checkout with their items, it became very apparent that no one was going to offer to buy me anything. As we walked back to Mammo's house, I lagged behind watching everyone walk with their bags of goodies. At first, I felt pitiful and angry; I almost began to cry. But, for whatever reason I held back the tears.
When we got back to Mammo's, everyone sat down on the porch and begin to eat their snacks. I didn't say a word- I even pretended to laugh at their jokes as they talked about various things. Finally, one of my cousins asked if I wanted the rest of their chips. For a split second, I could feel myself grow happy. Before I knew it, these exact words came out of my mouth, "No. I'm good." I didn't mean it; had no idea at the time why I even said it. Of course, I wanted the chips. I realized years later that my pride held me back. I didn't earn those chips; they weren't a reward for anything I'd done. They were simply someone else's "sloppy seconds"- "leftovers".
To this day, I refuse to take anyone's seconds. It doesn't anger me not to be given anything, it simply makes me work harder. I didn't know it then, but I realized in the summer of 1999 that you can't expect anyone to feel sorry for you; you can't rely on pity to get ahead. You have to work to have anything, and if you wait on "seconds" and "leftovers" you'll never get ahead.
My cousins may not remember that day, but they will recall that I begun to ask them what "WORK" I could do for them to earn money. Whether it was washing dishes, cleaning the bathroom, or folding clothes- I learned how to work to earn "the all mighty dollar". As silly as it may seem, every now and then I'll go into a store just to buy a Mrs. Baird's Apple Pie. It reminds me that hard work pays off.
It's all about the perception of that experience. I could've wrote this post and changed the whole perception to seem like a victim; as if I were treated poorly. But, that's not the case. My cousins unintentionally taught me that you have to earn your share; your piece of the pie. No one has to hand you anything.
There's no obligation owed to me by anyone. If anything, I'm forever thankful to my struggles- my GROWING PAINS. It takes a lot to break a mindset that accepts hardships, rejection, and falls (not failures) as opportunities to learn- to GROW. Even in the most hopeless of situations, I may shed a tear- I may even collapse in a state of hopelessness for a second- but I will not give-up without TRYING again and again.
There is a fighter within all of us; an inner strength of determination that pulls us through the worst of times. Although it is not ideal to be down and the solution is not always the outcome that we desire, there is a will and a way in every situation; we just have to find the will to find the way. Remember this: GROWING pains are simply pains needed to GROW.