Life changes are expected and unavoidable. We enter into the world helpless, totally dependent on others for our survival. We transition into tumbling toddlers, gradually asserting our independence, (let’s skip those awkward middle school years), before becoming defiant teens and then “real adults.” At this point everything we thought we knew to be true is challenged and we feel completely lost at least once.
Through these transitions we are exposed to new experiences and stimuli at a faster pace than we can even process. Life happens, plans change, and we learn that we do not fully have control of our destiny and have to “go with the flow.” The first time I realized my desire for control was fruitless was when I was in the second grade. I was ripped away, yes ripped, from my best childhood friend. I imagined chaining myself to her living room rocking chair to stop the impending move from Maryland to Mississippi. However, after that move and three subsequent others in the next four years change got easier. When subjected to these circumstances, you develop relational survival skills and learn how to make friends fast. As a self avowed introverted-extrovert I struggled with putting myself out there and stuck to my regular game plan. New school - bring a smile, meet the other weirdos, and hopefully bond over our shared interests in Salem witches, Gandhi, or saving the whales.
Without even realizing it, I was pretty true to myself as a child despite unfortunate circumstances. But, like most U.S. female teens, some not so pretty things happened later on and this caused another kind of change. I lost my voice. Losing your voice is arguably one of the worst things to happen, and it is a process in reclaiming it. You re-learn and un-learn more than you ever thought possible. It is so humbling when people who know my story consider me as inspirational. My faith comes first, but here are steps I took in tackling obstacles to re-claim my voice over the last few years.
- Spend time with yourself. Get to know the real you.
- Surround yourself with positive uplifting people who REALLY know you.
- Reconnect with people who fell to the wayside who are good for your soul
- Forgive those who have wronged you. Yeah, it sounds cliche but it is so true.
- Do the things that you love. Treat yo’ self
- Spend time in nature - it does wonders
- Creating healthy boundaries is essential. This can mean gracefully removing yourself from toxic relationships and situations.
Always remember that broken crayons still draw, and you are never limited to the crayon box you originated from.