When I began THE JOURNEY four weeks and four blogs ago I wrote that among the many things I wanted to do during this year was "...to re-examine my life and find a depth, a significance, a beauty that I may not have noticed...or discounted"
For too long I limited myself by measuring my potential by what other people thought I could do. It took some deep God Moments and a few years to realize that there was a potential in me that circumstances could not bury.
In my growing up years, for reasons of their own, my folks moved all the time. I lost count of the schools I went to. One time we moved to somewhere in Indiana. The first day at school I got all my books, made a new friend and excitedly rode the bus home that afternoon to find a truck backed up to the front door. A few hours later off we went to only God remembers where. This happened over and over.
Because of the numbers of schools and unsettled life I found it impossible to learn. Early on I got by because of a good memory and a flair for drama. I would memorize the reading assignments when my grandpa went over them with me the night before. The next day at school I'd rattle off the story word for word, 'reading' and turning the pages in a very convincing manner.
I could even write the letters on a spelling test and get them right. When the teacher said “coffee,” I would carefully take up my pencil and form C O F F E E on the page and not have the foggiest notion why those shapes made a word. I continued to fake out a lost number of teachers until the next moving truck showed up.
I eventually taught myself to read while cooking. It must have been my first 'aha moment.' I was 9 years old the day my life changed forever. We were living somewhere in the mountains of West Virginia. I was in the kitchen stirring something on the stove when I glanced up and saw a tin of Hershey Cocoa sitting on a shelf. The letters C O C O A jumped out at me from the can and it clicked...letters have sounds...sounds create words! Who knew? I sure didn’t, but from then on I could read.
From that moment on I read non-stop. I was drawn to books about girls and women following impossible dreams. Joan of Arc heard a voice and led an army...Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross...Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman doctor...all fueled my imagination.
Books anchored my dreams as each move and the years became a blur of memories. I was thirteen when I gave up trying to go to school. We were not going to stay in one place long enough for the truant officer to catch up with me anyway, so what was the point? That marked the end of my formal education.
BUT I could read! Half a century later books are still a passion. I own thousands.
Most people consider me successful because I’ve had four books published, been featured in periodicals and anthologies, written a newspaper column, won writing awards, teach writing classes, and am invited to speak, do workshops, and retreats.
A new friend reminded me this week that the common thread that seems to run through most women is insecurity. I am learning to move past my insecurities...so can you.
As I traveled inward this week God reminded me that my 'success' was no accident...it was an attitude. As a little illiterate Appalachian mountain girl in the 1950’s, I caught a glimpse of a new and different world. I waded out of the ocean of ignorance onto high ground by reading and believing. I KNOW people can do anything, learn anything and be anything, simply by having a dream and reaching for it.
I am coming to honor the path I have traveled...I am not ashamed of where I came from...I am proud of who I am at this moment.
Ayn Rand said, “Don’t work for my happiness, my brothers—show me yours. Show me that it is possible. Show me your achievement and the knowledge will give me courage for mine.”
I guess that is what I’m doing this week. Have courage. No matter what you start with...you can be a success.
Still feeling limited? Watch this video and go be who you were created to be. As my friend Cindy Juckette said this week...Take The Leap!!