"Mama looked into me and saw something worth believing in long before I believed in my self." ~ Keion Jackson
As a little girl I used to pretend I was a school teacher. I would set up my imaginary classroom in my bedroom, put on a pair of my dad's old army lens-less glasses, some of my mom's high heels and play school. All my dolls and stuffed animals would attend and of course homework was a must. The thing is I had ( still have) a learning disability. I struggled with math and science especially. On the flip side I was very strong in English and history. The truth is I never felt very smart in an actual classroom. But my mom, she always believed in me even when I was threatening to quit. Even though I struggled in math and she was a whiz with numbers, my mom never allowed me to believe I couldn't achieve my dreams. My dad on the other hand was the one who always encouraged me to write even when I misspelled every other word. Together my parents cultivated and supported my dreams and my talents whether I saw them or not.
We all have dreams, a life we imagine for ourselves one day right? OK so maybe you dream of flying to the moon and back again. The reality is we all can't be astronauts, it's true but if you really love math, science and all things space you can be part of the team on the ground. That's exactly how a little girl with learning disabilities, afraid of big numbers is now in a different classroom everyday teaching. How did I get where I am today? Well it wasn't because I thought I was better than anyway else or that I tooted my own horn loud enough. No, the truth is I had to fail many times. I had to learn humility and I had to have faith. Hebrews 11: 1 says, "To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see." See, I knew what I hoped for but I had to step out and take a step of faith. I had to believe even if I couldn't physically see how I was going to get there, I would eventually get there.
Over the last two years my life has come completely full circle. I am writing again and with even more passion than ever before. I've actually gone back to school too. I'm back in the classroom on a full time basis though not as Christina the student. No after all this time I have gone back to school with my own high heels on and a brand new pair of purple glasses. All these years later, I'm Mrs. O the teacher, not Christie, the girl with the learning disability. Getting here hasn't been easy. In fact if someone wrote about the life and times of Mrs. O, a few eyebrows might be raised to be honest. I have been through some pretty awful encounters but I have also experienced some really awesome adventures too. And all those escapades have brought me precisely where I am today, full circle. This is the thing, "I am confident because I can admit who I am, what I've done and love myself for who I've become." So yes the little girl with learning difficulties, afraid of numbers, wearing her daddy's glasses and her mama's high heels grew up to become exactly what she dreamed of..a teacher. The reality is it doesn't matter what other people think, what they say or how they see you. It's not their dream, it's yours. What matters is how you see yourself. What I've learned in the process, as unconventional as I have too, is this, "I have found I was more confident when I stopped trying to be someone else's definition of beautiful and started being my own." (Remington Miller)
Life lesson #104 ~ next chapter please. I'm so ready for this new chapter of my life. I am not only happy, I am exactly where I should be. I am surrounded by family and friends, a job I love, a life I'm proud of and a new found confidence in myself I've fought long and hard for. Yes, I am still nervous when I step into a math and science based classroom. I haven't lost my leaning disabilities but what I have done is learn to rise above them. And thanks to my parents, my hubby, my boys and my closest friends I no longer doubt myself. So my advice to anyone afraid of taking that step of faith, "Just be yourself. Let people see the REAL, imperfect, flawed, quirky, weird, beautiful and magical person that you are." And you know what, your dreams will become a reality.
Next chapter please.