When I take the time to look back and reflect on where I am now in life as opposed to where I was before, I see my journey as a kind of practice session – a period outside the realm of good or bad – a period about growth. It was about doing things, putting myself out there, trying for something new, and understanding that at the end of a hard day, tomorrow will come and it will ask things of me that yesterday never had. My success does not come from living with the results of other people’s thinking, their noise and opinions; it comes from knowing my worth and having the strength to never accept less.
Year Up came into my life in an instant like a tornado that suddenly touched down and it left me scrambling, catching at whatever came near me with both hands. I was afraid that I would be left with less than what I had started out with. When the calm finally set in and I surveyed the landscape, the end result was better than anything that I could have ever imagined. Year Up helped me close some doors because they no longer lead anywhere. It has helped me change the way I think of difficult people and situations – I no longer see them as impediments to growth, but now see them more like sandpaper – there to smooth out and polish my rough edges. Working for this organization alongside my colleagues and with the students has helped me hear my inner voice with greater clarity and live my truth with conviction.
We are made and remade continuously. When I think about this other self that I am creating, this “new Betty”, I pause and wonder if I am creating something new and separate from the old, or if this is really just an act of profound remembrance; like I have been here all along, practicing in the shadows, preparing myself for this very moment.
In closing, there are two things I keep in mind when I find myself searching for meaning and they come from the inspired Maya Angelou and Marianne Williamson:
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” – Marianne Williamson
With these words in mind, I wake up everyday committed to doing what I do and surrounding myself with people who can do what I can’t. Together we will find our way forward.