Normally the posts I use here are taken from my weekly columns in the Chicago Defender. I decided to do something different today. Correction: I NEEDED to do something different today. I needed to vent.
I was asked a question after giving a motivational speech recently that I've never been asked before.
"Who are you to talk about overcoming something? What could possible be wrong in your life. You're Nikki Woods!"
Excuse me????? Didn't know I had to show my bullet wounds to prove that I've been through some thangs and qualify me to stand before someone and talk about being successful despite the challenges that life may bring.
That's what I wanted to say. But I didn't. Instead I smiled, took her by the hand and squeezed it. I looked in her eyes and instantly what the problem was. She wasn't mad at me. No, this sister was mad at a life that had dealt her more than her share of bad hands. I understood it because I've been there. More than once and will probably go there again. And having been there, I knew better than to take someone's harsh words personally. 9 times out of 10 it's misdirected.
I also didn't take it personally because it wasn't about me. It was about "Nikki Woods" and all this woman took that to mean. People have probably looked at you and made certain assumptions about what they see on the surface. That doesn't mean they know anything about what's going on inside of you.
I don't think there is anything about me that makes me more qualified than anyone else to talk about "overcoming" difficult situations. I think everyone has overcome something. I'm just know what my talents are. Even the rich, beautiful and talented goes through things. Look at Halle Berry.
It's what you learn from what you've been through.
Life is not about Hills or Valleys - either you're up or you're down - but more like a long stretch of railroad tracks with the good and not so good running side-by-side. Everything is not going to be all good in one minute and then all bad the next. I'm sure you too have experienced that.
I know a lot of people that are trying to navigate some choppy waters, myself included and maybe you are too.
Life is not always like it appears to be. Sometimes it's not even close.
And that's ok. Because it's not all bad. There's a golden light shining somewhere in the murk.
I freely admit that I am emerging from a storm, that left me beautifully broken, stronger in my faith and zeal for life. I also emerge with a lesson. I'm a very private person and tend to become more so when life threatens to overwhelm me; protecting myself with isolation; wrapped in a bow of solitude. I always thought it was easier for me to figure it out, deal with it and then move on. Not so in this situation. On one hand I had my beloved support system throwing me life jacket while the haters were trying to poke more holes in my boat. My natural instinct was to hunker down and ride it out. But through the darkness, through the hail, my golden light was right there just beaming down on me, refusing to be ignored, refusing to be shut out. And for once, I did it differently.
Your support system is there for a reason. I knew that. But what I discovered it that your haters also serve a purpose. In the song Motivation, TI urges the "haters to get on their job" describing them as motivation.
And they are: if you keep them in perspective. I'm used to haters, anyone who is doing anything with their life will have them. If you're in the spotlight - they are automatic. To me, having haters is a very good indication that you're doing something right with your life. And believe me, they are easy to spot. They whisper, gossip, sometimes tell outright lies. They make assumptions, lecture and try to throw monkey wrenches in your good thing. They discourage, manipulate, and preach. In short - they cause unnecessary drama. BUT ... they also build character, strengthen your faith muscle and motivate! They don't mean too. They don't want too. But they do, if you keep them in perspective.
I hardly ever mention "haters". I have too many other things going to on to waste energy on such things. But I thought it was important to at least bring it up once because when you're facing a challenge they seem to converge like a pack of roached when the light goes off. And if you're not firmly planted on your path, they may cause you to falter. They may cause you to take a step back. But rest assured, they do not have the power to stop you.
Special Shout Out to all the "Closet Haters" who seem to think that their cloak of anonymity will shield them from the negative energy that KARMA is guaranteed to always send back their way. Not so, Kemosabi. Not only will it come back, but it returns with twice the strength in which it was sent out.
SMH! (That's "smiling hard" for those of you not up on the internet lingo.) I feel much better now.
I bless all of you on your journey (especially the haters) and thank you for letting me vent.