“Behold, the only thing greater than yourself.” Kunta Kinte (Roots by Alex Haley)
I have always told myself to live without regrets. It is easier said than done. When I do have regrets, I journal about them. I ask myself the important questions, and I often find the root cause for my feelings.
I have the hard conversations with the people that I love. I was talking to my daughter about school, work, love, life and all that comes with being a full-fledged adult woman. I didn’t forget to tell her to dream. I didn’t forget to tell her to guard her heart, and I didn’t forget to tell her to love hard, but smart.
After the conversation, I read a few of my old journals, and I came across a really cool memory. A lot of things happened when I was a senior in high school, things I still am not sure I have healed from. I lost my cousin who was my best friend. We told everyone that we were brother and sister. He was my idol. I loved him. Senior year was the first time I lived with my biological mother. I started a new high school, and I had to decide what to do with my life. I applied to West Point. I will never forget when I got the letter from them to take their admissions exam. I was excited. I read the dictionary every day. I was going, and I was going to be the best female cadet they had ever seen. I even got a letter from my J.R.O.T.C Commander. I was ready. I took the first round of academic tests. I had to do a physical tryout. I will never forget this as long as I live. I couldn’t sleep the night before because I was so excited. I did great until the last part of the test. We had to do a running drill. I was focused. I wanted this. I was going to West Point. I took off like a bat out of hell. I heard my mother’s voice, and I froze. I literally froze. I looked at her, and she looked at me, and the momentum was gone. A month later I got a letter with denial to West Point. I had not thought about that in a long time. If I had to pick a point in my life where I would make a change, it would be that day. I’m not going into detail because it doesn’t matter. What matters is that at that moment there was a shift that changed my life forever. I have tried not to have any other moments like that in my life, but I can think of at least two more.
My message to my daughter is: never freeze. Keep moving even when the road is hard to see. I have told all my children that I never wanted them to be like me. Be better than me. You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room, that is not the goal. Being in the room with people smarter than you who have done what you are striving to do is the goal. Surround yourself with people who push you to be better, who are happy for your success and who can be honest with you no matter what.
The Writer A.K.A. Mommy.