Yes, I just quoted Eminem. He’s a little hood. I’m a little hood. He comes from nothing. I come from nothing. He dreams big. I dream big. Plus, let’s be honest. Papi is just plain SEXY (don’t judge me). Also, can I say mofo on my blog? Hey, at least I kept it classy and didn’t use the real word. But anyway, let’s not get too far off the path here.
In all seriousness, Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” is one of my all-time favorite pump myself up songs, raps, whatever you want to call it. It’s real. It’s honest. And boy, can I relate. Why? Because I’ve always felt as if I had no option but to succeed, but to work harder than hard, dig deeper than deep. Because if I didn’t? I’d be totally, completely and utterly SCREWED.
Coming from a very low-income family with little formal education and a whole lot of dysfunction, I never had much support growing up like a lot of my peers did. And when I talk about support, I don’t only mean financial support, although money has definitely always been a significant factor in trying to get where I need and want to be. When I talk about lack of support, I also mean a lack of mentorship, of direction, of guidance – all those things I hear folks talking about having; all those questions and situations I’ve always had to answer and navigate for myself.
So growing up broke as an incredibly poorly told joke, things always seemed just a little harder. But I never let that stop me. I’ve worked a million jobs since I was 15, and I’ve always found a way to make it happen. Even if I barely make it, I’ve always made it. I’ve attained an incredible education, and built a pretty descent career and life for myself – full of a lot more progress and HAPPY than I could have ever imagined.
Still, when you start off at a disadvantage, that sucker balls up into the nastiest, meanest snowball you’ve ever seen, and it builds and builds. It builds up so much that even after three degrees, and 28 years of HARD work and hustle, I still find myself in an overwhelming amount of debt (guess that education has something to do with it), and always stressed out about money. I make more than a fair living now, and I am beyond grateful for it, but it can still be hard. I’ve never had anybody to count on in that sense or much help, and I still don’t. It’s just me, and just that can make you feel incredibly alone and overwhelmed at times.
But I keep fighting, every day, because it’s my only option. And in a weird way, especially for the last few years, as I’ve matured into and embraced this amazing lady named Sonia (yes, I just called myself amazing – it’s the greatest love of all, Whitney said so 🙂 ), I am so grateful for the hardships. I’ve always had this insatiable drive and need to do more, do it bigger, make it farther, work a little bit longer, and I’m pretty sure I owe that all to the situations and lack of that I’ve faced throughout my life. I’ve always known that if I don’t do it for myself, I might end up under a bridge (I kid, but not really), and that has driven me to my current success.
But that’s not all. In addition to money issues, there are always people obstacles to fight your way through. You know what I’m talking about. Those people that are constantly trying to put you down and tell you you’re not enough, you can’t do that, you’ll never make it there, you’re not worth it. And for me, unfortunately or maybe fortunately because it’s made so STRONG and such a fighter, that person was and is a very close family member (something I will definitely discuss more at length when I’m ready). Whether in the past or the present, it hurts like hell, and it is something I have to work through every single day, but you know what, I’ve fought through that sucker like a damn Gladiator, and I can stand tall and PROUD. I’ve proven time and time again that I am so much more than I was made to believe I was, and that is what you have to do too.
There will always be people, whether its family, colleagues, or even toxic friends that will try and question your aspirations, slow you down, make you feel like you cannot reach your destination. But you know what I say? Screw that! Always know who you are. Tell yourself as often as you need to. Write it on a damn mirror if you have to. But just keep it moving. And don’t focus so much on proving anything to them; focus on proving it to yourself instead. Nurture that relationship with YOU more than any other, because it’s the only one that you can count on unequivocally, forever, at all times.
If you’re not happy where you live, where you work or with your career, with your friends or your relationship, etc., trust your gut and make a change. Fight through the obstacles – they will only make reaching your goals taste that much sweeter. And always know you’re worth, know your talents and your strengths, know what you have to offer, and make those things work for you. Don’t let critics make you doubt yourself. I know it’s so hard. I still have to work at it too. I’m pretty amazing, but I’m not Superwoman here. Well, maybe on a good day. But anyway, are you catching my drift?
Even if you have been fortunate enough to have a little more help or guidance than I had, even if you have someone or something to fall back on right now, make success your only mofo option (Oops, I did it again. Dang, I think I just quoted Britney). Go out and create your very own, hard earned success. When you encounter “no” and violent opposition, and you will, find a different path, another option, and trust me, you’ll get THERE.
As for me, I’m going to keep chasing these dreams, trusting that I know who I am and that what I have to offer is valuable. No matter what anyone says, I will make it happen. I will keep it moving. I will fight through the bullshit, and I will come out the other side on top, sort of like Bey. Will you join me?
Sonia, Word Share Junkie
P.S. And just as a final little note, I’d like to give a little shout-out, as the kids say, to my friend Gaby who told me today that I’m doing something worthwhile by writing these blogs, and that I have a voice people can relate to. That right there is what’s it’s all about folks. Take your talents, go out into the world, and make a dent. It’s so worth it.