How do you build resilience? In my case, I was born with it. It was a trait woven within my DNA to be strengthened like a muscle throughout my life.
This is a tale of a girl that started her life in a single-wide roach-infested trailer and is telling her story from the c-suite of a luxury hotel company. Come along for a ride of vulnerability and transparency unrelenting. This is life as I lived it.
This is a tale of a girl raised by parents who divorced and remarried each other repeatedly; the love affair was no match for the attraction of their opposing lives. While the love was resilient, the war between the vows was debilitating.
This is a tale of a girl that dropped out of high school in her senior year to get pregnant at seventeen, on purpose. While the act was careless, the pilot light for the inferno had been lit.
This is a slice of a memoir, yet a full dose of resilience and a recipe for independence.
They say you won’t remember the two most impactful days of your life: birth and death. Ironically, there are thousands of less important days in between that you cannot forget.
Lessons of Resilience
Some of the most impactful days of my “early years” were watching my parent’s marriage play out like an episode of “War and Peace.” It would be the first binge-worthy series in my life; unlike a Netflix episode, I paid for it in memories that would stack up like books on shelves of a library that I would refer to for the next 50 years.
The series would always start with him leaving for his next adventure and her for her second job to support us, a resilience in its rawest form. I didn’t know exactly where he had gone or why he left, only that he was gone, and she was never home as she would pick up the pieces for both of us.
My parents would argue a lot; I remember the screaming well; the sound of my Mom’s scream forever lives with me as I would come to know it as a tribal call of the impending escape of my father, as it would play out many more times over my childhood.
Resilience in this chapter of my life would be taught in learning that a relationship can always be put back together, no matter how tattered and torn. The glue, the love, was based on a foundation that believed that if you loved something, set it free, and if it came back, it was meant to be…or not.
Love and life are at odds with one another. Live your life, and the love will come. Living for love will leave you longing.
Lesson learned — Resilience requires a comeback and a tolerance to start over. It does not command perfection; quite the opposite, it is mired in trial and error. The only perfection is in the act of falling flat on your face and picking yourself up again and again.
Lessons of Independence
My first lessons of independence would be taught through the onslaught of babysitters that would come and go. The line-up of strangers considered qualified to watch me was based on availability and less on character. I learned the meaning of skepticism and its range of defining synonyms, from uncertainty to mistrust.
The drop-off was always the worst part. Being brought to someone else’s home, out of your element, would be the first “injury.” Being left with strangers is truly adding “insult to injury” as it tears at the soul of the codependency between mother and child.
I remember the large ornate wooden doors of the babysitter’s home, which would be streaked with my tears as I stood there, begging my mom to return. I felt desperate, a profound emotion for a child.
While I would be left to figure it out for the next few hours, she would soldier ahead on a plight for financial independence, not just for her but us. Independence would become her defense in the following years, never letting her financial guard down, although her love for him would remain resilient.
These lessons would form the list of “ingredients” that, with time, would create a recipe of independence for her and I. Combine a cup of abandonment, skepticism, and separation; the final product is Fierce Independence.
Lesson learned — The only person you can truly rely on is yourself. You must be able to stand on your own first and then with others. It is lonely at the top. Stay on top.
Just a slice of memoir to be revealed lesson by lesson. To be continued…
Life as I live it — L.
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