The Purpose of Hurt

Light can only enter through an opening. People who go through trauma are left with open wounds. When we recover from our traumas and prove to be resilient we are enlightened. The trauma happened but now we have experience, wisdom, and insight. Our open wounds allows an opportunity for our new found light to shine through to show others what we have accomplished. Others who are struggling will see our hurt and how we react to it. If we hide our traumas and never share our stories or experience with others than the trauma had no purpose. Once we turn our struggle into an accomplishment then we can help others get through their current struggle. You cant have a testimony without a test.

We are often afraid to open up because of the fear of judgement. There needs to be a change in our society. Society looks down on those who have negative pasts. As much as we like to think that we are non-judgmental, the truth is, we are!

What drives change?  Change does not always come from an organizational level. Change comes from individuals willing to come forward with their stories and break through walls of silence in order to break open doors of freedom. We all have a story. The most prestigious people that we know have a past that they would never want their peers to know. If those who are in leadership always pretend that their life has always been great, then those who are struggling have less motivation to pursue their dreams because they don’t think they will compare to the current leaders.  Transparency is a must in leadership. The song “started from the bottom now were here”  really does prove that point. When you see a strong leader who has accomplished much in life, come forward with a rags to riches story- that will be a huge inspiration.

If you are struggling and broken, you can be helped. However, nobody will know that you need help unless you humble yourself to ask for help. When you acknowledge your vulnerability, people will be able to help you. We all go through periods of struggle and periods of prosperity. At each of those stages in life we have different tasks. When you are prosperous- help others. When you are struggling- accept help. It is a part of life. We will all need help at some point and we will all be able to give help at some point. Participate in the rotation. Build your community. Life is short- but life is good.

http://www.lavitanova.orgIMG_6733

Reslience

Since publishing my book, (Taking Back The Pen- Resiliency Amidst Life’s Predestinated Storyline), many people have asked me where I got my resilience. They have also asked me if I can put into words what it is that makes people resilient. The debate has come up of whether resilience is a trait that a person is born with or if it can be obtained in life.

To start off we need to define RESILIENCE The Mirriam-Webster online dictionary (2010) defines resilience as “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to change or misfortune”. The American heritage online dictionary (2009) defines it as “the ability to recover quickly from illness, depression, change, or misfortune; buoyancy.” These are both great definitions. On a personal level, it is about how we apply these definitions in our lives. I do believe that resiliency is a personality trait as well as a dynamic life process. The ultimate key here is bouncing back and returning to normal life regardless of what happens. The fact that trauma and life changes occur is not what is in question here. We are in an ever-changing world that is full of misfortune. The focus needs to be on what happens after the misfortune. You cannot stay in suffering. Once you move forward past it and you do not let it control your life you have been resilient. The antecedent to resilience is adversity. We will all face the adversity in life. The question is, will we all be able to be RESILIENT?

People who have RESILIENCE as a personality trait will demonstrate effective coping skills master their problems, have positive adaptation and are able to integrate control while adjusting and growing through life events. The key term here is GROWH. When we defeat a trial, we grow as individuals in wisdom and character. Some people CHOOSE To have a depressive mind state when they come in to adverse life events. In any situation we have a choice of how we react. We cant always choose what happens but we can choose our response Resilience has a lot to do with personal choice it stems from ownership of our actions and reactions to life events. We can’t always control our life events but we van control our response. How we interpret the event is key. The events can be either physically, psychologically or emotionally traumatic- sometimes even socially. The cognitive ability to interpret this adversity is found through your worldview. That is a personal thought process. Those with different worldviews respond differently to stressors. It is key to have a high self-expectancy and self-determination and to set goals in life. You need to have positive relationships as an individual. Your social support is key in life. Building community is essential to have a successful life. WHO ARE YOU SURROUNDING YOURSELF WITH?

There are many different groups where we can look at resilience: see where you fall into a category

Children- Building resilience begins as early as childhood. We all started there… Take a glance back to see where your roots began. Many children are born into poverty or have a parent who suffers from mental illness. Many have divorced parents. Some children have a chronic and terminal illness will some suffer from child abuse and neglect. Some children are even born into a homeless family. Resilient children are able to respond diversity by adapting circumstances and can cope and manage these major life problems despite their immeasurable disadvantages in life. It is true and it should be noted that children who have “rough lives” growing up start out with resilience for survival and carry that through later in life. That is why people going through such events are stronger than most. They began to fight these battles early in life. There is a switch in life from surviving to thriving.

Survivors of disasters- In America we have had plenty of disasters in the recent years. Many of these survivors of these disasters were resilient by resolving to live, obtaining food and shelter, maintaining survival strategies, keeping families together and building their community. Social support is CRUCIAL. These people were able to give testimony after they finished the trial. That testimony helps others. Trust in God, family support as well as your friends around you allow you to maintain resilience through these challenges.

Adult population- As we age, health wise, we have a decreased functional status. Our stress level increases, poor living conditions abound and we have faced many negative life events by this time. These changes can be influenced to a more positive outlook by maintaining good quality relationships building community and developing coping strategies. Many people have family support and a large network of friends. The problem comes with broken families that do not have the family support. This population leans more heavily on the friends in the community around them whether it is neighbors or people from church or other social circles. Older adult women and sometimes men have faced sexual abuse either as children or in their early adult years. It is been found that these women have used silence, holding in their thoughts and emotions about it, and internal sense of hope, social support and advocacy and intentional self-care. The biggest attribute here was social support. Those are personal dramatic events that most people don’t know about and the resilience here is internal because the success cannot be physically and publicly weighed against what they have been through in order to fully understand how successful they really are today, compared to where they have been. Many people attribute a spiritual grounding as the main source of help. Having a higher power to lean on that give meaning and purpose of their lives. This is key to purpose and strength of moving forward past adversity

Building Resilience – There are many characteristics of resilient people that can be learned and acquired in life. Having a sense of hope. There’s no such thing as false hope, any hope is a positive thing. Self-efficacy, control (Being able to regain control of the situation and alter the events to the way that you would like them to go), coping, confidence, flexibility, adaptability, sense of coherence, recognizing the skills you possess, and the ability to focus. Cognitive reframing, critical reflection and reconciliation are all strategies to build resilience. THESE ARE ALL ATTAINABLE. So when the question is asked, can anybody obtain resilience or are you born with it? The Answer is, YES, anybody can be resilient, they just have to CHOOSE to be.

The first step is to get back up every time you fall. Nobody will move you forward in life except for yourself, with your own two feet. You can’t fully depend on anybody else. There are social structures that can help you in times of need but community is ever changing. Ultimately you need to move forward on your own and except help when it’s given but when it’s not available be able to handle it on your own. Autonomy! Strength! Resilience!

IMG_0343(

Not All Wounds Are Visible

WHICH MISERY IS WORSE!? You tell me…..comments appreciated…

When you walk past a man in a wheelchair with a disability, the first emotion most have is sympathy. We want to help, we “feel sorry for them”.  We don’t know the story unless we stop and ask. Most times we would rather place money in the pot rather than stopping to ask their story; “Were you like this from birth, Was there an accident”? etc. 

When you walk past a child who is 9 years old acting out n public, the first thing you may think is, ” what is wrong with that child, no respect, somebody needs to put that kid in its place”.  What we don’t think of is that maybe that child is suffering just as much as the person with a disability in the wheelchair. You may have just walked past a child who has only one parent and that parent is never home. the child is left home with siblings and an uncle who repeatedly abuse, rape and torture her. She is starved, she is forced to do drugs, she is too young to understand the difference. She doesn’t have a voice to speak, and she doesn’t have a wheelchair to show her struggle.

When the man in the wheelchair grows older everybody will be there to offer assistance, there are government program to assist in everyday life and there are resources for him. BUT what about the girl who was tortured as a child? She is now grown up. She feels like she doesn’t fit into society. She has no friends, she hangs out in the wrong crowds just to get attention. She constantly blames herself for what she went through. she has no government assistance and no family support. She is ALONE. YET society looks down on her and offers her no help and looks at her as a bad example to the younger generation. The sad part is, in her brain, shnow has a mental disability she has been hurt her whole life and now is unable to trust others. She may never play sports, be active or get into a meaningful relationship not because she has a physical handicap that prevents her but because she has a mental one that does.

I have worked with special needs people and I have worked with PTSD and mental health patients. Each has a different story; One things is consistent= the struggles are different BUT the HURT is the same. the difference is the handicap such as no arms, no legs ; that is visible……the person with mental health issues from beating abused their whole life…those scars are hidden. I have talked to multiple people with physical disabilities; some had deformities from birth , some had an accident and are paralyzed, some were born without an extremity. Ont thing they all had in common when approached with this scenario was, they all agreed that they would trade an extra extremity and continue to live that way in order to save an innocent child from torture.  Nobody is better than another, nobody’s sufferings are more valid. We need to be aware that there is more to a person than the way they compose themselves. there is a story in each of us.

I portray this in my autobiography I recently published to help motivate people; Taking Back The Pen http://www.amazon.com/Taking-Back-The-Pen-Predestinated/dp/0615874436   In the book I use a PTSD war patient example. Two soldiers are blown up by the same bomb. One soldier loses a leg, the other loses half of his brain functioning. They each have a permanent disability and are unable to function. The soldier with the lost leg has an abundance of resources, the one with the brain injury is hidden and nobody sees his disability. THE STRUGGLES ARE DIFFERENT BUT THE HURT IS THE SAME. WE ALL HAVE A STORY!! 

Human Trafficking= Modern Day Slavery==PLEASE SHARE!!!!

traff2I want to shed some light on an issue that most are unaware of. In some cases we just don’t want to see it. Today over 27,000,000 women and children are being enslaved and sold on the black market for sex. This happens all over the world…including your backyard. it happens in the most obvious of places and the girls are taken from open locations such as malls and the sidewalks when they are walking alone.

Definition= Sex trafficking is the exploitation of a person for commercial sexual activity through force, fraud or coercion. Victims of sex trafficking are often forced to engage in prostitution, exotic dancing, or pornography. Children who are exploited for sex are also considered a trafficking victim, even if there is no evident force or coercion. They don’t know better and they are not given a choice.

~~~~~~There are a few different ways this begins. If you have ever noticed missing children ads…as sad as it may be, they may have been picked up and sold into slavery. The FBI and police forces are running undercover operations to try and recover these girls everyday. There are blatant ads on the internet ( the websites of which I will not list if you don’t already know about them). I want to make you aware of this occurrence because slavery used to be predominantly black people in the past and that was brought to light and fixed…..slavery was abolished in our nation 150 years ago but today THERE ARE MORE PEOPLE IN SLAVERY THAN ANY TIME IN OUR HISTORY!!!!!!!!  Today these are women, children, sometimes men and little boys as well as foreigners in many cases.  17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked each year. 40% of human trafficking cases involve children. 76% of interactions with these children begin on the internet. This is happening in broad daylight and people don’t know about it and they don’t know what to do if they find out.

Prostitution= Many people look at the women on the street and look down on them because they are selling their bodies for sex. Well let me tell you…I am based in Detroit and I have done a lot of street work personally and the statistics also show that these women are NOT there by choice. Hence, human trafficking. These women are sent out by their “daddys” or “pimps” and they are told to make between $200-$2000 per night and if they don’t then they will be severely beaten and in some cases killed. these women are brainwashed and fear for their lives. When they come to me on the forensics side of it they sometimes tell me that they are going back because they have no other choice and they cant live any other way. These are not normal scenarios. this is abuse and force. these women and children have been given no other choice and they do it to stay alive. in some cases they do it because their children are being threatened if they don’t make enough money by performing sexual acts. So next time you see prostitution; REMEMBER; this is NOT their choice to do so 90% of the time. I have seen an example of a case by choice–my own mother (I wrote about her in my earlier blogs- she chooses to sell her body for sex to get drugs. nobody forces her, but that is a rare case) Do you honestly think that teenage girls when deciding where to go to college wake up one morning and say “I want to be a prostitute and work the streets when I grow up” NO. These women need help!

PLEASE BE AWARE- If you pass by or see anything that may be suspicious for human trafficking here are some resources:

National human trafficking resource hotline  24hrs/day    1-888-373-7888

National Domestic Violence Hotline-   1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Sexual Abuse Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network      1-800-656- 4673

Suicidal Thoughts- National Suicide prevention Hotline     1-800-273- Talk (8255)

Dating Violence   – National Dating Abuse Helpline      1-866-331-9474

Please Help–HOPE and a FUTURE: PAY IT FORWARD

Please Help--HOPE and a FUTURE: PAY IT FORWARD

As many of you know I published my autobiography this past year. It is a raw, organic story that tells the ugly side of my past with the explanations of how I turned it into success. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, it is available to order online at http://www.amazon.com/Taking-Back-The-Pen-Predestinated/dp/0615874436
IF you have read it, I am asking that rather than letting the book sit on your shelf, please pass it along to somebody in your life you believe can benefit from reading it. I didn’t write it to sell a million copies or for the fame. My intentions in publishing it were to bring hope and change in peoples lives and to inspire those who struggle in life….which is ALL of us. I want to get my story out there so people are not afraid to open up and seek help when needed. everybody has a story! Please pass my story on and continue to love people and appreciate stories because we are all walking through life together.

If you have not ordered it yet, please order one and read it yourself and then pass it on to somebody in your life who you feel may benefit from it