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.

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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!

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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

Oh, the places you’ll go!

Whenever I get stalled in life and need to find direction or I lose heart or I feel stuck and alone I refer to my favorite Dr. Seuss book….

Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to great places! You’re off and away! You have brains in your head. Your feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the guy who decide where to go. You’ll look up and down the streets. Look em over with care. About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.” With your head full of brains in your shoes full of feet, you are too smart to go down any not so good street. And you may not find any you’ll want to go down. In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out-of-town. It’s opener there in the wide-open air. Out their things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you. And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. Your start happening too. Oh the places you’ll go! You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sites! You’ll join the high flyers who soar to high heights. You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed. You will pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest……. Except when you don’t. Because, sometimes, you won’t. I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that bang ups and hangups can happen to you. You can get all hung up in a prickly perch and your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a lurch. You’ll come down from the lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a slump. And when you’re in a slump, you’re not in for much fun. Unslumping yourself is not easily done. You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? You dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win? And if you go in, should you turn left or right… Or right and three quarters? Or maybe, not quite? Or go around back and sneak in from behind? Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find, for a mind maker upper to make up his mind. You can get so confused that you’ll start into race down long wiggled roads to break necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdest wild space, headed, I fear toward a most useless place. …..The waiting place…….. For people just waiting. Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a yes or no or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting. Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for when to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting perhaps, for their uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a better break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or another chance. Everyone is just waiting. NO! That’s not for you!!! Somehow you’ll escape All that waiting and staying. You’ll find the right places where boom bands are playing. With banner flip flapping, once more you’ll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winningest winner of all. Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.
Except when I don’t. Because sometimes, they won’t. I’m afraid that sometimes you play lonely games too. Games you can’t win because you’ll play against you. ALL alone! Whether you like it or not, alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot. And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between Hither and Yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on. But on you will go though the weather befoul. I knew ago their enemies prowl. On you will go through the Hakken- Kraks Howl. Onward up many of frightening Creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. On and on you’ll hike. And I know you’ll hike far and Face up to your problems whatever they are. You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You Up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that life is a great balancing act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never makes up your right foot with your left.

And Will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! It’s 98 and 3/4% guaranteed KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!
So… Be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ali van Allen o’shea … Your off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… Get on your way!

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Searching for Siblings: Adoption and Reconnections

Some people have conventional lives, mine is quite the opposite. I have embraced the unconventional life that has been given to me. Each day it gets more and more interesting. Many of you who know me, you have read my book already; Taking Back The Pen.  In the book I wrote about a biological brother that I had met a few years back for the very first time. We both shared the same mother. Our mother was a prostitute and got around the country often. He was born in Florida and I was based in Detroit.  At the time I first met him he was 18 years old and old enough to reach out to his biological siblings.  I was 22 years old.  The first day I met him was when my husband at the time told me that he was seeing somebody else and that our marriage was too far gone and that we needed to file for divorce.  I had been in bed for over 24 hours and I was stuck in a depression. I received a phone call from this biological brother that I had heard about and never met. He said that he was an hour away from where I lived in Detroit. He was very distraught and said that he came up to vacation with his girlfriend and when he got here she left him at a hotel. He was calling me in a dark point of his life where he needed my help and e was ready to meet me. He had never met me so it was hard for him to reach out and ask for my help. I was torn. I wanted to meet him but at the same time my personal life was falling apart. In that moment I got out of bed and went to him. I got to spend quite a few hours with him that day until his adopted family came from Florida to pick him up.  We bonded right from the start and it helped me to get out of my rut and gain an interest in my biological past that I had been removed from.  It was a sure sign of strength to hold back from him what I was going through and be a strong big sister to him when he needed me. A year later I flew down to Florida to visit him and he took me to Disney World for the first time. That was a great time and we got to know each other for the two days that we spent together.  We have kept in touch through the past few years of meeting each other and he just came to Detroit with his adopted mother this past week to stay at my place for a couple days and get to know me and to see where I grew up.

 It was very interesting how alike we were in many different ways even though we have spent our whole lives in two different families. Luckily for him, he was adopted to a great family. I told him how happy I was for him in that aspect because the family I was adopted into was almost as big of a mess as the one I was taken out of.  His adopted mother is a therapist and is the perfect mother for his case.  The things my brother and I  struggle with mentally and emotionally were the same. Our interests, likes and dislikes were very similar as well. There is always the nature vs. nurture debate, but in this case I would have to argue towards the nature end of the argument. We are blood related and have only spent less than 72 hours together and yet we have so much in common. When we spent time together it was as though we grew up our whole lives together.  When I showed him around Detroit  we met random people around the city. Everybody was shocked when they heard our story. It feels like something off of a TV show. 

 I am so glad that I have had the opportunity to connect with my heritage these past few years. For a lot of people the emotion of bringing in the biological history after being adopted is too much to handle. I would highly suggest seeking counsel if you are in my situation and you are looking to connect with your birth family. It is an amazing endeavor but yet it comes with its own struggle. The reality checks come in of, “ who is my real family?”, and “where do I belong?”

I personally have never felt that I belonged anywhere. I have always had a curiosity of where my roots were and who my real family really was. The most stable of a family that I ever had was when I was married. My in-laws were my family for a solid 5 years. Having a stable family is probably what kept me in a failing marriage for so long.

 During the time that I was married my husband’s family would tell me to let my past go and that it wasn’t healthy for me to reconnect with my biological siblings. I am glad that I still pursued meeting them rather than taking their advice. They promised me that even through my marital struggles they would remain my family and be there for me. I was once again abandoned and disappointed when the divorce finalized because they are no part of my life anymore and have dismissed all contact with me. So in my case; my biological seeking of family is all I have right now.

 As of right now I have my half sister (from my dad’s side) in Florida who I am headed to meet at the moment, I also have two 14 year old twin brothers in Florida, (whom I will be going to visit next week), and then my 21 year old brother who just came to visit me.  My mother is in prison at the moment and I will debate if I want to communicate with her again when she gets out in 4 years.  Life is interesting and each day is a new adventure!   If you want to know more of the story my autobiography is available at 

http://www.amazon.com/Taking-Back-The-Pen-Predestinated/dp/0615874436

TOP STORY: I have published my autobiography

I have been working on this for many years and I have had a lot of set backs while writing this book but at the same time an equal amount of motivation to keep moving on with it. I have finally finished it and I self-published through create space. The book is available online.  I will include the link here if you would like to order a copy. This is a story of trials and perseverance though the unconventional events and heartbreak I faced in life . It is the story of how I was dealt a bad hand of cards yet was able to succeed through the rough times. If you know of anybody who is going through a hard time in life and is struggling to move forward or find success in hard circumstances please let them know about this book. This book is meant to encourage motivate and inspire. This is the story of my life. This is a story that has a purpose. Please feel free to come back to my blog and give me your thoughts and opinions or get ahold of me if you want to debrief afterwards. I won’t claim to be an awesome writer, but I will claim to have a GREAT STORY!

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The book is available to order online as a hard copy. Through this link:

http://www.createspace.com/4271634