The Little Girl Dreams part 1 and part 2 about the two wise women in my life - have come to fruition. Both of them have paid it forward to the next generation through their wisdom-oxygen, belief, and grace. To dream and make those dreams come true is what they both breathed in me. Their nurturing and encouragement helped shape my life.
Even though at some point in my life, I let fear grip me. I stumbled and stuffed my dreams. I let self doubt take over and "not good enough" dictate my path. I let the "not good enough" tape loop in my mind, far too long.
I struggled in school academically and never felt I measured up. This was the story I was telling myself. I got by just fine. I loved to learn, but my real gift was socializing and connecting! I loved people. Reading, writing, and spelling were a huge struggle for me. It wasn't until 6th grade where it was discovered I actually had a reading problem. This may of been when the door cracked and anxiety and shame slipped in without me understanding what that meant.
I had huge test anxiety ever since I was in elementary school but I couldn't define it. I was a kid! It was just what it was. Whenever a test presented itself, I'd know the answer to the question but getting it from my brain to paper was a struggle. However, when given the chances, I could verbally share the correct answer to the question when asked.
After riding the learning roller coaster in elementary and junior high, I finally landed in High School. I'm so grateful for my HS Biology teacher, Mr. Q for working with me to face this learning challenge head on. After a test paper was handed back to me, I'd wait till after class and would go back to his desk to arrange an appointment to review the test with him. We'd sit in his classroom with a room full of plants of all sorts, bunnies hopping about, lizards, bugs, microscopes, and all the things you'd normally see in a Biology classroom. He'd go over the questions with me and also would add other questions to change things up a bit. I'd answer each question without hesitation. We did this after each test. I knew the correct answers, I just froze when I had to write it down. My HS Math teacher, Mr. M was another teacher that guided me over the hurdles and helped me cross the finish line for the required math credits. (Ugh!) To this day, I can't thank them both enough for believing in me that I could do it and for their wisdom-oxygen. Mr. M would always say, "You're a good kid Bridged, it's just math. It's going to be OK. You got this!" Those simple words were powerful.
Through the years, I've learned to purposefully turn off the "not good enough" tape, let go, and lean into the struggle. You learn through the struggle. You grow from the struggle. It's been a journey. Many times, I've hit the wall, stumbled, and retreated back to hiding under that cloud of self doubt. But it's temporary. It no longer paralyzes me. Instead, I dig deep and choose to reflect on those little girl dreams buried deep inside. They are what is true and real. Those little girl dreams are what shines light in the darkness. Light is where new things begin. "Light creates hope." It's where wisdom-oxygen are breathed into them and are revived. It's where purpose and passion are birthed.
I have dear family (my husband and 3 kids + nieces) and friends (globally) that are educators. They have taught me a great deal about the learning journey as I've aged. We all struggle and in order to grow we must face our fear and meet it head on. It takes courage and determination. Those beautiful conversations with them through the years have helped me embrace my struggle and get to know it, not to be afraid of it. In turn, I hope I may encourage others.
Funny enough, English was the class I always wanted to avoid (Gah!). Fast forward to now. Through my own struggle of reading and writing, I started writing. The writing flint sparked and ignited a little flame. That flame continues to grow. My thoughts fall onto paper (typing on my laptop) one word at time. As one page fills and I moved onto the other, the "not good enough" walls I built around myself have broken down and crumbled. I'll trip on a stone from time to time - but now I can pick up the stone, examine and understand it a bit more clearly. Then, stitch what I've learned into my life quilt. The stone is tossed back onto the ground - instead of lugging it around with me.
I had to find my own way of transportation to get the thoughts out. Writing everything with pen and paper slowed me down. My fingers on a keyboard and the speed of my thoughts clasped and they run together with a perfect rhythm. My true authentic self shines through unafraid, without shame or "not good enough" and I write freely with passion, love, conviction, wisdom, and truth. I've harnessed that free flying adventurous inner little girl with her whimsical curiosity and we are having a blast! Together we are making the dream come to life.
I'm thankful for the wisdom-oxygen, belief, and grace I received from my mom and grandma Fannie. Each have gone to bat for me in my childhood journey. They are shimmering gems that are carefully stitched in that life quilt I will continually refer to.
It's my turn to continue to breathe that wisdom-oxygen, belief, and grace into the next generation and beyond - through voice, heart, and story. One of those ways is reading and writing for my grandchildren. To see through their eyes and witness the wonder of each colorful story page and bounce along the words with them - is a beautiful experience. They are my inspiration.
As I close this 3 part Little Girl Dreams post, I encourage everyone out there to make the conscience decision to choose your words and vocabulary wisely and to not put down, ridicule, or make someone feel less than. Feeling stupid is not a good feeling. Instead, look for the light in those that struggle. Sometimes they are tripping over themselves with the invisible cloud of "not good enough" and desire for someone to come along side to walk with them. That positive connection and wisdom-oxygen will encourage and impact them forever. Trust me, it will.
The garland of words I wrap around my grandchildren today are the same garland of words I wrapped around my own children as they stepped out the door each day, "Be Wise, Use Good Judgement, and Do the Right Thing." I wrap those words around each of you too as you go and make the world a better place.
My friends, I encourage you to release the fear that has gripped and prevented you from making those dreams come true. Face them head on. It doesn't matter how old you are. There will always be obstacles in life, but those obstacles will help you grow, learn, and refine you. You have a whole arena cheering for you. Dig deep and go make those dreams come true.
I believe in you!
All my Love, Bridged