Being Who We Are

“To seek, to strive, to find and not to yield” 
Taken from “Ulysses,” a poem in blank verse by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Recently, I found the words above tucked in my high school diploma folder. They were from the my speech given as Salutatorian of my high school class. Those words have formed the underpinning of my life.

I was told as a twelve-year-old that college was not an option and that secretarial school was the best path for me, yet I knew deep inside that was not my destiny. Seeking to rise above the obstacles of my childhood, I put myself through college, ultimately obtaining three degrees that led me to varied careers in the education sector, business world, as a public elected official, and an entrepreneur.

It is said that everyone who is significant in our life has given us a positive attribute as well as a shortcoming. The person who told me that a woman’s place was just to get married and have children was utilizing an old-fashioned value that I knew wasn’t appropriate to me. Thank goodness!

He did, however, give me perseverance, that determination and resolution to follow through on a dream to the exclusion of short-term results. The disadvantage? Well, let’s just say that there is a sense of not being lovable just as I am. This challenge is an ongoing dialogue that filters through my thoughts, inspiring me to rise above and silence the critical influence of my childhood. For me, this new voice is the wellspring that forms the basis of a life well-lived.