A few months ago I talked to a sports psychologist friend of mine, Hap, he wanted to know more about what goest to my brain when I face so many challenges yet I make no excuses and try even harder to overcome then instead of giving up, that after all is what he is hired to do. The question was is it Nature or Nurture? and I think is a bit of both, when I find myself with an obstacle I dig deep and find a way either over it or around it.
The truth is that the resistance I find now is nothing new, when i was 19 I left home to Japan, i was thrilled with the opportunity, we had no money and this was a great opportunity for me to pay for my university and help my family at the same time. My sister has a baby girl and things where though for us, the town been Catholic didn't take well that my sister was an unwed teen mother, so when the opportunity presented itself I took it with all my heart, where there any risks, you bet, this could have turned into a typical story of a young girl being sold, my family and I knew the risks but we where desperate and they supported my decision to go, we still talk about the moment when I called home to let them know I was safe and indeed there was a real job waiting for me, I worked hard and saved all my money while I worked and went home with enough money to put a down payment on a house in a nice neighborhood and go to school, when I came home however my family started to be harassed, the whole town speculated about how a 19 year old could have bought a house and after a month I left Mexico and never returned, Japan was now my new home.
I worked hard for the next few years to learn Japanese and pass the exams to go to University there, by now two of my siblings where living with me in Tokyo and going to school themselves, by the time word had spread around the word that Japan was experiencing a bubble, I was already fluent and working very successfully, there was just one problem, I didn't get along with other models and actors, I am only 5"3 and not the best looking either so they didn't understand why I was doing well.
Everything came to an end one evening I stopped at a club to meet with friends, when I arrived they weren't there but I recognized some people that waved me to their table, that is the last thing I remember before waking up the next day face down on a pool of my own blood, with blunt force trauma to the head, my front teeth where smash and I couldn't recognized the face on the mirror in the taxi on the way to the hospital, I kept asking the same questions over and over, why? this was early 90's Doctors didn't know about Flunitrazepam being used on drinks so they didn't believe me when I said I had just one drink. I was 23 years old.
There have been many year after that incident, I hardly ever think about it anymore, fortunately the positive memories are the ones that are everlasting, that baby girl that I help raise lives with me, she is 23 and going to Mount Royal College, my brother in Japan just received his MBA and it is expecting his first child, looking around all my siblings and their kids are doing great, what those guys in Japan set out to do, really didn't accomplish.
Every time I hear words that tell me, how dare I, I say, why not, after all, life gives us challenges to encourage growth, instead of being afraid I reach to people that are more corageous than me for inspiration, I stopped by to see my friend Rhonda, she is the director of All For Humanity, the work Rhonda, Linda and Lori do is both amazing and inspiring, I asked if I could dedicate some of my climbs to the kids that they rescue and she agreed, there are three kids in particular that need my help, they are trying to keep them at a school for the blind, she has no idea that this is something that I need as well to give me the strength i will need to keep going when it gets incredible tough.
Rhonda shared some of the pictures of the kids they have helped, there is one girl in particular Emma that I keep with me to remind me that while I will always feel pain for my son, I can turn my feeling into something positive with the right attitude. Here is a picture of Emma when they rescued her and six months later when she was placed in foster care
This is what these courageous women did in only five weeks, is incredible saving many kids lives and with the help of the Government of Ghana trough the department of Social Welfare they are hoping to deinstitutionalize and the closing the orphanages and promote kinship and fostering. Many families in Africa send their children to orphanages because of desperation since they are unable to feed and cloth them.
While I will never feel OK to see my son struggle, at least I can somehow make sense of a lot of the things I went through, maybe they where preparing me to face my life with dignity and hopefully inspire somebody else to do the same, to stop questioning life and launch into action to change it for the better instead. And next time someone asks me again, who am I to think I can do, I can say, who am I not to be, just like my favorite quote that is usually attributed to Nelson Mandela but it's by Marianne Williamson
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”