Inspirational Quick Speak is a blog that focuses on staying positive, motivated and trying to always see the better half in all situations. Most people only see things in black and white, but I love to waddle through the grey. Yes, it does exist! We experience so much in our lifetime, and even more with the youth of today. Young people who have experienced foster care no longer have to feel like no one understands what it’s like. I do. I’ve seen, I’ve heard, it’s happened to me too. This blog is for me to reach the other youth who are like me, and I like them. We’re in this together! With great trials, there will be tribulations, but staying positive and motivated pushed me to do better and to be better because I already knew what the statistics would label me, so I decided to label myself first!
July 10, 2019
“Sometimes you have to make decisions that will hurt your heart but heal your soul. You can’t make someone be ready for what you’re ready for and you’re also not obligated to wait for them to make up their mind.”
In life, we always want to have control. Control over our lives, our families, our friends, our jobs, over everything. Truth is the only things that we can truly control are ourselves. We often think that suggestions/advice are great tools at changing others, but if they do not want it for themselves, it just simply will not work. The only person that will be frustrated is you, not the other way around because first to change, you must want it.
For instance, with someone wanting to lose/gain weight, they can buy a gym membership and even hire a personal trainer. Unless they have set it in their minds that, they truly want to change, not all the motivation in the world from second and third parties still would be enough motivation. It is the person that endures the grind, the sweat, and the tears. The person will see the results and notice the differences.
In life, we must make decisions that best benefit ourselves. We often think and care too much about how our habits and thoughts and commitments and how they would affect those around us, and this is something you must acknowledge in some cases but in personal development, it is only you that matters. We can take on so many different types of energies from so many different types of personalities that we get confused on what is our own and then self-doubt sets in.
You know how in primary school, we’re told to be kind and gentle to others; why hasn't anyone reminded us that that goes for ourselves until we’ve reached our breaking point and essentially have to start over from breakdowns or self-hurt. I am tired of waiting to fix things AFTER they have gone wrong. I want to prevent sorrow from even happening. We need to stop being so selfless and start being selfish with ourselves to protect our hearts and our minds.
We have to stop trying to hold someone’s hands and stop trying to drag them with their feet firmly planted and set in their ways. People that think that they are perfect and do not need to change are exactly the people we have to selfishly leave behind. They do not want better and if not for themselves, how can they want it for you.
I know you don’t want to leave anyone behind because you can see their “potential”’ however, that is not enough. They too must see it. Here is an analogy; Imagine riding in a boat, perhaps a kayak going down river, and the current is smooth and you can easily maneuver. The opposite of this, relating to trying to force change on someone is equivalent to riding upstream against the current and making it utterly impossible to get there. The tiredness and muscle aches and drained energy is subsequently you trying to help someone see what you see. It does nothing to them but it is physically affecting you. Why do we allow that?
This is also true for life changes that you want to make. I believe in bringing them up to people, but I do not believe in internalizing what critics have to say. Most times, you may run an idea by someone and before you have a chance to finish your thought, they immediately shut it down. At that point, I know that they are only looking at it from one perspective. That it is not possible. Now to whom is not it not possible for? In this life, there really are not any limits, just the point of how hard you are willing to work for what it is that you want. I also believe in taking advice from those who have or are in the position that you are in. That is like giving therapeutic suggestions from someone who does not believe in therapy or minimalizes mental health. Why would you go to them, let alone listen to them?
The moral of this blog is to help you understand that sometimes although scary, we must tread alone. If we want success, whatever you define success to be, sometimes it is just destined for you to experience and that the time wasn’t right for anyone else and they couldn’t see it yet because it was YOUR time to shine. Your time to grow. Your time to change. Your time to experience what life has to bring and then you never know, you may be the person needed to lead that example for others to follow. As much as I want other people to take advantage of the opportunities I have, it just does not work that way. It seemly seems like it fell into my lap..really it did not. It was the way I aligned my life for it to come to me. My daily choices and habits led me in that direction and true someone could have been watching my progress, but overall, it began and ended with me. The journey was mine to capture and for them to watch as I soared. Again, “Sometimes you have to make decisions that will hurt your heart but heal your soul. You can’t make someone be ready for what you’re ready for and you’re also not obligated to wait for them to make up their mind.”
Right now, I am hurting about the relationships I have lost and wish that I could have back, but the thing I must remind myself, is that things happen the way they do for a reason and that must have been for just a season. I made up my mind that I am no longer to fight something that takes all parties to be willing to put back together. I cannot take on a whole load on my own that requires multiple entities to help. I am not the only one in need of change, heck all of us should be changing habits daily. We all have something we need to work on but because I can't force it on someone else. I have chosen to begin and end with myself. It doesn’t leave a good taste in my mouth, my heart feels empty, but I know my soul will prosper because I won't be internally hurting much longer. With time, wounds heal.
From someone who understands,
June 10, 2019
“What is a teacher? I'll tell you: it isn't someone who teaches something, but someone who inspires the student to give of her best in order to discover what she already knows.”
― Paulo Coelho
On June 6 and 7, I had the privilege of going up North to Traverse City for the FSM Higher Education Consortium Retreat with The New Foster Care, Fostering Success Michigan, Wayne State CHAMPS, Western Michigan Sieta Scholars Program, Wayne County Community College SMART Program, U of M Ann Arbor Blavin Scholars, U of M Flint Mpowering My Success, Eastern Michigan MAGIC, Grand Valley Fostering Laker Success, Northwestern Michigan University YourNMC, Washtenaw Community College County REACH, St. Clair Shores Community College, Ferris State Ferris Youth Initiative, and Michigan State FAME programs. Each and every one of these colleges and their affiliated programs all came together to work for you. The “YOU” I am describing is that inner youth inside that knows that there is more to what life has to offer than what it has presented to us. I was honestly expecting to see “higher-ups” and people who were just doing their job sitting around at this meeting. What I did however see, was a room filled with people who genuinely cared for the foster youth of Michigan. The one thing each of these colleges had in common: The greater good of our futures through demonstrating leadership, teamwork, life-skills building and most importantly, mentorship.
In many areas of trauma, whether in care or in “invisible care”, people who have experienced similar trauma as a foster alum but without being in care of the state, the one thing across the board that all of us experienced, is disengagement. Disengagement is defined as being emotionally detached from someone or something; to detach, separate, free, undo, leave or quit. During the retreat, we did a little poll to see why it was that we thought students were likely to become disengaged with peers, authority and from assistance such as from these programs. What we came up with, was a long list of many applicable reasons that child, not just a foster child, would find to be away from what it is that makes us uncomfortable. To name a few: overwhelmed/busy, exposure gaps financially and academically, total independence thinking, fear of judgment and a lack of rapport with anyone else.
Some of us have had to raise siblings and other family as our own, so we feel that we know it all and opt out of a mentor because “I’ve seen and done it all”. Wrong. You’ve just experienced and have knowledge in that one area, there are plenty others. We may have grown up to fast and started early in areas it took our peers years later to catch up, but we did all of this through the max capacity our brains could understand at the time. Most of what we did was for survival. It’s no longer a battle choosing between flight or fight because we will no longer be alone. There are people put in place on this earth whose sole purpose is to look after us and help guide and teach us the proper way to evolve and thrive not just live and survive. Thinking that you don’t need help is a selfish thing to say. You just told yourself that you'd rather suffer and learn everything the hard way. You’ve just said I’ve had a hard life so instead of taking the hand of someone who’s seen more and been through more or at the place I want to be, I’d rather stumble, possibly fall and risk starting all over again just to say...”I did by myself and no one helped me”, That’s perfectly fine and great! But at what expense did that cost you? David O. Mckay said, “True education does not consist merely in the acquiring of a few facts of science, history, literature, or art, but in the development of character.”
This mindset hasn’t proven itself effective when trying to move forward successfully in life. This mindset isn’t good for someone trying to move forward and keep their pain within the two doors we shut it behind. It was okay to use when we felt unsafe in those old environments. Even if you are currently still housed in an area where you feel unsafe, disengaging in the long run will only continue to affect you negatively. Speaking up may seem very unnerving, but it is those who speak that receive. No one can know how truly abused you are or how bad you just need a hug or how much you’ve craved the simplest of accolades. I know it seems like there will never be anyone there who will look out for you and truly wants you to get the very best that you deserve, but truthfully, not every person with authority is looking at you like another number added for this years’ consensus. Finding a mentor was the best thing that happened to me. You don’t even have to have just one. My mentors help me understand the craziness within my life and how to organize, compartmentalize, and prioritize it all. I am so used to being independent and doing everything for myself by myself but having someone support you and help guide you instead of just giving open ended advice. My mentors instead of checking me, they make me check myself. Meaning asking the hard questions. Making me feel secure in my life and the choices that I am choosing to make. If I can’t coherently explain the moves I am trying to make; how can I say that this is what I am “doing”. A plan thought without a foundation is a house waiting to cave. This logic shows within some of your lives. I think it’s about time you’d change. Not because someone told you too, but because you finally can see it within your own eyes.
When we cross over the bridge of wherever we met that person/people that changed our lives, the time we had will end. Not for good, but that is when we grow and move forward to the next best opportunity waiting for us. Take their guidance as a stepping stone or a boost to your next chapter. Having positive healthy relationships and an understanding that relationships can devolve or evolve is always great to remember because just as much as time never stands still and things are constantly changing, time never slows down for anyone. Absorb as much good energy and advice that's along the lifestyle you want and stop trying to be completely independent because there is not a soul on this earth that can honestly say they’ve made it to where they are by themselves. Unless they walked on their own two feet and built everything they used with their own hands and profited by themselves. We all work together some way and when we don't want. It’s best to have someone on your team to cheer you on when you feel like there’s nothing left, to be your pick-me-up on a terrible day, to have a long lasting relationship that is always going to be profitable and not in monetary but in information. Value everything around you and take in as much as you can learn. Never think you know it all because there will always be someone who is more knowledgeable in one area of your many. You can learn from any and every one of all ages. Keep an open mind.
Peer Mentor and Youth Ambassador
Ps: I'M STILL LEARNING EVERYDAY
June 1, 2019
“Forget about willpower. It’s time for why-power. Your choices are only meaningful when you connect them to your desires and dreams. Small, Smart choices + Consistency + Time = Radical Difference.” -----Darren Hardy “The Compound Effect”
We set standards and goals for ourselves and the people we invite into our circles. We set forth plans to execute these goals but along the way we run into many obstacles that help us lose sight of why we even started in the first place. Your “why” is what drives you every single day, whether it’s for financial freedom, a better career, a better life for you and your family. Anything you aim towards needs to have a steady stream of fuel to see it to the end. You will never see a spaceship getting ready for liftoff on a quarter tank of gas. They won’t even make it to the stratosphere, heck maybe not even off the ground. My point is, is that we must keep reminding ourselves of the many reasons that keep us going.
Every single choice you make daily should be to become a better version of you than yesterday. Constantly changing your habits and behaviors will also help reinforce the good doings and keep the standards you set from gradually lowering. Darren Hardy is right! Differences happen through making smart choices consistently, but most importantly, it takes time. You cannot expect big changes to happen expeditiously, but you can however work on small changes that make huge impacts. These impacts aren’t just happening to you. You must realize that everything we do effects not only yourself, but down the chain of command. For example, when you go to McDonalds or a food joint of your choice, automatically you’re bringing profits to the owner after your purchase. Next, you receive that food, now you’re satisfied, but you’ve come across a person of need, however you don’t have the funds because you just spent it on your choice of goods. Now that person is left unsatisfied whilst you and the McDonalds owner are both satisfied. Your actions always impact everyone else.
The thing that separates both is, you have the choice every day to make a better choice than you did a second ago. That’s the beauty of it. You don’t ever have to wait to change daily habits. Basically, what I am trying to get across is that, you have to be conscious of your choices and make sure that you’re accounting for everyone around you. Our choices DO NOT affect only us, and they never have. You all even know that whatever our parents do within their lives comes back to us, good or bad. Furthermore, you MUST NEVER lose sight of why you are fighting. Never forget what shaped and made you into who you are. Your “why-power” should be the strongest, unmoving, unwavering force that drives you even on your lowest days with eyes full of tears. Be strong and keep your eyes on your own Radical Difference.
The Finish Line
May 13, 2019
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” -Lewis B. Smedes
Being a forgiving person isn't as common as we’d see a grudgeful, revenge-ridden person in this society. It’s sad to say, but it is the truth. Most times, people find it hard to forgive, I think based on their own insecurities or based off their own stubbornness. I’m into watching TED Talks on YouTube and this one segment on the brain, and the guest began to explain how when we are upset, a stimulus is then sent around through the systems of our body and to the brain. This stimulus stays stimulated for only 90 seconds; meaning after those 90 seconds, you should feel better and more in a calm state. If you do not, it is because you yourself kept rethinking of this issue, re-stimulating that stimuli. Literally making your own self upset...all over again. Your making yourself a prisoner to dark thoughts and emotions and ultimately, depriving yourself of your natural joy and happiness. It is true that forgiveness is for yourself. “I’m not forgiving you for you, I’m forgiving you for me.” To forgive, means to leave the negativity behind and to move forward; rather that means to create something new or to fix the one you had. Either way, forgiveness means a new beginning. You deserve it. Waddling in the bad only keeps bad company and misery sure loves company. You want a change in your life, well you're it. You're the key to a new life, a happy life, the one you were always entitled too. John Connolly said, “There is a nobility in compassion, a beauty in empathy, and grace in forgiveness.” It took some time for this to resonate with myself as well. It was hard to swallow the pill that was so large in my throat. That pill was named egotistical pride.
The moment I made it my decision to let go of my pride and do what was so needed to be done. I said it and I meant it; I forgive you. Now I won’t lie, initially I didn’t get the response I was hoping for, but then I had to realize that this wasn’t for “you”, it was for me and I don’t need you to accept it because letting go of my anger was enough of a release of tension and the beginning of regaining my happiness. I was no longer carrying that miserable burden anymore. I was starting to look at everything differently. I was able to think about my actions before reacting. I was able to control how I felt and with that, more things stopped bothering me as much or not at all. Forgiveness does something to you in an empowering way. You are taking control and keeping it is the best thing you could do for yourself. You can do no things in life until you take care of yourself first. You can’t wake the kids and get the ready for the day until you’ve done so for yourself. You can’t move forward with your future until you’ve come to grips with your past because those same demons will continue to follow you. No matter how deep and dark that closet it, no matter how many locks you’ve put on the past, and no matter how many times you try to forget; the past is not the past until you learn to forgive it. Stop carrying it around with you. I know your bag is overflown; I know your shoulders are heavy with grief. I know that you are so, so tired and I also know that you have prayed countless times for peace. I want it for you because you are removing the bitter layers to reveal the sweet simple things in life. Stop taking you for granted. Stop putting yourself last. Stop depriving yourself of what you deserve. All of us go through things and all of us experience emotions differently, but what we do with those emotions is what has the lasting effect forever. Forgive. Forget. Move on.
April 12, 2019
“We fear doing too little when we should do more. Then atone by doing too much, when perhaps we should do less.” -- Robert Trout
In my young years throughout my young adult life, I have too often second guessed myself. On love, relation/friendships, school assignments, and my emotions. I hated that I never knew what I wanted out of the world, so how could I know what I wanted out of myself. The thing was, I over think everything, no matter how minute it may seem. I want to account for every possibility. I am known by asking hypothetical “what-if’s” because...you never know. When I was in the system, I felt like my voice was taken from me. I felt like it was supposed to be asked for, but not knowing that as an American citizen, I am owed that right under the 1st constitutional amendment; yet I didn’t feel like that applied to me. Although at any age, it does. My voice was so sheepish, and people mistook it for me being shy; when in reality, I was deprived of it.
It seemed to not matter to my family, my friends, faculty, and it really felt like the workers too were all a part of this massive schema to deprive me of something I would later grasp ahold of so tight, that the next person would think twice before they tried to steal it away again. I was a child so scared, so lost and so feeble that I took to writing stories and poetry. This is where I began to track the pieces of my puzzle to put them back together so that I may use it.
In society, we see things, we know things, we’ve done things that we may not be proud of. Everyone can attest to that. We will sometimes just stand aside, watching it all go down because if I do nothing, then I’m not an accomplice, but if I do something, I’m standing for a cause, but at what cost? Our voices are just as if not more powerful than our fists and our weapons of choice. We share countless videos and pictures on the internet, but we only screenshot and keep the personal relatable optimistic treasures to ourselves. This is when we’re doing too little. Then we atone by doing too much, by exercising our right, but from behind the keys of a keyboard in hate. We rally up and protest to ears that aren’t always willing to listen; however, this may upset us, but control is the best revenge you could uphold.
You win when you can speak and defend less but you’ve been heard like the mighty roar of a lion. You win when you can remember that it is you who has the power to change views. You win when you trust yourself and trust the journey you are on. You win when you stop second guessing the life you had been preparing each day for. You win when you...STOP; Ground yourself, breath in the air, listen to your surroundings and become one within yourself and nature. This isn't just something you can apply to one thing and that’s it; apply it everywhere. When you gain that control, you gain trust in you. Trusting yourself eliminates overthinking that leads to over/under-doings.
Cleanse your heart and open your mind. You got this,
April 5, 2019
“It’s not about perfect. It’s about effort. And when you implement that effort into your life...Every single day, that’s where transformation happens. That’s how change occurs. Keep going. Remember why you started.”
We often love putting ourselves in the middle of many things just to feel full, to feel grounded. But when we put on that load, we also forget that we must begin each task in order to lessen the burden and amount that we have on our backs to move on to the next one and so forth. As foster youth, I believe that for most of us, we are used to holding on to so much that we get lost within them and forget who we are and where we want to be/go. We’re all familiar with our friend procrastination.
Procrastination isn’t just in school, it’s at work and even in our home/social lives. I know there were many dates and plans to hang out with the girls or to grab a drink with the guys, but you never actually got around to even opening your front door. When we notice those moments where we feel like we don’t want to or don’t feel like it, we must shrug it off. That little voice is what has kept you centered in distress for so long. That voice is what was holding you back from the bring dreams that you once swore you would conquer.
The best part about procrastination though, is that you always have another chance to turn it around and finish what it is you’ve already began to begin. You are the only person who has control over where you go in life. Don’t ever let your past get in the way of planning or beginning your future. Don’t let someone who was never rooting for you, pull you down. Even yourself. You CAN do this! Every day is a new chance to get back on track. With each breath you inhale, with every second that ticks at every minute to every hour, remind yourself that you can turn it around right now. You can start from scratch or you can even finally say “GO!” Since you’ve been patiently waiting at “Get mark, Get set...” You’ve been waiting on approval from someone else. You are the only approval you need. Dust your hands and knees, stand up straight with your head tilted to the sky with your dream on your mind and success on your heart.
About Gabriella M.:
Gabriella is currently pursuing her degree in Mortuary Sciences at Wayne State University. She chose this degree because of her fascination with human anatomy since childhood! She is currently a student participating in the CHAMPS Program (Champions Aspiring to Make Pathways to Success) at Wayne State.
“CHAMPS truly did lead me into this current direction. I’ve received so much help through CHAMPS, from housing assistance to career goals, to just about any type of advice you need in any area. If they can’t help you, they’ll lead you into the right direction. I am just so thankful for the opportunities they have also helped me reach, such as speaking at Kid’s Speak and Michigan’s Children event speaking in front of Michigan’s legislature.” Gabriella M.
Gabriella describes herself as an African American young woman pursing her goals and aspirations with continuous perseverance, hope, trust, love and faith within herself. Gabriella is a leader, innovator, advocate and proud to be a TNFC Youth Leader Ambassador!
Fostering Success Michigan is a program of The New Foster Care that aims to increase access and success in higher education and post-college careers for youth with experience in foster care. Learn how you can contribute to building a holistic network that insulates (i.e., strengthens protective factors and reduces risks) the education to career "pipeline."Make a Donation