If you're a follower of my blog, you know that I try my best to focus on the positive. After all, who wants to hang out with a whiner or a perpetual woe-is-me person? Not me. I'd much rather hang with those who can rise above it all ... like the tortoise who ultimately outpaces the hare. But the story of the tortoise has always symbolized for me that 1) challenges and negativity will always exist, and 2) you gotta find a way to use negative experiences to fuel the fortitude needed to stay positive.
If you've been following this blog, you know that I immigrated from Korea at the age of 7. One of the most negative things that ever happened to me at the age of 8 happened in our first home in Bakersfield, California. Blackstone Court, to be exact.
Blackstone Court was a cul-de-sac and our home was my family's pride and joy ... one that we lived in as my parents worked incredibly long hours to make it happen for our family, while my brothers and I worked incredibly hard to bring home good grades. Lazy we were not.
It's hard for me to really even acknowledge that this thing ever happened.
This thing that happened is that one day, our neighbors started shoveling dog poop onto our driveway. I was so confused when I saw it happening. As the neighbors did what they did, they were laughing and making fun of the fact that we were Asian. That's what got me the most. How, I wondered, could an action that was causing me such pain, cause someone else to laugh? It was at that moment that I realized how ignorance can lead to behaviors that are cruel and damaging.
As I saw this happening, and heard the laughing, I could feel this other thing happening within me. I liken it to how perhaps the tortoise felt when the hare was laughing at him and underestimating him.
This thing that happened to me was this fierce determination that clicked on, deep within my entire being, to live a life where I would outpace and out-succeed the hare.
Over the years, I have also learned that as important as it is to succeed, it's also important to try and eradicate ignorance through education and awareness so that cruelty can be prevented. Because the thing is, cruelty sometimes causes people not to become determined to succeed, but convinced to fail.
Are you surprised by this post? I am. I didn't think I'd ever share that story. There are other stories that I could share about experiencing cruelty born out of ignorance. Can't promise if they'll ever come out on this blog ... we'll see. But regardless of the difficult stories we all live through, I still stand by the fact that we need to not allow those experiences to crush us. We need to use those experiences to help us become stronger, help us focus on the positive, become successful, and most importantly, to rise above.