I grew up in a very small town where everyone knew everyone and the majority of my extended family lived there. I was the youngest of three, my siblings were 6 and 4 years older than I.
I couldn’t go anywhere in town without being known as the granddaughter, cousin, sister or daughter of x,y,z and I was always being compared to who did what in my family…good or bad.
I longed for my own identity and to not be judged for the actions of my siblings, cousins and family.
My freshman year in High School I was invited to attend a Teen Leadership Camp. I wasn’t popular, and we didn’t live on the right side of the tracks and we didn’t have a lot of money so I was excited when I found out that I was chosen.
The kids that I went with from my town all stuck together…I made a choice to make new friends and spent the week soaking in everything from the teachings to the new friendships to just being me.
This was the first time, I ever felt empowered in my life and felt truly accepted for me. That week taught me that there was more to life than the small minded people in my town, it taught me that I had value, and it taught me to not settle in life.
When we got in the car to go home, I was the only one crying…I was sad to leave my new friends and I was sad to go back home, knowing that the person I was at camp would once again be stifled.
I embraced the opportunity and soaked in every little bit of it. In many ways that camp saved me! It helped me to see the good in me, to start looking at life through a different lens and to believe that I had worth and was worthy of so much more.
While that camp is long gone and the memories are blurred and faded, the impact it had on my life still shines brightly.
I have often thought about how I have turned out so differently from the rest of my family…I have often felt like the black sheep of the family, like I just didn’t quiet fit.
Attending camp started with the courage to fill out an application, having someone believe in me enough to provide the scholarship so that I could attend and in turn I learned to believe in myself.
Where in your life have you made what seemed like at the time, a relatively insignificant choice but in fact, that choice had a lasting impact on your life?