“Embrace your experience to empower and engage”
Have you ever had a conversation with a child, where you say something that they find overwhelmingly profound? This was how the name of this tribute was created: out of a conversation with my beautiful daughter, who has a powerful and remarkable story of rising about adverse situations of her own.
I must admit the love of my life and our children bring out the best and the crazy, silly Caribbean in me. I often give a life lesson, quote, or make a statement that gets their tummies hurting in resounding laughter. I was having my daily conversation with our daughter as she walked across her college campus to class. During our conversation, my life came up as a topic of conversation; my style of clothing, our new home in the valley, and how much she appreciates how her dad takes care of me. As always, in my native dialect, I had a response, and without a beat, my response was, “my life is my life” This started a hilarious round of laughter between both of us. She then said, “Mom, you are golden, that one’s for the books, can I have it tattooed on my arm?” I said, “Girl bye!”
That morning’s conversation led me into a time of meditating on the fact that my life is truly my life: the good, the bad, the hurt, the pain, and everything in between. For some, me included, conversations are most often easier to verbalize than having to write out your thoughts and feelings. It is common to be asked to tell someone about yourself. More often than not, that person only desires to hear about the good things, and we in return only care to mention and tell about the good things that have and are happening in our lives. So, let’s examine the meaning of the statement, “My life is my life!”.
For the past eight years or so, I had grown silent and made a conscious effort to not openly share the whole reality that was my life, only sharing with friends who knew of my past and in environments where I felt safe and comfortable. I can’t be silent anymore, last week’s writing was not easy to document, especially knowing that you’re about to share your scars with people you are not familiar with. But, I am so blessed to have an amazing support system- my family and the few who are in my inner circle. I am so very grateful for them but I’m most grateful for my husband. God gave me the gift of my husband when I saw everything in the world dark and useless. He’s never left my side, he remained close when I was broken, he remained close when I needed space to heal and he didn’t try to “fix me.” He remained close when I trusted no one. He remained close and showed me and our children what true unselfish love looked like. He created a safe space for me to say my life is my life.
If we are honest with ourselves, we want to keep the dark things of our lives hidden, pushed deep down in our memory bank. We never find it good or necessary to embrace the messy part of our lives which is ultimately and can become a message of hope to some who are broken and need to know that they are not alone. As I look at my life, I see that God would not have allowed the mess I’ve been through if he didn’t plan to use it as part of my purposed-message. A message purpose to help, a message purpose that can be impactful in the lives of others.
I see “my life is my life” as a movement to embrace, empower, and engage every aspect of your life for “GOOD”. The good which is your life’s story which will become HIStory that He, the Almighty God uses to touch those lives that you come in contact with at any given moment; may it be one, tens, hundreds, or thousands. EMBRACE the life that you have been dealt with/blessed with. Use your life’s experiences to EMPOWER and use the wisdom you have learned through these life’s circumstances to ENGAGE the next time someone asks you, “tell me about yourself”.
This month is domestic violence awareness month and so many are broken and hurt and are desperate for support. I count myself as a survivor, an advocate to lift up and support. I’ve been beaten – I’ve been raped – I’ve been bruised – I’ve been broken! But with great adversity and a fight to be better for myself and my children I’ve taken back my life and have Embraced, Empowered, and Engaged. Many times, although at times reluctantly, when I’m asked “tell me about yourself” I tell my story. Today, I count my life as that of a Phoenix, I was buried in the ashes of pain, hurt and rejection, yet I rise. Today you can rise, and you can rise stronger!
A tribute to those who are victims of domestic violence, there is a better life for you!
A tribute to those who were victims of domestic violence, keep pressing forward!
A tribute to those who we’ve lost at the hands of a domestic violence abuser. May you forever be remembered!
– Samantha N. Barber
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, please seek help through one of the many organizations providing assistance in the DMV area: