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One of my dearest acquaintances was born in China. She was still a little girl when she moved to the United States and at the time, she looked different, sounded different and she was small. Because she was always getting picked on, she was unhappy. To top it off, she’d left behind extended family, aunts and uncles, cousins and ancestors. Helen felt sad in the new country.
In her family, boys were favored over girls because they were to take care of aging parents, they were in a new country where they could become anything they wanted to become. Her brothers did not fully appreciate those opportunities. Helen was not constrained by Chinese customs.
“It isn’t where you came from; it’s where you’re going that counts.”
― Ella Fitzgerald
Helen lived in America and she too could be anything she wanted to be. Helen was creative, somewhat untraditional and found her own opportunities. She became interested in martial arts. It gave her confidence and a sense of self-empowerment. Through effort and diligence, she trained for the Olympics and went on to win a Gold medal.
And that wasn’t the only dream she had.
Since then, Helen has become a stage and film actress, a musician with the group Wednesday Wine and founder and co-owner of the American Institute of Alternative Medicine. The Institute has recently celebrated its 20th year. In addition to her other talents, she has proven to be a gifted painter. She has displayed and sold her work in various spaces around Columbus, Ohio and elsewhere. She has barely reached the middle of her life. (See more about Helen here.)
So, what does that mean for you?
Is it okay to change your life trajectory? It happens all the time. People may have plans for you. They may have spoken things over you or your destiny that you didn’t want. What about your plans? You may have “outside the box” ideas. You may have a vision for a big life. You don’t have to let people talk you down. You don’t have to give away your power by agreeing with other folks’ definition of you.
This is your life. You have the right to pursue your happiness. You must find the strength to live the way you feel called to live and no one can do that but you. You may be facing down heavy opposition; you may be butting your head against tall expectations. What’s in your heart? What makes your soul sing? Are you doing it? Are you even close?
You may realize like I did, that people don’t always get it right, even if they mean well. It wasn’t a terrible thing being an artist, but it wasn’t my passion. When I finally realized it, I had just moved to a new city, with a new relationship, a new circle of influence. When I said out loud, I am a writer, they had no reason to doubt it. A clean slate made transitioning easier for me. How can you start fresh?
I eventually ran into people who knew me as an artist. And even now, after writing seriously for 13 years they resist the idea of my being a writer. They think I will go back. I won’t. I’m certain of who I am even if they aren’t. Life is so short. It’s meant to be fulfilling and enjoyed. I found people who understood my vision for my life and they encouraged me.
What is the song in your heart? Whatever it is, let us hear from you so we can cheer you on!