Life is not easy.  But there’s a saying that ‘its easier to build strong children that repair broken men’. That is the Gods honest truth. Starting over an rebuilding yourself is no easy task. It’s not impossible, but it takes a level of dedication, discipline and intent that too many people lack. So we have a lot of broken people who could have, should have been provided with the tools to be strong children and therefore already lack the wherewithal to be repaired or to repair themselves.

We are the sum total of the lessons we have learned and the experiences we have had. One of my earliest memories is of five year old me, starting a new school that required me to travel relatively far from home. I was understandably worried as I was moving from a close-knit Kindergarten to a larger Preparatory school. On my first day, my Mother gave me my usual instructions and good-byes but she added ‘If anybody lick yuh, lick dem back’ (Translated: If anybody hit’s you, hit them back). This was unprecedented. My family members were not given to temper or violence but it wasn’t hard to realize that she was very serious. It didn’t take long to figure out why she gave me that charge. Within my first week, a verbal altercation with a class bully escalated to the point where he hit me. After a moment of surprise, I remembered my Mother’s instructions and proceeded to slap him as hard as I could. I expected a fight. I was ready. Instead, he backed down.

For those who have never had such an experience, let me tell you, it’s a level of empowerment and strength that children probably should not have. But it changed my outlook. I was already reading above my grade level and my Father breeds a certain amount of arrogance into his children that lends itself to our stubborn natures and our willingness to question authority. I was now bully-proof as well. It was quickly learned that I was not to be messed with because not only was I willing to defend myself I was willing to take the punishment that was meted out by the teacher as a result. I was willing to defend myself, even if it meant multiple trips to the Principal’s office and as many calls to my Father.

Almost every one of my teachers remembers me, from Kindergarten all through University and man, did a few of my Sunday School teachers dislike me; one actually called me a heathen. I was the one who asked the questions that they couldn’t really answer. I was the one who corrected their grammar and diction and pronunciation. I was the one who showed up to class when I felt like it but still managed to get good grades. Classmates remember me too. Quiet, feisty, out-spoken, stubborn, stuck –up. I’ve carried so many labels in my life I’ve lost track. But I think I’ve finally found the one that sums it up best: Unfuckwithable. A friend from my yoga class shared it with the group and it just felt right. It wasn’t the first I was seeing it, but it was the first time I’d seen the ‘definition’. It’s not a real word, but really, who cares? I might just petition Oxford to add it. What’s most important is that it’s the label I’ve assigned myself. It’s what I’ve decided to be.

I’ve been through some shit. Moderately dysfunctional family, abusive relationship, bad decisions, delayed achievements. And yet, here I am. The people who I interact with, for the most part, have positive things to say about me. I’m making progress towards the goals I’ve set and am confident that I can reach them. I have a small circle of awesome friends who I have never not been able to call on when the need arises. I have a job that pays the bills, a career path in focus and a level of inner peace and well-being that I do not take for granted. I’m not perfect; I don’t have everything I want; I’ve got a lot of work left to do. But I’m aware and that self-awareness has become a superpower, and that superpower has made me unfuckwithable.

Spend some time with yourself. Figure out who you are and decide who you want to be. Then set a plan to bridge that gap.

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