This Ted Talk is one of the best. Shaka Senghor may be one of the most articulate, insightful people who has committed murder. Yes, I said “murder;” he identifies as a murderer!
Did you watch the video? Do you see him in a positive light? Why or why not? People can make drastic changes in their lives; for some, it can take only one event to cause or inspire change. The purpose of this post is not to debate whether our prison system should be releasing people who have recognized their wrongdoing… The point is to encourage questions: Are your initial perceptions of others often accurate? Do you believe that people can change drastically?
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.” ~Maya Angelou
Here’s another Ted Talk by Billy Johnson; he also committed murder (note this is not a theme, but it is another powerful talk). He is in Donovan Correctional Facility. Billy says there is a light switch in every one of us. He’s right; it is our passion. Mine is sharing my ideas/writing with any who want to read it.
In a different type of change, you can see how I have changed in these images below:
This isn’t one of those blogs where I take a lot of selfies and post them, so if I am posting photos of myself, there’s a reason! lol The changes aren’t just the blond hair and the fact that a (cough cough) couple of decades may have passed. Hey, in my mind, I am going to be 35 forever; don’t try to ruin it for me! lol
Seriously though, while my outside has changed entirely, what’s inside has really changed for the better! I harbored a lot of anger and resentment when I was growing up and I had a temper. I won’t tell you how many years that lasted; it took me a long time to gain control! I didn’t know the meaning of peace and I didn’t have any “tools” to find it because I didn’t even know what to look for. That’s one of the reasons I’m writing this blog; self-control isn’t something we generally learn at home and it is rarely taught in school. In school, you generally just suffer the outcome of bad behavior (detention).
I was doing some modeling back when that first photo above was taken. I had a lot of people telling me that there was something wrong with my body (my breasts were too big and I had acne on my back). It is pretty hard to view yourself in a positive light when you are surrounded by people who are throwing shade! (Yes, I know that is slang; I’m just using the contrast). lol I was already embarrassed being large busted at a young age and having acne on my back. I couldn’t model swimsuits or any clothing that was below the neckline; photos weren’t airbrushed then… you were actually expected to be perfect!
It didn’t help that I was only 5′ 4″ at a time when models were never shorter than 5′ 8″, but some people seemed to think I had a unique enough look to overcome the height deficit, bust abundance and “bacne.” Looking back in retrospect, I should have taken it as a compliment that people in the modeling industry were willing to work with me. I didn’t pursue that career though; my mother thought I was too young and she pulled the plug before I was to be sent to France. I’m certain it was for the best.
I didn’t really begin viewing myself in a positive light until I was about 35 years old, which might be why I like that number so much. I had gained a lot of weight with my pregnancy when I was a lot younger and wasn’t able to shake it, so I was still a plus size at 35, but felt more beautiful than ever. (Note the irony there; when I was petite and modeling, I actually felt ugly). I was finally on the road to serious self-acceptance. It did help that I have never compared myself to anyone else; I just never thought it was necessary since we are all unique.
In this article by Psychology today, there is an interesting paragraph about narcissism, (which is that one step too far in viewing yourself in a positive light). I thought it was fascinating to learn that people with that pathological condition, if watching a video of themselves, always think they were great. Personally, even though I do view myself mostly in a positive light, I never like to watch myself on video or even see myself in photos. I like my own self-image, but I am always keenly aware that there is room for improvement!
Questions for thought: How do you view yourself? Have you found your “light switch?” Do you think other people see you the way you see yourself? Does it matter?
Some of you know from reading a previous blog post that I am a very private person, so it can be challenging for me to be so open in this type of forum. It is part of my growth and my version of seriously “kicking myself out of my comfort zone.”
As always, thank you for taking the time to read!