When I was in the 7th grade, I was told I would never go to college, be anybody in the world by a school counselor.
I went to a high school where I was told I was a nothing and I blended into the school’s walls.
But what happened was I worked my butt off because I wanted to be a somebody.
I graduated with honors and was accepted into a small college in Boston.
But my drive continued even though I had proved them wrong.
It landed me in the hospital in my first manic episode.
I came back to college and didn’t know if I would ever find my shine. After all, I was now labeled, damaged, broken.
After several attempts to be a normal college student, a campus journalist, an actress, a political junkie, an activist, I dropped out.
I was a failure like my 7th grade counselor had said. I would never find my shine.
Through therapy, I eventually gained my voice back and entered a new school.
Upon graduation day, amidst the accolades and the magna cum laude, the morterboards and the circumstance, I realized that all that I had become was the result of what I had been through. Graduation was a sweet reward but I had not graduated life yet.
Life would throw curve balls too. And I would have to learn how to swerve to catch them, to make meaning and purpose of each one.
I became a mental health advocate and a writer/blogger on mental health. I used my experience and my passion to find my purpose. And I’m shining.
I would say that if you feel lost and labeled, if you are knocked down by the naysayers, get back up, spin around, dance, laugh, and try to find one good thing about your world. I have found one thing leads to another and another. Eventually, after enough trial and error, you will find your voice, your passion, your mission.
This will become your shine.