Fly.

Anyone that knows me, knows my admiration for the one and only Miss Oprah Winfrey (I even scored tickets to a show for her final season!).

Miss O has changed the lives of countless people around the world. Last fall marked the 30th anniversary of The Oprah Winfrey Show premiere. If there’s one lesson to sum up 25 years of ridiculous hard work, it is that she has instilled in generations that we can be whoever we want to be. She has demonstrated this through her show, her network, and more importantly, through her life.  In a  60 Minutes interview with Mike Wallace, when asked about her talk show going national, her response made my soul tingle.

Ms. Winfrey: “It will do well.”

Mike Wallace: “And if it doesn’t’?”

Ms. Winfrey: “And if it doesn’t, I will still do well. I will do well because I am not defined by a show. Ya know? I think we are defined by the way we treat ourselves and the way we treat other people.”

No matter our past mistakes or failures, we are defined by what we say we are defined by – not what others have to say about us.

I remember one of my favorite Cubs games. They were down 4 runs, but they fought and conquered the New York Mets for a four game sweep. That day, they won their sixth game in a row. Even if you know nothing about professional baseball, chances are have heard of the Cubs and their infamous record of the disappointing their beloved and ridiculously loyal fans. But no matter the reputation, they show up, ready to win. And now, they are currently the defending World Series Champions, clinching that title for the first time in 108 years. Talk about a story of faith and hard work!

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What have you come to do? What is it that you want out of life? There’s more to life than just waking up, paying bills, and dying. Thrive. Prosper. Rise. Fly.

Me against enemies, me against friends. Somehow they both seem to become one.

Nicki Minaj – Fly

No matter who may be against you, you can rise above. No matter who may not support you, you can overcome. There are many times in our life when we feel like we are all alone. The world can feel like this crowded space that still feels empty. It’s difficult when you have dreams, aspirations, ideas, plans, goals, but there is no one who understands. It’s okay. The only revenge one needs to seek is to do what others say is impossible.

Everybody wanna try to box me in
Suffocating every time it locks me in
Painting their own pictures then they crop me in
But I will remain where the top begins
Cause I am not a word, I am not a line
I am not a girl that can ever be defined

Don’t let anyone tell you who you are. Parents, teachers, friends, family, all these people can be the biggest blessings in someone’s life, but even though they want the best for us, they may also be the ones putting the greatest limitations in place. Show the world who you are. Show the world that you will not be defined by what is “normal.” There is no normal. Normal does not exist. There is dismal. There is ordinary. And there is greatness. I have learned that we must first be who we want to be in order to create the life we want. Everything starts with us. Our thoughts, our feelings, our actions, they all lead to creating the person we are, who, in return, creates the life we life.

I hear their criticism loud and clear
That is how I know that the time is near
So we become alive in a time of fear

We live in a world where millions of people make it a habit, hell, some even make a living out of tearing down others. Whether it is another’s appearance, talent, or parenting ability, technology has made it easy to sit in front of a computer screen and anonymously criticize each other without taking any responsibility for those detrimental actions. Criticism is nothing new. And furthermore, the  reason most likely reason behind the attacks is the attacker’s own insecurities. Nevertheless, the fear of these petty insults leaves us all on guard, in one way or another.

It is tough being vulnerable. My friend is currently going through a break up and she is on the dating scene for the first time in almost a decade. It’s scary. She is nearly emotionally paralyzed by the fear of rejection. She is strong. She is beautiful. And I know she will come through this far better than she was before, but it is not going to be an easy journey. No matter if it is finding a new relationship, starting a new job, or having a new baby, stepping out of your comfort zone and stripping down to the layer of vulnerability is terrifying. It is what keeps most of us from chasing our dreams. I know it held me back for years. It wasn’t until I mustered the courage to confide in a friend about this dream, I received the encouragement I needed to move forward. Now, even if there are people out there who want to pick me apart, it is okay. What others think about me is none of my business.

There is no person, place, or thing that defines you. You define you. And what a wonderful definition that can be.

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