Monday, April 09, 2012

Resilience and Belief

Resilience is a quality ascribed to children who flourish despite difficult circumstances. It's an actual health term, and resilience is more important than people could have imagined. It seems to be the one quality that distinguishes those who crumble, and those who keep holding on for a brighter tomorrow.

I think there also has to be a belief that things just have to get better, and to believe it enough to work at it. Wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, this quality often seems to be perceived by others as being strong, as if it's an inherent quality, when in reality it's just a tenacity to not give up, to not give in, to keep putting one foot in front of the other - to do the actual work of whatever is desired. It's not that it's so much easier for those people, or that they're so much stronger, they just want it (whatever "it" is) and they are willing to work for it. They put in the hours, in the uncomfortable situations, to make something different happen.

I was listening to a Radio Diary today by Claressa Shields, who was the breakout star boxer at the Olympic trials recently. The story captures some of the difficulty of the 16 years of her life from a missing mother, to a father who ends up in jail, to sleeping on her aunt's couch. At the end of her story she says, "I always knew I'd be somebody. I just didn't know who."

I find that incredibly haunting. And a real glimpse at the mindset of a young woman who will make a different kind of life for herself than people might think possible looking at her circumstances.

"I always knew I'd be somebody. I just didn't know who," is a phrase that is going to stay with me. Absolutely brilliant, haunting, and true.
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