Finding the Value in Change
The third Monday in January is the designated day to honor the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s commitment to values which include, but are certainly not limited to, positive change. Because the day is intended to be a day of service (a “day on, not off”), my daughter and I paid homage by reflecting on his speeches and quotes to identify how our lives are impacted by his legacy and how we’re applying his values to our personal lives.
Using positivity to cope with adversity
I fully acknowledge positivity is effective in coping during adversity and maintaining a healthy outlook in life. One quote, in particular, I find relevant, timely, and accurate to me personally and also attests to Dr. King's characteristics of pride, wisdom, fortitude, endurance, and strength (attributes that I like to think I possess and use in my life):
“You will change your mind; you will change your looks. You will change your smile, laugh, and ways but no matter what you change, you will always be you.”
How I have changed my mind
I used to think life was quite simple. I changed my mind after living, learning and experiencing more. I found that the grass isn't always greener on the other side - it depends on your perception. Sometimes, something doesn't really have to go around to come around - it just happens. Hard work doesn't always pay off - it may be dependent on the circumstances. Life is what you make it - or how hard you work at making it what you want and deserve it to be. I'm proud to have and employ wisdom.
A changed look
I recall my last major haircut created a very drastic changed look for me. I cut my hair down to brush level, or the professional barber term, a ‘Caesar’ cut. I loved it, but after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis a few years later and losing much of the dexterity in my hands a few years after that, I also appreciated it as it's one less thing that I have to do or have someone do for me, so I still happily don the style. I’m glad to be brave enough to so boldly change my look.
Using my inner strength to persevere
Having to withstand poor politics, a legal system which requires reform, unfair societal practices, personal hardships, and a degenerative, chronic disease, it's been necessary to learn how to weather what comes my way. There have been days when I've smiled differently during conflict, but still, I smiled. My laugh may not have been as loud as it was prior to some of my troubles, yet I didn't stop laughing. I may have had to change my way of living due to some of my experiences; nonetheless, I continue to live my life. Like Dr. King, I utilized my innate strength to persevere.
I will always be me
I will always be me: a proud African American woman who also endures an existence with Multiple Sclerosis and the plethora of changes it has brought upon my life. An example, in large part, is my ability to walk which has and continues to dwindle. However, unchanged is my determined, courageous, driven, optimistic march of faith despite my health adversities.
Each of these attributes demonstrates the philosophy of the aforementioned quote and, in addition, a part of the esteemed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s unforgettable legacy, which I'm proud to represent today.
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