We are always either evolving or standing still. There really is no in between in life.
When standing still, we tell ourselves we are content with life when we really want more. Yet, we aren’t willing to make the shifts needed to reach our greatness so we remain comfortably unhappy and still.
Then one day, for whatever reason, you decide, “I’m tired of living this way!” That’s when the caterpillar comfortably standing still makes the decision to do the hard work to evolve into a butterfly.
Watching this transition happen is a beautiful thing to witness. I was lucky enough to see this happen late in life for my aunt Martha who passed away this week.
She was so gifted but remained comfortably still most of her life. This was the norm for her time as women were expected to stand quietly behind their man. However, it was not until after a conversation we had that I began to see her break out of her comfort zone and live the life she desired.
That same conversation was also pivotal in my own growth. I still can remember sitting in her back room and her casually telling me, “I’m proud of you and that you’ve never been afraid to be heard.”
That comment was like a record screeching moment in my life. It was one of the first times someone said my speaking my truth unapologetically was a strength and not a weakness. I didn’t know how to react to her comment. My self-confidence at the time was nonexistent, so I naturally deflected her comment back to her as if it was a game of ping-pong.
I told my aunt she too could let her voice be heard. She chuckled and told me it was too late for her as she was set in her ways. That was the end of the conversation and we never spoke about it again.
A few months later I started noticing a shift in my aunt. It was amazing to see this newfound spark of confidence. I never got a chance to ask her what shifted in her life, as shortly after her breakthrough she developed Alzheimer. The disease clipped her wings of freedom and she eventually stopped speaking until she passed away this week.
Looking back on that day we had our chat, I realize my aunt probably never knew how that conversation shaped my life. I like to think that day we helped each other grow from caterpillars into beautiful black women not afraid to let our authentic selves shine.
I tell this story to say your breakthrough can come at any age. For my aunt, it came in her late 60s. Late is better than never, but remember, tomorrow is not promised.