Monday, September 3, 2012



We all have stories to tell, stories that offer knowledge about the unpredictable journey of life. What more can we to give each other than our story, our truth, our experiences and feelings about our adventure as openly and as honest as we know how?

In my journey I have had many interesting twists and turns. Moving through different stages of life, making and betrayal of friends, knowing my relationship with God and if He is there, emotional and verbal abuse in dating, setting my virtues I want to live by, failures in goals, thyroid health problems, going to college, feeling lonely, cutting losses with negative people in life, sexual molestation by a dear friend, knowing my career path, helping people and most of all learning to love and forgive throughout all of it. 

I know how hard life can be sometimes. Life is not fair and is not easy. When you feel kicked down and alone sometimes life doesn’t stop and pick you up, you have to learn to do it yourself.  There have been times I have felt so alone and I have wondered who I am but in those moments I have bloomed into the person I am today.  I had to taste the bitter to know the sweet. 

I have come to love the person I am. I remember one of my boyfriends in high school would always compare me to other girls saying, ”Why can’t you be like her? Why don’t you dress like her?” At times I felt like I was worthless and not pretty. But throughout the growing pains and feeling shoved down I have come to know that, yes, those girls are beautiful, but I am my own beautiful. I am not going to let someone else say what I am or not. That strength came with time and reflection but it came. I know who I am.

My life has been formed by the quote my mother always told me, “ You never regret doing the right thing.” This goes hand in hand with my favorite quote from Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” With these two things guiding how I reacted to the negativity in my life I have come out conqueror. When people put me down, when I was compared, when I was left out, when I was spat on in middle school I was able to react in a way of love. I can look back in my life and never regret the way I handled things. Instead of lashing out, being catty back or being hurtful I killed people with kindness and rose above. I made the humble change of not wanting to be like the negative people or things in my life. I was going to build the things thrown upon my life and not let it bring me down.  At first this was hard to implement because the natural man is so easy to live by. It would be easy to say something snotty back but it takes courage being kind. My life started to change as I lived by this concept. I was able to see past the bad and try to look for the good. I started to see the connection that we all are struggling. I wanted to serve and help. I was able to be more patient with those who were hurtful and eventually was able to forgive. We all wear masks and when we realize that I think we are able to see the big picture of life and how we treat each other. I filled my life with compassion.  In the end I saw that what you said or did to others said more about you than anything others did or said.

My story has threads of love, hurt, betrayal, joy, support, kindness, forgiveness and mostly growth. Without all of these individual threads I would not be woven into the person I am today. My life has not been easy but looking back I would never take back any of the trials because they have taught me more about myself than any joy could. But more than that I have found that coming to grips with my past has set my future free. The burden I carried for so many years turned my heart to be closed with pain. For many years my feelings made me a prisoner in self-doubt, worry and unnecessary grudges. It is good to leave the burdens of the past behind. When we are going forward, there is no room for the good and the new and the beautiful and the emotional weight of past events. Which weight will you bring with you?

 I stand before you, a woman of today and now, and I am learning to love and live in happiness.  This time it is real. I have learned that I control my own happiness. Many people are seeking for happiness and the harder you search for happiness, the more it seems to elude you. .... Take the power to control your own life. I have learned that as I control what I can be, what I feel about myself I can love myself more. When I found out I had thyroid problems I gained weight, my hair thinned and dried, and I lost who I felt I was. That problem was out of my control but I was able to harness that and soul search into what really mattered about me? What was my core? What mattered most about who I was?  When I seek to be like someone else, if I let someone else dictate who I am, if I let the media dictate my beauty, I will ultimately lose myself. As Marilyn Monroe said, “Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” How true is this statement? I am who I am. No one else is exactly like me. I have a purpose in this life like no one else. I am special. I am beautiful. I am 100% authentically me.  I might not ever be a Miss America. I may not ever be a beautiful movie star. But I know who I am. I am happy with who I have discovered: Cydney Afton.

 I ask that the women of the world look around, take the time to see that within every single person are so many beautiful, and incredible possibilities. Everyone on this earth has amazing potential.  I think sometimes we do not take enough time to see that everyone is fighting their own battle. Every woman is dealing with the same issues you are. We are all having growing pains of knowing who we are in the world, if we are beautiful, if we matter and what we will do. We are all connected in the life trials of women. Let’s engrave that into our hearts so we are all more patient with one another, more understanding and more supportive.  We all know how hard it is to be a woman so why not build instead of compare and break? We all do not want to be alone. Let’s be there for one another. Be the change you want to see in the world. If you wish women were less catty then be less catty yourself. Make the changes in your life and lead by example. I think if women made these humbling changes in their lives there would be less of the differences and hate. Be the friend, the citizen and the woman you want others to be to you. The golden rule is stretched within humanity in all things.  Never give up hope in humanity…. Strive to make it better and more loving. Together I think we all can.

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