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Eye of the Tiger


“Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.” ~ Christian D. Larson

There I was, sitting in a wheelchair against a hallway of a hospital in Albany Georgia. This is where my story began. We all have extremely defining moments in our lives every day I know for certain. This day is a day that has become the most defining moment of my entire life.

As I am sitting here writing this it is 23 years after that day and I have cultivated so much knowledge on that experience. When back then I had no idea what was going on. I mean one second I was looking down and realizing I had spit rolling out of my mouth for some reason, and I didn’t know who I was and I had no idea where I was, and I could hardly hold my head up. Not to mention I had not a clue I had been in a coma two months of my life from a severe brain injury and could no longer walk. All I know is there was still some spunk and spark in me that said what the hell are you doing sitting in a wheelchair Stephanie? And I remember those feelings and those words coming to my mind as if that day was yesterday. I was going to get up and get myself out of that situation… And I did just that, I got up and hit the floor flat on my face, and then my all-time defining moment happened.

I recall those nurses surrounding me frantically, picking me up. It was an extremely humiliating moment, and today 23 years later. I say confidently it is the most defining moment of my entire life. Because on my knees of that floor on that hospital I made a crucial decision for my life! A decision I have never strayed from since, and that is that I can find the strength inside myself to overcome… No matter what I am being subjected to on the outside, that the inside is what counts. There was a knowing in my soul that spoke to me that day, and I was brave enough to trust in this, and it didn’t steer me wrong… Because it walked me as I knew I could out of those hospital doors.

“When I stand before God at the end of life, I’d hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left & could say, I used everything u gave me.”

That humiliating day instilled an eye of the tiger mentality in my heart. And I can’t say that over these years I haven’t gone through quite a battle with this. I’ve found myself in that competition state of mind many times over the years. Feeling as if I had to compete to win, or I should say compete to prove myself, basically because I haven’t understood any of what I have gone through, and I lost that important piece of Stephanie inside. I never took any time to look back within myself and see what was important. But honestly when I would have those feelings of competition or feelings of unworthiness I can remember vividly also having an epiphany come to me of that little girl in that wheelchair sitting in that hallway and I continue to have that today. I finally realized when this comes there is a greater power working and I lose that competition state of mind and unworthy feeling and I know again just as I did that very humiliating day.

“Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.” ~Maya Angelou

Understanding this knowing, and trusting it has helped me to reach inside again. To take a look inside of me and see what needs healing most, and I have seen this eye of the tiger mentality. I’ve taken a good deep look at it. And I see it has been such a wonderful driver for my life but it has had just as many dark sides too. Making that decision in that hallway was an honorable brilliant choice for this future Stephanie, but when I was blessed enough to walk out of those hospital doors I can see now that I did leave a lot on that floor that day, with my humility.

“Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose, there are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.” ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

That tiger eye mentality blessed me enough to leave that hospital on October 8, 1993, and I left so much behind me that day. I left what I thought was all pain. I left those nights of lying in a bed night after night praying to walk again the next day. I left behind being fed through a feeding tube, I left the pitiful looks I remembered seeing on everyone’s face who saw me, I left the confusion, I left it all and never ever wanted to revisit those emotions again! I wanted my life to be normal, I was a 15-year-old child walking back into a “Normal” world, or so I thought! And here I sit 23 years later more gracious than ever of everything and realize what a blessing it actually was.

“All your past except its beauty is gone, and nothing is left but a Blessing.”

I have by the grace of God been able to recapture, and only through this inward journey, that knowing in my heart again, and I have trusted it. And once again it hasn’t lead me wrong. It has helped me heal and lead me back to that child and all those emotions I walked away from or actually I feel that tiger eye mentality ran away from. But trusting this knowing again has lead me full circle back to that child. To so many other children and people sitting in those confused, anxious, depressed, unknowing what your tomorrow may be states. It has pathed the way to them all with that spunk and spark I had the day I hit my knees on that hospital floor in Albany Georgia, just to prove to each and every one that they have this very same inner strength…

“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.”

To end my entry, I want to share a lesson I have learned through these years… The greatest most fulfilling journey I have ever taken has been within my own soul. It has been there I have found all the answers I have been looking for to all these confusing questions I have carried. I don’t believe in regret, but if there is one thing in my life I would say I do regret it would be that I turned my back on this journey for so long without looking when every sign was in front of me to take a look. The wisest advice I can give to anyone is to always and I mean always pay attention to what speaks to your heart and soul its speaking for so much purpose.
Never Give Up, Never Give In, Never Stop Trying, Never EVER Give Up!!