Black Leader Stories

ROCKI HOWARD Saint Augustine, United States

Living Grown Woman Life

« Only I can change my life, no one can do it for me»

Carol Burnett said: “Only I can change my life, no one can do it for me.” I made the transition from disadvantaged youth to grown woman, one change at a time, one prayer at a time, one decade at a time.

The first two decades of my life I spent hiding and navigating.
By the time I was 18, I had been forced to navigate a mentally ill and physically challenged parent, poverty, sexual assault, molestation, abandonment and a short stint in foster care.
These decades did take away my self-esteem and my ability to formulate a true sense of self.

The next decade was about adjusting and adapting.
By the time I was 23, I was a wife and mother of two. I had ZERO skills in navigating conflict, building lasting, sustainable relationships, managing finances or being a parent. Hell, I didn’t even have a driver’s license.

The fourth decade of my life was about grinding and growing.
My husband and I had two more children. We survived job layoffs, severe financial crises, a miscarriage, postpartum depression, deaths in the family.
Career was no longer just about finding my passion it was about being the sole financial provider for a family of 6 (no pressure).

The fifth decade of my life has been about…well grown-up me.
Forty to me signified that I was grown. I didn’t have to hide or navigate any longer. I had earned the right to be authentically, unapologetically me. I learned what I do well and more about my personal and professional boundaries. I have found my voice as a person.

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