My mother does not like fortune tellers.
She was young. I do not know the exact circumstance or her exact age at the time of her “consultation”, or why she even went, or how she looked or seemed, or what was it that made her voice out, in a question, her one dream: “Will I be able to travel outside of the country?” or what prompted the fortune teller to tell my mother that no, she would not go places. I only know that while my mother was telling me this story many, many years ago, there was still pain in her eyes, and anger, her chin jutting at that defiant angle. The barb – even when it probably was not meant as a barb – had hit home and she could still feel the sting. Even after all the time that had elapsed.
I was told I could not make it, too, but not by a fortune teller.
I was young, maybe 4 or 5. I do not even know why I remember this or if I remember right. An uncle remarked to my mother and to the audience then present (there was a party, I think), that when I grow up, I would just get married. It was a careless sort of a remark, something that you would normally let pass. But somehow, I understood the unspoken – I was a liability – a daughter – and time or education or money should not be spent on me because I will end up the chattel of someone, a man, and at an early age at that. It was maybe the look and the tone that said it that gave me the clue. It reeked of malice.
That was the first time I think that I knew bitter, or that men could be unkind, or that the future can be painted in dark hues and if believed, the dark hues would come to life.
Call it a triumph of the spirit – because my mother did go places, both literally and figuratively, and I was able to change the story that was painted for me.
Others are not as stubborn. They believe or make a life out of what those other people have told them about them.
This is the power of the spoken word. It can fortify (as it had fortified my mother and strengthened her resolve to alter her reality) and it can break down. Looking at the state of the world right now, I am inclined to think these words may not be doing a very good job.
Desiderata, a poem written by Max Ehrmann in the 1920’s, comes to mind:
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
One advise, one truth.
Be gentle with yourself. Because you can (and should). Do not believe what people say especially if they make you hate you, or make you afraid. You and only you are responsible for your reality. You have got to take control. Acknowledge the truth, if there is any, and acknowledge the untruth, if there is any. But in the end, you are answerable to yourself because of what you allow in. Let it be what will build you. A good self-esteem is necessary, absolutely necessary, for the roots of all good things, like happiness and love and wealth, to dig deep into our lives.
You have a right to be here. Other people may not have been kind, or said the wrong word, did not exalt the miracle that is you or worse, expected and cultivated your worst. But you, me – we have a right to be here, we have a purpose, and that purpose can only be beautiful. Let us not believe otherwise.
Yes. The ability to fight back and to overturn a prophecy that is not particularly favorable can be found within. Strength is within. Dreams, after all, or the future, should not be tarried with.
What was it that Napoleon Hill said? Every adversity, every failure and every heartache carries with it the Seed of an equivalent or a greater benefit.