[I posted this on my Instagram feed yesterday. I received so many touching and heartfelt responses on the way it spoke to so many people, that I decided to reprint it for you here. Minus the abbreviations and space limitations.]
My #tbt pic brings me a lot of memories. Bad ones.
I was the kid with buckteeth, my mom cut my hair using a bowl on my head, and my clothes were cheap hand-me-downs from my big brother. I detested being poor and made a solemn promise to myself that when I grew up, I would become a millionaire.
I went to school with rich kids. At least they seemed rich to me, because they had their own rooms and their families went on real vacations. My mom was selling Avon all day to raise her three kids, so we couldn’t take vacations. I hated those kids and lived in resentment and jealousy, determined to become wealthy so I could come back and rub it in the faces of all of them.
Then I did become a millionaire. So I started collected exotic cars, buying $50K watches, and all of the things to prove to everyone that I had fuck-you money. (All of the swag shit you see the posers here on Instagram showing, only for me, I really had that stuff.)
But an interesting thing happened in the process…
I picked up some insights and wisdom along the way. I thought I wanted to be rich so I could afford to get my teeth fixed and buy new clothes so other kids wouldn’t make fun of me. And that did drive me at first. But the real reasons I wanted to become wealthy were much deeper.
I did it so my mom would never have to worry about money again. So no one would ever be able to hold me back. So I could make a difference for others.
Why am I telling you all this?
Because you might be the kid with the buckteeth, the kid who didn’t have lunch money, or the one that got bullied. You could be the grownup now, still dealing with insecurity – emotional, financial or both.
Here’s what you should know…
Those kids that ridiculed me, did it out of ignorance and because they were hurting too. Stuff we think is life and death at that age doesn’t actually amount to much. It’s never about if you’re wearing designer jeans or Kmart jeans; what matters is the heart of the person in them.
It’s easy to become bitter, lash out and accept being a victim. Don’t take the bait. No one can hold you back but yourself.
Let being broke, being ridiculed, or being bullied be the fuel that drives you. The first step to helping the poor, downtrodden or exploited is to not be one of them. Decide that you won’t allow anyone to make you a victim, that you will become a victor.
Stop playing small. It’s an insult to the force that created you. To embolden yourself, associate with bold people.
Dream big. If your dreams are not bold, daring, and a little frightening – why bother with them at all?
And when you face challenges – and you will – remember that you’ve got a former scared, bucktoothed broke kid who is in your corner – believing in you and cheering you on!