By Martha Cooper-Hudson
When people look at me, they can see a successful, confident, articulate, well put together woman who has it all by society’s standards — the husband, the children, a beautiful home, the success, etc. What they don’t know is the story and the journey I had to travel to get there.
I was challenged by a very dear friend as she was interviewing me last Thursday for her talk radio show called “Destine to Bloom,” to tell the world about my journey, to open my book and be transparent to let women know that discovering who I AM was a bumpy road that had tons of distractions, bumps, mountains, tears, and failures on it. But because of Jesus, desire, and determination, I am today who he says I AM.
As a little girl who was born and raised in the projects by a single mother who had a sixth grade education, the odds were already stacked against me. I was a girl who was withdrawn and shy because of my speech impediment (severe stutterer). I was a very smart girl who loved to read but ironically no one knew that because I would never read aloud or talk too much because of my peers and classmates who would laugh and make fun of me.
I became more isolated and withdrawn over the years until I reached fourth grade and my life changed. My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Eula Mason-Berry, would make me read out loud even if it took me all day to accomplish that task. She said to me the words that would forever frame my life: “The race is not won by the swift or the fast, but by those who endure until the end” and “Do not ever allow someone else opinion of you to become your reality.” From that day forward, an eaglet was born soon to transform into the eagle I am today, but not without distractions, trials, and failures.
For the next 11 years, my life was full of emotional abuse that came by way of my stepfather — an alcoholic who would tell me and my brother when he was drunk that we would be nothing, have nothing, or never amount to anything. My mother would always combat those words by telling us that we were created for greatness and that we would become the person that God created us to be. It was hard for my subconscious and conscience mind to distinguish the difference between the two, and at one point in my life I believed everything my stepfather said to me because nothing in my life was going right.
Because of my good grades in high school, I was awarded a full academic scholarship to Florida A&M University. Well, that did not last long because I was put on academic suspension due to my failing grades at the end of my freshman year. I returned home to the sounds of “I told you so,” “you will never be anything,” “you will only have a mediocre life” at best, if I was lucky.
I became a rebellious Eagle trapped in a cage that needed to break out. I needed to find a way to break this cycle and discover the I AM … in me. That is when I opened up the No. 1 book in my life, The Bible, and started to read about who I was. I started to read words such as, “I know the plan I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” I became a personal development junkie, reading and speaking only positive things into my life. Not accepting negative words into my life, I started to guard my heart with all diligence, only speaking, seeing, hearing, and imagining the life that I would one day have. I was inspired by books such as “Live Your Dream” and “It’s Not Over Until You Win” by Les Brown, “Think Big” by Dr. Ben Carson, anything by John C. Maxwell, “Hung by the Tongue” and “Think and Grow Rich,” just to name a few.
I left my negative life behind in 1994, when I relocated to a place where I knew no one, and that place was Orangeburg, SC. I enrolled in college, completed both my undergraduate and graduate degree from SCSU by 1999 and made a decision that my past will never, ever keep me from the future I was promised.
From that point on, I was destined to bloom. I started to plant my flowers on good soil, I started to water my world with God’s words and positive people. I removed every bad leaf from my life and because of the good seeds that I have sown and watered, the words that God and I have spoken over my life, my plants and trees are bearing good fruits (a great life, daily blessings, supernatural breakthroughs). These have allowed me to realize that I AM a masterpiece, I AM a woman of greatness, I AM beautiful, I AM strong, I AM confident, I AM a child of God, I AM possible, I AM equipped, I AM inspired, I AM motivated, I AM empowered to become the I AM that I was created to be.
This is why I am so passionate about helping others across the country to discover the I AM within them, through coaching, workshops, seminars, and Women of Greatness events. I challenge each of you to get rid of the negative things that are holding you back, stop moonwalking over your past, and start focusing on your future as you start to discover your I AM.
Join some amazing and awesome women of Beaufort and surrounding areas for our next Classy & Sassy Women Night Out with a Purpose Holiday Extravaganza on December 17 on the Roof Top Loft at the Old Bay Market Place on Bay Street. There will be live jazz music by Greg Whittaker and Kamar, and R&B singer Mahoganee from Atlanta, as well as tons of vendors, great food, networking and empowerment. For tickets, visit www.tastytuesday.eventbrite.com or visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheWomenofGreatness.