I was thirteen, and anxious about the last year of middle school. I began the school year with some really great friends and an English teacher with a lot of spunk. She was a self-proclaimed 24 years old, but was definitely one of the “Golden Girls.” She challenged us to adopt a single phrase, “Quo Vadis.” I, with a twisted facial expression, wondered where the lecture was going. All sorts of questions entered my mind during this first day of class. What type of school year are we in for? This lady was older than some of our grandparents, she was of Lebanese descent, and seemed to be slow moving. I did not see an angle where she could relate to us. However, she was about to provide a room full of black and brown children with a very profound idea. It has stuck with me over twenty years later.
She told us, “Quo Vadis means, ‘Where are you going?’” She charged our minds to think about the direction we wanted for our own lives, and to answer the call with “To Thine Own Self Be True.” She stressed and drilled into to our psyche that our strongest weapon in this life is to be true to ourselves. So, to my lil’ Sisters, I ask you to do the same. Regardless of your circumstances, configure your outlook on life in such a way that your possibilities are endless. Ladies, understand that when you say “Quo Vadis” the next step is to set a goal. Embrace the skills that you have been given and research to discover what roles in life best match your skill set.
When you shout “To Thine Own Self Be True,” believe in yourself and remain steadfast in your pursuit to success. One way to ensure that is by practicing realism. If it helps you comprehend a little more, “KEEP IT REAL!” If you cannot practice realism with yourself, you will walk around defrauding the entire world. Evaluate what you do best and where you lack strength. Avoid setting unrealistic goals because you are building a foundation that only failure can stand on. If you are terrified of animals, do not sign up to be a receptionist in a veterinarian’s office. Fears can be overcome surely, but that probably should not be your first option. Realism also holds you accountable for strengthening the weaknesses we have control over. When we fail to evaluate and correct ourselves, we hold our success back.
For example, I see many women young and old with dreams of own their own beauty salon. They output their creative styles on every head of hair within their reach. However, these entrepreneurial spirits never attend a business seminar, buy a “How-To Book,” or even attend cosmetology school. Only you can fulfill your dreams. No one is going to hand you anything. No matter what my sisters…SPEAK “Quo Vadis,” and ANSWER with “To thine own self be true.”