Originally spending all my life in Texas, my father became the CEO of Maine Machine Products with a task was to turn the company and make it profitable for sale. My 4th year in New England was the time that my fragile 12 year old self-esteem was completely shattered. I was one of the very first to be tortured by a cyber-bully. Thank you for being a part of my story...
My family's love for football was a constant in our household. My Mom was a former NFL Cheerleader so you know the noise levels and cheering rose to new heights! You and the Patriots became a bright light in my life. My father taught me the game but most importantly he showed me the values of winning, losing and all the tiny moments of the journey that very few ever shine a light of value upon. My bullying experience paled in comparison to the scrutiny you've experienced along your journey but somehow the relation is real.
During my middle school years the social media platform MYSpace was the popular go-to connection for my age/generation. During the course of an entire year, what I experienced online and in person was nothing short of pure psychological warfare. The online space became a haven for young and old to deliver hate in the most public setting. As a young girl experiencing the toxic waste, I felt traumatized and lost most of my self-esteem, aka "Girl Power". The feeling of being under a microscope, being dissected and judged regardless of the truth can only be described as drowning. My amazing parents' unwavering support helped close that gap but much of me remained broken for quite some time. Watching you play football gave us time as a family to escape the negativity that haunted me daily. We watched you win, sometimes lose and many times become champions. My Dad and Mom also helped me understand the journey and the dedication that it takes to become the G-O-A-T. There's a reason there are only a few...and there's a reason that many will try their best to tear you down. My GOAT story became possible because of those who empowered me and you are one of those who today remain an inspiration that reminds me to ignore the negative "noise". Fun fact: My Dad predicted that you would be one of the best that ever played the game. He saw the talent but he also saw the character and humility in your mindset.
My father completed the turn around at Maine Machine and our journey brought us back to Texas. At age fifteen, during my freshman year of high school, my acting coach Cylk Cozart and I were discussing my cyber-bullying experience in Maine and how there are so many girls who are losing their self-worth due to social media/judgement/hate. I have said many times that something has to be done and Cylk said to me, "Well, why don't YOU do something about it?" If you don’t try, you don’t succeed. My parents helped me create my non-profit Girls Above Society. I'm celebrating 12 years and have empowered over 10,000 girls in the U.S. and Africa with my GIRL TALK Curriculums. This is where the family football games watching you and The Patriots play gets good…Watching you experience disappointment and frustration and the humility you bring to the table alongside your peers and teammates taught me that all those winning moments were a compilation of struggles, extra work and defeats. The core needs fuel. The takeaway from all the uphill battles only become clear when victory prevails. The thrill of victory is like a 5000 word essay. I have also watched you win, break records and become a champion...a G-O-A-T who always gives credit to those who helped/supported you along the journey. It's easy to place judgement, especially when all we see is a tiny glimpse of someone else's life. Oftentimes those glimpses are what the media dictates. Reality is loosely defined. Watching the games became life lessons for me even though I’m absolutely certain I didn’t understand each and every play. I do know that if I can just keep reaching for that 1st down, I’ll get the TD. And I I don’t, I’ll kick, punt, fumble or change lanes but one thing's for certain... I’ll keep moving forward. I’ll keep inspiring and I’ll be the best version of myself despite what the media dictates.
Before your retirement, My Mom and I would chat on the phone and discuss the game. She always had a great life takeaway lesson to share. Your journey is for everyone to see...the good and the bad...Know that you inspire me to continue down my path despite the tackles and injuries. I thank you for sharing your journey and defining yourself authentically.
Always cheering you on,