Plus signs are generally a good thing. Put one behind an A, and you feel a rush of pride. Put one in front of stock market fluctuations, and you’ve earned money. Put one in between two numbers, and suddenly you have more than you started out with.
At 17, I had a plan. A plan that I had envisioned since before I can even clearly remember. Growing up in private prep schools there was an order to life- you worked hard in high school to get into a top college. You graduated from that top college and went onto graduate school, marriage, a house with a white picket fence and kids. In that order. No deviations. No exceptions. Up until that point, the most I’d strayed from “the plan” was getting accepted into Harvard instead of my top choice, Princeton. Obviously, I was on the right track. My life was full of positives. But, there was one positive I wasn’t expecting looming on the horizon.
When I found myself staring at a small, but shockingly pink, plus sign practically screaming at me from the tip of a little white stick, I had a hard time finding anything even remotely positive about the symbol. Suddenly, that positive sign looked far, far worse than any other sign I could think of. That positive started to look more like a negative. Those two little lines subtracting every dream, every aspiration, every vision I had of myself in the near future. Negating life as I knew it.
I thought through all my options. As a modern day woman in the US, I was lucky that I had options to consider. But in the end, I did what was right for me. I decided to have, and keep, my son. Even though I had made my choice, the follow through was still anything but easy. One by one all my life’s positives seemed to fall by the wayside. The negatives piled on as I watched all my friends leave for distant, exclusive colleges, leaving me behind. My relationship with my father (angry about my pregnancy) completely deteriorated to the point where we were no longer on speaking terms, and my mother, although supportive, seemed to look at me like I was not the same person anymore. Although I was now married to my son’s father (whom I loved and who was completely supportive) and I was expecting our first child, I could find no happiness in it. My life, it seemed to me, was now one glaring negative after the other. I had no idea who I was, or where I was headed. That little pink positive sign had stolen my chance at my dream life and with it who I was as a person.
And then my son was born. And everything changed. Or really, nothing changed-except for me. Having my son reawakened my inner Warrior Queen. The spark inside of me that had lay dormant since that fateful day suddenly re-emerged. I realized something that day that I now try to remember always. If you take nothing else from my story, I hope that you can at least take this:
Your mistakes, no matter how big, do not define your life. They refine it.
My pregnancy 5 years ago seemed to me to be the single worst thing to ever happen to me. Now, I see it as the greatest defining moment of my entire life. You are only human. Life will not always go according to your plan. Life will not always be full of positives. Sometimes, there will be situations you face, or mistakes that you make that will seem to “subtract” every positive from your day, your week, your year…. may be even your whole life. But those negatives, big or small, can ever be enough to negate all the positives. Those negatives do change you, yes. But with every mistake-every negative- comes growth, learning and refinement. Your mistakes make you into the woman you are- and the woman you will become. They help to fuel and strengthen your inner Warrior Queen. They shape you into the best “you” that you can be. Changed, but better.
And that, in itself, is the biggest positive of all.
[This blog was written by a friend of mine that I've known since I was 3 years old. She's one of the biggest Warrior Queen's I know and I am beyond HAPPY to introduce her as our newest blogger. I will have her write a little intro on the next one - this piece was just too well written in the beginning to preface it with anything. - Raewyn]