Over the years, I’ve always thought to myself, “why am I here?”. It wasn’t to be a life time soldier in the US Marine Corp, three years was forced sufficient (Mommy said I had to come home and not re-enlist – had to listen to mommy since I had no identity). I thought I would close mortgages for Merrill Lynch, three years was sufficient (considering they relocated to Florida). I suppose I was in that dark hallway searching for a light – you see I lost my identity as a student, and as a soldier. After losing my job as a loan closer for Merrill Lynch I moved further away from the light. During the years I worked for Merrill Lynch I was so full of pride and ego that I actually thought when asked by others, where was I employed, I thought bright blinking lights were shining behind my head – “She’s a Loan Closer at Merrill Lynch – Yes She’s Some BigWig”. I continued to fall into a black hole, I had no guidance, I didn’t know that as I traveled the Bus of Life that I was never alone, but it sure felt like it. Every stop along the way I would find a job and claim that as my identity; the position I had defined who I was. I never looked for a job at a place where I could “belong” or that had a vision that I cared about. I looked for a job that would give me definition by the corporation’s name brand (if you will). When we come across a word we are not familiar with we go to the dictionary, I was unfamiliar with Wendy and never had the gumption to find a “living dictionary” to help me connect the dots of my scattered outline of myself.
Then “he” comes along, looking rather handsome and I fall in love. He proposes, we get married and finally, Wendy is defined. The marriage has now taken away all the guilt of having a child out of wedlock, it has validated that of all the men I was involved with I could become someone’s wife. I could now have a “home”, a father for my child, my mother will now love me and my father will not see me as his little lost girl. Thirteen years later when the marriage fell apart, my “identity” fell apart too, and I literally lost my mind.
It has taken a few years to recover from that pain. Still searching, I asked questions to my friends, family members, and professors, how do I find my purpose, what is my purpose. Clergy folk suggested I pray and ask God what my gift is… gift I’m looking for something a little more than a gift. After achieving 2 Masters degrees I thought this is it, I’m going to New York and get myself a $200K a year job and raise my head higher than my neck and then I will have arrived! Well the story didn’t quite go like that. I went to New York at only $75K and had to leave because I felt the house of cards falling down at home in Connecticut (that was the beginning of the divorce drama). I thought about self-employment, I am the owner of a newly formed consulting company which is still taking shape, in other words, no income!
… One day many years ago I had a conversation with my dad, he said to me, “Wendy when you get up in the morning and have to think twice about going to work, it’s time to go.” Several jobs later I was still searching for that job that I did not have to think twice about or that filled my egotistical needs. At the end of my rope, years had gone by women are CEOs, COOs, VP, etc., etc., I’m still an African American Woman with no purpose, no identity. In 1998 a woman told me I needed to write a book about my life. I thought ok, I started the book, and subsequently I have been given the same message “you should write a book” a hundred times. I was on a phone interview and the employer said to me, “I want to read your book when you finish writing it”, I was floored surely our conversation included nothing about me emotionally only my work ethics and what I thought I could do for the company. Each time I start to write on the book, my life has a sense of purpose (I can still revert to I need to have substantial income), when I’m centered and writing, I feel a sense of calmness and peace within; this overrides the necessity of feeding my ego. Of course, being human I tend to deviate from writing (my primary purpose) and think perhaps I need to verbalize my book – there’s something to be said about obedience…
Have I found my purpose, absolutely! Years ago I started working as a Substitute Teacher in my home state. I told my network of friends what I was about to embark on and their eyebrows raised and they informed me the school, I was going to work in was one of the worst schools in town. The next morning, I rise and go to work, the first hour, I hear every profane word known to man. I was called several names, none of which I will write here, I had doors slammed in my face, I saw fighting, gambling, sexual perversion – you name it and I had 6 hours to go. I was in, hook-line-and sinker, I LOVED it. I reached down inside and pulled my painful experiences up and out and began to talk to the children, I didn’t scream or shout. I made them look me in the eye when they talked to me, I gave them the freedom to ask real life questions and I gave myself some freedom to share some personal information about my Bus Ride through this thing called life. When I met them where they were, they slammed the door open to the possibility that I could be trusted, I would listen and I could hear them. I don’t make 100K or 75K doing this, but I have the most awesome stories to share when I get home. I don’t mind getting up in the morning and I never question is this right for me. Lastly, if I were independently wealthy I would volunteer – that is my definition of Purpose, what do you love doing and would do it for free?
My Purpose is to help guide one through the hallway…