The off-white wall has a large glass window. Through the window is a room with many plastic and glass boxes, incubators. From inside the room comes muffled beeps and cries. Suddenly, the view changes, and an impossibly small child appears in front of the line of sight. The child squirms slightly, but the tubes and wires hold her tightly. Click. The TV goes dark. I stare at the screen and try to remember back to those days. Days where I was working, working hard just to stay alive. This I believe. I believe in hard work. I believe in doing the very best I can every time. I believe in never giving up.
I do not have memories of those days. Although, I do remember the stories my parents tell. I remember the stories about the first scary days when they did not know what was going to happen. The stories of when the doctors told my parents that my brain was traumatized and that I might not be like other kids. The tales about when we went home, and all the “obstacles” they said I overcame. I do not remember being different. However, I do remember appointments, therapy and sessions. But that was my life. How could I know it was different?
My parents have told me for as long as I can remember to do my very best. They never told me that anything I did “was not good enough” unless it wasn’t my best. There were times when it did not seem like even my best was going to be “good enough”. Like the time in kindergarten, when I kept cutting the heads off the drawings with my scissors. I would be carefully cutting along the line and suddenly I would see that something was wrong. I had cut off an arm, leg, head, hoof or paw and I had no idea why. This actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise. My teachers realized something was wrong. They knew I always did my work the best that I could. We went back to the doctors and the doctors told us that I did not understand things the way other kids did. My teachers, my parents and others started helping me. They helped me during school and after school. All of my teachers helped me stay with my class. They never let me do less than everyone else had to do. Both my parents and teachers never let me accept less than my best. And it worked. My best went from being okay to good enough to very good to excellent. Those first A’s on my report card were a validation of all my hard work. My parents and teachers showed me that I can succeed. They showed me that doing my best, working hard and not giving up are the keys to succeeding.
Sayings like “work hard”, “do your best”, and “never give up” are ubiquitous. But every saying has a root of truth. These clichés’ are never worn out, even though they may look it. When you believe in clichés they become truth. These truths are a testament to my life. I embody them. I believe.
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