Have you ever had someone speak truth into your life through one word or a phrase and you can never shake it? That happened to me a few years ago on a hot, hot day in Nashville, Tennessee. The three of us dripped in sweat as we waited in line to eat the deliciousness that is Hattie B’s. While my husband and I got caught up with our friend Julie the conversation was focused around his recovery from not getting into a PhD program, Julie making the big step to move to NYC, and about my progress in sewing. I don’t even think what she was saying was aimed at me, but it hit me and it has never left me. She said, “It’s the people with grit that are successful.” Grit – courage and resolve; strength of character.
Something I remember most about me and my childhood is the repetition of giving up. If something was hard I didn’t want to work for it. If I wasn’t naturally amazing on my first try I just assumed I’d never be any good. It never seemed to occur to little Pamela that all those people she watched around her being really great at things were also working really hard. *head in palm* I think most of my younger years were lived in mediocracy due to fear and laziness. It wasn’t until I got married and watched my husband work his butt off in grad school that I noticed being good at something and working hard for it go hand in hand. In this way, my heart and mind were being prepared for what Julie would say that day.
When we got back to Birmingham I immediately wrote grit on a piece of paper and put it on my sewing desk. There’s nothing I’ve ever been naturally good at (besides smiling, laughing, and hugs), so I finally realized if I really want to be a fashion designer it’s going to be a lot of hard work. Whenever I would get lazy or frustrated I’d find myself repeating in my mind, “You gotta have grit, Pamela.” Slowly I realized I needed to have grit in many areas of my life. Whether it be in my faith, my relationships, my work – I needed to be determined and dedicated to these things. Being the visual person I am, I started wanting grit tattooed on me somewhere, specifically my foot. I told my husband if I want it for a year I’ll get it. I wanted a daily reminder. I read this in a blog post the other day that beautifully summed up why I wanted this tattoo: I wanted to mark that important part of my life permanently on my skin. I wanted that story to remain forever with me. I wanted it to be a reminder of who I was, when I grew older and was no longer that person, as I know we inevitably change.
So grit is my word, the word that has pushed me and been with my during this important time in my life. Is there a word or phrase that you always find yourself coming back to, that makes you strive to be a better person?