Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Circumstances don't define your life...

In this life, we have choices.True, you didn't get to pick your parents, race, gender (at birth), and some physical features. There are circumstances that you don't get to choose, but you do get to choose how you respond/react to them. That's what Elizabeth Keckly did. Here is something I got off of wikipedia about her:
Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley (February 1818 – May 1907)[1] (sometimes spelled Keckly) [2] was a former slave turned successful seamstress who is most notably known as being Mary Todd Lincoln's personal modiste and confidante, and the author of her autobiography, Behind the Scenes Or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House. Mrs. Keckley utilized her intelligence, keen business savvy, and sewing and design skills to arrange and ultimately buy her freedom (and that of her son George as well), and later enjoyed regular business with the wives of the government elite as her base clientele.After several years in St. Louis, she moved to Washington, D.C. in the spring of 1860. Utilizing both perseverance and an ability to ingratiate herself with those of influence, she was able to distinguish herself among notable women of society in the nation's capitol who sought out her dressmaking skills. Among her clients were Varnia Davis, wife of Jefferson Davis, and Mary Anne Randolph Custis Lee, wife of Robert E. Lee.Keckly's relationship with the President's wife, Mary Todd Lincoln was the most noteworthy as it was distinguished not only by its endurance over time but the nature of the association. A mutual respect and trust was established between the two women and Keckly was not only dressmaker to the First Lady, but an invaluable confidante to Mrs. Lincoln in times of emotional crisis.
That's a general overview of her life. Yes, she was born into slavery. what this brief paragraph didn't tell you is that she was sexually abused at the age of 5. She was forced to take care of an infant at the age of 6. She learned how to sew at a young age, and when the family that owned her got into financial trouble it was her dress making that kept her and 16 other people fed. Yes, she bought her freedom. For her and her son actually. She went trhough a lot to make freedom a reality though.
So here is what you need to think about when you want to complain about your life, your circumstances, or anything else. You were not born into slavery in the 1800s.Yes, there may have been some things that happened to you that were out of your control. The key is to get busy controlling the things that you can. The harder you have it, the more you will appreciate whatever it is you are going through once it is over.
Your circumstances do not define you. They simply show the world who you really are. You can be the type of person to complain and give in, or you can be like Elizabeth Keckly and fight for what you belive in until it becomes a reality!

1 comment:

  1. Nice post and quick black history lesson. It is true indeed that we must not let our circumstances define us. That is something that many people unfortunately have trouble understanding. Thanks Mel. I will share this with others.