Richelle is our fierce, tender-hearted Compassion Coach. She’s worked hard, in and out of class, to overcome years of abuse and pain. Here’s her story.
“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!” ~Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa
I have had more than my fair share of a rough life. Of life coming at me and hitting so hard it knocked the wind right out of me. I could tell you story after story of how I got hit and beat up by life.
There was a defining moment when I believe the fighter in me was born. I was 16 years old, by then taller then my 5′ tall mother. I had gained a good amount of muscle from mowing the one-and-a-half acre lawn surrounding our house with a push mower and working in the garden my dad and I had created all summer. So I was much stronger then her, too.
My mother was enraged yet again. She was coming after me to hit me YET AGAIN. Without thinking, I grabbed her wrist as she went to strike me and said very loudly, NO!!
I had never stood up to her. She was stunned. She claimed I was hurting her. But I knew I just had a firm grip on her wrist. I let go and pushed my face in close to hers. And I said very loudly with conviction, IF YOU EVER (expletive) HIT ME AGAIN, I WILL CALL THE COPS AND HAVE YOU LOCKED UP.
She was further stunned and stumbled back away from me. I, too, was very stunned by what I had just done. Standing up to my abuser was something I had dreamed of, but had never had the gumption to do it until then. I cried in my room because I was so confused and elated by what had happened. But from that day forward, she never hit me again.
Since that day, over 30 years later, Life has taken it’s punches and kicks at me. I’ve been knocked down so many times, but I’ve gotten up every time. Sometimes I don’t know why or how. But a beloved counselor of mine told me she saw how resilient I am. When she told me that and started to bring it out in me, during our sessions, my fighting spirit got another major boost. I will always be thankful to her for helping to make me the fighter I still am today.
Life is the toughest opponent we have, friends. It will beat you if you let it. It will mercilessly keep you down if you let it.
But we are tougher. The fierceness of a warrior with the tenderness of a woman’s heart is an unstoppable force. Choosing to fight is what creates resilence. Choosing to not give up is what creates the fighting warrior spirit. Life will knock the wind out of you. But choosing to get up and not letting it keep you down is how you overcome. It’s how you heal.
We must also remember that as brutal as life can be, it is also incredibly beautiful. For as much pain as there is, there is also love. There is also joy. There are relationships. People are worth knowing and loving. People are what we are also fighting for, to show that a warrior can win.
Kindness and compassion is what keeps us coming back. Connection solidifies our resolve. Fight for love and you will always win the day. And ultimately, win at life.