The discovery of self-love fueled my life as a young lady. However, my journey to find a strong sense of self was often overshadowed. I grew up as a twin in central Florida, where, in second grade, I was mislabeled by educators as having Slow Learning Disability (SLD). I believe I am actually analytical, always questioning the process of things, but instead of them calling me creative I was labeled ‘SLD’.
As a consequence of this misdiagnosis, I was put into special education classes from the second grade through high school and was treated differently. I was also given special accommodations. I began to believe the label and my self-esteem became something that I had to struggle to improve on a daily basis. This was a terrible time for me. I was at a point in my young life when I did not know who I was; my self worth fell apart. Refusing to accept their label, I went on a quest to prove myself by shedding my low self-esteem and the awful stigma attached to SLD. With little help from my teachers, who failed to cultivate my potential, and due to the unrest of my home life, I spent many sleepless nights asking the question, "Why am I here?"
The need to be resilient at such an early age set me apart and because of the domestic situation in my home I often witnessed scenes that wounded me deeply. When I was still very young, my parents decided to dissolve their marriage. I was just nine years old and unable to grasp and understand all that had transpired around me. I watched helplessly as my mother, now a divorcee, struggled through as a single parent, raising four children without the benefit of a live in father. Being torn between my parents contributed to my state of despair and frustration during this time.
Despite those early tumultuous years, I attribute my success today, as a self-confident speaker, author, comedienne, entrepreneur, actress and model, to both my parents. I am able to share with others my story of all that I have overcome. My greatest life lessons have been the importance of self-love and that life is made up of many choices and consequences.
Those pearls of wisdom came to me as I became conscious of, and learned from, both the negative and the positive things I had encountered in life. I realized that the answers to my search for love, acceptance and self-worth could not be found in others, I must search within. Channeling my desire to be whole in a more positive manner, I got started on developing self. Deep down inside, I always knew I was destined for greatness.
My first step towards self-improvement was to enrol at Valencia Community College. I never thought I was college material. I did not feel that I could pass. During college I was always feeling as though I was fighting both the label and myself. Yes, those old self-doubting tapes would replay in my mind but I would keep motivating myself to keep going and going. That label has followed me through life but I have learned how to quickly turn the negative thoughts into positive thoughts. Once again, during the time spent at college, I set out to prove to myself that I could do it. I tested my limits by making the Dean's list.
I always wanted to be an entertainer, so I decided to go to Lisa Maile's School of Modeling and Acting. This led to a successful career in modeling, where I placed First Runner Up, Miss Photogenic, and Miss Public Relations in the Miss Black Orlando Pageant. All of this was as a direct result of the time I had invested in restoring my self-esteem.
My pursuit for self-love discovery has encouraged me to help stimulate and cultivate the potential in others. My work as a youth counselor, author, and motivational speaker allows me to demonstrate my passion for the healing and wholeness of others. I no longer need to ask "Why am I here?" I know that my purpose is to assist others in being able to answer that tough question for themselves.
I am the author of “Being Yourself Matters” and am now working on my second book, entitled “Mind Under Control”. To have power in life, one must accept both the negative and the positive. Stay conscious and connected to bring balance and integrity into every area of your life.
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Written by Dionne Turner