When I was younger, I honestly don’t remember how young–middle school maybe–I met the author, Jack Canfield who wrote Chicken Soup for the Soul. He gave me his autograph and asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said famous. So he wrote, Dear Jessica, see you famous. Years and years later, I watched The Secret and there he was, telling me that I had the power to will whatever I wanted into my life. I dug through my old stuff and found that piece of paper her signed for me and laughed at the irony. I felt bigger than me even then.

Five minutes ago I’m on Tumblr and I see a post with snippets of Jack wisdom. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period of this time around. As I sit on the cusp of change with my physical body. Wanting to develop a plan, a routine, for healthier living. I see this, and it makes me joyous because I do not hate my body. I want it to be different, but when I look in the mirror, there is no loathing or disdain. I felt as though here he was again, speaking to me, I read on…

A lesson is repeated until learned. A lesson is presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can then go on to the next lesson. I’ve said this multiple times this week alone. It is the reason I think I keep finding myself in financial predicaments. I have not learned the lesson. I hope this time, however, I have. I can plan plan plan, but sometimes things happen beyond my control. I have to believe that help is there and I have to humble myself and ask for it. It is always available. And of course, sometimes I am to be the help.  It is all about the ebb and flow of things and life’s cycle. By now I am smiling almost laughing because this man, who spoke to millions, is now speaking to me intimately, and candidly, and he gets me. He is speaking directly to my inner ear.

“There” is no better than “here.” When your “there” has become “here,” you will simply obtain another “there” that will again look better than “here.” yesterday I told Nama that this is the beautiful thing about counseling, it forces us to be present. I do believe that this is the greatest gift I gained in my last degree. There is only right now. It goes back to the money thing. You can look over and over at how you woulda coulda shoulda done xyz differently, but here we are in the now and what are you going to do about it? The future wont help you. There is action required in the moment how will you respond? Or will you retreat into inaction aka the autistic living? That is when we ignore present pain or discomfort and look to our coping mechanisms, drinking, smoking, eating, partying, etc. Because we somehow feel this moment is conquering us, but the only way to prove yourself wrong is to first believe its possible.

And speaking of possibilities…Others are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself. I think about what I love in people, usually spunk and the small quirks that make them different. In a partner it is always presentation and intelligence. I never really thought about how I love those same traits in myself, but I do. I love that I go against the grain and that I’m atypical. I love my mind and how it works in tandem with my heart to produce connections among things that many overlook. I love that I take care of myself. My hair, nails, skin and make up, clothes shoes and speech are all polished. I take pride in the good care I take of myself. I really never gave myself that credit though. I suppose it only makes sense that I want a reflection of myself though.

And lastly, What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours. I believe this more than anything. Jack knew when he asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up that despite and limitations the world may have given me, it would be my choice to accept or defy them.  Jack believed in the power of my dreams before I knew how to. And while my 3rd grade class laughed and told me I was too big to be a model, and my 1st grade teacher encouraged me to do a group dance instead of a solo song, and my high school musical director picked favorites of which, I was not one of…I allowed it. I believed them rather than what I know of myself and my own capabilities.

The beautiful thing is, I don’t anymore. I do not blame them, because somewhere in their own history they were given models of how things should be and they believed them. Its a cycle. But I am evolved enough to know that others do not determine my life. Others cannot tell me what my limits are. And only what I, Jessica Williams, decide is truth is truth. That’s a freedom and a strength money can’t buy, workout dvds can’t promise, and no one can explain.