Isle of paradise slide show


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On many college campuses young students continue to endure bullying, dating violence, vulnerability and low self esteem. I did this presentation at Convocation at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama to help students understand that 'they are worthy to be loved' , 'they are worthy to be appreciated' and 'they are worthy to be respected'. Tahiera Monique Brown wrote this speech to inspire the students and encourage them to be safe and responsible adults.

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  • I am sharing a message today about eyes you can not see and ears that hear you and you don’t know they are listening. I will be talking about emotions. I will be discussing what you probably take for granted every day you walk this campus. I am talking about the freedom of using your own will. This is something that can be taken in the twinkling of an eye. What so many young people don’t realize is that in the search for love they give up something very precious and that something is their worth. I am here to tell you that You are Worthy. It seems like a simple word to you right now, especially for those who have had the opportunity to have everything served to them on a silver platter. But I am not talking about material possessions. I am talking about what makes you what you are. You are worthy to be RESPECTED … In the journey of life we are taught what life means by our parents, family, friends, teachers and peers. But, so many people go to their places of solitude and wonder; “Who am I and why am I here? You feel as if you are being led by a leash and you are very confused as to where you are going in life. To be respected can take courage to acquire for some people. Especially people pleasers who end up being teased and tormented and they just laugh along with the crowd, while deep inside they are in pain. They find it very difficult to walk away from the pain for fear of being rejected or alone. That used to be me. I would take people saying and doing horrible things to me just to be accepted. But I soon realized that I was alone even in a crowd. So I learned to choose friends who were truly friends and I found a peace I can not describe. It is a terrible feeling to be alone in a crowded room. I developed a slogan for myself when I found a peace in finding a place of solitude and then I could be alone because I chose it. My slogan is; “It is better to be alone when I choose to be than to be lonely in a crowd.” I used to be called names and laughed at and I would sit quietly by and take it while all the time I was crying inside. I took another path and stepped away from the people that caused me pain and I was surprised at the new people that came into my life and then one day an elderly woman told me; “You are Worthy to be APPRECIATED.” I was shocked, because no one had ever said that to me before. The word appreciated fell upon a hollow core. I was confused and conflicted. Appreciated seemed like a word that belonged to someone else. She told me that I would never know who I was until I could appreciate how I was made and why I was made to be here. She pointed at herself and told me, “I love the way you sing, but you never finish a song. I love the way you write a but you never share with others. Your writings are just piling up to collect dust. If you share who you are and stop hiding behind the past then you will see how you can be appreciated and then you will know that ‘You are Worthy to be Loved’. I was so confused by this revelation. This lady was telling me about me and I was scared because it meant that I was going to have to walk away from all that I knew to find out who I was and why I was here. That is when I could hear what was always being said about me by others. So my elderly friend died of cancer, but before she died she gave me … me. I began to tell myself that it was alright for me to have joy and happiness. I began to learn the words of the bible in a whole new way. I learned what love is supposed to truly be and I gave my sincere heart and soul over to the Lord. In serving him I found peace of mind. Now I am LIVING FREE!
  • Just before I opened up to present my speech I told you about my life as a hostage. I couldn’t see what was lurking close by. I could only see what was right in front of me. I was struggling to end a very long struggle of being a victim of a man who was the father of my children. I was young and I didn’t have the option to call on my stepfather because he had died in a car accident years earlier and my mother had died four years later. In my early twenties I was left to care for my siblings, including one with cerebral palsy. I was challenged to climb a very steep mountain of responsibilities. I could have let my younger siblings go to Social Workers who appeared at my doorstep, less than twenty four hours after my mother died, but I fought to keep us together. I did not feel trapped by that decision, but I did feel trapped by a marriage to a man who beat me mercilessly. He would tell me; “I know you don’t love me, but I have enough love for the both of us!” I was in a prison called, Fear. He began to torment me for eight years after I divorced him. In the mist of that I left him and moved into my own apartment and I was doing very well, but one day he simply move into my home and took it over while I was in the hospital having surgery. I went to work with black eyes and swollen lips. Sometimes my neighbors would say; “Hey! It looks like you’ve been in the ring with Muhammed Ali!” I would just lower my head and pray for a way out. If you don’t get anything else from this speech today, remember this; “FREEDOM IS PRICELESS AND AS PRECIOUS AS PEARLS”. Think about PEARLS!
  • Let’s start with INNER PEARLS. These are your personal pearls and some are given to you while you are in the womb. The first pearl LIFE. Life is a PRIVILEGE. You have been given a very precious gift. You struggled against all odds to be here. You searched for the pathway to life and you found it. It is amazing. It is the first miracle. Your first privileged pearl is life itself. You have Power inside of you; You have the power to be great at anything you choose to be great at. Your parents may or may not support you, but in some young people they beat the odds because they have an inner power that no one can tame. They go on to be successful and they can tell you of how they endured homelessness, how they faced poverty, how they were tortured and battered, but they stayed on the course to become a success story. There are some that were raised in a house that many of us can only dream of. But they also endured physical and emotional abuse, but they fell by the wayside because no one believed in them and they did not believe in themselves. I say this; “That power that resides within you; don’t give it to anyone! Know your own mind. This is a most rewarding pearl because we are born into a world that is forever changing. There are so many things to adjust to in a very short amount of time. We are creatures of habit. One day I answered my phone and I was being ridiculed by one of my siblings. I took authority over the outcome of the conversation and simply hung up the phone. It was the first pearl that I gathered for myself and it felt right. Little did I know that other members of my family had waited for me to make a move to stop the ridicules. That first move helped me to know that I could make it on my own. Learn how to say the word, “NO” and say it with conviction! I was weary of this powerful word. I was in my late forties before it made any sense to me. I had endured domestic violence and life as a hostage, poverty and homelessness and I still would sit in a room and hear myself being described and I knew that what was being said was not who or what I was. I had not learned to follow my own path and that led to other situations where I ended up where I was a victim again and again. But one day I learned the power of the word ‘No’. If only I had known the freedom it could bring me. There is a difference between saying no and doing know. I’ve seen that doing nothing when simply a no would end a situation that someone may not want to be in. You will hear some people say that he or she is stringing me along. Some people will not walk away until they hear yes or no. Just imagine how many oysters must get chucked before they chuck the right one to get the perfect pearl. That is what instructions on living life is like. The perfect pearl is WISDOM. That leads me to help you realize your OUTER PEARLS:
  • Outer Pearls are those special gifts that you possess that attracts you to others and others to you. Finally, the right oyster of knowledge has been chucked and the pearl of wisdom inside has been exposed. Now is the time for you to be polished and the essence of who you truly are and what you are to be is put on display. This is where your parents may have spent a great deal of their time preparing you with ‘warnings about people who might come into your life’. Of course it is easier to listen to someone else than to listen to your parents because they are always around and it seems as if they are trying to run your life. When in fact they are trying to spare you the pain they endured. I am sure that they’ve prayed many days and night for you to be safe from others, but the most difficult prayer that they pray for you is for you to be safe from your own choices. This pearl is one that is ignored as we get older. We do not; PAY ATTENTION TO OUR SURROUNDINGS. We put one foot in from of the other and just keep on going like the bunny rabbit. We don’t listen to hear the unexpected and we don’t look to see all that we can see. Stalkers has mastered these special pearls and they know that you are not looking nor are you listening. I was here on the campus a few months ago and I observed a young lady walking across campus and a man was watching her every move, but there was something uncanny about the way he was watching her that gave me chills. The young lady had no idea that she was being observed in this manner. Now don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being admired, but when it is threatening and it looks like an animal on the prowl then something is very wrong. As I stated earlier I am sharing a message today about eyes you can not see and ears that hear you that you may not know is listening. I am talking about a stalker. I am sure that in this audience sits someone who knows about somebody that has been a victim of a stalker. I am not asking you to raise your hands. Remember that; EVERY SMILING FACE DOES NOT HAVE A SMILING HEART. Sometimes you can tell it by the eyes. The mouth smiles, but the eyes are as cold as ice. Sometimes you can tell by the way a person walks that something is wrong. If you feel it in your heart that something isn’t right. Walk away as fast as your feet will carry you into a crowd to protect yourself. If it doesn’t feel right .. It usually isn’t. Those hairs that raise up on your neck is your first attempt at your body giving you a warning that something is not right. I felt that very same thing the first time I laid eyes on the man that held me hostage. Although he looked to my eyes to be an older man, my heart said run and that is what I did. But, in that second he knew that I knew he was bad news. I was caught in his snare and I did not even know him. He was a predator and I was his victim, only I was already his victim months before I ever knew of him. He had a plan for every plan I made to get away from him. I was blind to the eyes that was watching me from afar. I saw people reacting differently towards me, but I had no idea why and I didn’t ask questions. I am asking you to be aware and trust your instincts. You can not lose what you’ve never had. BE WEARY OF FOLLOWING SOMEONE WHO SAYS, “COME AND GO WITH ME I WILL TELL YOU WHEN WE GET THERE.” Remember when I said that Life is a privilege? You can not go back and make things right when a life is taken away. You hold your life in the palm of your hands. Handle it carefully and it will serve you well. Think about who you are sharing your life with and consider your actions. When you are young life seems as if it owes you everything, but in reality it is a precious gift and it is priceless. To follow someone without considering the consequences is like handing your life over to them. How often do you hear on the news a grieving mother saying, “I asked him not to go with them!” or “I heard a knock on the door and he left out and that’s the last time I ever saw him.” Life is fleeting as it is why give it away. When life has taught you a few lessons you can focus on your FUTURE PEARLS!
  • All of your life you heard the term, DREAM BIG. My slogan is, “Hold your head up high and keep your dreams alive!” I say that slogan to myself even when times get hard. You must hold onto hope of a better day. Many people who has endured a difficult struggle in life has risen up above the clouds of despair and they became very successful and those people are looked at in awe. It can seem to many that this success is impossible to reach. But I say to you to Dream Big and know that each day of life filled with pearls of wisdom, you can see that you can achieve magnificent accomplishments in your life. Know that KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! Of course this is another one of those terms that you’ve heard all of your life. But I stand here before you and I see the future. Imagine that you are sitting here chosen from among so very many that was rejected or could not afford to be here, but here you are. FOCUS ON GETTING A GOOD EDUCATION! You might say to me; “Look, I am in college … what are you talking about?” Well I challenge you to go and sit at a shelter for a day or two and ask questions you will see that some of them have many college degrees, but they are broken spirits. They got great book knowledge, but they got lost somewhere along the way. True education is learning to survive trials and tribulations. It rains on the good and it rains on the bad. Some successful people can not tolerate having to start over to regain their fortunes so they just give up. I wish I could have had the opportunity that you are having today. You see, I don’t remember a day of school. I don’t remember a single teacher or classmate. Because of the choice I made to save my children I live with amnesia. I was told to go on Social Security. I was told that I would always need someone to care for me. Even though I am not rich, I have been a casting director and now I own a publishing company. Somebody said I was a Nobody one day and I said this slogan without hesitation, “I am the Nobody that makes every other Nobody Somebody Special!” You see I am more than a Somebody, I am a Child of God! I AM SURE YOU CAN THINK OF OTHER PEARLS … ADD THEM TO YOUR BAG AS YOU WISH! In the years to come life will supply you with pearls of knowledge that you will pass on to your children or you will be a business owner or a professor. Just take out your pearls of wisdom and share them every now and then.
  • Thank you is another powerful word that we take for granted. This is a pearl of wisdom that you are taught the moment that you can reach and grab for something. As an infant you are told to say thank you and before you know it, it is second nature. Thank you for having me here today.
  • Isle of paradise slide show

    4. 4. LIVING FREEFreedom is priceless and as precious as pearls.
    5. 5. PEARLS• INNER PEARLS • Life is a privilege. • You have power inside of you; don’t give it over to anyone! • Know your own mind. • Learn how to say the word, “NO” and say it with conviction!
    6. 6. PEARLS• OUTER PEARLS – Pay attention to your surroundings. – Every smiling face does not have a smiling heart. – Be weary of following someone who says, “Come and go with me… I will tell you where we are going when we get there.”
    7. 7. PEARLS• FUTURE PEARLS – Dream big! – Knowledge is power! – Focus on getting a great education! – I am sure you can think of other pearls… add them to your bag as you wish!
    8. 8. THANK YOU