I used to play the violin figuratively when I was a child, grew bored with it and ditched it. It wasn’t until I became a grown woman that I picked it back up, but not in the way you think. As an adult I played the tiny violin, the kind that annoys the hell out of people because you just won’t put it down and assume responsibility. I didn’t see that I was playing it because I was so used to being the victim of my past. I thought that everyone would see what my past transgressors had done to me, feel sorry for me, and immediately join in on my pity party. It wasn’t until I took a trip to New York City with a past significant other that I realized I was in charge of my own fate. You see I had garnered this all expense paid trip as a speaker without even trying. At that point in my life I didn’t even have a dream of being a speaker. I was given this opportunity for all of the things I was doing right, not all the shit I was complaining about that was wrong in my life. So of course when I took my significant other (oh yea, they paid for him to accompany me as well), he was still playing his tiny violin. Instead of seeing our blessings, he spent the entire time complaining about how I was outgrowing him, how I would leave him because I was blossoming, how his life sucked (you get the picture). I was tired of him playing his tiny violin I just wanted to break it over my knee. I realized that although I brought him on a trip that was supposed to be a game changer for me I was too preoccupied with how he was feeling than focusing on what was important, the actual reason why I was there. Oh yea, he didn’t even bother to actually attend the event and listen to my speech. He was too busy sulking in the hotel room. I forged ahead, did my speech. I refused to pick my violin up and start playing again because it was my fault that I brought him along. Why? Because he didn’t support me back in our hometown, so what made me think he was going to start doing it just because we were somewhere else? I looked at this person that I brought along on my trip complain, act a damn fool, and realized that him nor I was going to get invited into anyone’s orchestra by playing our violins. So on that trip to New York City I decided I was done playing victim. I realized that I was in charge of my future, and happiness. If you are still blaming everybody else because of the choices you made you are playing your violin. If you are playing your tiny violin don’t expect to be invited to play in the big orchestra of life. You won’t get very far playing victim. It’s tiresome, and people aren’t generally interested in you being stuck in that role. After I climb off of stages after a speech, or whilst in an interview I always get asked the same question, “Toshia how are you able to love again? My answer is always the same, “Forgiveness, and I believe in the present, which lays the foundation for my future.” I have heard more than once that it’s miraculous that I’m able to forgive others, and not stay in victim mode. While it’s true I have suffered a great deal of trauma in my past, it wasn’t until I learned how to practice the green light of forgiveness that I found and soared to success. Because when I was stuck in victim mode, being a victim was all I could think about! Seriously, I couldn’t focus on anything besides how I couldn’t get ahead due to my past. Trust me, when you are stuck on who did what to you, or how bad society is you won’t be able to get ahead. You get what you continually focus on. You can’t continue to look behind you, and focus on the past if you intend to move forward. You have to let go of what was, so you can get ready for what will be. Find out who you are, what your purpose is, and set goals to get there. How can you do this if you are weighed down by the heavy bags of the past?

Your desire to live an emotionally healthy and prosperous life has to outweigh your need to hold on to your past.

Trust me it wasn’t easy to let go of my sheet music of abuse, and trafficking. There were many times, I just wanted to stay on the stage of sadness, defeat, pain, and misery. I just got tired of the same old music. I got tired of the people I surrounded myself with who played the same music; I traded in my tiny violin for the dance of success. I dance free, without care or worry of what someone will say about me, or what others have done to me. I hear the drums of life playing in the background with every leap, and twirl. I refuse to stop dancing until the last beat. My life is a beautiful symphony. So what about you? Will you continue to play the violin of victimization or are you ready to dance to a different beat? It’s up to you, and if you are ready to change the music I’m here waiting to help you.