over the last couple of years,
I use the word fortitude a lot. I will tell yall why:
Back in 2017 I had subbed for my mom’s CCD class and they were learning about the virtues and the one for that week was fortitude- doing it in fear. It was my first time doing the CCD class by myself so I was nervous- nervous the kids would try to take advantage or not-take me seriously. Which it went fine.
The next day– I had been on an online dating site and got a message from someone who would now be my fiance. asking to go on a date. Again, I was nervous and scared. But again Mom reminded me of the virtue of fortitude -doing it in fear. (and yes we did go on a date, public – La Hacienda.)
So now anytime I do something outside my comfort zone and I’m nervous as heck–what word rings in my mind. Fortitude. And if it doesn’t on its own, Mom is right there to remind me of the word.
The latest thing I have had to do with fortitude is I started public speaking. Now don’t get me wrong, there have been times I have had to public speak before learning about fortitude. Even though I was nervous about it, opportunities continually pop up as if it is like God saying “HELLO THIS IS WHAT I WANT YOU TO DO.”
In the past, before learning about fortitude, I would still do the things but I didn’t know what “doing it in fear and nervous” was as far as virtues, and after the events I did, I never pursued or looked at public speaking as a career, further.
The first time I ever did any type of public speaking was in college for my Communications class- I made C’s because of nerves and read off my cards too much.
The next time was when I was asked to do what’s called “familiarity visits” with patients coming into Shriners for Halo traction- while I was in halo traction. Familiarity visits are telling the incoming patient what to expect: pain-wise, the routine during the week, how to do “pin care,” etc. That was easy because it was just like chit-chatting with peers; was I still nervous? yes! I worried I’d forget something important to mention or something, but still, I did it.
Another public speaking opportunity while in Shriners hospital during the time I was in halo traction was when the Respiratory Department Director asked the different patients to come to say a few words at the conference about how Shriners Hospital, the Halo traction, and especially the respiratory department affected us and helped us. I was nervous and with no filter, I told everyone there about my first weeks in traction and how I compared the respiratory department director to “Hitler of Respiratory” and the consequences once word had gotten back to her about me saying that! I had the entire room in giggle fits. The director and I may have had a rough start, but now we are best buds, and it’s our inside joke now.
In 2013, one summer while my godson was down from Texas, I happened to be wearing a tank top and he saw my scar sticking out from under my straps; he then proceeded to play “20 million questions” and I answered most of them until I got tired of answering and said “okay, that’s enough. go play, you’re giving nanny a headache!”
In 2015, one of my cousins at 4 years old noticed my spine sticking out during family Christmas eve and he was sitting behind me. I feel him feeling at my spine that was sticking out (The hump) and then suddenly feel him starting to punch it. His mom freaks out “_ Don’t hit jamie!” to which baby boy replied tearfully “I’m trying to push her back back in!” So that Christmas, he got the gift of learning about Scoliosis and why “cousin Jamie’s back sticks out.”
Also in 2015, I “tested the waters” of my comfort zone when LSU-Eunice hosted a talent show, where I read an original poem titled “Don’t judge by disabilities” and got a standing ovation as well as many compliments in the halls the following week. I was so proud that I had conquered my stage fright and even placed 3rd, which I don’t blame them poetry is nice, but music always wins!
Years passed and in 2021, I was a guest blogger on someone I only know online @Ami Ireland who has a blog “Undercover Superheroes” and talked about my disabilities there and it was posted in May 2021.
Now we are in 2022, and more opportunities have popped up without even really trying to get them. In March, I went to a church function and the CCD director’s granddaughter who I taught in kindergarten for VBS had finally noticed my back and how I was shorter than many adults, and she asked questions, so I explained as best I could at a 2nd-grade level and showed her pictures, she was shocked and just hugged me “Miss Jamie I had no idea. I remember you were always smiling for VBS and you spoiled our class!”
Next came when I was talking with Guns down Power up founder and director, Eric Williams. He had mentioned he was in special ed and had mental problems or something and I messaged asking if he minded talking about what disabilities/ why he was in sp-ed. I told him I had physical disabilities, and thus he asked if I minded coming to talk about my disabilities at his program. Which will take place on May 28, 2022, at Opelousas Police Department from 11 a.m.- 3 p.m.
From there, I was just talking to another program founder, the founder of BullyBox A passion Project to combat bullying in schools and such, Ms. Shauna Sias and she asked me to go on her and her co-host Nina Irving Williams Podcast/Live TV Livestream thing on Weds nights (Which Mine was April 13- I attached my segment of the show on my Youtube.)
So God keeps giving me Opportunities and in the past, it was just “one and done” but lately they have been more frequent, so maybe it’s time to come out of the shadows and do this more. These opportunities could open more doors as I have lots of passions and ideas but don’t know who to talk to or how to implement them. Who knows what God has in store around the corner for me?
God is good all the time. Sometimes we got to practice fortitude- doing it in fear!