Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Defining Moment

We all have moments which define our lives. That split second where you just acted from your gut and let your true self take over.

There was a moment in my life that has defined who I am both personally and professionally.  I don't think of that moment very often but there was a video posted this morning that brought it all back. Some thugs at a political rally were beating up on a woman and it immediately took me back to the school playground in 1973.

I was a second grade little girl with pigtails playing with my friends at Ashford Park Elementary.  I didn't have many friends and I truly cherished those that I did have. I was always running behind my friend Marti. She was beautiful, smart and popular.  This particular day, she tore off for the monkey bars and started going from rung to rung, swinging and laughing.  I never played on the monkey bars because they hurt my arms and I could never be as proficient as Marti. I watched in awe.

Back in those days the school was small and all the kids in the school were on the playground.  While I was watching Marti a big sixth grade boy came up and pulled her off the monkey bars.  He said that he was going to play there with his friends.  Marti started crying. She was scared, small, defenseless....a little girl in the 70s.

Without thinking I confronted the boy - toe to toe.  I got punched in the face. My nose bled. I kept yelling at him until the teacher took me to the school nurse. 

Stop laughing please. This is an important moment I'm sharing.

From that day forward I've decided to stand up to the person with more power.  I've used my voice for people, organizations and causes that couldn't be heard or who others didn't want to hear from. I don't always take the most popular stance at the time. 

I'll never be a doctor that saves lives or a scientist who discovers a cure.  I'm not a rich philanthropist or environmentalist living in the rain forest.  I'll never be a talented artist who presents a new view of the world or an attorney welding the sword of the law. 

I'm a woman who uses her courage to stand up to the bully on the playground and call it like it is.

Yes, I've continued to get punched in the face over the years. But since you all are wearing your seat belts while you drive sober without the Confederate flag waving above and you are educated enough to read this blog.....I'll take it in the nose again. 


Mary Huff said...

That's great, Beth! This is also what I love about the power of PR and why I do it.

e.beck.artist said...

great post, beth!

Lauren said...

Great story. You've always been someone I look up to, personally and professionally!

Beth Hawks said...

Thanks for the compliments ladies. Moments in our lives are made great by what we do with them.

Allison A. Bailes III, PhD said...

Wow! It took courage to stand up to the bully then, but to turn that into a lifelong passion is certainly admirable. Kudos to you, Beth, for standing up for what's right.

Tom Martin said...

Enjoyed the post and FYI found it on UGA LinkedIn

I wholeheartedly agree with what you said, and for those moments to be defining everything rests on our decisions in the midst of or immediately following THE moment. Even the most difficult of moments can be leveraged for a greater good if you look hard enough for the lesson in it. I recently wrote about one of my defining moments and the life lessons that came in the midst of my attemp to leverage what I believe.

Despite the bloody noses, it sounds like you’re leading well because of it!