"Did you hear about the rose that grew
from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature's law is wrong it
learned to walk with out having feet.
Funny it seems, but by keeping it's dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air.
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else ever cared. "
- Tupac Shakur
We are all created unique, some more unique than others. I have had to learn that the key to true happiness is to not listen to the skeptics. Listen to your heart ,but still think with your mind. Life is a balancing act between dreams and reality. I am most inspired by those who accomplish what was thought to be the impossible, people who become "Roses". I have met many.
One in particular, is a young Latina woman whose parents are immigrants. She was born with Cerebral Palsy. Through out her childhood there was an enormous pressure ,from both friends and family , to be like everyone else. She realized early on that she was born to be so much more. She learned to walk in her own unique way by creating her own path, when she chose to follow her dreams, even when only she could see them.
After graduating High School, she became the first in her family to attend Community College. After Community College, she moved on to a State University. From there, she graduated from Harvard and now works on Capitol Hill. Now, instead of people dismissing her opinion or ideas, they pay a grand amount of money for her input.
"By keeping her dreams, [she] learned to breathe."
Are you a Rose? or Concrete?
Some days I wonder, who am I supposed to be?
To answer this question, I used to reflect frequently on my past, as I was taught at an early age that one's previous experiences are meant to provide a gateway to one's future.
I have also realized that looking back too often, can prevent one from moving forward.
This photo was taken during the last months that I was a Cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point. I have chosen to make this photo my first post because , to me it represents my inner dilemma while I was there , and the current transition that I am making now. To explain, my inner dilemma was an issue of identity. While I was there, I had many people out of good intention, try to mold me into who they thought I should be. I felt many times, that my voice was silenced. My role required me to dim my light in order to conform to everyone else's idea of a leader. In this submission, I learned a great deal about myself. I learned how to be humble, how to observe, and how to love. I realized that in order to change any situation you must change yourself. Everything is dictated by a reaction. Find the "right" way to react and you will receive the "right" response. It was necessary for my light to be dimmed in order for this invaluable lesson to be learned.
The other side of the inner dilemma was a yearning to be free. If you know anything about Author Toni Morrison, you would know that she writes frequently on the freedom of owning your own identity. In order to utilize all of the gifts that God has given me, I had to learn patience and timing. It just so happened that the timing to explore all of my talents began with my dismissal from the Academy. This was the gateway to my current transition. Diamonds are only formed in an environment with unbearable pressure and extreme heat.
I am extremely grateful for all of my experiences, but I am most grateful for freedom. The freedom to explore, encourage, change , to tell our stories, and to most importantly be myself. I am allowed to shine through struggle, so that you may find the strength to do the same.
Commited to innovative leadership and institutional change
My name is Kylila (Ka-lee-la) which means beloved. I am one who loves, or at least tries to. I have had many titles, Poet, Photographer, Videographer, Writer, Cadet, Private, Athlete, Leader, Director, etc. I have learned that the greatest successes are born from the most tremendous trials. Everyone has beauty in their life story.