It is such a joy to receive stories from our readers. Each moment of sharing gives us a glimpse into some of the sweetest accounts of the lives of women all over the nation and encourages us to keep going as we draw strength from and give strength to the sisters in our own lives. Thank you, Taelor, for this offering! Keep reading for Taelor’s telling on the sisterhood of sharpening.
I met Ms. Tammy King in 2009. I was attending a conference for African American mothers and their children and my mother had encouraged me to enter a public speaking competition. It was an incredibly overwhelming experience; there were hundreds of people and I didn’t know anyone. Everything felt big and I felt very small.
That morning, when the entire conference room had been introduced to Ms. King, the Regional Director, I laid my eyes upon a tall, confident, poised, chic, impeccable, powerful woman; in short, she was everything I was not. She seemed superhuman. I was in complete awe of her, and though I couldn’t have imagined it at the time, she would become one of my greatest supporters.
Ms. King changed my life because she saw my potential when others didn’t, and where I saw only shortcomings, she saw promise.
She wasn’t my mother (whom has always supported me unconditionally), and she had no “obligation” to take me under her wing and into her heart the way she did. Perhaps this is why her support has resonated with me so. She fundamentally changed the way I saw myself. When I looked at her, I saw an intelligent, sharp, discerning woman, and the fact that this intelligent, sharp woman chose to encourage me with such confidence forced me to look at myself in a new light.
Over the next four years, I went on to occupy leadership role after leadership role with the help of Ms. King. She was by no means easy on me, and was quick to correct my mistakes. These corrections always came with a feeling of supportiveness, though. She knew just the way to encourage and this encouragement shaped me into a person I could never have foreseen becoming. Slowly, large rooms full of people that once intimidated me began to seem more comfortable, and I built really amazing relationships with people I would’ve before been nervous to approach. For giving me the opportunity to connect to myself and to those around me, I am eternally indebted to Tammy King.
I still don’t know if I see exactly what she saw in me yet, but one thing about me I do know is that I hold my head higher because of this woman. I know that there is a greater spectrum of possibilities for me because of this woman. And because of this woman, I choose to step right up to them.