“Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step.” – Naeem Callaway
Hello, everyone, and welcome to Day #83 in A Year of Positivity! I hope this message finds you well and in good health. Today’s quote is brought to you by Naeem Callaway, “Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step.” This quote has me thinking of four very specific situations I’ve experienced along my journey through life in which I’ve had to make small but profound steps towards better things for my life.
I once wanted to be a runway and advertisement model. I even took classes at my local modeling agency to help me learn the basics and improve from there. Interestingly enough, they told me I could’ve taken the runways by storm, had I not been so short at 5’1″. So, I focused on trying catalog modeling instead. Well, along my path I’d encountered a photographer who didn’t have my best interests at heart. Before doing the modeling shoot to update my headshots, we’d had a long discussion of what was acceptable and what wasn’t.
I wanted a clean, modest session, and he agreed, until we were in session. I’m not going to go into too much details about what happened, but I’ll tell you this. He made me feel like an object and not a person. I didn’t want to be sexualized in the limelight, and in fact, this was my trigger point of going backwards in ever feeling ‘sexy’ again. Yes, I can look at myself in the mirror and see myself as attractive and pretty, but since that photoshoot I’ve lost that ‘sexy’ feeling part of my feminity. You see, I was raped a few years prior to trying to make my entrance into the modeling world, and what happened to me back when I was fifteen also made me feel like an object, like I was only wanted for my body.
For the longest time, I couldn’t lose the feeling of ‘feeling dirty’. A year or so later, enter a perverted and much older (now former) friend of the family who eyed up me and my cousin, and always undressed us with his eyes. Again, I felt like an object. Combine those two events with the photoshoot I had, and it’s easy to see why I made the decision I made. It was a small step, but something tells me that in my case, walking away from the modeling industry in its entirety was the best decision I could’ve ever made for my mental health. I’m not saying the modeling industry is a bad thing. In fact, I still love runway shows and I love seeing all the latest fashion trends on display like that. It’s just that mentally, I wasn’t in a good place to handle modeling, and it probably would’ve done more harm for me than good.
My 20s was full of hard life lessons throughout the decade. I was naïve and prone to being controlled by other people. Again, mentally I wasn’t in a good place, and I’d gotten myself into a sticky situation with someone I thought I could trust. It turned out this person was nightmarishly toxic, and they did so much damage to my psyche and self-image. I felt trapped and didn’t know where to turn until I started dating a pastor’s son. I was desperate to get away from the person who made me feel trapped, that made me feel like I’d never amount to anything, but I was terrified of crying out for help.
Well, when I began dating my pastor’s son, our relationship had reached a point in which he’d made me feel safe enough to tell him what was going on. I trusted his counsel, and he supported me, encouraged me to talk to his parents, and even sat by my side. None of them knew too much yet at that point. I was petrified of telling every single detail, but I conveyed enough information in which they were able to help me out. With their guidance, I ended up moving in with someone from the congregation, and we lived next door to our other pastor (there were 2 at the church I went to at the time).
The toxic person was still in my life, though, and the more kindness and guidance I got from my church family, the more I realized I needed to lose the toxicity, or it would always be one step forward, and two steps back. I absolutely hate the way I’d cut ties with the toxicity because it was a move I’d never made before, and a move I’ll never make again in my life, because it scared the crap out of me. I trusted the counsel of my pastors, their wives, and my roommate.
It didn’t take long for my pastors to learn what was truly going on, and they continued to help me and guide me. It’s hard for me to believe this all happened 10 years ago, but that one seemingly small but scary choice I made to ask my pastors and my roommate for help that one fateful day in a parking lot really made a difference in my life. I’m no longer involved with my former roommate, and I’m no longer involved with my one former pastor’s son. However, I’m incredibly thankful for everything that they and both my pastors and their wives did for me back then, and I pray for nothing but the best for them all.
The other two situations where today’s quote has my mind on the small but powerful moves I’ve made are both tied in with my careers. Currently, I’m in my 8th year of working in the Medicare health insurance industry. For the first three, I worked for one company, and for the latter five, I’ve been working – and still am – with a second company. For the first three years in this field, I only worked as a Customer Service Representative with some floor support skills. In the call center world, ‘floor support’ means helping other Customer Service Representatives with their calls.
When I was highly unsatisfied with my pay and benefits, I decided to look for a better opportunity. Before this job, though, almost everything on my resume was all temporary or seasonal jobs (like working at an amusement park that was only open during the late spring to early fall months, or tax season, etc.). I had a need to build credibility on my resume to show that I could stay with a company. It’s not my fault that only certain jobs were seasonal or temporary, but they didn’t prove my credibility as an employee who could hold a job for more than six months.
This is why I stayed with this company for as long as I did. I’d already been unsatisfied with the pay and benefits long before I left. I struggled financially, and I couldn’t afford to go too long without a stable job. When I finally got a job offer that had better pay and much better benefits, I was concerned that maybe it was “too good to be true.” It scared me to leave my job of three years because, even though I could rely on it for a steady paycheck, I was afraid of the new job not working out, followed by me being kicked to the curb with no backup career. I really needed the bigger pay rate and benefits, though, because I was living paycheck to paycheck, so guess what decision I made.
Yep. You guessed it. It was small, and despite feeling like I wouldn’t measure up, I took a leap of faith, and it turned out to be the greatest decision I could make for myself at the time. I’ve just had my five-year anniversary with them this past August, and I’m still going strong. Only now, I’ve gained a few extra skills. I still do floor support, though now I’ve got supervisor call skills, and I also audit the quality of calls on all representatives that are on our team. The other career-related decision I made is one I believe I’ve talked about before, the day I decided to sign into a contract with the publisher of my debut novel, Broken. That decision also changed my life in a way I’ll always be grateful for.
So, I know this post has been an incredibly lengthy one, but I hope it shows you that Naeem Callaway was onto something when he said, “Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step.” I know firsthand that making the step in the right direction can be super scary, especially if it’s a step into the unknown, but here’s the thing. Life is always going to be an unknown. So, why not take that leap of faith, and just step forward? That small step, even if it’s a baby step, a tiptoe, may just be the biggest step of your life.