In recent months, I’ve been overwhelmingly grieved to learn of young children who’ve been compelled to tragically end their lives. Bullying – in person, in e-mails and in social-media (and at all ages) – has heightened at an alarming rate with many families feeling devastated and helpless.
After reading about yet another student that was only 9 yrs. old who recently took her life, I was quickly reminded of a conversation I had with an esteemed athlete and record-breaking track star who shared her own heart-wrenching story of being subjected to coarse and unkind actions. Her challenges not only showed parallels in many of their stories, but offered insights into how to thrive amidst bullying and brokenness.
While many 5 yr. old girls are incomparably excited about Kindergarten and playmates, Turquoise was beginning an adventure as a member of the track team that was spearheaded by her parents. Setting records locally and abroad, she quickly proved to be a fiery contender.
As a dedicated athlete, she pursued her love into middle school and high school. Initially believing she was embraced by peers, she later recognized she was targeted for bullying. At its worst, she was even placed in a life threatening situation with a fellow team member and was later banned from participating in the sport as a result of a coordinated plan to bar her from competing.
Nevertheless, Turquoise persevered with unwavering passion. When life seemed to throw hurdles into her path, her parents and her faith provided the strength that she needed to soar past each one of them with greater resolve than before. She outperformed her rivals while breaking records, silenced the naysayers without saying a word, and amidst her most challenging year, still mesmerized scouts, cementing a full ride scholarship to UCLA.
Her successes were frequent, and her travels were many. Her personal performance catapulted her to Trinidad, Jamaica, Brussels, Hungary and the Cayman Islands among others, and her talents led her to compete with athletic heavyweights and to be trained by icons like Bob Kersey (husband of famed athlete, Jackie Joyner Kersey).
With the Olympics in mind, she set her sights on the highest goals. Debuting with the same diligence she’d committed to the sport throughout her life, she was devastated to discover a fierce contender in her personal life – debilitating bouts with Sickle Cell Anemia. Her original goals there remained out of reach, so she later determined to change her path in a new, positive direction.
Turquoise experienced heartbreaking setbacks and was crushed by experiences from unhealthy relationships. Nevertheless, she bathed her thoughts in Bible study, processed her life with prayer and maintained open and extensive communication with her parents who became her personal heroes.
Anchored by these ideals, she was able to transition into inspiring and motivating others through various industries, blogging, speaking and social media. Still an American sweetheart, she reminds audiences everywhere that bullies are not to be believed. Their actions should be conveyed and countered with the help of the appropriate authorities.
She also expresses that though life may leave you feeling broken, an unfailing faith and supportive family remind you that you are beautiful and loved. Turquoise has a timeless testimony that illustrates to everyone that their is hope even with heartache. Celebrate your successes and never forget, there’s always a better way.
#listentothequietvoices #rememberyouareloved #faceyourfearswithfaithandfervor #turquoiseburroughs #trackstar #trendsetter #lifechampion #catchyourdreams #carlamichelle #speakerlife