We all have cloudy days, every single one of us. Over the last few years, I have shared my biggest cloudy day, the unexpected news that my newborn daughter was in need of a liver transplant and put on life support as she waited for, received, and recovered from a lifesaving liver transplant at six weeks old. But as people praised my grace and bravery, I always felt like something was missing.
I finally figured it out. You have been missing. Your stories of overcoming those difficult days, no matter how big or small. I am excited to share a new series all about just that. Over the next year, I will be seeking out people who have defined who they are by overcoming the unexpected and moving mountains.
First up is Bonita, who I lucky enough to meet though a partnership with Uber. Bonita is the type of person that makes you want to smile. Her enthusiasm and joy speaks volumes, and her laugh is most definitely contagious. The day that we met over the phone for this interview was not my best. Tyler was out of town, Parker home sick with a fever, and right as I sat down with my notebook to chat with Bonita, Parker thought it would be fun to chase his sister around swinging a broom over his head. But there Bonita was, on the other end, putting things into perspective with her kindness, her spirit, and her sense of humor. She is a people person and can clearly adapt and react to unique situations.
She explained to me that she got hurt at a previous job and found herself not only in a lot of physical pain, but without the ability to express herself creatively or provide for her growing son. I can only imagine that the burden of such worries were heavy and overwhelming, especially as a single mother. I can also imagine that this is a common situation that many women experience on a daily basis.
But a few cloudy days could not stop Bonita's zest for a life well lived, she was determined to turn things round. That is when she began working for Uber and her life was drastically improved. Not only is she able to have the flexibly to work while her son is at school, or check in on him as he completes his nightly homework, but she is also allowed the flexibility for doctor appointments, for creating a small art business where she hand paints bags, shoes, and other merchandise, as well as working with kids at a basketball camp. And, she still has the time to enjoy a fulling personal life. Bonita made it clear that she gets to experience the personal interaction of her old job, but in a setting that works best for her new circumstance.
I got lost in our conversation and had quickly forgotten the loud banter that my two little ones were making as they danced around me in a whirlwind of screams and laughter. "Are you ever afraid," I asked, hoping not to offend or say the wrong things. "No," she replied confidently and then continued to explain to me that she always feels in control. She gets to accept the assignments she wants - she knows where she is going ahead of time and she trusts her street smarts to keep her in check. She has honestly never felt scared, worried, or uncomfortable. She reassured me that, as a mom, it really is a fantastic job with so many benefits that outweigh the occasional rude encounter.
We continued to chat for a while about all our favorite 80's movies, fashion trends, some of the awful 90's trends that will never return, her love of the color purple, her fond memories of the days when her now 6'7" son was tiny enough to fit in her arms, and, of course, the amazing weather she gets to experience in California.
As a final question I asked, "How do you cope with cloudy days to ensure they don't turn your life gray?" Her response made me smile from ear to ear.
"There are a couple of things I do that get me through my cloudy days. One of the things that really gets me through it is drawing. When I draw it gives me so much peace. I love to draw, create characters and craft projects that make people smile. Another thing I like to do is be nostalgic and watch my favorite 80's movies. It takes me to a time of being young and careful. Memories of friendships of people in my past and present. It's the simple things in life: my son, my health, and my new found love that gives me joy."
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