Get to know the accomplished individuals who will present at the TEDxGreenville conference on April 8th! In this series, writer Jennifer Oladipo asks some compelling questions.
What is the next frontier for the human race?
In my lifetime I’d like to see the society adopt Universal Precautions for the Prevention of Child Abuse. One of mine is, “No adult should keep secrets with kids.” Another is, “No Company in kids’ bedrooms,” and, “No yelling or hitting.”
What makes the self-help model a powerful tool for healing?
At the beginning of the ASCA-Atlanta (Adult Survivors of Child Abuse) support group meeting, we say our Statement of Philosophy. It starts, “We are here today to reclaim our lives as survivors of childhood abuse.” It goes on to state very powerful truths about the impact the abuse has had on our lives and how together we are a stand to end the devastating pain. The idea is that we have the resources and support to accomplish this goal ourselves.
It takes a tremendous amount of courage to Google the term “survivors of child abuse,” join the group, and come to the first meeting. By then, you are already doing the “self-help.” As children, we had a loss of power and innocence. By the time a survivor attends his or her first meeting they have determined the abuse happened and are now committed to end [its] effects . That gives THEM the power. It is one thing to go to therapy and a whole other to personally advocate on your own behalf.
The ASCA-Atlanta meetings have at their core, 21 Steps. Step One is, “I am in a breakthrough crisis having gained some sense of my abuse.” And, by the time survivors reach 21, “I am resolved in the Reunion of my New Self and Eternal Soul,” they’ve had a vast many accomplishments that were self-determined and self-achieved.
How does your work or art affect the way you see yourself?
When I sign my emails and correspondences, I always add “Who I am is the Possibility of Love, Laughter and Leadership.” This phrase pulls me forward. Back when I thought I had nothing of worth to offer, I did an inventory of the problem areas of my life. And where I saw I was lacking these certain attributes I started acting as if I already had these qualities: Love, Laughter, and Leadership. After a while, being a contribution to others just came naturally. Now, my whole life is about contributing to others. When I end a weekly support group meeting, and I’m on my long drive home, I do a self-inventory: Have I been a contribution? Did I bring my possibility to the meeting? Did I accomplish my intentions? Very often, I am left feeling wonderfully satisfied with myself.
Where do you find inspiration?
My favorite quote by Anaïs Nin, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” I used to be agoraphobic and afraid of living. In this quote I saw myself holding tight in a “bud”, avoiding the courage it took to blossom. It felt safe, but it was a prison. It took years of therapy and personal work to accept the risk it took to blossom and live free. I’m inspired when survivors get fed up with the impact the child abuse is having on their lives and become determined to risk the pain it takes to heal.
What is your favorite TED talk and why?
Ivy Hill’s “Drawing a Blank: Unboxing Gender.” Hill addresses an idea a longtime in the making. Having an individual to choose a box for gender, race, ethnicity is archaic. We are a society of self-expressed individuals. And self-identifying is freedom
For more information about Kaleidoscope speakers and performers, visit our 2016 presenter page, where extended bios are available. The April 8th event is sold out, but watch for details about our free live feed.