I remember a time in high school when I was particularly low on self-esteem and really wanted to be good at something, anything. I knew I wasn’t the lucky type who easily racked up achievements; I had to work for them and fail a few times first, at best. But instead of becoming angry and discouraged, I decided I’d do whatever it took to earn some kind of recognition and feel proud. After listening to “Break My Stride” by Matthew Wilder many times over (yes, from 1983), I gave my best in school, sports and theater. Just mustering the courage to try, I felt proud.
I cannot compare my challenges to Dorothy’s. She knows how it feels to be hungry and shamed, and her family continues to make sacrifices for her education, but setbacks big and small have the power to pull us off course, if we let them. Fighting back means making the decision to give more and then looking for the support and motivation to “keep on movin’,” as the song goes. Maybe Dorothy’s essay “This Is Me” is the inspiration you need?