I have a degree in graphic design from Columbia College. Over the years, I have taken words and combined them with images to create inspirational messages. Today, I want to talk about the word, courage. I created an image titled, Courage is Never Giving Up On Yourself.
I was abused when I was eight years old and I kept it an “unsafe secret” and for 11 years of my life. I didn’t really have the courage to believe in myself when it came to my unsafe secret. I was scared and embarrassed. I was actually threatened not to talk and so I didn’t.
I was a pretty happy kid. I loved my family very much. My dad, however, was a tough dad, but I loved him even though he had many personal issues. He used to tell me that children should be seen and not heard. I believed my dad and I never had the courage to speak up.
I created this piece because baseball is my favorite sport. I was eight years in this picture and it was about the time I was abused. I learned that I couldn’t be happy and sad at the same time. When I played baseball I didn’t think about my abuse. I thought about playing baseball. I thought about being a kid. I thought about loving life and getting a chance to bat and hit all kinds of home runs. I’ll never forget, one time, I was on deck and my mom said, “Vic, if you hit a home run I’ll give you $5.” I said, “Sure mom, I will.” I belted one for her. I hit a lot of home runs in my life but I also struck out a lot too. It’s really about picking yourself up and having the courage to keep moving forward.
Dan Sullivan, one of my mentors, says that courage is fear. It’s uncomfortable at first but as you keep going, courage turns into confidence.
My son Angelo recently went for a clarinet solo. I could see he was scared. I told him not to think about playing the instrument but to just feel the music and have fun. Once again, people can’t be happy and sad at the same time. He was nervous when he started playing, but then he relaxed and pushed through the fear and did an amazing job. Make it a daily commitment to use courage to get trough your daily challenges! You are valuable!