Laura Kate Whitney – TRANSCRIPT
Four years ago, my life changed direction. I left behind my friends, my career and my identity as I knew it, and along with my husband and our one-year-old son, I uprooted my world, packed it all into one, big moving big truck, and drove away from our home in Charleston, South Carolina, straight to Birmingham, Alabama. Everyone around me kept asking: “Why Laura Kate? Why are you doing this? Why are you leaving behind all you know and love? What does that new place have to offer?”
At the time, the answer was pretty straightforward. We would be moving to Alabama to be closer to our families. What I could not predict at the time though, was that, this new place would reveal my life’s most incredible story yet. For better or for worse, Birmingham would be our new home. Our family would plant roots here. We would buy a house and register to vote and find the quickest routes around the city during rush hour. We would raise our children here.
So, was I looking forward to my new adventure? Absolutely not. Because in all of my life spent living right here in the South, I could only recall ever hearing stories of Birmingham that involved struggle and inequality, and corruption, and division. And even as we prepared for this desirable transition for our family, I found myself really resenting our decision to move.
Today, I’d like to share with you my Birmingham story. I am not going to throw out any groundbreaking data or statistics that you could walk away with, but I will encourage you to think differently about the ways you tell your own stories. Because here’s the deal: I believe that in the end, all we have left are the stories and the memories that life has allowed us. And the way in which we captured those moments, will directly impact the amount of happiness and success we ultimately afford ourselves.
And so, my story begins. I was 12 years old. That horribly awkward and impressionable age when nothing nor no one seems to get it right. And I overheard someone say, to my mother, about me, in this sort of whispered condolence: “Don’t worry too much, she’s just a late bloomer”. What years of therapy have attempted to undo, was set into motion that very day.