by Dr. Sheila Pope
Today, I had the realization that on January 30, 2017, I walked away from a career and job that I loved. My health could not withstand the stress that I encountered from constant harassment on my job as an educator during the last few months of 2016. I am still an educator, but in December of 2016, I knew I needed a RESET. By nature, I am a fighter. If someone attacks me mentally and/or physically, I am going to do everything in my power to stop them. This battle was a not a street fight; it was a spiritual and mental battle. I was able to walk away, but I was traumatized. I never understood WHY the harassment started. I was loyal to the school; I loved the students; I demonstrate I could teach in urban high school in a community with high crime rates; I demonstrated I could raise STAAR ELAR test scores significantly! Yet that was not enough!
I did not know how bad my wounds were until January 30, 2018. I was looking at my W2 Form asking myself, “Why was my income from my full-time job and my part-time position so low?” I kept counting my time from August to January until a friend said, “You left the job in December 2016 and you resigned in January of 2017.” It finally resonated with me that I was only technically employed for the month of January in 2017 at the school. Although I physically left the job in December of 2016 and resigned in January 2017, I was still THERE mentally. I had healed, but the memories were still painful. I had not realized that I had not worked physically at that job since 2016. I could still see a few scars.
In January 2017, I had been on a needed medical leave. My body was failing in multiple areas. I was sick and exhausted. My psoriasis was the worst it had been in years. It was all over my body. My hair was shedding to the point that I was wearing baseball caps to hide the damage. I was ready to launch an all out legal war to fix the issue. Yet one day while seeking legal advise, I heard in my spirit I could not finish what I was about to start. I did not have the mental nor physical capacity to do what it took to WIN. When I fight, I go for the kill. Whatever I do, I give 120%. There was the problem. You cannot continue to give your all in too many areas. You will crash and burn. I crashed, but for GOD, I did not burn. Instead, I took a seat! I walked away and worked on getting my body back on track. I wanted my hair to grow back. I wanted my anger and pain to go away. I love to laugh. I laugh hard. I had stopped laughing due to the harassment. I was crying frequently because I could not continue to withstand the mistreatment that I was dealing with on a daily basis.
I had four children to raise. I had a mortgage and a major car payment to continue to make. Yet on January 30, 2017, none of that mattered. What mattered most to me was having a peace of mind. I needed time to heal spiritually, mentally and physically. My return date for work was February 2017. I knew I could not return to the school. I loved the students but I had to love me more. I told God that I would trust Him and move forward in building my company. I always viewed my business as a part-time thing. In January 2017, I said I was going to dedicate all of my energies into it. I was never going to be in the position that someone else could control my destiny. I would never allow myself to get back to the way I felt from October through December 2016. I would never allow myself to be publicly shamed and harassed. I would never allow a man or a women in leadership to abuse me in my place of business or in my personal life.
On January 30, 2018, I realize I am laughing hard again. My spirit is strong and I have my fight back. I no longer need to fight my battles. I truly understand and believe God fights all of my battles. I know He will multiple your blessings; He will meet all of your needs. He enlarges your territory. I have three businesses that I have founded; I created a FB group: Boss Ladies. I have a podcast on Sound Cloud: Boss Ladies. I trust my gut about people and decisions I make. I have strong friendships and healthy relationships.
I have moved into the STEM arena. I am the Founder and Superintendent of the nonprofit (501c3), Dr. Pope’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and Liberal Arts Academy. Instead of trying to convince others that we need to do something different to educate children in 2018, I have created a school to try new innovative ways to educate all children regardless of their socioeconomic status, race, gender and sexual orientation. As the founder and CEO of a Historically Underutilized Business (HUB), The Resource Center, I use my tech skills, coaching skills, professional develop development skills, and writing/editing skills to serve clients. While working in the school system, I discovered in the current school system there are too many students being prepared for prison; they have criminal records before they earn their diplomas. I am the Founder of the non-profit (501c3), The Next Move Re-entry Program, to help advocate and provide services for those students and other non-violent ex-offenders. On this day, I am grateful for the health issues I experienced in 2016. They made me stop and RESET. I am glad I am reconcile God rescued me and he placed within me a vision for three businesses. I love being a CEO & Founder. I cannot wait to see what God does in 2019.
The Resource Center
Dr. Pope’s STEM and Liberal Arts Academy
The Next Move Re-entry Program