Motivational Speaker Derek Clark: Childhood Trauma, ACEs, Survivor, Resilience, Redemption and Victor Over His Past!
No — not that type of “Survivor.” I didn’t play a reality TV game for 39 days on an island to outplay, outwit, and outlast other contestants.
I’m the real-life definition. I’ve endured disaster and hardship in my life since the day I was born. As a survivor of childhood trauma, I’ve long been overcoming the misfortune on my path.
My key to becoming a survivor in your own life — regardless of what you’ve tolerated — is tenacity. Tenacity is a person’s commitment to persistent determination. Here’s my story of being a survivor and transforming my life with my own determination and will.
My Early Life
I grew up in foster care due to situations beyond my control. Both my parents gave up on me. I suffered abandonment and rejection at the hands of my mother while my father was in prison for the criminally insane. As a frustrated child, I had problems trusting, loving, and accepting others. It took me years to grasp the fact that others’ mistakes cannot and will not steal the joy from my life. I suffered residual childhood trauma and PTSD from both my parents’ actions.
Yet, I knew this could impact my life forever in ways like trust, marriage, health, fatherhood, and relationships. I decided enough was enough. I couldn’t allow my past to infect my future.
Becoming a Survivor
Everyone experiences suffering in life. It’s what people do with that suffering that differentiates the survivors. You can use your pain to shape and determine your future.
While growing up in foster care, I found music. What started as a simple extracurricular activity quickly became the key to this cell I felt trapped in. No other element in my life gave me the ability to express the feelings I had shoved deep down. Writing songs released these pieces of my soul that I often felt I had to lock away. Not only that but it also restored these pieces that had felt broken for so long.
Many people hold onto their past, believing it’ll be the only thing to help them heal. Unfortunately, this attachment to your past can steal from your present life. Direct your mental and emotional resources to your future. Don’t dwell on the problems that exhaust you.
For me, this resulted in a heavy thought-filtering system. I work hard to filter out the negative and filter in the positive to ensure that only helpful and constructive thoughts enter my life. This responsibility over my thought process has allowed me to master and move on from the past and to not let it infect my future.
It’s also a great illustration of using “will” to direct your life. I’m a firm believer that IQ isn’t a determining factor of success. It’s your “I WILL.” Will — the desire and determination to make something happen — exists somewhere in all of us. It may be buried in your heart, but it can transform you from a dreamer into an achiever. It can make you tenacious and help you take action. When you lack will in life, you can get stuck with the leftovers instead of enjoying multiple courses and dessert.
Change the way you look at your early life, and your current life can change for the better. At some point, you’ll experience hurt, depression, hopelessness, and pain, but you can be the master of your mind and be intentional with your thoughts. This will create a greater chance of a better life, not a bitter life.
Learn more about childhood trauma survivor and motivational speaker Derek Clark — aka Rapping Dad. If you’re interested in booking a trauma-informed & ACEs conference keynote speaker or trainer, visit here