Reflecting on the sculptors of my life: the miner

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Tabitha N. Haynes
  • Air Force District of Washington Public Affairs
"Mineral forms of carbon vary greatly," said the test prep book. "For example, both diamonds and graphite are forms of carbon. However, graphite is very weak and soft, and diamonds are the hardest gemstones known to man."

Instantly, this reading comprehension question took me back to a fight over my high school English essay that tore a close relationship of mine apart for nearly three years.

Sometimes I still get confused as to what happened that caused it. Was it the stress on a relationship a split family can lead to, and that two and a half days a week couldn't provide enough recovery time for? Was I rebelling at the idea of welcoming new family?

Regardless, years later, when I was in the thick of letting stress tear me apart in college, when life wouldn't quit throwing me curve balls, and when it still does, I was given this saying that I hold onto:

"Stress is what breaks people. Pressure is what makes them stronger. Stress tears things apart. But diamonds are made under pressure."

That is when I realized I was placed under pressure to expect the most out of myself, and I allowed it to become stress. I had someone in my life who wanted more for me than they ever had for themselves, and worked and prayed for it in my life.

That was when I began mending that strained relationship. It didn't happen overnight, but it got there. And the respect, understanding, patience and love we have for each other now is beyond the bonds of carbon.

Life can be hard, but I was raised to expect the best from myself and get up stronger when knocked down along my path.

Resiliency, determination and strength are not options in my life now, but expectations I am proud to step up to. Anything less from me, means more my Wingmen are expected to carry. Although I know they will step-up and do whatever I cannot; I strive to be the best part of the team I know how to be.

By taking the Air Force officers qualifying test I was preparing for; I asked for the privilege to teach others the same fundamentals I was taught - expect more from yourself than you thought possible before, and never let stress into your life...create diamonds.

The answer to that reading comprehension question was "D - the difference between carbon and diamonds." But I was frozen in my path, staring at "A. Diamonds."

Airmen serving today are faced with decisions and challenges that affect the Wingmen standing next to them as drastically as our country. We set into motion actions that reflect on every individual who owns the title "American."

If that is not pressure, what is?

So it is our calling as Airmen, Wingmen and leaders to ensure that we challenge ourselves by remaining emotionally aware, in control and optimistic, while leaning on each other for a clear perspective to persevere towards the greatest of expectations - and to never allow pressure to become stress in our lives.

It was such an obvious word to get stuck in the mind of this 8 lb. 6 oz. April baby. Dad, I will always be your little girl - but know that you have raised a woman, who became an Airman, who proudly calls herself Airman 1st Class Haynes.