As a child, Loverly would look dreamily up at the skies. Where others saw merely clouds, Loverly saw adventure, excitement–possibilities. Her imagination swooned to conjure what wonders awaited beyond the veil of her Saint Lucia home, and she decided that she would one day travel the world to discover all its fascinating wonders.
A big dream for any little girl, indeed. But especially for this child of a single-parent household (with five siblings), growing up in a post-colonial Caribbean island nation where electricity and hot water were scarce commodities…well, it clearly was not a dream that most expected to be anything more than a childhood fantasy.
Evidently, Sheridan didn’t get that memo.
It might be easy to think that a world traveling author who has visited six of the seven continents always led a life of luxury. But Sheridan’s beginnings were quite humble, and formed with strict guidance. The stern discipline imparted by her mother and grandfather might be perceived by other children as shackles, yet for Sheridan, that discipline is what gave her wings to fly. Sheridan writes of her mother, “She raised us with class, grace and with such discipline that although we were poor, I always felt rich.” And although “Daddy Jones” (Sheridan’s grandfather) was quite strict, Sheridan recalls, “His discipline helped foster great morals and values within us, which ultimately shaped me into the woman that I am today.”
The results of that discipline is evident in her adult views. “I’ve learned that a lending hand is not always a helping hand,” Sheridan says. “We are a society of ‘enablers’ who spend lots of time, energy and resources complaining about the same things that we enable. There are too many parents who complain about their children´s laziness and sense of entitlement, but do nothing to break that habit. They shower their children with gifts, GIVE them everything, and are always there to clean up their mess!”
Laziness and entitlement were not part of Sheridan’s upbringing. Born and raised in the tiny Caribbean nation of Saint Lucia during the early 80s, Sheridan made do with what she had. Lacking material luxuries, she would spend her days frolicking in the glorious nature of her homeland, seeking out tropical fruits growing natively, chasing chickens around and fashioning stones, used rope and boards into toys. These throw-away finds were transformed into marvelous playthings by the power of Sheridan’s boundless imagination; a trait that has carried her from her tender years on through adulthood.
In her twenties, Sheridan began to realize her dream of traveling the world, and in doing so, made remarkable discoveries about herself, which she journaled along the way. She collected her memoirs into a book, “A Girl Like Me,” an inspiring tome that takes readers vicariously along on her journeys, both geographic and personal.
Having experienced life in numerous points of the globe, Sheridan observes, “Life is a struggle for us all, no matter who we are and where we are from. We all bleed, hurt, cry, laugh, make mistakes, triumph, fail, win, lose, etc.; but I believe that only when we stay true to our authentic selves can we truly be happy.”
That’s a recurring theme of Sheridan’s Loverlyisms: being true to one’s self. “The world loves to tell us who we are. Don’t let them!” Sheridan exhorts. “No matter what they say, don’t get caught up in the hype; you’re not defined by any stereotype.”
Putting her own Loverly spin on the famous Martin Luther King, Jr., speech, Sheridan declares, “I have a dream that one day, when greatness and excellence is achieved by a minority or a person of color, it will not take precedence over the person’s greatness and achievement, and the headline won’t read ‘First African American,’ ‘First Black Man,’ ‘First Hispanic,’ etc. Instead, Like Michael Pelphs and Missy Franklin, it will be headlined by name and country.”
Passionate About Life
Sheridan’s true self is passionate about life. She is a woman who breathes curiosity and interest and finds inspiration in the world around her. A lifelong lover of literature and stories–oh! the tales Daddy Jones would spin!–she began writing at an early age; even authoring her very own future.
“I always feel in my element when I write. It’s my passion and the best way I know how to express myself,” Sheridan confides. But she doesn’t just tell her stories; she actively invites others to share their reflections and stories, too. “I love the response from others through my work,” she says. “It uplifts and ignites my spirit, and in return, theirs.”
Driven to Help Youth Achieve
So, what does a Creole hailing from meager origins do once she’s seen South Africa, India, Egypt, Japan, China, Sweden, Norway, France, Germany, USA, Argentina, Mauritius, Brazil, Uruguay, Greece, Cyprus, Dubai, Singapore and more? Pass along the flame of inspiration to others. On her website, Sheridan throws the spotlight on young people who are themselves role models, demonstrating admirable leadership qualities that inspire others.
Exploring the world has shown Sheridan how precious her own Creole heritage is. This motivated her to write a second book, this time directed toward young children. “Tiki Tok: Growing Up in Saint Lucia” is a picture book filled with lilting, rhyming verse. Illustrated by Jonathan Gladding, it’s the story of a mother recalling her childhood days growing up on this island of wonder, and the strong values and great sense of identity imbued upon her during her formative years.
And perhaps, a little girl reading that book will pause, look up at the skies, and dream…