I look out of my window; stare at sunset above the houses in my town, and quietly sip from my coffee. I put in more than 60 hours of work this week. And that’s a good thing…
Someone asked, “When did it click?”
If by click, they meant change, then I am not sure how to answer.
Change comes after a combination of events; that’s how we learn. I learned from falling. I learned from my fear. I learned from my rewards and from the benefit of better living.
A little boy sucked his thumb….
His parents told him to stop, but the boy would not listen. The parents punished him. They reprimanded him and sprayed apple vinegar on both thumbs.
But every angle failed and the boy continued.
When he reached the age of kindergarten, the boy was excited to go to school; he was excited to play with new people and learn new games.
He was excited to meet his teacher and see what the classroom looked like.
Early morning, the boy dressed himself and grabbed his yellow lunch box. He sat in his special seat in the back of his mother’s car.
“Don’t worry,” he told mom. “I can buckle myself.”
They arrived at school and the little boy waved as he walked away with the teacher’s assistant.
At the end of the school day, the mother arrived with a smile.
“How was your first day,” she asked. But the boy looked sad.
The mother asked, “Did you have fun?”
Partly crying the boy answered, “No!”
It seemed his classmates stopped sucking their thumbs when they were much younger. They pointed and laughed.
“You still suck your thumb?”
Something that comforted the boy and made him feel happy was suddenly taken away and turned horrible.
I admit I was unkempt. I was messy and my mother would always remind me, “Wash your hands.”
She’d tell me, “Make sure your brush your teeth,” but if she didn’t, then I would forget. I did not bathe properly. But I never saw myself as dirty. I never saw anything wrong with who I was or what I looked like.
One day, I was on a school bus and joked with one of the girls in my class. I had no idea she didn’t like me. I never thought she would yell or scream. But she did.
“You’re dirty,” she told me. “Your hair is greasy and I think you’re disgusting.”
…I never missed a day of showering since then.
We learn through influence.
I grew tired of falling down, so I learned to walk better. I was tired of being yelled at and weary from making the same mistakes.
In the pit of my bottom, I sat in a holding cell, and waited for my trip before the judge. I sat on a wooden bench across from a stainless steel toilet, which was also a water fountain. I sat with an emptied heart and I prayed.
I said, “Please God, get me out of this. I swear I won’t ever do anything like this again…just get me out of this place.”
But God said, “Yes,” by saying “No,” and I was forced to deal with consequences.
I was given the awareness of my physical size as opposed to the other inmates that were much bigger than me. I was aware that I had become the minority. I was scrawny. I was sickly. If I had stayed, I don’t think I would have survived the week.
When I returned home, my parents were furious. My friends had walked away. They disagreed with who I became and when I switched to the cocaine demon, I lost most of my friends. But when I found heroine, my crowd was even smaller.
I had no friends. I had no social life. My sex life was poor and my loneliness was overpowering.
I saw my arrest as a gift. I saw it as a way out. Of course, jail is frightening but it was better than who I had been.
I remember looking through the bars of my jail cell, and focusing on a row of frosted windows.
The air was stale and the light seemed remanufactured. As bad as this place was, to me, it meant “At least I can stop now.”
I often notice the ledge I stand on after it’s too late. I think about the consequences after I already committed the sin. I look up and swear, “Dear God, please just get me out of this.”
Sometimes I get lucky. Other times I have to pay for my actions.
But without loss, we never learn.
Without threat, we cannot understand fear and the fear of loss, to me, is an excellent motivator.
Aside from the inaccurate versions I had of myself, I grew tired of being sad. I mistreated women. I was disrespectful and arrogant. I was afraid, and of any emotion, I was most tired of fear.
I was afraid to be last to get the punch-line.
I was afraid of being laughed at. I was tired of feeling awkward and socially-misfitting. So I responded in the way I hated most. I became my every fear and treated other as I would hate to be treated myself.
In the pit of my lonesomeness, I grew tired. After I had enough, I pushed myself away from the places I did not belong.
And that was my first real victory
Fear is a wasted form of energy; imagine how much energy we would have if fear was removed from the equation…..
Change is a long process. I was told to look for progress; not perfection. I was told to keep a policy of attraction rather than promotion …I call this a lesson in humility.
I cannot pinpoint a time when I turned the corner. Fortunately, I still learn and learning is an ongoing process. However, as time goes on, this process gets easier.
Have a good night, folks