the right to improve.

I like to look back and view my beginning to illustrate my growth.
I went from a full house to an empty two bedroom apartment in the upstairs of a private home. This was my square one.

I went from vacant walls and an empty fridge to a slow rebuild, which began with a small dining room table.
The round table was made of dark wood with high, bar-styled chairs.
It was not much—but it was the first table I ever paid for on my own.
I did not have to consult anyone on its style or concern myself with another opinion. I liked my table. I picked it out and I paid for it.

After I put the table in the corner of my apartment, I felt the need to add detail to the walls. I could not afford much. But I was able to find two nice area rugs for the floors. I found pictures for the walls and a new computer table for my bedroom.

I went from a large house to a small apartment.
I went from never being alone to walking into an empty home on a daily basis.

I suppose it was toughest for me then. I began to believe the lies about me. I believed in the doubts and gave too much credit to those that never deserved my time.

It took falling down to learn what it truly means to stand on my own two feet. And more, it took leaving the wrong life to appreciate what it means to come home and see the benefits of my ability.

In the fallout of divorce with nothing else but photographs of my young daughter and a small gray kitten to keep me company, I sat alone on a couch and watched my television, which rested on an old piece of furniture that was left by the previous tenant. I came to the realization that if I were to improve, then the improvement would depend upon me and no one else.

I learned the importance of preparing my own meals as opposed to eating fast food. True, both feed an empty stomach; however, preparing food is nurturing, and in a time of need, there was no one better to nurture myself than me.

I stepped away. And by stepped away, I mean I moved away from the people that held me back. I made a commitment to myself, and since that time, I have never fallen back on my word.
If my change depended upon me, then my change could not hinge upon anyone else or their opinion.
This is when I first wrote the words, “My redemption has nothing to do with your response.”
If it were up to me—then it could only be up to me.

I have often said, “In many cases, there are no victims. There are only volunteers.”
And since I believe this is the case, I decided to stop volunteering. I decided to change who I donate my time to. I learned to appreciate my own value, and as a result, I never accepted treatment, which is less than what I deserve.

True, I moved from a large home to an empty apartment. But after that apartment, I moved into my own house. I have my own driveway. I have my own front stoop with a mailbox for the mailman. I have bedrooms and a bathroom. I have a kitchen to cook my food in, a couch to sit on and watch television, and of course, I have a dining room with a dining room table.
I have a front window to see the sunrise through and a back porch to watch the sunset in the evening. So in a sense, I have more now than ever before.

There are those that doubted my ability. There are those that expected me to fail. But yet here I am, sitting in a place I call, “The writing room,” and though I have made several mistakes; I have never failed.
I have never given in and I have not gone back on my commitment.

There will always be someone with a bad opinion, and there will always be someone quick to put me down. But just because someone says, “You can’t do it,” or they insult me; it doesn’t mean they are right. Often, people’s complaints or insults are reflections of how they view themselves.
Their problems are their problems, and so long as I understand this, their words lose volume and I don’t have to stand by and listen . . .
So long as I am aware of my own value, and so long as I am emotionally, and spiritually healthy, I can ignore these things because I know they have nothing to do with me.

In a still world. nothing changes.
So don’t stand still.
Do something. Replace thought with action, don’t settle, and above all else know this:

You have the right to improve
Any treatment you accept that is less than what you deserve
Can and will be used against you for the rest of your life.

You have the right to be healthy
If you cannot become healthy on your own,
You have the right to seek out someone that can help you.

Understand?

My point is square one is only square one.

The best is yet to come . . .

I still have that dining room table, by the way.
I keep it as a reminder of who I was and how far I’ve come since then.

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