I have always wanted to feel good. Even when I behaved badly, I always wanted to feel something so explicitly pure and genuine. I wanted to feel cleansed—I wanted something to overcome and wash me away from myself.
I wanted to feel as if I were good, or healed, as if to absolve the situations in my mind. I wished for it. I wished I could find something to ease the quiet regret that continuously whispered to me. These are the internal whispers that told lies to further alter my perception of self.

At the end of my rope, my life was at bottom with most of my friends gone, my family too emotionally distant to consider, my heart was filled with an absence of warmth and my will or zest for life broke in tiny fragments that were too damaged to repair.

My personal belongings dwindled down to almost nothing. All I had was a few drawers of clothing, an old, outdated television, a car that was about to die, a bank account on empty with a list of bills with the words, “FINAL NOTICE,” printed with severity in either red or black ink.

My only companion was a small, blue-eyed, gray kitten with a white patch on her little chest.  My only company was the cat, or an unnamed, unimportant girl of whom I sought the temporary nourishment of physical satisfaction.

My apartment was small, empty, and the echo from undecorated walls and the lack of furniture to absorb the sound rang out like a painful reminder that I was alone.
I fell to me knees. With my arms extended to the heavens, humbled, weeping out as if my tears were a bleeding expression of my shattered existence, I shut my eyes as tightly as I could in a quietly sad surrender.

I have always wanted to feel good. This is true. I wanted to believe that goodness was possible and that I could be fixed, as if something pure could wash away my yesterday, and coming clean, I could stand without the mindful regrets and scars that mapped the wreckage of my past.

If this were so, I thought I could turn around and walk away.
I could push myself from the life I no longer wanted and live the life I always wished for.

Suddenly, I wave of emotion took over.
It was shame . . .
I saw myself for what I was.
I saw my sins
I saw myself as an assassin of character to anyone, including myself
I was an emotional murderer, a womanizer, a liar, a thief, a cheat.

I thought of a night on Rockaway Parkway and the way moonlight reflects on a nickel-plated .357 magnum. I can assure you the glare appears differently, depending upon which side of the revolver you find yourself on. And admittedly, I have been on both sides.

I thought about the overwhelming hatred in my heart, which perhaps, could mirror the depth of my love had I chose to live my life another way.
I thought about a man weakened by fear and pleading on his knees; his eyes swelled and watering, looking upwards at me in total submission. His hands clasped together in a clutch of prayer, pleading as the silvery barrel of the pistol aimed downward from my position towards the kneeling man’s forehead. Little did this man know—the gun was not loaded. Little did he know that he was brave and that I was the true coward.

There are certain things man should not feel. The ability to give life and parent a child is a gift. However, the understanding that life can be taken away or reduced to nothingness, leaving a man lifeless or humiliated beyond repair is a power that no man should feel. It is a strange source of retribution. In my case, it was a way to solve the rage and irrationally victimize the innocent for the loss of my own self-worth.

We were all great once . . .
We were all pure but slowly tainted as we grew older and more distant from ourselves.

In the wake of self-destruction, I sank to the most humbled state. I supplicated myself in all humility. I surrendered it all. I surrendered everything. I surrendered my yesterdays and my regrets. I stretched my arms, screaming the way a child would scream out to its mother. “Please God, help me!”

There I stood at my own crossroads, submitting to make a change, and willing to begin a road I have never traveled before

Of all I lost, I have gained more than I ever imagined. I am more of a protector now. Most would say I am overprotective. Some would say I am over protective to compensate for the way I used to be. And to them, I say they’re right.

An old friend once told me, “The way I live right now and the things I do to make up for who I was might not get me into heaven. And that’s okay. But the way I live right now and the things I do to make up for who I was helps me escape my own hell. And that’s really all I can ask for right now.”

I always wanted to feel good, as if I had done something to make a difference in this world. Seeking to compensate for my wrongs has brought me to a personal redemption.

And in the end, this is what I always wanted

To feel redeemed . . .

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