When there was nowhere else to turn and no one left to blame, when all was down, the world was like this big place with too many doorways, too many windows, and too many options for me to consider. And me, I was on my own in a way I had never experienced before. My pockets were empty. I was alone in a new way.
I felt overwhelmed by the idea of rebuilding my life. I struggled to see my ability to adapt or overcome; however, and perhaps, this was when I realized my ability is equal to my belief.
When there is no room left to fall and there is no more damage to take on, all there is was me and my conclusion; I had nothing left to fear. My predictions became true.
I was sitting in my small apartment, single again, alone, and admittedly feeling sorry for myself. I was unsure why though. Truth is I knew why I found myself alone. Truth is I made the decision to move on. However the truth is I was petrified of the quiet lonesomeness in an empty, lifeless room.
This was me. Broken. And I say broken because yes I was brokenhearted but I was not brokenhearted for love or love’s sake. No, I was brokenhearted for my own reasons.
For the first time, this was me without anyone to tell me what to do or where to go or how to be.
I sat alone for a while, watching a movie on an old VHS tape, eating from a small folding dinner tray on a couch that should have been abandoned, and tasting a microwaved meal that was much less than tasty.
The video I watched was a 90’s movie I once saw in a theater near Syosset with a friend of mine named Johnny the Rug. But that was obviously a different time in my life.
The cable had not been turned on yet and all I had was a small television with a built-in VCR. With no other options, I watched the movie Pulp Fiction nearly every day for almost a week until the cable was finally installed.
I was nearby to a grade school, which I knew about from my younger former life. I remembered this school, close to the parkway, and on the opposite side of my old home town where I was raised. There was a little playground; there were two, in fact, but they lay mostly empty and vacant like an abandoned place that once thrived with life.
I thought about the young man I was when I moved away from my old house at 277 Merrick Avenue. I thought about the differences in the world, and the price of things like say, gas, or the price of cigarettes.
I thought about the old stomping grounds. I thought about the good things and the bad. And even the bad things were good.
I felt as if my town welcomed me home, anonymously, and without judgement; as if to say, you can stay here until you get back on your feet.
To which, I felt concerned because what if I never did?
What if I never got back on my own two feet again?
What if I become the failure I allowed others to perceive me to be?
Love is a strange, real, and necessary thing. I remember in my breakdown, I sat in the aftermath of my decisions and sifted through consequences of my choices.
I came to the realization that it was me who settled; therefore it was me that created the tragedies and the self-fulfilled prophecies that came my way.
I wanted love. I wanted life. I wanted these things so badly that I feared they might not ever come the way I wanted them to. So I settled. I took the lesser of the trade and hoped for the best but the best never lived up to my expectations because I sold myself short.
I found myself here and came to a decision. I made a supplication with God the Father. I made this same agreement with myself.
In the rosy hue colored sky of afternoon, a new summer was about to be underway. My friends mostly gone, my family too spread apart to consider, my only friend was a little kitten I picked up to offer some kind of lively presence to my place; I found myself, upset about my circumstances, and angry about the way life turned out.
If I were to make a change, it would have to be me that made the change . . .
My apartment was small but nice. It was an upstairs, two-bedroom place in a private home. My landlord lived below me. She was a family woman. Her husband worked and she did as well; however, it was clear to me that she was in charge.
It was abundantly clear to her husband as well when he laughed and explained, “I just do what she says,” in a respectful, loving way.
They had a daughter. She was respectful and kind, pretty too, with dark almost skin, black hair, almond shaped eyes, and a smile that every teenage girl should wish for.
They were kind to me. Often, they left plates of food for me on the staircase, which was more than welcomed. They understood my predicament. They understood about the lonesomeness and the love behind a plate of home-cooked food.
Upon entry to my place, the hardwood floors were dark. The walls were white. The kitchen was to the left. It was small with a yellow-crème colored fridge, a matching colored stove, some cabinets with plates and a few pans left behind by the previous tenant.
I had two couches. I had a small TV stand. I had a pine chest of drawers for my clothes a bed on the floor, an old computer tray and an even older computer.
The bathroom was small but it was enough to have a bathtub, sink, and toilet, so not much else was needed. My bedroom was decent in size. The other bedroom was smaller in size, however, it was mainly unused for my time as a tenant.
I decided this would be the place of my rebuild. I decided that if I wanted to rebuild myself, then I would have to do it without exception, without excuses, and without concerns of whether I will or will not succeed.
I thought about all of the people in my life. I thought about the people that told me I would not or could not succeed. And I thought about the ones, the passive/aggressive, the judgmental ones, and those who appeared to see themselves as better.
I came to a personal agreement that they were only who I made them out to be. I began to understand it’s not what they said or did to me. It was the way I felt about me that created my situations because me in my best life, I would never submit to people like this.
However, me at my weakest, I gave in to fears; I gave in to insecurities and invested more with hopes to eventually gain a return.
At the bottom, all I saw was the uphill climb. All I saw was the job. I saw the effort I would need in order to climb back out of my self-created hole.
And then it all came down to one question:
When is it my turn to have the life I want to live? When is it my turn to feel successful? When is it my turn to feel comfortable in my own skin and to be free from myself?
I had been trapped in my own body (so-to-speak) and been captive to my own doubts for so long that I had no idea when I would ever be able to achieve any of the dreams I’ve always dreamed of having.
I never realized that “When” had to become “Now.”
All you see is the climb when you’re standing at the bottom of the hill. The top is this faraway place and the bottom is the lurking thing, which laughs and always welcomes you back.
back to the old saying, “Don’t look down.”
Don’t look back.
Look straight ahead.
Set your sights
and don’t let anything steal your focus.
The top was closer than I ever dreamed and my ability was more than I ever believed.
If our ability is equal to our belief and out belief is equal to our ability; yet, we don’t believe in ourselves, it’s hard to see what are true capability is.
Sometimes at our humblest time and what seemed like some of my weakest; I learned that I was stronger than I ever realized. I just needed something to create the change. I needed to see this for myself and make my decision to be the person I always wanted to be.
This is what it means to live life up to our best possible potential. Anything less is just settling.
once, long ago.
I won’t ever do that to myself again.
Neither should you . . .