The Strength To Stand

When I began to consider my life and contemplate the ideas of taking on a new direction, I thought to myself, honestly, and I looked around at the fixtures on my wall in my home.
I looked at the photographs I had and the smiles on people’s faces. I swore, i didn’t want to be the way I was, but yet, I was.

I considered the people in my life. I thought about my friends and my family. I thought of this and after surviving me and defeating ideas of “Why me?” and, “Why do things like this always happen,” I took an honest look at me and my role in this opinion.
I looked at the things I did and all the projects I began but never finished. I looked at my perception of hope. I looked at my ability to endure and to continue.

I thought about my ideas of longevity and the ability and my threshold to tolerate pain. And mind you, the pain I mean hurts differently from physical pain. No, this is the pain of anguish.
This pain comes without a face or clear description. We can’t see it, but we know the pain is there.
This pain comes without a voice, but yet, in fairness, I contradict myself because this kind of pain speaks in tiny whispers, in which only I can hear them. No one else can hear it. No one else can see it or feel this. It’s just me

And here we are now.
Today is the last day of August in the year 2019. Who would have thought we could have made it this far?

It is morning now, of course, and I am by my window. I am looking out at the sky, which is still young in the stages of sunrise. There is a white line that stretches over towards the horizon. The line is a cloud, which is white and feathery. I suppose this line was left behind by a jet plane, soaring off to somewhere unknown. Today marks the unofficial start to the weekend that marks the unofficial end of summer.
Soon enough the winds will become cooler and our clothes will be warmer. The leaves on the trees will change. Then the leaves will fall to the ground and crumble into the earth. This too is part of a cycle—just like we are. Life is cyclical. Life is seasonal and also situational.

When I began to contemplate the direction of my life, and I mean truly and deeply; I looked around and thought about the things which held me back. I considered the ideas that led me to questions such as, “Why me?” or “Why does this always have to be me?”

I looked around at other people and noticed their appearance of happiness. I wondered if it was real (or not.)
I wondered if anything was real (or not) because nothing seemed real. At least, not really.
I mean, of course, life is real. Pain is real. To me, my perception was real and so were my fears. But was love real? Was happiness real?
Or was this just a line in a book someplace? Was the idea of happiness just a façade? Was it just a front, to play pretend, like some pretty type of window dressing, just to make things seem nice?
But yet meanwhile; everything behind the scenes was plastic (or coerced.)
Know what I mean?

I did not and could not understand the ideas of anything other than the concepts I was taught to believe.
But yet, where did my beliefs come from?
Were they childhood beliefs? Did these concepts come from abuse; as in abuse to me and my moral being (as in P.T.S.D?)or as in abuse in which, I mean to suffer at the hand of others?
Whether this was conscious or subconscious, was I following fact or just an opinion based on inaccurate evidence? Or, was I following assumptions based on old memories and sad recollections of shame and public humiliation?

I mean, honestly, don’t we all know what it feels like to be hurt? Or to be punished by someone for reasons that had nothing to do with us and were due to circumstances, far beyond our control?
Does anyone ever escape unscathed?
Truth is i think we all go through seasons of good and bad.

There are stories of studies (I swear I heard about this before. As a matter of fact, Fulghum even wrote about this with the Solomon Islanders) regarding the energy of plant life, in which, if we speak kindly to it, the plant grows and flourishes; however, if we shout at the plant or scream at it; if we chastise the plant, if put it down, if we scream at it and spoil its soul, inevitably and eventually, the plant dies because the energy kills its spirit.

There is something about living spiritless. There is something about living lifeless too. In fact, none of this can be contested. Environment is everything.

When I looked around at the life I lived and I thought about the people I lived with and the friends I had; I thought about the energy I consume.
I thought about the energy I put out. I thought about the plant and the chapter Fulghum wrote about the Solomon Islanders and how they made trees fall simply by yelling at them from sunup to sundown to kill their spirit. I thought about the strength of my own spirit and how Fulghum was right. I thought about the strength it takes to stand and then I thought about something else Fulghum said.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can break my heart.”

I thought about my environment. I thought about the people I interacted with and the treatment I accepted because, well, I thought this was normal. More accurately though; I was unsure that I deserved better nor was I sure that I could be treated better by anyone else.
“This is just my life,” I supposed.
I never considered that environmentally, I could find myself at risk or in crisis. But after a while, everything is in crisis—especially when it comes to depression and a life spent while living in the wrong environment.

I never realized that my environment had a direct effect on my anxiety. I never made the connection between the people I interacted with and the way I felt about myself.
As far as “Sticks and stones,” I never believed that line anyway.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.”
That’s a lie.

In all fairness; however, I was tired of feeling like I was hostage. I was tired of feeling caged. I was tired of feeling constricted and restricted when meanwhile; all I wanted to do is step away from this. I wanted to step out from the prison in my own head, to stop the worry, to stop the overthinking, and the insecurity. All I wanted was to feel that thing, which I think they call, “Normal.”

I never knew how to embrace myself. And when I say embrace myself, I mean I never knew how to cherish me. I never knew how to improve my level of awareness.
I never knew what it meant to have a higher level of consciousness, which would result in an improvement in my level of personal understanding. And that’s what freedom is.
Freedom is understanding our boundaries. Freedom is not being fenced in by emotion. Freedom is not being afraid of the next bad thing or feeling the ongoing upcoming of impending doom. Feeling is not the absence of fear, but more, freedom is understanding the true identity of fear while continuing to move forward.
Freedom is the mindset or idea that no matter what anyone says or do; I know me. I know who I am, which means I know who I truly am.
This means all the false perceptions of self would cease to have control over me. This means all the false evidence appearing real is just an imposition of an old imagination—and that’s what fear is.

F.E.A.R (False Evidence Appearing Real)

I never considered that my environment was fear based. I never thought my fear kept me from moving forward or kept me hidden. My fear kept me from trying. Fear kept me still and stuck in the wrong places with the wrong people because I was too afraid to move on or be anything different.

Because, what then?
(You know?)
What do I do then?

When I looked at my life, honestly, and took honest inventory; I looked at my environment. I thought about the things which kill my spirit. I thought about the lies I listened to and the trees killed by the Solomon Islanders.
I thought about what Fulghum said in his book. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can break my heart.

But what if the words weren’t true? What if the words used to break my heart had nothing to do with me?
What if I decided to open up and see the world for what it is instead of hide away or hide behind some false sense of identity? Instead, what if I decided to be brave enough to just be me and not be concerned about you or you or you?
(You get it?)
What if I allowed me the chance to let go of my old biases and said farewell to my old concepts?

There are people that claim to live and want to be happy. There are people that feel stuck and all they wish for is a chance to make their life happen.
I often wonder when people say they want to live better or be a certain way and they want to change, but yet, they stay in their same environment and do the same things—how does this help them achieve their goal?

When I was at my worst and only wanted to feel my best; I had to take a look around and see what my environment looked like.
I took notice of all things that killed my spirit and silenced my dreams. I thought about my whispers of insecurity and swore to myself; I had to make these things stop.

I had to come up with a plan. I had to come up with an idea and a strategy. I had to break away from the sources that robbed me of sunlight.
I had to remove the weeds from my roots so that I could breathe and stand strong.

I decided that I cannot and should not and will not look back. I decided that as I climbed out of my own self; I refused to look down.
I refused to look back because I needed to look ahead of me. I needed to look up. I needed to see hope.
I needed to find empowerment. I needed to understand that life happens. Same as the seasons will cycle; so will life. Nothing is so linear anymore, but secularly and systematically, my life is free to detach as I choose, which means, I can stand up now and choose to be free (if that’s what I want to do.)

I can be free at any time.
All it takes is a decision and the rest is up to me.

I used to practice what I would say when I had the guts to stand up and walk away from certain people, places, and things.
I used to rehearse what I was going to tell people when I chose to get away from them, which is funny because when I finally found the strength to stand on my own and determination to be free—I realized I didn’t need to say anything at all.

All I had to do is just walk away . . .

The rest was up to me!

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