Exhale, whew. And now we begin.
It is not right that we say, this is it or this is all we’ll ever be. It is not true that we cannot or will not improve or change because everything changes.
Socrates said that change is law and no amount of pretending will change this law. And he is right.
No negotiations or compromises will be made. Life will happen. Bad things will happen. Good things will happen. We will rise and fall more times than the sun or the moon, and yet, time will not regard us.
Life will give us the unfortunate accidents the unexplainable misfortunes that range from minimal to modest or sad to tragic. We will live and we will learn. We will encounter tragedy. We will both overcome and succumb to habits and routines.
There will be days, — and I swear, the anxiety meter will be high off the charts. There will be times when nothing fits and nothing works. There will be the inevitable encounters with rejection. And make no mistake about it; rejection and disappointment are a necessary part of life.
So is falling down because this is how we learn to get back up.
Failing is also part of learning because this is how we learn to improve, if we choose to.
It is not fair that we try and we give and we hope and then suddenly, the bottom drops out. Something unexpectedly goes wrong or something unforeseen or unwanted takes place and breaks our momentum.
It is not fair.
It’s not fair that we hope and we dream and we work ourselves to the bone; only to come up short. It is discouraging. It is humiliating and oftentimes painful to want something so badly, only to get so close, and then miss your mark by just an inch.
It’s not fair.
I see no point in being dishonest about this nor do I see the benefit in denying the pains we feel. Instead, I would rather be honest. I would rather be realistic. I would rather the right to feel as I do because otherwise, if I deny myself, inevitably the feelings will accumulate and overwhelm me, one on top of the other until finally I just can’t take it anymore.
And I snap!
(I breathe as I type.)
It is true. Heartache is part of life. So is dying. So is death. And so is the difference between the two because sometimes we die in life. Sometimes we die with loss. Sometimes we feel as though we are dying alive, literally drowning in ourselves. However, each time we die, we are also reborn in other ways.
I was once asked if anyone has ever died from a broken heart.
My answer is yes.
Has anyone ever died from disappointment?
Has anyone ever died from wanting something so badly but it never happened?
Does anyone ever come back from this?
The answer is “Yes” again.
We die several times in life. Dying is part of living.
So is death in the ultimate sense.
There is not one without the other, which means, although we die in the figurative sense; whether we die from humiliation or regret or shame, we have the chance to live again. We have the chance to try again.
We have a shot to overcome. We have the chance to improve as well as the right to change, which, in either case, the right to change and improve are both inalienable. This means no one can take this from us. No one can stop us from this, no matter how limited our options may seem. No matter what, we always have the option to be better.
The truth is we all want to be pain-free. We want to be free of sadness and free from anxiety. And me, I just want to be my best version of my dream. And I know I am not alone with this.
I want to be that version of me, still able to heal, able to bounce back and able to stand up after I fall. I want be able to dream without the hindrance of doubt.
I want to be able to stand on my own and be fine to walk away without the uncomfortable ideas, like, “What if I leave now and walk away, just to find out the only thing I’ll ever be is lonely?”
This is me. And I’m not ashamed to say this or embarrassed to expose this because although I reach for empowerment, I am humble; I am real, but more than anything, I am human (just like you).
Am I not so different from you or from anyone else? Do I not have dreams? Do I not have memories? Do I not have the right to my feelings? Am I not entitled to these things?
I want to dare the world and dare the edge and live as if I have no fear or concern for outside opinions. I want to be the person I wished when I was younger — I was longhaired, wild-eyed and crazy, walking through the cobblestone streets in Downtown, New York City, just aching to find a place to go and let myself be free.
I wanted to write. I wanted to build. I wanted so many things but the fact remained, I was just a kid. I was scared. I was afraid to try and fall or worse, I was afraid to try and be laughed at or find out I was really no good at all.
I was trying to find myself, amazed by the dazzling lights of the marquis in the theaters and the playhouses, wishing for something better wondering, “Could that ever be me?”
Could I ever find the courage to step away from myself?
Would I ever dare to try and express myself, fully, openly and wholeheartedly to the point where my vulnerability was bleeding and raw, but yet, beautiful and brave?
I want my life to be the way I felt the last time I walked the beach, alone, at a place called Point Lookout, Long Island and feel the comfort of a soft, offshore breeze while standing in the sun.
This is what I want. This is how I want to feel. This is how I want to be; however, life will not always coincide with what I want or how I feel.
Life will not always jive with my dreams or my aspirations nor will the doors I choose always open to the places I want to be.
It is told to us, “Put yourself out there.”
“Give it everything you have.”
“Don’t hold back.”
“Don’t be afraid.”
“And if you fall, get right back up and go at it again.”
It is told, don’t take it personally, which is something we hear often — to which, I say of course this is what people say.
I say it’s easy to tell someone, “Don’t take it personal.”
The truth is life is personal. All dreams are personal. And it hurts when you miss. It hurts to fall. It hurts to find out you didn’t make the cut.
It hurts to be rejected, but so what? Pain is part of life. No one gets through without any pain. No one! And the thing about pain is pain hurts!
Why pretend anything otherwise?
Why lie about it?
I understand pain. I feel it. I have it. And I know it all too well. Then again, so does everyone else in this world. It would be inaccurate to say that no one else feels this way. But yet, at the same time, it would also be inaccurate to say anyone else feels the way I do because the truth is we are all our own person. We all have right to our perfect uniqueness.
I have found myself at the bottom. I have fallen. I have found myself in desperate times when I thought there was no possible way out. I have felt the sting of rejection and seen the different faces of tragedy.
But I am no different from you or anyone else. I have seen this and felt this but so have you. So have we all. The question comes down to this: What do you want to do now?
This is an important question because the answer dictates the journeys we take. The answer we choose dictates if we give in to fear, or if we give in to doubt, will we buckle at the knees because we’ve submitted to the discouragement of life on life’s terms, — but more importantly, the way we answer this question will determine whether we continue towards our dreams or simply give up and fall to the sadness of life’s disappointments.
Truth is life is going to happen. We all have the right to face these things as we choose to. We have the right to give in. We have the right to try again. We have the right to submit and we have the right to conquer and overcome.
No one can ever make this choice for us; therefore, the responsibility to improve, change or overcome belongs only to us.
There are times when I’d like to nurse my pain but there is no resurrection without rising up from the depths of my despair. There is no return and there is no redemption if I give in. There is no recovery and no victory. In the times when I am down the most, deep down, I know I have to stand up or else I won’t change. Instead, the world will just change around me, and thus would be my life, unlived, by my own doing.