The Oppressor Within

If given the chance to do anything or say anything you wanted to, what would it be? If you could go anywhere with anyone, where would it be and with who?
I love these questions.
Of course there would always be the obvious answers. There would be the natural responses. There would be the usual loved ones. I suppose the list would consist of usual places. Or perhaps not.
Maybe we could make this interesting. Maybe could switch this up and go to places that no longer exist with people that are not in our life anymore.

For example, there was a bungalow colony somewhere in Upstate New York. I hardly remember this because I was very young when I was there. My Grandmother had a small cottage, which I can somehow see in my mind’s eye. The pictures in my memory are faded. I’d like to go here. I’d like to see my Grandmother again. I was only 12 when she passed. I’d like to visit the bungalow and see if it looks anything like I remembered.
My memories of my Grandmother are as faded as the pictures in my mind. I remember her apartment in Miami, which is called South Beach now. I remember the balcony in her apartment. I remember her address too. I believe the address was 1000 Lincoln Road, if I’m not mistaken. This would be a good place to go. 

I have never seen the shores of South America, I’ve never watched the sun go down from a little town in Italy by the Amalfi Coast nor have I ever seen the beaches in Greece and yes, there is and always will be a piece of me that wants to go to Jerusalem.
I’d like to go to Golgotha, which means place of the skull, which is a famous place because this is the hill where Jesus was crucified.
They call this Golgotha, or place of the skull because from the side, the rock resembles an actual skull. 
I think about the history of places like this. I think how crazy it must be to see a place like this and meanwhile, there’s probably a Starbucks coffee just down the road. 

Golgotha (Jerusalem) - 2020 All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with  Photos) - Tripadvisor
Golgotha

There is a beach that I walked along in San Diego. I’d like to go here again. As for who would I bring or what would I say if I had the chance to say it, the answer differs sometimes.

I’d like to bring The Old Man, just so he could see where I have been. Maybe I could take him with me to revisit some of the places where I gave presentations. Maybe I could show him some of the news articles or the clips of me from television. Better yet, maybe we could walk the beach like we used to.

As for what I would say?
To be honest, the topics change. There are times when I wished I could apologize for some of the things I did and said. There are times when I wished for the chance to hear him apologize for the things he did or said. 

Come to think of it, there are times when I have seen people from my uncomfortable past. There were times when I faced old bullies. And there were times when I introduced myself. There was one time I threatened someone outside of a taco place over on Front Street. To be honest, I punched him in the face.
There was a time when I approached one of my old bullies at a White Castle after a long night out. I was hoping he would say something in return but he was quiet. I was heavily armed and yet, in fairness, he handled me in a way that I looked like an idiot.

There was a teacher that pushed me around in a classroom. He told me he would love to kick the shit out of me. He said that I was going to be dead one day. And that he was going to laugh when that day comes. I was somewhere around the age of 14. I was little and weak. I was dealing with so many different pressures, including the frustrations that come with learning disabilities. The teacher was much bigger than me. Years later, I saw this man. He was much older and so was I. He didn’t recognize me but I recognized him. He was coming down the concrete steps at a local diner and I was walking up at the same time.

There were moments in my life when I prayed for opportunities like this one. I could have shoved him down the stairs and kicked him around for a while. I could have made him bleed or bullied him the same way he bullied me. I could have made him pay and made him suffer. The look on his face was the same as when I was a skinny little kid, He looked miserable. His life had not improved one bit. I am sure of this. I am sure that if I said something, the old teacher of mine would have said something or yelled the way he used to. Or then again, maybe not.

I am sure that if I decided to take revenge, the hell I would have created for this man was bloodthirsty and violent. And then it hit me. He was still the same miserable bastard. He stayed the same as he was.
On the other hand, I’m the one that changed, which is why I didn’t say anything. I let him pass. I let him go on being his miserable self and gave myself the permission to let my history go. Besides, if there is a creator and at the hour of his demise; if this man has to stand in front of his creator, there will be much to answer for.

As for the question about saying whatever I wanted to whomsoever I wanted, the answer to this is interesting. There was someone from my youth that would pick on me. He ripped me off a few times and made me look foolish. I used to have dreams of revenge, which, the opportunity came to me in a much different version than I ever expected. What I mean is I helped this person instead of hurt them.

At a time when an old bully of mine found himself in the consequences of his actions, I didn’t kick him when he was down. Instead, I helped him. We never talked about the bullying. We never talked about the things that happened between us or the uncomfortable memories of mine. Instead, we focused on the task at hand and found out that we were more similar than our personalities used to imply.

I don’t hold to many ideas of revenge. However, there is a piece of me that never believes, that doubts everything, that hates feeling vulnerable, and shuns the possibilities and the intentions of everyone else in the world. And I wouldn’t call this revenge so much but there is a need I have to defy this voice; to prove it wrong, the same as I wanted to prove my old bullies wrong. 

Along the way, I learned the worst bully I ever faced was myself. I learned that personal torment is worse than insults and ridicule by strangers and people that don’t even know me.
So if I could go anywhere with anyone, where would it be?
If I could I would take my old self on a little trip. I would show the old me the things that I was capable of. I would tell the old me that the lies were useless. I would tell me that doubt is like cancer. I would say that we can go anywhere and do anything. I would tell the old me do not be afraid to step out. Be yourself.

I don’t know what the beaches of Condado look like. I don’t know what the sunrise will look like in Malibu this morning. And I don’t know if I will ever see the sunset above the desert in Arizona again. However, whatever I’ve seen is good because all of what I’ve seen has defied the odds of the predictions that said I would never see anything.

Once we silence the bully within, we can go anywhere and say anything without being held to the burden of self.
By the way, do you know what I call this?
Freedom!

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