To the One in the Mirror

The truth is I don’t know who really understands or who doesn’t. The truth is you and I can look at the same thing, and yet, we can both see something completely different. Whether you and I or anyone else sees life the same way is not as important as the fact that we all have a life to live. We both have our own ways of thinking, We have our own views and our own choices to make. The truth is we all have life at our doorstep, each and every day. There is no escaping this.

I used to wonder if people understood me. I wanted to be validated and understood. I used to think I was so painfully alone, as if this was a bad thing. In some cases, we are alone. When it comes down to it all, the work is on us. No one can put in the work for us. No one can live my life for me. No one can eat for me or drink for me. No one can dream for me. No one can breathe for me, see for me or smell for me. No one can strengthen my muscles or learn for me. This is my job, no matter what.

There are tasks in life which we all must take. And we will all learn at our own pace. We will come to conclusions. We will learn, unlearn and relearn lessons along the way. There will come a time when we will stop ourselves, dead in our own tracks, and we will come to the realization that after a while, we can only bang our heads against the same wall so many times. We can only make the same wrong turn so many times.

We can only fail, hurt, bleed, sweat and crash so many times. There will come a time when our realization process takes over. And these are the most important realizations of all time because these are the realizations that matter the most. This is when we learn. This is when we come to our own conclusions. This is when we make our own connections and come to an honest understanding. This is when it all “clicks” and suddenly, the light turns on.

I have been taught and told the same things time and time again; but yet, I never learned until I was able to properly understand the information. I had learning disabilities, which led me to believe that I was stupid. I thought there was something wrong with me. But no. There was nothing wrong with me. I was never stupid. I just needed to find a different way to translate the information to a way that I could understand it.

I remember being in the classroom as a child. I remember reading in front of the class and how painful this was. I would stutter. I could not seem to get the words to leave my mouth. My nerves locked up. When the class would go around the room to read, each student took turns reading from one paragraph to the next. I hated this. I would count the number of people that had to read before me. Then I would count the paragraphs and hope with all my might that my paragraph was short. Then I would rehearse my paragraph quietly to myself so that when my turn came, I would be able to read without sounding like an idiot. 

The pressure here was the problem. The pressure I put on myself was unthinkable. The fear and the feelings were enough to make me so anxious that I could hardly concentrate, let alone rehearse the paragraph. And when it was my turn, I was so lost that I could hardly get through. 

The mind really is an incredible thing. We think. We see. We have emotions and we tie them together with past experiences, biases and opinions to come up with feelings that we associate with ideas, thoughts, needs and wants. Our mindset can predict our path. Our anxiety can distract us. Our depression or depressive thinking can deter us.

I used to wonder if anyone cared. I used to wonder if anyone could see me.
Could they?
Do they know?
Isn’t it obvious that there’s something wrong?

I used to wonder if one day, someone would come up and reveal the fact that I didn’t know what I was doing. I used to struggle with the ideas of imposterism. I wondered if it was me or if anyone else in the world could possibly see the same thing.

I used to wonder if I would ever “make it.”
Would I ever be successful?
But wait, did I even know what success was?
Or was success just a word? 
I used to wonder if I would ever be able to get anything straight.
Eventually, I learned.
Success is more than a word. Success is an option. Success is a state of mind and at minimum, success is the end-result of never quitting, never giving up and never forfeiting our right to live, learn, laugh and love, in which case success is one of the most relative terms down here on earth.

The truth is I don’t know who understands. I don’t know if anyone sees what I see. And that’s okay. I don’t have to tell anyone my problems. I don’t have to whine or lament. I don’t have to look at the world as this sad place or wonder if or where I fit in. The truth is I got the job. I succeeded. And I never quit (even when I wanted to).

Whether I make it to the top of the Forbes list or not is inconsequential. Whether I make it on the map as the next best entrepreneur or the richest in the world or the next best author is unimportant. What matters is this: at the end of the day, I can look at myself in the mirror and come to a positive, constructive conclusion. What matters is that when I lay to rest, I am proud because above all my challenges, I did not give in nor did I allow anyone or anything to degrade my spirit.  And to me, this is what it means to be successful. I have met people with more money than I could ever think of and they’re miserable. I have seen people with modest homes, modest jobs and modest lifestyles and yet, no one could ever be as satisfied as them.

I don’t know what you see when you look in the mirror. All I know is when I look at you, I see an immeasurable amount of ability. You might not see this, but I do.
I have to.
Just remember whether we see things the same way or not, the best thing about loving someone is we’re always there to remind each other, “You’ve got this!”

So, here it is.
I only have one question: Are you ready for today’s adventure?
Because I am . . .
You bet your ass, I am.

And so are you.

3 thoughts on “To the One in the Mirror

  1. You were left alone with those feelings as a child. So was I. It takes time to grow our adult championing self. When I read this I feel such empathy for that young boy that struggled but look at how much it taught you. I k ow you know this but life is an epic battle for some of us.

    • I agree. Life is also an epic victory too. We’ve outlived, outrun, and outgrew those old ideas to become what we are now. And had we lost the battle; neither you nor I would be here on two different sides of the world, relating to one another, as if we grew up right next to each other.

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