This is our life. See how we live? Do we live fast and die young or do we move slowly and take our time? Which one would you choose?
This is our life. We go and we do. We think and we live. These are the things that take up our day. We eat. We live some and talk some. We think. We walk and we run.
If we are lucky, we smile too. If we are lucky, we can interact and both touch and feel the different fibers that make up the fabric of our life.
If we are lucky, we can understand the riddles of beauty and the blessings of our destiny. If we are lucky, we can exercise our mind and expand our abilities to reach farther than our typical education. This is not to say that our education is inadequate by any means. This is not to judge whether we are smart or otherwise. No, not at all. However, if we are lucky, we will learn the real meaning of the word necessity.
This is my life. I am not bragging or being boastful. This is my body. These are my attributes and my imperfections. This is humility and modesty and me, undressed and uncovered in my purest form.
This is my heart and these are my words.
For the moment, this is my time, here, with you. For the moment, I am waiting for the sky to lighten up and watch the dawns create the birth of sunrise.
For the moment, I am contemplating the direction of my day. I have goals. I am making plans to achieve them but to accomplish anything, I have to have a strategy.
I know this.
This is my culture. I am born and bred from this. I am a voice. I have an accent. I have a look and a fashion that is all accustomed to me. I have tattoos. Yes, I have them. I am covered more than the average person and yes, I understand that my body is a temple. However, my temple has the right to decorate itself differently, which I celebrate because I can.
I have had been heavily tattooed for quite some time and yet, there are times when I am judged.
I am judged because of my choices, my fashion, my looks and my preferences. This is me and yet, this is my life.
This is me in a world where people judge books by their covers, people by the size of their wallets, by the colors of their skin, or shapes of their eyes. This is us, down here on Project Earth where body shaming and the commercialization of beauty is as prevalent as the commercials we see on television. This is us, living in a social construct where “Twitter” is the editor of ethics and social media predicts which culture is acceptable and which will be canceled.
I have grown to accept this. I accept that I will not always be accepted. I accept that my views will not be the same as others. And I might not be popular, which is fine because by understanding my place, I allow myself the opportunity to spend my time wisely.
I have choices. By the way, so do you.
Even when I might not like my choices, I still have them.
I can choose to live or choose to exist. I can also pick between the difference; living or existing. I can be exited or mediocre. One lives. One exists.
For the record, I have scars that are both internal and external. I have a history, which gives me the benefit of experience. I can learn from this. I can unlearn as well. In fact, I have to because life changes and so has my perspective.
I have the right to improve. I have the right to grow. I have the right to challenge my assumptions.
I have the right to both create and recreate myself on a daily basis.
If I choose, I can rename myself. If I choose, I can redirect myself. I have the right to depart or arrive. I can go, stay, wait or refrain from making a decision.
I have the right to advocate for me because of course, there is no one that can advocate for us better than ourselves. I have the right to choose where I spend my time and who I choose to spend my time with. I have the right to all of the above and, therefore, no one else has the right to take this away from me.
Do you see?
This is who I am. I am a compilation of stories and events. I am a series of thoughts and feelings that lead to my emotions. My hair is long on top, which is how I like it. The sides of my head are shaved close, but not too close. I have two dates that are tattooed on the tops of my wrists.
On my right is the date 6.10.15. This is the date when my Mother died. On my left is the date 12.29.89. This is the date when my Father died. They are the beginning of my history.
I have a scar on my right index finger. I nearly lost this finger due to an accident on a farm, years ago, back in 1990. I was different then but yet, I was the same. I say this because I was me. I have always been me; however, the difference between me than and now are my intentions.
I have grown since then, therefore, my intentions have changed. However, at the core, I am the same. I am searching and learning and wondering. I am not afraid to say this.
I am not afraid to say the words, “I don’t know,” or, “I don’t understand.”
My education was not the traditional one. I was not schooled the same way as others. I do not have degrees on my wall.
I have certifications. I have the ability to earn. I have the ability to network, to try, to create new ideas and build a new life for myself. If I had to, I have the ability to start over. Fortunately, I have worked for a long time so I can always adapt myself to work in different places or in different regards.
I am not the news or the media. I do not share a political affiliation. I am not on the right side or the left; therefore, I consider myself the heart. I consider myself the pulse. I am a working man, complete with all the fiascos, victories, promotions and maze-like navigation that go with a working man’s world.
This is me.
I am not a pronoun, but yet, I am. I suppose we all are. But who am I to judge. Besides, the people I’ve found to be most judgmental are the ones that shout about how they’ve been judged.
I am not part of any elite or exclusive clubs. I am not wealthy by any means but to some, I am more wealthy than they could possibly imagine.
I suppose the term wealth and the ideas of being rich are both relative. Perhaps the same could be said about being happy. By the way, I am happy. Sometimes, I am decidedly unhappy. Sometimes, I panic. Sometimes, I hurt.
Sometimes, I think about the stories of Dismas, or should I say St. Dismas, the penitent thief, or should I call him, “The Good Thief.”
He was one of two thieves that was crucified beside The Son of Man. And then of course, there was the impenitent thief, named Gestas. All three of which were crucified that day on the mount of Golgotha. One repented. The other did not. One went to Heaven. The other did not.
I am not one for organized religion. Instead, I am a consideration between the two. Sometimes I plead to repent. Sometimes, I am like Gestas.
I am no better or worse. I am unsure of which direction to go at times, and yet, I have not quit. I’ve never allowed myself to give in to my doubts.
There are times when no matter how I grip, life slips through my fingers. There are other times when I open my hand and loosen my grip.
There are times when I let the songbird in my heart out of its cage to fly and sing and enjoy the sunlight. I say this as per the inspiration I received from a poem by Bukowski. His bird was a bluebird. My bird is different though.
At night, I cover its cage and sing him to sleep. I tell my heart, “Don’t worry. I will be here in the morning and rain or shine, we will try again tomorrow.
I am no different from you or anyone else. In fact, I am exactly like you. I live and I breathe. I have a destiny. I have a purpose. I have all the same things as you. The only difference is our direction. You have your way and I have mine. That’s all.
Although small, I am an integral part of this universe. I am unerasable. And although small, I am capable of big things (relatively speaking, of course) and nothing, no matter how big this may be can erase what I have created.
Nothing . . .
The sun is up now. The sky is not clear or blue yet. Instead, it’s slightly gray and overcast. I suppose the rain might cause me to keep the bird in my heart from leaving its cage today. Life is like this sometimes.
But again, I tell my heart, “Don’t worry. I’m right here.”
And I say, “Even if it rains, it can’t rain forever.”
I tell my heart, “When the sky clears, you will have the chance to spread your wings.”
I tell my heart about the warmth of the sun and how it still lives, even when it rains.
I tell the bird in my heart, “Either way, you have me.”
I say, “You have me and I have you. So it’s best that we love each other.”
Otherwise, the cage won’t open.
I can see the patches of blue through the clouds now. This is good because the bird in my heart wants to step out of its cage . . .
So we can fly.