So you breathe . . .
You breathe because what other choices do you have? You’ve fallen (maybe?) or you’re tired or you’re hurt, but hey, life doesn’t seem to care, right? Hurt or not, we still have a race to run.
There is something I understand which I understand well. I understand the terms of loneliness. I understand the feelings of being lost or empty or worse; I understand the feeling of being absolutely nothing at all.
I say this openly and without shame or regrets. I also say this because at last, I don’t have to impress anyone anymore. And besides, this isn’t about anyone else.
I do not mind what people think about this nor do I have room to care about outside opinions. This is between us and this thing we call mental health. And I get it. Stigma is real. I know it is.
This is real to me too. I look the way I look. I talk the way I talk and act the way I act. I have this thing inside of me, which at times, this thing can be hard to live with.
It’s an idea. No, wait. It’s a thought. It’s a sense of being detached or not being included; and by the way, I have this thing even if I am included. I have this thing in me that lies and whispers. I wanted it to go away but no, it never did.
I admit it . . .
I don’t know much about what it’s like to live with a different culture. I’ve never grown up in anyone else’s home nor do I understand what it feels like to live with anyone else’s thoughts or ideas.
There are words I hear in corporate settings, which fascinate me. I find these words amazing. Truly, I do.
I hear words like diversity. I hear about equity and inclusion. I hear about the attempts to unite and show a sense of cultural competency. I hear about this happening within the workplace and yet, something worse than the division between people is the false pretense of unity; to check off a box, to fill a quota, to say “Hey, look over here.” “Look what we’re doing?
I have met with people who declare this necessary; to practice inclusion and celebrate diversity. And yet, I have seen them celebrate this from their exclusive social clubs.
So tell me. What’s the truth?
There’s a little race that takes place inside our heads. This is where we wonder. This is where we battle with ourselves. This is where the struggles to overcome exist more than ever. It’s here in the mind because after all, this is where we do one of two things; either we overcome or we give in.
This is my house, small, humble and with a backyard meant for dreaming. There are three bedrooms and one bathroom. There is an upstairs and a downstairs basement. My bedroom was the one upstairs and to the left. There were two windows in my room. One window faced the front of my house, which was on a main street. This is the window I could look through to see the world drive by.
The other window faced the side of my house. I used to dream through this window. And sometimes, I would climb out from my window and stand on the slanting roof on the backside of my house. No one could see me here. Below this part of my roof was the garage, which, for some reason, my family never kept a car in the garage. We had a collection of things in there. Just stuff. We had things like a lawnmower, a few rakes, a shovel or two and whatever collected things that never made it into the home.
I came across a quote the other day. Maybe I’ve seen this quote someplace before. Or maybe I haven’t. Maybe I just never read it quite the same way or maybe my eyes are open differently.
The quote said, “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”
To believe that success comes without stress or pain is inaccurate. In fact, there are times when success comes with more pain than loss itself. It would be inaccurate to believe that success comes naturally or that success is easy. No. None of this is true.
I go back to my first published piece of work. I think about the punishing reviews that followed. I think about the people that told me I never had a chance. I go back to the older pieces of my writing, which are unreadable to me now. I am miles away from that time. I am years away and I can say that good or bad; hell, at least I’ve improved. At least I continued. I kept going. I kept writing. I kept learning and I kept trying.
I think about my first chance of speaking at a school. This was on my own steam. This was not connected to an organization or with anyone else. No, this was all me.
I know there are times when you wondered if I was writing just for you. Well, I want you to know that this one is specifically for you. I am writing this to you because I think you understand. In fact, I know you do.
And so do I.
There comes a point where all the money in the world cannot cover the debt of living an unhappy life. The distractions run out and the relationships either turn or fall short. And there you are. You find yourself empty with no possible way to fill the void. Nothing is satisfying and it seems as if nothing can be solved.
There comes a time when the pit becomes bottomless and no matter what you do, no matter what you try, and no matter where you go, there you are. And there’s no escape.
I understand that this is a little bit of a rant. I know where this stems from and quite honestly, I’ll understand if you let this note go unread. But either way, I come here for a reason. I’ve made my commitment to do this every morning, so, ready or not . . . here it comes.
Do you know when it hits?
It hits the moment you cross the finish line. The feeling hits you when everything comes to fruition. No matter if it’s first place or last, you did more than anyone ever said you could. You defied the odds. You stood tall when everyone else predicted you’d fall. That’s something.