They sat me in a room with a man I never met before. He had walls that were covered with framed diplomas and certifications. He had books on shelves. I knew why I was there.
Better yet, I knew why I had to be there but at the same time, I had no idea why I was in this office. I had no idea what I was going to talk about or what this man was about to say.
Besides, I was a kid. The word psychiatry is an adult word. And depression, sure. I knew what the word meant. I just didn’t want the word to mean that this was me. Besides, all of these grownup words were like a different language to me. Those words belonged to grownups and not kids like me, but yet, I was in there in that office. I was waiting to be seen by a man that looked more like a grandfather than a doctor. I remember.
He had classical music playing in the background, like Mozart or maybe it was Beethoven. Either way, this wasn’t my scene.
I am more than where I come from. I am certainly more than my past and more than my future. I am like you or anyone else in this world. I am a series of different chapters which open and close no differently than the daily sun that rises each morning. I am more than this too and yet, I am simply just me. I understand this.
I tried to attack the ideas and identify the mysteries about myself by writing out my thoughts. I did this to feel better, which at first, I worried too much about the world around me and the interpretation of myself. I worried about my education or the lack thereof. A writer? Me?
Could I ever be? Or more to the point, could I ever be anything more than what I was?
There is nothing like the relationship with a dog. There is never a question whether I’m enough or not. I never smell too bad. I always look perfect.
I swear, my dog knows when something is wrong. He can tell when I’m sad or hurting or if something is not right with the world. And he sides up to me. He sits next to me as if to say, “I’m glad you’re here.”
I have heard people doubt the connection between a person and their dogs. I have heard people say, “It’s not like they’re human,” and no. My dog is not human. Besides, humans aren’t as loyal.
I have a dog. He is an old dog and the last of the original three. He is my special boy and we named him Brody. And again, he is old. Brody is 14 to be exact. His hips are bad and so are his knees.
There is always someone coming around to claim some new cure. And we listen too. We hope. We think and we wonder. We talk to one another about things like, “Say? What would it be like if we could just push a button and have all of this craziness just go away?”
Just the push of a button and everything that hurt would be healed. No pain. No procedure. No process or recovery. Just relief. Could you imagine?
There was a dull orange glow on a rocky ledge in the darkness of the surrounding woods. My elevation was high enough that I could look down at the world. I was high enough to see things from a different point of view. The sky was covered in stars that night. The moon was full and all else was quiet. I swear, it is amazing what we hear when there is no noise. It is amazing what we hear when there is nothing in the background, except for the voice of our thoughts.
The world is such a big place. And we are small. Really small. We are less than a glimpse. Our connection with time is lengthy, yet, our time in the grand scheme of time is quicker than a flashing light. There are so many things that happen at once. There are too many ideas that come at one time and more often than not, there’s a lot more riding on each and every moment.
It’s been a while. Life has changed as we know it, which means our in-person dialogues are all done from a remote location.
I had a chance to see them last night. I saw their eyes and the looks on their faces. They are the students. They are the future hopefuls. They are the up and coming generation of new professionals, just waiting to knock on the door of a new horizon. I see them and I want to show them one simple truth. I want them to understand.
In fairness, I am more a fan of in-person lectures. I am more interested in seeing people on a face-to-face basis than doing so from a remote location. However, due to circumstances beyond our control, life has changed the way we interact. Therefore, this has changed the way I interact with a classroom. I need to see them think and feel. I want to watch their faces change with emotion. I want them to know one thing, which is that it’s absolutely perfect to be real, to be true, to be yourself. I want them all to know that regardless of whatever quirks or insecurities that come to mind, we are all equipped and capable.
Just a quick note before we begin: I would like to start by saying this note is from the heart. I would also like to say that opinions may vary. Perspectives will vary too and so will perception. However, the following paragraphs are mine. This is about me and my relation to the way I was able to understand my life. Therefore, without apology, I offer this porthole into my thinking without celebration or decoration of any kind.
I understand if you turn back here. I am not here to glamorize anything nor do I condone the flashy war stories that most people talk about. In fact, one of the most common feedbacks in my story is (whether the topic is substance abuse, alcohol, depression, or violence and crime) that I never talk about the acts or the substance itself. Instead, I talk about the feelings and the source. I talk about my reasoning and my motivation. I do this because I would rather be honest than be a misrepresented posture of something that is destroying our society. And rest assured, mental illness, disorder and diseases are painfully real.
So, here it goes . . . .
I have always been a fan of stories about people who come from behind. I am a fan of the underdog. In fact, I am a fan of anyone that is unbeatable because no matter how many beatings they take, they just keep going.
I am a fan of the dreams that come true. In fact, I openly admit to being a fan of high school movies about kids that overcome the odds and the conflicts of popularity. I love this. I admit to enjoying the corny endings where the entire school applauds and gives someone their due.
There is this thing we have, which we all have. It’s called a past. And don’t worry. This happens to everyone. To keep this easy, the past is nothing more than a combination of our yesterdays. That’s all it is. The past itself is emotionless. On the other hand, we are not. In some cases, some of our yesterdays are regrettable. And sometimes, some of our yesterdays are painful and unforgettable. There are people, places and things that come up in our daily lives. There are triggers that link us back to old memories. This pulls us back to old emotions, which lead to the pathways of shame, blame and pain. Or more to the point, these are the links that take us down the rabbit hole of judgement and rejection.
I have a question, which I think is interesting. What makes anyone different? Or better yet, what makes anyone stand out?
What differentiates you between me, or me between a financial wizard? There are people in life that exist in all different categories. And yet, there are people that stand out among them all as successful. They are in the news. They are creators. They are innovators and somehow, they rise above the rest of the world to become newsworthy — but what makes them so special?