We as humans tend to make apologies for who we are. We tend to take our pasts and hold them tight to our chest; as if by letting it go we are giving way to a light which we do not deserve. We let our mistakes define our present. We let our fears and short comings stifle the voice of worth and recognition to the daily efforts of pushing forth through the fire. This is no longer my life. I am ready to put that chapter behind me.
Over 6 years ago I was lost. I had no idea who I was or what I was capable of. My heart was bleeding, my joy was sorrow, my decisions were drastic and careless, and my actions were self-induced torture and addiction. It all came to a head when I nearly lost everything. I was terminated from my job at Fred Meyers, I was arrested and then charged. I now had a huge X on my back that was now my burden to carry. I was judged endlessly by those around me and could not find a place of employment. I went to dozens of interviews and made it through each one just to have them turn me down once the background check was performed. I was a care giver of an infant and a medical guardian for an 8 year old with severe Type 2 diabetes for $20 a day. I had no idea how to force myself to take even the tiniest step forward. This was my lowest point. I realized that I had to start from ground zero and it was a journey I had only myself to blame for.
I found an ad on Craigslist for telemarketing. I went to the interview and was told I could start training the following week. I had no idea what was in store for me. I was desperate to pay my restitution and probation while praying that the rain would not drown the ditch I was in. So I started stumbling forward with the weight of my past on my shoulders. Days turned into weeks. I found solace in my managers. They believed in me and didn’t cast any judgments. Weeks turned into months and my stumbling sometimes led to tripping. The job demanded a lot and was by no means easy. Sales is one tough gig. Being told no call after call gets tiring. Soon the tripping lead to stronger strides. I was in a rhythm and was finding myself. I was realizing my own strength and building work ethic. I continued to be surrounded by supportive people while also being surrounded by temptations. It was a test I failed several times. I by no means took off out of this ditch I was in jumping and leaping with endurance. It took painful struggles and hurdles. It left me out of breath but left me yearning for more from my own life. So I became a fighter. Instead of fighting myself I decided to fight for myself. I pushed myself to the limit to succeed at my tasks and my job. My perseverance was noticed and I received several promotions. I was knocked down several times also. Life has a funny way of sweeping you from under your feet when things seem to be going good. Being humble is one of the most important values I have embraced. You aren’t owed anything. Your excellent attitude and actions don’t determine you will live unscathed by life’s bumps and losses. Your attitude and actions simply define your next moves from those bumps and losses.
Months turned into a year, and that year turned into several. I have completed my probation. I have lived addiction free for over 4 years. I have been through several lay-offs. I have married the love of my life. I have lost loved ones and pets. I have been turned down by amazing job opportunities. I have also been blessed to receive amazing job opportunities. I have my own website and blog and am now a published author. Life will throw you for every turn possible and will keep you guessing. Your resilience and ability to adapt will decide if you survive.
And here I was on this very day, picking up a Western Union at Fred Meyer’s with my husband. I avoid this store as much as possible as to not run into people from that time in my life. Here we are approaching the counter and as I turn to look the cashier in the eye I quickly look down and make half attempted comment about, “it’s been a long time, fancy seeing you here.” I feel my face flush red and my heart began to hammer. All I can think about is if he is wondering if I am still in my addiction. I am wondering if he is going to leave work and tell everyone he knows that he saw me today and they will reminisce about that day I was arrested.
And then I stopped my own bull shit.
I stopped over analyzing the situation. I stopped giving his opinion control into my energy and soul. I am a warrior who hit rock bottom and had to claw her way out of a ditch she cast in quicksand. I rose from the ashes of my own hell to come to other side of a mountain where I lay kissed by the sun, faith, and love. I do not need validation from other’s on the vices I have conquered and slayed. I look myself in the mirror every morning and raise my own head with pride and value. I give my own soul the fulfillment and joy it deserves. I carved my own paths in the forests of thorns and bears that I feared not too many years prior. I stopped letting my own worth be dictated by a past that is only a slither of the story to who I am and where I will go.
I made poor choices. The sentence is simply that long. That is the length I will allow for that chapter. The story that came after and has yet to come is now bound to decades of a typewriter and an open heart. Do not let others hold you prison to your own judgments of you. You decide what you are worth. You decide if you will fly or if you will swim. You decide if you are enough.