Life is full of hardships and disappointments, fear and mistrust, and even a good share of pain and horror. Sometimes it can down right suck. In those moments, you want to quit. You want to throw things. You want to lay in a puddle of tears and eat a pint of ice cream covered in chocolate. You can even fall so low that question your purpose, your path, your life. However, those low points are when you can find your strength and true spirit, and ultimately make you into the person you see in the mirror. The question is, do you like the reflection?
That can be a tough question to ask. I know I haven’t always liked my reflection or myself at times in life. I have’t always liked my life either. Countless people have lied to, stolen from and gossiped about me. I have felt neglected, abused and unloved at times. I’ve cried for hours. I’ve thrown my hands in the air. I’ve drowned my sorrows in a bottle of wine. I could go on and on about the past, but it solves nothing. I know people who are so wrapped up in the past that they are bitter. I don’t want to be bitter. No. Nobody has time for that. Well, this girl doesn’t. I want to live. I want to seize the day, have passion and feel joy down in my toes.
Over the past few years of my life, I’ve been transforming. Transforming into who I should have been from the start. But life got in the way and I got sidetracked, like I think most people do in life. You try new relationships. You try new jobs. You try that fad diet. Sometimes those things work. Sometimes they don’t. If you are lucky, you find out fairly quickly. Other times, you spend years on deciding if XX fits your life. Or maybe XX fit for a time, but now that season is over.
This is where the hard part comes. When things fall apart or change, you have to decide what to do, how to handle it. You can waste time going over and over things, or you can move on. I chose to move on. You may ask, why do I write about my past then? I have a few reasons.
One, is that I simply like to write. I have stories in my head and heart and feel like I should share them. More often than not, I have at least one person who connects with something I have written. It makes them smile, laugh, cry or reflect. And that is the biggest compliment any writer/blogger/poet could ask for. Two, is that when I tell my stories, if you really read them, they are about my experience and my growth and discovery as a person. Sure there may be another player in the story, but the main event is how I processed and reacted to the event. The purpose for most of my writing is to show empowerment and express feelings. Three, through writing and reflecting on my past, I find peace. By processing a situation and writing about it, I release my feelings. I reflect on my role in the event. And, I forgive and move on. Keep in mind that forgiving and getting back in line for the same pain is different. No, with age comes wisdom. You can completely forgive someone, understand their perspective, and realize your role was bigger than you wanted to believe (or not), but that doesn’t mean you want to go back. No, you just let go of any anger or resentment.
Through this, I free my heart and mind for new things. I open myself up for life…and possibly new pain. But that is the thing, if we never try, we will never know. So we get up after we are bent, and broken and tattered, and we keep going. We dig deep and find strength to move forward. We keep living.
For example, look at these butterfly pictures below (which were taken with the macro feature in the camera phone app Camera+). They are not in good shape. Their wings are ripped and torn. Some of them were not fluttering around as fast as before. But, they kept on. They didn’t quit when things got hard. They didn’t give up when they didn’t look perfect anymore. They just kept trying.
And you know what? They are still beautiful. They still have grace and purpose. They still gave others joy and pollinated flowers. It reminded me of one of my favorite videos by Pink. In her video Try, she’s in a relationship. There are struggles and pain and tears, but she gets up and tries. If you really listen to the lyrics, it is quite moving and simple good advice.
No matter what we do in life, there will be ups and downs. There are going to be risks and bad memories. But here is the selling point. If we don’t try, we will miss the good stuff. Sure, we can avoid pain, but we also ruin any chance for the good things life can offer us too, like passion, love and joy. Like Pink sings, “Where there is desire, there is gonna be a flame. Where there is a flame, someone’s bound to get burned. But just because it burns, doesn’t mean you’re gonna die.”
I’ve got burned. Maybe even a few times more than I would like to remember or because of my own stupidity. But that is life. People make mistakes. We can either learn from those mistakes and move forward or we can let our past control our future.
I chose to live and take risks. Some days I may get tossed around and bruised. But that’s ok. I can take a breather, regroup and try again. My second, third or fourth attempts may make me move a little slower, wiser or more calculated, but I’ll be moving nonetheless. My wings may be tattered or ripped, but I will spread my wings wide, hold my head high and embrace all that I can enjoy around me. To my knowledge, I only get this one life. So I better get up and try. And while I am at it, I may as well enjoy all that I can.