I’ve been thrown away so many times by so many people, at times, I have felt more comfortable with feeling as though I belonged on the inside of a garbage can than I did in a “happy” home. Each time I was thrown away, I allowed them to walk away with their “goodness” in tact while my own self-image remained in tatters. I’ve never been good at arguments. Perhaps it’s the trauma of my childhood. Perhaps it’s because I’m keenly aware that while arguing, no one is really listening. To me, arguing, like a good game of double dutch, seems like both parties are simply waiting for the opportunity to jump in and say what they want to say. No one actually wins an argument. Therefore, I hate arguing. I’m speaking of arguing because I have always been discarded as a result of some form of argument. Now, I’m no saint. In fact, I’m probably more sinner than saint, but even sinners deserve to be heard. I never felt heard, therefore, I often found myself either unable or unwilling to speak my truths. It didn’t really matter because they were able to speak their truths as though they were public service announcements. I was often told that I wasn’t listening, but the truth of the matter is that I heard everything. I felt everything. I carried everything. Everything. Again, there are no winners in an argument, for there are only varying stages of losing. Needless to say, I have loved and lost. Sadly, I must say that I have lost more than I loved. Truthfully, at the conclusion of some of my relationships, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief that they were actually over. It was nice to finally be able to breathe as the real me again. In the name of love and acceptance, I would try and package myself into a box that made my lover feel they made a good choice by choosing me. Choosing me. In many cases, I needed my lovers to choose me because deep down inside, I never really believed that I was a good choice. I’ve never really believed that I was someone that another could actually be proud of. Hell, I’ve never really believed that I was someone that I could actually be proud of. I had no idea what I was doing. I had no idea why I was doing it. I had no idea where I was going. I never found my thing. Not too long ago, all of that changed. I have slowly begun to not only find my voice, but also appreciate the mere sound of it. I am beginning to realize that my opinion matters, and no, you don’t have either the right or permission to make me feel like it doesn’t. I am beginning to realize that this world actually has a place for me too. As an African American man that endures this American experience, I refuse to play different characters in a movie called my life in order for the viewers to be entertained. This is my real life. Therefore, I have chosen to be me as my real self. For the first time in my life, I have found my thing. As much as the future is scary, it’s also wonderful because I now realize that I deserve goodness and happiness. With that being said, I am approaching my future with perseverance and excitement. I hope that you have found your thing. If not, I sincerely hope that you’re looking for it. At times, I am saturated in regrets. I’m really trying to not be that way. I have found comfort in knowing that this jaded road that I have traveled my entire life has led me here. I’m here because I was once there. I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, and I couldn’t be happier. This is me as my real self, and I no longer have anything to hide. I am no longer ashamed. Patrick
As always, this week, please do something for someone other than yourself for no reason at all. Also, if you make it to where you’re going, please don’t forget to leave a map for the rest of us. Always choose love.