Much of my life has been spent doing what this title suggests: reaching. Reaching for the next paycheck, the next bill to pay. Reaching at the next unexpected trouble or at the possibility of a brief plateau. Reaching the next goal and the next step. Reaching in an effort to just keep reaching.
I’m at the point where I consider myself “mid-life”. Longevity doesn’t run in my family and I have no idea what the future holds for me. That very notion used to keep me up at night, slightly aggravated, since no one is given a crystal ball to peek upon. Throughout my years, I not only learned to accept this fact but to also appreciate it. In times of trial, my struggles have supplied lessons and shaped my views. In times of triumph, my accomplishments have illustrated strength possessed, even when I didn’t feel it. Not knowing prevents me from becoming complacent. It propels me onward to be better than I was the day before.
Almost two months ago my sister signed me up for a class about Blogging. I’m certainly not new to this type of thing but it’s been years. I had no idea what would be covered but I figured something was better than nothing. I entered the classroom like an awkward high school Freshman. To my relief, there were only two students and a teacher. We were told we’d be taught how to build a Blog through WordPress, explore different layouts, then launch our own sites. I was excited and nervous. Excited about a new outlet and nervous because I am not tech savvy. The patience and knowledge of my instructor brought me where I am today. My love for words will carry me forward.
When most folks hear I want to “be a writer” their instinct is to ask questions about the type of book I’ll slave over? More often than not I’m met with, “Well what are you going to do that for? You won’t make money your way.”
And they’re probably right. Yet it doesn’t mean I can’t try.
There is nothing thus far, fact or fiction, fueling my desires. Yes, I wrote some decent stories as a student and penned many poems as an adult. I’ve toyed with ideas for manuscripts and screenplays. Nothing clicks. My passion is absent. Money is wonderful but it doesn’t offer the fulfillment I seek. I find immense satisfaction when I put my own thoughts together for others. When I experience elation or frustration…I want to publish my journey. In the moments after posting, the response which completes me is when someone says, “Thanks. I was going through something similar and it helped to know I wasn’t alone.”
Let’s face it, life is a lot more meaningful with others present. When we aren’t lonely we feel supported. I frequently wish my life was a bit less crazy and a bit more calm, but it isn’t. And that’s alright. Because for as much as I face, someone else faces something more challenging. For the hurdles I leap, someone has lost their ability to jump. Words have an ability to do what voice sometimes fails to do; bring people together. They elicit melody when coupled with music. They bridge gaps. They bring solace and peace. They honor and cherish relationships. Speaking has never been easy for me. Typing on a keyboard…that is like my harmony from Heaven…and I was blessed with the capacity to express myself through it.
The years we gather form our legacy. The ways we influence those around us and the contributions we make to those we cherish. On rough days, I consider my position and if I might touch someone also troubled. We all hit walls and go backward. Likewise, we overcome and catapult forward. However, the drama can last much longer than we’d prefer. The issues can linger longer than we’re comfortable with. Reading can provide a safe escape, be it a best-seller or a self-help article. For me, when I’ve rock bottom fallen, hearing anyone has been there helps me believe I will get up again. It gives me hope for tomorrow.
I’m not a psychiatrist nor a psychologist. I hold no degrees to advise. I’m not a medical professional…I’m just a waitress. The pieces to my puzzle are circumstances I made it through. Situations I found my way out of. Moments of weakness and periods of empowerment. I’m a single mother. I’m a content failure and an endless survivor. I have opinions and morals and values and they shine fearlessly. I’m stubborn and soft. I’m loving and vicious when necessary. I’m loyal and naïve. I’ve battled weight issues and issues weigh on my mind constantly. I have traveled so many paths…and I like telling my chapters.
My life is my book. Open at leisure. It won’t be found in a store or the isle of a market. It exists in first person, thereafter spelled out on page. It is public and it is honest in form. All the good and the bad; the naked and hard truths. Some items I wish I could run from. Other items I beg to hold tightly. I write candidly, from my heart. I feel every sentence. I ponder each paragraph. I may discuss topics of dislike. I may cover tribulations I have not liked, either. I will always write from my soul. Life doesn’t stop. The fashions maneuvered are how we move along toward the tunnel’s light.
“It’s better to create something that others criticize than to create nothing and criticize others.” – Ricky Gervais
It was always so difficult for me to connect with peers because I never honestly felt I had the grounds to do so. My parents were much older than my friends’ parents. I was the youngest of five, by at least twelve years. I had siblings but we didn’t have commonalities because I was a kid and they were teenagers and beyond. My mother worked and due to health reasons, my father stayed home. I rarely received new clothing, never mind constant name brands. We had a nice house, but nothing excessive like a pool or a fancy neighborhood. I was a chubby kid and was nicely picked on. I grew up feeling I was nothing. I would never be anything special.
When I entered my teenage years I developed a very unhealthy coping mechanism: lying. It wasn’t done to be malicious. Frankly, I was jealous of basically everyone I was surrounded by. I thought I could become more than I felt I was. I sought to recreate myself and be anyone except who I saw in the mirror. I had a burning desire to be cool and popular and liked. I thought this would finally make me important. However, it cost me my two best friends. And all our mutual friends. Lesson learned. I discovered being cool didn’t matter if it wasn’t true. And it mattered less when the person you saw in the mirror was suddenly all alone. The teen years suck. Having no one to confide in compounds the situation.
During this epoch, and at the suggestion of my therapist, I began keeping a journal. It was the best decision I ever made! I went from suicidal tendency status to a young girl prepared to grow into whomever she was supposed to be. I made new friends. I made lists and plans. I set goals and gave breath to wishes. I collected experiences, positive and negative. My collection brought me happiness and courage. When the time arrived for me to set out on life as an adult, I didn’t have all the answers, but I trusted myself. I wasn’t quite so afraid of not being liked, and I vowed to make up for my mistakes and use them as stepping-stones throughout the rest of my days.
So here I am. I write as a means to share the scary instead of pretending it doesn’t exist. I share the doubts and the hopelessness and the pain rather than running away. I leave myself vulnerable to ridicule and judgement because I genuinely care about people. It is never easy to admit we’re wrong, especially if we’ve wronged another for selfish reasons. I am no longer a selfish teenager. I don’t have the freedom for the slip-ups I had in my twenties. I can’t allow myself the blockades I picked up during my thirties. I am now in my forties. I wish to leave the past where it lays and move forward with the knowledge I acquired on my foot trails.
I exist amongst countless reasons for gratitude. As a result, I welcome all who visit my Blog to join me for my life story. The book of me, by me. It will not likely win awards, and yet it will be rewarding to me. Please, comment if inclined to do so. Ask questions. Reach out. I am here. My wish is for no one to ever believe they don’t matter. We all have a purpose. Sometimes it can take longer to find it. As for me, this is my purpose…