I want to thank everyone who reads these essays. Every week I write about something that I believe in, and there are weeks where I struggle to think of what I want to say, and this week is no different. It is rare that I know what I am going to write about before I start typing. There is certainly no shortage of topics, but I try not to dive into topics that I don’t know enough about, even if I have a strong opinion. I often wonder if what I share is helpful, or if I am part of a bigger problem. Politics and religion are among the most divisive topics. What I do believe though, is that we are all connected and that being alone is the worst feeling, so I am just sharing how I feel, and I do think that it keeps us from feeling so alone.
I try to stay humble, but I am so far from perfect that I can admit my mistakes, that I embarrass myself, and that I am still learning and trying to be an example for others to look to as they go through this life.
As I approach 53 years on this planet, I appreciate life, and I look at everything in my past as a stepping stone to where I am now. I have never been seriously suicidal, but I know in my darkest hours that I wondered why I am here and whether anyone would miss me if I was gone. I want to be here for so many reasons, but the one thing that keeps me going is people. I think it is so important to be connected to all of the life around us. I want to pet every stray dog I see, or watch a pigeon bobbing its head looking for crumbs, and for just a moment to get close enough to me to know that I am its friend. I want to smile at strangers and say hello.
I want to acknowledge those who have been made to feel invisible on the streets, with people judging them without even a thought of how that came to be. We were all loved at the beginning. We were all the center of someones affection at the moment we were born. Every single one of us was held, and loved and at least for a moment we were blessed by the universal language of unconditional love.
When I drive around and see someone asking for a handout, I do not know how they got to that point, but I know they didn’t choose it. I try to, at least for a moment remember that they are someones child, and they were loved. I imagine their mother or father dancing with them when they were a child. I imagine them being read a bedtime story. I imagine how they were before their circumstances changed.
This world is not an easy one for so many. I want to be at least one reason for someone to want to live. The world can be cruel and punishing without having even made a mistake. To me, kindness is the key to everything. I can either be a reason for someone to continue, or I can be just another reason for them to feel invisible and unwanted.
My life has been a mix of survival and perseverance. I have survived childhood sexual abuse, homelessness, jail, and depression. But I was never alone. Sometimes I had friends to lift me up. Sometimes it was my abuser(s) who was/were there for me (it was still better than being alone), and there were many times where complete strangers were the ones to keep me going. For me, I was lucky enough to meet someone who accepted me, red flags and all, and I had to understand that I needed help, but more importantly, I needed to learn what love is. I didn’t know how to love, let alone be loved. I am still working on some of this baggage that I carried for so long, but I am inspired to continue because my story is like so many others.
I often wanted to have been born into wealth. I wonder if my life would’ve been any easier. I don’t think that is a given, and I look back now and I love myself for being here still after everything I have gone through, but I couldn’t have done it alone. I wouldn’t change my circumstances, it has made me who I am today, and as much as I look back and see how much pain I was in, it made me stronger and it has been my privilege to share with anyone who considers my words worth reading.
In a society full of greed, exploitation and wealth, denial and corruption, most of us don’t have the means to survive one bad turn, so kindness is the key to acceptance, and acceptance is the key to healing. Everyone belongs here, nobody should feel alone, and we all deserve happiness.