I want to apologize ahead of time if this article isn’t up to its usual standards. I’ve been up late doing paperwork and homework but I had to get this post out. I’ve doing some motivational speaking lately and I truly never realized how badly we need encouragement these days. I was speaking at a treatment facility in Dover to a great group of people and I made the bold and slightly crazy statement that all change is good. You know I love to be controversial and this immediately sparked blunt and brutal conversation about pain, heartbreak and grief. Believe it or not, I wanted this reaction from the annoyed crowd that could turn into an angry mob at any moment. You could hear the razor blades of grief as one person candidly spoke about the loss of a family member. The room of witnesses nodded in acknowledgement and they all turned to look at me with a silent question, “How can this be good???” I have to admit I was a little more than nervous at that moment and I was glad I had already went to the bathroom prior to speaking. The seconds felt like an eternity as I carefully crafted my response.
Earlier in the day I was talking to my mother, who means well and loves me to death but can on occasion sink my battleship of confidence. I had told her my secret about speaking in public and she was aghast with concern. I told her the truth that I pretty much prepare to speak maybe 15 minutes before I talk to folks. I know that sounds crazy but when I spent hours studying and memorizing topics and witty anecdotes, it never went the way I planned and I would lose my flow when someone in the audience didn’t follow the script I had in my head. Things never went according to my master plan. Funny, that’s kinda how my whole life has been: adapting to challenges, disappointments, failures and successes.
For the sake of time because I’m way past the moment I normally crash into unconsciousness on my bed, we will skip talking about the successes. Though I do find many people truly do have a hard time handling the victories as well as the viruses, maybe we can talk about that next time. Speaking about my own turbulent testimonies my greatest asset beyond prayer, friends and family has been my attitude. I simply refuse to give in to despair and depression anymore. Yes I ashamedly admit to being a devoted disciple of the depressed. My faith was to have no faith; my hope was ground into a fine dust that I would sprinkle on others, never truly believing my own words. My dreams died with Santa Clause and the East Bunny. I sucked up self-pity like it was a tasty shake at DQ. My cracked coping skills were to trust no one, lie to everyone, please anyone and by any means necessary avoid rejection, heartbreak and failure. I hid in a world of denial, distraction and delusion. I believed I couldn’t handle any more pain and so I acted as if that were the truth.
What makes our pain so unique that we can’t crawl out of it? What makes our addiction so strong that we can’t overcome it? What makes my problems so big that I can’t endure it? Do we have a monopoly on misery or are we guilty of getting extra unnecessary mileage out of our messy mistakes and tragedies? I know I was justifying well beyond any reasonable justification. I purposely set up a shelter in my shame and regrets. I put in my resignation for living and quit anything that brought meaning into my life. I know many friends don’t remember this dark period of my life but that is because I didn’t show them I didn’t want them to know how sad I truly was… I didn’t want them to pray for me, cheer me up or help me. Thank God that is not where my story ended but I did want it to end back then. I was so wrong.
I looked at the group of people who had normalized negativity to the point where it was a tangible invisible coat they wore without awareness. I spoke with a confidence I never knew in the past and explained that the trauma we encounter is not in itself good but the choice to live, learn and eventually laugh, teaches ourselves and others how to make it through the worst of times to get to the best of times! We are supposed to hurt and cry but we aren’t meant to die in our tears. People survived and lived after Katrina hit! Families continued to love and remember after the massacre at the movie theatre! Individuals even prayed and forgave the killer at Sandy Hook!! Can I do any less by choosing to live with my pain instead of being a slave to it! Can you do any less? Our scars signify our struggles and our strength so be proud and confident of where you came from because your story is like no other and it’s meant to be told! We are a product of our experiences and those experiences are meant to make us strong, unique, beautiful and grateful and that is why change is good! Boom!
WiL Singleton www.corecounselingstrategies.com