Recently, I received bad news about a family member. Their choices landed them in a very bad position. Upon receiving the urgent phone calls and dramatic text, I became nostalgic. My thoughts took me back to the City Park in Commerce, TX; back in the day when it was the place to be on a Sunday evening. There were the best of times, when nothing went wrong and everyone got along; there were the worst of times when you could literally smell the brewing of confrontation in the air before all hell broke loose.
I remember the first time I heard the sound of a gun and bullets ripping through the air. No colors like fireworks; no trace of their [the bullets] location. I don't remember feeling like I was in danger; I can't recall crying; I don't even remember the sound of people running and screaming in panic. In fact, the only other thing I can remember about that day besides the sound of the bullets leaving the gun, is that I never saw blood. Surviving bullets should always be a reminder that life is too short to waste not placing a stamp or living in the joy of knowing who you are, who you want to be, and how you want to live.
The moment we are born may be the very moment we begin reversing the path of bullets...
1983, the year I was born; the beginning of my life as I know it. My mother was a 17 year old high school dropout. I was born out of wedlock to a societal labeled "loser". My father was "un-named" on my birth certificate. But, I was raised "right"; raised to the best of a "losers" ability and beyond. My mother loved me, and all of her children to "the moon and back; to the deep and oblivious". She was the Rockefeller in my life. No filter on the tough way she showed love, the way she struggled, or the setbacks she had trying to grow.
"To the moon and back", she dodged bullet; after bullet; after bullet. Her survival taught me that running was not the best approach to life. Facing the murkiness in a chaotic storm, in rage and in fear, is the strength that we gift ourselves. Boys and girls, women and men, survive hardships and labels because life lends itself to the "comeback kid". Living past those predestined bullets, has taught me you can survive bullets even when you are the target.
Choices are often the bullets in our life...
My Uncle "Head", surreal that I haven't said his name in years, died in early 2000. He was only in his late 20's. He never had the opportunity to see much of his life because he spent most of it institutionalized. He was a great guy that always figuratively seemed to keep his gun loaded. He was the epitome of self-destruction, and yet he was the one that you cheered for simply because he made you feel like you mattered. He was a thief to his own livelihood, and yet he inspired me with the simplest acts of kindness. So to me, his life was not all in vain. Nevertheless, bullets shot right through his soul; it [his soul] lended no shield. Rest in peace James Easter; you taught me a lot about the power of choices.
Everyday we are gifted the opportunity to open our eyes to something new, we must sift through the smoke of the gun; the slippery slope that challenges us to be a great story or a forgotten memory. I will never forget the bullets that my mother dodged in life to give me the opportunity to LIVE my here and now; I'll never forget the choices my Uncle Head made that unfortunately ended his opportunity to see the now and future.
We are our greatest vessel of strength, and our greatest conquers of self-defeat. Everything that doesn't go our way doesn't make us weaker; it makes us stronger and more aware of our absolute power and powerless surrondings and internal flaws. What is life without flaws and imperfections? Inadequacy is an incapable mindset. Without my flaws, my faults, my stumbles, and my imperfections I would be stifled- incapable of growing- and that would make me incredibly-un-incredibly ORDINARY. I live in a reality that I'm not perfect, I will make mistakes, and that is perfectly ok as long as I don't become a victim of my own inflicted misfortunes.
Life will bring a few bullets your way. Survive the disillusion that when things fail to go as planned you then become a failer; a loser; written- off. Because if you don't, you will fall at the helm of a short story entitled "same story different day", and those often get left on dusty shelves.