“The boy in the picture.”
I remember a dark highway. Speeding towards an unnerving blackness, I was on the run from myself or rather what I had become. My vision and hearing fine tuned in the throws of cascading adrenaline, I had settled in for a long drive with an overwhelming sense of unease resting it’s fingers around my neck. In times like these I find my mind slows down my perception of time and searches out the easiest escape route. But that’s the whole reason I’m here, isn’t it? because I chose not to face my reflection. Instead choosing to see myself only by description. My mirror for so long had been the words of others. So long that I forgot who I really was. Even what the real me looked like. Unfiltered. Untainted through the static of translation. There comes a time in life when you have to decide if you are going to turn and face the darkness within yourself or if you are going to run from it until you are finally out of breath.
The light from the headlights was barely enough to escape the onslaught of snow and illuminate the road ahead. The cold chill of the long winter burrowed deep beneath my skin and into my bones. My hands quivered in the aftershock of my racing mind and I could do little to shake the fear of the uncertainty that lay before me. This path I had chose had chosen me in return but only because I wasn’t alone in the decision. A funny thing happens when you put your life on hold and step back out of the noise and chaos of the city streets. Suddenly you don’t have to worry about running into anyone. My eyes were finally free to look not at the outside world, but instead, toward me.
For the first time in many years I was alone with myself, with no distractions, and because of this, I saw my reflection with my own eyes. Not as others described me. Not through static or anonymous ulterior motivation. But instead, as I really was, unfiltered and vulnerable. Real and present. There stood I, the little boy from moms pictures, as beautiful as I always thought I was. I found, in me, a way to love myself again, and despite everything, I had discovered a doorway to a happier life. One to an easier existence. To one that watches the sun rise in the morning and one that feels the beautiful peace in quiet love and steady nerve. I had opened my eyes to the world let my soul breathe deep in a fresh life. And you know, a funny thing happens when you put your life on hold and find perspective far away. Sometimes you’ll find when you get back, that it’s right where you left it and that the real you was right where you were when you left yourself behind all those long years ago.
I wouldn’t have the second chance I do today if it wasn’t for the beautiful people in my life who carried me when I lost the strength to stand. I want to take a second and say thank you to everyone that has supported me through this last year and who continue to support me every day. I love you all so much. It can be a confusing path to follow but you help me find clarity and meaning in the times when my flashlight goes out. And for this, I am forever grateful.