SS Reader: My epiphany is still a work in progress. I am still in a work in progress. Finding myself, my voice, and what I believe is still a work in progress. But what I am working towards, what my heart is shooting for, is to live my most authentic self. I have experienced a plethora of difficult situations. I have lived through people I loved being shot, stabbed, run over by a car, and then incarcerated for years and years. I have experienced having an excess of income, traveling the world, and a comfortable lifestyle. I have also lived through lights being cut off, showering with water bottles, car repossessions and eviction notices.
SS Reader: The most challenging part of my experiences consisted of trying to internally cope with the dramatic life changes while having to lie and present a strong face to those around me. I had to develop a believable story for my family, who would never accept my truth, while still inwardly accepting that I made certain decisions and would stand behind them whether I had anyone in my corner or not.
SS Reader: I learned that I am stronger than I ever thought I could be. I have the ability to keep it moving when everything in my body screams STOP. I learned that sometimes you have to stand on your own two feet and stick up for what matters the most to your heart. It isn’t about what anyone else feels, it is about what you know is best for your personal peace and happiness.
SS Reader: It taught me that people will always understand you from their own vantage point. Those who have a different background, who have not had the experiences that you have may judge you. It taught me that the world is not a fair place and you have to find a way to be okay despite this. It is not other people’s opinions of you that define you. It is your opinion, your strength, and your perseverance that determine your outcome.
SS Reader: I found the space where I could say “I know everyone judges me, I know no one understands why I chose the path I have, but I will do all I can to never make anyone I love feel that alone.” I took my experiences of being alienated and not understood to give back, to use my platform for those who don’t have the same voice, and to comfort people who may not receive the same understanding elsewhere. My peace came when I could use my pain to help others in similar situations.
SS Reader: As long as you are happy with yourself when you got to sleep at night, you are winning. You are living authentically and this is something many people never accomplish.
SS Reader: I am now much more accepting. I don’t judge anyone for anything they have done or gone through because I have no idea the path that led them there. I live now with compassion and positivity. I have no room for anything else but understanding.
SS Reader: I believe this happened for me because I needed to find my own way without being what others saw for me. Looking at me, you would never know that these were my experiences. I have a mask that no one sees behind and this experience made me accept myself even if no one else can.
Life is never what you thought it would be…and that’s okay.
Photo credit: Krissy Sheehan