If anyone would have asked me while young, if having an alcoholic father was a good thing – I would have given a resounding no for an answer. And yet in hindsight it has caused me to be the poignant writer and compassionate speaker that I am. Not to mention given me the keen awareness and emotional layers needed to help others – my mission in life.
So out of this most painful time, I learned the skills needed to carry out my purpose. In keeping with yesterday’s post, its obvious my soul and that of my father’s had made an agreement well before I let out my first squeal as a baby.
But this was just an opportunity presented to me in the form of a childhood I couldn’t escape. But I was the one who determined if it would lend to my greater purpose or be the crutch on which I leaned for the rest of my life. With every circumstance we are given, we are also given free will to look at it however we wish. We can either build from it, or let it tear us down. I chose to let those things for which I first believed to be character flaws derived from an upbringing of constant instability and turmoil, to be some of my greater assets. My heightened sense of awareness, acquired from years of being on the look-out, is the very thing that allows me to see things in others most do not. It is why my characters in my novels are so very real, as I am able to describe the slightest nuances of their personalities. These are the things I notice in others. It is the reason why my words ring true when sharing my thoughts on the human condition. I lived in a constant state of raw awareness all my life. A life that could’ve been the passageway to my decline, or the portal that edified my understanding of others.
The other day I listened as Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayer described growing up with an alcoholic father, and how those years had trained her to become a very insightful lawyer. Her youth did not allow her to blissfully skim the surface of human behavior. Nor did mine. I could say much of my innocent youth was stolen from me. And although there would be truth to that belief. I have a higher belief that although much was taken, spiritually much was also given.
So as you look at your past, or perhaps at that which ails you in the present, contemplate what good can be derived. When you are spinning in circles, ask who it is that is keeping things in motion. You may be surprised. But do not be hard on yourself if you notice the answer is you. The fact that you had the courage to ask yourself this very insightful question means you have gripped tightly onto the reigns and soon things will come to a stop. And if you can see no positive outcome from the past that may haunt you, then it may not be time yet for such discoveries.
Upon looking back upon my youngest years, a tear easily forms in my eye. Such difficult times. But I survived. And so will you. But survival is not a means to an end. We survive so that we can live. And we live to be full of life.