Today, I was telling someone a story about being a little boy and going with my mom to pick up a puppy. I was about 6 years old, and we must've been going somewhere far because we were on the bus. I will never forget thinking that poor puppy would miss his mom, brothers, and sisters. The puppy was so small that he fit into my mom's coat pocket. His name was Henry, he was brown and white, he would be a gift for my grandmother. That dog would grow to love his new home, and I often wonder if he even remembered where he came from. That dog loved my grandmother, and that woman was wretched. Her name was Eva, and my sister and I called her Evil: There was nothing grandmotherly about her. I can promise you that.
This puppy reminds me a lot of what I went through as a child. Being snatched away from all you know and forced to live elsewhere. Like the puppy, I, too, was surrounded by evil, and I would soon be broken. It was never a choice, I didn't ask for it, yet it had very quickly become my reality. I hated it, I cried myself to sleep for months, and with time I would come to need it. I would find comfort in those walls. My life changed that day in 1981, and I had no idea at the time. However, it would mold every event in my existence for the next 40 years. Every failed relationship would be fueled by abandonment issues and feelings of inadequacy. I always live in fear that the people I love will one day be gone, and, like that puppy, I wanted to be loved so badly that it didn't matter who it was. I tried to make the best of it until that was no longer an option.
My life began with choices that were forced upon me by others; it was never my choice. I am 48 years old, and life still has its way with me. I assume that most of you can relate when I say that life hasn't always seemed fair. That's because it wasn't. But that doesn't matter anymore; I'm not sure it ever really did. What matters now is that I have a choice today. I can see past the hopelessness that comes from a mindset of pain. I know I am a warrior, battle-tested, and still fucking standing. That's because the choices I make today are driven by the choices I've made in the past. I just keep trying to do the next right thing. I keep moving forward, knowing that I am nowhere near the man I dream of being; however, I am far away from the person I was. That's a choice I make each day: I get up, do what I need to, and do some of what I want to. I try and find balance and the formula to my success. Today I chose to show up.