Sunday, June 8, 2014

From the Ashes

i've been thinking about writing a book for a long time. it's just hard to begin..

last year i experienced a great deal of self reflection and self-realization. right at the start of the year i was nominated to represent my district at the annual international shareholders meeting. these things are sort of a big deal.. and a once in a lifetime opportunity. i was honoured to be nominated, but it hadn't crossed my mind that i'd actually win.

i had to audition. i had to tell my story.

i suppose that's where it got a little fuzzy with me. where exactly does my story begin? when i started with the company, fresh off the streets? when i ended up out there to begin with? the difficult childhood? the foster home that broke me? the mother i fought with and protected? was it my story to tell? i wasn't sure. i told the bits that i was most comfortable with. that i had been out on the streets, finishing high school, and that i'd borrowed an address and a nice pair of clothes to get that job. i didn't mention my long streak of chemical escapism, or about my sponsor who drove me from town to town so that i could attend narcotics anonymous seven days a week.

i mentioned all the positive bits like how i was more or less raised by the people in this company, their basic beliefs, their moral standards. that i had become who i am today based on my faith in those things.. service, respect and striving for excellence. but i didn't quite mention the part about how my upbringing [or lack thereof] is what taught me how to be patient with intense people and difficult situations, to have empathy for the most haggard of sufferers, to hide my own pain. i only told the happy ending.

and i won.

i suppose i never really gave it much thought after that. before my audition i had a conversation with my manager about someday writing a book. i wasn't too sure what kind of book she meant, be it a story of my life type book, a self-help guide for the socially impaired, or both. but there was one thing keeping me from writing.. my mother.

it was never just my story. it was hers too. a story i felt i could never tell while she was still living. not out of shame, or even guilt, but out of fear that i would break her suffering heart to speak the words for all to hear. to tell the real truth. it was never my intention to hurt her with those words but liberate her... from the guilt she carried of not being there for us when we were younger. to let her see that i never carried spite for her because of our situation, i never could. but i could never be sure how she would take it. i promised i'd start my book as soon as she passed. be it a year or a decade from now, or sometime after i retire.

since then, the story changed.

well, maybe not the story itself, more so my perspective of it.

her life wasn't all tragic. she and her siblings had to deal with other kinds of abuse and neglect throughout their childhood. she had her forms of escapism, she had to make her very own mistakes. but she also had her own share of crazy adventures, good laughs, and big dreams. she was intelligent, creative, inspiring, empathetic, and a really good friend. she had the right answers to the strangest questions, and a faith in many things unseen. most of these are fading memories of the people she knew back when, some my brother and i were lucky enough to catch glimpses from time to time.

i think i'm ready to write this story down. and share it. that sharing part i'm a kind of nervous about, not that i've ever cared much for others' opinions of me. still a little fuzzy on the starting point, maybe there isn't one. maybe it won't be a chronological book but a collection of random memories that serve as little lessons or deep learnings. maybe i'll just keep it here, in the uncertain electronic media that is the interweb. or perhaps someday i'll collect the best of the best and bound their words to the world of ink and paper.

there's so many little stories and big ol' books written by others about their lives that have impacted me greatly, and taught me about worlds i could have never understood without their teachings. that have taught me things about myself i never took a moment to even realize. their stories helped me to see myself and my own life through more careful eyes, and inspired me to be better to myself. maybe something i have to say can do that for someone else. or maybe it will help me to mentally digest my experiences just to write them out. either way.. it's time get started. it's time.

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