Stone

I have always had this intense drive for me to succeed. When I put my thoughts/mind into doing something, nothing will stop me, and I focused all my energy and actions on doing it. I usually have a timeline, and I talk myself into it all day to get my mind ready to take actions. I’ll methodically think about the tasks that would lead to doing it, and I view it from all angles to ensure that I do not miss anything. What caused this me?

I looked back to my childhood and tried to find out the triggered points that created who I am today, and I can say that there were many turning points in my youth. Mostly due to abandonment and during that time, I told myself that I was alone and that I needed to take care of myself. It is a hard realization for a child, but it was my survival instincts. We all have survival instincts and some block / numb their pains; some people turn dark and masochistic.

When both your parents are deceased, and your siblings are children themselves, being maternal/caretakers are not the best qualities of children or teenagers. Some of my siblings would pass me at the drop of a hat to lessened their loads while they try to do something with their life.

I will share with you a significant turning point in my life that I vividly remembered. I was in 7th grade at Brookhurst Junior High, and I was an honor student and belonged to the Honor Society for my 3.5 grade-point average.  My “non-existent” family and I were invited to the Honor Society Awards Evening, and it was around 7:30-8pm on a weeknight. I remembered walking to school that evening and stood in the auditorium to collect my award and seeing my peers with their parents. I was alone but I wasn’t sad, I was used to it, and it was natural for me. It wasn’t like I lost my parents last year. They died about a decade ago, and I don’t remember them.

When the award banquet was over, I was ashamed/embarrassed and tried to pretend that my parents couldn’t make it. I told myself, if anybody asked, that was what I was going to say to them. I didn’t want to explain myself too much to anyone. I walked into the parking lot and pretended to wait for my “parents” after the banquet. I was hoping everybody would leave and I walked home that night.

A teacher came up to me and asked me where my parents were, and I told her that they were running late and I am waiting for them. Concerned, she stood in the parking lot and waited with me. Now we are playing a game of who can wait the longest; I had no intentions of leaving until she was gone. Eventually, she gave up and told me she had to get home for school tomorrow and left. After she left, I walked home alone and at that point, I remembered telling myself this. “You are alone, and you must be strong, no one will pick you up if you fall.” That changed me, and it was one of the turning points in my life that I vividly remembered forever like a scar on your chest. It was a gradual process and the start of when my heart slowly turned into stone from that moment onward. I would wear this scar for the next 44+ years until my recent realization of all the hurt and pains I have buried deep in the corners of my heart and threw away the keys.

Lesson learned: Everything that happens to us shapes us into who we become. Some are good, and some are bad. When people use the term “you must toughen up” that word is good and evil. Through toughening up, your heart turns to stone. I spent my whole life toughen up, and I am trying to make amends. It has taken me 44 years to realize the person that I became, and now I am spending the rest of my life trying to change that. What does changing mean? It means to allow people to come in, don’t close your door (heart) to others. Don’t be so quick to judge without understanding what that person is going through in their life.

When you toughen up, you are no longer empathetic to anyone besides yourself. The only reason why I brought up the saying “toughen up” is because someone recently told me that and I needed to have thicker skin. It was hurtful, and I was angry for the mistreatment I received, but it is the culture of the environment. I could sense the negative energy around me; it was not a healthy place.

I would never tell a child or anyone to toughen up and such ill-fated advice and lack of empathy. They do a lot of damage than good. How can we make the world better and change a generation when we continue to wear the scars of our father or what people refer to as ‘sins of a father”? It is a vicious cycle. Your grandfather did this to your dad; your father is doing the same thing to you, to break the cycle is to listen to yourself and feel the moment.

There are love and light to you and around you!

Your friend,

Tom

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