Right how I am really thinking about life and what it all means. My partner, Glenn, is sitting with his mother in palliative care as I write this. I have known this man for close to 8 months and I have never been loved in such a way as he loves me so I can appreciate how much love he must have for his Mom. He has nothing but good memories about growing up in his family. Not that they didn’t have their share of problems, but they always had love and they always found ways to laugh. They may not have had a lot of money, but they never lacked for love. Now, here he sits with his Mom at the end of her life. I can’t imagine what is going through his mind right now as he watches her die, remembering what she has meant to him and grieving the loss. How does he come to terms with the idea that soon his Mom will no longer be a phone call away? How does he even wrap his head around the idea that soon the woman who gave birth to him and raised him will soon no longer be here?
Death comes to all of us, whether rich or poor, famous or not, Elvis or Mother Teresa. It is something that is the same for everyone. So in between birth and death, what happens and what exactly is meant to happen? Death is something we understand on an intellectual level but our own death seems to be something most of us can’t seem to wrap our heads around. And as I ponder this I look back on my own life and wonder what it is supposed to be all about. What exactly are we supposed to do during the dash between birth and death? And I ponder my own life. God knows I have made my share of mistakes and bad decisions. I have been at the mercy as a child of other people’s mistakes and bad decisions and I have been hurt as a result. But in all that I am seeing I have a choice. I can either blindly go through life, being a victim to everything that has happened to me, beating myself up for all the things I felt I did wrong and just trying to get through the day, counting off days but never really living with any purpose or I can choose to use everything that has happened to me and the strength I gained as a result to really live an amazing life.
I have been afraid to be fully me, using my past as an excuse for not putting myself out there, using my past to beat myself up and using the scars from others to make myself less than. Like most people, I have dreams. There are things I have wanted to do for literally years and yet here I am, still getting ready to get ready to maybe some day do something that will mean something and live out my dreams and purpose. So, what’s stopping me? I was listening to T.D. Jakes this week and he talked about the idea that it is not what other people say that holds you back but what you say to yourself. I realized that yes, I have been holding myself back from living my dreams. I have been using the past as an excuse for why I can’t do this or that, using my fears as an excuse for not taking a chance and using the idea that I don’t know enough, don’t have enough education, qualifications, talents, etc. to do what I have always wanted to do. I have worried about the opinion of others and I have looked for permission from the world to just be me because somehow being me is not okay. I try to be what I think everyone else wants me to be. I constantly look for permission to speak, to be me and I cringe at the idea of putting myself out there and having someone not agree with 110% of everything I say or do.
Now, as I get ready to head out to New Brunswick to support Glenn and his family as they prepare to lose their Mom, I am seeing how stupid all that fear and waiting really is. What the hell am I waiting for? Why do I need permission to be me? Who gives a shit if someone doesn’t agree with me? Or doesn’t approve of me. I am in good company. Look at Jesus, Mother Teresa, Joel Osteen, Martin Luther King, and the list goes on. They are doing or did great things in this world and yet they have people who have criticized them, persecuted them and found fault in what they did.
So, what are my dreams? To be honest, part of me is still afraid to even articulate them. A part of me still says “who do you think you are?” and “Who the hell is going to listen to you?”. So, here it is. My dream is to be an author. I want to write to inspire people, to help people like myself who may be struggling with fear, insecurity, who have lived with pain, abuse, shame and to help them reclaim themselves. To help them say “Fuck You” to the fears and their past and all the things that hold them back and keep them from being who they are meant to be. I want to help them to see the beauty and the strength that is in them and to help them see that we’re all fucked up in some way and that is what makes us so perfect. It is those hard times, those moments of fear and regret that make us truly human and help us grow so that we can be of service to others. I want to run retreats and create spaces for women to come and to find their way. To create a space for them to clear their heads and find their own answers in the midst of chaos in their lives. To find themselves and their voice maybe for the first time. I want them to see the beauty and the strength that is in them that has been there all along. If I could do that, then when I am at the end, when I am laying in that bed with my son sitting by my side, watching me take my final breaths, then I can die knowing that I came and I did what I needed to do and that my life had purpose and meaning. If I can die knowing that people are healed and whole because of my own struggles, then I die knowing my life was absolutely perfect.
What are your dreams? What is holding you back? What are you telling yourself that is not allowing you to be truly who you need to be? And how much longer are you going to let those voices in your head hold you back? This life has an expiry date. Die with a smile on your face knowing you squeezed every last bit out of life while you were here and lived it your way and on your terms, because to do otherwise is just a shame.