The Most I’ve Ever Admitted

I wrote this last October as I was leaving New York for the second time in my life. While going through a rough patch the past couple of weeks and feeling low, I came across it and decided to open up to my blog readers and share it. Take it for what it’s worth – ramblings from someone constantly struggling with their own identity. Because even when I think I know myself, a change of perspective can change everything. The reality is, we never stop changing, so the journey of self-discovery is a lifelong one.

As I traveled east, crossing the Brooklyn Bridge to the airport I felt it. I turned to look at what I was leaving and was overcome by that notion. The feeling in the pit of your stomach when you know an opportunity has been lost. I had a glimpse. Into a life unlived, a dream not realized, a chance not taken, a moment that quite simply and quietly passed me by.

With the acknowledgement of this fleeting remnant of a dream, I’m saddened by the idea of regret. There’s a part of me that is very aware that I could be somewhere else entirely living a completely different life. I’m, all of the sudden, acutely aware of my failure to chase passion, my lack of courage to pursue what I allowed myself to believe was unrealistic.

And who’s to blame? Is it my parents, for not pushing me to believe anything was possible, every dream is realistic? Was it my teachers for not fueling my creativity in order to drive my ambition? Was it God? For laying this heavy weight on my back that buried my soul behind a black veil of insecurity, doubt, self-loathing, destruction, and a short-view of how dark and lonely my life had really become. Or was it me? Was I too lazy to strive for the best? Was I too preoccupied with matters that only held me back and crippled my ability to see past the weekend? Or did I not have the strength, maturity and know-how to set goals that would really challenge my talent, stamina,and individuality?

In “Love Affair” Ginny says “The trick in life isn’t getting what you want, my dear, it’s wanting it after you get it.”

But what happens when you only allow yourself to want what you know you can have? What happens when you allow fear to limit your wants and desires so much that you find yourself riding in a cab across the bridge to lead you back to everything you fell into?

Maybe I’m just jealous. Maybe I have this fantasy about life in this place and after getting it, I may not have wanted it anymore. Maybe I’m just disappointed in myself knowing deep down I had the ability and intellect to achieve great things and I’ve yet to grasp the greatness I fantasize about. They say New York is the city of dreams. So maybe it’s just a metaphor for me. Maybe it’s my soul finally feeling the passion I need to do something great, to be something unique. Maybe my heart is letting me know it’s not too late to be whatever it is I allow myself to be.

One year shy of 30, I’m reminded that life is short. That so quickly we can go from a careless, unappreciative college kid who walks through life unaware of how each decision we make shapes the adult we become, to a 20-something in limbo between what we always wanted and what we’ve become. Somewhere in that limbo we have a narrow window of opportunity to change course and take hold of a destiny that experience has taught us to chase at all cost, leap to, even in doubt, and grab hold of in confidence.

No matter how many mistakes I’ve made I can’t let this feeling of regret get on this plane with me. Instead, I must re-invent. I must let go of the things I can’t change and embrace the possibility of this new found passion taking me to places where I can become the kind of person I envy.

There was a time when I removed the black veil and I stepped into the light. I remember how different everything looked. It changed the way I process life. Most of us don’t have the ability to stop and quietly take everything in and really appreciate the worth of simple things.

If there’s one thing that darkness taught me, it is that I know I’m hard to understand and there are many truths I never share. The people in my life that I’ve allowed to get the closest, still move around me in spaces in time where darkness rushes back like a seizure and inside I wrestle  a potent storm that drags its blade across my soul. And I have to fight. Really hard.

My mind goes back to that room. A room where cracked white blinds reminded me of what I’d done and the spaces between them reminded me of a world I would eventually have to face (and no, it wasn’t jail). I wasn’t sure how I was ever going to get back there. And now I’m there facing it every day.

During the quiet storms, on the inside I’m screaming. I’m trying to take it all in knowing I took this life for granted. The probability of being in that room and seeing those blinds and living with these emotional scars was slim.

There are so many times in our lives that the pain is unbearable. So my battle has become passion over pain. Living over existing. Re-invention over complacency. Being courageous enough to battle each storm with the trust and confidence that on the other side (because I know I will get there), I will have even more strength for the next inevitable, invisible war.

The passion I spoke about, that has become my New York, is photography. So thank you to my readers for indulging me in this journey of passion that has become engrained in my life. Don’t let your mistakes and regrets weigh you down. Let them be the lessons that fuel you to find your passion.

Please leave a comment if you would like to share.