I debated whether I would write a blog to draw a close to the end of an amazing year. I am still in debate even as I write it on how this will go so bare with me here. Ahh! Where to begin? What angle do I take?
I want to hold on to this moment forever and yet I know I can't. Many people will not agree with me and with a mix of trepidation and anxiety countdown these final days, hours, and minutes of an earth shattering year.
I witnessed the ugliest part of our society reveal itself and the years of false civility between races dissipate as a young man's, a baby really, much as my brother was, poor light snuffed out too quickly. I saw us split as many justified him being overtaken and killed simply because he LOOKED suspicious. I watched people rationalize that he deserved to die simply because he came from a questionable neighborhood and had a sullied school background. I watched these same people overlook similar behavior from a self appointed neighborhood watch captain who disrespected both my white and my black heritage. The whole time, all that kept playing in my mind is that a child had been gunned down, in the name of protection and defending personal safety and then sat as a John Doe for three days waiting to make it home. I had flash backs of Easter of 2002, when my brother showed up in pieces over the course of a week. I felt these parent's pain as they watched their child villanized and exploited. I finally had to resolve to tune it out or risk entering a great depression, praying that God allow peace to salve over our wounds and that no one, no matter how hateful, ever had the opportunity to feel the incredible pain Trayvon Martin/Jordan Davis/Jeffrey I. Gwyn Jr.'s family as well as countless others feel when not only did they snatch away the light of your life but to have your memories of your loved one raped and violated beyond repair.
I watched a social cause for children soldiers to be saved dissolve into media foolishness. I am saddened to see Joseph Kony and those like him are still alive to take breath and free. We could not hold America's attention long enough. It further destroys my faith when every nuance of media is employed from every angle in the finding and killing of Osama Bin Laden. To make it worst, his violent death and mysterious burial at sea was used as a ploy to pull votes in this, an election year.
Speaking of the election year, it became frightening. I tried to remain impartial to all going on but the rhetoric towards "dirty democrats", "blacks following like sheep", "more Americans sitting at home collecting checks than working", and "WE own this country" inspired me to take a stance as I'd never taken politically before. I didn't get into the mud slinging. While I shut off my friends posts at one time I eventually turned them back on. I still maintain an open mind at the polls and know at the end of the day it had nothing to do with Obama's lack luster first term, Romney's race or religious beliefs. It simply came down to one candidate being the lesser of two evils or rather the less radical of the two. I was standing in the middle of Adventure Land in Walt Disney World as I realized the world had not gone mad as per Facebook and the vast majority realized that at this critical juncture, as the youthful America grows into its adolescent our founding fathers may have been Puritanical White Men but that is as obscure a term and sighting as a Native American. No, this pubescent America with hormones sending us to a fever pitch at the slightest provocation is also a beautiful butterfly made up of a many different shapes and patterns, caught mid metamorphosis, our full potential not yet visualized or even imagined.
So much blood was shed, so many young lives loss at home and overseas. From a midnight showing in Aurora to the recent deaths at Newtown. School shootings, police, and firefighters losing their lives, and athletes taking their lives as well as others. It is insane and incomprehensible and yet every time as a cry goes up for better gun control you have Military and their wives crying out 2nd Amendment rights. What right did these children have? What about the movie theater full of victims just trying to see catch the end of a trilogy? What about all the poor people that suffer from mental health afflictions that are being made into monsters as we try to figure out what the rest of the civilized world did ages ago. Violence is always present from the moments of our birth until our cells seize up in our final breaths. We can't stop it no sooner than we can stop the world from turning, than I can prevent another year from donning, but we must, in order to evolve, attempt to maintain it and slow the process before all is lost. The biggest problem we have now is loss of respect for human life and desensitization to this violence. An almost willing acceptance of it all. I think a good start would be more specific gun control. I don't think military style assault rifles/weapons should be able to be purchased under a single license. I don't believe mass quantities of ammunition should be purchased to a single person or place in a post 9/11 world. I do believe we need a more thorough and universally enforced gun control policy on a federal and state level. Gun shows should be banned all together. I have gun enthusiast friends and I love them for flaunting their skills, particularly since most of them are females and mothers to boot. The reality of the situation goes like this. Technically, I would pass a background check, I have no mental illness. I do have a father who died by a gun and a brother who also took a bullet to the head and was dismembered. I am not crazy buy any stretch but I have the potential. I have demonstrated hostility to officers in the past, I work a stressful job where I was frequently threatened, and was raised in a single parent home along with a lot of other vague details I will spare you. The point is, because I am of sound mind and body, I chose not to make guns a part of my life for all of these reasons that could just as easily be ignored by another soul in similar circumstance. I don't imagine I am the only person who has lived such a violent life. I do find it hard to believe that all of us remain of sound mind and body or handle stress well. While it is my choice if I want to blow my own head off, I am leaning my weight towards making it hard to impossible for those with this type of background to harm others.
So, with all this in mind I'm sure everyone is asking, why again, wouldn't I too want this Godforsaken year to be over with already. For me, though the world turned to rubble, I found myself. It was amazing and my only regret to date was that I didn't find this beautiful young lady a decade ago. Of course the choice to have weight loss surgery is the most prominent change but also my courage in finding my voice. While I admit a talent for turning words, I have always been quiet about expressing my opinion, even afraid to admit that I had one as I watched the world go by. The anger built up from that combined with the inability to let go of the past and forgive myself became my poison. Manifesting in depression, binge eating, and fits rolling and detrimental anger as the world became more and more bleak. I will tell you I did not have an easy go at first and the pain almost consumed me. Getting the surgery approved alone would cost me sleepless nights, more binge eating, and frustration to the point of tears.
Just before the surgery I had decided to step out on faith and return to the fold of the church. It was not an easy task seeing as I worked weekends at the time but I had heard a sermon via the AM Radio that called to me and I found myself entranced by the pastor. I arranged to take that Sunday and the one just after surgery to meet the man in person. I tell you that my life was changed, my spirit was changed that first Sunday. People think it was the surgery and it does play a factor in my outward appearance but God is working on me. The message was "It may look like chaos but God is building a foundation". I cried the whole ceremony but when I walked out of that church I saw with new eyes. I wasn't nervous about the surgery anymore. Anger that I had been holding onto a life time I had to give away. It no longer fit into the image I had of myself. The sadness and tears I had cried for myself I had to dry and smile for all the blessings around me. I saw the people eager to betray me and those that truly admire and support me. I couldn't hold on to the hate though because God filled my heart with too much love. Love for strangers and friends, love for family, and love for myself. I have had many test since. The very minutes I sit here are tests, jobless, only a house note in the bank, and no immediate access to funds. I could be frightened right now. I could have had a miserable holiday. Even worst, I could still be faking it through a job that made me utterly miserable but in finding myself this year, I also found the God in me. I am still learning to listen to the voice inside and he is making a way out of no way.
So, instead of resolutions, in a much improved year, I leave you with lessons I've learned in 2012:
1) We so often say we love the Lord when we can't love ourselves and the other man. When we hold a grudge for the most simple of reasons. Whether you are Christian or otherwise, find your light, what brings you joy and share it with the world. What you put out there will come back if in no other way but make you feel like a better person living in a better world.
2) Forgive yourself and let go. Until you let go of the sandbags holding you down you can't take flight. There may be others in your life that have done you wrong and vengeance may seem like the answer but God will move those people just as he moves this world around the sun in a timeless circle. It doesn't mean you have to embrace that person once He moves them. Forgiving them simply means you are robbing them of the power over your thoughts and will.
3) Fear is our only true obstacle, regardless of what that fear may be. Be brave and beat it back. Let Faith in something be your sword and your dreams be your shield. Life will forever be a war waged but the fleeting joys are the sweetest victories for the perilous road ahead.
And one eternal prayer as we all take a deep breath and march into 2013:
Father, I am not perfect and though I reach for it I will never be. Give me the knowledge to accept that, the strength to forgive, and the courage to carry on even in the darkest of night. Father, shine your light down on me and allow me to in turn be that light for others. May you find rest for the weary, comfort for the sick, and love for those that feel alone and without a voice. God thank you for this life, the good days and the bad. Continue to reveal to me the lessons in every experience as I walk this road and continue to direct my path to fit Your will. In your name I find comfort and peace now and forever more,