Nearly a year of silence rest on this side of forever for a writer without words but that is how much time has passed since my last entry on our nonstop to nowhere.
When I first started writing this blog five years ago, I mentioned writing until I found a better person. I was at one of the lowest points in my life feeling extremely angry for most, if not all the time and could never seem to understand or explain why. I started wrting as a way to explore those feelings and the series of choices that had led to that point in my life.
I have been revisiting my past through the words that I had written and wondered why it was that memories previously forgotten still stirred such overpowering emotions. Our memories are meant to serve as reminders of our past experiences whether it is loss, gains, joy, love, anger or pain but as I continued reading my entries, I wondered what evoked the words I had written. What long dead demon had I conjured to torture my spirit and guide my hand in an attempt to understand the chaos that stirred from within? More importantly, I wondered why I was allowing these demons to hold such power over me and feed upon the darkness.
It was at that point that I realized that every one of us knows these demons and even though the past can remind us of the hardships we have endured, it only serves as a reminder that we are still here in the present; a place where the past has no right and no ability to harm us unless we allow it. This gave me an inner strength to stand against those past demons, command their silence and in the process find a newfound peace of mind.
In my previous entry, I talked of the injury that took my vision and left me legally blind. In the months that followed, my entire life was erased one painful piece at a time until I felt like there was nothing left. I lost my job as the Office Manager of an oil company because I could no longer perform my duties and took a job as a full time cashier at a fast food restaurant because the owners were willing to work with my visual limitations. The pay was only $6.00 per hour and after paying taxes and child support, my forty hour paycheck usually amounted to about $30.00 each week. I stretched it as far as I could and Heather worked very hard to help make ends meet but it wasn’t nearly enough.
The nice apartment was the first to go and the two of us were forced into an old rundown mobile home that had been built in 1965. Then my car was next to go. After working as a repo-man myself and being nearly two months behind on the payments, I knew it wouldn’t be long before someone came to collect. So I decided that if I had to lose it, I wanted it to be on my terms and voluntarily relinquished the Camaro before anyone came knocking on my door. Heather took a new job that was within walking distance of the trailer. She worked full time as a night auditor at a local hotel but even that still wasn’t enough. My next failing came as a father when I was unable to make my child support payments any longer. I had been summoned to court, summarily prosecuted and sentenced to 90 days in jail.
Four more years would pass as Heather continued working to support us. The old furnace in the trailer would break down every winter and numerous holidays were forgotten entirely because there just wasn’t any cause for celebration while making meals out of peanut butter sandwiches and ramen noodles.
I had originally intended to write about all of these chapters of my life in painstaking detail but the truth is that with the demons silenced and knowing that I not only survived those desperate years but emerged a stronger person has given me a new outlook on life.
Even though I realize that there will still be challenges to face, obstacles to overcome and moments where I question the reasons to keep going, I am reminded of an old saying that tells us there cannot be light without darkness and it is our darkest hours that make the lights in our lives shine brightest. So with that in mind, I invite the demons to do their worst because they no longer have power over the better person that I have become; the better man that is now looking forward to brighter days rather than staring into the darkness of the past.