Saturday, January 28, 2012

Change builds the roads we travel.

10 years ago, I thought I had a great grip on life. I was in college studying to be something I had always dreamt of becoming, a graphic designer. I was around my friends and my family. I was working my tail off at a job I truly enjoyed. My life, for lack of a better description, was ideal. In 2003, I made a huge decision that create a fork in the road for my life. It was the first major decision I really ever made for myself. I chose to transfer schools and I did. I left Eastern Michigan University to attend Devry Institute of Technology in Columbus, OH. I was moving away from everything I had known, but I was not scared. Perhaps, it was because I was only three hours away from everyone and everything. In truth, I honestly could never put a finger on it; even today, I find it difficult to construct good reasoning for my behavior. Yet, I also experienced my first failure. I was not unable to fulfill my academic requirements; in fact, I excelled my academics. I was maintaining the first 4.0 since my freshman year in high school. However, I was financially unable to keep up. I was forced to admit failure and return home with my pride and my tail tucked between my legs. However, the failure sparked a new fire in which I stoked with an old passion. I wanted to be a teacher since around the 3rd grade, but I have just put it off for whatever reason I had at the moment. I graduated college and became a teacher. Everyone was so proud of me.

The one person whose pride meant the most to me was my grandmother. I have recently found myself years later missing her more than I realized. My grandmother has been gone for just over 5 years now. After I graduated, I had to endure yet another failure. I endured the moment of probably the worst decision I have ever made (well one of them). I chose to drive home after being out way too late and wrecked my car. Sounds pretty harmless I know, but the truth being told I changed that night. I was once reckless and threw caution into the wind. After that night, my caution was harnessed and my pride was put in permanent check. I broke my neck. Yes, I said, I broke my neck. I broke my C1. The bone directly connecting the base of the skull to the spine. Too make a long story short, I shouldn't have walked, talked, or breathed again after that moment. Alas, I persevered yet another moment in my life. However, the experience nearly killed my grandmother. For most of my adult life, my grandmother would talk about me getting married and gifting her with grandchildren. Sadly, my choices in partners was never very soothing to her demands. I digress. After my accident, I missed out on many opportunities to begin teaching around the area, so I was forced to make yet another choice. I had to choose to stay in Michigan and hope for a job to come my way; or I had to venture out to a new life and a new possible location. I landed in Baltimore (in 2006). The experience was hard enough because of moving 8.5 hours away from everyone. I was no long an easy drive back home. The worst part of the move came just 4 months after I moved. I went home for Thanksgiving because my grandmother's health was not going well. I had to witness one of the strongest women I have met helplessly shuffle around her house. I felt my heart twist as it was being tugged to the brink of popping out of my chest when she looked at me with a blank stare as if she didn't recognize me. In that short weekend, I had to make a decision that once again would change my views on myself and the life I have had thus far. I had to let my grandmother go. Although she was not dead, she was dying, and I would not be able to make it home to be there for her as she had been there for me. I got the call on December 18th from my mother telling me that she had passed. The nature of the call was surreal to me. I knew it was going to happen. I was "prepared" for it to happen, but the words were foreign to me. The language was unclear, garbled. I was not in my right mind after those words. I made many bad choices out of self pity and a deep sense of being lost. Many of these decisions I look back on and wish I would have had a better sense of myself. However, that was not the case, I made the choices I did and have to live with them. This was a very tough loss to me, but I just did what I have always done. I tucked it away to deal with at a later date. Of course, I never really dealt with it. I just kept it tucked away until the emotional value of the situation faded. As my stint in Baltimore faded, I found myself feeling more and more freedom within the ruffles of my feathers. I felt like I needed to venture out and test the waters of life. I tested them in many ways. I tested them through relationships, friendships, job experiences, curiosities, etc. Once I found the way to tuck away my emotions, I just sort of blasted myself through life at a warp speed. Keeping busy was my cure to all pain. The longer and harder I worked the easier life seemed to be. Throughout everything, I overlooked a constant variable that was always right there for me, Luna Cora.

Luna was the first dog I ever owned. She was the one thing I could come home to and no matter how bad the day went she loved me unconditionally. She was like my therapy and I never understood it. I took it for granted. I got Luna when she was 7 months old back in November of 2003. Up until this past year, she went everywhere that I did. I would take her to friends' houses with me. She had babysitters when i couldn't. Everyone loved Luna because she was such an amazing dog, but to me she was my closest friend. I began to truly realize what she was to me when I lived in New Mexico (another teaching job). I would find myself just coming home and looking for her to come lay on my lap for hours. It was peaceful. She even managed to keep me from killing Diesel when he was going through a monstrous chewing phase. She was an incredible traveling companion. She would hardly ever lay down. She would sleep sitting up just to give me a sense of having someone awake with me. Sadly, the road finally called her name this past year on a return trip from California. California would however be another road from which changed my life.
California, Apple Valley, is where she is from. Buying that plane ticket and finally meeting the person who would talk me through long car rides, recite poems with, write poems for them to read, was probably one of the smartest choices I have ever made. From the very moment she stepped off the plane, my life has been in the fast lane for change. It amazes me how words, the language of endless limits, finds away to put two people from across the country in the same place with the same opportunity. I knew she was something special from the first moment I read her poetry. She had a way with words that expressed her soul. In six years of transcripts of emotions (poems) we seem to have dialogue like no other. I could hear her laughter and know what she was talking about or thinking about. Her entire persona is a living poem. Her eyes are a universe of immense possibility with a galaxy of super nova potential for love. She was and still is a vast space of fulfillment and hope. The road I have traveled has not been easy nor without its detours, potholes, sinkholes, traffic jams, floods, and whatever else you can imagine, but I will say this about myself. I have never stopped trudging along the path. I have put my head down at times and barreled through. I have hit walls where turns should have been. I have ever skidded off the road a few times, but I would not be where I am at had it not happened. I would not be in love with an amazing woman. I would not be expecting a child with this amazing woman. I dream now where as I slept on edge. I dream for what will be rather than feed off of what was. I am alive!

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