This weekend has been upsetting yet still edifying. For me, this whole weekend has been a reminder of my past, which--for those who know me well--is generally not a good thing. Everything I have watched on television, heard on the radio, or read in a book brought up memories of my past. I wish I could say it was a completely happy experience, but that's just not possible with my particular background. However, the lesson I learned is that I need to visit some really dark parts of my past in order to work through them and share the experience with others. Moreover, at this point and time, I have the strength to do so, whereas in the past I could not say the same. I can even look back at some of the crazier things in my past and see the good that came out of it, and in a very few cases, I feel happy. The past does not define me, and while this may sound like a cliche, my experiences have made me the person I am today, so I would not change a thing.
Let me state something important here: this kind of thinking was not a possibility for me 10 or 15 years ago. Being in my own mind for more than 10 seconds or so would have been way too much for me to handle. In fact, an experience like the one I had this weekend would have probably driven me completely insane, or worse. For a very long time, I just did not feel like there was any hope for me. I had lived such a messed up life that I felt like that was all there was left. Gangs, drugs, violence, the loss of people in my life, desperation to live a different life, and the lack of hope were just too much. I could be out partying it up with my friends, and if a stray memory made its way in there for even a second, things would take a turn for the worse. I would either flip out, pick a fight with someone, or end up fighting with myself--a fight I have never won. Trust me; when you beat yourself up, no one emerges a winner. Now I look back, and I see how my experiences can be used to benefit others: see me in my brokenness, and see how my life has been redeemed. There really is a bright side, things do change, and you always have the opportunity to do something amazing with your life.
Over time I hope to share more with you, so you too can see that no obstacle is too great, and no life is completely void of hope. At the risk of sounding lame, when you hit rock bottom, there is no where left to go except up. Beware though, don't stay at rock bottom too long. Take it from me, as someone who forced himself to wallow in the depths for far too long. There is always reason to have hope, even if it is incredibly difficult to see at the moment.