Sunday, June 28, 2015

You is smart, you is kind, you is important...

I love this line and will say this to myself, my Boxerbeast and anyone else who needs to hear it.

"You is smart. You is kind. You is important." The K-Dog knows the words - I've said it often enough to him - and he perks his ears and I swear, he smiles. They are words that we don't often hear and even less, say to ourselves. This year and last have been the catapult for change. Over the last five years, life has continued to hand me obstacles. It's been two years in August since my dad passed away suddenly from an aneurysm. He was there on the phone talking to me an hour before and then he was gone. My buffer, my slayer of demons, my rock was gone and I was left to pick up the pieces. I don't think I will ever get over losing him so suddenly, but looking back, I'm glad he went suddenly and with little suffering. The suffering remained with us - my mum, his wife of over 52 years, my brother and his family, my niece and nephew, and his multitude of friends who continue to share stories with me of the man my father was. And, as his daughter, I am so very proud of him and will continue to extol his virtues to whomever will listen.

That year, 2013, was a life changer. I had thought I had gone through enough changes and turmoil. Life had much more in mind for me. In the span of one year, I had an operation to remove a cyst and had a relationship end so abruptly that it left me reeling. I experienced a homeowner's nightmare when my basement flooded and I had a plethora of repairs with which to contend. I put my house on the market and had the house sale from hell, with four offers falling through and a house that remained on the market for five months before it sold. My dad left me a day after I moved to my new locale, my trusty car of over 11 years decided to kick the bucket and I got laid off. From January to October, life was pure hell. And then the real work started.

"You is kind. You is smart. You is important." It was time to get back to basics. After taking a bit to pick myself back up, I went to work. Psychoanalysis and Self-analysis. I finally found a counselor who heard me, listened to me, acknowledged me as a person and said the words I was yearning to hear for so many years: "You've been through a lot. There is a reason why you are the way you are." Even as I write this, I tear up. Two years and a lot of work later, those very words stand as a life preserver in a vast ocean that was my psyche.

My counselor, my friend, was a mirror. She showed me my image as I presented it to her and said: "You is smart, you is kind, you is important. This is what I see when I look at and speak with you. You are strong. You're still here. You're still fighting. You're constantly evaluating, re-evaluating and taking stock, and you're making the changes you need to be the person you were meant to be." Okay, it's not verbatim but it's what she said each week. We set goals. I attained them, and sometimes I didn't, but I always made the vow to try again the next week... and I did. I saw the spring in my step return, the smile on my face start to appear and a sparkle in my eye set to radiate again. "You are absolutely glowing" was a common phrase I started to hear. I sent myself back to school because the writers' market is not what it used to be. I realized I am meant to help people, so I signed up for the Medical Office Administration course at a local college and I not only succeeded but I excelled, attaining a 91 per cent while working part-time. I studied. I participated. I met new friends. I was placed at a hospital for more work experience, and while the job market is a crazy one, I secured nine interviews in two weeks and am now training at two different companies in the health field. I got one word wrong on my medical terminology exam after taking a CPR/First Aid training course, working nights and weekends at my part-time job. One wrong in a potential 500 medical terms. I was on fire.

It all stemmed from three sentences. "You is smart. You is kind. You is important." Those are words I rarely heard in my childhood and adult lives, and it was certainly something I wouldn't tell myself, because I was too busy concentrating on everything I was not. It is important to hear those words and say those words to yourself, but more importantly, it's best to accept yourself and see you for who you truly are. My friends saw it. My dad saw it, and now I see it. Granted, some days it's harder to see it than others, but it's then that I breathe, especially when worry seems to be getting the best of me. Seven seconds in. Five seconds to hold it in, and then seven seconds to exhale. It's all in the exhale. You let out the demons and forget what put you in that panicked place to begin with, and then you can pick up and continue your fight, no matter what war you're waging. Breathe. Remember who you are, and acknowledge that you may not be perfect every single second, but you're pretty darn awesome once you forgive yourself for your little imperfections and be the person you are meant to be.

"You is kind. You is smart. You is important." It's a line in a movie, but also a lesson for us all to learn. I'm so happy I learned it before it was too late.