My dad & I had a very interesting conversation last night about a conversation he had with a vendor/businessperson yesterday that ended up being really special.
Basically: 98% of people, if they were dealt the cards I’ve been dealt…if they’d been made to live even a fraction of the life I’ve been handed…they wouldn’t have made it this far. The vast majority of people, if they were in my shoes, would have given up or otherwise ended things altogether. They certainly wouldn’t be in a forward-progressive & successful place like I am right now. “Why me?” Well…the way I look at it….why not me? The man told my dad how I can do things that my mom & he (dad) can’t do, because, while they’ve witnessed & supported my whole journey, they haven’t actually been through it in the literal way I have. There’s a certain ability to empathize & relate to people in situations like mine that they’ll never have because they’ve never been made to walk the road literally like I have been…to cope like I have been…to make lemons out of lemonade like I have been. Fact is, there is a big difference between supporting someone through something vs having been through the thing personally yourself. I have the unique ability to lead, to make a difference, to impact & change lives because of the unique, struggle-filled road I’ve walked & continue to walk.
Since I was a kid, I’ve said that if my being open, honest, brutal & frank about what I go through & what I’ve been through…if it helps, saves, or benefits 1 person…it’s all worth it. Every bit of it is worth it if I can help someone else realize they’re not alone. If I can point someone to resources. If I can help someone find answers. If I can prevent someone from making some of the same mistakes or taking some of the less-productive turns I made, it’s all worth it.
Not everyone with stories like mine makes it this far. I understand that all too well. Not everyone with stories like mine is able to have the same mindset that I have. Honestly, it’s not always easy to think “why not me?” instead of “why me?”. But I do it. I do it because it helps people. I do it because I’ve been told I’ve helped people & even saved a life or 2 because of my outlook on my struggles & because I’ve decided to be open & talk about it. That knowledge of my impact makes every single bit of every single minute of every single day, week, month, year, & decade of all of this worth it.