When I was 8, my father put a gun to my head.
When I was 14, I lost the only person in the world who showed me love.
When I was a teenager, I had to ask people if I could live with them for short periods of time just so that I would have a place to stay.
I fell in love and was betrayed in most every way.
I was told I’d never make it on a daily basis. I was told I was unwanted. Unlovable. That I was the wrong gender. That it was my fault they yelled and cheated. That I was not good enough.
For a while, they convinced me it was true.
Yesterday, as I sat in a meeting as a director with a vision and planned to spend time with an incredible family of friends in-between deadlines, I thought about life then and now.
With each step towards a new goal, I move further from a beginning I never deserved.
I share this not to pat myself on the back, but to let you know that I know what it feels like to come from way down. I know what it feels like to feel alone. I know how hard it is to hold onto hope in a grim situation. I know how it feels to look into the mirror and reject the face looking back at you. It’s a special kind of hurt and it can feel so isolating. I’m here to remind you that your feelings aren’t so weird. You’re not alone.
The reality is that I’m no different than you. I’m not stronger or smarter. I have no competitive advantage. What I have inside of me, you have inside of you. That fire is in there, I promise.
You simply cannot give up. You cannot quit. You would be a fool to let them make you doubt yourself, especially because you’re so close. A few tweaks and you’re there.
Look ahead and look beside you to see who makes an effort to be there. You’re going somewhere. But where? That’s something you decide.
Never a victim, always a soldier.