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September 23, 2020

A Blank Page

Who we are is simply a perpetual story we tell ourselves. We are at once the narrator, the hero and sometimes even the villain. I’ve played my own villain far more than I care to remember.

I had a rough childhood. I’m the son of an abusive ex-alcoholic: my father. And my mother did little to challenge him. Shit, I suppose she was just as trapped under his tyranny as I was. It was a rough road, one which has left marks on myself and my siblings. We all bear scars. And while scars fade, they stay with you for life.

I’ve had a rough adulthood too. I lived with undiagnosed Bi-polar disorder for many years. I self-medicated. I battled with addiction to many things: cocaine, sex, sugar. I flagellated myself within my own mind, called myself worthless, pathetic and idiotic. I destroyed my relationships by becoming each day more and more like my father.

I think about my father sometimes. About how much pain he must have been in to inflict that same pain on those he claimed to cherish. And I feel for him. Because I almost became him.  But we are that which we choose to believe we are and I choose to believe I am not my father. I choose to believe I am not the villain.

I once thought life was like a novel, its pages full of words and its conclusion inevitable. That all I could do was continue reading until the climax and pray that it wasn’t a tragedy. But that’s not the case. Life is a journal and every blank page is a potential future that we ourselves choose to write. Heroes don’t wait for their story to be told for them. They grab the pen and write their own.

So that’s what I choose to be. The hero. Adversity will come, but no story would be complete without it. The measure of a hero is not what they say, or even simply what they do. It’s what they choose to do when faced with adversity. I’ve faced plenty. And in all honesty, I’ve made poor choices in the past. But they don’t define me today, just as scars don’t define the skin.

My battle is far from over. But now I have my pen. And with it, I’ll write my own story. One in which the hero saves the day

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Stuart W. Bedford  |  Contribution: 1,950