“Who are we but the stories we tell ourselves, about ourselves, and believe?”
― Scott Turow, Ordinary Heroes.
Stories of triumph, stories of success, and stories of dreams coming true. These are the kinds of tales that keep us alive and keep us going. For me, these stories were a life boat in the middle of a dark and stormy ocean. The stories you and I tell ourselves make a tremendous impact on how we feel and in which direction we go. The difference between a good story and a bad one canput into motion either success or failure When every avenue seemed bleak, I could always pullpositive stories from my memory library to serve as an escape. My current life circumstances(post stroke) were a sinking ship of titanic proportions. However, reaching back into my memory banks, I could pull a story from a happier time. Without these invisible books I was headed for the bottom gasping for air, another casualty of life’sbad circumstances.While these books seem imaginary, the life lines they offer are very real. These stories told me I could accomplish my dreams as I had before, that the impossible was possible(as possible is part of the word itself) and gave me a reason to get up in the morning rather then languish in bed. A good story will motivate you and give you confidence, while a bad one will take away all of your hope. Do you suppose that thelegends of our time told themselves stories of failure?I’m certain it was just the opposite! I posit they reassured themselves that their mountains could be conquered. In this way we need to do the same thing. Whatever your goal, tell yourself that you canand thenpull examples of all your past successes. The longer you ruminate on past or current(perceived or real) failures, the longer you’ll remain in unwanted circumstances. By dwelling you effectively anchor yourself in shallow waters. Therefore, use positive stories toputthe windin your sails and venture to deeper waters. It is there you’ll find more to explore and myriad possibilities. Furthermore, surround yourself with people that add to the positive stories rather than help anchor you in shallow waters.
“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.” -Tom Wolfe.
I passed out on a bathroom floor in upstate New yorkand woke upin a Hospital near my parents house in Michigan. A distance of 650 miles from the place that I called home. Needless to say I was swimming in a sea of hopelessness and loss. I had beenunfortunate enough to have had a massive stroke, which nearly killed me and was seemingly making my dreams of returning to my beloved city all but impossible. Suddenly the idea oftime passing terrified me. With each new day rather than look at the possibilities I thought of all the things Imissed or was missing out on. As far as I was concerned the prime of my life had been stolen andwas getting spent sittingin waiting rooms, at a therapy, or in Doctor offices. Recently I had the chance to go back andvisit my old neighborhood of Astoria Queens. Rather then saying“goodbye,” as my Mother suggested I chose to say“See you later.”Luckily I found that not much had changed in the neighborhood, which quelled my fears of the world changing drastically without me to be a part of it. I was somewhatapprehensive beforethe dayof visiting arrived, mostly because I was worried I would become very sad. However, once I had arrived there everything was as I rememberedandthusit was actually comforting. All the time I spentliving in fear of missing out was dashed. I chose to use this visit for motivation rather than defeat. I navigated the neighborhood easily(as I know it!) and arrived to a dinner with close friends.
Afterwards I left to have a toast inmy first apartment there.( Photo Below, right)
My former roommate and I laughed as Wereminisced and spoke of the neighborhood changes. In many ways I felt as if I hadn’t been gone at all. For months all I wanted to do was return to the city I love and Ibelieved it was lost to me.It’s very easy to buy into the naysayers that do nothing
but instill doubt. Luckily though, I have some people that remind me of the YES. The visit wasnot only to see friends but to
get a surgery that would make a difference in the speed of my “road trip,” back East. Thanks to the love and support of many they’ve kept my gas tank full and the motor running. In many ways were all on a “road trip,” I just happened to break down along the way, experienced a delay, and had to take a detour. Alongwith me in my vehicle each of my friends and family wrote me a letter ordrew me a picture. Every now and then I figure out that theseindividual pages fit together, and wherever one is missing I write my own. Soon enough it appears that it’s becoming an Atlas that’s pointing me where Ineed to go. Earlier on the map was destroyed and I thought I’d never find my way back towhere I wanted to go. Luckily though I havesome angels on my side that seem to be well equippedwith maps and
Usually Cosmo magazine is really good at informing it’s female masses about sex and how to please their male counterparts.However, with this more recent article (read here) I was pleasantly surprised as I sat in a salon with my head covered in tin foil.I was looking for some reading material to pass the time while I waited for my hair to become a member of
the copper family,this is where I met Penny Fisher.
The reason this article was significant to me is because I could relate.
Penny has a rather remarkable story as well.Additionally what’s more remarkable is Her attitude.
I quickly perused the pages of Cosmo expecting the same old vapid content,that is until I crossed paths with Penny.
This woman had to forego multiple amputations,when some of us complain about our hair!
Needless to say perspective is everything.I found this particular article to be uplifting rather than another “puff piece.”
People need to see more articles like the story of Penny Fisher. Everyday the world at large concerns itself with things that are shallow.In reality as people were not all that superficial.However, mass media would lead one to believe otherwise.The truth is that after such a life altering event occurs it’s difficult to relate to “normal,” worries when they truly are quite petty in the bigger picture.Sometimes, I feel like a being sent back in time to deliver an important message.Except instead of a time machine I came back from the brink of death to yell “Appreciate your life,” using media as a bullhorn.It’s not that either of us(Penny or I ) lost a great life,but rather now we have a chance to make an even better one.While I have endured much suffering,out of the pain a baby has been birthed.This child I hope will grow up wise and knowledgable.When the dust clears on the playing field I’m trying my best to continue standing there having endured a storm.I’m looking forward to taking a nice big gulp of life sustaining oxygen again soon.Finally,besides the air clearing up it’s also clear that it’s important to have a clear mind and value the correct things in life.Had I known what I know now,rather than gripe over minimal worries I would have skipped down the street handing out all my money to the homeless in NYC.If your main concern is the subject of physical looks or money,or even your significant other your doing fantastic.Life is too short to live it in the constraints of the “worlds,”or other people’s expectations. Follow your heart but just don’t forget your head