On this second anniversary of Becoming Josie, I have thought about the number two. There are two side to every coin. The yin, the yang. The dark, the light. The “good”, the “bad”. The beautiful, the ugly. Sometimes both at once. Sometimes neither. I have played different roles. Been different things. Been on different sides of the tracks. I have seen different worlds.
I have been an orphan. I am a mom. I was a runaway. I own a home. I’ve lived on the streets. In different homes. With different families. I have created my own. I have been surrounded by writers, amazing women, great friends. I also have been surrounded by drug addicts, law breakers, homeless. I have been neglected. I have been collapsed into the arms of breathtaking love.
I have been wise beyond my years and naive in my beliefs. I have experienced the unexpected. My closest companions and protectors were unpredictable. Deemed dangerous by some. While those who I was told to trust, pastors, parents, nuns, family, teachers, weren’t stable, dependable or there.
The nomads, the outlaws, the ones who you shouldn’t hang out with became my comfort. In a way, I needed. In a way, I couldn’t find anywhere else.
We had a commonality. A loneliness that bonded us. We found a connection in our shared void. We found companionship in our abandon.
We existed in a survival mode. We did what we had to get by. To make it. We took care of each other. We protected one another because we were aware the world would not.
Sometimes, it was scary. Sometimes, it was illegal. Sometimes, it was soothing. But it came from a basic need to survive. Doing the best we could with whatever we had. The only known thing we had was each other. The only thing we could trust was that fact.
I had seen fights, theft, drug deals, people shot, guns fired. I have experienced raids in my home, in motel rooms. I have ridden in the back of police cars, been handcuffed. I have seen the fear and uncertainty behind an officer’s eyes. I have seen the danger they feel. They face. I have been on the “wrong” side. I have been the bad guy. I have also been the prey. The door mat. The innocent.
I have experienced lies, threats, the back of a hand, a closed fist to the cheek.
I have stood up, I have run, I have hidden, I have fought. I have caved under pressure. I have refused to give up. I have run on fear and succumbed to exhaustion.
I have seen both forgivable and unforgivable things. I have made amends. I have heard and accepted them from others.
I have people I have had compassion for no matter their appearance. I have lost respect for people no matter their profession or role. I have seen hypocrisy. I have experienced judgment. I have seen unfairness and unwarranted prejudice.
I’ve seen both the beauty of life and the cruelness in the world. I have felt the immense warmth of a hand and I have shivered in a damp chill. I have been dragged and I have been carried. I have been a cheerleader and I have been in desperate need for support. I have felt doomed and been faithful. I have questioned and I have believed. I have accepted the truth and I have asked why?
I have learned by the school of Hard Knocks and I have been a student to a gentle voice. I have ignored and I have paid attention. I have brushed off and I have embraced. I have turned a blind eye and I have stared. I have lived by the seat of my pants and I have watched the seconds tick by.
I have held tightly onto the pendulum as its swung. I have let go and trusted the fall. At times, I have landed roughly. But I have gotten back up. Again. And again.
I have tried to forgive those who have harmed me. I have attempted to forgive myself. I have let bygones be bygones. I have tried to live and forget. I’ve also remembered.
Some things I can never unsee. Some things I have and do carry. Some I feel. Some cause me to suffer. Some cause me to grow. Some have changed who I am. All have helped form what I am becoming. The good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly.
I forgive the things I had to do to survive. I see the necessity those things once served. I recognize the pieces that are no longer needed. I accept who I am. I welcome what is coming.
But one thing I could have never done is walk through this life alone. I acknowledge and appreciate every hand that has played a role in my life. The good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly.
Thank you for coming along for the ride. For being witness to the last two years of weekly expressing and sharing the journey of where I have been. Navigating where I am and seeing where I am heading. It has been a process, an exposure, a shedding, a healing experience, and a beautiful connection to each and every one of you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for coming along on the discovery of me Becoming Josie.