Thirty years of curiosity
One day a teenage boy decides to take a walk along Third Street in a small town known as Newport, RI…..why? Well…..he was feeling lost and confused.
He feels very alone and struggles with fitting into a social group and has no strong sense of self-identity. He ponders many thoughts including: “Who am I? Why am I here? Why don’t I fit in? What’s next? Why don’t I like myself? Why am I so different?” He becomes overwhelmed by negative thoughts….. that target everything he perceives to be wrong in his life.
He distracts his mind by immersing himself into his academic studies and extracurricular activities. He recognizes that the love he receives from his mother, family and friends help saturate the internal struggle that festers deep beneath the smile that is painted onto his face. He feels lost. He feels confined. He feels like a big city boy craving to break free of the small town mentality. He begins to surround himself with other unique individuals who just don’t quite fit into the social normalcies that are spoon fed into our mouths by the world. He draws from each of their unique qualities and begins to celebrate his own differences. He finds the courage to begin walking the unconventional path to which many would and still do not understand. He begins to learn how to stand WITH and FOR himself. He works on proceeding confidently through life with a sound faith system that will continue (30 years later) to serve as his internal GPS system.
Throughout his youth……..he has wanted to sing……shout and scream until the words cried out. However, he never knew how to articulate his struggle. You see when your mind is filled with so much chatter…..EVERYTHING is wrong? He couldn’t name it…let alone ask someone for support. All he could do was BE with his emotions and work through them. And that is EXACTLY what he did!
What made this possible is the unconditional love and support he had received from his mom, family and friends. They are a reflection of him….as He is of them. To this day…without any of them…..he doesn’t know where he would be.
I am that teenager and 31 years later I am finally able to articulate the war that was raging within me. If I could go back in time and have a conversation with that 15-year-old boy….I would drive up to him on Third Street in my current Chevy, Cruz. I would point to the Dubai plates…… just so he could affirm his curiosity and witness the fruits of his hard labor to come…………and I’d say these words:
“Start loving yourself……until then you will remain stagnant…….life is waiting for you!”
I would drive off, make a U-Turn and as I slowly pass by my 15-year-old self for a second time….I’d scream out the window:
“You are special Anthony………Continue to be curious and start believing in yourself my friend. I love you…now start loving yourself!”
As the Chevy would drive away…..that 15 year old teenager would pull his shoulders back, raise his chin up and wrap his arms around himself. He would stare off into the sky…..and for the first time see beyond the clouds….. thinking to himself…Dubai? Where the heck is that?…..Wow!….. :0). He runs home…..(flat feet and all) grabs a sheet of paper and draws a big cloud.
He cuts out the cloud and with a marker writes the following phrase: THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT….DREAM BIG and LOVE YOURSELF!
He’d tape the cloud onto his mirror and for a split second he catches a glimpse of his 30-year-old face looking back at him in the mirror mouthing “I love you.” For the first time he begins to see things CLEARLY….The internal battle of love would finally cease!
If there’s one lesson I have learned in thirty years…it is taking the time to really love yourself. And I’m not talking about your physical self and how good you look in them jeans! Lol. I’m talking about internal and unconditional love of your spirit self.
SELF………I love you and your unique qualities are what make you so special. Continue to inspire and continue to live on purpose! Happy early birthday. ;0)