I can't say that I know how people perceive me. I would hope that I use my platform and my encounters to give life and love. This is my mission in life. I want to breathe life into dreams and fill hearts with unconditional love. With that being said people tell me a lot of the time how stoically I handle my day-to-day. I'm flattered by the thought that I seem like this logical person, who can be a rock for others, consistent. It is a high honor to be seen as someone who is calm, cool, and collected. I can imagine the laughs and snickers those who know me more personally are having at this statement. The truth is I try excruciatingly hard to keep my emotions in check. My friends and family will not hesitate to tell you, I am a creature who gets lost in his vast pool of overwhelming emotions often. It is laborious to not say exactly what I think and feel the moment it occurs to me. When I was younger my emotions would drive me hysterical, I wanted everyone to love me, I wanted justice for all, I couldn't understand why everyone didn't want what's best for everyone. I think the reason no one knew is that no one saw what exactly I was going through. I was a little boy without a father, growing up in Dallas with my mother who worked two jobs and went to school. I couldn't go over to friends houses after school, and they couldn't come to mine unsupervised. I couldn't take part in city league sports because of monetary limitations. I spent a great deal of my childhood crying alone, punching walls angrily alone, feeling every single emotions tenfold and alone. So it became my normal. To be this calm and collected young boy to the masses, to put my emotions aside and save them for a time when we were alone again. I thought through things on a day-to-day basis and used nothing but logic and reason to survive. My emotions had no place in public, I was my own confidante. Irrational emotions, and public reasoning and logic led the way for heavy symbolism to be a huge factor in my life. Symbolism was a place where emotions took physical form and created obstacles and challenges for me to work through. It was therapeutic for me to give a journey or challenge to an emotion and work through it both physically and rationally. I would like to share how symbolism has helped me to end a year that I wasn't sure I was going to make it through.
For my last day of 2018 I felt it was imperative to go on a hike. Hiking is a new activity I started back in February after my shoulder surgery when I was rehabilitating in Phoenix. One of the greatest allures about Los Angeles was the fact that nature was almost just as big as the city life. Today I ventured to hike in Malibu, Mishe Mokwa Trail to Sandstone Peak. The hike was amongst the fire that ravished Malibu back on November 8, 2018. Normally that would deter a lot of people from going but this is one of the main reasons the hike was important for me to do. The trail to the peak is 6 miles round trip and the estimated time to finish was 3 hours. This is where the symbolism comes into play. I started at the bottom of the trail much how I started the beginning of the year after extensive shoulder surgery. I was low with nothing but work and struggle ahead of me. I welcomed the challenge and began to ascend. Parts of the hike were steeper while others were a good moment to take a break and collect my bearings. Of course it was hard work much like recovering and dealing with life after surgery, life without football, life with sick loved ones. I knew even though I had come a long way I was far from where I was meant to be. The hike wasn't always the prettiest, neither was this year. At times everything was black ash, destroyed and ugly. Several times this year I felt things in my life were set on fire. My romantic relationships took a juristic turn. I found out that friends of mine did not hold me in the high esteem I held them in. Both of my grandfathers passed away along with my best friend. Yes, my life was surely set a blaze. But as I examined closer the surrounding ruble, and saw small sprouts of green. Life was fighting its way through the devastation. Nothing can grow in your life if you are holding on to something that is dead. This was another symbol. Also, even though the climb wasn't always pretty I could appreciate the accession. I was still climbing to something greater, I had still come so far, and the scenery was bound to change. Another challenge along the way was the bone chilling wind. The temperature dropped substantially on this hike. The chill reminded me much of loneliness. The wind blew straight through me, and I was the only one there to warm myself. A lot of times the path we chose, the peak we chose, the dream we chase, is ours and ours alone. It's important to be able to warm your own heart, to be your own best friend, and your biggest supporter. Many times I could have turned away, I could have been satisfied with the progress I made, but it was all for nothing if I did not reach my goal. I did not set out on this hike to just get kind of far. I didn't start 2018 with the thought to just make it as far as I could. I set both out to achieve a peak, a goal, a dream. I wasn't going to accept anything less.
When I reached the peak I was filled with pride in my accomplishment. Before I even gaze at the tremendous view from the top I look back and see all I have overcome and the great lengths I have traveled. Getting my shoulder back to 100 percent. Moving to my favorite city, Los Angeles. Going to therapy to learn how to better cope. Striving to make my dream of becoming a writer come true. Finishing my first rough draft of my fiction novel. The year is so much more than all my short comings and failures. I lost friends, but that gave me the time and appreciation to pour into some relationship I'm sure I will have for a long time. Then I gaze out at the view. The view is possibilities. The view is 2019. From this peak I can see so much, my past mistakes, but more importantly, my next adventures. I can't wait to attack this new year. 2018 has fortified me.