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You’re riding your bike, listening to the summer hits of yesterday, and something catches your front tire. You shift your balance from left to right and right to left in slow motion, knowing you’re going to fall. Thoughts cross your mind like wildfire, engulfing one another, rapid fire to win your attention: You have carried the weight of your past with you for longer than you can remember, while others have seemingly skated through life with ease. You have shackles around your ankles, and you’re digging out of a pit from which you cannot see the bottom. You open your eyes in the morning and see a strange room inside a strange house filled with even stranger men. You question the point of getting out of bed. At the table you sit silently while others express their freedoms – not even considering how blessed they are.
Why? Why do you do this?
Some have given up on you. Some say you should have thrown in the towel and tagged yourself out of the match.
But you haven’t. You have faced difficulty after difficulty, mostly alone, in a way that many walking the earth will never understand. You have shown up to the many challenges of daily life, weariness biting at your bones, determined to persist, even when you cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. You have listened to others, followed others, still knowing you’re going in blind. They say it gets better, but you’re never really sure. You keep going anyway. You keep going because you remember the first time you laughed with new friends. You remember how long it had been since you laughed – and felt it warm your insides. You keep going because you felt love slowly beginning to pierce the thick walls with which you had surrounded your heart. By letting down these walls you’ve cast aside the strongest protections an individual can create. Isolation no longer rules your every waking minute. You begin to trust again – first one person, then two, then three. Then yourself. You relax for a brief moment and feel the tension that you’ve built up travelling from court date to court date as it slowly loosens its grip on you.
You begin to believe that maybe, just maybe, your past truly is your past, and you can build a future free from bondage. You do, you believe, and you fight for these things because you’ve seen them in yourself. You know they exist. You know there’s another way. You write your future.
From your new vantage point on the sidewalk, knees scraped, and pride shattered, you remember how far you’ve come. You remember the pain you have already walked through. You know there’s more pain to come, but you will not have to face it alone. The brotherhood that you feel around you is real, and it will protect you.
You dust off your knees and pick up your bike. Your journey is far from over.
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