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When I stepped off of that Grey Hound that brought me here to Miami, I hopped out with a gray cloud hanging over my head. All of my worries, and losses combined were heavy on my shoulders and I was not yet strong enough to carry the burden. When I lived in Gainesville, my ultimate goal was to make people happy. In trying so hard to make everyone else around me content, I dug myself deeper and deeper into a hole. I was throwing the rope that would get me out to everyone else around me, and ultimately left myself trapped in my own sadness with no one and nothing to pull me out.

Not much has changed since then. I still vowed to help the people around me, even if I could not help myself.  But how, the reader might wonder, could I possibly help others if I did not know how to do the same for myself? That passing phrase “I wish I took my own advice” would often wander through my brain after giving Malainie, my mom, my sisters, and anyone else who asked–advice. Just this past weekend, a series of unfortunate events seemed to swallow those around me. In turn, these people would call on me and when I obliged and lent my ears, and allowed them to cry on my shoulder, and held their shaking hands; something incredible happened. All of my own misfortunes, and the misfortune that I had brought onto those that I used to know, did a complete 360. Just when the night could not get any darker, just when it seemed as though the storm would never pass; the sun rose above the horizon: an indicator of a brand new day.

I could hear myself telling her that everything would be okay. I could hear myself telling her that she needs to put her pieces back together. I could hear myself slowly unstrapping the weight that had once laid so heavy on my shoulders. I was using these strange scenarios as examples, and because they had really happened, all of the things that I was telling her came from my heart. It wasn’t like before, when I would just listen to their complaints and wish that I was anywhere else but in that car, or on that couch. This time it was different, someone really needed me. When she cried on my shoulder, I cried with her. When she sat in the bathtub with the hot water running over her cuts and bruises, I sat on the counter, sang don’t worry be happy at the top of my voice, and made her laugh. When she called me and said that she needed to go to the hospital because she was going to do something stupid, I hopped on that train and rushed to her house. I told her to pick herself up, make her life better, she is too young for this shit. I wiped her face, and helped her clean her apartment, it is time for a big change; no more tears, no more tangles only smiles and opportunities.

Strange enough, as I wiped her tears I was wiping my own; as I sang to her I sang to myself; as I heard myself inspire someone else, I just so happened to inspire myself.

Yesterday was really windy, and strangely cool. I was sitting on the porch, watching the birds on the power-lines, when she popped up at my house, unannounced. She looked pretty in her purple shirt, and her hair was done, and she was wearing a smile: the most flattering accessory in the whole arrangement. She sat next to me, and for once she was not slouching. She told me that she had gotten that job at the law firm. She told me that he had been arrested, and could not come after her. She told me about her future plans. She told me that she was finally happy. After a few moments of silence, she put her head on my shoulder and thanked me. I asked her, in all honesty, why? And she looked me dead in the eye and said “because you are my friend.” Those few words meant more to me than any Christmas present. I did it. I helped someone come out of their hole, and in doing that, I think that I succeeded in pulling myself halfway out of my own.

Advice:

Whatever you are going through, no matter how bad it seems; everything is going to be O.K. I promise. It might seem like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, but you have to remember to look forward, never look back. You can’t change what has already happened, but you can change what is going to happen, and even if that is out of your control, make the best of it. Walk out of hell with a smile on your face, and adventures under your belt. Pick yourself up, and put the pieces back together because believe it or not, there are people out there that need you. Just remember that nobody can give you happiness on a silver platter; only you can do that for yourself. Above all, never forget your dreams, even if they are ridiculous; they are never impossible. Just do it! Yes, it’s that simple…do it! Even if it won’t put dollar bills in your pocket, you will be very surprised to find that it is worth it. Pave your own path, never follow the beaten and tried one because it is BORING. Last and most importantly, remember to smile! And if by some facial muscle malfunction, you can’t smile; make someone else smile. Be yellow, be happy…things could be a whole lot worse.

Someone that I cried on numerous times once told me something that has been engraved into my head and into my heart. A simple jumble of words that were life changing, that still replay over and over again when things seem like they will never be okay: “All problems are relative…they won’t last forever.”

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