I told you to write the next chapter in your own recovery story, and you said, How, and I said, Climb a mountain, and you said, But I can’t, and I said, Get rid of the crap weighing you down, and you said, Fine.
And you packed everything you own into a Toyota Camry, and you said, I’ll quit my job and move across the country but I refuse to give up my queen bed, as if that would make a queen fit into the trunk of a Camry. I told you you might have to give up that queen status, and that there are many other ways to get a good night’s sleep. And then you said, You’ve got to be kidding! You rolled your eyes and then grit your teeth and then went onto Amazon and ordered a twin bed.
If you’re alive when you read this, Congratulations! You survived your year on a twin bed.
I could hear you talking last year to your mom about how you didn’t think you could make it. You faked bravery in front of your friends, but the minute your mom held your hand with those soft hands, you melted into a puddle. And then the tears wouldn’t stop. I knew it was just a band-aid that needed ripped off and once you got past the first mile marker, you would be just fine. You would learn to breathe again.
This is the main thing I want to tell you, that I know you moved to Dallas with a full list of expectations and every night that you tossed and turned on that twin bed with your feet dangling off, you thought to yourself, and sometimes even yelled out loud, What in the world am I doing on this twin bed?
I told you you’re brave and you listened and you “gave it all up” to write that next chapter.
But it took you a long time to get over that stubby, uncomfortable twin bed that you dressed up with every extra padding you could find and that rewarded you with many restless nights, also thanks to the boys screaming just to scream next door through the paper-thin walls. Plus, you can’t forget those late-night pool balls right above your head that made you jump out of your skin that first week when you thought you heard gun shots and then fireworks and then figured out that these clanking pool balls would in fact sing you to sleep every night.
You told me you couldn’t do this whole writing the next chapter, climbing the mountain thing alone. Well, what do you know, you didn’t have to. You found friends who learned your name, learned your story, even learned that you operate on Ashley Time which is about three minutes late to everything. At first, you moved to this state 1,500 miles from home where maybe 5 people knew your name. And then, it multiplied, and they knew you and knew exactly why you were there to climb that mountain and even gave you a boost when you felt yourself slipping.
With every step, it got easier. Your crap got lighter, just like I told you. You got stronger, just like I told you. You did it, just like I told you.
I told you to write about your journey, and you said, Why, and I said, Because you’ll want to look back some day, and you said, When, and I said, When you make it to the day when you can look in the mirror and know that you survived an entire year away from home with your feet dangling off a twin bed.
And you said, Thanks for the push, and I said, You’re welcome.
That’s the strangest thing about this year, about your transformation. You look and sound so much like me now. People called you brave and strong, and you didn’t believe them. You felt scared and small. And then you did it, you grew up in a year and you can join me on this side of courage.