It has been quite a while since I’ve written something that was worth posting. Something that I was proud of writing. Between two jobs, school and trying to establish my own clothing brand, blogging has been something I’ve unfortunately neglected. Life has a way of keeping us occupied, keeping us distracted. Even if it’s from the things that we truly love doing.
The irony is that some of my best work was created when I was at my lowest point in life. My best writing came from my greatest struggle. Pain so agonizing, it made death seem endearing. 3 years ago I found myself at my lowest point in life. Rock bottom. I thought I’ve lost everything. I was 22 years old, confused, lost. I felt empty. At that point in time Embrace The Layover didn’t even exist. It wasn’t even born yet. It took a few months, but eventually it was written into existence. A lot had happened between me hitting rock bottom, and the layover in Charlotte where ETL was created.
Back then, at 22 years old I coped with my pain the only way I thought was possible; I drowned my sorrows in alcohol, drugs and women. I tried anything and everything to numb the pain. I just wanted life to stop hurting. Because not even a 1 ½ inch razor blade did the trick.
I wasn’t just broken beyond repair, I was shattered. There weren’t any pieces left to pick up and glue together. I was just… dust.I felt hopeless, worthless and ashamed. I wanted to fix myself so desperately. I just wanted to be whole again.
But what if fixing, editing, and repairing isn’t what we’re supposed to do when shattered?
What if we’re shattered beyond repair not to rebuild? But instead we are supposed to be made brand-new again!
What if shattering is the only way to get dust back to its basic form so that something new can be made?
See, when I was at rock bottom, completely shattered to dust, God used that dust to help me create Embrace The Layover. I didn’t know it then, but I know it now. Sometimes it takes a while for the pieces to fall into place. Perhaps even 3 years. But now I know that it took me being broken beyond repair, to be rebuilt into something so much greater.
Without dust, there is no room for growth. Without me having have lost everything, I would have never created Embrace The Layover. I wouldn’t have fallen in love with traveling the world, I would have never met the amazing woman who showed me God’s true potential. That woman changed my life forever, and I know for a fact that God made our paths cross for a reason. She was the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.
Dust is a basic ingredient with such great potential for new life.
Fast forward 3 years later and you can find me writing this piece. Once again, I’ve hit rock bottom (yes, I know, apparently there’s no limit on how many times one can actually hit rock bottom). This time, with a lot more tattoos and a longer beard. Nevertheless, rock bottom.
Yes, I lost someone incredibly important to me. I lost my person. The person I wanted to share my forever with. And there is no one to blame but me. But this time something is different though. Something had changed. Instead of seeking alcohol, drugs, and women to numb the loss, I sought God.
My loss has been unimaginable, but the faith I’ve gained in God has been inconceivable.
Instead of hitting up clubs until 5 am, I visited church. I replaced drugs with prayers, chasing women with seeking salvation. I found God in the darkest moment of my existence and realized that there’s a deeper meaning to this life. It took me 25 years to realize this but when it hit me, boy, did it hit me.
Once again, I’ve lost so much. 3 years later and I’m shattered beyond repair once again. I look around me and all I see is dust. But instead of trying to avoid the pain, I embrace it. I welcome the suffering and accept that this pain will only be temporary. I know that God has great plans for me. Plans that may not make sense to me today, but one day they will. I know that I’ve been destroyed to dust, in order to be completely made brand-new.
So I welcome this new chapter in my life. I welcome the change.
So here I am, ready to build myself up again, with the help of God. I know my true potential. I know that God has put me on this earth for an amazing purpose. But in order to find that purpose, I first need to rebuild myself from the dust. So here’s me starting over. Turning over a new chapter in my life. I can’t erase my past mistakes, but I sure can change and become who God truly wants me to be.
And you know the beauty in all of this?
The beauty in starting over is that you get to choose. You get to choose who you want to be this time without anyone telling you who you should be and how you should do it. You’re given a new chance to live life differently. You’re given a new lens to see life in a different color and you’re given another chance to redeem yourself, to fix yourself and get one step closer to who you always wanted to be.
So don’t let anyone tell you how this chapter in your life will end. Don’t let your last chapter dictate your new one.
I pray that if you’re reading this, you too will find the strength to keep on. If your life is shattered beyond repair into dust, remember that dust doesn’t have to signify the end. Dust is often what must be present for the new to begin. You may think that alcohol, drugs and sex will make things better, but trust me, they will only make things worse. That 1 ½ inch razor blade isn’t a solution. Drugs aren't the answer. Sex with strangers won't fill that hole you have deep inside of you.
The only solution is to keep your head up high, walk through the storm, and put your faith in God.