A letter to the person that has inspired me the most
You have no idea what you have done. I cannot begin to describe the significance that your actions have had on myself, as well as my life. As a child, I vividly remember how you were there for me any time necessary. Every time I wrecked my bicycle, you were there. You would pick me up off the hard, extremely coarse pavement and dust me off. You would spin me around as you scanned my entire body for damages done, and signs of hurt. Once you finished your assessments (regardless as to how intensely I would be crying) of my damages, you would pick my chin up, look me dead in the eyes and assure me of the fact that I would be okay. Although during those times, my body would ache tremendously, and bleed profusely, I would gain a sudden confidence in myself, because of your words. I knew (even at that young age) that you always meant what you said. Truth always formed in your heart and traveled through you until it’s departure from your lips. To this day, I still don’t know if you’ll quite understand just how much that means to me. No matter how I articulate it to you.
In my early years, you were very stern, however now that I have two sons of my own years later, I know now that your sternness comes from a place of love. It takes more courage and strength to do or say what is necessary as a parent, as opposed to letting a child do or say what they want. This is how you taught me many things. In doing so, you taught me the difference between right and wrong. You did the absolute best you could in ensuring that you instilled manners in me. It worked. I recall being roughly five years old, walking inside of our town Wal-Mart around Christmas time. The man dressed as Santa Clause offered a piece of candy to me. I happily took his offering and responded to him with a “thank you”. We made it roughly ten paces from him as we walked into the various aisles of the store when you took the time to tell me “Thank you, for saying thank you to him”. Your compliment was a reward in my eyes for communicating my appreciation to the man for his offering of candy. This is something that has stuck with me forever.
You were a police officer for ten years. During that time, you remained humble, as well as kept an altruistic nature in your serving of the public. You were genuinely there to help people, and you did just that. You did so with the honest intentions of helping whenever, and wherever needed. Any time we were in a group setting, your presence was welcomed, and respected by the others. They would look to you for advice on any given subject. During conversations, they patiently and understandingly awaited your responses.
When you would take me to your weightlifting sessions with your fellow officers, you kept a positive attitude. You would all laugh and encourage each other to do more. You would all talk about things and laugh deeply. You weren’t the biggest or the strongest of the lot, however you were still able to lift the same amount of weight with ease. I remember listening to the music you would play over the stereo in the field house weight room, while you all strengthened your minds and bodies. I remember singing along to “Fly” by Sugar Ray while you all took turns bench pressing at least two hundred and twenty-five pounds.
You took me everywhere with you. whether it be a trip to the local convenience store, or for a peaceful trip to the lake to do some fishing. Regardless of the destination, the memories made on the journeys have stuck within me throughout all these years. I like to believe there’s a good reason for this. We listened to music everywhere we went. We would sing along to our favorite songs, while flying down the highway at all hours of the day or night. Sometimes to the scene of a crime in your police care, sometimes to grab a new video game from the local store in your Chevy s-10. Either way, we jammed. Always.
Alongside these core values you instilled in me, are also some of the best memories I behold. These core beliefs and memories, in conjunction with my imagination, have had a tremendous impact on the person I’ve become today. I spent many years making bad choices. I felt the weight of the consequences (I would say more-so than your average person) every time. I would hear your voice saying things to me. This also occurred through-out the duration of my addiction. Most people get high and feel like God himself. Not me. I felt miserable. Shameful. Guilty. For years.
Now that I’m sober, I still hear your voice sometimes. Whether it be while debating on which choice to make, or when I experience something that reminds me of you, and your loving spirit. I will admit that I hear it less and less, seeing as how I’m now able to make choices that are good for me, as well as those around me, hence the lessoning amount and frequency of your guiding words in my mind. I believe it’s because you taught me which kinds of choices I should make, and for a long time I didn’t make those choices. Now I am.
I’m now bettering myself in every way that I’m capable of doing so. I’m now working on things that bring me peace. I’m now working on things for a reason much bigger, and greater than myself. I’m now able to give and show love to others. For so long I wasn’t truly able to that, due to the battle that was going on within me. My want to give and show love to others was always in me, and I tried to do so, I was unable to properly actualize doing it. Things are much better now for me, and to be honest, my circumstances as a whole are not considered “great” by any means. However, the values and virtues within me are now able to externalize themselves as kind acts for others, regardless of the amount of adversity I currently face daily, as I continue trying to make a better life for myself simultaneously.
I’m now able to face my problems with a level, clear head effectively. I take pride in that. Although I am starting fresh in the opportunity that I’ve been given, and I can’t help but to feel beyond grateful for these bold, love encompassed choices I now make. You taught me everything I needed to know about how to successfully navigate these open waters that I call life. I know I wasn’t an easy child to raise by any means (nor was I the most compliant of adults) yet you consistently did and said what you believed was necessary, and I’m here today to tell you that it paid off. I find myself becoming more like you day by day. I used to despise that fact (especially when others would point out the obvious similarities we share) that we were a lot alike, however I’m now grateful beyond belief. I have you to thank for that.
I’m not sure that you’ll ever read this, and that’s okay. You don’t need to, because I know that my actions have been, and will continue to ring true of my words in this arrangement, and you will see for yourself. I look forward to that day. You didn’t just positively impact my life, you laid the foundational values and virtues by which I would ultimately live my life by. Again, I am beyond grateful to say that to me, you are the one person in this universe that inspired me the most, Dad.
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WINNER: The Wounded Bird Flies Faster
You inspired me to fly. By cutting off my wings and pushing me over the edge, I had to learn to soar without anything to hold me up. But without the extra weight of your casual abuse sitting on my shoulders, I was light enough to escape through an unfamiliar sky like a shooting star.
Love will change you. Unreciprocated love will transform you. Your cold absence brought me closer to my own soul until I was able to feel the warmth that shone from within. I learned who I am without your shadow forcing me into tight boxes and neat lines. I am no longer ashamed of the years I spent on you. You taught me how to love. Now it’s time I take the love I had for you and give it back to myself.
Life’s greatest lessons are not learned through textbooks, but through the words and actions of another flesh and bone human with a heart as fragile as yours. You taught me patience (I was always waiting for you to change). You taught me kindness (I was soft for a man who only knew darkness). You taught me vulnerability (I let my thoughts spill onto your lap in the hopes that you would do the same). But most of all, you taught me that no matter how hard you fight for someone, how much you care for them, or how much you love them, it will never be enough if they are unwilling to face even their own reflection in the mirror.
I once heard that we accept the love we think we deserve. I guess that means you always knew you didn’t deserve me, and I’m so sorry to myself for not realizing that until much, much later.
The tides of grief are not always chaotic. It is not always inflicting destruction upon the mind or rushing against the dam we construct within our hearts so as not to feel the hurt. Sometimes the tides of grief are calm, soft, ebbing and flowing just like our joy ebbs and flows. Sometimes it comes when we least expect it, when we think it had went away forever. Like when I don’t realize I’m still looking for you until I see the back of a dark-haired stranger and stop in my tracks, hoping it’s you. Or when I catch the flicker of a hearty laugh that sounds just like yours. Or when someone hugs me and I somehow crumble into their embrace, confusing their arms for yours.
But in spite of the wounds you have inflicted upon me, I am still grateful for you. This human existence is full of bliss and sorrow, laughter and pain, love and heartache, and by the fated coincidence of two souls such as ours briefly merging, I was able to experience the entire spectrum of these emotions within you, one simple human. I am excited to continue on with my life, my heart so broken it is forever cracked open and ready to receive the love of future characters who won’t have to be told to handle me delicately.
So thank you, heartbreaker, for destroying the girl I used to be. Without you, I would have never been inspired to find who I am now.
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Positively affected my life? You know who you are
This letter is to a very special someone who came into my life not long ago. I wish much longer ago, but hey, better late than never, right?
This person has had an unbelievable effect on me. It’s not just something that I recognize- my friends who I have known for 20,30, 40 some years recognized it too. Immediately.
I may have been someone who was in a rut..or a routine, to be more positive 🙂
I liked what I liked, I did what I liked, I was single. I could come and go as I pleased. The routine was very established, but it wasn’t something too bad, in my opinion.
But then I met this very special person. And everything changed. For the better. And I have always been someone who is generally resistant to change. But this change I welcomed with open arms.
She made me realize the silliness of saying “I don’t like that particular food”, even though the next sentence would be “I’ve never tried it”. She pushed me to get out of the comfort zone of my peaceful suburban existence, and to not just tolerate , then get accustomed to, but ultimately enjoying her more urban neighborhood. Even with all its challenges. Well, things I thought were challenges, but now are things I love. Like finding parking- anywhere- 😊, like being good at parallel parking instead of being afraid of it, sadly lol, like getting familiar with a whole other neighborhood besides my own. Like getting me to know that there are many, many things to do in life- that the status quo doesn’t have to be enough.
She made me realize that traveling is a GOOD thing, that experiencing new things is a GOOD thing. She taught me to believe in myself, to be more confident, to just kind of say “screw it!” and be more spontaneous, instead of always wanting to have a plan or overthink everything. She made me a better person. She gave me things to look forward to in life, not just do the things that are part of a rut/routine. She made me realize that it’s ok to talk to others- even a therapist- about things that are on my mind. That doing that is not a sign of weakness. But actually a sign of strength. She made me realize to not take things or especially people for granted. She pushed me. She supported me. She just made me a much better Jim Corrao. I could see it, anyone that knew me could see it. I never thought the old me was anything bad. Neither did my friends. But they saw the changes in me, and were very supportive and very excited for me. From easily visible things like new white Nike tennis shoes, new clothes, new style, and just a generally happier attitude. She truly and easily did all that. And changing me is not something truly or easily done. I will be forever grateful to this amazing dynamo of a woman. I look forward to seeing how else she can impact me. Can’t wait 🙂
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