As a person who tries with every fiber of my being to walk the talk as often as possible, I can see how recent events in my life went exactly the way they did. I have no problem admitting that I was blindsided by the way a woman looked and did not even realize the amount of negative energy they were emitting. I was sucked in by their defeatist story of how difficult life was for them because they were cursed with this albatross of their own incredible beauty. You might think I am being facetious, but this is the exact and literal truth. This woman had convinced herself that she was fatally hindered in all of her endeavors by the unfair reality that she was so gorgeous, no one paid any attention to her intellect — just her pesky adorable face. Not only that, but she was constantly being deprived of empathy because most people are ugly or, at best, average looking — so how could anyone understand the virtual hell this person had to go through?
It brought to mind someone else actually: W. Mitchell. W. Mitchell was a regular ol’ guy in the summer of 1971, who lived in San Francisco. He was out riding his motorcycle when a truck turned in front of him and he was involved in a horrific accident that left him with 3rd degree burns over 65% of his body, the loss of all of his fingers, and not too much of a face. He took the $500,000 he won in a settlement with Honda and built a wood-burning stove company and became a millionaire. He went on to get a pilot license.
That didn’t bode too well for him, because a few years later he was involved in a plane crash that paralyzed him. Not needing his toes for anything at that point, the doctors removed them and sewed them on his hands, so he had something to grasp with.
Everything that happened to W Mitchell caused him to push himself further and further. Whether it was learning how to fly after his bike accident, or running for Congress after his plane crash (using the slogan “send me to Congress, I won’t just be another pretty face”) — nothing could stop this man from pushing ahead. He wrote the very aptly titled book, “It’s Not What Happens To You, It’s What You Do About It,” and went on to be of service to millions of people as a motivational speaker and mentor.
My point, you might’ve guessed, is obvious. There is no shortage of stories like the one I am telling — children of wealthy parents who become drug addicted and die alone in shoddy hotel rooms and people brought up in the inner city who go on to become wildly successful and wealthy.
The proof is out there: no set of circumstances can dictate the quality of a person’s life. As a matter of fact, circumstances have continuously been proven to be secondary in all cases; but I would never dream of faulting anyone for not inherently realizing this. I only became aware of this information because I sought it out. The common philosophy in factory break rooms and retail outlet smoking circles is that there are “the lucky people and then there’s me.”
Don’t misunderstand my message, though. I am not trying to preach about how much more well educated I am than others. Perhaps I am just fortunate to have embraced this hidden fact of life. I just want, more than anything else, for everyone to realize this. No one is limited by their circumstances — ever. My recent experience has proven to me that it is just as easy for a person to take a blessing and convince themselves that it is a curse as it is for those with adversity to turn it into a blessing.
Sadly, as it is with the miracle of recovery, one cannot force another to change. I bring up recovery because it is in that realm that a lot of us are subjected to watching people die because they did not have the epiphany in time. In the case of the woman that came in and out of my life in a blip, I can only wish her the best. The only thing that is sometimes worse than watching someone die from bad information is watching them go on living with it.
For me, though, I need to shake it off. I was affected by this episode in a negative way. I know how to move beyond. It involves actual movement. A little bit of exercise and an endless barrage of positive information will cleanse this off me. And that is exactly what I intend to do this weekend. Cleanse.