Rock bottom is a good place to bounce back.

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On this day one year ago, I had $0.46 in my bank account.

I was riding the bus, crying silently but steadily behind my shades, staring out of an oversized window, hoping that none of the other passengers would notice the constant sweeping motions my hands made over my dampened cheeks.

It was early in the morning, still dark with specs of daylight peaking here and there. I was coming from work, although I had not been working. I had been sleeping–sleeping on a couch at work. I was homeless and sleepless (despite the relative comfort of my workplace’s couch), and I was desperate.

I was at rock bottom.

My dream of living on Maui appeared before me like a nightmare–like a cruel joke that had been planned, ever so deliberately, at my naïve expense. It seemed like everything that I depended on up until that point had gone up like a cloud of Maui-sugarcane-factory smoke.

No money, at least, not enough to withdraw from an ATM.
No place to live continuously.
No chutzpah to live courageously.

Yet, what I lacked in overall chutzpah I made up for in deep-down pride.

As my parents’ only child, the darling spoiled apple of their eye, I know I could’ve called them for help at any time during my monstrous ordeal. And I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that they would’ve done whatever it took to free their princess from my monster’s grip.

But, you see, it was my monster–my monster to fight, my monster from which only I could truly set myself free.

So, I sat there on that bus and stared out of that window and cried. And then I cried some more. And then I cried some more. And finally, between my sniveling and sniffles, I began to fight.

As the title of one of Joyce Meyer’s bestselling books attests, the real battlefield of any fight is in the mind. And on that day, on that bus, staring out of that window, I made up in my mind that no devil in hell, no monster on Maui (or in my mind), not even a measly $0.46 in my bank account was going to keep me from living my dream.

One year later, as I live and breathe and write this post, I am sitting in my home of Maui, staring out over a balcony ledge at a bustling Wailuku city center at noonday with Haleakala peacefully poised beyond that, and, again, I am shedding silent and steady tears. But this time, I don’t care who sees me cry.

These are triumphant tears.
These are thankful tears.
These are kicking-monsters’-asses-and-taking-names tears.

While July 4th is a day that symbolizes freedom for some, January 4th is a day that will now and forevermore symbolize freedom for me.

Amen. Ashe. And so it is.

Copyright © 2014-2017 Stephanie Rochelle Redd. All rights reserved.


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