How to presents... What in the HELL is Change your Stars??
Subtitle: There are a few new riders to this crazy train, so I need to make sure we know what insanity we've signed up for.
Step 1: It starts with a movie. Of course it does because I was a poor kid and GUESS what poor kids do?? We watch TV and act it out outside. That was my life growing up, watch movie, play it outside with my friends, repeat. We did the same with books and I read a lot, acting those out too. And, since the real world was a place I didn't want to be a part of anymore, I chose Sci-Fi and Fantasy because in those stories the kids that lived like I had to got to escape and they took me with them.
So, now to the clip(s).
Step 2: Realize that for once, a movie is correct.
I'd like to preface this with 'I am not supposed to be here'. See, if I could list the shit that I've gone through I'd sound utterly sad and pathetic. It was no one's fault per se, but the myth of how 'good' it is we have it here is just that, a myth. Generally speaking, the kids like me that I went to school with became just like their parents, little to no education, married the same abusive and alcoholic men that their mothers did, got jobs that they hate and that treat them like crap, etc.
But I refused.
You can too.
Step 3: An education. GET an education. It doesn't have to be a Master's or any other nonsense fed to you by those who 'have' and really don't know what you're going through. LEARN to do something, have a skill, and become good at it in a way that you will always be needed by others. Getting an education saved my life and is the reason I became a teacher and am getting a PhD in education. Having an education is the difference between success and failure in a way you will never truly understand until you have it and you are able to set yourself apart from the rest.
Step 4: Be kind. That is the biggest difference I have found between those who have pulled themselves from the depths of dismay and those who still wallow in self pity is the way they treat other people. We are all different, each and every one of us and we are all struggling in one way or another. By being kind and reaching out to listen to another, you are helping to change their stars as well as proving to yourself that you are changing your own.
Step 5: And then help them. I'm not saying take on their problems, but help them figure out their own destiny. It doesn't take money, in fact, your time is the most precious commodity that you have give. If you know how to do something, take the time to teach someone else. Provide advice if you've been there before.
And know when to shut up and just hug someone because that is all you can do.
Step 6: Understand this is the hardest thing you will ever have to do. This is NOT easy. You will cry. You will doubt yourself. People that you thought were your friends and family will say the most awful and horrible things out of a lack of understanding, thinking they mean well, or sometimes just jealously. The tears I have shed are impossible to ever count. But you have to do it! Get up, stop bitching and DO IT!
Step 7: And you will fail.
I went from that 'poor kid' with the overworked single mom and the dad that abandoned us to college scholar with a great job and an education to giving up again.
This is where I will be a little more personal, because people need to know. The worst decision I ever made was to try to return to my roots, and by that I mean work in the school system that I went to. THAT was what set me back, the lack of support and complete and total destruction of everything I had ever worked for occurred there and I lost myself.
I used to be athletic and fit but I became fat and sick (very very sick) and ate my troubles away.
I used to be happy and outgoing and I became withdrawn and lost all of my confidence.
I used to love learning and education, but I stopped learning, stopped trying to do better and just accepted status quo.
I used to love me, and instead I wanted to end my life.
Until that was no longer acceptable.
Step 8: Look inside yourself for help.
This isn't about my weight loss, that is just the most visible of what I have come back from. Many of you know this story, but it all started with my eye.
See, one day, doing something stupid, I almost lost the vision in my left eye. That was the last straw, I lost it completely, and decided that life was no longer living. While on bed rest I tried to figure out how to die, letting Netflix stream hour after hour. My daughter didn't see me as a woman, my son no longer thought I was someone he could talk to, my husband laughed at the idea of me just walking a 5K for charity.
Then one day, while streaming Stargate, which was a TV show based on a movie that I loved and a character I had adored since I was 14, I heard this line, as Daniel Jackson was being beat to a pulp.
"Do you ever give up?"
Daniel: "Not unless I'm dead. Sometimes, not even then."
I will never be able to explain to me why that did it, but it did.
I would give up no longer.
And so it began.
Step 9: It's never too late. I tell you this story because I took the kid to young adult getting further than I ever should have gotten. THEN, when it all fell apart, I came back a second time. Yes, I am annoying and I tell everyone this.
Because IT IS NEVER TOO LATE FOR ANYTHING.
It's never too late to live your dreams.
It's never too late to make a difference.
It's never too late to change something that is wrong.
Like I said before, it is NOT going to be easy. It may take years. You may piss people off. You may feel alone, a lot. And remember the crying, yep, lots of that. But you CAN do it.
I believe in you.
Because I'm not supposed to be here.
Step 10: And in the interest of the 'How-to' theme for step 10, here's my toast to you:
May you never lose your way
But if you do may you never give up on finding it
Because a man or WOMAN can change their stars.
And if you ever need me, all you have to do is ask.