Wednesday, January 7, 2015


I was robbed almost three years ago on my way to work. A man held a gun to my chest and demanded I give him my money.

I'm glad I had money to give him. In that space between seeing the gun and asking for my money, felt like an eternity. What would he do? Everything runs through your mind in an instance. I was relieved when he told me he wouldn't hurt me. And, he didn't...not physically, anyway.

It was a warm spring morning. I walked along a residential street, the same street I had taken for years, on the same street of my neighbourhood cafe, but more north.

He asked me for directions. He was standing thirty feet away from me and after I told him where the street was, motioning with my arm and with some agitation in my voice, he drew closer and faster. That's when I knew something was happening.

Suddenly, my life is at the mercy of some guy...some guy who probably needs a fix. Alcohol? Drugs? Who really knows? What I do know is that he changed my life. When death stares at you in the face, life takes on new hues and shades, new colours, new meanings. You're never the same, least, for a little while.

I say "a little while," because life does go back to "normal", your kind of normal. Life resumes once more. But for a little while, for a short period of time, one feels invincible. One is fearless. Things you used to worry about are no longer a concern. Things you took very lightly carry more weight. They become paramount. The breath of life is all enveloping and consuming. Beauty and ugliness exist simultaneously. They're not just cliches you utter. You understand their meaning! On the one hand, life is bigger and brighter and on the other, it's smaller and dimmer. And then there's that space between the two, where neither is affected by the other. It all just IS.

You don't want to waste any time because you can see how precarious, how fragile this life really is. You want to be understood. You want there to be meaning. You want to be seen. I don't know how to stress this last part enough. You...I want to be seen.

But, who sees? If I don't give this meaning, if I don't make this moment important, if I don't make it count, who will? Who can? It can only be me. It can only ever be me. What if I had died that day? And, for what? I wouldn't be here today, in this cafe, in this space, exploring that day, those feelings. I wouldn't have met the people I've met. They couldn't have had an impact on me. They couldn't have changed my world.

I lie when I say, "No one's gonna change my world." That can't be true. Because they already have. Change can be subtle or abrupt. People do change our world, especially when we get too comfortable out of fear of venturing out. They rattle our chains. They give us, sometimes inadvertently, a sense of freedom. They give us what we need even though it's not always what we want or how we envisioned things for ourselves. We don't always have a say as to how life will unfold. There are risks involved. What if we fail? But, what if we succeed? There's beauty in anticipation, in going through the process, in walking the path, one day at a step at a time.

I've wasted so much time. Life is too short. It really is. I know that. And when I forget, life reminds me...

So, please don't ask me to compromise my integrity. Don't ask me to be someone I'm not. I can't give you that. I'll never give anyone that. I am who I am, and that has to be enough, more than enough. I am life. I am beauty. I am woman. I am the good, the bad and the ugly. I am all things and all things are me.

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