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This Phoenix Speaks

Seven years in the making, my first published book, This Phoenix Speaks , is now a reality. The tireless and tiring work invested to ma...

Laura and Oscar: Week 12

Grown Up and Moved On

A Crossroads

I’m sitting in a Milwaukee hotel room about 45 minutes until I have to give one of the most important presentations of my life…to date. As I’m nervously-inefficiently-desperately trying to finish editing a few final touches to my presentation that will make it “complete”, which it never is, a Facebook wall post pops up on my phone. I look at it…I ponder it…and decide what the hell. I quickly respond with an invitation to an old friend that reports she will be in the Las Vegas Valley over the next few days. I’m scheduled to fly home that night and I think it would be a perfect opportunity to see her. 

However, the word friend really does not describe my relationship to her. This was a girl, who is now a woman, with whom I shared my first kiss, my first going steady experience, and my first, well, lots of other interesting details of a boy’s life on the way of learning to become a man. Needless to say, she has a special place in my heart, the way you’ll never forget the first recollection of the ocean, or the sunrise, or your first roller-coaster ride for that matter. It is the experience that opens up something inside deep and profound, giving you a grand sense of awe and wonder. The happy few that have this kind of experience understand their own distinct power in The Universe, which makes us weighty and deep, philosophical, and powerful. In so very many ways I compare my experiences with her to every woman since.

Laura (that’s her name…my first kiss) was so sweet and tender and loving at that stage of my very young life it imprinted upon me the idea that I had value and self-worth and this gave me a deep sense of self-respect and respect and appreciation for women. This validated my own self-respect that my mother cultivated in me through her own honor, dignity, and love. This secret gift is a magic relic that until this very moment as I articulate its existence is magical shield made of the purest metal gold which allows me to ride through my life on a war chariot with the valiance of a warrior prince, incontestable and inexorable.

I quickly saved my presentation files to my flash-drive and burst into the conference hall tired from the long night of bar hopping. As I make my way to the podium I feel a renewed sense of confidence and power welling inside, at first making me feel a little shaky but as it fills my body I steady it and now I’m ready. 

As I deliver my presentation inside a well-lit conference room on the second floor of the Hyatt in Downtown Milwaukee, I let my mind and heart flutter through the three-hour presentation which more accurately resembled one of my class lectures. I folded photographs into my ideas, speaking points, and experiences of working with people who suffer profoundly from addiction and how I think best to provide treatment for them which can be summed in two words that took me three hours to deliver--love and compassion. At the end when I thanked them for the honor and pleasure, their applause are heartfelt and sincere, which pleases me in a deep and humbling way. For me it was a great day of success and appreciation for my life and all the blessings and joy that have come with a lifetime of struggle and growth.

I got back on a plane from the friendly City of Milwaukee and head back to the unforgiving desert heat which I’ve missed. I love to travel but get terribly homesick when I have spent too much time apart from my beloved hometown. That night, I called “first-kiss” and we excitedly chatted the night away, and I rediscovered all those old memories and feelings too. Feelings I thought had maybe died when I fell in love again.

In many ways, Laura was just the same as the day I left her, 16 years old, full of life with smiling hair and childish laughter. As we talked and talked, I saw while she was at her core still there, she had grown and pained as we all do through life, but what I found so remarkable is that her scars did not define her as much as provide an appropriate badge of honor for her war wounds, which I deeply admire.

...to be continued next week.

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