Make Peace with Those Around You

The other night I posted a video on my personal Facebook page. It was an emotional video about my sadness and regret for the way I treated one of my ex-girlfriends after I got out of prison. I used to be a very different person in my past. And when I got out of prison, I was committed to making the right choices for my life, but at the same time, I was mentally making the wrong choices about some of the people in my life. 

I was very rough around the edges, very tough on the outside, and very rigid in my thinking. I had this sort of chip on my shoulder that I didn’t realize at the time, and to put it shortly, I was an asshole.

I was very lucky and very fortunate to have met an incredible and wonderful woman that wanted to get to know me for who I was inside of my tough shell. I was blessed to have met an amazing woman that looked past the stigma of “someone who’d been to prison,” a woman that looked at me…for me. She saw something inside me that I didn’t see at the time. She saw a man with potential and drive, a man that held the power of his own life in his very hands. She was so sweet and kind and thoughtful. And she always put me first.

But I was different. I wasn’t as nice and kind as her. I was temperamental, angry all the time, and just plain mean. I had so many different thoughts and feelings and emotions running through my mind at that time, that I didn’t know how to cope. But the thing is, I didn’t realize at that time that I was not able to cope.

I thought, in my own head, that I was correct in the way I was thinking and acting. And I put this super tough exterior shell around me to help me cope and to help me process the crazy thoughts in my head, and to help me figure out how to get my life back on track now that I was out of prison.

But I didn’t realize at that time that I was just an asshole.

I was so mean to this girl, and so unnecessarily rigid all of the time, that if I look back at myself now, I don’t even know who that person was.

I allowed my anger and aggression that developed from prison, to wrap around and control the tough exterior shell that I created for my own protection. The tough shell was necessary, but the control exerted by my own anger and aggression, was not necessary. I failed to realize just how bad my behavior was. I failed to realize just how mean I was acting at the time. I failed to realize that I was an absolute asshole to the very core.

I was super aggressive when I got out of prison. I was the type of guy that, if we were standing in line in the bank, and you cut in front of me, I’d choke slam your face onto the counter-top and kick you while you were down. It wasn’t because I wanted to be mean. It wasn’t because I thought I was some super tough, totally invincible, bulletproof super being or anything like that, because I never thought like that. It was because I was on edge all the time. I had developed this feeling of constant anger and fury that simmered inside of me all the time.

It simmered and simmered and simmered, and the second that someone or something around me poked, or prodded, or otherwise nudged it, I would explode into a full on rage, and I would strike like a pissed off viper on a one way mission to kill, kill, kill.

That simmering anger and fury is something that helped me to get through prison. It’s a psychological aspect of being locked up that people who’ve never been locked up, simply cannot understand.

But when I got out, I kept that anger and fury, and I allowed it to control my thought process. I allowed it to bleed out of me in an unhealthy fashion. I allowed it to bleed into my personal relationships with the people around me. And I treated my girlfriend like shit.

It’s obvious that our relationship was never going to work because I was not in the proper state of mind to feed or help build a healthy relationship at that point in time. My absolute and sole focus at that time, was meeting requirements over my head that come with probation and parole. As much as I felt like I wanted to have a relationship with her, I just couldn’t, and that was all my own fault.

I failed to value her properly. I failed to see just how incredible and amazing and awesome she really was. I failed to uplift her and raise her onto the pedestal of greatness and admiration that she truly deserved to sit upon. She was absolutely amazing, and I was a complete and total asshole.

I broke up with her, as assholes commonly do, and I went on about my own life focusing on me, and completing the objectives I had to complete. And time went on, and life went on, and she eventually met another man and fell in love.

And then one day I woke up and realized just how bad I had become. I realized just how miserable I had acted, and just how horribly I had treated her.

I felt like absolute trash. I felt like the bottom of the barrel, and that’s exactly what I deserved to feel.

I wanted to apologize to her for my behavior. I wanted to reach back out and tell her, from the bottom of my heart, that I am sorry for how mean, and wicked, and vile I had been. I wanted to tell her that she is an incredibly wonderful and amazing woman, an absolute angel created by the very hand of an almighty God.

I wanted to tell her that I realized the error in my ways, that I finally, once and for all, could see inside of myself what she saw when we were together. I wanted to thank her for being so very good to me, even though I was so very bad. I wanted to drop down to her knees and beg for her forgiveness.

Looking back at myself, in that moment, I realized just how much of a burden I had allowed my own problems to become for someone else. And it was all my fault, and no one else’s.

So I picked up the phone and called one of my best friend’s to reach out and put me in touch with her; and that’s when the bough broke.

That’s when my friend on the other side of the phone suddenly got super quiet, which was completely out of line for his personality. That’s when I realized that something wasn’t right.

“What’s going on man?” I asked. And his reply hit me like a ton of bricks to the face.

“James I’m so sorry man, but she died in an accident like two weeks ago.”

Let that moment and all of it’s possible emotions just simmer for a minute, and think about how I felt.

I blanked out of reality for a bit after that call. I remember falling to my knees and crying, and weeping like I had never done before. I remember screaming at myself. I remember hitting the bed and the wall and throwing things around my apartment. I remember shouting “No! No! No! No! No!” over and over again.

I remember begging God to bring her back to me, to undo what had already been done.

I remember cursing God as well, and feeling a rage and fury that I had never before experienced.

I remember burying my face into my pillows and screaming, and screaming, and screaming so loud, for so long, that I almost vomited. I screamed and screamed until I lost my voice. And I screamed some more.

And then I blacked out again, and stayed catatonic for I don’t know how long, just mentally floating in some dark, black, and morbid place in my mind.

I remember coming back to consciousness. I was on the floor, curled up like I just got the shit kicked out of me, tears streaming down my face.

My hatred for myself grew, and in that moment I hated myself more than I could ever put into words. I felt like I hated myself with a fury that even God himself could not compete with. I was the epitome of hatred in that moment, but I was also so physically weak and exhausted that all I could do was just lay there, helpless.

I never had the chance to tell her that I was sorry. I never had the opportunity to tell her how much I really cared about her, or how amazing she was to me. I didn’t make peace with her before she passed, and that is completely my own fault.

I cannot put into words how important it is for you to make peace with the people around you, to elevate and value the wonderful things that make the people around you so special.

I lost my ability to make peace with her because I was an asshole that was too wrapped up in his own problems to see the incredible and God given solution that was right in front of me the whole time.

Please make peace with the people around you. Please understand that God loves you, no matter what you’ve done, and no matter what you’ve been through in life. Please understand that there is nothing more valuable, and more important than the priceless relationships that you can build with the people around you.

I’m not perfect, and I’ve still had my own relationship problems after that time in my life, but I’ve made it a point now, to always try to make peace, to always try to show people just how valuable and irreplaceable they really are.

Please don’t make the same mistake that I did. If there is someone in your life that is truly special to you, that is always there for you, even in your darkest moments, and for whatever reason you’ve just done them wrong, please take a step back and take a deep breath, and then tell them how wonderful they really are. You may never get the chance to do it again.

If you’re reading this blog post, and you have something on your mind or on your heart that you’d like to address, and you want or need someone to talk to, please feel free to reach out to me.

If you feel like you need to get something off your chest that’s just hurting you, and you need to someone to talk to, then I will listen to you. Please feel free to reach out to me at any time.

And if you’re someone that’s been locked up in the past, and you’ve got that simmering anger and fury inside of you (you know what I mean) then reach out to me if you want to talk. I will listen to you.

I don’t have to know you to tell you that I love you and I care about you. Please make peace with the people around you.

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