A personal legend is who you want to be. Everyone is the author of their own personal legend and gets to choose how you want to be in the world. It’s about choices and being proactive rather than reactive. It’s about aligning your personal values and beliefs with your actions and your words. I have thought a lot about what I want my personal legend to be. The struggle to find it has become a question/answer period I have with myself. Is my personal legend to learn to live with my eyes wide open? Is it about knowing the past and accepting without forgetting so I can become my version of complete? or is it a metamorphosis of who I was, who I am and who I will be? Maybe it’s all three! As I think about how I want to spend my life and who I want to be, I am guided by a more mature and spiritual self because of the time spent in personal reflection. I love that self-discovery can be a way of life. I want to live my life, fully alive, with my eyes wide-open and the blinders off. To me, that means speaking, listening and learning from a place of truth. It means discovering the wonder of life and acceptance of my life and what it has to offer. It means not getting in the way of who I am, and instead letting myself be who I am, without my ego reminding me of the should haves, did not’s, or can not’s. My personal legend is definitely a work in progress and probably always will be, but for me staying with the truth and living with my past is worth the work.
Hope is like the involuntary breaths I take to live. It is always there as I encounter obstacles in my path. With hope, I can conquer mountains. I know it may be hard and emotionally and physically painful, but I can do it. With hope, I can change and become who I want to be.
Hope for me means being of service to others and to live with respect and humility. It means showing up and being present as I participate in life. Sometimes that takes the form of a pleasant smile that greets a stranger as they pass me by on the street. At other times, that means being there for someone during a dark and lonely time. I keep my hope alive by recognizing perfect moments as they occur and by acknowledging that everything changes.
People often ask what does it feel like to have post-traumatic stress disorder. I imagine it feels different for everyone, but I was able to capture what it feels like to suffer from this most frustrating condition. I often wear a mask on the outside, but on the inside I used the following poem to describe how it often felt. From my book Untangled, A story of resilience, courage and triumph
It doesn’t matter if it is cold, hot, sunny, snowing or raining. There is no telling when it is going to strike.
Are they alive or dead? Is that pain real or echoes from pain long ago that Resurface with a memory? It’s like being held hostage by your mind Thinking today would be the day I am free.
I look like everyone else. I know the difference between right and wrong. Yet in my head I often can’t remember The last ten minutes of my life, or what day, year or time it is.
Are those smells real or is that a smell from a place and time when I was being held against my will? Am I really hearing the sounds of helicopters, planes Cicadas and birds? Or is that the sound coming from a place that no longer exists and should never be talked about?
I want so much to be like everyone else. So I will keep pulling myself up the rope, Out of the clutches of PTSD and all the skeleton hand of the past that keep trying to pull me down. I am like everyone else only my job is to live, so I CAN live. That is all I can ask of myself if I am going to have a future.