Sustain my Soul

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Today I was at work when a customer walked up to me with a tentative smile on her face. I said hello to her with my usual friendly grin and she gave me the infamous ‘socially acceptable’ hello back. Before I could say anything else, the woman, whose name was June I found it later, asked me if she could ask me a question. Witty as always I replied, “Well technically you just did, but give me another.” Her small smile got a little bit bigger, her shyness clearly fading away. “I’m in your store quite a bit and you’re here almost every time. No matter when I see you, you’re always smiling, talking to someone and usually making them smile too. You’re one of the most genuinely happiest people I’ve ever seen, and it looks like the people around you are always smiling too. Can I just ask you how you do it?  I’ve been down for a long time, and I’m just trying to find a way to be happy, yet you make it look so easy. You even make me smile without saying anything and I usually don’t smile.” Standing there, I took a few minutes to take in her story while she continued to look at me with her sheepish smile. What she didn’t know is that I’m not always happy and smiling. Like everybody else, some nights I just sit at home feeling like a dark cloud is sitting stagnant over my bed. I too have my lows, where I just want to sit alone, writing, wishing, and thinking. But that’s not the person she sees when she looks at me. “Truthfully, I’m not always happy. What you see is the person who I choose to be. I like to make others happy, make them laugh, and make them smile. Through my life I’ve had some pretty low lows, as everybody does, but I try not to focus on them. For me, the past has to remain the past while I continue to move forward and to me, moving on sadly doesn’t make sense so I try to say positive and also give that to the people around me. If I can make a few people smile in a day, that makes me feel a little bit better so I try to focus on that. Try to be the person you want to be instead of the person others want you to be. You have no idea how much happier that will make you.” After I said that, I really realized how important it is to embrace whom you are, feel how your experiences have shaped you, and how to focus on the person you actually want to be.


            We kept talking for a while and when she had to leave I told her to come see me again soon.  Now hours later, I’m sitting here at my desk thinking about our conversation. It probably didn’t follow those exact words but I tried to do my best to remember after nine long hours. One question that keeps popping up in my head is “what really makes me who I am?” Of course there’s the things that keep my soul sustained; writing, making others laugh, being a part of a community whether it be hitRECord, or simply with my friends and family. But what really shapes the person I am today is the stories of my past, the stories of my present and the stories of my future.  Its funny to think how a few of my quirks can be traced back to an origin of something that happened to me at one time. Kind of like how I ‘ve watched the Ellen Degeneres talk show every day since the day my grandmother passed away.  It was three days before Mother’s Day that my grandma had her heart attack. My family and I were sitting in the waiting room after she had a triple bypass, and that show was on the little hospital TV. Coincidentally it was Ellen’s Mother’s Day episode and she was talking about grandmothers in some context that cracked my entire family up. Ever since that day, I’ve watched every new episode of that show because I seem to feel some weird connection to it. I consider that a huge part of who I am and can count the ways of how it’s changed me.


I think of who I am now and can’t even begin to imagine how many experiences and different people have shaped me in to the person I am today. Every single thing from my past, present, and future has a part of my existence, and it’s the ability to keep on moving through these things that allows me to keep on living. It doesn’t matter if the story is tiny or not so tiny, each one represents a part of me and how they weave together is what seems to make the threads of my soul.

Created: Jan 27, 2012


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