Your crossroads. Your choice.
By EJ Apicello
About the Book
Welcome to my diary, my journey, as I tripped and crawled through the darkest time in my life- when I witnessed people that I held incredibly close to me shatter my very existence with their words and actions. The things within this book spine are extremely raw and exceptionally real. You and I are going to get very close, the details in this book, although oddly general, are incredibly specific. Yes, I realize what I just said and as you read my words you will see what I mean. As you silently gasp and mentally bitch slap me, please be kind because my story is just that - my story. It is not any more or less special than yours. In fact the only difference between our stories are the choices we made at each of the crossroads in our lives. For most of my life the choices I made were not based on my happiness but on everyone else’s. This book describes what I have experienced in my journey to finding my happiness and hopefully never letting it go. Sadly, it took me thirty six years to find the strength I need to detoxify my life and self view and find someone who is worthy of my awesomeness. Thirty six years to shatter the negative foundation I had built shatter the ultimate representative I created to hide behind and begin the process of building a new foundation. Only this foundation will be built on strength, confidence and above all, happiness. So take a minute or thirty and sit with my story for a while. You never know what you might find out.
About the Author
Welcome to my real, crazy, emotional, probably too honest journey. I am an everyday girl in this everyday world trying to keep my head above water and within the pages of this book you will learn about the things that have broken me down and the steps I am taking to build back up. You will see, my new friends, that this story is written in a unique, general, conversational voice, which was my choice. I want you to be able to picture yourself in my shoes, relate my trials and tribulations to yours and see that you too can find your happiness. Even if you don’t realize this yet, every single one of us possesses things inside of ourselves that we didn't know were there. It took my life taking a crazy right turn and dumping me at the lowest possible point before I could see the strength within myself. We are not defined by what we do, we are defined by the choices we make. I decided when I put pen to paper that I want my choices to start defining me as strong, confident, secure and above all else, happy. So, who am I? How about I tell you who I was - a self loathing shell of myself who put everyone else’s happiness before my own. Herein lies my story to find that happiness and all of the ups and downs along the way. See who I was and who I am trying to become and maybe, somewhere in there, you will find out a little about yourself too.
I spent my childhood making choices that took me down paths which always seemed to ensure other people's happiness over my own. This put an enormous weight on my young shoulders and forced me to stop living in the present moment. Instead, I lived in a constant fear of unknown “what if” moments that were likely never going to happen. I tirelessly attempted to plan for the most awful, gut wrenching “just in case” scenarios so that I would know how to handle them. This torturous game of life that I was a helpless player in never allowed me to enjoy the present moment. I set this cycle up early in life because my accomplishments were often met with “don’t get your hopes up” levels of encouragement. Nominated for homecoming queen? Don’t get your hopes up, you probably won’t win. Want to be captain of the softball team? Don’t get your hopes up, you run with a refrigerator on your back and tomahawk when you swing the bat. I was essentially the pig pen character from Charlie Brown only instead of dust and dirt swirling around me there was a cloud of insecurity and self doubt. I thought that the only way to get rid of this cloud was to ensure that my mom, my friends, my husband and anyone else I held dear to me, were happy. I was relinquishing my choice for theirs each and every time.
Recent events have forced me to let go of the past and stop obsessing over the future because I see now that they are the parts of my life that I can not change or predict. All I can do is take charge of the present moment, my big red dot. It is the only part I have control over so it is the only part that I can worry about. I realized that those “what if” scenarios were like a colony of termites invading the foundation of my thoughts. When you see one of those pesky insects in your house you know there are probably thousands more hiding below the surface. My termites are negative thoughts that chewed deep into my consciousness telling me why I should not or could not make the choice to change my life. Situations and experiences that had been happening in the recent past were not making me happy in my current moment. Once I came to that conclusion, I knew I needed to make a change before those negative termites destroyed all of my foundation, leaving me unable to make any positive steps forward.
Whoa. I had to do what? First, let’s have a mini round of applause here. The act of having this thought, that I was unhappy in the life I am leading, and then taking steps to change that takes a lot of guts and courage and a little sprinkling of crazy. The routines, safety nets, and knowledge that my life was essentially planned from here on out was a pretty enticing thing. Some of the “what if” termites were settling down because aside from going completely off the deep end and stressing over the sun turning into a supergiant or freaking out that a volcano under Yellowstone would erupt, I only had death and my unhealthy relationship to focus on. Screw that! I am only 37 years old which is not even forty which I have been informed is the new thirty so I am basically celebrating my 28th year of life! I am not ready to throw in the proverbial towel and wait for my imminent death to catch up with me. So what now? What steps do I need to take in order to change my life and begin to lead the one that is going to make me happy? I think we all realize what the first step in the journey had to be - I had to take ownership of my decisions. Whether or not I truly stood behind them 100% yet, I had to become my own advocate and take action. Fake it until you make it and all, right? I promptly fumigated my negative thought termites, cleaned out all of the crevices and cobwebs and hopped onto my own cheerleading train.
Awesome. I was halfway there, right? Wrong, I have a lot of work left to do but isn’t it 95% motivation and 5% something else? I have the motivation but I needed to come up with the something else, the thing that will propel me into the next phase. I knew that beginning to change my stagnant life had to start with a single choice. A single thought set in motion, a little push to get the ball rolling so it could gain the momentum and lead me to success. So I did it, I put something in motion to alter my future, I chose to end my marriage. Please, no moment of silence of needed, this is not a reason to mourn but rather a cause for celebration! Honestly, it was probably the first thing I have ever chosen to do completely for myself in my entire life and it’s scary as hell. But it is also exciting and refreshing and feels completely right. Closing one door does allow for others to open but they aren’t necessarily going to do it on their own. I will need to be my biggest advocate, my loudest cheerleader and my own personal life coach in order to make my dreams a reality. This is where the other 95% comes into play - I have made my choice, taken my next big step and now I need to make sure I follow through.
Take a moment and think about the choices you have made throughout your life. Not the little ones like what you had for dinner last night, but the bigger ones, the ones that shape who you are and where your life is going. Are you happy with all of them? Are there any that you can change? If there is even one thing that you have thought of that would make you happy to change then do it! Hold on to that thought and start to develop a plan to make your desires turn from a dream into a goal. What’s the difference between the two? A dream is something that you have the possibility of completing, a goal is something that you are taking measurable steps towards achieving. So, what is your goal?