Failure, everyone fails. Regardless of if they will admit it or not. The question is, why not admit it? Why just own the successes in your life and ignore the falls and stumbles along the way? That is what makes success even better, when obstacles are overcome and the failures become nothing more than a speed bump in life and a testament to a person’s resolve.
Take for instance one of my failures, I went to Prison, like it or not, it’s a part of my life now. I can’t run from it. Hide from it. Pretend like it didn’t happen. Although, most people would prefer to do such a thing, it’s a horrifying, humbling, and insightful situation and I can completely understand why most people would bury it deep into the recesses of their minds and hope that no one would dare dig it up. To use a euphemism like “I went through something tough”, is to once again to hide an unfortunate failure.
The truth of the matter is. Prison changed me. It allowed me to focus on my health, my future career and family plans; it exposed me to the lives and plights of people I never or would even imagine associating with, in my life. Incarceration challenged my character to maintain it through all the disappointments that occurred inside those prison walls, and strengthened my conviction that I will overcome the damage done to me throughout the 10 years that ultimately culminated in me stepping through the doors of the Federal Prison I resided in for 19 months.
I imagined myself hiding from the pain and struggle that came with doing time and losing a part of my life in terms of opportunity and relationships, but then I came to my senses and realized that pain and struggle build resolve. It’s like making steel. Steel is simply metal that has been cooled and heated repeatedly to strengthen it. The character of a person isn’t shown when things are easy, it’s when things get hard, when they seem it’s bleakest, and when it easier to pretend it never existed and walk away.
Prison is an extreme and public example of the struggles everybody faces in their own lives. It’s easy to run and not deal with something tragic in life, but standing up to face it and letting the world know that whatever the struggle was or currently is, that it doesn’t define your life — ultimately, that is what matters. Embrace your pain, your loss, your failures, and your challenges; because after you face it, you will come out like metal that entered the forge to become steel… stronger than ever.
Originally published at www.visualstories.net on August 29, 2017.