Ten Years Later

Fucking Facebook. I have such a love-hate relationship with the Facebook memories feature. If you are unfamiliar with the Book of Faces, just like an ex-girlfriend, this is where it sends you a notification of all the stupid shit you posted on that same date since you established your profile.

I sadly joined Facebook in its infant phase when it is only for college students to stay in touch back in 2008. As a result, my profile has over eleven years of pictures, statuses, and shares full of idiocy. I often peruse through this notification just for shits and giggles. I like to see how immature I was (and still am). I clicked on today’s (10/16/19) memories notification.

You have memories with…and 9 others to look back on today. 

On this day 2 years ago- Literally back-to-back, I saw a beat up truck that had the phrase “Truck Norris” spray painted on the back. Then, I saw PA tags that said “OGSTYLE.” I literally can’t even right now.

*Scroll up*

7 years ago- My friend “Chelsea” posted, “Dear mi amor,
Please re-enter my life ” 

I think to myself, “I still have no re-entered her life.”

*Scroll up more*

8 years ago- had an epic Saturday.

I have no clue what made it so epic.

10 years ago- loves how his house caught on fire.

Caught. On. Fire. Fuck.

ton of bricks

How it felt reading those words…

That fucking hurt to read. Ten years ago on this date, I lost my childhood home to a fire. A space heater caught a living room couch on fire. Although the structure still stood, the damage was done.  The police wrongfully arrested my dad for arson and spent three months in jail before being acquitted. A significant portion of my belongings melted or broke beyond repair.

Those memories cut open those healed wounds like a scalpel. However, they dug deeper to get through the layers of emotional scar tissue, as each passing thought took a scrape at the surface. After not thinking about that event for months, it was raw once more.

At first, my mind honed in on how much that one moment fucked up my life for nearly the next five years. My life was quite the roller coaster ride during that time. The fire tore apart my family further than it already was. We were in shambles financially since the insurance company would not pay out at first because of the arson charges against my dad. I had no place to go home to throughout college. I independently built myself back up from the ground up.

The focus shifted however. I thought about how that fire defined my very identity. That single event highlights my transition from childhood to young adulthood. It forced me out of my comfort zone and into the outside world. I did not have the option to move back home with my parents following graduation. I had to look beyond my hometown and childhood home for shelter.

Once dependent on my parents, I quickly learned how to fend for myself in today’s world. I was on my own. Also, when I say I had nothing, I quite literally had nothing. I relied on my resourcefulness to survive. I lived paycheck to paycheck, but, hell, I did it. Starting from scratch, I only had one way to go and that was up.

Most importantly, I proved to myself how resilient I truly am. Something this catastrophic easily could have torn me down. Of course, there were days I felt like giving up. I suffered through a myriad of meltdowns, panic attacks, and crying spells. I just made sure not to let it keep me down for too long. I got back up and rolled with the punches.

Ten years later, I take into account where I am now and how far I came. I made it through college and graduate school on my own. I bought my first and second car. I had a long-term relationship. My family relationships significantly improved, while my friendships grew stronger. I get to work in my ideal career helping individuals through similar situations. I use what I went through as a way to relate and help them understand what they are experiencing.

I am a firm believer in “everything happens for a reason.” Shit, I am even working on getting a place of my own. Maybe this was life’s way of teaching me not to leave the space heater on when I do finally get my own home. Whatever the reason for that fire, I will be forever grateful for everything that came of it.

-The Caring Counselor


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