Johnnie’s Thoughts

Sometimes the voices from my youth still whisper to me,,, “You are just one of those damn Calloway’s that will never amount to anything.” And I wonder even still, “Is it true?” Thus the battle of self doubt continues.

I have come to believe that some of the things from our youth are never totally overcome. But as they have all along the battles with the voices/lies are like trips to the emotional gym and they make us stronger. And… just like a visit to the gym they are tiresome. I have learned that more than anything else we just can’t give up.

So many people have believed in me and carried me in my times of self doubt. I try to remember that the closer I get to reaching a personal goal all the louder my ego screams. When I am on top of my game I realize this is a reassurance from my ego. If it was not feeling threatened that it was losing its grip it would just allow me to meander about and wander in the dark.

I will choose for this moment not to listen to its lies and to reach deep within myself and grab the strength that has been afforded me and listen to the truth… I AM LOVED, I AM LOVING AND I AM LOVABLE… AS ARE YOU!!

Today I walk in this world a man among men. That has not always been the case. I live the life of a somewhat mentally and emotionally healthy man. But I have been working on that for over 3 decades now.
I often forget what it was like not to be able to look another human being in the eye. The shame, the guilt, the self-loathing and pain that kept me isolated and alone in a room full of people. I forget, what it was like to walk into one of our 12 step rooms and identify people by their shoes, “Oh the red Reeboks, that must be Tom.”
But… Sometimes I remember, the confusion, the pain and the confounding awkwardness of being a physically adult man trying to learn to grow up in a world I had long since left… and look grown at the same time. Sometimes I remember the absolute humiliation of the truth of me revealing itself to my friends. Yet, I also remember how they laughed and said, “Wow! You too?”
There are times when I take my growth for granted and forget all the pain the growing endured. Often as I watch the younger ones as they stumble I think, “How could they possibly….” Only then to remember, “Oh, the same way you did.” There are times when I utter the words, “But for the Grace of God.” And it isn’t some callous, demeaning statement of judgement but a truly heartfelt statement coming from empathy and understanding. Those moments are fewer than I hope to grow into.
Sometimes I remember… and it softens me because with the memory comes a touch of understanding and compassion.
Sometimes I forget… So please be patient with me. God isn’t done with me yet.

As I look back over my life at all the decisions good, bad, indifferent, the relationships that didn’t work out the friendships that did. The failings, the successes, all the times I’ve fallen and gotten back up. The friends that were there when I needed them and how they became the foundation to my home.

I am left with this… I am only a brownie and God is the baker and EVERYTHING that has happened in my life is the ingredients to the brownie I know as Johnnie Calloway and my question is simple. Do I like the brownie? If so I need to stop questioning the ingredients. Today I like the brownie I have become, even if there has been some vinegar added.

Feelings are our greatest teachers. We ask for the healing they will bring as we learn to feel them and not to run from or fight them. To sit with them and just to be with them gives us insight, wisdom, compassion and most of all… understanding. And opens the door to our true selves.
Yet, we fear their gift for their gift is our own inner power. And most important is we fear our power. In accepting our power we give up excuses and must take responsibility for ourselves and our lives. In accepting our power we give up the whole idea of ever being a victim but we also step into the power to change our lives.