A twing of agony grips me as I write this, an effort to free my mind of the clutter, confusion and chaotic universe that has defined the last 342 days of my life.
A violent collision of fate, reality and misfortune broadsided me this year. In the process, I have learned the true meaning of loss, emptiness and despair.
I have closed doors to longstanding chapters in my life, discovered the cruelty and selfishness of misguided souls and was left pondering the meaning of life and whether the very existence of it mattered.
Through the darkness that felt as if it had taken permanent residence in my soul, I discovered a reality that had been buried underneath a hodgepodge of glittering highs and deflating lows. It was a painful lesson to learn, yet one that is the sole reason that I have managed to maintain a level of perspective through this dark night of the soul.
I am stronger than I ever imagined.
Those seven words have become a godsend, a rallying point if you will. Through the tears and dislocation of my spirit, that phrase has become a "Welcome Home" that reminds me that no matter what life has thrown at me -- be it the ending of a long-term relationship or the jarring news of the death of yet another friend -- my inner strength will lead me through.
I am not the same person I was that woke up with a jarring migraine headache on New Year's Day, the result of carrying the strain of a emotionally-draining end of 2008 into another calendar year. My soul is awake, yearning for the chance to test its new-found wings toward a destination that will lead toward a personal redemption.
Twenty-plus years of writing sports stories was easy.
Writing this blog wasn't, yet it is a sign that I am now willing to honestly look at that (still) handsome man in the mirror and confront all that he has danced away from.
I ask that you join and support me through this journey. We'll laugh, cry, be pissed and shake our heads. All the while, each of you will in your own way become beacon lights through this process.