Joseph Scialabba is a single father from the Chicago area who unexpectedly lost the mother of his child to drug addiction. This blog post chronicles his experience with raising a female child alone in the 21st century.
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” - Maya Angelou
I've never been a risk adverse person, I was always one to shoot my shot, to throw it out there and see what could become. Greatness comes from the willingness to accept defeat, to accept that each failure is a step on which you can build your path to success. The difference between the defeated and those that achieve success is the willingness to not give up. This applies in all aspects of my life.
When tragedy strikes (and it struck often for me) I had to remind myself that emotional pain couldn't kill me, it only feels that way. That through the darkness there would eventually be light. The light would expose those that remained, those that belonged, those that left, and what remained of me. It has a way of transforming everything you had thought, planned for, and worked for, into something else. After resisting these changes for so long, I dove in, because there was nothing left to lose, I was cleansed. It had all been taken, destroyed and burned to the ground.
After several years of endless darkness, the sun has started to rise on a future that seems to be far more real then my previous one. A life lived on the edge brought me to the abyss, the black emptiness that lay before me not a path forward, but an end of a line with no way forward. So I circled back and started again, accepting defeat and strengthening my resolve to move forward again. It wasn't an easy choice, it wasn't a glamorous choice, but it was the one that gave me and my daughter the best shot at long term success.
Patience was everything, and not a skill I’m particularly blessed with, but I took my time. Being accustomed to the fast life/ money/women trifecta didn't make this anything but frustrating to me, but I held my own, and stayed with the process, my trust in the universe all I had for awhile. I paid it forward whenever I could, helped as many as I could, cosmic penance for my many misdeeds, and stayed convinced that this was the best way to offer my child the best life I can, success built from the ashes of defeat, and that it was the best way to keep me thriving.
From a new career, to finding a dream girl, to rebuilding my psyche and starting over again, it has been a journey in humility and grace, a test of my will and my patience. 2018 was the beginning of the rest of our lives, born from the ashes of our pasts.
Have no fear, because as long as you are still breathing you are winning. Use failure and defeat, autopsy the remains, and build steps to get you where you want to go, whether it’s back to school, a new career, or a new relationship. Don't be afraid to jump in, you might lose, but it’s better than losing yourself where you are. Master your own destiny.