July 10th. 2017. New York. My Court Day.
Have you ever had one?
The one where YOU were in front of a judge?
Today was my first (and hopefully last) court day in New York, Criminal Court, 100 Centre Street.
Can’t say I’m proud of it. Till this morning I would be ashamed to share the experience — it’s not an experience for my personal wall of fame, that’s for sure.
But I felt, it’s important for me to share it, because… because life is not perfect, we go through dark places, we mess things up, we make mistakes, we act from our lowest down moments, we give in to what’s easy, to our reptilian brain. It happens. I really hope this or something worse will never happen to you. Freedom taken away, even if just for a brief moment, is not something I wish anyone to experience. Especially when you do something you thought you’d never do, something you thought only “bad” people did because … well, because there is something wrong with them.
3 months ago I was in a really bad dark place — new country, no one I could call my friend, I didn’t have any consistent work, any way to make a living consistently, I was too scared to get out there and learn how to get more work, ask for it, look for it, I barely made it for my rent, very often I was hungry and could barely afford any food, supplements turned out to be a cheaper option — they lasted longer and were much better than junk food.
At one point I had a breakdown. I just wanted to get at some store all the food I craved and fantasized about, and for at least a day release that pain and feel abundant. Even if in such a small way. When you are hungry, scared, alone, in a new country with no insurance backing you up — it can get scary, and dark, and extremely lonely, and hopeless…
So I decided to go to Whole Foods and take the foods I wanted without paying. I was desperate and scared. And that was the only option I could come up with at that moment. I couldn’t think. I didn’t want to think. I was scared. I wanted food. And I guess part of me wanted to get caught too, because… well, at least then, I could openly share with another human being that I wasn’t well, that I didn’t know how to get out, that I needed help…
And surprise-surprise, on the way out, I was stopped by the security and taken to their security room for further proceedings. That meant calling police officers and taking me to a local precinct. And eventually setting up a court date.
Even though the officers and the stuff at Whole Foods were actually nice — I cried all the way through, not because the case was horrible, but because it was horrible for me, to be in that situation, knowing how low I’d fallen — I thought much better of myself…
It was a slap in my face. A bucket of ice water.
I woke up an had an instant realization,
“Angela, if you don’t change things right now, if you don’t clean up your act and start living your values, no matter the circumstances, you gonna end up in a very VERY dark place. So where do you go from here?”
And that’s why now, there is no question for me, do the right thing or the easy thing — slap-in-my-face moment again.
Hustle and do the hard thing, or maintain status quo and choose the easy route — slap-in-my-face moment again.
Do it today, or postpone for “maybe later” — want to f*cking starve again? Are you f*cking nuts?! Do the work! Now!
I’m not sure, how long it’s gonna take me to succeed, to make it, to reach EACH and EVERY goal I have, but I can assure you, I’m not gonna stop chasing and hustling, till it’s done. And my actions will ALWAYS be my values. NO EXCEPTIONS!
You might say, I needed that moment to wake me up, to learn understanding instead of judgements, to see, that the difference between “bad” and “good” people is choices, and you can end up on either side, making yours.
My life is still not perfect, and it will never be. I have a lot of challenges ahead, a lot of hard work — but there is NO achievement without it, so I embrace and welcome it, it means I’m growing.
My court day. Thank you! Some part of me wishes you never happened, despite all the lessons learned.