A Story by Barney

I got the chance to have a one-on-one conversation with someone about a time where they have felt lost in their life. It was a great opportunity and conversation to have. I appreciate him for opening up and being vulnerable enough to share his story. He wanted to be anonymous, so for this post lets just call him Barney.

(This conversation is summarized based on voice memo recording and his permission)

Exploring More Options

How're you doing during COVID-19?

Barney: I recently got laid off a couple of weeks ago. To be honest, I am taking it a lot better compared to others. My manager mentioned that the company may be doing layoffs and I got a Zoom call with him to let me know they’re letting me go. I’m now given the opportunity to look into other things that can develop my professional career. I finally have the time to look into a different route other than sales and now trying to get certifications for other departments. Overall, I think I am taking my time and not in a rush to get back in the workforce. I definitely want to take this time for myself and take more classes as the weeks go by. This pandemic should be taken seriously and I hope everyone knows that the little things like wearing a mask outside actually make a difference.

Restricted by the law

If someone randomly asks you one of the lowest points of your life, what would it be?

There was an incident in my life where I got into a situation with the law. I had experienced being incarcerated which was one of the scariest moments of my life. After that event, I definitely felt lost. My headspace was gray, I felt depressed, and even sometimes had suicidal thoughts but never acted upon them. I would drink and smoke often to the point where I felt numb. It was definitely a low point for me 100%. It was scary, to be honest. I didn’t feel like myself and I wish that things would’ve changed. I think if that moment never happened, then I would have explored moving somewhere or doing different things. I had certain restrictions in life that took away some opportunities for me as I grew older.

Humbled Classes

How did you recover from that point? What were your steps or thought process after the event occurred?

After the incident occurred, I had to take some classes. I knew that these classes would help me to become a better person. While I was taking the classes I actually tweaked my mindset about life as well. Being incarcerated made me realize and humbled me to understand that it can’t get any worse than this. I’ve seen people come to class then the next time they didn’t show up. I didn’t want to be that person. I wanted to make sure I put in my time and hopefully come out with a healthier mentality. You just have to understand if you take a chance on yourself to become better and tweak your mindset a little bit it will help. No one will help you become better, except yourself. Take the chance to learn from your mistakes and grow from them. Once you reach that low point, you tell yourself there’s only going up from here. Everyone has a choice to become better. I was given that choice and took action on it. I am humbled to be here and always grateful for everything.

Choosing the right group of support

Did you have a support system when you were going through the rough times or anyone that you turned to?

I turned mostly to my family. You know my family was there from the beginning to the end. They’ve helped me get through it and to make sure that everything was still going to be okay. I also reached out to my friends for support as well. Meeting new people and friends also gave me that self-esteem boost. My friends reminded me how good of a person that I still am and it honestly meant so much to me. The words my friends described me has helped me realize my good traits, traits that I felt I was too insecure about. I believe that you are the reflection of your friends and the people you surround yourself with. I was lucky enough to surround myself with good people that support and love me. I am appreciative that I chose a group of friends that would keep me in check and to know that I’m not alone. You should love the people that are supporting you through tough and low times. When I was in that headspace, I brought them with me. So I want to show them love and appreciation too.

All Eyes Were Really Not On Me

Do you regret that moment?

Yes, I do. But I do not regret the things that I learned along the way. When I was at my lowest, I was also at my loneliest. When you’re at that point you just feel that EVERYONE is watching you. ALL eyes on you. I felt that pressure for a while. But as you grow older, you start to realize that there weren’t any eyes on you in the first place. It was all the pressure and insecurities that you had on yourself that followed you throughout your life. It was definitely tough, but like I said I learned a lot from it. I can compare some troubling moments nowadays and see how much I’ve been through. It’s easier for me to let things go now and be mature enough to own my mistakes. Owning your mistakes, you have to do that. It’s another step to help you have a happier life.

Uncle Barney

How’re you feeling now?

I feel great! As I said, I am definitely in a lot better headspace than I was a couple of years ago. Although I was laid off, I am focusing more on myself and credentials that I finally have the time to fulfill. There is a new baby in the house so I am a proud uncle. It feels amazing to hold and take care of a baby. It’s just refreshing and I am excited to see the little one grow up. I want to teach him all the things I’ve learned and mistakes that have helped me along the way. My mom mentions that all babies are innocent and that they didn’t have the choice to be brought into this world. I think taking that responsibility to educate future generations is monumental and I hope to be a great example one day.

I’d like to thank Barney for his time and vulnerability today. From our conversation I was able to listen, define his situation, and also reiterate to him how much growth he’s gone through. I see nothing but great things for him and his future. Barney thank you so much and again if you ever need someone to talk to I am here! Much love to those reading Barney’s story and hope you share yours with me someday.

To all my lost boys and girls out there, you are not alone.

With love,

Another Lost Boy