About the Book
Title: Your crossroads. Your choice.
Author: EJ Apicello
Welcome to my diary, my journey, as I tripped and crawled through the darkest time in my life- when I witnessed people that I held incredibly close to me shatter my very existence with their words and actions. The things within this book spine are extremely raw and exceptionally real. You and I are going to get very close, the details in this book, although oddly general, are incredibly specific. Yes, I realize what I just said and as you read my words you will see what I mean. As you silently gasp and mentally bitch slap me, please be kind because my story is just that - my story. It is not any more or less special than yours. In fact the only difference between our stories are the choices we made at each of the crossroads in our lives. For most of my life the choices I made were not based on my happiness but on everyone else’s. This book describes what I have experienced in my journey to finding my happiness and hopefully never letting it go. Sadly, it took me thirty six years to find the strength I need to detoxify my life and self view and find someone who is worthy of my awesomeness. Thirty six years to shatter the negative foundation I had built shatter the ultimate representative I created to hide behind and begin the process of building a new foundation. Only this foundation will be built on strength, confidence and above all, happiness. So take a minute or thirty and sit with my story for a while. You never know what you might find out.
Welcome to my real, crazy, emotional, probably too honest journey. I am an everyday girl in this everyday world trying to keep my head above water and within the pages of this book you will learn about the things that have broken me down and the steps I am taking to build back up. You will see, my new friends, that this story is written in a unique, general, conversational voice, which was my choice. I want you to be able to picture yourself in my shoes, relate my trials and tribulations to yours and see that you too can find your happiness. Even if you don’t realize this yet, every single one of us possesses things inside of ourselves that we didn't know were there. It took my life taking a crazy right turn and dumping me at the lowest possible point before I could see the strength within myself. We are not defined by what we do, we are defined by the choices we make. I decided when I put pen to paper that I want my choices to start defining me as strong, confident, secure and above all else, happy. So, who am I? How about I tell you who I was - a self loathing shell of myself who put everyone else’s happiness before my own. Herein lies my story to find that happiness and all of the ups and downs along the way. See who I was and who I am trying to become and maybe, somewhere in there, you will find out a little about yourself too.
1. there is no one reality - we each perceive our own
2. find strength and confidence in the choices they make so that they can find their happiness.
3. Your crossroads. Your choice
4. Every choice has an opposite choice
5. choices sit at our own personal crossroads, forcing us to embrace either the right or the wrong, the easy or the hard, the light or the dark
6. Put yourself into my shoes through my words
7. I chose early on to place the pleasure and happiness of everyone else above my own, and it was killing me.
8. Put yourself into your past and go through the decisions you have made, the experiences you have had at each of your own crossroads. Did you put your happiness or the happiness of others first when you made your decisions? If your happiness was secondary, why? What reason did you sell yourself that sounded like it made sense at the time?
9. As one person, we cannot be expected to fix everything and even more importantly we cannot be expected to follow every rule, to always be perfect.
10. There is not one single person on this earth who knows what is going to happen in the future, or who knows every right decision that is to be made, yet I was wasting my time worrying that the person should be me.
11. The choices made at each of his crossroads, good or bad, right or wrong, caused him to be who he is.
12. An ultimate representative my new friends is a unique nightmare I created for myself very early on in life to hide behind everyday, convinced that it was the right choice
13. Remember, opposite choices will always exist at each of your crossroads. To lose my darkness is the equivalent of losing my light since one cannot exist without the other.
14. despite all of the steps forward I have taken, there are days I feel like I am still at the beginning. I still falter and lose my way but the difference is that now I am in control. I choose each step I take, each path I journey down with my eyes wide open.
15. Changing who you are is difficult if not impossible, believe me, this whole book is about my attempts to do that my whole life before realizing that who I am is just fine. Here’s the hook: changing how you handle life is totally in your control. Choosing happiness is up to you!
16. The events of our life do not make us unique, rather it’s the choices we make at the crossroads of those life events that truly define who we are.
17. I know that saying “I am broken” could make me sound weak or not complete, but we are all broken. It is what makes us human, unique in our own experiences.
18. This idea of an unobtainable perfection is something we have drilled into our very DNA as a self-preservation technique. If we are always striving for perfection, then we don’t have to face our failures and shortcomings because they are not our fault they are just a step towards becoming perfect.
19. we must learn to be happy in our present moment before we can look towards the future
20. You can’t be anything other than you, and the you in your present moment is just who you are supposed to be.
21. As you are sitting with your feelings, seeing how my words make you react, try and do it without judgement or immediately attempting to fix or change whatever you may be feeling.
22. If you can begin to accept who you are it makes it easier for others to begin do the same.
23. we are all products of our upbringing, and the choices we have made at each of the crossroads in our lives
24. the key to handling mistakes or so-called failures from your past is to take them, reflect on them, understand them, and then use the knowledge you have gained to strengthen the choices you make at future crossroads.
25. Remember we can’t change who we are, that is a lesson in futility. We can only change how we choose to react to what life throws at us
26. you are not special and neither am I. At least not when it comes to the fucked-up shit we all have experienced in our past, the wounds those experiences have left, and the crazy it has caused us to become. For me to call those experiences special would give them strength and power over me. It would allow them to firmly and vividly take root in my memory, never letting me move on.
27. hope that my journey causes these past experiences and self-diminishing thoughts to soften their sharp edges and melt into the background of my memory where they belong
28. non-special part of us is that we are all, to varying degrees, messed up from our past. Where our uniqueness and individuality shine is in the way we choose to handle our darkness, if we choose to handle it at all. We are all broken and we, myself included, need to focus on accepting our entire selves as the first step toward discovering who we are and what makes us happy.
29. There is no purpose in continuing to lament about what is wrong—if you continue to talk about a flat tire, will it magically fix itself? No, it’s up to you to make the choice to fix it. This choice, however simple it may seem, is what will set your future in motion again, because if that choice isn’t made, just like that tire, you are stuck.
30. tough times happen no matter what, we need to learn how to deal with them instead of trying to control life in the futile hope that they won’t occur.
31. Comments or judgments spoken in a direct sentence form does not constitute a genuine piece of advice.
32. believe in living in the present moment, appreciating the complexity or simplicity in the task you are doing and making sure it is something that is going to make you happy
33. my fingers are running downhill, desperately trying to catch up with the words flowing from my mind
34. The person I want to become, the happiness I am seeking is somewhere inside me
35. the present moment is where I want to be
36. I don’t need Ma man to find happiness, but I choose to have one in my life because he has become part of my happiness
37. place yourself in any thought or memory of a wedding you can access. Picture the bride, people shuffling all around her in a hustling blur. Wipe off the makeup, remove the poufy dress, and mess up the hair. That was how I thought I should be represented in my wedding day memory.
38. I thought he and my marriage were my future and subsequently my demise
39. growth is inevitable and when we embrace it we truly can become happy
40. I threw my darkness on someone who could not catch it.
41. What happens to us is not what makes us unique. It’s the choices we make at the crossroads that arise from these life events that define who we are. The choices are what we are in control of.
42. We are only in control of how we react to our crossroads and the choices we make at each one and the emotions we feel about those choices.
43. What pieces will I dust off and take with me? What pieces will I choose to leave behind?
44. If I choose to heal then I have to let go of the uncontrollable and focus on what I do have control over, me
45. I can only control my own choice and therefore my own happiness.
46. I chose, which now I see was not the right thing, to push my uniqueness down and show the parts of me that weren’t met with such scrutiny
47. I chose, which now I see was not the right thing, to push my uniqueness down and show the parts of me that weren’t met with such scrutiny
48. you can’t control other people’s happiness. It comes from within themselves just as yours comes from within you. All you can do is share your happiness. What they do with the happiness you have shared with them is a choice only they can make
49. when this radical idea was born, our marriage pretty much died.
50. If you haven’t slapped your forehead or dropped your jaw in amazement at the tangled, web I have managed to weave my life into by now, then you are a complete sociopath. For real, stop reading this and instead use it as a weapon to bludgeon your next murder victim since you obviously have no feelings! If however, you have on several occasions thought, “This bitch is crazy, shit like this only happens on TV!” well then you are a normal functioning human and should proceed with the rest of my story.
51. I again cannot believe the depths of my weakness and the desperation I must have been experiencing to allow this one person to hold so much influence over my choices, life, and happiness.
52. It’s amazing how life deals you exactly what you need at the moment you need it
53. unless I am a little bit selfish and figure out what will make me happy, I will be useless to anyone else
54. Why live in the past when you can look forward to the future?
55. Eventually, the ultimate representative I had been selling to everyone else began to take root as the truth for myself, solidifying one more layer of lies that I hid behind
56. sex wasn’t entirely the solution to the problem I was tying to solve. The people I encountered helped each in their own way. Their stories, which will remain in my memories, allowed me to peel back those hardened layers of my ultimate representative.
57. Emotional pain is also way worse because it is invisible.
58. Those pesky opinions from everyone else are like termites. They munch and munch away at your confidence and self-resolve until you are too weak and broken to do anything else but let them take over.
59. you possess the strength and confidence to face your crossroads and choices head on. You deserve to find your happiness
60. It took my life taking a crazy right turn and dumping me at the lowest possible point before I could see my strength. You see, we are not defined by what we do; we are defined by the choices we make.