July 19, 2023 – Bixler: Living Authentically
As I’ve mentioned before, after charges were filed against me, I was unemployable by any company that I applied to, including Uber, Lyft and DoorDash. Therefore, I created my own path to working and earning money to contribute and began selling things. In addition to selling a ton of my own things, I began acquiring things from other sources to sell. I routinely source things from thrift stores, yard sales, estate sales, and auctions.
On occasion, I look for things to buy from local sellers on Facebook Marketplace. I noticed someone was having an “indoor yard sale” and was intrigued. I love treasure hunting and searching for special things so I messaged her and we arranged a time to meet so I could check out the clothes she was selling. With three boys at home growing like weeds, I am always keeping an eye out for nice clothes. Although, I went for the purpose of clothing I discovered much more.
A week or so later, I met her (Kathleen). It turns out that she has a ministry in which she accepts item donations and sells things to provide funding to various people in need. Examples include, residential addiction programs, youth mission trips for members of her church and as well as families in need. I bought some things during my first visit and arranged additional visits when our schedules correlated. Over time, she and I have become friends and I’m so grateful.
As we’ve gotten to know each other, we’ve talked a lot about God, blessings, struggles and we pray for each other daily. At one point we realized that we attend the same church, which is funny because it’s not a huge church and there are 500 in our local area. Literally 500! Anyway, my criminal matter isn’t something I talk about outside of a small group of friends and family. It garnered quite a bit of media attention during each phase so I’m never sure who knows and who doesn’t. I have good friends who I assumed would know but didn’t and found many strangers who thought they knew all about my life based merely on a few media stories running rampant on social media.
Since meeting earlier this year, Kathleen and I have become better friends. I hadn’t found the right time to broach the subject of my criminal situation and it was creating increased anxiety. As much as I don’t like to tell people, I also don’t want to build friendships that lack trust. Considering I’m amid this legal process, it’s a topic that I personally wanted to talk with her about in person.
I knew I’d be seeing her today to help with something. When I woke up this morning, I had a knot in my stomach and just wanted to fast-forward past the anticipated conversation. I care a lot about what people think of me and the notion of being a disappointment creates some self-inflicted anxiety. Today I shared my situation with her. Well, an abbreviated version. It’s tough to condense a decade into 45 minutes. Either way, I don’t know what was going through her mind, but I know this… I left her home feeling a sense of relief.
My faith in God has brought the perspective most needed in times like this. I’ll be honest and transparent; own my role in the good and bad I’ve done throughout my life; and accept whatever the outcome may be. As I said in an earlier post, choosing who I surround myself with is a priority. I can’t change whether someone chooses to stay in my life or exit because of my past choices. I’ve always told my kids they should speak their truth. Regardless of what anyone’s opinion might be or what judgmental stones others may feel entitled to cast, authenticity and loyalty to oneself is more important than the opinion of any other human being.
I’ve come to realize that although I’ve given that speech dozens of times, I haven’t consistently modeled it. The fear of being judged or rejected has had power it shouldn’t. Like everyone, I’m a work in progress. I will never stop working toward self-improvement. When I’m 90 years old, I’ll still be reflecting to make sure I made progress between 89-90. At the end of my life, I will stand before God and answer for my how I’ve lived my life. I want to be able to say that I did my best.
“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let out true selves be seen.”Brene Brown