Part VI

Words spoken by my wife have laid the foundation for more than one facet of my life. Before her, I had never heard [life’s lessons]. I hadn’t considered the word [signs] in respect to my life.

In the beginning, I scoffed at my wife’s attempts to trigger a spark within my thick-skulled brain. And why not? During my early twenties, I certainly thought I knew the answer to every question in the Universe. For the record, I was not a twenty-something narcissist, but I did have significant issues with low self-esteem and social anxiety. Until my first self-inventory, it was easier to build a wall of false ego and arrogance for protection.

Little did I know that several years later, I would be arrested, convicted, and sentenced to probation for drug possession. The year was 2001, and I would soon be forced into treatment for substance abuse. At the age of 34, I had become a convicted felon, and my life would never be the same. In the eyes of millions, I was just another criminal. What I would be in the eyes of my wife [ex-wife] remained to be seen.

Joseph Shanklin

December 5, 2020

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