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One thing I would like to tell the women in Dallas’ erotic massage parlors is how I personally define resilience.

I have come to believe that being resilient means choosing to believe that the future can – and will – get better. It is not wishful thinking but instead choosing my mentality. I have come to believe this after losing my biological relatives at birth, facing relentless bullying and social isolation in school, surviving depression and near suicide, having nonexistent self-esteem for decades, and escaping domestic violence with a psychopath who was into psychological torture and sexual violence. That was Act 1, and it wasn’t pretty.

When I realized in counseling the full extent of everything I had been through, I felt a rage that I will never be able to fully convey.

I stood on a cliff and looked down into an abyss of bitterness. I stood there for a very long time and nearly jumped. I was definitely tempted to fall endlessly into that anger.

Then I sighed, took a step back, and discovered the meaning of resilience, which I would like to share with the women in Dallas’ erotic massage parlors.

The seconds are still ticking relentlessly despite everything I experienced. The past does not have to dictate the future. No matter what I have experienced, the future is still unfolding, second by second.

I am no different in this regard. Everyone has a past, and everyone is affected by it in some way. No one comes through life unscathed.

Here is the question, then, that everyone must answer for themselves: how do we want the seconds in front of us to go?

When I stepped back from the cliff and pondered that question, I realized that I wanted to be happy. I did not want to go through life being bitter and angry. I wanted to be at peace despite everything that had happened. While much of what had happened to me in the past was at the hands of other people, I now have control of my life and can make the next second, and the next one, and the next one, be what I want it to be.

That, to me, is the meaning of resilience. The future is unwritten. The past is the past. We can all heal and take back control of our lives. No matter what we have experienced, the future can be good because we choose to make it that way.

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