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  • Writer's pictureJames G Yeo

The Author's Corner: The Storm

As the afternoon begins to cool down from the heat of summer, you are lying on your grass when there is a light breeze that begins. It cools you sending a chill up your back. In the sky clouds slowly begin to move in and there is in the distance a thunderstorm heading towards your home. The wind slowly picks up as the cold front moves in to drop its rain that is needed. Not thinking much, you continue to relax as the smells of wet earth starts to fill the air.

Within minutes, you can feel the mist that is starting to swarm around you. The mist begins to turn to a light rain. As each drop plummets down and breaks on your body, the feeling of peace fills you. It makes you remember when you and your lover would make love in the rain when you first were dating. Now that is not the case but the rain feels good on your body.

Slowly the rain becomes heaver and then you hear the thunder from the approaching storm. The wind begins to pick up more and the rain turns into a downpour. Not moving from your spot, you close your eyes and you imagine that you are in a dream where you are walking back to your home to be with your lover. Moments later there is another crack of thunder and then the rain lets off a little and the climax of the storm is reached as it passes you by.

Minutes later the storm is over and the sun has come out to dry up the land. The rain has washed your soul clean and you feel a sense of calmness that you open your eyes to see that your first born has come out to stand over you.

In life there are many types of storms. Noting that there is always a calm before and a calm after the storm we never see this. Many people only see the storm and think that it is going to last for the rest of their lives. They do not look at what is happening to them and it brings them down. Without looking at the positive in what the storm is bringing, they only see the negative. This is what happens to most people where it is easier to see the negative. To look at what could come out of the situation.

I have had many storms that have come through my life. Some lasted years and others were short but until I was diagnosed with Schizophrenia, I had to look into my heart and soul to understand that I need to follow a positive road. I am not saying that my storms are more than what you have and are going through today. The thing is that I have learned that every storm that I have managed and gone through it has made me stronger. At times I have wanted to give up and take the easy way which is the negative way. Yet, there has always been something inside of me that made me say no.

With all that we suffer from in this life, we need to follow the light at the end of the tunnel and I know that sometimes that light is hard to see. In 2010 I was in a dark place and was ready to end my life because I was tiered of fighting with my illness. I spent one month in the hospital because of it and it was then when I put down the bottle and took a hard look at my life. As I looked back, I saw the battles that I have had with depression, the ten years of abuse that I went through as a child from being bullied in the town that me and my family moved to in 1986.

I looked at all the bad things and then it dawned on me that I had a lot of positives that have come from those storms. I found my love for cooking when I was 11 years old which turned into my career for over 20 years. I looked at what happened to me in Edmonton and I looked to see that I made a lifelong friend who gave me the push that made me a stay and get my papers in cooking.

As I sat in my room that one night when I was in the hospital, I saw that I had made my two biggest dreams in my life come true. One was to be one of the best in the culinary world and the other was to move back to the region where I am originally from. That was when I saw that all the pain and hardships that came from all storms was what I had to go through to make them come true. Then came the book, An Individual’s Innocence: The Silent Screams. It was hard to write it and it took me until 2016 to publish it. The time that led me to there was a storm that started in 2005 when I was diagnosed. I did not know it then that I would walk a path of defiance against the way that society sees those who have mental illness. That was the storm that almost took me to the grave.

In 2015, I was not happy with what was happening in my life again and I remembered that night in 2010 when I was in the hospital and I pushed through. That night in 2015 in question I was ready to delete the book and give up again and it was a new friend that had just read the book and he said that I should do another edit. He told me that I should go through to publish it. Since then I have had challenges with job losses which effectively made me question again but it was just another storm that I had to face.

With all that and seeing the fact that when I was at the point of breaking someone has always came into my life to ask me if I am giving up or not. I have fallen many times and I have always stood back up because it is something that I have always done. My dad once told me, “James, if you get beaten down, get back up and if you can only get to your knees continue forward. If you can’t walk, crawl and if you can’t crawl, use your arms and pull yourself to where you can grab a chair to help you to your feet. You are a Yeo and we do not give up because it is not an option.”

This one thing that he has told me time and again when I was going through the abuse for 10 years where I did not really have a friend but finding out years later that I did have one or two. In Edmonton it was a good friend who said to me when I was ready to quit. He said, “James, you have something that everyone wants. If you are going to quit, quit everything.” After he said that, he put a gun in my hand and said, “Make your choice. I will be a good friend and clean up the mess.”

These are the things that run through my mind when I think of giving up. When I see a storm I sit and smile because it means that I am at the beginning of a new lesson and I look forward to the struggle that I am going to have.

I would like to say to you who is reading this that even when it gets harder for you that it will pass. Stand up to the storm that is approaching you or the one that you are in. You will get through it and look for the positive of the situation and the lessons that you are learning. There will always be storms and it is not how long they last but who you become.

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