The Riddler

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When reminiscing through old photo albums of special occasions and major milestones, you won’t find very many pictures of me compared to others, although, I was more than likely present. This phenomena is not an oversight because, more often than not, my absence was by design. That is because I choose to leave my mark in a different way. My name is Anthony Starke and I am a silent supporter.

Every special moment requires someone working behind the scenes making sure that your moment is a memorable one. And, while some love the spotlight, in the wings is where I work my magic. But, making my indelible marks on the minute details of other people’s experiences has a major pitfall, one that you may not expect but know all too well if you are like me. You become subjugated to a supporting cast role in your own autobiography. You’re dependable, loyal and ask for little in return and, over time other people’s affection for you becomes hinged upon what you have done or can do for them.

In the best seller, The Alchemist, author Paulo Coelho writes: “To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation.” Over the past year I’ve been learning just that. When I was presented with an amazing opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream I quickly found myself faced with adversity from the most unlikely places. My amazing opportunity became a minor inconvenience for many of those whom I had faithfully supported. Their true feelings were most evident in their response to the news – it wasn’t jealousy, envy or hate but an unfamiliar uneasiness and all-telling hesitation. This is not to say that these individuals were malicious or that they were consciously aware of their lack of support, rather they struggled with the thought of my liberation.
Maya Angelou tells the story of leaving her mother’s home as a seventeen-year-old single mother. During her recollection, she states that her mother liberated her to life, “she released me, she freed me to say I may have something in me that will be of value and maybe not just to me.” Love liberates. Authentic love requires removing oneself from the equation in order to support that which is best for the object of one’s love and affection.

I harbor no hard-feelings or ill-will for those who struggled with my liberation because I know that it means they care for me in their own way. But this experience has taught me that I must take center stage in my own life’s story. And, if I intend to live a life of purpose, I cannot live my life, build my identity and make my decisions based on how it inconveniences others. My life is my obligation, of which I am accountable.

~ The Riddler