I have been thinking a lot lately about why I am on this route in life. Why do I feel the need, the incredibly passionate desire to take on SUCH a feat? What makes me so special? Am I totally crazy to think that I, of all people in this world can actually leave a legacy? Change the world?! Does that make me so obnoxious to think that I have that in me..? 

  Growing up I have never had a problem with anxiety. It was like I had this blinder on that shielded me from how harsh this walk in life can be. It wasn't until I found an exciting sight of my future with "1IN700," that I started to feel this uncomfortable dance happen in the pit of my stomach. Subtle at first. Happening more and more each time. It became a little more awkward when the sensation ran up my spine.. What was happening to me? I worried about the most outrageous things. A very real, very deep fear of WHAT IF's. I would be forced to sit down, close my eyes, and talk to myself because the grip of this...worry? (or whatever it was) Sometimes I couldn't breathe. No one really knows this Zack. I felt like opening up about this made me weak. Made me less of a man maybe. Or selfish. That is the biggest thing, I felt selfish for needing to give myself this love and attention. My life was coming to a halt because I didn't know what my purpose was and it was quietly tearing me apart inside, silently shattering all self confidence. I had sky high expectations for all of the people around me. I expected everyone to read my mind about what was actually going on inside my head. Truth be told, I am still figuring that out, but I've finally found a focus, a path, and a destination. I have taken a good long look at what is going on in the world and I am as inspired as I am absolutely terrified. I stand here in the city where "Adult Zack" was born; where I (sometimes very badly) experienced REAL LIFE for the first time. I failed. I failed again. I hurt people. I disappointed others. At the time, I didn't even care. But that had nothing to do with them. I lacked love for myself. I was simply less than in my head. Whether or not that stemmed from my cleft lip, or my sexuality, I just did not care for who I really was. Honestly? Being anyone other than Zack was easier. I thought that I had this disconnect in my head where, what I knew as normalcy didn't work for me but I wasn't good enough to be great. It felt like losing a game in the last inning every single day. So close...but so far. Who would have thought the missing link was finding myself?  
   People don't talk enough about how hard it all is too; when you do find your direction. To balance life, relationships, friendships, etc. When you are so invested in something because you know how important your role is, that everything and everyone else blurs for a moment. Not forever, but just for this period in your life because you have to stay in it. Doesn't mean you love anyone any less, you just have to put you first right now. You have to rock steady, shed any and all things that make you feel not worth it and focus. You have to be strong for you, to be strong for others. Often times that means facing whatever comes your way, head on and other times you have to let things go. Hard lessons learned don't sting forever. 
   Tell yourself that you are capable of handling anything now because the world needs strength. Our communities need resilience. Earth's people need love and authenticity. We all need examples and direction. I am no better, no worse, than any of you who may or may not read this. I hope you don't think I have some sort of God complex because that's not my point. I just want the world to see how happy feels. I want people everywhere to know that being happy means being sad sometimes too, but to also find it inside yourself to be selfish with your love for a while. And watch how choosing to love yourself and find happiness with you is actually the most selfless thing you will ever do. 

Zachary Rodetis-Urenda