During my final days as a truck driver, I would start a short-lived fling with someone I met online from the church. She lived in Far Rockaway, which wasn’t close by, and I spent the bulk of my time inside the delivery truck fawning over her photos. I would make a trip to visit her and her group of friends, ready to show them “the superstar that I was”. After meeting up, we began drinking. I stumbled along the boardwalk, my legs unsteady beneath me as I took swigs from the bottle in my hand. The alcohol burned down my throat, warming me from the inside out, but also leaving me feeling unsteady and unsure of myself. It had been a mistake to come here tonight, to try to impress this girl and her friends with my bravado and confidence. Instead, I had only managed to embarrass myself, allowing my ego to cause a spectacle in front of everyone. As I walked, I heard the sound of laughter and mocking from her friends nearby, and I knew that they were talking about me. My heart sank as I realized how much of my inner self I revealed to these people who barely knew me. But even as I felt the sting of their words and the shame of my actions, I couldn’t help but cling to the idea that I was destined for greatness. I had a talent, a gift for entertaining, and I knew that if I could just keep pushing forward, keep working hard and perfecting my craft, I could make my dreams a reality. As I made my way back to the train, with the last remnants of alcohol fading from my system, I knew that I had a long way to go. I was determined to never give up on my dreams, no matter how many setbacks I encountered along the way. I was a star, damn it, and I was going to shine no matter what.

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