Halfway through the summer of 1995, I started a new life. Barely out of high school I allowed my heart to guide my path, ditched a trade school opportunity, dumped everything I thought I knew and believed, and moved out of a parent’s home to begin anew. To my dismay, my heart was an idiot. Flawed.
Met a girl, moved in together, worked the jobs as necessary and strayed away from who I was originally in the beginning.
My new life, the new beginning in 95, led me away from education, into the bottle and various other substances and late nights stumbling down the streets. Parties ruled the neighborhood and hangovers were commonplace. I can’t recall how many bathroom floors I’ve peeled myself from, accompanied with a throbbing headache that leads to vomiting the moment the sunlight touches the face and the slightest noise enters the ears.
Yet, I allowed my heart to guide my journey and I ignored my mind. I wished to embrace those things I’d never experienced. I wanted to dabble in the unknowns and mesh with the in-crowd and “cool kids,” feel accepted, and continue to seek… something. To this day, other than a solid buzz, I don’t believe I knew what I was doing or really searching for. Only riding that tide as far as it would take me. It’s all buried and shrouded now in a fuzzy haze.
Luckily for me, I left breadcrumbs behind which I could follow later in life.
I was engaged in a brief conversation recently with one of my confidants and I mentioned my feelings on a topic. What I said (paraphrased), “It took me awhile, but I better understand other points of view now, more than ever. At least I try. It doesn’t make me any smarter on the subject, I still do my research, and listen with an open ear, but I can sit on the fence and glance to both sides and try to see it from various angles now. We exist on the surface. The happiness is under that surface. I couldn’t imagine not being happy. The true definition of ‘self,’ is happiness.”
I believe it’s impossible to be truly content, without knowing who we are as individuals; and that’s a dead horse I’ll probably beat until the end of time. The obstacles that deter us from individual happiness, and block the life we wish to lead, is cause for battle. I can’t remember the number of walls I’ve had to chip away at to find happiness. I’d go out of my mind if the wall was indestructible. I’d lose all my faculties if I was forced to not have access to “my” life.
Absolutely mental. And if you’ve been reading TotC since it’s humble beginnings, I did have my moments of crazy. However in most cases, my crazy was completely warranted and justified.
With that said, sometimes it takes a catastrophe to finally find that missing component. Today and the here and now, isn’t any different. Sometimes we wade through a river of shit before coming out smelling like a rose. Sometimes we’re forced to see the worst within the scary dark, before the light shines through and makes the darkness disappear.
We experience the hurt dolled out by the others, to eventually make our sense of self stronger. Sometimes we walk those fiery coals of Hell, to eventually find a cool peaceful lake to soak our wounds.
I don’t have the same struggles as others. Sorry. My life is not complicated. I work, I parent, I enjoy my relationship with Nancy, I eat, I sleep, engage in my activities of daily living, I socialize within my circle, tackle my responsibilities and I try my best to engage in my hobbies and passions. I am me. That’s it. That’s my life. No more, no less. Boring? Maybe to folks outside my universe, but for me, it’s the best life I can possibly lead and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
To quote Christof (The Creator, played by Ed Harris) from one of my favorite films, The Truman Show, “We accept the reality of the world with which we are presented,” and I’ve done just that. I accept my reality. However, my reality is under the surface.
People have lied about me, and to my face. Some of my favorite conversations have been with my children who have told me outright, “I can’t believe what people have said about you, Dad.”
“I know, I know. People will say and do anything to make themselves feel better about themselves and their reality.”
People have tried to drag me down and ruin me. Environmental factors have tried to change me and manipulate how I think, and what I should believe. I’ve been called delusional and crazy to the point where I have voluntarily questioned my sanity and pondered therapy. I’ve been stepped on, used, abused, my kindness and loyalty has been taken advantage of. I’ve even watched people burn my things, yet… all of that is OK. Those negative factors have strengthened me and helped me rise above it all. If someone wants to talk trash for the sole purpose of making themselves feel better about life, hey… who am I to think any different. That’s their life. They have their own demons to face.
I’ve battled my demons. Now I scoff at them.
Little bastards. It took awhile, but I think they’ve disappeared back into the depths from whence they came. I haven’t seen them in quite some time, so no news is good news as far as I’m concerned. With inner peace, comes contentment.
Each new day is a new beginning. At night we close our eyes, sleep the necessary time required, and the day once again begins anew. I find my strength and continued stability with each break of dawn. Is it easy for me? Of course not. My struggles are not the same as others in this world. I just do my best to cope through, that, which is mine.
I found my coping mechanisms. Those mechanisms helped formulate my reality. Once I dug my heels in and directed my thinking down a different path, the puzzle started to come together with a more vibrant image. But… I had to find it. It wasn’t up in my face dancing a jig, yelling, “Hey! I’m right here!”
I had to seek what I wanted to find.
My advice, to anyone who may be reading these weekly rambles, is this. Find it. Search. Dig under the surface. Seek those missing parts and pieces. Find the true definition of “self” and happiness.
If you enjoy painting, paint, and show it to the world. Even if it’s not perfect. At least you’re trying. It will only get better and stronger with each brush stroke. If you enjoy poetry, write. Compose imperfect words and read it loud and proud to anyone who may be listening, then be willing to be open to those who wish to help make your words stronger and more fluid.
If you find joy in volunteering, then commit to volunteering and do good things for others. If you play an instrument, make music, crank up the volume, and kick on the speakers for the whole world to hear. If you enjoy writing letters to our politicians, do it. If you excel at public speaking, get out there and speak your voice. Let the voice be heard. If you love paintball, play the sport and engage as hard as possible. YouTube videos, blogs, cooking, creating web content, writing, singing, dancing, gaming, drawing, mechanics, constructing sandcastles on the beach… whatever the passion… do it! Find it and be proud! Don’t be scared. Don’t be afraid of yourself.
The only person who will take care of me… is me. I am my own worst enemy. I don’t expect ANYONE to take care of me. Do I find solace and safety among my circle? Absolutely. However, I don’t expect my circle to cater to my needs. I can only do that on my own.
Now more than ever, we need to find our peace and contentment. This splintered world filled with chasms and holes, hate and despair, division and spite, needs an apocalypse of the highest degree. But not the modern day version of the word.
Today the contemporary definition of apocalypse, the adopted standard meaning of the word, is an end times scenario. Destruction. Chaos. Death and darkness. Hopelessness and pain.
The original meaning of the word can be found, here.
I believe we need to work on that lifting of the veil and our only enemy is self, and the sands of the hourglass trickling away as we watch.
The Tales will continue with the next installment. Be well, be strong, be good to one another, and continue the search. The path leads to happiness if you allow it.
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