In 2009, on the fortieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, I remember watching a lot of coverage of that event and listening to my dad’s stories about seeing it happen live and thinking one thing: I want my own moon shot.
At the time I was working at what was then my highest-paying job and also the most stressful. It was also just a few months after my dad’s stroke and he was staying with me though he sure as hell didn’t want to (we eventually worked out a way to get him back to his place until he passed on). I wanted to quit that job and do anything but sit at a desk for eight hours a day answering the phones. But I also knew I was stressed-out and exhausted and not thinking straight, too. So I told myself to stay where I was then see where I was at a year from now. A year later, I reached the same conclusion: I had to get out of there. And I did in October 2010.
Five and a half years later, in May 2016, I walked away from my last call-center job. This time I did it for my health as two disks in my lower back were in critical danger of blowing out. In the four years since, I’ve lost a lot of material things but gained knowledge about myself that more than makes up for the material things that were just piling up in my life (and my apartment).
What I’ve gained in the last four years is a lot of knowledge about myself and why I have thought and felt the way I do. But as I sit down to launch this website-blog, I realize what I’ve learned the most and have begun to truly accept is that I am so much stronger and capable of so much more than I ever realized, or believed in about myself.
Because all my life I’ve felt weak and fragile, and dumber than dog shit. Those thoughts came from being told ‘no’ much more often than I was ever told ‘yes’. And a lot of that was from people who said they had my best intentions and just didn’t want to see me fail, or fall on my ass. But here’s the thing, those people with good intentions hadn’t done what I was going to do so they were coming from a position of complete ignorance. I won’t ever try to figure out why people took one look at me and decided I was fragile and weak and dumb-as-shit in some cases.
Yet many years ago, when my world came crashing down around me I was the last one left standing. And I didn’t remain standing out of stubborn pride like I’ve been told so damn many times.
I remained standing and kept my shit together because I was terrified if I let go I would shatter into a million pieces and never be able to put them all back together. I did break and crack many times throughout my life, but I forged those broken pieces of myself back together with the strongest and shiniest metals I could find.
Five years ago, a thought came into my mind changed me and my life forever: everyone else is just as full of shit as I am, but I’m not a bad person either.
This thought was followed about three years later by one that helped me reconcile my past once and for all: I was where I needed to be.
And about a year after that reconciliation, I began to throw off huge weights of shame and guilt I should never have taken on in the first place.
Most of all, I’ve faced my deepest, darkest, and most painful fear with this thought: no one can take my work, my hopes and dreams, and the life I want to live away from me. Many years ago, I thought people could take everything I wanted from me and force me into exile through lies and well-intentioned disapproval at any attempt of mine at forging some kind of life for myself.
I know now I’ve been an exile all my life and probably will be until the day I die. And I’ve survived that lonely exile with my hopes and dreams along with my stories and my words in my head.
In the coming days, weeks, and months you’ll be seeing my words and stories here presented in many different ways. You’ll be learning the stories behind what I’ve written here today along with many others, both in non-fiction and fictional form. In addition to sharing my stories and my words, I will also be doing to my absolute best to share this with as many people as I can along with working my ass off to earn money from it, too. I hope you find things here you like, that put a smile on your face, or help you in some way and give you hope. Because no matter how hard the world has tried to beat me down, I’ve never lost hope.
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