a-wits asked: Hi. So why you 'follow' me on tumblr?
Why not? I believe that we can all learn from each other. And am interested in seeing what each of us on here has to offer. Im pretty quick to “follow” because i like being exposed to new thoughts and ideas. And if eventually I decide that that person’s thoughts or ideas dont benefit me then i respectfully unfollow. But for the most part i like to give people the benefit of the doubt. This is a site for sharing, so it just makes sense to me
I dont ever do this anymore. The whole opening up thing I mean. It’s true. But now I’m going to share with perfect strangers on the internet my best and worst experiences. Im going to tell as much as I remember in this sitting. And maybe people will read it. Maybe they wont. But maybe I just need to share, you know?
I used to be an open book. When someone asked about any of the events that have made my life so different than anyone else’ I’ve ever known, I would try to tell them everything. But somehow after finding a way to fix it, I also lost the ability to be open and honest. I just watched The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I read the book forever ago. 12 years ago I think, but I probably just wasn’t ready for it. Now today on Christmas 2012 I guess it all finally hit me. So i dont know if anyone is going to bother reading this, but I need to write. I suppose Tumblr is my medium.
Almost 5 years ago I decided to change everything. I decided to fix it all. I decided to give my life back to God, because I was desperately hoping that’s where I’d finally find some peace. And it worked. I guess im better now. I think better had a side effect though as I dont really talk about things anymore. But when I came back it seemed like there was a sequence of events. First i learned how to smile when I was sober. After that I learned how to mean it. Eventually I learned how to function. And I mean really function. I started showing up every day and doing my best. Until I was 22 I’d never done that. It took me till i was 21 to graduate high school. And then later that year I dropped out of college as a depressed, heart broken, drug addict. I lasted a grand total of 6 weeks in college. And then went home and cried for 8 months…. right up until the day I decided to change.
I had to move to do it. Leave my friends. Leave most of my family. Move to a different city in a different province where the only person I knew was my brother and his wife. I had to change it all.
Anyway, eventually I learned how to be dependable, then functional, then sober. I learned how to love people without loving too much. I learned how to love myself instead of just acting conceited in order to cover up the loathing. Withing two years I received the Priesthood. Then within another 2 I was endowed. I got engaged and broke it off. I fell in love and walked away. And all that was fine. It didnt really bother me the way that it used to. Over the last 5 years I’ve served in several prominent positions in my church with fire and passion. I’ve worked in prestigious mental health programs and even lead one of them. I’ve done research for a rare form of dementia and taught doctors and nurses over 2 weeks how to care for a patient with Prader-Willi Syndrome. That was before i changed careers. now i do project management for a major sofware company and have a personal client portfolio of 13 airlines. I get to travel. Im back in school. Im going to be an accountant. Im going to make it. I really am. But i’ve also refused to think, or to speak about the things that brought me here. The fires i’ve crawled through to get here. My Patriarchal Blessing says I’ve “walked through refiner’s fire to share my experiences and help others come to the blessings I have”. And so, let me tell you about some of the experiences I’ve been through. I’ve had grand adventures that very few will ever believe. And incredible trials that very few will ever believe. My life as one friend once put it “Would have to be the directed by Peter Jackson, because it would need at least 3 movies to tell the story”.
1. My mom: Paranoid schizophrenic. And for years I thought she was the source of all of our problems. She was why we were poor. And why we were dirty and smelly. She was why we got beat on at school and beat on at home. And if she wasn’t out getting arrested or thrown into institutions, maybe dad could work and then we could have heat and electricity. Then we could have oranges or grapes. Or something the normal kids ate. Then we wouldnt have to sleep together in winter time for warmth or walk to school before anyone else got there to shower. It was her fault of course.
2. My dad: Taught me to believe everything in the first paragraph. Convinced us that he couldnt work because she was dangerous. Even when locked up. Convinced us he was doing his best, as opposed to being the most abusive and absenty father who never left the house. I mean, this guy was a piece of work. He’d spend all $311 we had to live on (for 6 people for the entire month) on his pepsi addiction and watching cable tv. It was weird that we had a big screen tv with surround sound, but we didn’t have socks. What a weird dichotomy. Anyway, this man had never once admitted responsibility for his short comings. Always someone else to blame. Especially us, if the dishes werent done or the driveway wasnt shoveled (we didn’t have a car). We learned early to try and get home after he was asleep because otherwise we’d be crying and someone would be bleeding and then thats a terrible way to fall asleep.
3. Drugs. I was pretty young when i started using them. But not much older when I started transporting them. I lived in a small town and once a week we had to drive up to a city 2 hours away to pick up pounds of weed or coke or whatever it was. And my job was the alibi. See, my mom was in a psychiatric ward in that city. The idea is that if we were ever pulled over, the alibi was that I was going to visit my mom. My first job, at 14 was heavy trafficing. Weird huh?
4. Birth defects: My mom, along with schizophrenia, was a heavy addict. Especially when I was in the womb. Chronic respiratory disease, a malformed brain (just the prefrontal cortex, by all accounts im very high functioning. In fact in most cases pretty advanced) and a damaged bladder meant that I was up for some real heavy treatment from an early going. The brain i’ll talk about later. But the Respiratory Disease means i’ve always been very sick. And losing weight is very difficult because I stop breathing pretty easy. Cardio is both necessary and dangerous for me. But the worst part was the bladder. It meant that until I was about 12 years old I wet the bed at night. I didn’t wake up when I had to go. I just went. And we were too poor to wash my clothes frequently, especially with so few of them. So you can imagine my reaction at school. I always stank. I was the short, fat, stinky, poor kid with a lisp. So you know, I was off to a real good start socially.
5. The Kidnapping: It seems weird saying to someone “I was kidnapped by my mom” but then again, when she was in a psychotic episode, she wasn’t really my mom was she? One year around Christmas, she came and got a couple of us kids in a cab, then took us to a battered women’s shelter where she hid us from the world for about 8 weeks I think. I was only about 6 so it’s hard to tell. My dad says 12 weeks, my brother says 4. I dont know where the truth is, but somewhere in the middle. So i say 8. I remember trying to escape a few times. Always met with the worst kinds of punishments. I mean, these were battered addicts who had all suffered the worst kinds of abuse in that center. They knew how to abuse back.
6. The shelter: I could probably write a book about this place alone. I was only a child and there for a short time. But it felt like forever. In this place, one of the battered women there sexually abused me in a very violent manner. Incredibly violent. I had blocked out the memory until about two years ago when it came rushing back one day while I was doing the dishes. I hadn’t thought about it in probably 15 years. Forgot that it happened completely. But since facing it, I’ve come to understand some of the decisions I’ve made since then.
7. The Music. This is a good thing. Music saved me. In a world where I served as the town punching bag. The target. Someone who was beat on at home, beat on at school, and even taught by teachers that I was worthless (they openly talked about private things going on with my family in class just to watch the kids turn on me. They talked about the time my mother, in a schizophrenic state attempted to hold up a bank, or blow up a car. Talked about my sister’s sexual abuse and called us out on being poor and dirty infront of the other kids) In a world where it seemed like everyone was trying to beat us down, music saved my life. I started playing guitar. I started listening to punk rock. I started singing and writing. I started fighting back at the world through my music. Wouldn’t you know it? By the time I was 16 I came second place in a song writing competition. I won a bunch of music contests around my area. I was in the news paper a ton. And all of a sudden the kids who had been spitting on me in the cafeteria the month before were now begging to be my friends. The world is sick this way.
8. Moving out at 17. I had an offer from a small record company called Meathead Records. And another from a record company called MMS Records. None of these exist anymore and were confined to the small regions of the Northern area I grew up in. None of them ever got off the ground and as such im so glad i never signed. But I moved out at 17. The doctors pronounced my mom “cured” so I moved out to get to know her and to pursue my dream of music. Mom wasn’t cured. Within a week she thought i was her dead brother. Within three weeks she stabbed me. She was in the hospital and I was now homeless.
10. Flying. Jumping back a bit…. during a brief period of sobriety in my teenage years I joined Air Cadets. I started flying Gliders and small airplanes. Attended two camps. One was a winter survival course. 6 weeks in a place called “Cold Lake’ in January. It was hell. 200 of us started. 16 of us finished. but I was one of them. It was the only success I had ever felt at that point. But it was awesome. And flying was amazing too. I was sure I was going to be a pilot. Oh boy was I wrong.
11. Music part 2. Eventually I ended up renting the basement from the parents of the girl I was dating. It was crazy. They let me rent their basement. I was now 17, going to a catholic high school, working at night, dating their daughter, paying rent, playing in a band and everything was amazing. Our first gig was opening for a band that was just about to take off. They had just signed a lucrative deal and they were poised to become huge. They were playing with The Used and My Chemical Romance every night. They were coming through our city and we got the opening spot. 3 weeks before they came, their drummer passed away from cancer. I wrote a song about him called “In Loving Memory” and dedicated it to him at the show. The band took a liking to us and really just did us a lot of favors. They started demanding that we play with them any time they came through town which was a few more times. Because of that we started getting higher and higher profile shows. By the time I was 20, the record company they were on offered us a deal and a 2 week spot on Warped Tour. Can you believe that? We were going to play FREAKING WARPED TOUR! All I could think of was all the people back home and how I was going to prove them all wrong. At that point my girlfriend considered herself a lesbian with one exception. Me. So it was sex, drugs and rock and roll. Anything went. Everything went. I was on top of the world. Or at least I was supposed to be. But i wasn’t happy and I couldn’t figure out why.
12. Love is evil, kill it now: I went home one christmas and fell in love. With someone other than the girl I was dating/living with. Tried to ignore it. Went back to the city, played some more high profile shows. But in the end admitted that I was miserable. Broke up the band, said no to the deal, moved back in with my dad and tried to chase the girl. It worked. We dated a year and a half. Fell in love. She got me back into drugs and alcohol. Got me back into partying. But I loved this girl like I’ve never loved anyone before or since. We were going to get married. But her parents hated me because I was poor and fat. Her dad held me up at gunpoint. Her mom tried to get me kicked out of school and get me fired from 3 jobs. But we stuck through it. I used to sneak her out at night so we could be together. And then we decided to move to Toronto so we could be free of them. I gave her a ring and moved to a city I didnt’ want to live in. Took a course I didnt really care about. But what else was I going to do? I had to be with her. When we got there I found out she’d been cheating on me with my best friend. She ended it the first night we were in the city. I lost my mind. Started using more and more drugs. Drinking more and more. I spent my tuition money on a piano and started writing like I’d never written before. By the end of it, i dropped out of school. Opened for Jet. Got a tour offer with them, but went on the Budweiser tour instead. Budweiser had free beer, hot girls and we played shows on stages built on their trucks. It was supposed to be heaven. I was so miserable.
13. The sheet: I moved back home again. Started partying even more. Started having parties in my house but during this time I met the best friends I’ve ever had. Better people than I’ve ever known anywhere. Even in the church. I had this sheet on the wall and we would just constantly write on it. Song lyrics, poetry, random ideas that we had. It was all pretty textbook really. We were the misfits, the freaks, the enemy. We were the kind of kids from Raine Maida’s - Yellow Brick Road. And it was perfect. But I was drowning. That year I spent 12,000 on drugs, alcohol and tears. Eventually my friends confronted me. I needed to get help.
14. I moved away and came back to church. And it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I still loved the girl. I was still heartbroken and depressed. I was a recovering addict who dealt with all the withdrawl and pain that comes from detox. I was fighting to figure out how I could fit in this world with all these happy Brady Bunch Mormons when I was a mess. I loved the faith but hated the people. I identified with the people in my music. People like Burt McCracken and Kris Roe and Kurt Cobain. The people I loved where Morrisey, and Jesse Lacey, and Adam Lazaraa. Chris Carabba and Jim Adkins. These people were so unlike the friends i’d made while living like a B-movie rockstar. They didnt get me. I didnt get them. But i knew that the one thing we had in common (The Gospel) was the most important thing we could ever have in common. So i put all the fear behind me and tried to love them. Tried to trust them.
15. My Brain: As it turns out, one of my birth defects is that I have two deadspots in my prefrontal cortex. All the drugs made it worse. Growing up I had no motivation at all. I always took the easy way out. My teachers called me a genius. I was supposed to go to a school for the gifted. But I couldn’t show up to class or hand in assignments. I lacked blood flow and firing in the part of my brain that made me desire things. Made me want to be motivated. I lacked function in the part of my brain that interprets the positive effects from the Lymbic System as happiness. And because of all the of damage i did through the drugs and the drinking, that damage spread. By the time I was 21 I stopped feeling guilt. I literally did not feel guilt at all. Nothing. Regret i felt. But it was logical. It was like “I shouldn’t have done that because it had an undesirable consequence” but i never felt guilty.
Finding out about my brain was the best thing that ever happened to me. Because now I started to understand why I was always the way I was. Why i was self destructive. Why I was a quitter. Why i didn’t care about anything unless it was pain. Why I was still in love with the girl who hurt me so badly. I understood and I now had a plan.
It’s been 3 years now since doctors told me what was up with my brain. 3 years since I figured out how I could change my brain. Three years since I put it into action. Since then, i’ve held important positions in the mental health field even without ANY qualifications outside of personal study and personal experience. Since then I’ve changed careers and begun working in the aviation industry in project management. I now fly around the country doing consulting and project planning for 13 different airlines. I’ve been instrumental in the design, testing and implementation of three huge developments and have become the fastest rising member of my field. I’ve done all of this while serving in an Elders Quorum Presidency, as a Ward Mission Leader, Activities Chair, Ward Music Chair, Ward Clerk, Institute Committee, and Melchizedek Priesthood Fireside Coordinator for my area. I’ve also done plenty of dating and am in a band that I really love again.
This past year i was endowed. I even had the opportunity to escort my employer through the temple. I’ve gone from being the drug addict-misfit-hate Mormons-couldn’t hold down a job-believe what everyone was saying about me, loser. To now being a leader in my work, in my band and in my faith. I have suffered unbelievable pain. I’ve had 4 broken fingers, 2 broken noses, 2 broken jaws, 6 dislocated knees, my ankle broken in 6 places, 3 broken ribs, a broken collar bone and a cracked heel. I’ve been hit by a car. I’ve been in a couple car accidents, i’ve been beaten more times than i could ever count. I’ve suffered malnutrition, emotional, physical and sexual abuse. I’ve had a cigarette put out on my face. I’ve had many friends die. Some from suicide, some from accidents, one from murder. I’ve watched a lot of people who grew up in my neighborhood go to jail. And I probably should have been one of them, many times.
But, I am okay. I am happy. I am strong. I’ve flown planes, met Stan Lee, hung out with rockstars. I’ve toured the most beautiful temples in the world. And, I am now being groomed as a possible person to one day take over a multi-million dollar company when the owner retires in 15 years. If not, in the mean time he’s paying for my education as an accountant. I’ve written for music magazines and been paid to write songs for other bands. I have people who call me from all over the country seeking my advice about music business and instruments. I’ve suffered a refiners fire and I know my trials are far from over. But I also know that there is a God. That he’s my father in heaven and He loves me. That he guides and directs me. That Jesus Christ died to save me, and you. I read my scriptures daily. I understand deep and great principals of the gospel and am called regularly to explain truths when others are confused. My life has been full of trials and full of amazing blessings. For ever pain I’ve suffered, I’ve also been part of an amazing adventure. I could have been tragedy. A statistic. I could have been like the other kids on the block. Instead, I am fulfilled and I owe it all to a great and loving god.
I cant help it. I wrote an awesome song on my way to work this morning. And i wanted to post it.
Does it matter who pulled the trigger
you were aiming at me anyway
and maybe life taught me the fast draw
Better me than you I tried to say
And wait a minute
Wasn’t I good to you
You filled the rounds
but we both know who pulled it true
A chamber kiss
at point blank range
It doesn’t matter
And you, you were the one
I always thought of in the morning
While getting dressed for church I wondered
Which tie you might like better
And you, you were the one
It was us and it was always
dont forget to brace your shoulder
Take your stance and brace your shoulder
Call it fair but tough love honey
we both know that you were trying
And if love is all you need
Then John Lennon was a liar
And wait a minute
Wasn’t I good for you
true love ballistics
Wasn’t I good to you
And wait a minute
What more could I have given you
Wait a minute
I pulled the trigger, wait a minute
Yep. That’s actually what he said. Those of you who know that my relationship with my brother isn’t great will understand the huge risk I took when I called him. I’ve been trying to trust him more. Trying to work on things. This was a huge mistake.
Me: So I just broke up with Jocelyn.
Richard: I’m not shocked. Wait, you broke up with her? Actually, yeah I am shocked.
Me: … Are you serious right now? I can’t believe I thought calling you was a good idea
Richard: I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Please go on. What happened.
Me: her heart just wasn’t in it, you know? It’s been 6 months and I could just tell that I liked her so much more than she liked me. And that really sucks because I’m crazy about her. But I also know I’m awesome. I care about people, I’m a strong leader and priesthood holder. I have a great job, a fantastic career and an awesome band. So I deserve someone who is crazy about me. But she wasn’t. And after all this time, that’s hurts a lot. But it was the right thing to do.
Richard: I told you so. Didn’t I say that like five months ago? That she wouldn’t love you and you’d end up hurt? Just for the record, I called it.
Me: You are really bad at this.
This is me admitting another failure. After 4 years of chasing her, and now 6 months this of dating her I had to call it quits. Weird that I’ve spent so long praying this would work and I had to be the one to end it. She probably would have let it go on for another course months. She really didn’t want to hurt me. And she is incredibly worried that this has ruined an amazing friendship so she was going to let it go. But I could tell her heart wasn’t in it. I knew I was t the one who made her feel special, and I had to admit that if after 6 months she wasn’t feelin’ it, then it certainly wasn’t coming.
This really sucks.