I’ve made reference obliquely to the fact that I’ve had a hard couple of years in past posts and in other ways. No, I’ve had a hard few years actually. More than a couple. It’s been going on for quite some time. It seems like life has been stuck in some kind of cyclical hell that I cannot quite climb out of. A repetitive type of purgatory that I cannot ever seem to escape from. There have been respites and temporary stays and days when I could almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. But it always seemed like things would almost immediately reverse and plunge me back into this dark and dank place in which dreams nor peace could reside. For a few years I’ve fought it, or I’ve given lip service to fighting it. I’ve blamed fate and I’ve blamed consequence and I’ve blamed God and everyone around me for causing it. I’ve held the world accountable for my actions and for my situation and for even the way I think about things.
I’ve been hurtful to the people I love, and I’ve been hateful to others. And I’ve acted in a manner that is not conducive to either my betterment or my resolving all the controversy around me. For that I am sincerely sorry, and I offer my apologies for those that I’ve hurt and those that I’ve done wrong by. That it wasn’t meant wasn’t and isn’t an excuse. It never is. But I have allowed it to become one. I’ve allowed my self pity and sometimes even self loathing to give pardon to the way I’ve acted. It’s ironic that in our most selfish behavior that we become very good at sharing our pain in the most awful and shameful of ways. I understand now that it is inexcusable, under any circumstance.
But I also now, being on the other side of things, see how things work. And I see how a fragile and damaged psyche can unravel a person inch by inch, millimeter by torturous millimeter, until there isn’t much left of the person that was. I see how you can hide pain, and it is manifested in a hundred other ways. I see how I was being outwardly strong but inwardly I was a coward. I see how sometimes choking back tears becomes a bitterness of spirit. I see how squelching pain results in anger.
Ten years ago I was proud and unconquerable. I was incapable of defeat. I knew nothing but victory and success and though it was all well deserved, and though I worked very hard for every bit of it, I didn’t truly appreciate it until it was all gone. And when it started going away, I held onto the shame and disappointment with all the tenacity and vigor of the glory and success that I had previously wrapped myself in. I allowed it to become not only mine, I allowed it to define me.
The worst thing about losing faith is that it leaves a vacuum. And into that vacuum will rush a million little things. Most of them are going to be horribly terrifying things. I’ve allowed those things to become me. Who I am. I’ve allowed the opinions of others to become my own. I’ve allowed their misguided paths to become my hope, and in doing that I merely delayed the inevitable dismay and disappointment. I quit listening to myself, and I listened too hard to others. I lost my dreams, and I settled merely a respite from the storm, for any temporary shelter. Worst of all, I’ve allowed my lack of faith in myself to make me far too amenable to the thoughts, opinions, suggestions and ideas of others. I’ve allowed the simplest of disparaging comments to become heinous insults and worse still, part of my identity. As if I hadn’t enough to worry about, I allowed the doubts of others to become my own. And doubt…………….well doubt is hell. Doubt is a seething pit of pain and despair. Doubt creates hopelessness so vast that it is beyond comprehension.
In doubt I allowed myself to be taken advantage of. I’ve allowed my distorted self image to create situations in which things were taken from me. I didn’t fight for things I should have. I walked away from things I should have claimed as my own. I was talked into things that I would have never agreed to years ago. I lost faith in my own opinion, in my own ideas, in my own strength, in my own judgment and experience. I’ve lost a lot. I took the counsel of those that aren’t my friends, and ignored those that were. I realize now that those that told me the brutal and hard truths were my friends. Those that catered to me, well, they weren’t. They told me that I was silly, that I was stupid. They supported my decline and dissuaded me from trying again. Failure happens to us all, they said. And I listened. And when those that loved me tried to tell me differently, I lashed out. What did they know?
For years I’ve pondered upon the problem. I’ve sat in the dark of my living room, I’ve tossed and turned in bed night after night. Trying to ascertain the source of all my issues. I’ve sought the answer in books and prayer and a million other ways. I’ve wondered and contemplated the issues that swarmed about my like maddening insects sucking me dry a millionth of an ounce at a time. I’ve huddled alone in my room wondering if it wasn’t just time to end it all. If you haven’t been there, you won’t understand. And if you have, you will all too well. I’m ashamed of thinking it, but I won’t deny I did. Because in thinking it, I faced it. I went to the edge. I peered into the darkness. And now I realize how hopelessly selfish a solution it would’ve been. It’s painful to even think about. It’s embarrassing to admit. But there it is.
I’ve grasped at everything I can. In a sense, even my being here is a portion of that foundering. Everything I did in recent times is a desperate attempt at altering or changing my perceived reality. You get so desperate, so wanting that anything can be believed to be your hope, your salvation, your way out. Maybe if I start working out. Maybe if I eat differently. Maybe if I change jobs. Maybe if I move. If I keep looking maybe I will find happiness, maybe I will find the answer. Somewhere out there is the answer. If I only keep looking.
And this morning, when I awoke I found the answer as I stared into my own hollow eyes in the mirror.
The issue was me. The issue is me.
But that me is going to die today. I’ve run about as far as I care to. I’m tired. I’ve been tired for a long time. Hell, I am exhausted. For years I’ve owned the pain. I’ve wrapped myself in it. I’ve lived it. I’ve awakened with it sitting on my chest. I’ve walked around with one eye over my shoulder always watching behind me, waiting, knowing that something was coming. And inevitably it will, it always does.
Things have to change. Things will change. And the only instrument of change I own is me. I have a tool. I have the means.
I have talents beyond what the world has seen. And I’ve hidden them out of fear. I will do so no longer. And though I will still be afraid at times, I won’t allow that doubt to rule me any more. For so long I’ve pushed down everything inside, I’ve choked on it until the bitterness of it has poisoned me.
For a long time I’ve done nothing out of fear that whatever I chose might be wrong. But wrong is a mistake whereas nothing is damnation. It is a terminal disease, inaction. I will have the confidence that I can and will find a way to change things. I will find a way out. I used to stand at the gates of a new day with fear and dread in my heart
I once believed that anything a man can believe he can achieve. I did. Call it foolish. Call it naive. Call it silly. I don’t care. I believe that inside us all there is something special. Something wonderful in all of us. I believe with all my heart that we are given our own unique and wonderful talents. They’re meant to be shared. They’re meant to be shown. I listened to the naysayers who said my best wasn’t good enough. I listened to those that were like what I’d become. Toxic dangerous people.
I have, for far too long focused on the negatives. I’ve been bitter and hateful. Especially to myself.
For the longest time I’ve believed that things wouldn’t change.
Last night I went to bed afraid and alone.
I’ve hated myself for my mistakes. I’ve punished myself to the ends of the earth and back. I’m my biggest critic and I am the biggest obstacle to my success.
Even now, I am afraid of what might be said of this post. But it has to be said. And it will. I was ashamed of my pain. I was ashamed of my failures. I was ashamed of my hurt and anger. I was ashamed and I hid it from everyone. I was worried what you might think. I was worried what you might think of me.
But no more. Do you hear me? No more.
So, yes, I’ve decided that today, I’m going to kill my old self. I’m going to kill that guy I’ve lived with for the past few years. I’m going to bury him and his misguided beliefs in the past. And out of that tainted and battered past will arise a new me. A stronger me. A wiser me. A me that fears but still walks in. A me that believes once more. A me that has faith. A me that has hope. A me that is guided by hope and dreams.
“Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.” -Kahlil Gibran