Family

Two years ago I had the closest thing to a mental breakdown.

At the time, my grandfather had passed away and I went to Utah for the service.

For most of the previous 15 years, or so one side of my family had abandoned me based on what my biological father had told them about me.

This left me and my wife alone to be ourselves and it is probably the reason I’m more of an extrovert than before those 15 years.

When I went to the service, my aunt who I hadn’t talked to in years offered a place for me to sleep and I took her up on it, though it was hard being around people who had treated me so badly for so long.

I went to the viewing, though there were a few moments I went outside because I saw all the people that I felt had abandoned me, including my sisters, and being in the same room with people who’d done that to me was the hardest thing I’d done.

I walked within five feet of my biological father, but neither of us looked at each other.

For the following month, I slept a lot, missed work and eventually got shingles from all the stress I was feeling as well as the depression.

My family and I went to my aunt’s though my wife was uncomfortable and so was I for the simple reason that my biological father had turned my wife and I into these villains, mostly my wife.

In the months that followed, my spiral swirled to the point in the middle of the following March that I stood on the ledge at the hotel I worked at in Las Vegas and stared at the ground.

I wanted it to be over. I didn’t want to hurt anymore, I didn’t want my wife and kids to see me suffer and most of all I thought the world would be better.

I stepped off the ledge that day, called my wife and told her I needed help, but didn’t tell her about the ledge until later.

A couple of weeks later, I started Transcendental Meditation.

TM helped me deal with things, it isn’t a cure-all, but I’m able to deal with life better since beginning TM.

Today, and mostly this time of the year, I have bouts of depression. I think about who I am and what I’ve done in the last two years, and I’m happy about getting my wife and kids out of Vegas.

I’m excited about my writing and I love myself, though that comes in and goes sometimes.

I’m mostly happy.

We all deal with depression and I’ve lost family to suicide.

Please if yo need help, ask someone, talk to someone and find help. I almost jumped and would have lost the last two years of my life.

Suicide prevention hotline

1-800-273-8255

pablo (22)

Today, while I sat, reading Neil Gaiman’s new nonfictiony book, sitting next to my wife, who was multi-tasking, an ever-present sketchbook next to her, I watched a conversation.

Our daughter clambered between us to watch my wife’s colored pencils perform.

I don’t often see the interaction of teacher and student, of which I often think of them as.

I’m either reading a new book or writing something of my own.

The rarity of the occasion was more pronounced by the effort our daughter took to watch her mom create, color then create and fill the sketch with more colors.

I love the creativity in our house and the way in which our kids absorb creating through us.

My son crafted a lovely story a while ago. It’s one that I’ve asked him to expand upon and last night, he brought me cover sketches for it.

I told him, “Worry about the story, the cover will come later. If you need help, I’m here.”

I hope it helped him.

I wonder how why some kids don’t create things and I’m reminded of my childhood and having to hide stories I’d written, then I know.

 

pablo (21)

A matter of course.

The matter, of course, is the way in which our lives move through the world and the way we see things in the world.

Each course is the culmination in the way the way see the world and the truth of who we are.

The course we pass through is indifferent, and the reality of how we move through the world is indicavit of our choices as we move.

Our movement, though possibly slow is the only way we know how to get into the lives we’ve worked hard enough to enjoy.

Our enjoyment of these lives is the truth, not the reality.

The reality isn’t the way we want it to be, but in the course of our life, it creates, thrives and moves about the world how we couldn’t dream, much less allow ourselves to be.

We allow ourselves to be comfortable in the false reality and neglect the course. We fit ourselves into the world we don’t understand and enable the course to move us instead of the other way around.

Within the course of our lives, we’re the master, but we oftentimes neglect things because we’re unable to separate who we are from who need to be, the course is set and we must follow.

pablo (17)

I bartend weddings, graduations, and corporate events to pay for my writing habit.

You learn a lot from people who are starting out, ending or are somewhere in between. The constant at all of these is time.

At all of these events, regardless of the event’s purpose, time is brought up in some form. Whether it’s the time they’ve been with their company, the time they’ll be spending with their new spouse or the end of their journey in the corporate world.

We think of time only when it passes us by or when it’s coming towards in our looks to the future.

We rarely look at time as something to savor or something that we need to harness.

Taking the time to structure our lives in the best possible way to harness the time we have left, because honestly, we never know when we’re out of time.

There is a constant with all of these moments I’ve worked, not just time. Thankfulness.

Thankful to be honored, thankful for family who’s supported them and the rare, thankful for being able to keep going through the hard times.

I make decent money with the events, but it’s the stories people tell about their lives that make the events worth it.

I have coworkers who talk to each other during the speeches while I’m listening intently to them. I cherish the speeches because the time you spend listening is your time, not theirs. You’re using your time to focus on someone else instead of wasting it with idle chatter.

 

I’m discovering I wasn’t who I thought I was.

When we reach a certain point in our lives, we find that the person we believe ourselves to be, isn’t the one everyone else sees. This is either by accident or design.

I’ve always thought of myself as shy, reserved, but in my family life that’s not how I was.

During my time with TM, I’ve discovered I’m not the person I thought I was, I was much worse.

I believed myself to be a good husband, father and son, though quite a few times it has been the opposite.

I’d been demanding, belittling and sometimes cruel. I write this because I’m doing my best to be better in all the roles I listed above.

A few weeks after I started doing TM I had a self-realization moment.

I watched myself, how I acted towards my wife, kids and parents, and I didn’t like what I saw.

I’ve put up this facade of who I was, what my family life was like and it’s time to tear it down.

I no longer want to be the person who tells stories about his life, I want to write stories about others lives.

Growing up lies were told to me many times about many things, and I’ve found myself doing that to people I care about, not because it was planned, but because it was something I took as normal and in truth, if you love someone you don’t lie to them.

The lies I was told as a kid grew to shape who I am, and what I believed, but in shaping me they’ve allowed me to create this facade and build a wall around myself which I thought protected me from being hurt by others, which was a constant as a child.

My self-realization moment happened and I sat down with my wife, apologized for the man I’d been and promised that I would be a better man, it was a true awakening moment.

When I realized the things I was doing, I was overcome with emotion and had to think about all the things I’d done to people. It was as close as I can get to make amends for the things I’ve done in my life and the way I’ve hurt people.

That I’ve caused pain to my wife, who’s stood by me through everything and put up with my attitude and being an ass, shows how much she cares for me.

I realized that my wife is the best thing to happen to me. She’s never judged me, or anything I’ve done. She’s loved me for who I am and ignored or tolerated the person I was.

I find myself in a new place, devoid of having people who only want me around for their own means and I’m learning that I have more control of things and who I’ll be in the future than I thought possible.

I say these words often to myself, but they ring true every time. Our life is our own, how we deal with it defines who we are to ourselves and others. Who we choose to be is under our control and no one can tell us who we are but ourselves.

 

Looking at life from a writer’s perspective, there’s a beginning, middle and end, right?

What if like some novels, we choose to end the story in the middle or not quite the end?

When we reach the point of ending the story prematurely, we discover who are friends are, who the people are that really care about us and whether our lives mean anything to someone else.

There are two times I’ve wanted to end my story, but I kept the writer guessing, wondering which way I would go.

When we keep the writer guessing, we keep life interesting, and if life is interesting, we want to discover how the story ends.

The first time I wanted to end the story, I was 13, I was bullied often and generally treated horribly.

I sat up late one night, holding a hobby knife as if it were a crucifix. I remember that night better than most. The way my sheets felt, the way I cried, and the way the story kept going.

I let the writer keep doing his thing because I wanted to see how the story would end, or at least how I would get out of the situation I was in. Things got better, I moved in with my mom and step-dad and I started a new school. I made friends, none of which I can remember, but I got through it. I let the story go on.

When I talk about these things some people believe I shouldn’t talk about how I wanted to die, not because I was selfish, but because I thought it was the best thing for my family. I believed they would be better if I weren’t there.

The second time, was more recent.

In February, I sat in my car after work, cried for 20 minutes and called my wife and told her, “I think I need to do something different.”

My work day had been horrible. I got in an argument with a co-worker. My work had been poor and didn’t really care if I made it home.

The whole drive home I hoped I would get in a wreck, I would die and my family would be better off. I believed that because my mind told me that’s what would happen.

That night, I sat at my computer, wrote a little bit and felt a little better.

I didn’t get in a wreck, or try to cause one, but I wanted to. The reason I didn’t was I wanted to see how my story ends, and I know it isn’t close to the final chapter.

I still have grandchildren I want to see. A daughter I want to see get married and a son I want to see turn into a man.

There are many parts of my story which are waiting in future chapters, the most important are still to come and I know that life isn’t done until the those two words come across the screen…The End!

Night Shot of the Lego Tumbler lit from underneath.

Night Shot of the Lego Tumbler lit from underneath.

Our strength is determined by how we deal with our lives. How we handle adversity and how we talk to others when we’ve screwed up.

After I started TM (Transcendental Meditation) I sat down with my wife and told her all the times i thought I’d screwed up in our relationship and with our kids.

It was the first time I felt like I’d accepted responsibility for something bad that I’d done.

My wife forgave me for the things which had happened and we’ve been doing better since, but I’ve been wanting to have a family project, something all of us could do together.

Family game night failed and I found my opportunity in July, when Lego decided to make a larger scale Lego Batman Tumbler.

It was something I knew my son would love, he’s always loved Bats and he’s a Lego fiend.

We started last week with 12 bags of Legos and we finished it on Monday, my son putting the final pieces together.

My wife and spent a few nights putting together the Tumbler and my son and I spent time doing the same.

It was the first time my wife and I had done a project together since we put our son’s bed together, he’s 10.

Building it was frustrating, irritating and fun all at the same time.

I learned my son is an amazing Lego builder and my wife gets more frustrated than I remember.

All of us had fun building it, our four-year old was too small, but she loved to watch it come together.

TM brought out the best in who I’ve been, it scuttled the rest and I’m discovering my life, kids and how much I truly love my wife all over again.

I know that life hasn’t always been good, and there will be rough patches, but when things get bad I now have something that can help me get through those rough patches better.

My wife and kids are important to me, possibly more than they know, and I’m learning to accept that I wasn’t always a great dad or husband before TM.

I know I’ve found something that has altered my perception of who I am and it’s been an amazing ride and it’s something I will do for the rest of my life.

I will work to get others to do it, not just because I’ve seen the benefits in myself, but I know the benefits can change who you are, and I’m really liking who I am right now and it’s been a very long time since I was able to say that.