Fear

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.

 

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.

 

 

Strength, physical or mental has always been something I’ve dealt with.

When I was in ninth grade I weighed 75 lbs, and worried every day about being bullied. There were days I’d want to give up, and though most don’t know it I use to scratch myself, it’s called cutting now, but I never did it very deep, it was always a way for me to control something.

I couldn’t gain weight, much to me dad’s dismay. I didn’t do well in school and there were many times I’d wish the world would go away. Most of those times I’d sit in my room with a small knife and rub it against my arm, sometimes I’d bleed, others not, but it’s been a long time since I last cut, and I’m finally happy with where my life is.

We reach the darkest places in our lives when we no one is listening, watching or otherwise paying attention.

No one knew I cut, I’m sure my parents had no idea, probably still don’t.

I got through the hardest parts of my childhood by keeping things inside. I’d never tell anyone what was really wrong. I feared they’d throw me in the white padded room wearing a hug-me jacket.

The things I kept inside were the hate I had for myself and the guilt I felt for things in my life. I knew I wasn’t a great person at the time, I knew that cutting was wrong, but I didn’t care, it gave me comfort when I felt there was none.

The truth was, I felt that if my parents had stayed married, I would have been a different person.

When they divorced I was outgoing and liked who I was, I was eight, but still. I knew these things then.

Afterwards, not so much. I hated my life and wished I was anything but who I was. That went on for a long time, longer than I thought, especially as I’ve been rather reflective of my teenage years lately I’ve found that life isn’t fair, for anyone.

We live, die and move on, but in the middle of it all we have to find time to live, truly live. If we don’t live the life we want, why are we trying so hard to live?

Each year since my parents divorced I hated the start of the school year, except when I became a dad. I’ve learned when the kids go back to school it’s not about me, it’s about them, and they’ll always matter more than I do.

As my kids have grown I’ve discovered my parents did right by me for getting divorced. I know it was the only option they had at the moment and now that I’ve been married nearly 15 years, I know how hard it is to keep things going, and they’d just had enough.

I don’t blame them, fault them or have any bad feelings about coming from divorced parents. I’m proud they discovered they weren’t compatible anymore and decided it was for the best they not live in the same house.

Now I’m five months into TM and I can reflect on who I was for most of my life, I’m not happy with how I treated others, but most of all I’m not happy with how I treated myself. I’ve learned my life is under my control and any mistakes are my own and it’s time to own up for things I’ve done.

To all those I’ve wronged in one way or another, I’m sorry.

To be in control of oneself is a different feeling, and it’s something I plan to keep doing. Transcendental Meditation has been the greatest blessing I’ve ever been given and will continue for the rest of my life, I just want others to discover it and finally be comfortable with themselves.

Bri

 

The year I graduated from high school, we lived in a small trailer on the plains of Wyoming.

It was beautiful to me.

Snow drifts grew to be as large as a truck. The days blended together as the grey, overcast clouds blocked out the sun. We hid in our rooms, or the living room, a dull orange light from the lamp or the white glow of the television casting its glow upon our faces.

It was these nights, with my sister, mom and dad huddled on a couch or under a blanket, which reminded me life wasn’t as bad as my teenage mind thought it was.

Each day, my sister and I would wake from our sleep, hurry to the bathroom, for if we didn’t there would be no hot water, or worse yet, not water at all.

We’d dress in adjacent rooms, only a panel separating our rooms.

It was there on those mornings, when we stood for the bus in 20 below weather I thought not of living somewhere warm, but thought of how beautiful the snow looked, the shape of the ice on the road as it jutted from the black top.

You see, in Wyoming, when there is slush in the road, it freezes like the world turned upside down. There were mornings when I was worried we’d hit one of these icicles and the bus would stop on the freeway leading to the nearest town where we attended school.

Life was easy on that plane in Wyoming. I had school, different girlfriends, and I’d stay up late writing.

Those were the days of teenage angst ridden poems about love, pain and the things which I’ve now outgrown, but the things I wrote were the beginnings of who I’d become years later, 20 years later.

Now that I’ve been away from snow drifts, the world turned upside down and the long bus rides, I think about why I wrote, not what I wrote. I remember thinking, no one will ever see this.

I loved that I could write something I thought was beautiful, and not care if the world saw it or not.

I liked the feeling of writing that way, it’s something I’ve tried to do again, but my mind fails me at those moments.

I think snow drifts and a trip down the rabbit hole will help, but I’ve been in the darkest places, and prefer the light, it keeps the dark away.

I saw life through my 18-year-old eyes a few days ago as I sifted through journals of poems and stories.

I liked what I read, the carelessness of the writing, the sense that the writer knew no one would see it, least of all himself in 20 years.

I’m going to return to writing without caring, because I was happiest when I stood in 20 below weather, my life in front of me and the discovery of what comes next.

Growing up I was afraid of doing things wrong. This came from being told I had to act a certain way, had to keep my chin up, and that I couldn’t, ever act up.

Do you know what it’s like to grow up and believe you can’t do anything right?

I also believed if I did any of the things I mentioned above the wrath of god would be unleashed and I would never be able to do anything fun again.

Because of this, I lived in fear anything I did could jeopardize my life.

This became one of the hallmarks of my childhood.

When I was 14, and began writing, I kept my stories from him for I knew they’d be ejected from his vision without cause or purpose simply because they weren’t something useful, or that they wouldn’t help me when I got older.

I left his domain, moved away, but those fears of being accepted by him were still there.

These things caused me to stop writing until my last year of high school.

I found in high school, people like me. Those who wrote because they liked writing. I no longer had to keep things hidden about my writing and discovered that I was starting to get decent.

After high school I didn’t write as much, but I still wrote, which saved me a few times.

Once I left the god’s domain, I learned, though not quickly, god wasn’t as powerful as he thought he was and that my life was under my control, not his.

This changed when I entered back into his good graces. I started writing again, but kept every journal stashed away for fear he wouldn’t understand my writing or that it would be judged as something it wasn’t.

Once I finally left god’s domain, without any reason to turn back, I leaped free of his domain and set out on my own.

Soon I discovered there were things beyond his realm. Things I discovered which changed the way I viewed him and because of finding love, I found out that he was no longer of use to me.

About the same time I found love, I discovered the ability to write again.

Though, because of the hallmarks of my childhood, I was still afraid of his wrath or that I would disappoint him in some way. Because of this I didn’t write the things I wanted to.

I was too afraid of being smote by his wrath.

He was at a distance during that time and though I’ve let myself write again, it wasn’t until the last few months when I decided, “I’ve been without him as constant in my life and I’ve become a better person for it, why would I want him in my life, when I’ve just become comfortable in my own skin?”

Because of this revelation, I have turned in my halo and started my march in to hell.

My march has led me to find things about myself, and my writing, I never knew existed.

I thought his approval was required for everything, it isn’t. I now know that my life is my own and I’m in control for one.

I no longer care, nor do I require his approval for my writing or otherwise.

I’m finally in control and it’s time to write without fear.

 

We disguise who we are from ourselves. We do this to keep others away, keep ourselves happy and to, hopefully, chase the demons we deal with.

The disguise we use often depends upon the nature of the demon. Childhood trauma is a big one, but hiding from things we don’t want others to know, this keeps us happy, but also maintains the disguise.

Keeping up the illusion gets harder as we get older, and creating ways to deal with our demons may lead us down a darker path.

A path filled with pills, bottles and cutting, but writing creates a forum for our demons. It brings them to the forefront of who we are, and more importantly who we strive to be.

Writing, like meditation is our outlet and with that outlet we discover we’re stronger than we believed possible, even if we must discover it through our fiction.

Fiction is the one outlet which we can put a character in a situation and possibly work through the issues we’ve dealt with through them.

The process is difficult, but leads us to a different path, one devoid of pills, bottles and hopefully cutting.

Finding the right story to get through our trauma may be difficult, but keeping a journal of the trauma and story ideas helps.

In the pages of our journals we find an avenue to get through the life we had, have and hopefully will lead us to a better day.

Writing fiction helps us to find ourselves through our characters. It encourages us to get through another day and discover, we are better than we were told, and it helps us to know, just like our characters, things to get better.

They get better because we keep writing. We keep trying and we decide the disguise, though useful, isn’t necessary anymore.

When we write, we discover there are others who’ve needed the help. Who’ve waited for something to help them through their dark paths.

We write because we know there’s that one book which helped us, and we want someone else to feel the same hope we felt.

We lose our disguise because we no longer feel the need to hide from the world. We abandon the disguise, we get through it and we write to help others.

 

St. Louis Cemetary No. 2

Death comes only when we’re not expecting it, for those are the times we don’t fear it.

These words have been making the rounds in my head for the last week. I’ve been doing TM for the past four months and though I no longer worry as much about who I am, I do feel myself worrying about others more often.

I’m not sure why, but I feel like there are things in this life which can be solved, not by weapons, callousness or hate, but by wanting to be better than we were yesterday.

Death it seems is something which I’d wanted to do, at least in the early part of this year. It’s now nearly August and I find myself looking to experience new things, take trips places and do the things I’d put off out of fear.

Life it seems is more important to me than it was a year ago, and this past year I’ve lost my grandfather and my wonderful Abigail.

My grandfather was something I saw coming; Abigail, I knew was going to happen soon, but I didn’t want it to. She’d sat by me through all my migraines and now, when I have one, I cast my eyes toward her bed, which still sits in the corner, and I find myself thinking about what a good dog she was and how she came along and helped me get through many things. I think that’s why she lived her 16 years, she was watching over me.

We often hide from the life we have, either in alcohol, drugs, depression or repressed feelings, but today I can honestly say I am living the life I want.

It’s an odd feeling to live the life you want, and not give shit what anyone thinks about you, or your life choices. I discovered that there is only person I need to make happy with my choices, myself and I don’t care for the thoughts of anyone else.

This year I found myself, I wonder what the rest of the year will bring?