The art of living has always interested me, to be mindful and fully present in my life and take it all in is an art worth practicing, but the art of staying alive has been something I tried to master these past several months. At times, one must fight to live in order to keep walking this beautiful planet.
My last piece of writing brought many well wishers, people
asking to share my words to bring awareness, and I am sure a few wondering, “Is this dude cracking up?” The latter is yet to be determined. I believe we all crack up at one time or another, one way or another. If you are paying attention, it can bring perspective and build resilience. To some, like myself, the “cracking” might come in the form of dealing with depression and anxiety, or being administered a dangerous mix of drugs, a suicidal cocktail of sorts, at the emergency room one night and two days later finding yourself in an extremely dark place, hanging on for your life, knowing deep inside that you actually want to stay alive. To some, your breaking unfolds from being less than content at your job, struggling with relationships and love, trying not to tip that bottle back because the addiction is real, or maybe you feel that your life is spinning out of control because you’ve been chasing after something that doesn’t reveal itself or even exist. Perhaps, your stress has mounted from a series of decisions you have made and you beat the hell out of yourself by calling them, “mistakes.” I call those moments “lessons” coming from our greatest teacher, life, and if we are aware can open the door to a glorious existence, with all of our joy and suffering leading the way.
On April 18th, a lesson was presented before me, making me aware that I truly wanted to live and the demon that was trying to kill me was indeed not myself but a mixture of a few medicines numbing my mind, eventually making me realize once again that I had a purpose to be here, rambling on this earth for a cause that was beyond myself, spreading awareness. My purpose, I did not need to chase because it was something I already had, my experiences and my willingness to share them, no matter how vulnerable, in order to help others. I bear it all to teach the truth of what can happen in body and mind, and in the process show that one can find great strength when needed. For those of you that have climbed out from the dark chambers of your mind, finding light again, you know the strength I talk of. That’s why I am here, to challenge the stigmas around mental illness, to tell them to “Fuck off” because it takes an enormous amount of will power and strength to keep moving forward, to turn off the key in a closed garage and walk in your house to keep living.
I recently had someone approach me and tell me she was struggling lately and my writing helped her realize she’s not alone. Her words meant the world because I often wonder if anyone is listening, paying attention, or cares about what I have to say. Do they understand what I am trying to say to them? Will they listen before it’s too late? When I get into this mindset, I often think about sealing all of my thoughts, reflections, and ideas into a tight container and keeping them there. However, every time I offer myself to the world, either in the form of blogs, presentations, or my books, I inevitably have someone tell me they have connected with what I have said and it helps them. To see emotion come to this woman’s face as she stood before me, made me realize again, if my vulnerability helps even one person, it was all worth it.
Vulnerability is strength. In a world where the risk of judgment is ever present, knowing that you are willing to accept it if your story allows others to heal or feel like they are not alone, takes tremendous strength and confidence. To me, venturing into that place where I give you my personal experiences, also helps me become more aware of who I am and what I stand for. If you know these two things, you are headed down a path that will lead to your purpose in life and bring a great deal of joyful interactions with people your vulnerability helped you connect with.
There are these times, actually quite often, where I wonder when I will run out of things to say, or when I will just stop sharing my experiences. Perhaps, I’ll be done with publishing books, blogs, or wanting to show that it’s okay to express emotion and be vulnerable. I’ll do like I once did, keep my writings and words to myself, and ramble on down the road, leaving a trail of reflections behind me and smile to the sunset, welcoming a more private path of exploration. Other times, I visualize a young person entering a library, picking up a book with my name on it that was created from my blood and suffering, and connecting with the story in a meaningful way, where it gives them hope to go on, and it will make it all worth it.