Category Archives: Searching for…
When I was younger I thought that trusting people was for the weak. As I got older I continued to build barriers around my soul, I built a keep on an island surrounded by a moat full of vicious crocodiles. There was no drawbridge therefore no entry and no exit. So there I stayed isolated from the “pain” and the “grief” that trusting would cause. I let no one in and I let nothing out.
There are unspoken rules that everyone learns growing up. Many people go their entire lives without knowing why they feel a certain way about something or the reason they react to something the way they do. These ideals and feelings are instilled in us over such a long period of time that we don’t even recognize learning them. For me trust was something I never fully understood. I understood that to trust someone was to be “totally and completely honest with them”. However it always seemed to be a double-edged sword for me. When I trusted, I did not feel the love and compassion people spoke of. The feelings that come to mind are more along the lines of anger, fear, resentment, and pain. For me I felt that this so-called trust thing was just a way for people to trick you into telling them your secrets.
As the years went on I trusted less and less and I started to feel an emptiness. After doing some intensive work one on one with a licensed professional I got to a point to where I could trust. I wanted people to know me for me. I wanted to know other people for who they truly were. I was tired of living the lie. I walked around donned in my “armor” of humor and apathy. I was afraid to show the world my imperfections. I didn’t want the world to see my flaws. However now I want to be real and authentic. I want to be vulnerable. I’m over worrying what your’e going to think about me or who your’e going to tell. I’m OK with me and if you aren’t well then we probably shouldn’t be friends. I’m not saying we all need to agree on everything I’m just saying we need to respect other people’s beliefs, views, and opinions. Life is too short for me to spend all day worrying about how other people will perceive me or for me to dictate how you should live your life. I’m learning to be content with myself and content with the fact that not everyone is going to like me. And you know whats funny? It seems the very thing that frightened me most (becoming honest and vulnerable) attracts the people I want to be surrounded by. It attracts people who live by the same principles as I do, other individuals that use love and respect as a way of life.
Now of course it’s not all roses, there are some fools who don’t understand. I take that back. I don’t think it’s that they don’t understand. I think they are just terrified of taking off their armor. Without armor we are defenseless. We are vulnerable. We are susceptible to the pain. I found that by ridding myself of my shields I actually felt more comfortable than before. I became so content carrying around all my bullshit and not sharing that it was normal to feel exhausted. Once I let it all go and realized that I control how I feel and what you think does not define me I was able to live freely. I have days when all I want to do are stay in bed and not face the world. Days when it all seems too unbearable. On these days I try to reflect back on how I felt before making a shift in my thought process. Often times when I think back on the emotional isolation I realize that the armor I carried then was heavier than the pain I feel now.
We are social creatures that thrive on interaction and have an unquenchable thirst for relationships. So go out today and be honest with someone. Love someone for who they are. Offer the same level of respect to others that you want in return. Reach out, become vulnerable and take a risk.
It has been over a year now and I am in a place I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams. My dreams were clouded and blank, now my dreams are full of color and imagination. My life has changed for the better. More than for the better I actually have a life. Sure I had a life before January 10th 2013, however it wasn’t the life I had anticipated. I wouldn’t change anything from my past. Its made me who I am today. Had I not had my previous experiences I would not be here. I had way too much fun and gained some experiences far beyond my years. I don’t know exactly how to categorize my past. I could say it was my early 20’s. I could say it was addiction. I could say I was just trying to figure it out like the rest of the world. I don’t think it’s possible to put one label on it. For me it was my destiny. A path I had to walk. The potters wheel that molded me. There was no other way. Some would say I was a bad piece of clay. Clay that had been hardened by the sun unable to soak up water and un-shapeable. There were certain potters who thought otherwise. These potters anxiously awaited the day the clay would break. Bust into pieces so it could drink the water of life. When that day came and the clay was crushed, broken, and alone the potters went to work.
At first glance it looked like a ploy to stay out of trouble. What all of the sudden had changed? Everything had changed. It was a long time coming. For years I was restless. Yet I was shackled, unable to break free. Many call it addiction. Yes I think I have struggled with addiction in my life. However I do not think it is solely to blame. I was lazy, disorganized, and unmotivated. I found something that was “working” for me. I was able to travel, buy whatever I wanted, eat well, and I didn’t have to show up to work at eight in the morning. I became so comfortable in the snake pit that it seemed normal. It was normal to expect to be bitten. Normal to hear the rattler’s rattle. It all became so normal that I saw no other way. Why would I want it any other way? I had it “made.” Until the day it was no longer the rattler’s rattle I heard. The day had come when the snakes decided to bite. I could feel the venom creeping through my body. It was painful but not painful enough. I stayed in the pit but there were to many snakes to avoid and the rattler sunk its venom filled fangs into my flesh for a second time. By now the poison from the first bite was taking its toll. The paranoia had set in and I was trapped. I could feel the proteins from the second bite beginning to go to work. I knew I needed help. It was impossible to survive these bites alone.
Extracting the venom was not an easy process. It took months and months of hard work, painful and heart wrenching. Day in and day out looking into a mirror. There was no escaping. I wanted to jump back into the snake pit and say fuck it all, I knew that I couldn’t. If I was bitten again there would be no help. So I stayed. I kept waking up looking into that mirror hating what I saw. Ruing the day I asked for help. Months had passed and still no change. Why could I not find a better way. It wasn’t until I let go of everything that I felt the change. I had to relinquish all control I thought I had. Control is so unattainable. The only control I have is control over myself. I can control my feelings, my actions, and my reactions that is it. I can not control what you will say or what you will do. When I let go of the control I quit having expectations. When I stopped assuming people were going to act a certain way I was able to see the situation more clearly. I could see that people are constantly reacting. I was able to sit in my own skin. I was able to let others say and do as they please knowing that I had full control over how it affected me. It seems elementary but for me it was a breakthrough. It was liberating.
Four months later (one hundred and ten days to be exact) I was deemed healed. Ready to released into the wild. Spread my wings and fly like the true bird I was born to be. So I did, I migrated south to Florida for warmer weather. It was in Florida that I was able to flourish. I came to realize that I loved the ocean. I fell in love with it. I wanted to be a part of it. I needed to know everything about it. It was only by a fluke that I fell into the scuba industry. I was looking for things to occupy my time and one day decided to get certified as a scuba diver. A day that forever changed the course of my life. I was immediately enthralled by the passion and charisma everyone surrounding the industry seemed to hold inside of them. I wanted to be a part of it. I started learning as much as I could. I went diving every opportunity I had and I hung around the scuba shop when I wasn’t under water. It wasn’t long before I had a job on a dive boat. I was working most days and loving every minute of it. The captain of the boat I worked on shared his knowledge with me and I in return eagerly awaited more. We became close friends and I would eventually move in with him and his family. It was a true blessing. I could not have asked for anything more. The move came at a time when I was surrounded by people, who in the past were trying to make the same changes as me. These persons had recently changed their minds. The captain and his family took me in as if I was their own blood. They housed me and fed me. I had begun to get home sick and this cured it. It was nice to have a family around even if it wasn’t my own blood. The support they provided was unparalleled. Had they not been in my life I do not know where I would be today. Florida was challenging in many ways. For one I was alone and forced to be outside of my comfort zone. There was nothing familiar. It was hard to be away hard to rebuild. I was forced to become self sufficient. No other option but to deal with my problems alone. I prevailed and learned that I can accomplish more than I ever thought possible. I made friends and lost friends. When I have my sights set in a direction I find that others align for a small time but eventually fall to the wayside. It is ever changing. I am able to find true friendships rather than hundreds of acquaintances. Moving away was hard but it was the best decision I ever made. A quick stop in Oklahoma was overdue before heading to Central America to continue searching the abyss.
After a week at home, in Oklahoma, I’m usually ready to leave. I love my home, I do. For me Oklahoma has a way of providing a comfort that I haven’t been able to find anywhere else. Sunsets that look as if they are painted across the horizon, the tornado siren at noon on a Saturday and the ease of a life-long friend being two minutes away. It sounds like a perfect place to be. Although for me, it is almost the worst place to be. When I feel comfortable and at ease I find that I don’t push myself to be anything more. I slide into my “old habits”. I start to question why I have made changes. If no one else is changing why must I? Don’t get me wrong I love the changes I have made. I am now able to do things with out looking over my shoulder. I am able to express my self fully with out the stigma of before. I wake up every morning excited for what the day has to offer. Instead of avoiding problems I deal with them. Instead of being unreliable, I honor my commitments. I am becoming who I want to be. I was watching a movie recently where a father says to a son “I have chosen this life” the son replies “You don’t choose a life you live one.” I don’t think that could be spoken any truer. I had “chosen” a life, I am now living one.
Why has it taken me so long to start a blog? Part of it is that I was scared. Scared for my story to be read by every micro chip with an I.P. address. Scared to share myself with the “judge now ask questions later” world that we live in. Why should I be scared? I have overcome so much and the only thing holding me back is me. Time to put these fears to rest and let go. Let go of my fear of inadequacy, fear of the unknown and fear of judgement. Writing a blog is such a small part of being able to let go but for me it is a way to publicly recognize these fears. A way to say I will not let these fears hold me back.
I chose the name Searching The Abyss for a few reasons. One of my all time favorite movies is Garden State. Zach Braff plays a young man, who in the beginning of the film, is working a dead end job in Los Angeles trying to become an actor. His mom dies and he is forced to travel home for her funeral. Throughout the movie his character is constantly feeling awkward and you can tell he never really feels free. Towards the end of the film there is a scene where he is at a quarry. No one knows the depth of this quarry but the man living there explores it every day in hopes of finding something new. As Zach Braff is leaving, standing in the pouring down rain he turns to the man and says “Hey Albert, Good luck exploring the infinite abyss” and the man responds “Thank you, Hey.. You too.” There is a moment of realization that we are all looking for something in this vast world. You don’t need to be climbing into a black quarry with no end to be an explorer. Every day you wake up you are exploring, searching and redefining who you are. We may not know what we are searching for and we most definitely don’t know what we will find. When I set out with a particular plan in mind it is almost like clock work that the world tries to deter me. There are times when it can be annoying to be off course. But it’s in those times that I find the answers to my questions.
Reason two for Searching the Abyss. Why not exploring the abyss? I mean after all that is the quote in the movie right? For me I find the word searching implies more of an internal growth. I was telling someone about the domain name I had chosen and was asked “So, what are you searching for in the Abyss?” I was taken a little off guard (even though this is the most appropriate question anyone could ask), I did not know the answer to the question. What am I searching for? Have I chosen the wrong name if I can’t answer a simple question? After further thought I decided that to not know the answer is to know the answer. If I were to simply say “I am searching for enlightenment, happiness, money, fame, love….” then I would only be searching for a few particular things. So what would happen if I found them. Would I be done searching? In order for me to be ever changing and constantly evolving I need not to have my sights set on one particular goal, But rather be open to every experience that comes my way. Not just open to the experience but willing to learn from the experience. I could be the most experienced man in the world and not have any wisdom. It’s what I learn from said experiences that allows me to move forward.