Up From Here

So thus begins it, as I’ve already said. It’s time to wipe away the tears, face the fears, and rise. . . To my full potential.

Growing up, I was taught that success, on the scale that I’m going for, only happens to “the lucky ones”. That no matter how hard you may work at your dreams, that no matter how badly you may want it, that you will only succeed if you get noticed and discovered and THAT happens only if you’re lucky.

This was during a period of time in my life where the people I looked up to and relied on for my sense of self were also telling me that I was not lucky. That our family actually had very bad luck.

I was also rejected in many ways shapes and forms, from general emotional neglect to actual physical abandonment. I was told to shut up. I was told not to bother, because nobody cared.

And so these dreams I had as a kid, to write stories and to share them with the world, to make music and to share it with the world, to make movies and to share them with the world, got repeatedly shot down by everyone around me.

I was told that they were “good hobbies”, but not worthy of actual careers. I was told that my ideas would never be made into movies, my stories would never be published, my music would never be recognized, because I was unlucky. I was told that I needed to get a real job, to go to college, and get a degree. Or to find a trade.

I was told that my dreams were just that- DREAMS.

Combine those messages with all the various ways I was rejected, neglected, and abandoned, and the general image, the general belief I had about myself was that I was unworthy and undeserving of accomplishing my dreams.

Meanwhile, over the years, I continued to see more and more people find the same success I myself wanted. More and more music artists making it big. More and more filmmakers coming out with their ideas. More and more writers publishing their work- and their work getting turned into movies.

And these childhood pipe dreams of mine to do the VERY SAME THING I KEPT SEEING PEOPLE MY AGE – and then, as the years dragged on, YOUNGER THAN ME – accomplish didn’t go away at all. No. They burned a hole in my heart.

I hit my 30’s, and they were still there. I grew up, matured, cast away ALL THE OTHER CHILDISH THINGS, even got clean and sober from a 20 year addiction to drugs and alcohol, found the trade, earned the paycheck, and yet…. they were still there.

Apparently they were not childhood pipe dreams after all. Because if they were, I would not, in my mid-30’s, still be burdened with them.

Then a guy in the halfway house I was going through said something that opened my eyes. Not just my eyes, but my heart and my mind. He said “Until you start doing what it is you came here to do, you are going to stay restless and discontent.”

He was an artist as well. His “happy place”, as I like to put it, was in painting, drawing, and designing fashion. He is an incredible and gifted and talented artist and fashion designer.

And upon graduating from the treatment program we met in, went on to pursue his dreams – and accomplish them. He’s now earning a living doing what he loves.

So I asked myself: what the hell did he have that I didn’t? And not just him, but everyone I’ve seen accomplish their dreams and goals of earning a living doing what they love? My “happy place ” is writing, telling stories, making music, drawing. And I’ve seen other people make it their careers.

And if they can, I can too… right?

Not according to my teachings. Not according to my programming. Not according to my beliefs.

So I researched. Found out pretty much everyone I admired found their success because they didn’t give up. They put in the hard work necessary, and they didn’t settle. They faced their fears, they went through the rejection, they kept on and kept on doing what the fuck they wanted until they had built their own success.

That’s it. No fancy formula.

And luck, they all say, HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.

They all just worked their asses off in the pursuit of their own happiness, ignoring the naysayers and overcoming their fears and their demons, keeping their eyes on the prize, until it finally paid off.

Now, I don’t know what individual demons each of these people had to face and overcome. I don’t know what kind of support network they had helping them. All I know is that whatever obstacles, both physical and mental and emotional that they had to overcome, they obviously managed to overcome them. They persevered until they finally won.

And that’s enough for me to finally do the same.

And yet… these demons I face are still here. They’re whispering in my ear, right now, that you who are reading this don’t care, don’t give a shit. They’re telling me right now that I’m not worthy of being known. That I have nothing to offer. That it’s too late to accomplish my goals and dreams. They’re telling me it’s useless. That it’s impossible. They’re telling me I’m alone, that I’m on my own, that nobody cares or is interested, and that I should give up.

They’re telling me, right in this very moment, as I write this, that I’m not worthy of the success I crave. That I’m not worthy of happiness. That I’m not worthy of love, or attention. They’re telling me that I’m not good enough. That I’m not what you want or what you’re looking for.

They’re telling me that I’m not lucky enough.

So I’m doing this anyway.

But I’m no longer just doing this for me – and yes, that’s how it started out. And that’s definitely going to have to be a major motivator in this journey. However, I’m also doing this for my children, to show them that they can accomplish whatever the fuck they want to. That they can accomplish whatever they set their mind to – they just may have to lose it first, to get rid of the limiting beliefs the world had implanted into them.

And I’m doing this for you, whoever you are, because if you’ve read this far it means you can relate. And if you can relate that means you too have felt the fear, felt the pain, felt the rejection and the neglect and the suffering of not doing what it is you know you came here to this life to do.

And you understand what it took for me to write this, and to post it, while the choir of angry demons fought and protested the whole fucking time.

I’m 5 and a half years sober at the time of this post, and I’m just now uncovering these voices of neglect and rejection, and the power they’ve held over me for so long, holding me back.

The opposite of addiction is connection, and vulnerability opens the door to healing. How ironic is it, then, that connection and vulnerability just happen to be my two weakest areas?

And yet, how else am I gonna accomplish my goals and dreams of earning a living off my creative talents?

All the advice I’ve gotten about how to build a following is to have a strong social media presence, to blog about my life, to reach out and connect with others….

And yet, it turns out, the biggest hurdle I’ve ever had to face mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, just happens to be the very hurdle I absolutely MUST overcome if I am to accomplish my dreams.

Fucked up, ain’t it?

And you already know – or at least I hope you do, that, when you and I are on our death beds, it’s not going to be the things we did that we really regret the most, but the things we did NOT DO.

I heard a while ago the parable of the goldsmith: how back in the olden days, the way the goldsmith would get the gold ready for market was that he would put the gold through the fire – a rather intense, super hot fire, that would literally burn out all the impurities in the gold. And he would repeat this process, over and over again, until all the impurities were burned out and the gold was ready for market.

And how he knew the gold was ready for market was when he could see his reflection in it.

Some say this is what God does for us. Or the Universe, when we set our intentions to finally be who it is we came here to be, come hell or high water.

A friend of a friend used the analogy of a “dunking then wringing out” process of all the demons I carry inside me that want to hold me back and tear me down.

I recently – and I mean like literally a few days ago – went through a process that can only be described as a “dunking then wringing out” , where I looked those demons square in the face and told them “YOU ARE NOT EVEN REAL”.

Whatever analogy you want to use, let’s all get one thing perfectly crystal fucking clear:

It’s Up From Here.

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