The Myth of Freedom

I’ve been hesitant about what to write about this go round. But the more I just relaxed my mind, the more I began to ponder on the myth of freedom. I watched a video earlier today where a guy that I highly respect talked about his journey for freedom. He started an online blog, went nomadic, traveled the world, didn’t want to be tied down, thinking with more options, and less stringency, he was going to be free. But instead, he gained anxiety.

I’ll admit, I was just talking to a buddy of mine this past week in messenger asking me about my plan and what I wanted to do. I expressed to him how most of the activities I’m extremely skilled in, or have performed well in, I don’t really give a fuck about. I further reiterated how in all honesty, I just want to do what I want when I want. Sounds good right?!

Thinking back on it, I was pondering the conversation realizing how much of a hypocrite I was actually being. It’s not that I don’t desire freedom. It’s not that I don’t want to do what I want when I want, but there’s more to it than that. The dictionary definition of freedom is “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.” We think, “Nobody can tell me what to say or do.” And theoretically, that is true.

Do what thou wilt. This is the whole of the law.

But true freedom is truly knowing what to give up, knowing what you’re committed to. It’s choosing what your own limitations are. It’s so much more than basic hedonism. Think about it. If you have the freedom to travel wherever, the surplus of options can create an analysis paralysis. You can explore London, the Congo, Singapore, etc. But you can’t go everywhere. You can’t do everything. Your time is limited. You can’t bring all of your friends with you. Hell, you may even be going alone. Is this what you truly want?

While I don’t want to correlate to dating, because I don’t want anyone thinking I wrote this for that reason, it does remind me of a study I read in the book Modern Dating. The author was trying to find out why he and his male friends were basically being stiffed so easily on first dates. We all know women get hit on all day, everyday. And many guys can be creeps and aggressive. As such, women in general, move through guys quicker, not giving them a chance if they slip up even slightly. So the author tried to find out why. They did an experiment with jars of jam. When there were a surplus of jams to sample in a store, say 15 different flavors, customers were more inclined to try multiple flavors, and end up not buying. Yet when options were limited down to two or three flavors, customers were less inclined to sample, and more inclined to buy. It makes perfect sense. With more jam options, customers feel more anxiety, and they’re less likely to choose a long term product commitment, let alone see if a jam is even good for their liking long term.

We as humans say we want to explore the world. We want to break free from the chains that bound us. But when it all comes true, is that truly what we want? Or better yet, are we making the best decisions? I remember watching some episodes of Nas Daily when he explained why so many Americans and Europeans avoid traveling to some of the most beautiful destinations in Africa, and pick conventional destinations instead. It’s the same concept.

Coming full circle to my conversation with my buddy, what limitations am I choosing? I chose to give up moving to California to go all in on a business venture, looking at the cost benefit analysis. Yet what if I get everything I want? I can travel, I can read as much as my heart desires, I have financial freedom, I have a beautiful relationship, etc. would I truly be happy if I’m not creating a lasting impact?! To be honest, impact and purpose is what carries us in life. What’s the purpose of anything if we are not giving back and trying to better the world that helped mold us?! I’ll never forget that!

I love you all! ❤️

Oh how I have missed your company. For it is in you that I can hear the inner voice that always speaks.

From the unknown, all things are created, all things are healed, all things are restored.

Did you know that violent movies hamper violence levels, and horror movies deter horror? I remember growing up with this belief engrained in me that everything dark was evil. Everything scary was bad, and should be avoided like the plague. Yet I’d watch a ton of horror movies, despite my very strict and disciplined upbringing. And I grew up not even wanting to hurt a fly, valuing every life as if it were my own.

There was a moral judgment in previous generations that violent movies and violent video games were ruining civilization. Yet despite all of the media bullshit, violent crimes in the 90s plummeted, and continued to hit all time lows in the 2000s. Clearly violent media wasn’t making matters worse. I’m not saying to go out and just fill your mind with violent movies and games (although I love fighting games). I’m a big proponent of guarding one’s mind and thoughts. However, violent media actually slows the trend of violent crimes, meaning there is a light to the darkness.

In fact, UC Berkeley released a study showing that for every one million viewers of a violent film, violent crime dropped by 1.3%. Similar studies have been raised in other areas finding the exact same results. For example, studies have found that legalizing drugs, and giving people drugs actually reduced drug abuse, and overdosing dropped tremendously. In fact, crime dropped. I remember writing a paper on the exact topic in college.

But it was found that harsher prison sentences actually encourage more crime. For example, the war on drugs in the USA 🇺🇸, stretched for four decades, and filled our prisons to the point of overflowing. The USA has 4.25% of the world’s 🌍 population, yet houses 21% of its prisoners, if housing is even appropriate wordage. And that’s because half of these prisoners are there for extremely high penalties for drug offenses, yet despite the harsh penalties, drug abuse continues to rise in the USA.

But what does reduce crime is education. When we see someone doing something wrong, our human instinct is vengeance, its punishment, putting them away in a box, out of sight, out of mind. Yet if we reward criminals with education, they won’t harm their community again, or at the very least, the numbers will drop drastically. These people hurt us, but clinging to our vengeance is hurting us as well.

Being kind is more important than being right! We must be the reason someone believes in the goodness in people.

It’s time to stop denying the dark side of our nature. We are all sick and twisted to some extent. The denial of our darkness only encourages more destruction and brokenness. Accepting the darkness brings it into the light.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Martin Luther King

There’s irony in all of this. I spoke about Friedrich Nietzsche and Lou Salomé in my last post, focusing heavily around Nietzsche. But Russian born poet, Lou Andreas-Salomé (February 12, 1861 – February 5, 1937) was a psychoanalyst that worked very closely with Sigmund Freud while romantically involved with Friedrich Nietzsche. She set a new standard for women, being a philosopher in a time when women were neither expected nor allowed to study philosophy.

As a side note, I share the same birthday with Lou Salomé.

Lou Salomé spent much of her time with Freud discussing papers and patients, while exchanging views on everything from narcissism to anxiety, while pondering the psychology of the artist. She addressed Sigmund Freud as “Dear Professor.” Lou Salomé actually helped Freud to gain an unflinching optimism of the human spirit. She argued to Freud in letters about the inherent duality of good and evil, light and darkness, in each of us, and for the choice we have, as individuals and as a civilization, as to which half we feed – a choice divided between hope and cynicism. She heavily influenced both Freud, Einstein, and so many other great thinkers, helping them to each see the good in everything.

Hymn To Life (1882 letter from Lou Salomé to Sigmund Freud, which so inspired her lover at the time, Nietzsche, to set it to music)

“Surely, a friend loves a friend the way

That I love you, enigmatic life –

Whether I rejoiced or wept with you,

Whether you gave me joy or pain.

I love you with all your harms;

And if you must destroy me,

I wrestle myself from your arms,

As a friend tears himself away from a

Friend’s breast.

I embrace you with all my strength!

Let all your flames ignite me,

Let me in the ardor of the struggle

Probe your enigma even deeper.

To live and think millennia!

Enclose me now in both your arms:

If you have no more joy to give me –

Well then – there still remains your pain.”

I guess we can see why Nietzsche was so fond of her at the time.

The entire works of Lou Salomé is actually quite the forgotten treasure.

“The main thing is that life-faith is essentially and vitally present, by means of which we survive.” -Lou Salomé

Sometimes my own actions and words lack tact, and I apologize for that to all of my readers, and to those close to me in my life. But difficult things make regular life less difficult. It’s the law of opposites in action. There’s a saying, “Once I understood grace, I had a lot more patience with people.” – Francia Raisa

I recognize the darkness in me, the raging monster. I accept it, bring it to light, so that way I won’t continue to cast shadows on those around me, especially those I care deeply for. It’s a lesson for us all. And if I can communicate this in a calm, clear, concise, and eloquent manner, I hope that each of you do the same. The best gift you can ever give someone is permission to feel safe in their own skin – to feel worthy, to feel like they are enough, with both their light and darkness.

Fault is past tense. Responsibility is present tense.

Fault results from choices that have already been made. Responsibility is the choice that we get to make today.

Most of the process of progression in society is rooted in mindset. Whether that be health, wealth, love, or happiness.

I personally know someone that qualifies for PUA. He would easily get back paid and make like $12k. But he has no concept of economics or systems, or how government policies work. I notice how harmful it is for people to spend all of their free time listening to bullshit conspiracies on YouTube to where they fear the big bad government, they fear the central banks, they fear big bad pharma, they fear everything. You can’t help those that don’t have the mindset to receive the help.

I had a conversation with someone else that was having wages garnished from their account due to some illegal activities committed by a student loan company. It’s common practice for loan agencies to not pull monthly loans, even when someone is set up on autopay, and then months later, take the person to court, without ever sending a letter that they’re even being taken to court, to raise interest rates and garnish wages. It’s corruption. It’s robbery. It’s illegal. But most loan agencies know that unless someone has a lot of money to fight them in court, there is nothing they can do.

So let’s say I know how to get the student loan removed from their account, whether through lawyers or credit agencies, they have to listen. Let’s say we get things set up to remove the loan from the account so that way they aren’t being robbed, so that way their credit score shoots back up, so they can get better jobs, better insurance, etc. There’s a cost benefit analysis here. Such person may complain about, “Why is this person charging so much for these services to fix my one issue? It’s robbery.” And I think to myself, demand. There’s a concept in economics of if the demand goes up, the price goes up. If this is the only person you know who can solve your issue, then obviously the cost will be more than $100. It’s the same for when people buy art from me. I am not cheap. If you don’t like my prices, go somewhere else.

It’s all mindset. And I believe this is where a lot of misunderstandings arise. For example, let’s talk about relationships. A lot of avoidance is rooted in insecurity. Many communication issues are rooted in lack of compromise. People love the idea of love and friendship, but when it comes to the practical application, they close up. They become afraid, and put up walls. It’s not that the complexities of building lasting relationships cannot be worked through, but it’s not easy. It requires each individual to personally look at themselves and take responsibility for their own feelings, their own actions, and deciding to come together to work through issues instead of shutting down. Hell, this is why divorce rates are so high. We don’t need more statistics in this regard.

I’ve been deactivated on Facebook for several weeks now. A buddy of mine and I got into it when I posted a status about personal experiences I’ve had with racism, and sure enough, he, a white guy that has never experienced the things I mentioned, a guy that spends all of his time only listening to right wing speakers, attacked my status, said it was unbalanced, and proceeded to call me racist. In fact, he even went out of his way to make a status saying something along the lines of how he wishes he could censor anything that doesn’t follow his narrow view of the world. He claims to be a truth seeker, but he wants an echo chamber.

Ironically, one of his favorite teachers is Jordan Peterson. Professor Peterson is a very right wing speaker. As many of you know, I like Jordan Peterson. I’ve listened to nearly every lecture he’s given, listened to his debates, read the books of the authors he quotes in his lectures. I know his work well. But I don’t always agree with him. In fact, considering the fact that I’ve read much of where he gets his information from, I know how he formulates many of his thoughts. And I see so many holes, so many misunderstandings, so much lack of empathy due to again, having never experienced certain things.

Jordan is heavily misunderstood himself. He’s misunderstood by the right wingers that quote him. He’s misunderstood by the left wingers that hate on him and debate him. But likewise, many of the authors he references are misunderstood too. For example, he’s a big proponent of the German philosopher Nietzsche. Nietzsche is easily one of the most misunderstood philosophers on the planet. As an existentialist and cultural critic, he’s often attributed himself as being a misogynist and hard right winger.

I want to bring things into context though. Friedrich Nietzsche is heavily adopted by the alt-right, including by my former friend who blocked me online, including by Professor Jordan Peterson. But he hated anti-semitism, much like Jordan. Nietzsche is often cherry picked as saying, “God is dead” and “There are no facts, only interpretations”. While in the same breathe elevating many of the religions including Christianity, and many myths, while also praising those that seek knowledge and truth as opposed to bullshit.

Growing up in Bismark’s reich, Nietzsche absolutely despised the big state, nationalism, and antisemitism. “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles, that is the end of German philosophy,” he wrote, and “I will have all antisemites shot.” His sister Elizabeth on the other hand was a bit racist and held contrasting views. She married one of the most notorious antisemite agitators, ironically Nietzsche refused to attend their wedding. She and her racist husband traveled to Paraguay to found a Germany of pure-blooded Aryan colonists. Upon failure of the colony, she returned to Germany to take charge of her brother, gathering all of his papers and writings and founding the Nietzsche Archive. She is one of the originators of fake news, creating a fake death mask for her brother upon his burial, rummaging his estate and cutting and pasting at will upon his writings, later leading to an unreliable delayed publication of his biography, Ecce Homo.

I can go on for days. In his book, Beyond Good and Evil, he writes several chapters railing on women. “In revenge and in love, woman is more barbarous than man.” “The Germans are like women, you can scarcely even fathom their depths – they haven’t any.” “The woman and the genius do not work. Up to now, woman has been mankind’s supreme luxury. In all those moments when we do our best, we do not work. Work is merely a means to these moments.” “If you go see the woman, do not forget the whip.”

Reading these quotes, it is easy to come to the conclusion that he thought less of women. But that’s not actually the case. He spends more time praising women than criticizing and condemning them. And as a cultural critic, he was critical of everything, including the behavior and ignorance of many of the women during his lifetime in Germany. Also, actions speak louder than words. His entire morality sought to reevaluate all of our values with wonderfully crafted genealogies using his brilliant wit and great knowledge. He was a skeptic, a metaphysical antagonist, and oftentimes highly contentious. Ironic considering how in my last blog post, I’d mentioned how the most disagreeable people are often the ones that become the greats.

I’m not defending EVERY comment he’s made. I’m slightly torn. But I understand that Nietzsche was raised in a household of women, namely his racist sister, his mother, and his aunt. His father had died when he was still in his youth. It’s easy to see how he may not of fully gained an appreciation and respect for women considering how racist much of his family actually was. What you appreciate, appreciates. But his philosophy was a philosophy of attack. He attacked age-old religions, attacked morals, attacked aesthetics, attacked science, society, and even the status of women in the 19th Century. Much like Jordan Peterson is influenced by Nietzsche, Nietzsche was influenced by Schopenhauer and Goethe.

Schopenhauer was a rabid sexist. “One need only look at a woman’s shape to discover that she is not intended for either too much mental or too much physical work. She pays the debt of life not by what she does, but by what she suffers – by the pains of child-bearing, care for the child, and by subjection to man, to whom she should be a patient and cheerful companion.” -Arthur Schopenhauer, ‘On Women.’

Nietzsche was wildly in love with Russian author and intellectual philosopher, fellow existentialist, Lou Salome. Upon proposing to her, she rejected him. There are writings stating that upon being rejected, he went from cheerful disposition and happy spirits, to deep despair. This may have further influenced much of his rather hurtful comments made about women. Hurt people, hurt people. But again, I state, actions speak louder than words. This is why so many are misunderstood, why things are taken out of context. Where people don’t fully see the heart and intention.

It wasn’t long after being rejected by Salome that Nietzsche echoes Schopenhauer in his work, Beyond Good and Evil (1886), Chapter VII: Our Virtues’, Section 232: “Woman wants to be independent… this is one of the worst developments in the general uglification of Europe. Woman has so much reason for shame; in woman there is concealed so much superficiality, petty presumption and petty modesty – one needs only to study her behavior with children!” Coming to the end of his rant about women, he reflects that women don’t appreciate what they have now, claiming, “the weak sex has in no age been treated by men with such respect as it is in ours.”

He is kind of funny, because you see how he responds to hurt. So let’s look at his actions. In 1847, when he was a professor of philology at Basel University, the school took a vote to admission women there. Nietzsche was one of only four who voted in favor, despite the motion being lost. In 1876, he traveled to Italy to join Malwida von Meysenbug, a feminist who campaigned fervently for the emancipation of women. Meysenbug had been exiled from Germany for smuggling letters during the revolution of 1848. Nietzsche and Meysenbug intended to found a school of free spirits among the caves beneath Sorrento. These free spirits were to include women, and NOTHING would be off limits in their studies of culture, philosophy, aesthetics, religious skepticism, and sexual freedom. While the school never materialized, due to their friendship, Nietzsche had a wide feminist circle. Moral of the story, while quoted for so much far right ideology, he fought for the rights of the persecuted. He was heavily misunderstood, a hopeless romantic.

Mindset is the reason people misunderstand his works. Mindset is the reason people misunderstand my works, mindset affects everything. Mindset is the reason people pass up on opportunities that are life changing, because they’re overly skeptical and stuck in poor habits.

To be honest, I believe many people don’t believe they’re worthy of others, they don’t believe they’re worthy of better health, they don’t believe they’re worthy of better finances, they don’t believe they’re worthy of themselves. Some are on a journey not even knowing what they want. They may think they do, but their actions show otherwise. It’s the reason my former friend blocked me, it’s the reason this person I know won’t file for PUA, it’s the reason words get lost in a bleak world. You’ll be amazed at what you attract into your life when you start believing in what you deserve. It’s all about appreciation.

“If you love a flower, don’t pick it up. Because if you pick it up it dies and it ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.” -Osho

Moment by moment

Yesterday I felt like shit. The day prior, I knew my anxiety levels were rising. I told my fellow roommates while we were all chilling in the living room that prior night. I tried going to bed. Got about two hours of sleep…

I woke up at about 6am on the dot, breathing heavy, running to the restroom, spitting blood (first time it’s happened since prior to my last blog post) and throwing up. On the plus side, the blood was much less than previous times. The entire day was rough though. I’m actually quite surprised that I’m feeling so much better today, even though I still feel on edge. But I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow.

I also feel frustrated. And I feel like the frustration is triggering the anxiety. To be honest, things have been going well lately. I got an authorized user on my credit, got several new trade-lines on the account, about to move on to the final step in acquiring this business, finally got approved for PUA, got several commission sketch requests, finished one of my best sketches of a close friend and her husband that I’ll give to them eventually, and so much more…

It’s not like everything is terrible. I think part of the frustration lies in trying to find that fine line in approaching issues and letting things go. But then there’s that part of me that just says, “trust the gut.” I have to be calm and patient.

Referencing blog post one, I still want to talk to the young lady I met up with in DC. It’s eating at me inside. It could be that we made an agreement to actually have a chat and it hasn’t happened. And I believe in keeping one’s word. I can’t force that, nor do I want to force it. Another part of me genuinely just wants to talk about things with her, because I care about her. I’m remaining calm and patient though. I guess I should reach out soon. Hopefully she’ll be receptive.

I was frustrated earlier in the week while trying to plan a business call, and the person going MIA. I didn’t freak out though. I stayed calm. And eventually we scheduled the call. It may seem like a simple thing, but I think the frustration here lies in, will this person keep their word as well? Which obviously, with a little patience they did.

There are other frustrations that I know were eating at me, I know exactly what they are, but I can’t seem to put them to words at the moment in a manner where I feel comfortable talking about each of them in a blog. So I won’t.

Trying to manage everything so I don’t die, well it’s been interesting. I’m glad I’m not spitting blood today. I can type without feeling absolutely horrible. When I first started to think on what I was going to write about a few days ago, the lingering thought was the whole George Floyd murder and the lack of understanding from most conservatives around profiling, privilege, and history. I haven’t really spoken on the topic in my blog. But every time I get around to making a blog post, I can’t seem to bring myself to talk on the topic yet.

This is just a really weird place. I can go from feeling like I’m going to physically die one day to calm and cool the next. There’s a lot of waiting for the right timing and being patient taking place. And I know that’s something I have to work on. And then, there’s this lingering feeling that if my body keeps going at this rate, I will die. So I want to make sure that I live these next few years at my absolute best. Maybe this sounds morbid. And I’m hoping to live a long life. But nothing is promised. I just have to remain calm, present, and focused.

There’s a Rumi quote, “Whatever purifies you is the right path, I will not try to define it… Your heart knows the way. Run in that direction.”

Surrounded

I sit here, at nearly 2am, at peace. So let’s recap, I ended up driving to Virginia, fly to Florida, shut down happens, I fly back to Virginia (cuz I left my car and bunnies here), and shut down happens here. I meet up with one of the most amazing and stunning lady’s ever, next day I begin throwing up. I get sick. Post two, I begin to ask, “How real can I be?” Maybe this isn’t an appropriate question to ask. Because the reality is, I’m writing this for me. So who cares?! Post three, it was a letter to myself. I reflected on various traumas and pain points in my life and how I still performed at a world class level. I wrote a love letter to me. And here we are… I’m back to writing again!

I want to be very clear, there’s a difference between dwelling on the past and reflecting in a sense of autobiography, while sharing how I’ve overcome trauma. And I feel like I have every right to share my past and talk about things, while letting the story develop. And I have every right to say what I want in my blog. Yet I still paused, reflected, took a period of silence.

So yeah, I’m back in Virginia. I’ve been here since March. And I have this really strange love/hate relationship with Virginia. It’s tough. I wrestle with it. There’s so much shit that’s happened here. Yet there’s been so much good too. I could share why I despise this state. But I could also share why I love this state. Honestly, my history in Virginia is for a book, because I feel like there is much less of a chance of things being misunderstood and taken out of context, although I’m sure those that haven’t healed themselves will always find something to misunderstand.

Before leaving Arizona, I was looking into luxury apartments around Phoenix. And I wanted to get a place to myself. As I mentioned in blog post one, I decided against getting a place there. There’s much more to the story than I shared though. I took a period of silence… I sat on my decision for about three days, not talking to anyone, just going within. I felt a tug that I HAD to drive back to Virginia. There are many reasons why I felt like it was the best choice, but the one that I haven’t really mentioned to anyone is, I had a flash vision that there was a chance that I may end up getting stuck in Virginia, but it was necessary for some healing in this state that I oftentimes despise. I mentioned it to one person. That’s the thing though, I have to trust that feeling, because it’s almost always right.

I could mention how over the course of the past few weeks I’ve had bouts of coughing up blood and not able to sleep. I could mentioned how I’ve had a lot of strange paranormal experiences as of late. I could mention how I hit a bat and a finch while driving last week. I could mention how my bunnies are in much happier spirits themselves after going quite a few weeks showing depressed symptoms.

Yet in the past couple of days, I’ve felt a wave of peace over me. Part of trusting my gut/intuition is also recognizing that the entire universe is conspiring for me! I’ve been working through a Self Authoring Suite that I bought online, as well as formulated a mantra for the year after hashing through many major questions. One of the things that really stood out was writing out different states in my life where I was operating fully alive and in perfect flow and harmony. I wrote out what I was doing then that I’m not doing now. I also wrote out where I’d like to be and what this person that I am aspiring to would be doing that I’m not doing now… and I started making changes. I realized something though. After finishing one of Jane Goodall’s books, I reflected on a particular passage she mentioned for why she has hope for a better world. And I don’t know how to describe it, but I began to understand where Jordan Peterson was coming from in a message he was saying to his class in one of his lectures while referencing Jane Goodall. And it’s like a lightbulb clicked. Everything came full circle with the Mantra workshop and the questions about what I was doing in past cases and what I aspire to be doing. And I slowly began to feel something inside, this energy that is so familiar, but I hadn’t felt it in awhile.

And it was at that moment I realized, I have to be in Virginia. The flash vision was right. And everything’s been fine since. I haven’t coughed up blood since that moment. I physically feel my body healing. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s like I’ve had a re-awakening. 😂 And I have to allow the churning to take place for me to go to the next level.

And you know, I have to give a thanks to so many people! Since my focus is Virginia right now, I’ll keep the focus on Virginia people.

1. I want to give a thank you to Anna! She’s been one of my most loyal friends through the years. Thank you for your support and kindness! She’s defended me when rumors were spread, she’s checked on me when I was physically unwell, she was one of the first people to stop by my house when my brother died, she’s introduced me to so many amazing people, and she’s one of the few people that has always had my back. I appreciate you so much.

2. I want to give a thank you to Angela! Another person who’s known me since I first moved into town here in Williamsburg. She’s seen me at my absolute worst, seen me at my absolute best, knows stuff in my life that nobody else knows. Somehow we always seem to cross paths. She’s also one of my most loyal friends. I think it was maybe a week after coming back from DC and looking to move, I met up with Angela and we just talked about everything going on. And immediately she starts helping me brainstorm. And now we’re neighbors.

3. I want to give a thank you to Andre (Brooks)! Another person who’s known me forever. We met up a couple of weeks ago, and chatted for a few hours. When I first arrived back in town a few months ago, I was mentally and emotionally exhausted. Andre reminded me of a few things. I mentioned to a lady in DC about a story of me pointing to the sky and seeing a green ghostly meteor shoot down in front of me, well that was with Andre Brooks. When we met up recently, without even getting into details, he immediately told me, when we were hanging out and I’d have miracles and crazy experiences happening left and right, I was also talking differently. He reminded me of some of the things I would say, and asked me, “What changed?” Followed up with, “You have to start speaking things into existence.” He’s right, something did change. Angela noticed too. Cuz she said two nights ago, “It’s like the prodigal son’s returned 🤣. You all haven’t seen Andre when he’s healthy. This dude is anointed! Like you all have no idea what you’re in for.” And she’s right too. Something changed.

4. I want to thank Charles. When I first came back to Williamsburg, as soon as things started getting out of control, he and I met up and chatted at Kidsburg, as well as met up a few other times to chat some more. He’s known me for years. He’s seen some of the ups and downs, knows about a lot of the shit I’ve dealt with here, and has always been a major support. Charles is level headed, always gives reasonable advice, and is arguably one of the wisest men I know at conflict resolution.

And while I was thinking about naming a few more people, I feel inside that I have to stop here. These four stand out! Thank you all! 🙏

There’s a saying, if your life is in chaos, start bringing order to it with the simplest of tasks such as making your bed. And while this is great advice, I’ve been bringing order to everything, firstly making sure those that cannot take care of themselves are taken care of first (ie. my bunnies). I am happy to see that those two boys are in better spirits. They cost more than a damn car payment every month. But I love those two bunnies. I’ve been making sure everything is clean, straight and organized both in my room, car, household in general, my day is laid out, I have a morning and nightly routine, and there’s a silver lining slowly forming.

I’m one of the most spontaneous and adventurous people ever! It’s in me. I feel things so deeply, I way too analytical for my own good. Yet sometimes I close up and reflect. It’s healing. But it’s so much more than that. There are actual points in my life where I’ve done things and had things happen that are either at a world class level or flat out miracles and the craziest of phenomena. I feel that sense of flow… even as I write this, I feel that presence that I haven’t felt in years just in me, all around me, this strong energy.

It sounds crazy to think that I can go from coughing up blood one day, and the very next, my body just shifts to a different place. Oh, and I love Virginia! The people that’ve always been there for me, you all make this place amazing! I know there are people that’ve been amazing support and friends that I haven’t mentioned. You all are not forgotten either.

Before I conclude this post, I want to go back to touch on when I said, we’re all monsters. See, if you’re harmless, you’re not virtuous. You’re just harmless. You’re like a rabbit (like my two adorable bunnies 🐰 🐰). They can’t do anything except get eaten. They’re not virtuous. If you’re a monster, and you don’t act monstrously, then you’re virtuous. But to follow up my point, you also HAVE TO BE A MONSTER. We see this all the time. Harry Potter is like that. He’s flawed, he’s hurt, he’s got evil in him. He can talk to snakes. He breaks the rules all the time, all the time. He’s not obedient AT ALL, but he has good reason for breaking the rules. And if he couldn’t break the rules, him and his little clique of rule breaking troublemakers, if they didn’t break the rules, they wouldn’t attain the highest goal! It’s a very common mythological concept. The hero has to be a monster, but a controlled monster. Like a wild horse with a bit to its mouth. It’s the shadow idea. This is why less agreeable people are oftentimes the ones that are the most domineering, the most virtuous, and oftentimes, the ones that become the greats! Develop the monster within, heal the brokenness, and choose to not act monstrously!

Jane Goodall was asked, “How do you keep calm in the face of people committing massive atrocities?” She responded, “The aggressive approach simply doesn’t work. Try to reach gently into their hearts.”

It may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by you!

Backs against the wall…

Possess nothing, cling to nothing. Love is space.

Let this be a letter to myself. Everyday I whisper to myself, “Andre, I love you. No matter what happens, I love you!” It’s been my daily mantra for awhile. It keeps me centered, and calms that fire inside of me. There’s a saying, “A monster is supposed to be a monster. But if a monster fights it’s monster state, that’s morals.” We’re all monsters inside. We are all the villain in somebody’s story, and for valid reasons. We all possess darkness and light, yin and yang. But we can always choose to grow, be better, do better.

“You’ll never amount to anything beyond working at Hardee’s for the rest of your life.” -High School Guidance Counselor

“Andre is an idiot.” -Fellow IB Classmates arguing with half the school telling them I was a genius

“Voted Most Likely to Get Shot before 21” -Middle School Superlatives

“The only reason you set and break records in fitness is because you have a small frame.” -Nearly EVERY PERSON that’s ever hated on the fact that I would dominate in fitness from elementary school through post college

“We’ve created a monster.” -Former High School Classmates

“Andre is crazy.” -Williamsburg Stalkers that have been slandering me for years

“I thought you were smarter than that.” -A few people close to my heart every time I do something that’s best for me

There’s been so much hate through the years that at times it’s been hard to hold myself together. And these are just a few of the things said to and about me. But there’s also been a lot of positives.

“We’ve never seen anyone perform so well at math puzzles in our lives.” -Faculty at Moton Elementary

“I think you just broke the world record.” -My college trainer when I was being punished for showing up late

“Stay strong.” -My IB Theory of Knowledge Teacher

“You understand the topic better than any student I’ve ever taught in all my years of teaching.” -My College Greek and Roman Civilization Professor that taught at 6 colleges

“You have a new sound in you. You’re going to change the world.” -Speakers at several events that have called me out of crowds randomly

It’s hard. I think I’ve grown accustom to fighting for everything all my life. It’s been a constant struggle. It makes sense though. My mother fought with her parents. We were homeless for years. So many father’s have come and gone. My mom lost her job for reporting a co-worker choking a child while working as a parole officer. And they covered up the crime and paid off witnesses. Cops were setting up kids, and my mom wanted to do what’s right. She’s struggled all her life. Life isn’t fair. It never is. Hurts get projected, trauma boils, the cycle continues.

But again, no matter what happens in my life, “I love you Andre.” Sometimes I feel like my body is an ocean. And all I’m trying to do is calm the waves. I’m so fiery 🔥.

In elementary school I was voted student of the month 5 times in one year once. I tested at a sophomore college math level in 5th grade. I was performing at an International Master Pro level in Chess around 6th grade. I won a count the jelly beans in the jar contest four times in a row, twice on the exact number. At Moton Elementary, the school paid for me to have a private tutor, and put me in the math club, same thing happened at Smith Elementary a few years later. I went undefeated at the math game 24 for an entire year, only losing one time in my life to a classmate named Zach, by one point, at Jones Magnet Middle School, in which the entire class conspired to mess me up just to see me lose. I could’ve won a world title later on had they not tried to screw me. But I let the anxiety get to my head and I lost focus. I set school records in sit ups and pull ups at nearly every school I’ve been to. This doesn’t even include some of the other crazy fitness records. I’ve had faculty argue about whether to skip me up a grade or to hold me back. I’ve had faculty argue about whether to keep me in the IB Program or kick me out. My life has never been normal. And it’s hard. Is it any surprise that I utterly failed my Algebra 2/Trig class the same year I got a perfect score on the SOL? Yet, I’m NOT special!

None of this even matters.

A quote often attributed to Albert Einstein, although it has unknown origins, goes as saying, “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by it’s ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”

“I love you Andre!”

See, no matter what happens, the good, the bad, the ugly, it doesn’t actually matter. I can’t let circumstances get to me. No matter how bad things get, I will always overcome. Why? Because I love you Andre! Is it any wonder that when my high school cross country coach posed the challenge of seeing who could do sit ups the longest without stopping, the school faculty literally had to kick me out of the gymnasium, because I would die before quitting. I’d gotten into the 800s, and I was still going, even while crying.

Is it any surprise that my trainer in college said I broke the world record when he was trying to punish me by making me do 10,000 advanced Turkish get ups non-stop with both legs together? I don’t even think I cared about the record. It was more so to prove a point. It was to prove a point that I would not allow anyone to abuse me, I would not allow anyone to break me. I finished those 10,000 with perfect form in under 10 minutes. Again, I would die before I quit.

And maybe that’s why in blog post one my body finally just gave out. I was fighting for so long. The mentality of not breaking was so prevalent that I thought I could hold the strength to endure, but I was wrong. It took a single meeting with an amazing lady for me to finally break. Yet it echoes a valuable lesson in self love. It’s okay to not be strong. It’s okay to break. It’s okay to feel, to sit with the pain, the random moments of shaking…to nurture it, and to let it heal.

We can’t control things. Hell, I can’t even control my own life. I am not in control. While my life may seem like it’s falling apart, I’m rising inside. Rising itself is a ghastly risk. For all life is an act of faith and an act of gamble. With every step taken, it’s an act of faith, because we don’t know if the floor is going to give under our feet. The moment one takes a journey, what an act of faith. The moment one enters into any kind of interaction with others, it’s an act of faith. But it’s the most powerful thing! Surrender! And love is an act of surrender.

And I sit in silence, calmly, patiently, listening to my innermost being, giving myself space. Because I love you Andre! Even if every part of me is taken away. Even if everything seems to fly out of control. I release. And in this space, there is flow. The course of wisdom, what’s really sensible is to let go, is to commit oneself, to give oneself up, and that’s quite mad! So we come up with the strange conclusion that in madness lies sanity. It doesn’t matter what I’ve done, who I’ve been, where I’ve come from.

It’s in the gift of freedom, in letting go, wanting pure joy for all, including ourselves, that things begin to come back together. So yeah, while I’ve fallen, cried, been torn inside time and time again, I’ll always come back stronger, better, and more loving. For I cannot possess the world, but I pour back into it, in flow.

I love you; Every single one of you! Thanks for reading.

Namaste!

So many thoughts are fighting to get out, so many things I want to cover, so many feelings that are bursting through my skin clawing for the right to be expressed upon these pages. Yeah, there are definitely topics I know that I plan to cover, but many of them I also know must be future posts a few weeks or even a few months down the line. So the early posts are probably going to be some of the most critical for this present moment.

Unfortunately, I believe there’s been a level of misunderstanding that’s been hovering around me through the years. I’m an enigma to most people. It’s hard to explain, but I believe I can express why I feel this way just as articulately as I express everything else. I believe it’s a key factor that’s made dating hard, that’s made it tough for people to understand me as friends, and so on. So how vulnerable can I really be? How much can I put my true thoughts and feelings on the line knowing that even if I explain certain truths, most of the readers still wouldn’t even believe me, let alone truly be able to handle it? For now, I’ll ease people in…

Self Awareness… Infancy… Consciousness… These are topics that I believe most think they understand, but they really don’t. For example, I remember my baby years. I remember more than anyone I personally know. I remember the lights upon being born. I remember suffocating in the hospital. I remember arguments my parents had, even understanding every word being said, and wondering why I couldn’t speak. I remember my dreams, thoughts, being bored in the crib, and trying to figure out a way to get out and explore (which I would climb out and fall regularly and end up going to the hospital). I seriously remember everything. The fact of the matter is, 99.9999% of people can never relate to this and 99.99% of people probably wouldn’t even believe me for saying it. In fact, I got into an argument on an UberFacts Instagram thread with thousands of people about this topic and ironically got a flood of messages from strangers in my inbox thanking me for my bravery because many of them remember it too and don’t talk about it because they get attacked. One member introduced me to a book called Self Aware where an author shares her personal story as well as the stories of hundreds more that were born self aware like myself.

Acceptance of new ideas is always attacked upfront. In our modern psychology world, our alleged scholars try to rationalize claims of self awareness at infancy by claiming that those that have such memories must’ve been told certain stories and are recalling the stories told to them as their own memories. And that’s fucking bullshit. It pisses me off and in my opinion makes it even harder to want to publicly talk about it because most of the world isn’t open enough to the possibility that there are exceptions to the rule. I don’t even talk to my family about most stuff like this, because they can be just as bad. So how real can I get?

How real can I be when I talk to people that I’m interested in if I know I’m putting everything on the line as far as who I am? How real can I be with my close friends about my own experiences when most of them haven’t even experienced .01% of the stuff I have? How real can I be about traumatic experiences that I’ve not only gone through, but overcome when my experience through the years has been victim blaming the victim? How real can I be about ghost stories, paranormal, and so on when we have one extreme of hyper religious that will try and burn me at the stake, we have another extreme of the hyper science that’ll crucify me, another extreme that gets so uncomfortable that they don’t even want to hear me out, and another extreme that believes in this stuff, but they fit it into a framework that I KNOW that I KNOW is bullshit based on PERSONAL EXPERIENCES as well as basic logic. It leaves me in a position that there are very few people that I can be fully real with. So I don’t talk… I keep most of my thoughts to myself. It’s hard.

The only person I know that could fully relate to how I felt was my older brother. THIS is why we were so close. He would have the same experiences. Sometimes we would have the exact same dream. We would see the same spirit. We would hear the same voice. We would sense the same thing in a person. And he was just as misunderstood by the world. My older brother is dead now, he was shot. And it’s hard to fully express my thoughts around the topic because there are some things I want to say, but I don’t believe people are ready for my full honesty on the topic. I do however plan to write a blog post dedicated to him, as well as share what happened as far as his death.

Nonetheless, I still share things here and there. I share just enough to bring healing to a broken world. When I share my stories, just like on Instagram, it empowers people that can relate, that’ve had similar experiences. The reality is, no matter how alone a person can feel about something, we are never truly alone.

This entire post may just be the hook to brace people for some of the stuff to come. And I know I wrote about PTSD in my first blog post, but I promise you, just because I deal with actual post traumatic stress doesn’t now negate anything else I say.

I feel as if there are some things I simply cannot keep inside. I was listening to a lecture by Jordan Peterson on developmental psychology, and I remember him saying, “Don’t die with the music still in you.” We need a purpose. Our positive emotion is linked to our pursuit of valuable goals. That’s how our brains are set up. We need positive goals to keep us from being unduly uncertain and anxious, because nothing is specified enough. And we need something to run away from. We can run away from the worst within us. We can escape the worst within us. And we can move towards the best in us.

This is why I plan to get everything out. It is a positive goal to not die with the music still in me. I feel like it is my duty to society to share my experiences, my stories, and the things I’ve overcome through the years, the demons inside that I’ve conquered, as well as the triumphs that can motivate others to keep going. And while the world may misunderstand me now, the picture will become very clear the more I write. This journey into my soul is a journey that may challenge every single reader, but it is also a journey of healing, of peace, and of love. The world needs more of that as much as I do.

“If people misunderstand you, don’t worry. It is your voice that they hear, but what goes through their mind is their own thoughts.” -Rumi

People see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear. And people can only accept honesty from others at the level that they are honest with themselves.

Amidst all of the thoughts tossing and turning, that silent voice inside will be my guide…

I’ve been trying to find where to start with my first post. I’ve had so many things going through my mind over the course of the past few weeks, so many things tugging at my heart strings, that trying to find what I want to say first is a challenge in its own right. I guess I’ll just let this first post flow, because God I need to get some things out.

I’ve been emotional the past few days. Yep, I’ve cried, repeatedly, many times. Even some of the most simple things have pushed me over the edge. The world wants men to be strong. To hold a certain demeanor and persona that in my opinion isn’t entirely real. But I haven’t been measuring up to the world’s standards.

You may be wondering why I’ve been crying. That’s a great question to be honest. Maybe it’s because I’m on a million meds. There’s a shit ton of side effects to each of these meds I’m on. But why am I on meds? That’s a great question too. Maybe it’s because my stress levels have been through the fucking roof. There! I said it. I’m not perfect, and I’ve been managing everything the best way I know how.

Well why are my stress levels so high? We may as well keep going down the rabbit hole right? In many ways, it scares me to publicly talk about things in my personal life. I value privacy on a level that I don’t even think people understand. I don’t like a ton of people in my business, but I do also firmly believe in radical transparency. And as such, I feel as if, if I can be honest with the world, and share my story, articulating it in a clear and concise manner, without reliving each scenario, or speaking in a way to bash or bad mouth anyone, that my transparency can help others to be honest and real too. So here it goes…

Last year was one of the best years of my life. It goes on record as being the ONLY year that I have never gone to the ER, urgent care, or any doctor for any sort of medical emergency. I should note that I did spend much of the year in trauma therapy as well as taking group DBT classes to help manage PTSD. But that’s a good thing. I was working on myself and my own healing. I also went to several personal development workshops and skill based workshops to perfect skills in my life and work on my own self. Last year I traveled out of the country several times. I went to the Canadian Rockies, explored Banff, Jasper, Crystal Lake, and so much more. I went to Mexico, almost got murdered in Ciudad Juarez, which I must say, that story deserves it’s own future blog post. I was living in Arizona with two roommates, having a blast, exploring new places I’d never been to all around the country, while also making so many new friends, taking several acting classes during my free time, coaching wrestling at a local high school, and drawing at events. I’d saved up a TON of money in a very short amount of time, got out of debt, was looking into some investments, bought two bunnies, packed on nearly 20lbs of muscle, which is a big gain from the losses I took years prior due to multiple surgeries, improved so many relationships with friends and family, and everything was looking up… Or so it seemed.

To get into the details on how everything has played out the way it has, that alone could be written into a book. There are so many layers and it’s so intertwined, that to be honest, for a first blog post, it would only really make sense to brush over the bullet points. I guess I’ll start with the living situation. I moved from Florida to Arizona in late January of 2018, moving in with an ex gf to try and make things work. Long distance is exceptionally hard. I was willing to risk everything to try and make things work with someone that I believe had the potential of being my future wife. I won’t go into details on the relationship or what happened, but things didn’t work out the way we’d hoped, in fact, they ended painfully bad for the both of us. I love that woman as a person, but not everything is meant to be.

I decided to leave Arizona on April 11, 2018 and fly home to Virginia. I moved back in with my parents. I was now in major debt. I had no job. I was in emotional turmoil. And at the time, I felt like I was going to go crazy. It’s kind of funny looking back on it all. A friend of mine spoke to me about working with him for a tree service company in Williamsburg. Desperately seeking employment, I agreed. I worked about 12 hours a day everyday, and I have to say, I gained a great appreciation for those in the tree service business. I never realized how tough the job really was until I took it up myself. Sometime around mid-June I quit. I packed my bags, and booked a flight back to Arizona. I’d already made up my mind that I was going back. There was so much unresolved turmoil inside of me that I had to get some resolution for peace of mind. I’ve always been like that. I never like leaving things unsaid… I must clear my conscience. It helps me to stay true to myself and find healing.

Leaving Virginia was a gut wrench-er. My mom and I had a moment of fighting and tears in which her words to me and her response to me leaving were the same words and the exact same response as my ex girlfriend. In fact, it was so eerily identical, that I had a conversation with a couple of close friends about it. I ended up moving into a house with this guy that I barely knew. I had a room to myself, had full access to everything, it was a nice set up. Upon initially arriving back in Arizona, much of the first few months revolved around gaining peace of mind. I tried making up with my ex girlfriend. I did everything to talk things out. I tried talking things out with our couples counselor. I even went to great lengths to try and find some resolution through mutual acquaintances, which I must say, looking back seems a bit desperate.

Simultaneously while trying to work things out with her, as I began to quickly realize that the future for us was beginning to look more and more dim, and the idea of even staying in contact as friends was looking more and more dim, I felt in my gut that I had to get my story out (much like what’s happened this time)… I felt like during our couple’s counseling sessions that I’d been completely silenced and it was one sided, as well as felt as if I was subjected to a lot of abuse from the both of them during those sessions. So I decided to take the counselor to trial. While this was taking place, I’d also suffered a sexual assault in Virginia in the month of December, just before moving out to Arizona the first time, and I was taking that to trial as well. I went to trauma therapy, won both cases, and the rest is history. In trauma therapy, my counselor and I talked about everything. Much of it was discussing my feelings, working through the trauma (which there’s soooo much), and working through mindfulness activities. I was released by the therapist under the pretense that I no longer needed therapy. In fact, in her words, out of all of her clients, I seemed to be the most stable and well reasoned of them all, and was not in need of therapy. I was mad the day I got released… I tried arguing it! And they responded with, “Well you’ll be starting DBT classes soon, so you’re fine.”

I have to backtrack a bit… While in Arizona, in my quest to bring order to all of the chaos in my life, I was dealing with sleep issues. I would go days without sleep, and wake up gasping for breath, feeling super uneasy, and shaking… This had been going on for months, long before I flew from AZ back to VA back to AZ. In my trauma therapy sessions, at the beginning of my initial consultation, I’d mentioned that I thought I may have an anxiety issue or maybe even sleep apnea. They had me take a psych test and found that I didn’t test for anxiety, but I did test for PTSD with dissociation. And I should make clear that while the shaking did eventually begin to subside, I still had sleep issues the entire duration of my time from then until now waking up feeling uneasy. All of this back history is critical in understanding where I am now.

Now let’s fast forward to semi present day. Everything began to take a huge turn around November of last year. Technically, I started having issues with my roommate long before that. But we would try and work through things, since we were close friends, and let stuff go. Sometime mid to late last year, this guy came out as gay. In fact, it was the first time he publicly came out to the entire world. He admitted to having a crush on me. And living together became very awkward. I’m straight, I love women. I don’t care if he’s gay. But he became obsessed, and began stalking me, stalking my friends, everything. It got out of control. I don’t want to bash the guy. He does so much good. And I can tell that he really tries his best to make other people happy. On the other hand, I feel as if he doesn’t take care of his own happiness, and he hasn’t done it for so long, that his toxic behaviors can affect the lives of those around him. I had a laptop that apparently got broken in his house, while in my room, while I was out of town, and somehow nobody knows who broke it. And there are a few other things I could mention, but again I don’t want to publicly talk about every issue that’s come up between he and I. Some things I’ll just keep to myself. Let’s just call this stress one.

While this was taking place, stress two came up. Since life had been going spectacularly well, and I had about $30k saved up, I decided to buy a Nintendo Switch and stock up on games so that way I could entertain myself with things I wanted to do as a means of saving money long term and not constantly blowing my money on trips out of the country or out of state. I figured, if I could make an investment in myself that can keep me entertained locally, I can focus my efforts more on taking my excess money and investing it into assets to make more money, so in the future, I can go wherever I want and do whatever I want. I should note that I spent about $4k on games and gadgets for the Switch, which in many ways is still blowing money. But I had money to blow, so at the time, I didn’t care much. I figured, I can easily make that in a couple of weeks. That’s when I decided that I’d refinance my car.

Speaking of refinancing my car, I’d JUST lowered my insurance from about $1000 a month (long, frustrating story that I don’t want to get into right now) down to $265ish a month. And I’d just gotten a Sonata the previous November, meaning I’d only had the car a year. It still had super low mileage. I kept it in pristine condition. But I wanted to cut down on my monthly expenses. I go in to Desert Financial Credit Union to refinance and CLEARLY STATE that I want to carry over my gap insurance on my car. I even had my roommate with me looking at all the paperwork too since he’s a former project manager at an engineering firm and has to look at paperwork all day anyway. They refinance it, I was paying less, but my gap insurance didn’t get transferred over. TWO DAYS LATER, while driving to a gig that I was going to be making some decent money at, I totaled my car, got hit in the rear by an oncoming car while making a left turn at a green light. I could argue that the car was speeding, since I promise you it was. But it doesn’t matter. I’m at fault. This changed everything.

I ended up late to the gig. Both my car and the car that hit me were totaled. I ended up paying off the balance of my Sonata (since the gap insurance never got transferred over), plus other car/insurance expenses in there, and ended up buying a Hyundai Tuscon (put down a decent deposit), with slightly higher insurance, plus higher car payments, and a chunk of my savings gone like ships in the night. In many ways, it’s sad to think about. But shit happens. We make mistakes. I have to accept responsibility for those tiny errors. On the bright side, I personally love my Tuscon more than the Sonata, simply because I prefer the extra space. I also forgot to mentioned that I’d JUST paid $1k+ for four new tires on my Sonata plus maintenance maybe a few days before totaling it.

This brings me to stress number three. I had a root canal that I needed to get. I was looking into getting it in 2020. But then the tooth cracked, and the pain began to become unbearable. This meant that during the exact same time frame that all of this other stuff was taking place, I now needed to get an emergency tooth issue fixed. I ended up getting two teeth worked on, paid out another $4k, and took another massive blow. On the bright side, I don’t have to worry about that again. And I should note, the dentists said that the reason I needed the root canals is because my wisdom teeth were pushing up against the back teeth and how they grow, it was bound to eventually lead to me needing a root canal. The recommendation that was given was getting the wisdom teeth removed, but the concern of the dentist is that since mine lay on the nerve, it could cause issues. I just figured I’d throw that tid bit out since it has nothing to do with me not taking care of my teeth. I brush regularly.

Since I got the main issues out the way, I’ll give a cliff notes of everything else. I was anticipating a stock market crash, or at least another BIG correction. It was easy to see a mile away. As such, I wanted to have money for investment. But since a large portion of my savings was gone, I wanted to offset my expenses and try and recover some of the money. Because my plan was to buy a Shopify store, acquiring an asset. I’d already paid for credit repair, which I must say, my credit is in great standing at the moment. I’d been paying out the ass for multiple acting classes (so I froze my payments on classes in January). I also must add that those classes have helped me in so many areas of my life. I don’t regret the development through the instruction. I knew that if I was to travel and make money drawing, I would need a rabbit sitter for an extended period. But rabbit sitters cost more than cat and dog sitters, since they’re exotic pets. I didn’t want to pay $500-1000/month for pet sitting services. I was looking into apartments, but didn’t want a roommate. So I didn’t want to pay $1200-1600/month in rent if I was trying to offset expenses to make passive income. I’d booked a flight to Florida, changed my mind, got a PO Box, put some stuff in storage, packed my bags, packed up my bunnies, and decided to drive to Virginia.

Upon arrival, I met up with a few close friends, was in chipper spirits, had just spent several thousand dollars driving cross country and trying to keep my bunnies alive while doing so, and booked a second flight to Florida out of Virginia. My plan was to make my home base in Florida for most of the year, and either move to Los Angeles, or possibly elsewhere depending on where life would take me. Upon arriving in Florida, I end up breaking even at my first show (drawing at a fair), make decent money at the second one, and as we began to hit the busier season, by fair three, everything had shut down. Thanks COV-ID19!! I got sucker punched out of left field. How could I have seen it coming? Who could’ve predicted such a turn of events?!

I ended up staying in Sarasota for a few days, caught a ride to Orlando, hung with some friends there for a couple of days, then flew home to Virginia. I immediately started looking into ways to make money, while simultaneously focusing my efforts on business plans long term. I met up with a lawyer in DC to discuss some things dealing with opening a gallery, and took this opportunity to meet up with a gorgeous lady friend of mine. And that’s when the health issues came rolling in.

To be honest, I think it all just snowballed. The stress was building and building. I was carrying so much pressure on my shoulders and holding myself together for so long trying to be strong. Then her and I met up, and upon us parting ways, I felt as if there was some misunderstanding, and that’s when my body just gave out. I couldn’t take anymore… The next day I began throwing up, shaking for days on end, coughing up blood, not able to sleep, gaining new white hairs in my beard, head foggy, and so much more. I want to be clear. She did nothing wrong. She’s so sweet, kind, and to be honest, I see so much potential in her that I don’t even know if she sees fully herself. I personally feel as if there were things left unsaid, and it bothered me. My personality doesn’t like leaving things unsaid, EVER. And I honestly believe it was the turning point for stress levels. My body legit hit a point where it couldn’t take anymore stress.

Upon getting sick, I began to become more moody. I got into two separate fights with both of my parents, moved out, moved multiple times in fact, got two jobs, while the shut down is taking place. And I’m doing all of this while going to urgent care, having several virtual doctor appointments, going to the ER, and a primary care physician. It took awhile, but the doctors finally got a handle on things, after my first visit wasn’t even taken seriously. The verdict? Initially the suspicion was that I had an anxiety disorder. Then it was all my recurring ulcer/GERD/gastritis, which is the root cause of the anxiety. And now the belief is that it’s a combination of my PTSD (history of trauma) and post concussion syndrome (my long history of concussions through the years) that’ve created a lethal combination leading to my ulcer. So primarily, it’s stress. Unfortunately, there’s no known cure for post concussion syndrome. To be honest, that could explain my decline in performance through the years. The PTSD, well I can’t control that. It sounds so simple for an outsider to give advice. I’ve been to therapy, but I’ve been released from multiple therapists. I just have to learn to manage things and keep being mindful. It’s hard. My body shakes even when there are no triggers. I can legit be having a great time, be in happy spirits and start shaking. On the other hand, I had a panic attack a few days ago and burst into tears when I realized I may have said some things that were hurtful to a friend. I’m sure the meds I’m on play a HUGE role in all of this. But that’s really where I’m at right now.

I’m not perfect. I don’t go around seeking attention and validation from everyone. I just want to be accepted for who I am. I make mistakes. Sometimes I fuck up badly. But I always try to make things right. I’m accepting responsibility for all money lost. I’m accepting responsibility for the fact that I’m currently in the position I’m in now. As such, I will continue to monitor symptoms, follow the doctor’s advice and improve my health. Maybe I’ll never be able to live a normal life again. I could shake at random for the rest of my life. I’m trying my best. I won’t give up though, and I refuse to let this get me down. I may cry, I may scream, I may be emotional. But that doesn’t mean I’m not making progress. When I was growing up in sports, there were many athletes that would cry all the time, but performed 10x better than many of those that fought through things in silence. I don’t buy into the hype that everyone must weather their storms the same way or do the same thing or even be the same person. Nobody knows how my body feels. Nobody understands how it feels having an electrical current tingling through their body 24/7, or so it feels. I get uncomfortable in large crowds, but I LOVE people. I’m working two jobs because I don’t want to rely on anyone. I’m still in the process of buying this Shopify store even after taking losses. I’m still in the green financially. My credit is still great. I have no debt. I just bought new tires and got maintenance on my Hyundai Tuscon. None of my goals have stopped. But me as a person, I see a bright future whether other’s see it in me or not. If I died tomorrow, I’d feel content knowing that at least I was able to get this post out for the world to read. I’m a lifelong trauma survivor. I’m healing. My body is just catching up. It sucks. It fucking sucks. Please be gentle with me. And I will try my best to be gentle with all of you!

So here’s to blog post number one… honest and transparent!