As strange as it sounds, there is freedom in our failures. When there’s nothing left to lose and everything crashes; there is nothing left to worry about. Since all is lost, the pressure is lifted. There is nothing left to protect. There are no reasons to hide anymore. We are out now. We are already exposed and the bottom we hit is cold, hard, and absolutely painful.
When you hit bottom—at least this is bottom and you have nowhere left to fall.
Whether things could be worse is not only relative. More accurately, whether we find ourselves in a chair sitting behind the defendant’s desk in a courtroom, or sitting in a drunk-tank, or a small 5×9 cell with a stainless steel toilet in the corner and a cellie (cellmate) beside us—or whether the dumpster we dive through is more like a room with a view of the Southside, Downtown near the Hudson, or even if it at minimum our heart is simply broken because the world we knew had shattered into literally ten million irreplaceable pieces—at least this is it. There is nowhere else to fall
Once everything we have is broken, at least we know where we stand. Hopelessness may delay our response. Desperation and the sheer rumble of starvation will humble us. Hungry for love, attention, or the simple warmth of a hand is all the same when we are starving. Our will is beaten and the revelation that all is abandoned means only one thing; the lies we lived and the truth we hid from is at last exposed.
As strange as it seems, there is freedom in this. There is freedom at the bottom because regardless to the unforeseen trap door that could possibly open if we are not careful enough to heed life’s obvious warning—at least there is no more left to fall.
We can only hurt so much. We can only fall so far into blackness until at last, our eyes grow accustomed to the dark. Even in the grimness of it all, our eyes find ways to focus. There is freedom here because now there is nowhere else to go. There are no more surprises and no more reasons to carry on the charade.
By the way, this is why I always loved the underdog. The underdog endures pain. He eats trash and asks for seconds. I love the underdog because although the underdog loses, the underdog can never be beaten.
The underdog can never be beaten because he has already been beat. If I am to aspire to be like anything; I aspire to be like the underdog.
At the worst points of my life, all was lost, and I was alone. There was nothing left of me except the recollection of my mistakes and the wreckage of my decisions
More than just my days in an active addiction, I had become painfully aware of my mistakes throughout different times in my life.
During these times, I was alone—pushed away from everyone I knew and secluded because of my push-pull mentality, which at last, finally drove away my relationships and isolated me from a world I so desperately wanted to be part of. I pushed and I pulled. I drew people in and then shoved them away.
I wanted to be left alone but still invited. I wanted to be included and say, “No.” Above all, I wanted to be wanted. Instead, I pushed and I pulled because I wanted to control my surroundings—or better yet, I wanted to protect myself and my socially awkward thoughts, my fears, and my insecurities.
In the depths of my biggest falls, my back finally pinned to the ground and I was at bottom. There was no place left for me to go because life could not possibly be worse.
There are key moments in a man’s life when he becomes aware. My first defining moment of clarity was during a morning with the dry heaves into a stainless steel toiet. I was caged in a holding cell. I sat on a wooden bench in a small cramped room with a horrible stench of feet, body odor, and cleaning solvent that filtered down through the corridor.
My back was against the concrete wall. My head leaned back against the brick—neck rolled to my left shoulder as I sat with my eyes fixed on the only possible view of the outside air. I looked upwards, below ceiling height, to a row of frosted windows that lined the wall across from the jail cell. The sun was about to rise and night was about to give way. I could see hints of the sky changing through the frosted glass. The streetlamp on the freedom side of the frosted window had switched off. This meant daylight was on the way. As I saw it, I had fallen to the lowest possible point.
There was freedom for me here. Even in captivity, I was free in the sense that I could finally stop what I was doing. The truth had com
me to light, which meant it was over. All the lies and the running could finally stop. All the scheming—all the strategy and all the internal struggle, the voices, the loud whispers of insecurity and the ongoing angst; all the paranoia, and the sickness, at last, all of these things could stop.
I admit I was in a bad way. At least now I could heal if I chose to do so. At least now I could get the help I needed but could never ask for.
I have gone through severe periods of loneliness. I have had similar episodes to this one where everything was so utterly dark and hopeless. Everything I had and everything I used to hide behind was shattered and fell apart. I had no choices left or anyplace to run. There was no I could blame and no one around to pick up the broken pieces of my aftermath. There was no one left to nurse me or codependent enough to take care of me. I ran out of hosts and hostages. This was it. There was no further to fall. This was bottom.
Strange as it seems, there is a freedom that comes with the desperation of hitting bottom. Upon this realization, it became clear to me. “There has to be nowhere left to go but up.”
“It just can’t get any worse.”
” I swear, I’ll doe if it gets any worse.”
To rebuild my life, I had to strip down to my foundation. I could not do this without help. I had to not only remove myself from where I was; I had to rid myself of all the toxins and triggers that kept me sick. I had to begin at the bottom and work my way up.
With regards to my past, I made the decision that I would never allow anyone to say anything about me that I would not have the courage to say about myself. I decided to admit to my lies and the reasons I told them.
I never wanted to hear anyone say, “That Kimmel, he’s a real asshole.”
I never wanted to hear, “That Kimmel, he’s a liar,” or “He’s a loser,” or a “Basket case,” without honestly admitting to myself and to any of these accusations the absolute truth.
And here’s the truth . . .
I behaved as I did because I believed I had to. I lied to color my life and become more interesting. I lied to get laid. I lied to gain friends. I lied to get out of trouble and I lied to continue a lifestyle, which only I understood
Essentially, I behaved as I did to find solace in my sorrow and comfort my uncomfortable view of who I was.
I behaved as I did to solve the struggles in my head. All the other problems that came as a result of these struggles were nothing more than symptoms.
Drug addiction is a symptom. So were my outbursts of rage. So was my behavior. All of these things were symptoms.
When social media came to be what it is, I briefly spoke to an old acquaintance.
She began to discuss how I was. She exposed some of my lies. Told me I was full of shit. She said everything that came out of my mouth was all bullshit. According to her, either I was lying or trying to get into someone’s pants.
I told her this was all true.
I told her she was right about me.
I also told her why I lied, how I felt, and what it felt like to be socially awkward and feel the need for attention.
I explained what it feels like to believe you are uninteresting—to feel that you need an edge, and the edge had to be a sharp one too—one that cuts deep. This way you can fight back. This way you can slice through your own fears of mediocrity or social subordination; you can slice through the fear of loneliness and boredom to create an altered image and wear it like a mask
When the old acquaintance mentioned some of the stories about me, I admitted to what I did. I also admitted to why I did them.
I told her, “I’m never going to let anyone say something about me that I don’t have the balls to say about myself.”
In my opinion, this is a way towards freedom.
Nobody knows my journey better than me. Nobody knows what I went through. Nobody knows about the secret scars which I used to justify my behavior. Also, nobody knows how far I’ve come. Nobody knows what I’ve conquered.
But I do . . .
If you’re at the lowest point—then you’re at the lowest point. And don’t worry. There’s nowhere to go but up.
All i can say to you is hold on tight, son.
Our methods may have been different and our reasons may not be the same, but our symptoms are similar.
The ride you’re on may feel a little bumpy right now.
But it will get better
One day at a time