Answer the Question – About the Chain Reaction

My first journal was written in an attempt to save my own life. This is important for me to express because the action it took to create that journal was important to the details of my life; in which case, this is what has brought me to this point.
This is what’s brought me to the here and now of things, so-to-speak, and had it not been for the chemistry and the chain reaction of certain efforts and events, none of this would be so.

I say this now, fully aware that saving my own life has more meanings than just the simple or the obvious ones.
To save my own life meant that I needed to be rescued. I needed to find a place where I was comfortable. I needed to let go of everything that weighed me down, including my thinking, which was a trick of its own because the idea of changing our thinking was strange to me. How does a person change the way they think? Or better yet, how does a person wake up one day and, just like that, they’re somebody else.

That’s life.
That’s what they say.
That’s what we hear all the time.

You had a bad day?
That’s life.
Someone ripped you off?
That’s life.
You have bills and they cut your overtime?
That’s life.

When we find ourselves at an impasse or when we find ourselves at the crux of a decision or in the middle of hard times – or when life kicks you when you’re down; that’s life.
That’s what people tell us.
“Suck it up, buttercup!”

Every so often, someone or something comes along in our life and somehow brightens the darker times or softens the sharper edges of our daily life. Every so often, we see something so huge in such a small package. We witness miracles on a daily basis. We see beauty all around us. There’s a sunrise and a sunset on every morning or evening. There’s a moon to look at or a sun above. Even if it rains or the day is dreary and gray and all else is lugubrious, at best, there is still something quieting and softly gentle. There’s something beautiful everywhere.
But do we notice this? Do we see it? Or do we forget to be thankful that we had the chance to see this?
Ever have the chance to look out from of a window down at One Liberty in Manhattan and watch the the sun as it goes down over the Hudson River?
No one ever points that this and says, “That’s life,” do they?
Because that is life. This is more a detail of life than say, the asshole that pushed and shoved their way onto the 4 train at 3:56 while I was trying to get downtown to make a 4:00 meeting.

I can remember the time just before my Mom was sick.
We went to Disney, just the two of us. I can remember there was a firework display about the Magic Kingdom. The emphasis here truly belongs on the word Magic.

Mom looked up at the sky. She told me, “If I die tomorrow, at least I lived to see this.”
The music and the presentation and certainly the simple purity of the scene was enough to have Mom shed a tear.
This was too much emotion. And me, at the time, I wouldn’t dare myself to feel that vulnerable.

I’m not sure what I thought about. I was younger then.
Much younger.
I was trapped in a different body and mindset. However, it’s been a long time since I was away with Mom.
A lot has happened since then. I grew older and, in some ways, perhaps it’s safe to say that cynical thinking and I have been well-acquainted for a very long time.
It took me a while to realize that realism and skepticism are not the same things as cynicism and pessimism. And between these things; I had to learn.
I had to come to different levels of awareness. I had to lose more. I had to watch myself give away my own freedom to realize that it was me who entrapped myself. But that’s life, right?
Well, maybe it is or isn’t
But this was my life at the time.

I had to die in certain ways. I had to experience challenges and shames. After the fallouts and the downfalls and after the moments that come in the wake of emotional challenges, I found myself at my wit’s end.
But again, that’s life.
We have to learn.
We have to hurt so that we can heal.
We have to know what it’s like to crash and burn so that we understand what it means to celebrate the feeling when we achieve or overcome. We have to fall down to learn what it means to get back up!
Isn’t that part of life?

There came a time when I literally hit the floor on my knees. I couldn’t take another breath, let alone take another step. I was in the middle of a realization or, better yet, I was at the crossroads of my true self.
I saw where I came from. I saw my inner betrayals to my own true self.

I saw the deliveries of what comes when we forfeit our aspirations and hopes.
I came to a place where my reflection was no longer unavoidable.
I saw the way that I walked and talked and the way that I performed or acted “as if.”
I tried to play the role of a person who had everything covered. But nothing was covered.
Everything in my life unraveled and became unwound or haywire.

Now, what I say to you is not only humbling but lifesaving and true. As I hit the ground with all humility; I made a decision. I was there at the crossroads. No, I am not about to tell you that I experienced the Hand of God.
This is not about any rebirth in the spiritual self. I did not go through some transformational experience as sent down from the heavens above. No, that’s not what happened.

However, I can say that this was a moment of revelation. I was on my knees and looking upwards at the ceiling. I was at my weakest and most humble point in my adult life. I was done. I had nothing left to give. I had no energy left to fight or stand back up on my own two feet.
It was here that I had to make a choice.
Either I quit and die or I decide to push through and live.
That’s life.
Isn’t it?
Either we quit and give up or we push through and get back up to give life and ourselves another shot. 

In fairness to this moment, I will spare the sadness or the details of my depressive thinking. There is no reason to account for the suicidal ideation or the actual moment where the trigger was in hand.
However, to properly narrate this segment of my life, it is only fair that I express that, yes, the moment was that desperate. However, instead of walking, running, galloping or even intentionally crawling towards the valley of the shadow of death; instead, I sat down at a small computer table with an old, outdated computer. This was a computer that was rescued from the trash. Then it was reprogrammed and set up for me by a friend. Other than that, I never really had a computer before, at least not really.

Rather than pull the trigger of a different action, I sat down at the computer table and I started to type. 

I wasn’t writing for you or for anyone else at the time. No, I just wanted to get out the thoughts that were in my head. I wanted to stop my thinking because I didn’t know how to change my thinking.
So instead, I changed my actions. 

I was at the bottom of my situation with no place else to turn and with little to no help, I was alone. I was in the middle of an empty space – or more accurately, I was alone in a small, undecorated and mostly empty apartment.
It was here that I made a deal with myself.
It was here where I came to more than just a supplication to overcome my own sadness. It was at this moment where I decided to rise and stand instead of fall or submit. 
This is life.

This moment was the strongest I have ever been.
I made a point to recognize there is no going back to yesterday or the day before. There is no tomorrow. There is nothing but now and the actions we take in preparation for our own best life.
However, I was at the crux of a decision.
I was at the painful downfall and dealing with the aftermath of countless ideas which, of course, brings us to the reason behind this entire journal. What the hell was I thinking?
Nevertheless, I was at a pivotal point in my life where all roads led me to this question.

I was dealing with the ideas of compromise. I was made to notice the moments where I settled for a lower value because, at the time, I never believed that I could possibly have more.
Or should I say, at the time, I never thought that I could possibly be more than just who I was (or am).
I was handling the soft overwhelming mass that grew like a tumor of my mournful obligations. I was sad as ever, understanding that where I was had been a result of how I lived.  I knew it was me who surrendered and quit before even trying. I knew that it was my intimidations and fears that kept me in line or forbid me to reach or try because I knew it was my fear of rejection and judgment that associated me with failure.

This is life.
This is what happens when we come to that special moment of awareness.
This is what we come to when we recognize ourselves at the moment of do or die –
either that or it’s a plan of change or be the same. 
That’s life.

The first words I wrote down went as follows:
My redemption has nothing to do with your response. 
I had to create an explosive moment to build anew sort of detonation to blow up my old world so that I could begin with a new one.

There is a chain reaction to what happens when we pull the trigger.
The trigger releases the firing pin which moves forward with force.
The firing pin strikes the primer causing it to explode. The spark from the premier ignites the gunpowder. Then, gas converted from the burning powder rapidly expands in the shell and boom!
The shot expels from the barrel of the gun.

Now, I am no gunsmith, marksman or marksperson to say the least.
I only know about this reaction because I’ve looked up the details of what happens when we pull the trigger on a gun.
However, to simplify this in basic and easier terms; once we pull the trigger, an action takes place.
That’s life.
Or in this case, an explosion took place. Rather than the shotgun, the trigger I pulled was quite different.
At the same time, the explosiveness of my actions was the polar opposite of what would have happened if I had chosen to use the shotgun.

In the midst of my crossroads of do or die, I chose to do.
I chose to resist the shadows and the voices of regret. Rather than sink or drown in the sorrows of my past, I made a decision to script myself into a brand new future. 

I outgrew myself more times than I could ever possibly imagine; yet, I kept myself in the limited versions of a caged life. I stayed in fear. I was afraid to move out into the world without a safety net. but there is no safety net sometimes because that’s life. Instead, I allowed myself to be restricted by the levels of my own incompetence and, strictly speaking, I made the choice to save my own life on a daily basis.

There was no more yesterday. There was no more before or – even before, before. There was none of that.
If anything or, should I say, if anyone that I wanted to go back to it was this: I wanted to get back to the original person where my dreams came from.
I wanted to uncover the dusty cobwebs of this idea. I wanted to have this dream. In the opening of my old tombs and at the crypts of my dying dreams, I wanted to release the spirits of my original hopes.
This is not just life.
This is what I called bravery.
I set a course to allow my younger self another shot at hope. I wanted that feeling again.
I wanted the feeling of being young and not afraid to believe in simple things like wonder. I wanted to believe in the rules I was taught, such as share and play nice. Hold hands. Play. Pretend. Make believe. I wanted all of that back. I wanted all of my wishes back.
Like this one, right here. I wanted this back because this was my wish a long time ago, before I was made fun of and ridiculed or shamed.
Better yet, I wanted the youthfulness and freedom that we have when we’re kids; to be curious again, to admire or to experience amazement and smile without wondering about the crookedness or the imperfections of my grin.
I wanted to redirect my thinking by unplugging from the misdirected and misdiagnosed principles that led me astray from my purity and eagerness.

Ah, but now the difference would be this: Now that I had decided to uncover the truth of my inner-self; and now that I decided to reclaim “me” and allow myself the freedom to live and experience; I had to learn to be my own protector.
I had to learn how to settle my old fears and bouts with shame.
I had to learn to explain to myself and to teach that inner-self and inner child that as long as I’m here, no one will ever bully you again.
No one can ever hurt you or shame you.
All the adults are gone now kid. It’s time to play.
I promise.
You can come out now. The past is all gone.
You can laugh and scream and sing. You can cry if you want.
No one will look at you or make fun, not on my watch. 

I had to save my own life.
Sometimes, this is life too.

When people say, “that’s life,” I’m not always certain that we are the same.
I know that my life is the same as theirs.
My version of “That’s life,” is a special one. 

I used to be afraid to laugh.
Better yet, I used to be afraid to allow myself to enjoy a moment or experience because what if I look silly?
What if what I like isn’t cool enough?
What if someone points at me or makes fun?
What if I miss the punchline or worse, what do I do if the joke is on me?
I had to peel away the layers of our bullshit status and instead of being someone else (for somebody else), I had to learn how to be me.

In order for me to save my own life, I had to rewire my thinking. Simply put, I went back to the days of the playground.
I went back to old violations and impositions. I went back to the scenes of old crimes.
I chose to do that as a special reenactment of times.
I mean this more so in a figurative sense; however, as a means for you to follow and in an effort to better narrate this part of my life; I went back to those moments where I was hurt most or felt most foolish. I went back to the times where I was most afraid or worried that I was wrong or just not fit for this life
I went back to the moments of shame and to the times where I was hurt or touched by an unwanted hand and betrayed by someone close. 

I showed the inner-version of myself the details of my past and, out loud, I said the words, “NEVER AGAIN!”
I said “NO MORE!”
None of that will ever happen again.
So, go ahead kid.
Chase fireflies.
Look up at the sky and see the birds. Enjoy the rainbows and do not worry if anyone else thinks they’re as beautiful. 
No one will ever pick on you again, not on my watch. And my watch will never end. Even beyond the hour of my death (amen).

I found a way that we can live forever. . .
It’s here in this place, which I have been working on for quite some time. This is my loft, my workshop and my special control room. This is where I come to build the model of my greatest trick which I pulled off because the truth is, I’m still here.

I chose to pull the trigger.
However the trigger I chose and the boom I created was more explosive in a long-term perspective.
Rather than choose a permanent solution for a short-term problem; or wait – no.
Rather than execute myself, I chose to execute the voices and the regret.
I blew away the old pains. I blew away the fears and the shame.
More to the point, rather than blow myself away; I killed the power to the older version of my past life.
In my case, this was my rebirth.
To me, this is life.

I don’t know what life is to anyone else.
I don’t claim to have answers for anyone else either.
However, this path I’ve chosen has given me things that I would have never seen or ever experienced had I not chose to execute this plan and achieve this mission. 

You had a bad day?
That’s life.

Did you get hurt?
That’s life.

Did someone say something mean?
Did you take a shot and miss?
That’s life too.

Know what else is life?
Well, Mom tried to show me when we were at the Magic Kingdom at Disney.

The fireworks took off in the sky. Everyone was looking up.
Kids and families and all who were there were free to see this.
That’s life too.
The sunset and the sunrise and the fact that we and I mean you and I; I mean us, and when I say this; I mean the fact that we have lived and endured and yet somehow we have found this place, right here, together. The fact that through it all, we have found the heroic ways to laugh or smile, this is life too.

It can’t rain forever.
We can’t be sad forever.
Sometimes, we have to pull the trigger in life –
So that boom – we can live it.
So that we can allow ourselves to commit to this moment or look back and say, “No more.”

Sometimes, we have to pull the trigger to create the reaction
So that BOOM!
We saved our own life on a daily basis. 

I love that word, boom.
How about you?
It sort of resonates with me.

And that’s why I’ve come here . . .

To share this with you.

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