WARNING THIS POST CONTAINS SUICIDAL FEELINGS
This is with no doubt the most difficult post I have written, for it contains aspects of my life that led me to where I am today. It also holds some of my deepest problems, problems I have now overcome! As the song by Hank Williams Jr. called Family Tradition goes “Hank why do you drink? Hank, why do you smoke? Why must you live out the songs that you wrote?” This blog will try to explain some of those old dark habits and although tradition is involved and so to is family, it by no means is my family’s tradition, for I believed I was the black sheep. The fact I was born with “Dumbo ears” didn’t help any either! Spent most of early childhood with that name, makes me laugh now, but back then, not so much.
When I was in my teens, I was extremely skinny, the proverbial 98 lb weakling seen on the old Charles Atlas adds in the back of some magazines. I even bought Charlese’s program when I was about 14 in a desperate attempt to look stronger. Weakness in men / boys is seen first and foremost by a physical appearance. Being a skinny little runt, I didn’t stand a chance. Second is emotional control! Most children who breaching into that awkward world of puberty will have some emotional challenges, but for HSP’s it can be a runaway freight train full of explosives. Let’s face it, most parents back and even today, were not educated on how to raise children. God gave those with two X chromosomes the ability to reproduce (and yes, I believe in natures biology, regardless of what label you choose to place upon it), but I am darn certain no child was born with an instruction book tattooed to their buts!
As parents, most wing it! They used the so-called skills they learned from their parents and God forbid, society (Have you looked around lately?). Parents are like kids in a kindergarten class molding play dough into little people of all sorts of charters and behaviours. Kids that hold the HSP trait do not want to have a label, nor do they want to think their different, most just want to be normal like everyone else. At least that was the way it used to be. I can’t help think that in today’s world, we label everything. Stands to reason why the younger generation are attached to labeling themselves, and we wonder where they got it from?
But as I have said before, normal is a setting on a close dryer and people are unique in so many ways. Yet we try hard at fitting into these social molds that are uncomfortable and misrepresenting of who we truly are. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about gender identification here, I am talking about common courtesies, something quickly disappearing in my view. Manners, politeness, and to some degree established traditions that defined us as a culture are under scrutiny in today’s world. I still hold the door open for people, yeah people because I feel it’s a nice thing to do and If that insults you, its your problem, not mine.
Having the combination of appearing frail physically and certainly being emotionally frail as a child, made me an extreme target in the school yard. Yeah, Kids are mean, hmmm…. wonder where they learn it from too? Some will automatically say “Parents”, but is that true? I know many super nice parents with extremely mean kids. Having run a wilderness correction program where I took 10 teenagers, both male and female, sorry XX and XY’s, on 26-day wilderness trips, winter and summer. What I gained form that is it can be in the biology, see lesson 4 – Traits. Having a child is like the prize in a cracker jacks’ box, you get what you get to some degree! As I also have seen great kids truly screwed up by adults posing as parents. What do I mean, take the 14 year old boy I had sentenced by a judge to my wilderness corrections program. He was charged and convicted with 28 counts of break and enter. His mom taught him that law enforcement was evil and that breaking into other peoples houses taking their things was right. Listening to him for 26 days in the wilds of Canada convinced me, he truly did not know right from wrong, because is mom was his everything!
Most parents are completely unprepared to properly teach their unique child how to function in the world, largely because most parents are not prepared to handle to world and all its complexities themselves. I am amazed when I listen to adults talk, as if they know it all, fact is, none of us do. Besides that, what’s right for one may not be for another, life experiences are our biggest teachers, but like any lesson, if one is not willing to learn, its just a waste if time.
When I reached my early 20’s and was teaching scuba diving to new adventure seekers, I could see the looks in my students’ eyes. How can this skinny runt protect me from the sea monsters I might face. It bothered me immensely, and I felt like I needed to change how I looked. I tried to go to the gym and work out, but let’s face it, that takes time, money and commitment. I had the commitment, but not the time and certainly the money. So, I went to a doctor and pleaded with him to give me steroids, because I wanted to look like Arnold! He laughed, and said, eat more food and go to the gym!
I started to eat pasta, by the case lot! Smoothed in butter because that’s all I could afford. I went to the gym as often as I could considering my ridiculous work schedule. I gained about 10 pounds in 4 months. I started to feel better about myself and the way I looked and for a while I was happier. It was after I got married and had kids the expectations of society once again kicked in and I found myself working far too many hours, eating extremely poorly and too tired to even think about going to a gym. Once again, I felt physically weak and not meeting society’s expectations of what a man should look like (Thanks Arnold!)
When my kids were in their early teens, I couldn’t help but think back to my early days. I did not want them feeling the same way, for I foolishly believed in still trying to meet society’s expectations. So, I built a very professional gym, at considerable cost in our basement. Then, as incentive to motivate my boys to getting off he dam video games and working out, I would lead by example. I started with the full intentions of learning how to build muscle properly. Reading as much as I could from so called experts, like Arnold of course. It seemed all the influencers we hold high on a manly standard were taking steroids. So, if they are doing it, why can’t I.
My first order came in and I was nervous! After waiting weeks not knowing if I was getting ripped off or being tested by authorities as steroids are illegal, to us common folk anyway. When they arrived, I was then worried about what the heck was in this stuff that I am about to put in my body, am I going to die? And here’s the foolish part, my desire to fit in to society as a manly man was so great, that I was willing to risk it, so I did! 8 weeks later I was a different man. The looks of “Wow” I would get as I walked down the mall was very clear! Society now saw me as a real man, even though it was completely fake!
But there was something new that I had not ever thought of, because it was the furthest thing from my mind. My new body appearance may have impressed strangers, but the looks I was getting was not impressing my wife! The results of having children, twins to be clearer, had, had its toll on her body. Although she made attempts of losing the weight, her efforts did not produce the results she was hoping for. My sudden transformation didn’t help either for like everyone else, she had no idea what I was doing, or where my mind was at. I stated to recognize her drop in self confidence so I made extra efforts to hold her hand in public, and show her appearance was not important, character was. Her attitude toward me began to change, she saw me as the cause of her physical appearance, For I was the one that wanted children. It became clear to me, she no longer wanted anything to do with me and as an HSP, that truly hurt. I asked myself, should I go back to the unhealthy look I also had after the children were born? True, the use of an illegal substance was wrong, but so too is constantly being in a depressed state!
For the first time in my life, I felt good! Both physically and mentally and that seemed to upset her. I recall during our divorce, she said “You have changed!” But change is inevitable in life, nothing stays the same, even mountains change given the exposure to the harsh elements of life. The real question is, can one adapt to it, or will they be separated by it. She wanted nothing to change, I wanted everything to change! That is what ended our marriage.
After the divorce, I had taken the job in Madagascar of the east coast of Africa, I stopped with the steroid use and fell right back into a depressive state. Losing everything financially and materialistically was not the driver, losing my children was! I began drinking, hoping to drown the pain in the intoxicating effects of alcohol. Pain amplified by all the past trauma I held as a child, as a teenager and now as an adult. The drinking wasn’t helping, in fact it was making matters worse, for my drink of choice was rum! A well-known depressant, or at least that’s what I read and now believed! The impressive looks I once was getting were fading away, as too was the strong looking body I once sported. The feeling that came from the attention I once was getting also faded away and I wanted it back, desperately for thoughts of ending my life were ow constant!
On my next rotation from work, I went to Thailand where steroids are easily purchased in many drugstores over the counter! They do not hold the same believe in the drug as western culture does. Upon my return to Madagascar, I began again, and within a very short time, I was once again feeling great and looking great. This resulted in the attention from people, for looking the way I did made me stand out. I found; the attention was far to intense as an HSP. They constant calls of “Hey it’s Rambo” embarrassed me greatly but it was self inflicted. I had read about the possible side effects from the use of steroids, but nobody ever mentioned what I was experiencing, but then again, I don’t believe anyone has ever written a confession such as this.
The attention wasn’t just form to beautiful ladies, desperately seeking a rich (in their minds) foreigner, but form the men as well, only the men were not impressed. It took me years after to figure out why? Even though the answer was already in my mind. Like myself, growing up I envied the likes of Arnold and Sylvester. Jealous of their appearance without the knowledge of how they got that way. Yes, both had admitted to using steroids, but due to their popular status in Hollywood, all is forgiven. Not so much in my world, men started to hate me, a feeling I was vastly familiar with due to the history I had with my older brother.
One would think, this would make me stop. Quiet the opposite! Having had to fight off my brothers attacks as a young boy; I wanted very little to do with men while holding women on such a high pedestal due to my mom’s love for me. One needs to remember; any showing of love can be like a drop of rain in a thirst starved person. My focus was not on them, but the positive attention I was getting from the women, that felt great!
My steroid journey continued after I left Madagascar, and had moved to Thailand. Working in Iraq, making huge money, looking the way I did was nothing less than a dream come true. That is until I moved the most beautiful lady whom I fell deeply in love with from Madagascar to Thailand. Her stunning looks, her elegant yet bubbly personality, and complete innocence along with my HSP trait made me want to be her knight in shinning armour! I took her to places she had only dreamed about and others she had no idea existed. I built her a house in her own country, so she could feel she always had a good home. I built five business for her family so they always had money and I paid for her sister to go to university to become a nurse, the first in her family to ever attend a higher education. I loved her more than life itself.
But the evils of Thailand soon came knocking at the door. Seems she had met two Thai ladies in the gym, while I was off working in Iraq. They convinced her, men are tools to be used and that while I was away, she could make more money in the bars, selling herself. She was alone, in a country she did not understand fully, and she became prey to the darkness that exists there. One of my biggest regrets in life was taking her there. When I came home and learning this, my heart was severely broken, and I told her she needed to return home and be with her family. I bought her a business class ticket home and the flight would leave the next day, but her mind had been deeply manipulated by her new best friends. She had experienced the taste of greed and wanted more of it. Instead of going home, she went to Pattaya and continued her pursuit to gather as many “sponsors” as the Thai Bar girls call men as she could, that is until the authorities caught her working in Thailand without a visa, and deported her immediately.
Two weeks went by, I was angry beyond expression. I increased my steroid use, and started drinking at the same time! The world it seemed had robbed me yet again and my thoughts were, it wasn’t only men attacking me, but for the first time I began to see women in the same light, evil greedy monsters that only see me as a mean of financial gain! If there is no real love in this world, I thought to myself, so be it, not realizing it was partly my own doing! I then told myself, I am going to get as big and as scary looking as I can so that all will fear me, all will stay away from me! I wanted the world to just leave me alone, and if they didn’t, a dragon they would face instead of the gentle person I was.
That is where my tattoo came to be! It took 70 hours at 10 hours a day for 7 days straight. The physical pain was second only to the time I had decompression sickness, back in 1982. On my back is a dragon and an angel, facing each other holding a Ying yang symbol. The wing of the angel come up over my right shoulder and down my right arm while reaching across my chest, not quiet touching the center, where most believe the heart is. Her wings are a black outlined, shaded with blue, the color of the ocean where I felt most at peace. The dragons wing also comes up over my left shoulder in an identical pattern as the angels, it’s black outline is shaded in red, the color of anger or danger! I look down at these wings on my arms each and every day. Permeate reminders of who I want to be, and who I can be! Treat me with kindness and you will get the angel. Treat me with cruelty and you will release the dragon! Remember, HSP’s are extremely emotional people, we feel far more than most. Both joy and anger, and I had experienced far more reasons to be angry than loved!
My choice in action was very successful, in fact too successful, for I found everyone was afraid of me. For awhile I was left alone and I was happy about that. I sitting in a coffee shop, still in Thailand when a strange little man came up to me and asked if he could join me. Cautiously I invited him to sit down. He was from Australia and had just moved to Thailand, and was full of excitement. Not wanting to dash his demeanour, I just sat there listening to him talk as most HSP’s do, and talk he did. He then asked if I knew of any place to eat, to which I told him of an outdoor food court, where the choices of food were amazing along with the inexpensive price. He invited me to join him, but my gut feeling said no, for there were far too many people there. Dam I wish I would have listened my spidy sense, but I didn’t!
After eating he suggested we go to a street he had heard about where there were a lot of bars and a lot of “willing women”, again my spidy sense screamed at me not to do this, but I did! I now believe it was the feeling of loneliness that overrode my divergent thinking and I would pay the price yet again as a result. It was here I met my next girlfriend, the one that would rob me of all I had and destroy me psychologically for the what I believed would be the time. Yea, she was the one that demanded my beautiful Africa Twin motorbike I had written about previously, alone with everything else I had.
I escaped Thailand with nothing but the shirt on my back and a promise to never ever fall for the corruption of people again, an extremely daunting task. For the world as I saw it was full of these people, lurking around every corner, waiting to steal you blind at any given chance. Greed is a disease, that affects the weak minded and no amount of kindness offered will cure it. Once I returned to the USA, steroids were no longer easily accessible, alcohol and marijuana was! Drowning my pain in these drugs made life tolerable, but only in short bursts. After two years of living in a country infested with greed, uncaringness and cruelty, I was drinking half a bottle of tequila a night and smoking pot just so I could try and sleep. I began hating life itself and the thought of suicide was a constant plea in my mind, hidden for all who thought they knew me. Like many Americans living in this untrusting land, I bought a hand gun under he guise of protection. The truth was, no matter how many bullets I had, nothing would protect me from my self and the thoughts in my head, or so I believed at the time.
During these dark times, and under the numbing effects of the alcohol, I would place the 9mm Ruger pistol into my mouth, tears rolling down my face, hoping I could find the courage to pull the trigger. Thoughts of my mom, would then enter my mind, I envisioned the tears rolling down her face just as they were mine and the pain she would feel, pain I knew all to well. One of the strongest characteristics of an HSP is their deep understanding of feelings. It is this understanding that stops the from hurting those they care about. Those that cause us pain however, do not receive the same level of empathy, in fact we can simply go numb due to the constant barrage of hurt they cause us. It is my belief that its this numbness that unintentionally manifests into some sort of reciprocal hurt in return. Hurt we HSP’s tend not to understand exactly what we did to cause it.
I am a lucky one, for the visions of my mom combined with my HSP trait revealed my deep caring for her and that no matter how bad life is for me, I could not cause her that kind of pain. It was her that stopped me! And for that I will be forever grateful! Thank you, mom! Thank you for loving me!
It’s been 24 days now since I have stopped the excessive drinking and using THC, not a long time in the eyes of many, but for me, it’s a milestone. I do not believe I had become a addict, although it may sound like it, if I was I do not believe it would have been as simple as just stopping. What I was, was a man without purpose, a man without a life even though I had done so much all ready, I felt like there was nothing left. That is until this dream of doing this adventure across the wilds of Central and South America gave me back purpose for life.
This morning I awoke from the first deep sleep I have had in years! In that awakening, I had an intense emotional feeling like I have never felt before! It was like crossing a finish line after running a 59-year marathon non-stop! It was a light headedness and euphoric sensation of…. Joy and fear at the same time. The feeling was as if I had suddenly been freed after what seemed to be a life time of imprisonment, but lost and alone. At first, I didn’t understand it as this foreign feeling coursed through me like a raging river mixing the two sensations like oil and water trying to blend together. I had learned years ago to hide behind fear, to make it my shield of armor, but this fear was vastly different, it was if I was naked in the jungle, alone to fend for myself for the first time.
I was also a fear of finally having something again, something I treasured but was afraid of having it taken away from me, like all things had in the past and returning me back into that darkness I came from. As I slowly returned to life, my mind still dazed with a slumbering confusion as it tires to process these unfamiliar sensations. Sensations long forgotten if ever felt them before. Part of me wants to remain hidden, for fear the world will attack again, taking away this precious gift I have woken with, a gift of joy! I sit up in bed, needing, not wanting to write this down! To capture it on my computer for eternity like I had with so many other impactive experiences. Forever preserving the true event and the feelings I held. But unlike the past, this feeling, a wonderful and amazing feeling has no words I can find that would ever due it justice.
All the past experiences I speak of were events I captured in writing to preserve the truth. Knowing that the sub-conscious would try and expand and distort it in an attempt for self preservation. I sense no sub-consciousness now, in fact the inner vision I see is it slithering back into a dark hole in my mind, knowing it has no place in this moment. That’s when it dawned on me! It too does not know how to embrace the feelings of joy! It has spent its entire existence dealing with trauma. Trauma cast upon it by the world around the living flesh. Like a beaten dog, it knows no love, no joy, no kindness, for it has been shattered long ago. As I continue to slowly awaken, the light headedness drifts off into a void. So, to does that amazing feeling of joy. Like a wispy fog in the morning light, it evaporates.
Reality returns in its stead. Sadness begins to fill the room once more as my sub-conscious mind emerges from its cave. It wants to bring me back into its comfort zone, one of internal protection from the world it desperately wants us to escape. But like all things in life, once you have been exposed to something, you can never go back to the way you were for a mind that is awakened by new experiences can never go back to its old dimension. Although it was brief, I was given something I have not held in what seemed a life time, that being true hope! Hope in knowing I can feel joy and that it felt amazing. I begin to understand the faces of people who laugh sincerely, and I know in my heart, I will feel it again if I work really hard at it. I realize it won’t be easy for I face two dragons, one within me and the other, a much more powerful dragon, called society.
I do know, that if it is something I deeply desire, I will work exceedingly hard at achieving it, another HSP trait. Being a sensation seeker, we tend to push through the fears most shy away from. I understand I must work harder at my own mindfulness, gaining control of my sub-conscious thoughts by re-teaching it to seek joy while standing up for what is right. I must give it the love and support it needs so it can grasp a hold of that joyful feeling each and every time it appears. In doing so, I most teach it to create as many positive defining moments and place them high above all the negative and harsh memories it has previously held onto for so long.
The goal is to drown my conscious and sub conscious mind in a sea of joyful experiences, for this is the true path to happiness! And never allow it to return to that darkness again.