When I look back upon my life, my experiences, and my choices, I can only think of one phrase: “Well, that was fucked up.”
If my life was ever made into a movie, the only two directors who could do it justice would be Quentin Tarantino or Martin Scorsese.
Perhaps it’s a bit too cliche to wish I could speak to my younger self.
So I won’t say that. Fuck that. Never mind.
One of the best decisions I made (post-prison) was to start seeing a therapist. I knew I had issues with self-loathing and self-esteem, but one thing my therapist has helped me realize is this: My biggest struggle isn’t self-esteem or self-loathing; it’s self-destruction. Essentially, he has helped me realize my tendency to follow a cycle of having something wonderful in my life, then finding new, creative, and often mind-blowing ways to completely fucking destroy it.
I destroyed my career.
I destroyed my reputation.
I destroyed my friendships.
I destroyed my life.
How many times have I subconsciously tried to blow-up my own marriage?
Too many fucking times to recall.
And yet, she refuses to give up on me.
I’ve written in the past that I didn’t learn how to be a human being until I was 37-years-old. Pathetic, I know. But that was the reality in which I existed.
So I made a choice: I chose to change my reality.
I didn’t “find Jesus” or “turn over a new leaf” or “make a resolution” or anything like that. I just simply decided to change my reality.
I battle depression. I don’t fucking “suffer from” depression, I battle it. And one thing that really pisses me off is when someone says, “Why are you depressed?” or “What do you have to be depressed about?” This question displays a complete lack of understanding regarding what “depression” really is; it’s not just a matter of being sad. Why am I depressed? Well, from a clinical perspective — aside from it being a hereditary condition — I have a trauma-induced chemical imbalance in the part of my brain which regulates emotion. So along with fighting the pain of my past, I also fight the pain of my own genetics.
Sometimes, I really feel like I’m behind the fucking 8-ball.
I heard the cheesiest fucking “saying” one time, and I don’t remember who said it or where it came from, but it was something like, “We cause pain on the outside to kill pain on the inside.” Here’s what I hate about that: It is completely fucking stupid and makes complete fucking sense.
That was the reality in which I existed.
But here’s the truth: I will never not hate me. I see what people write about me and I hear what people say. I know I am loathed by many — but none of them will hate me as much as I do. But oddly, I’m okay with that. My personal sense of self-loathing is what keeps me from becoming the person I was. It’s the mere memory of who I was that keeps me living a meaningful life now.
I can never unhurt the people I hurt. I can never uncheat on my wife. When possible, I have tried to make amends, ask forgiveness, and express sincere remorse; but in many cases, that simply is not possible. Some have forgiven me, but most have shunned me — many of whom I once considered my closest friends and/or family.
But, in the end, none of that shit matters. All that matters is — NOW. When I decided to change my reality, the first thing I had to do was stop trying to have a better past. I’m the kind of pathetic fucking reminiscent person who dwells on the past; and in that deep reminiscence, I used to fight my own tendency to somehow try to change the memories of my worst choices in my own mind, as though replaying my deepest regrets over and over and over again would somehow make them alterable — if only I could dwell long enough.
Of course, that’s fucking impossible. So now, on this day, in this exact fucking moment, I must accept where my life is now rather than regretting where my life could be, had I not made the choices which destroyed my life. And that’s where my tendency toward self destruction becomes relevant. I’ve spent so much of my life sulking in subconscious pain, when things start to go right or well in my life or something good happens, there is literally a subconscious tendency within my own mind to sabotage my own happiness in an attempt at self destruction.
Because, on a subconscious (and somewhat-conscious) level, I do not believe I deserve to ever fucking be happy — ever again. So, whenever the perception of happiness enters my cognition, I reflexively attempt to do something stupid, destructive, offensive, hurtful, shitty, or self-destructive; not because I’m an evil person, but because I struggle with happiness — I feel like I don’t deserve happiness.
That is the reality I am attempting to leave behind by grasping onto my faith, trusting in my wife, and believing in my current endeavors regarding my new book and my attempts to battle the epidemic of unlawful teacher/student relationships — the epidemic to which I regretfully contributed in 2010 and which led to me being (deservedly) sent to prison in 2012.
I will never be able to do enough good to outweigh the bad I’ve done, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try. And Step #1 is eliminating self-destructive behavior.
FOOTNOTE: To understand why I choose to use the harsh language I use when I write, particularly in this particular entry, please read “The Art of Vulgarity.” However, it is noteworthy that there is no profanity in After 3PM. Part of my publishing agreement was to remove or replace all profanity (which took over an hour).