Two years ago, I packed everything I had into a moving truck and drove 300 miles to the middle of nowhere in the hope that it might lead to a better situation than what I’d been in since my life imploded back in 2011.
For a while, things seemed like they might work out here, but it eventually became clear that the desert wasn’t going to be the long-term solution for me.
So I’ve decided to move on to Life 3.0, which is going to be arguably the biggest gamble I’ve ever taken.
But before I do, there’s a couple things I need to take care of first.
I’m going back to Portland in a few weeks to see my son and the friends who’ve been my family since pretty much the day I stepped off the plane from Boston 26 years ago.
I’m also going to do something I should’ve done a long time ago, but I guess everything has its time, so I’m going to finally stop and face the thing I’ve been running from for most of my life.
Every one of us has defining moments in our lives. Moments where our words, thoughts, choices, actions and even inactions can become the points on our respective timelines that become so engrained in our DNA that they can often dictate the course of our lives from then on out, both consciously and subconsciously.
I’ve never shied away from the reality that not long after I came to the West Coast all those years ago, I hurt someone in a way that became a defining moment for both them and me.
I could spend another 10,000 to 20,000 words here explaining the reasons why it happened, and I know that to many it will come off as nothing more than cheap excuses and supposed justifications, so I won’t waste my time with it other than to say that at the time, I was complete and utter mess.
I was a mess on both a psychological and emotional level, which now that I look back on it, doesn’t feel all that surprising really considering I’d been abandoned by my mother and shipped across the country because she didn’t want to understand that after getting through about six years of things that no kid should be exposed to, I was about as far from okay as a person could get.
And it was in that state of mind that I did something which I am both deeply regretful of and deeply ashamed of.
Fast-forward to now, and I’d like to think that in the years since, I’ve paid the price for it. Of course, that’s a matter of purely subjective opinion so I know not everyone is going to see it that way. I can’t do anything about that other than look at the things I’ve done since then to atone.
It’s not been easy, nor did I expect it to be. The physical and emotional toll it’s taken on me is something I notice every day.
I’ve had people tell me along the way that I need to forgive myself for what I did. They tell me I’m allowed to do that, that I need to do that, and I understand their rationale for saying so. But the reason I haven’t is because I’ve never been able to go back and sit down with the person I hurt and give them the opportunity to forgive me if, and only if, they felt I’d earned it.
Now I suppose the questions can be asked of why now? Why didn’t I do it sooner?
It’s a fair observation and the simplest answer is because facing your demons is horrifying and running from them feels like the safer option.
I don’t care how brave you think you are. It is part of our fight/flight mentality to avoid conflicts when and however possible. We don’t do it because we’re cowards. We do it because we understand that doing so, that standing there and facing the things that bring you the most emotional pain you can ever imagine feeling.
That is frightening on a level which cannot adequately be described in words.
But sometimes, the only way to truly let yourself heal from them is to stand your ground and face them, so that’s what I’m going to do.
Am I scared? Damn straight I am.
I know I only get one shot at this and I better make it count because this isn’t just about me. It’s also about the person on the other side of this. They’ve had to live with it as long as I have, and go through their own battles and face their own demons and do not think for a second that the reality of that is lost on me in any way.
But I cannot truly start Life 3.0 and wherever that takes me next until I deal with this.
Maybe it’s too late, or maybe it’s just time. All I know is that I’d rather face this demon now and move past it once and for all than to have it keep chasing me for however many years I have left.