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I know it’s hard to be you. I feel it.
I was once there myself; I can remember the loneliness and the emptiness the most. I recall a time when I would sit there in my house, alone, watching sad films; wishing the world would just swallow me up whole and disappear me from this cruel, harsh world. People? They meant well but they don’t understand. They never understood. “Come on, cheer up, it’s not that bad,” they’d say, “you’d think you just lost your favourite pet to cancer” they’d jest.
They meant well,
But they never understood.
How could they?
My friends, all of them, or at least most of them, had loving, caring, families. Their Dads were still there in their homes and did nothing but give love and charity to all their family. They didn’t have a long systemic history of alcohol abuse in their households. When they asked Mum and Dad for something there was rarely ever any negative emotional attachment involved in the giving, totting the favours up later to throw back in their face. My Dad never cared at all. Theirs did. This was unknown to them.
I was no stranger to the emptiness of not having a complete family. A thick, black cloud that enveloped the very essence of myself; a longing to be connected to a father but never quite having that in my grasp. Of course, there were men that came and went from my life, but their marks, or rather their “stains,” furthered my warped and toxic idea of what men in the household should be like. My Mum, she kept meeting the same type of men, and of course, there were exceptions, but they didn’t last for long. I never had a father to complete me. I didn’t have a man to build stuff with me, I didn’t have a man to hug me and share his warmth with me, I didn’t even have a man to tell me how proud he was of me.
I must have been broken. If the only man in my life was to reject me, then I was defunct, a no-man, a piece of shit — and through that, it fuelled many years of self-hatred and longing to be loved by someone, anyone.
I moved as a 19-year-old man, and in one foul swoop isolated myself from any love I had on this planet at all. I moved to be closer to my Dad so that I could work with him; he wanted to use me as his lap dog, as his toy to be discarded when he needed. A runabout to do his bidding. In my head my Dad was finally wanting me to be in his life; in his mind, he was getting cheap labour to further progress his business. When he didn’t get the support and benefits that he thought he’d get with me (being young and on government welfare) he tossed me aside like a used piece of shit.
“He’ll be back up with his Mum in a week” he jested to all his friends in the pub. They laughed heartily as if they cared not for the injustices that were unfolding in front of their faces; they’d have never treated their children like this, but somehow in their warped hypocritical minds, I deserved it.
I was lonely too. 600 miles away from home and no-one to share my life with. Living alone, on benefits again and barely any social life. My life, it was utterly shit. I was alone, and empty, and sad. No amount of people telling me to cheer up would change that. They just didn’t understand.
It didn’t help that a couple of years later they diagnosed me as a schizophrenic.
The emptiness and loneliness were hard to live with, I’ll admit, and whilst I sobbed away on my own at sad movies I’d have a bottle of vodka beside me to ease the pain. I’d usually finish it within the night.
It nearly killed me, the drinking.
And the heartache, the emptiness.
But there is hope, survivor.
There is hope.
See, eventually, I decided that I had just about enough of feeling sad. I had just about enough of feeling like I was worthless to the world, and instead, went on an immense journey of truth and discovery. I stopped thinking about the past; that which I had lost and that which I couldn’t do. What could have happened or what might have happened, and I began to focus on what I could do with my life NOW. Like, this very moment.
My past was sad and rough, but there was nothing stopping me from achieving something this very moment, no?
So, I sought counseling, psychiatry, work rehabilitation and volunteered at somewhere I can lend my compassion to others for what I’ve already been through. I began to build the foundations of my future from there.
Fuck it, fuck the world. So what if I’m starting late, right? Anyone who thinks otherwise can laugh all they want. This is about me and only me.
I began to heal. I began to seek interests. I’d never thought of what I’d like to do with my life since I was a kid, so I began to collect a few hobbies! Gaming, writing, photography, video editing; turns out I’m very artistically minded, more so than logically minded, which we all thought I was at the beginning.
Turns out I just LOVE to get up at 4am to catch the morning sunrise and take amazing photos of it. Who would have thought? And instead of running away from my fascination with computers because it wasn’t cool at the time I began to embrace it fully; it’s how I got involved with bitcoin, and eventually Steemit.
When I started to enjoy doing things with my time I began realising that my life wasn’t all too bad, and that I was beginning to create something enjoyable for myself. I began to accept, appreciate and enjoy what I had.
Then all hell broke loose — I began winning community awards, started training as a teacher, helped to empower others to fight on their own; people started talking and eventually I worked my way up to Project Manager with an excruciatingly daunting remit.
But we kicked the shit out of that too. On the way one of my workers won a National award; something I’m deeply proud of. I saw young men bask in a light they had never seen before. I watched as people that had never been given the chance before shine brighter than a 2000-watt light bulb, and I created a hardcore network of invested charities within my project.
By then I was seriously kicking it at life. I had been owning up to and taking responsibility for my own actions for at least two years now. I was where I was because of me and the decisions I had taken thus far to get me there. I had moved from being my own worst enemy, to my very own best friend. The empowerment that gives a person, when done truthfully and honestly and safely, is second to none.
And fuck, man.
You can do this too.
You can seriously get yourself out of the shit you’re in.
Begin today. Today is the day you’re going to take the first step in doing what you’ve always wanted to do. This life is short, make sure it’s a happy one.
Fuck what society thinks. If you want to be a ballerina, then go and train to be a ballerina. What is stopping you?
The only thing that’s stopping you, is you, friend.
Take that first step.
The role of men is changing in the 21st century. Want to keep up?
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