I hope I do not come across as one of those self-satisfied jerks who thinks he has it all figured out, because nothing could be further from the truth. I am just as scared and insecure as you are. I “self-medicate” when necessary and routinely find myself wide-awake at four AM wondering: “what the fuck am I doing with my life?” I question the decisions I have made and worry that I have messed everything up by quitting my job and chasing my dreams.
I didn’t really have a choice.
I saw myself at 72 (don’t ask me why) and didn’t like what I saw. This older version of myself was not very happy. He had a lot of regrets. He kept repeating the same question over and over: “why didn’t I try?”
Somewhere, deep inside, I always wanted to be a storyteller.
From an early age I was fascinated with legends and myths and the idea that history and language could be passed down from generation to generation thru the spoken word. My mother, who was not religious but very spiritual, took me to hear a First Nations Elder speak when I was 10 and it was mesmerizing. I sat listening, as if in a trance, as he related the history of his people to the crowd and I was hooked.
It was shortly after this encounter that I began to write everything down. Scribbles on scraps of paper squirrelled away for safekeeping gave way to notebooks filled with nonsense and eventually journals recounting my every move. I started writing silly stories for my Grandmother and Aunt who were my first champions. The encouragement and praise I received from them felt different, somehow real and important, like what I had to say mattered. I had found my voice and something else new to me… bliss.
For many a reason this true notion of who I am – a storyteller – was abandoned. The revelation that I was gay at an early age, the demons of an abusive upbringing and that nasty thing called “real life” all played important parts in my (self imposed?) exile. Suffice it to say I let go of my voice.
And with my voice went my bliss.
This is not to say that in the vast amount of years between 10 and 42 that I was a miserable S.O.B. – far from it. I have had the same ups and downs that everybody else has. I have had tremendous moments of joy and pure happiness, but nothing that sat with me in quite the same way as when I first discovered my path.
I have always been what I call a “closet writer,” someone who lays bare their soul for the page but steadfastly refuses to share. Fear of rejection, a serious lack of self-esteem and the inability to believe have been the driving forces in my life for so many years that even the idea of sharing induced waves of nausea.
Until I met the 72 year-old version of myself and he said “why didn’t I try?” That was a little over a year ago.
My blog had its first birthday on March 30th and I suppose this post is a celebration of that fact. An acknowledgement that I did try, that I took a risk and put myself out there. This blog and the positive feedback I’ve received have enabled me to rediscover my path.
I am a storyteller.
I will always advocate following your passions. You know what it is that you must do with your life. Walk unafraid. Do the thing that scares you the most. Try.
I do not have it all figured out, not by a long shot, but I do know this: when it is four in the morning and I am wide-awake drowning in doubt, there is a lifeboat. There is something floating on the surface of it all, a calming place that I can go for peace.
A memory? A treasure reclaimed?
Call it what you will, I call it bliss.