I Know Not Where to Begin

I know not where to begin, so I will begin with gratitude for all of you.

I never would have imagined that something I shared on Facebook recently would have generated the outpouring of concern it did. I never intended to convey that I was ever at risk of or contemplating self-harm. I wasn’t at all. I would be lying if I said that for the past several months, I never wished for the cessation of my own life should it occur naturally. But I could never bring about such a misfortune by my own hand. I still have faith that all I have been through in trying to heal from all I have been through will find its glory at some point. I want to be around to bask in it and share it. I truly do. Yes, I am often at a point where I want out, probably more often than is healthy, but I am not taking myself out. As one popular meme says, “I did not come this far only to come this far.”

Bouncing from the lows of molestation, vagrancy, and a meth addiction as an adolescent who grew ashamed of his own shadow to being catapulted onto a trajectory of a materialistically venerable existence was emotionally jarring. I never took the time to seek healing or talk to anyone for decades. I never reset what I wanted out of a life that odds once suggested would not have lasted into my twenties. My development as an emotionally healthy human being was stifled as opportunities came from all directions to pursue what I was raised to believe were the only noble pursuits: wealth and status – two things sorely lacking growing up in an environment that appeared to idolize both. I had finally found acceptance for how I was now living, and no sacrifice was too great to maintain my chokehold on it, regardless of how little fulfillment there was for me. I even eschewed marriage, family, and all deeply intimate connections, fearing I might lose my grip on the threads of chasing wealth and status that I needed to be worthy of social acceptance. I have broken more hearts and shattered more dreams than I care to recall – including my own many times over. Of this, I am, yet again, ashamed.

In quiet and lonely suffering, I have accumulated much materially; in my quest for healing, I have forfeited much materially. I want to believe it will all be worth it if – no, when – I come out of the other side of this an emotionally mature and balanced individual. Such growth requires believing that the entire world is not against me, as I observed it to be from my earliest days of life. Save for a few brief experiences where I did feel safe in the world, I have lived in fear of almost all people as acceptance seemed unwaveringly conditional on living up to expectations I was not equipped to meet.

As for finding my way out of this darkness once and for all, as I began this piece of writing, I know not where to begin. So, I begin the only way I know how – writing and sharing. Picking up the emotional pieces left behind decades ago is no easy task, but it is as crucial as it is painful. Growth is painful, and the more it is pushed off for whatever reason, and the later it occurs, the more painful it is. I still feel safest alone but my fear and distrust of people must abate if I hope to recover, and your outpouring of concern and love is huge. Thank you all!

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