“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.”
(Scroll down a couple of paragraphs to skip the preface to this novel 😋)
For those of you who still keep tabs on my blog posts, I’m still here! I haven’t posted in a long time but that’s not to say I haven’t been writing. I have actually written quite a lot that I would love to share at some point. I will most likely be posting more once I switch my site over to Wordpress because it’s a much more blog friendly platform, which is hopefully happening soon. Lately, I have been obsessed with this website called Medium (https://medium.com). Through Medium, I have come across some pretty phenomenal articles by different writers from across the globe about all sorts of topics that have inspired me to write creatively and to dig deeper into my inner thoughts and feelings. This isn’t an ad for Medium but if someone from the company is reading this, I wouldn’t mind a free subscription :)
I originally created this blog to be an extension of my social media life so that those who follow me can see that I am indeed a human that faces real life issues. My life isn’t just posting posed photographs and “perfect” videos on the gram. My life is “normal” with lots of successes and lots of failures. I strive to be as transparent and vulnerable with those reading this so that you can see that I, too, struggle. I intended for this to be a place where I share parts of my life that I go through and then potentially offer some sort of silver lining that encourages those that might be going through the same that everything is going to be just fine. In my recent writing sessions, this post being one, I have been able to write down my thoughts and feelings but with no real words of encouragement to whoever is reading this because I am honestly living and processing it as I write it. What I am noticing though is that although I might not be able to offer words of encouragement per se, I am growing, finding nuggets of truth and learning so much in the process. You can see first hand my findings and what I’m proactively doing to get through some of these hurdles. This post isn’t for anyone in particular, truly. If anything, this is for me by my very own self. “For Josh by Josh.” I am simply writing my thoughts out where you, too, can see me in raw form at my most vulnerable moments and see the stuff that knocks me off my feet.
The last eight months of my life have been nothing but a whirlwind of ups and downs. I have had some of my roughest moments as well as some of the best moments of my life within that same period of time. I have grown and learned a lot through every single one of those moments as much as they may have felt good or bad. The last eight weeks of my life though have been the hardest weeks I have ever gone through. When I say the hardest, I literally mean the hardest. This has to top it all. This time has been the hardest because it is the first time in my life that I genuinely felt wholesome with my emotions connected to every faucet of my life. When one thing went down, it challenged everything else because I felt it was all connected together. It’s the first time in my life I have felt this way so on that same token it is the first time having to deal with this. Within the last couple of weeks or so, I finally reached a breaking point. Here’s an interesting write up on breaking points for those who might not know what I mean. https://link.medium.com/Gw7gEtutTW. Basically speaking, at this breaking point, I completely shut down. I became so emotionally overwhelmed that it drained me to the point where I felt like I had nothing else. All of the emotional turmoil I was going through internally got the best of me and just took me down.
So, what happened and why?
A short, honest and completely transparent answer to those questions is literally, “I don’t know.” I have no idea what the heck happened. I have no idea why it happened. I’m still trying to figure it all out. I don’t know how to get through some of this because I’ve never been here before but I’m just now starting to scratch the surface as I am beginning to better understand my emotions which I can at least begin to express outwards and share my experiences.
(As stated above, it is my intention to be as transparent and vulnerable through my writing but with this particular post, I choose not go in to specific detail about what triggered this to happen because I’m not ready to openly share that yet. I’m sure I will at some point but it might take me some months to be able to get to that point.)
Simply put, I got hurt. I got hurt pretty bad. I felt like certain parts of me were taken. I felt void. My internal compass felt shaken up. I started to feel resentment and anger, which are things I truly never really feel. I couldn’t sleep and to this day I’m still loosing sleep over it. I felt burned. I got burnt out emotionally trying to answer why and it all just made me feel like I lost at this thing called life. I felt like the stars were finally aligning in my life and it took just one thing to make it all crumble down.
I started to question everything in my life. I started to question my worth. I questioned myself as a man. Am I good enough? Am I a good enough partner? Do I not love enough? Do I love too much? Am I a good enough friend? Am I good enough brother? Am I a good enough musician? I seriously questioned everything. I questioned my every move. Was I doing the right thing? I questioned my integrity. This seriously messed with me. What am I even doing with my life? I thought I finally had it together and was going in the right direction and in an instant it all changed. I tried to find something wrong with me. I tried to justify something wrong with my character to be able to have something to grab on to so that I could get out of this easier. I began to use my past as a reason why there’s something wrong with me. Too many restless nights trying to find something wrong with me. I thought to myself, “Alright, I have to be honest with myself, where did I really go wrong?” It all started to make me feeI like a bad person. I started to be really hard on myself and it wore me out. This all just wrecked me. I was just tired. Actually, to be frank, I still am tired as I write this.
It’s the first time I really started to understood that this is real. This happens to people in real life and it has the capability to take a person completely out if they’re not careful.
I lost ten pounds in the first four weeks because of the emotional stress I was under. It’s a strange but also interesting phenomenon that happens to the human body when it’s under stress. I increased my food intake to 150% and still dropped weight. I felt healthy in terms of the food I was putting in to my body but everything that was happening inside my head made me feel like I wasn’t healthy. I can also see how the physical loss in my body mass also contributed to this breaking point.
Breaking points can get the best of people but it’s also a great time to regroup and grow from it. It’s a time to gain fresh perspective and learn to increase your capacity as a human to handle life’s biggest challenges. That’s exactly the approach I have decided to take. I could sit here and bask in this feeling, although healthy to ride to some degree, I can’t completely let it take me away.
So what am I doing now to get through this?
You might be thinking that this was really bad just by the weight of my words. Yes, it was bad which is weird for me to say because I usually have a positive outlook on everything in my life. I wake up and think to myself, “what I’m going through right now, wow, this really sucks” BUT I can say that I never once have thought that my life sucks. This stuff is hard but I am fortunate enough to say that it hasn’t gotten to a point to where I literally give up. I’m not sure if anything could ever get me to a place like that to be honest. No matter what life throws at me, I have a solid enough foundation that would keep me from dipping to points like that.
I am human though and on that note these uncontrollable emotions are no joke.
It’s the first time in my life I can honestly say that I haven’t resorted to anything else to help cope and mask these feelings away. In my past, I have resorted to alcohol, drugs, sex, the accompaniment of women (I used to enjoy being around women to “affirm” me as a man, which I had to be honest with myself about as a problem), relationships, and even music, specifically trumpet playing, to hide all of my problems away. These, at whatever degree, were “solutions” to how I just dealt with everything rough that happened to me. I never wanted to deal with any of my emotions. I never wanted to dig deep into why I am the way I am and why I did the things that I did. It was part of the reason why many aspects of my life weren’t lining up the way they should have. Every time I resorted to any of those coping mechanisms for myself, I started the cycle all over again and went down this path I’m not meant to be on. I was hurting myself and those around me by going through that cycle again. Going down those paths are simple and easy to fall back on with no discipline. It feels comfortable….for a little bit until the same problems come up at a later time. With all of this breaking me down this time, I decided to tackle my emotions head on.
It has taken me some time to regain bits and pieces of me that I felt were taken from me. I was too serious for weeks because these serious emotions were all I could think about. Random urges to just burst out in to tears in the middle of a job made it hard to enjoy life’s simplest pleasures. How was I supposed to be me again when I was burned? How was I supposed to resume my life with all of this hurt inside of me? This forever shapes how I perceive and go about my life so how was I supposed to just forget it?
I was given a word of integrity some time ago and it’s the first time I began to live a life with integrity in everything I did. I felt wholesome which was truly a first for me and it felt awesome. I felt balanced. I continue to carry that into my life through this which has helped me stay on the rails because without it, I’d be going through a cycle as stated above. I’m doing this for me and not for anybody. I’ve been working on my own thoughts, tendencies, and character from within the walls of my own home so that I can be a better human outside of them. Pursing a life of integrity helps to keep me centered and helps propel this purpose I have in my life of who I am and where I am supposed to go.
For me, God has been the reason why I’m still here, alive and well. The last eight months of my life have been a challenge because I have been fighting, internally, all of my man made tendencies instead of pursuing a life where God is at the center of it all. I grew up in the faith but it hasn’t been the center of any attention for years because I was too busy living this life that I fabricated myself.
I have been spending time in prayer. I pray for peace, understanding and the wisdom to guide me through this season. Everything I stated above I cut out of my life. If I’m trying to grow closer to God, I need to have the clearest mind with the purest intentions. Something as simple as a sip of alcohol can cloud my mind which is something I am trying to avoid.
Embrace the season you’re in so that God can get the most out of it.
Whatever the Devine is for you, draw back to that for a sense of foundation when you feel off track. For me, the Devine is God and I am thankful that He has given me a sense of purpose through this time.
As well as prayer, I have been spending time journaling and reading. It’s amazing how much clarity you can gain from spending time in the Word, in prayer and journaling your thoughts. I have learned so much about myself as I physically write out what I’m feeling. I feel more in touch with myself which has been refreshing.
I have also surrounded myself with solid dudes that I respect very much who give me level headed perspective on life. It’s important to surround yourself with those who help you fulfill your purpose.
Embrace the season.
Being okay with the outcome.
Im finding that part of the reason why I have been having such a difficult time with some of this is because I’ve been living in this “what if” state of mind. I have always been this way. I sit at home and just think “What if this happened? What if I made this move instead?” It has been a challenge to get my mindset out thinking that way. I don’t have an alternative to that mindset to be honest. I did everything in my power to do everything right. I don’t know if I could have done anything different to change the outcome to be more desirable. I just simply have to be okay with the outcome. It isn’t easy and it is something I struggle with every second I breathe but I’m learning to embrace it.
It took me a little bit to realize this but the truth is I have been looking in the wrong places for answers. I wasn’t looking up to God for answers and guidance. I was going to man for answers. I fall short all the time and I’m the first to admit that I want answers now. It’s human of me but God is telling me to chill and embrace this season. Embrace the season you’re in so that God can get the most out of it.
Life doesn’t always work out the way you think it will. You’re not always going to have that gig you feel you deserve. You’re not always going to have the friends you think you deserve. You’re not always going to have the relationships your heart makes you think is right. I’m finding that it all comes down to timing but should be God’s timing. Anything in your life that isn’t in accordance with God will fall through which is something I’ve had to painfully learn and accepting that hasn’t been easy either.
As I go through all of this, I thought maybe God was testing me. But to test means to prove and that’s not what God is showing me. God is challenging me to rise up to the occasion of seeking Him and as I do, my purpose and full potential in this life is being revealed to me.
Why share this?
It’s the first time I really started to understood that this is real. This happens in real life and it has the capability to take a person completely out if they’re not careful. I am not invincible, like I once thought I was. This really affected me so it’s worth sharing to emphasize the fact that I am human. I cry. I hurt. I fall down. As much as I have always carried pride in being a “strong” and solid guy, this took me down. My emotions and everything I had gone through took the best out of me. Also, Mental Health Month was in May and it inspired me to share some of my story since everything I have been going through falls under that.
I’m finding that being vulnerable with those around me is what allows me to connect to people at a deeper level. We, as humans, have a deep desire to connect with people and by sharing my experiences of being broken with you gives me the opportunity to relate. Being vulnerable has also taught me to be more empathetic and sensitive to those around me. It has allowed me to become a well rounded guy as my capacity to emote increases. I’m a guy with a big heart. I don’t always give myself credit for that. I want to be the real deal. I’m learning that I don’t always love in conventional ways but I’m getting there and want to connect at a deeper level with those God brings into my life.
Wherever you’re at in life and whatever it is you’re going through, know that God has purpose and direction for you. Seek and He shall reveal. Sounds simple, right? You’d be surprised how difficult people make it out to be, myself included, to seek God because of excuses. Seek Him and it will set you free from whatever emotional bondage you have been through.
I’m not perfect nor do I ever claim to be. I make mistakes and ask why things happen to me all the time. I will continue to wonder why this all happened and want to have answers because I am a human. I may not know why, and maybe will never know why, this all happened to me but I do know that God has purpose for me and purpose for this season. It took this breaking point to get me to fully trust and let go to show me that this is how God intended it to be.
As for me now, I’m lonely but not alone. I’m getting back up on my feet. I’m rebuilding and doing it right this time. I want to be the real deal and for me to be that, I have to sacrifice some things that have been difficult for me to let go.