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Scars tend to be a multi-faceted thing. When you're injured on your surface, those wounds tend to heal without much scarring. Generally, the deeper the wound, the bigger the scar. While there are always exceptions to the rule, most people walk away from an injury with some kind of marker or reminder that that injury happened.
But almost always the body will heal that injury in some form or fashion unless we either lose that part of the body, or we die altogether. Unfortunately, this is not the only kind of injury that we can acquire as humans. We can be injured on mental and emotional levels as well as the physical. Those kinds of injuries are not the same as physical injuries. Often times when we are injured on an emotional or a mental level, those wounds will never heal. The funny thing about those kinds of wounds is that they can remain open and bleeding for the rest of your life.
It's difficult to find a way to heal those kinds of wounds. We can seek out people that will guide us through the process, but ultimately it is up to us, as individuals, to heal those injuries.
No one really knows how to heal that kind of wound for every single person. Because our minds are such a maze, and the way we develop our thought processes is different from individual to individual, it's not like healing a physical wound.
Towards the end of my internment in the home that was dominated by my parents, things got messy. Messy and violent.
I know that I talked about things being violent up until this point over the past two chapters. I spoke at great lengths about the violence that happened in that house. Towards the end of that stay, things got really crazy. I'm not going to spend time chronicling each and every event that happened to me, but there is one that I want to draw your attention to, and it has to do with scars.
But in a funny way, it also has to do with destiny.
Will get back to the Destiny part in a moment. My stepfather and I were having a giant battle of words back and forth. At this point, I'd stopped holding my tongue because I was starting to figure out the truth about what was happening to me in that household. My defiant nature was beginning to blossom and it was in full-blown rebellion mode. My stepfather had lost control of his temper, as had I, and he picked up a broom, broke the bristles off, and threw the stick at me like a javelin, pointy side first. At that age, I was pretty spry and fairly quick. I was able to get my head out of the way just in time for the sharp edge of the stick to split my ear wide open. I still have the scar to this day.
As I stood there gnashing my teeth and cupping my ear with my hand, I could feel the blood running down my arm. Yes, he split my ear open that bad. The part that really got me though was that he was still cussing me. There I was, a young boy who had just had his ear slashed open by a flying projectile, thrown at him by his stepfather. And the man just wouldn't stop cussing me. When the verbal beratement finally did end, I went into the bathroom to take care of my wound and my mother said nothing. She just looked at me with a gaze that said: “Why are you bleeding on my floor?”
Now I told you this story as a segway. This wound on my ear would leave me with a physical scar as I mentioned earlier, but it was in the next few days after being a target for my stepfather to practice his javelin skills that the emotional and the mental scars set in.
As an adult, the distance from the center of my eye to the point on my ear where the stick sliced me is right around 2 inches give or take a 16th of an inch. At that point, I wasn't full grown, but I will say that it was at least 1 and 3/4 inches. That's how close that stick was to going straight through my eye.
Let me put that into perspective for you. A 230 lb gorilla of a mechanic created a very sharp spear, and in a moment of anger, threw that spear at me and came damn close to either blinding me or killing me. Now I understand that it is easy for you to hear about a near-death experience and to say, “Jeez, that was close.” But it's a different matter altogether to be the one who almost took a javelin to the eye from an angry ape of a human being. As I am writing this, I look back on that event with a different perspective. The fact that he would hurl something so sharp at me with such tremendous force showed absolute abandon for my well-being and safety. It meant that he didn't give a shit what happened to me, and I believe that moment really solidified my mindset over the next few months.
I needed to leave or one of us was going to die.
Knowing how my mind was working back then, it probably wasn't going to be me. It’s a pity they will never know how close they came. Even more so, they will never understand how scarred my soul was to push me to that point. I was almost the subject of a Netflix show about a boy that murdered his parents in their sleep. It's actually scary to me these days when I think about it.
They will never understand how long it took me to come back from that point.
By the time I made it out of that household for good, I had so many scars. A vast majority of them no one will ever see. Most of those may never heal.
It's amazing how one and three-quarter inches can change somebody's complete outlook on life. It is also amazing how one and 3/4 inches can be the difference in someone being a shitty father or a murderer. Life is funny that way. That 1 and 3/4 inches is what brings us to the destiny portion of this chapter.
I've never been a firm believer in destiny. The concept has too many holes in it. Over the past few years, I've begun to develop a thought pattern that revolves around the basic concept of destiny, but it's not the kind of mindset that says everything that happens is bound to happen and there's no way around it. We will definitely jump more into that concept further in this book, but we're going to quickly dip our toe in. I just want to remind you that this concept will evolve in a few chapters. This is just the primer.
If you looked at that situation, the one of my dad hucking a spear at me, most people would naturally be inclined to say, “You must have been destined for greater things because that spear didn't kill you.”
In casual conversation, I may agree with that statement. But as far as this gospel is concerned, I think that situation was supposed to work in reverse. Hear me out.
The universe has a way of reconciling unbalanced situations. Too many predators and not enough prey creates a situation where the predators either starve or leave, thus restoring balance to that ecosystem. Me moving my head out of the way kept that balance in place. If that spear would have hit my eye, he would have gone to jail for a very long time. That entire ecosystem would have been thrown out of balance, and had I have survived my life would have gone to shit as well. I would have surrendered and become a victim. By moving my head out of the way of that sharp point, I may have suffered a little bit of pain, but no one went to jail, everyone got to stay in that home, however shitty it may have been, and the universe primed the pump for the events that would happen in the future.
In all honesty, I think it was one part destiny, two parts luck, with some magic fairy dust sprinkled on top. I don't think he knows how lucky he was. I don't think either of them knew how lucky they were.
Most times when we speak of destiny, it is in an effort to explain the decisions for which we have no explanation. Much in the same way people use to equate science to magic, and tragedy as the will of God. I don’t think I need to remind you that in my book neither of those to cut the mustard.
Remember the last chapter when I told you how much was boiling underneath the surface. That didn't stop. It just got worse. I started testing the walls of my cage. I saw the weaknesses in the fence and kept forcefully ramming myself into them to see if they would give way. I began to look for vulnerabilities not only in my cage but in my captors as well. I found those vulnerabilities.
Even bullies have to sleep. At least that’s what that demon told me. Fortunately for them, that’s one piece of advice I chose not to listen to. This was perhaps one of the darkest times in my life. There were some others later on down the road that were pretty dark, but this one was the first time that I almost dove headfirst into that black pool of anger and disgust. I’m surprised I never did. I promise you that if I would’ve jumped in, I never would’ve come back up to the surface.
But you know what they say, It's always darkest before the dawn. Sit tight. Dawn is coming.
As most things do in life, the end of all of this parental bullshit came quickly. I’d become so used to the way things were that I wasn’t afraid to go against the grain. After all, the outcome was pretty much the same no matter what I did. Good bad worse. It didn’t matter, they would find a way to shovel their hate off on to me no matter what. I’m not to get into the details of that day because those are really unimportant. It was loud, it was violent, and then it was over.
I found myself walking down a very long road. Was in the middle of the summer and all I had were the clothes on my back. A T-shirt, some torn up pants, and a pair of combat boots. It’s not like I really had a bunch to start with but I hadn’t really thought through what happened next. My only goal was to get out. Now that I had accomplished that task wasn’t really for sure what to do.
And it didn’t immediately sink in that I was “free.” For months I would look over my shoulder, stay consistently paranoid, and never really settle into a situation. But one thing was for sure, I was drinking in this newfound freedom by the gallon. I had established a brand-new grouping of friends, and through those friends, I had begun to discover that not all people were bad.
There was a family that took me in and put a roof over my head. There are no amount of words that will work in any combination to properly express my gratitude. Between that family, another family that spent a great deal of time helping me, and my newfound friends, I didn’t have to worry about where I was going to sleep, when I would eat, and how I would survive.
They know who they are, and to them, I am eternally grateful.
It was in this time that an amazing new opportunity fell into my lap. I had spent many days walking by a local jujitsu dojo. I would stop and watch entire classes. I was fascinated with the stuff for a number of reasons. First and foremost, self-defense. For years I had the shit kicked out of me, yet I was never able to fight back because it was a battle of size and strength. Jujitsu was the ultimate solution to that problem. It was advantageous if you could use your opponent's strength and momentum against them. Secondly, I had always been fascinated with martial arts movies. I always wanted to learn but was never able to. Money restrictions, parental restrictions, etc.
After many months of swinging in and watching this masterful instructor teach these kids and grown men how to throw each other around like rag dolls, I was allowed to step onto the mat. It was through the graciousness of that man that I was able to learn this masterful skill set. It fundamentally changed how I looked at the world and it was my first real taste of physical skill.
On the outside, it seemed like heaven had opened up and shone its light down upon me. The clouds parted and for the first time, I could see blue sky. But that was on the outside. There were still a lot of things that were wrong on the inside. So many of those wounds that never heal were fresh. They were affecting me in ways that I wouldn’t know until years later. After all, I was lacking so many of the important tools that everyday kids and teenagers were raised with. Chief among those was anger management. Another really important skill that I was lacking was accountability. I had absolutely no clue that the actions of the day would come back and haunt me tomorrow. To make matters worse when those actions did come back to haunt me I did exactly what I had been taught to do for so many years prior to that. I lashed out at them.
I would scream at those problems, cuss those problems, attempt to lie my way out of those problems, and ultimately just ignore their existence, praying they would go away. But as so many of us in the real world know, none of those are viable solutions when it comes to problem-solving. Unbeknownst to me, I wasn’t free at all.
The entire world had actually closed in around me. When I was in the custody of my parents, I was like a bull that had been kept in a pin and broken. But when I came out from underneath the pressure of their oppressive thumb I was like a raging bull that had just been set loose in a China shop. Everything and everyone around me was at risk because I was so adept at breaking shit and had no idea how to put anything back together.
Up until this point, I had been told that I was a worthless human being, a piece of shit. I believed what I was told, though I never really lived up to that conditioning. Now with all of this freedom blowing into my sail I inadvertently began to become the very thing that I hated.
This was the beginning of my existence as a crappy human being. I tied on the cape, put on the mask, and did everything I could to become the villain that no one needed.
Unfortunately, the lessons that I should have learned from that brutal decade and a half were not the lessons that I’m going to give to you today. I wasn’t adept at learning back then, and it wasn’t the forest that had the trees. I just put my hands over my eyes and pretended that I didn’t see or feel anything. I used alcohol and weed to further disguise any residual pain I was feeling from those deeply infected wounds that had been slashed into my mind and my emotions.
Though it was no one’s fault directly, feelings and emotions didn’t exist in my group of friends. We were a group of metalheads that were doing everything in our power to have fun, get laid, and get the puck out of pension. There was no time for deep self-reflection or spiritual development. So the lessons that I did learn over that decade and a half manifested as instinct. And they showed themselves in knee-jerk reactions. As you can guess those reactions did incredible amounts of damage.
But I won’t waste your time with those in this chapter, because you’ll see them in the chapters to come. Instead, I want to leave you with the things that I take away from those years as an adult. Without a doubt, those lessons are much more valuable and worthy of your time.
Lesson Number Five
The sword does not slice the soul. It is the tongue that can lacerate the spirit and the mind. We spend so much time attempting to guard our body that we leave our most vulnerable points open to those that attack us with invisible weapons. It is not enough that you protect your vehicle through this life. You must also protect its pilot and the map by which that pilot navigates.
Lesson Number Six
Beware that you do not find yourself on the battlefield surrounded by bodies. Despite what you’ve been told this is not where heroes dwell. Swords do not solve problems and no amount of battle will help those invisible wounds scar over. Often when we attempt to vanquish those that have left us with open wounds, it is our allies that we wind up cutting down and not our foes. Allies come and go but your foes have made a permanent impression upon you through your wounds. Once they have done this, acceptance is more powerful than any sword.
Lesson Number Seven
Anger and fear prepare the congregation from the pulpit long before God gives his sermon. Many times the words that come from anger’s podium are little more than the chemical ramblings of your prehistoric instincts. Make sure you are listening to the right voice.
Lesson Number Eight
Just because you cover your eyes it doesn’t mean that the world disappears. If you push through life blindly gravity will eventually catch up with you. Remember gravity is quite fond of throwing people off cliffs.