An awful lot has happened since then, some of it was actually awful, and some has been outright wonderful, but even the most 'difficult' times came with amazing learning opportunities cleverly woven into their tarnished silver linings.
Companies have been dissolved, relationships have failed, friendships have been proven false, but through it all I've maintained a virtually blind faith in the path that I've ultimately chosen, and I never gave up on my hopes and dreams.
Along the way:
- I found and lost one of the great loves of my life.
- I lost a friend, a business partner, a business, and an entire book series, all due to treachery and greed.
- I have reconnected with estranged family members and friends (many of whom I pulled away from after the shame of having my dreams stolen became too much to bear)... (I still have important steps to take there).
- I hit rock bottom both physically and emotionally after my creative losses and betrayals; I peaked at 280 pounds, and simply accepted that I was done; I had trusted the wrong people and was destined to be a failure. I built a metaphoric campfire, unpacked my bedroll, and camped out in a cave constructed of my own desperation... it was there that I came close to giving up, overwhelmed by my despondency. Ironically though, I rediscovered myself in that self-imposed mire, finding my true inner strength (when all else has been stripped away - dignity, hope, etc... - all that remains is our basest, most primal nature, the part that must survive at any cost), and now, thanks to my inner cave-dweller, and a few very supportive friends, I'm back, stronger, and infinitely more focused than ever before - determined to succeed.
It's amazing how being stabbed in the back and left to die (metaphorically speaking of course) can spur a person on.
I have been shown who my true friends are, and I've even earned a few new ones along the way.
Now I've got a new reality series in production, four new budding businesses, six new books, a blog, an upcoming VLog, a nonprofit organization, two screenplays, a half dozen websites, and a partridge in a pear tree on my plate. I've surrounded myself with talented writers, artists, and filmmakers, just to name a few, and this time around, I've taken care to ensure that there are no over-inflated, megalomaniacal egos poised to steamroll the others. Synchronicity and creative harmony prevail, and some amazing work is on the horizon, courtesy of the aforementioned talented people.
I'm blessed to have learned the lessons that I have, and I wholly embrace the cost of those lessons. Yes, an awful lot has happened since April of 2013, but I wouldn't trade any of the experiences (good or otherwise) for anything... well, maybe the lost love... that was a different kind of pain entirely, but even so, there was a lesson to be learned there as well, or at least a new level of clarity and cautious strength. In fact, through that particular pain, I have reconnected with my own empathy, and I've been reminded just how many conflicts, misunderstandings, and ugly disagreements can be avoided by simply stepping into the other person's shoes. Everyone has their own unique perspective of the world; they have their own pain, their own fears, and their own way of dealing with their own baggage. To assume that anyone's perspective is completely aligned with our own, is inviting trouble and miscommunication into any relationship, be it a friendship, a business arrangement, a parent / child dynamic, or a passion-laced romance. My problem is that in being empathetic by nature, I stroll awfully darned close to the 'pathetic' precipice, allowing myself to frequently become a friend-zone shaped doormat. So aside from an opportunity to exercise my capacity for empathy, I would have rather bypassed that particular pain. Make no mistake; I didn't allow it to completely jade me, or harden my heart, though it has caused me to re-think my desire to always be the nice guy, the accommodating guy, the hero on the white horse. I'm more tempted these days to be the not-so-nice, not-so-accommodating guy... the anti-hero on the black hog. But that's not me either, and I know that. I can't be false; what's the point in having someone be attracted to something (or someone) that I'm not? I'd rather just be me, and believe that by doing so, everything will eventually fall into place, like missing puzzle pieces appearing at just the right times. But of course being a creative romantic, that's exactly what I must believe... like my characters in my books; I'm written the way I'm written, no ifs, ands, or buts... and my life will play out according to my pre-programmed nature. I'm a dreamer - a nice, accommodating guy who believes in faith, trust, and whatever else forever is made of. Don't get me wrong, I might just be onto all of that already, but the events of the last year have given me a lot to think about when it comes to love, and just how easily and carelessly that socially acceptable four-letter-word gets tossed around. My heart is tough, years of offering it up as a relational hacky-sack has made it so, but even the toughest leather can be redeemed and restored in time.
Speaking of restorative redemption; I'm down almost sixty pounds, since last Fall, and if anything has been particularly good for my heart, it's the reduction of physical strain upon Cupid's favorite, if not wholly ill-advised target.
Consequently; earlier in my blog I mentioned a reality series (which has been the primary reason for my weight-loss), and I must admit, I'm very excited about it. The series is called 'Method Writer', and will feature yours truly, my children, and a few of my closest friends and fellow authors on a quest to experience life through the eyes of our characters. Live research done in first person.
Yes, there is much to be grateful for and excited about, so please follow my blog, and share my Facebook and YouTube pages... like, follow and share... that is all I can really ask of you, and I do ask because I cannot do this alone. I need your support, because without you: my audience, my readers, my friends, I am nothing.
Thank you for joining me on my perpetual journey.