*I think I was 13 in this pic above*

The measure of a person is not the absence of fear it is the mastering of it as it comes.

I wish to show fortitude of character, trying to stand when many others sit down.

I feel my life came from a hard seed of hate, but through an earnest willingness to change, I grew into a sturdy tree of love and integrity.

Can I expose my “self” further to all of you?

Do you want to see “ME.”

And I am not talking like that, get your mind out of the gutter; your blocking my view.. lol

I had grown up in a broken home or actually two homes both trying to push their tired follow the rules morals and brand of the Christian religion on me. My father from a Christian religious cult and my mom’s Christian church was pentecostal evangelical that danced in the isles flailing arms around in the air and doing chanting. All that to me was embracing and weird and seemed far removed from any idea of love and respect. BOTH parents like there faiths, said they believed in loved but more often just gave hate. All I heard was that I could not do what I wanted, they could keep God I wanted fun. Then in my late teens, I got sober and again tried on this god thing staying Christian until I was 36. Then in college, I was educated in science and religions and turned atheist. I choose to leave god and my parents other bullshit behind.

Let’s get back to my messed up childhood and these people that were suppose to love and care for me, mostly did nothing of the sort. My father and mother abused me to put it bluntly in several different ways.

My father physically with excessive paddling with oak pastels, tree branches and one time my father used a cut piece of  2 x 4 breaking my tailbone, my father was a terror much worse then my mother ever could have been, he was evil abuser for years. My father was very mentally abusive with belittling and humiliation. My mother sexually abused me with enemas and her finger. My mother when I was seven abandoned us kids (I have a younger brother and sister) she had too much of my abusive father he would belittle and abuse her too. She left and saved herself leaving us young kids alone with the monster.. I remember drawing straws to see which kid would have to stay with my father. I was so happy I did not draw the shortest straw. However, this was just high hopes of stupid kids we ignorantly thought she would not leave us, but she did it was not for years the age 11 ½ or 12 ½ I can’t exactly remember, that I would leave my father. She did try to get us back in the court before that but a court figured what kind of mother could she be she left three kids.

Here is a few of the things my father did: he chopped the christmas tree up with an ax and burned it in the fireplace with presents under it on christmas eve. He shot my sisters cat in the back yard in front of us because my sister made him mad. He smashed the TV in the living room with a sledge hammer. I was locked out of the house and had to eat dog food and break into houses to eat. I had to go to the bathroom on the lawn like a dog. He made me stand outside the house and look in the window to watch the family eat. Etc. etc etc. no fun..

I learned to hate to hurt to kill. I became a rebel No one is going to tell me anything where was this god as my parents put me through hell. I felt the world asked too much from me and gave too little. I had a hard heart toward everything people, society, religion and their good for nothing god. I was angered as any notion that anyone had charge over my life but me.

My mom and step dad showed me somewhat of a better life with less trauma than before but the seed of hate was already planted. I became bigger as I grew I was young big and tough. I could do any thing I thought and fuck every one who fucked up me.

At 13 I was drunk for the first time.

At 14 my first arrest one of 3 to follow before 17 (though my arrest file is closed)

At age 15 my heart stopped for a long second from smoking crack and I thought I was going to die. I started to see an inkling of me I thought what a wasted if I die now my selfish life had been I was just hurting me like everyone else had.

However, it was only a moment of grieving then the old underground movement from a life of abuse came rushing back with my renewed pulse. I had not had enough pain yet to become willing. I quit and restarted going further down and down into the black hole with no light at the end of the tunnel called addiction. Still I did not want to quit for good. I couldn’t even think I was out of control and merely on for the ride I still thought I was in control of my life. What a lie that was. I started looking in the mirror and hating the person looking back. I still just wouldn’t quit, I thought, I will never stop.

No one is going to tell me what to do. I would go to school high Use drugs alcohol whatever to fill the ever widening hold in my emotional being. I would use before during and after school I used to live and lived to use. I used it and it used me. One day I was 17 then my school called my mom because I was high and out of control as school so she picked me up and took me to a rehab.

I was admitted there beyond my will. I can’t and won’t tell all the profanity I spouted that broke my mom’s heart. But I will say I hurt her most of all with I will never again love you mom for betraying me like this. I hated everyone even myself. My hole just kept getting bigger I tried to fill it with anger. I was not going to quit I was no quitter. I started getting sick then stopped eating then got a 103 temperature. Doctors said it was the drinking and using I did that made me sick.

I heard none of it I was strong I could handle anything I was not going to stop using if only I can get out of the rehab sick or not.

Then after a week of not eating and still a 103 temp most would see how bad they were but not yours truly I was not impressed I still wanted to go use to try and fill my dark hole in my heart. Then I started to spit and cough up blood and did that for two weeks.

Then I could no longer go to the bathroom and was so weak that I couldn’t stand and my sheets and bed linens were changed for me I had alcoholic hepatitis and my liver was saying farewell. I stopped being able to drink water for 3 ½ days all the while still spitting up blood having a 103 temp and I still had not eaten. I did not eat for a total of 23 days. I was dehydrated so bad that my eyelids were sticking to my eyes, still your boy here just could not concede that he needed to give in I would use again when I got out of here and got better.

Nevertheless on that last half day of me not drinking the doctor said we keep checking your liver and your liver count keeps dropping if you keep this up you will not have long to live.

You need a liver transplant and even if you got on the list you would probably die before to soon. I took the news hard it was my hard life, which was to blame for my addiction it was my family, m y school, my town, my country maybe the world anyone but me. Then I realized I am 17 and I am big and strong and know it all that’s way I am dyeing it is me only I can change this.

My best thinking had put my in this hospital bed no one else. What a realization to finally see I had chosen to fail, I had chosen to use and now was about used up.

It was like a wave rolled over me and I saw I had it wrong the things I hated could help me and the things I loved could kill me.

I wanted to cry like I had never cried in my life I felt like a dam had broken and I would burst out in tears.

But nothing happened not even a watering of the eyes. I was so dehydrated I could not cry.

This was so profound I realized I was not in control. If I was not in control then who was?

I instantly knew I needed to take my life back and stop blaming everyone for my continued failure.

Then I had to face my fear the thing that had to be over come for me to move on.

I pondered, was I worth it?

Was it too late?

I cried out in the darkness of my mind and a pleaded please “Rescue me.”

I won’t to believe in me, “help me try!”

I don’t know if my hope is real or if I deserve love because of who I had become.

But save me from this, lend me the courage to try! Help me be ok to not be ok.

The strong me I had lost please come in to me! Save my life make me whole again. Or let me go for ever and let me die I can’t stand this anymore.

I realized I needed to know myself, love myself, be myself.. And doing that has been a life’s journey to see beyond what’s seen. In addition, embrace change to be better and help others.

Now I desire to improve the world around me and be the person I would be proud of.

Here is some thinking on the art of know yourself, love yourself, be yourself

The art of knowing yourself: this involves getting to the place of knowing oneself they, which they must first understand why knowing one’s self is important, as well as how to comprehend they don’t already know them self or that most people don’t know themselves even if they think they do.

The art of loving yourself: this involves getting to the place of knowing oneself they, which they must first understand why knowing one’s self is important, as well as how to comprehend they don’t already know them self or that most people don’t know themselves even if they think they do. First one must think about what love looks like wouldn’t it be a growth producing or would it build self enlightenment and self truth? Do you feel I or any one can define your truth?

If someone defined truth for you would you really own it? Wouldn’t it make more sense instead for me to broaden your ability to see the question? First would you think a question like this of such a personal relevance has right answers? To start thinking on what love is would we look at are fallible behavior or some philosophical definition? If we look at are relations with others could we be convicted of loving? If we wish for a philosophical definition of love what realities does it hold in our real lives? Is love a feeling or a behavior? If we look at love as feeling what emotional substance does it stem from? If we look at love as behavior is it fixed in the behaviors of others?

The art of being your self: this involves getting to the place of being oneself they, which they must first understand why knowing one’s self is important, as well as how to comprehend they don’t already know themself or that most people don’t know themselves even if they think they do. Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. Being yourself is celebrating you, as an individual – learning to express yourself and be happy with who you are. Define yourself by your self: You can’t be yourself if you don’t know, understand, and accept yourself first. It should be your primary goal to find this out. Be YOU authentically: don’t put to much care about how other people perceive you including your parents or family. The fact is, it really doesn’t matter in the long run and lf love must be bought bartered for or molded to be received, is it a love worth having. It’s impossible to be yourself when you’re caught up in wondering “Do they like or accept me?” To be yourself, you’ve got to let go of these concerns and just let your behavior flow, with only your consideration of others as a lens to reference with not own as your own.

Don’t Hide: every one is unique has quirks as well as imperfections; we are all at different stages in life. Be honest with yourself, but don’t be to hard on yourself; apply this philosophy to others, as well. There is a difference between being critical and being honest; learn to watch the way you say things to yourself and others. Own who you are: if you’re always working to be someone you’re not, you’ll never be a happy person. Be yourself and show the world you’re proud of the way you are! Nobody knows you better than you and that’s how it should be. You deserve to be your own best friend, so start trying to figure out how you can do that. If you had to hang out with yourself for a day, what is the most fun type of person you could be, while still being yourself? What is the best version of you? Believe in this idea and use that as your starting point.

I wish all who read this well and hope you learn to know yourself, love yourself, and be yourself. 🙂

By Damien Marie AtHope