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All These Things That Ive Done

I wanna stand up, I wanna let go
You know, you know. No you don’t, you don’t
I wanna shine on in the hearts of men
I want a meaning from the back of my broken hand

Time is said to be the ultimate equalizer. On a long enough timeline anything is possible, even the unbelievable. In the 29 and a half years that I have been alive (a very short amount of time by any standard, and a minuscule speck of existence when compared to the unfathomable concept of eternity) I have experienced the incredible. The people I have met. The things I have seen. The joy I have felt. The love given to me. Hitting rock bottom. Being lifted back up. I have many stories to tell. I have been told by many that if it was not for my earned credibility, these stories would be considered works of fiction.

I can hardly believe some of these memories myself. I have gone through many transitions in my life. I was raised in an ultra conservatively Christian home, and grew up with high expectations and standards. At an early age my mental abilities and overall intelligence were gauged to be much higher than average. I was pushed in ways that some could not even imagine. If my science project did not make it to state fair level, I would be devastated. A grade of A- in school would end my world. In the first grade, I was put in higher grade classrooms for math and other subjects. This made it difficult to make friends with, well, anyone.

The obvious detachment from normal social groups due to my odd behavior and intelligence was intensified by the fact that, as a child, I had to wear leg braces. I was born pigeon toed. There were many complications surrounding my birth. To begin with, my mother was told by many physicians that she could never have children. When she found out she was pregnant with me (the first of four children), the doctors suggested she terminate the pregnancy to avoid any risk of injury or death. My mother, to the dismay of my father, decided to go full term. Many problems occurred leading to me being born premature, and jaundice. In the womb my hip was twisted causing my legs to turn inward, which is why, to this day, some will notice that my feet turn in while walking. I was finally able to stop wearing the leg braces after a few years, when it was discovered that they were not working at all.

Moving from Rancho Cucamonga to Rialto became a time of rebirth for me. New city, new schools, new friends. I didn’t have to be who I was, I could be something completely different. I was no longer the outcast with leg braces who went to higher grade level classes for math, science and english. My intelligence, however, was still recognized. This led me to the GATE Program of California. GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) became the perfect outlet for me. I was able to socialize with people who were like me. The friendships I made were profound, especially with those outside the GATE program. Life opened up to me. By the time I entered the 7th grade, life was much more than books, and science projects, and grades. I had become addicted to having real connections with people, something I had lacked in my childhood.

Another head aches, another heart breaks
I’m so much older than I can take
And my affection, well it comes and goes
I need direction to perfection, no no no no

Truth be told, my addictions had started increasing. Some of the relationships I made were not the healthiest, and were with the morally subdued. The social ineptness of my youth left me vulnerable. I started experimenting with acid, pot, and speed. This had a huge impact on my ability to make rational decisions. Fortunately, I had also made some truly amazing friends that helped me through these rough times.

This was also around the time that I rediscovered (read: discovered) my spirituality. Being part of the worship band and a leader in the youth ministry helped ground me. I re-honed my passions in life. Music has always been a passion, and I was finally in a place where I could put it to great use. I was surrounded by moral people who loved and cared about me. They were my guides. They kept me accountable.

After leaving the youth ministry my life reverted back to how it was prior to joining. Drugs once again plagued me. This time, Meth became the drug of choice. I became morally bankrupt. Some of my most unbelievable stories come from this time of my life. I hardly enjoy talking about it, but those who know me well, have heard a story or five.

Help me out
Yeah, you know you got to help me out
Yeah, oh don’t you put me on the back burner
You know you got to help me out, yeah

Hearts and souls are in need of constant refueling.  This time, I needed to do my own refueling without aid from anyone. I could not rely on surrounding myself with those that made it easy for me to make right decisions. I needed to learn how to make the correct choices on my own. I needed to learn what it was like to truly fall without a safety net. Leaving California became my only hope. This ultimately led me to where I am now.

I am not ashamed of my past, nor do I regret how I was raised or the heartaches I have endured. This has shaped me to who I am now and what I am to become. My recent surgery has also become a a tick mark on my timeline. I wonder how I will look back on what I am going through now.

I can honestly say that I have not been this happy in such a very long time. I enjoy life again. I have also recently met some awesome people here whom I’m fortunate enough to call ‘friend’. I hope I can be the positive influence for them that they are for me.

I got soul, but I’m not a soldier

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