Being creative was never my life's goal. Sure, I told myself it was, and I plastered it everywhere, but my life's goal was to not repeat the cycle of dysfunction.
I made that my goal when I was 18-years-old after my peers went away to college and I was stayed in the small, crappy town I was born in.
"I gotta be the one who beats this," I told myself.
But I had no idea what beating generations of abuse meant.
I thought it meant doing well in life, not doing drugs, and not having 5 kids with 5 different women.
That was a good start, but boy, oh boy, did the universe show me what not repeating the cycle really meant.
I started my young adult life by sharpening my skill sets, staying healthy, not drinking and driving, and avoiding weird people. All is well, right? Yeah...
Then I started to take risks. I expanded my creative writing magazine to a distribution of 10,000 when I was 25. It failed. Then I jumped right into real estate in 2009. It was hard.
There I was. Open and vulnerable to the world. No savings, no steady paycheck, no parents to give me advice. I had performed surgery on my psychology, and there it laid—right in front of me. The honesty made me dry heave. I couldn't avoid processing the abuse anymore.
Each step out of rock bottom forced me to confront a piece of my shattered psychological mirror.
Realizing that I was brainwashed into believing I was a loser when I hadn't even made enough life choices to be a loser.
Get over it.
Realizing that it wasn't normal for your dad to talk you out of college so you can be a lowlife like him.
Deal with it.
Realizing that being called an "unwanted bastard" and having a parent count down days on the calendar until you're 18 wasn't normal.
Stare it in the face and tell it what you think of it.
Oh, this is what I really have to overcome? Fuck it, I'm in.
I traced back why I did stupid stuff and pulled out the roots.
I uncovered the dirty rocks in the dark corners of my mind and planted new grass.
Visuals of gunk pouring out of my chest snapped in my mind like a Polaroid.
The emotional growth felt like someone was stabbing the emotional knot in my chest.
But I hung in there.
The roots of the dysfunction wiggled out and I burned them.
It took me everything I had—every ounce of self-regulation I could muster—but I achieved my life's goal by going through what it took to obliterate those patterns.
Now I have a new life goal. It's to help anyone I can recover from trauma.
Creativity may be the vehicle that gets me there, but helping people recover is the motivation.