“The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.”
David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
I’m writing this post, not for likes, or comments, or shares, or pity. I’m writing it because I made myself a promise that I’d be honest in these blogs. And this has been a big part of my life for the past year, and I’ve not said a damn thing about it.
Just over a year ago I began chatting with a friend online, a married friend with a child, whom I always had the utmost respect for. In fact, I thought quite highly of her.
Eventually, these conversations drifted into a place that made me feel uncomfortable. The chats became more frequent. I’d get messages while she was drinking with friends.
Immediately, I asked this friend not to pursue that line of dialogue — if you will. After all, that’s not how friends talk.
Eventually, I got caught up in this giant web of — I don’t know what.
What followed was almost a year of torturous emails, messages, manipulation and lying.
I was used.
Not physically, but emotionally.
I’d never experienced a good old fashioned “mindfuck” before. And lo and behold, it was finally my turn.
Every brick that I laid and cemented in my journey for better health was knocked down by this wrecking ball.
It caused me to make some awful mistakes that I take full responsibility for. And it came dangerously close to costing me my health, my career, and a whole lot more.
The unfortunate thing is, I believe that this blog served as a blueprint — an instruction manual on how to best manipulate me. While, I don’t think the individual in question intended on using it as such, I do believe it at least helped the process along whether consciously or sub-consciously.
And yet… here I am. Still writing.
Softhearted and empathetic people are often times the first to fall victim to grifters and the dishonest. We’re also often dishonest ourselves when confronted with the aftermath of it all. Mainly out of embarrassment, self-disgust, and shame.
The world can be cruel. And that cruelty can creep in on you like fog enveloping a lighthouse.
Pretty soon all you see is a gloomily lit haze, and all you hear is the dull hum of the horn.
Your senses become deprived.
But let me tell you, friends.
Nothing is as bright as the sun after the fog has burned off.
You’ll never meet a more vibrant orange, or a more fantastical green.
After all, like the old adage says, “without the dark, there can be no light.”
As for the softhearted, we experience feelings and emotions that others can only dream of.
You see, that’s what we forget. We forget that there are people out there that feel absolutely nothing. Not because they want to, but because they can’t. They will never know what it’s like to really love something or some one with every part of themselves. They just won’t.
If you ask me, that’s a fucking tragedy.
Because being vulnerable isn’t a weakness, it’s a pathway to something so few of us get to feel.
So many of us build walls to keep people out — but lately, I’ve discovered that some build them to keep themselves in.
For the few of us that have the courage to allow their lives to flow out onto the streets and into the hearts and minds of those around us, these fog banks can and will occur.
And they fucking suck. They do.
So, what do you do? To quote Tom Waits “how you do live in a world of fog that’s always changing things?”
You do what you always do.
You lead with your heart. And yeah, it’s going to get torched and stepped on and kicked about.
And it’s hard graft to mend it.
But you need to be true to yourself. Because if you’re not, what’s the fucking point?
Adding layers of crust and stone won’t find you happiness. It’ll just hold you back. And quite possibly keep out something that should be let in.
As for me, it’s taken a lot of time to put myself back together again, and trust has been, well… it’s been tough.
I’m talking about trusting myself. I never thought in a million years I’d be the kind of person that would develop feelings — via manipulation, or otherwise — for somebody that I shouldn’t have. It turned me upside down. Made me feel like I was a bit of a monster, to be honest.
But, now I’ve re-emerged from that fog.
I’ve worked hard, and that hard work has paid off with a new opportunity in a new city, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
If you’re in the thick of something right now, please take it from me, and believe me when I say:
The fog will lift.
The horns will sweeten.
And, in the face of a world that is constantly urging you to live a life that isn’t authentic:
You will be you again.
And that’s a fucking beautiful thing.