Without further ado…
I was born afraid.
As a child I clung to walls when I walked. I developed more and more fears as I grew up. I was afraid of dogs, heights, the dark, people, being alone and most of all of going crazy. I recall trying to cross a bridge and being so paralyzed with fright I actually crawled to the other side. I could not explain it. I just knew it terrified me.
Fear crippled me.
By the time I was in high school I was suffering from panic attacks constantly. I was certain I was losing my mind and so it just got worse. I turned to drinking to calm me down. Drinking made me feel sane, that is until I found myself alone in my cluttered bedroom one night with an empty bottle of vodka at my feet and the feeling of not wanting to do anything… at all.
It was around that time that I was only interacting with people via the internet. It was effortless. I could type much better than try to get my voice to work with live people. I wanted change badly, though. And I told people, probably desperately, that I needed something more.
And then an internet friend suggested I visit them. It took less than a day for me to decide to go. I figured, what else was I doing? I took the greyhound to California. Now that sounds so simple, but it wasn’t. I was afraid. Afraid of all those people crammed up against each other, of being in a vehicle, of going somewhere I’d never been, of meeting new people and most of all of doing something so completely crazy. But I did.
That visit completely opened my mind. For the first time I knew what freedom was. And upon returning home to Texas, I decided right away that I wanted to move to California. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it all.
In a couple of months I had two luggage cases and a back pack packed up with art supplies and clothes and two hundred dollars in my pocket. I got on that greyhound and left. Everyone said I was being crazy. I knew it was what I really needed to do.
A lot happened during that journey. I was raped, robbed at gunpoint, homeless and all sorts of things. But I also found my own strength and overcame my fears. I wasn’t going to let anything keep me from pushing forward. I loved. I created art. Went to school and studied animation. Had a book published. Made a lot of great friends.
Most of all I faced myself and learned that ultimately I am in charge of my life. Friends and family are just a wonderful addition that completes it. Returning to Texas was not a failure. And even today as I’m unemployed and sleeping on my sister’s couch, I feel great. I still have confidence everything will be okay. And as long as I’m alive, I’m going to keep LIVING.
All it takes is just going out there and doing it.