It’s cold. The mattress I lie on is like a slab of concrete.
In fact, I think to myself this must be the same brand they buy for prisons. It’s dark in my room, but overshadowed by that darkness is what I feel inside.
I have been admitted into a psych ward. I am 15.
This Is Where It Begins
The product of a dysfunctional family, I was flung into reality on March 6, 1990. My mom was severely depressed. My dad was severely unoptimistic. Neither of them stuck together long enough for me to even recall the faintest memory of us together.
My sister would beat me to this planet by nearly a year and a half. As her teenage years arrived, she too would battle an army of emotional scars. My brother, who arrived after us both, would be born with cerebral palsy, and missing part of his brain crucial for speech.
Money was scarce. Vacations were rare. “New” clothes were non-existent. If only Macklemore had came on the scene when I needed him most. I had few friends, no lasting relationships, and a never-ending need for attention. I hated my situation, I hated my environment, and most significantly, I hated myself.
And I guess that’s what lead me here to this dark, cold room full of hopelessness. I, like every other human being wrapped in a meat suit, am the result of programming.
The Code Had To Be Rewritten
I start making a conscious effort to pay more attention to my thoughts and feelings, working through them. At 15, I discover the world of online marketing, and Myspace blows my mind. At 17, I discover meditation, and have a powerful experience that rocks my very core.
At 20, I launch a social media marketing business. And through it all, my life is still miserable.
It seems the biggest hurdle wasn’t just overcoming what I thought and believed, but what I had become. I crush the scale at 316 pounds.
I Am Become Fat, Destroyer Of Buffets.
A blogging conference in Las Vegas is what sparks my wake-up call. A book, “The 4-Hour Body,” is what burns my fat away.
In 2013, I pivot from social media marketing. Writing/copywriting has always been a core skill and passion, which is what I devote myself to.
Focusing on mobile with major players like Android Authority and TechRadar, I also spend time as Co-owner of Social News Daily, a social media news site. In May 2014, it all comes crashing down.
“We Got A Decent Offer To Sell And We’re Taking It”
This was my nest egg, my big shot, I thought. “If we just keep at it through the rest of the year, we’ll be able to get significantly more,” I urge. But like Neil Strauss writes in The Truth, “The only relationship that’s truly a failure is one that lasts longer than it should.”
With everyone else pushing for a sale, it was time for that relationship to end. I walked away from the experience depressed and uncertain. It wasn't a failure, but a mere drop in the bucket compared to the pot of gold I envisioned at the end of the rainbow.
Nothing is guaranteed in life, but damn was I sure we were on to something. However, I learned invaluable skills. As the months dragged on, I felt more and more in need of an escape. Lenny Kravitz’ “Fly Away” plays on repeat in my mind.
That’s when inspiration strikes, and my Monopoly piece lands on California. I’d skip over SF, LA, and settle on San Diego. Little did I know at the time, that roll of the dice would change my life forever.
“Don’t Freak Out, But I’m Moving To San Diego”
This is what I say to my mom before flying back to Ohio. My trip lasted a full week, and on the last couple days, I look at apartments. San Diego was calling me, and I couldn't risk not taking the call. My flight lands back in Ohio on December 10th. I am moved into an apartment in Ocean Beach on January 12th, 2015. I have either made the best decision of my life or the biggest screw up of all time.
By May, I Blow Through Nearly All My Savings
I'm living the dream, partying constantly. I go to the coolest parties, meet the coolest people, and develop an addiction to the sauce. My work suffers dramatically as I lose focus, and one night I reach the tipping point...
Completely wasted, myself and a couple other dudes hit up the beach to catch the sunrise. As we're slouched in the sand, a homeless guy walks up and shares a certain white powder in exchange for the rum we're sipping on.
I Say "I'm Good" And It Wakes Me Up
From that moment on, I start building myself back up. I stop frequenting parties, dramatically reduce my drinking, and refocus on the work. On September 12th, I see there's an end of Summer beach bonfire in Mission Bay. I consider not going.
It's there that I meet Elise, an incredibly rare blonde who calls me on my bullshit. We immediately hit it off, eventually moving in together and looking snazzy as hell.
We later get a spirited husky, Zoey, from Alleys Rescued Angels out in Apple Valley. She will gladly pull you around town and loves to chew on everything.
In 2016, I take on a new challenge: Becoming head writer at a local startup. Over the course of 10 months, I get to work with some amazing people. In November, I get the unexpected opportunity to attend Tony Robbins' Unleash The Power Within in San Jose. It transforms my life in not just how I think, but how I operate.
As I write this, I’m sitting in my home office. Behind me is my guiding philosophy: