Well, I can start by saying that I’m not the guy in the YouTube video of the same name. That’s a start. I was adopted, raised in Michigan, spending the school year in the lower peninsula and the summers in the upper peninsula. I also, with this blog as a record, am living for and through my family.
Born in 1970, I displayed signs of Alopecia Totalis (meaning I have no body hair at all) starting when I was two years old. It made elementary school a bit rough, as even those children in the minority still had each other, where I was the only one with that condition. I found the wonderful worlds of Gary Gygax (Dungeons and Dragons) in the summer of 1980 (I was 9) and embraced it whole-heartedly.
I also went through an awkward (just like everyone else) time in that social circus we call junior and high school. I was not the average kid. I didn’t like or play sports, I didn’t have an affinity for anything other than escapism by not really being present in my own world and substituted by living in a fantasy world. Thanks to R.A. Salvatore, in the mid to late 1980’s I had a realm to escape to.
I had anger management issues. Having been picked on and made fun of my entire childhood and adolescence (and not having a solid sense of self at all, nor any confidence to be able to shrug it off as I desperately wanted to be a part of a group, to feel like I belonged), I repressed all that hurt and anger. I then found an outlet for it, though it was unhealthy and hurtful. I worked out lifting weights (not all that bad), trained a bit as a boxer (still not all that bad) and then started picking fights (bad). Being beaten within an inch of my life (maybe a little bit less than) by several people put things into perspective for me.
I turned to theatre. I got a scholarship at the local community college and started succeeding. I transferred to a four year university and at the direction of everyone other than myself, I failed. I moved around, got married, got divorced, moved some more, tried again and this time got my B.A. in Theatre and started feeling really good.
Then I went to graduate school and it all went downhill again. I moved around some more, got married again. I found solace in escapism once more, in the worlds of darkness presented by the NPO (then) called the Camarilla, now known as the Mind’s Eye Society. Things went downhill once more and I got divorced… again.
It wasn’t all bad, though. I met the shield-maiden in the Cam/MES and it has lead to the happiest, healthiest, most fun relationship I’ve ever been in (going on seven years now, married for five of them).
In 2008 I moved to the Chicagoland area, in 2009 I married the shield-maiden and in 2011, our son, Benjamin (aka Benvolio, Viking in Training) was born. He has an older half-sister from the shield-maiden’s previous marriage.
Together the four of us work to not just survive, but thrive and live in this world. We are trying to live creatively, choosing happiness over struggle. We are in debt, always. We have struggles, perpetually. We have bills, things breaking down, issues and obstacles from both of us having previous marriages.
Despite all that, we choose to embrace the moments of happiness instead of dwelling on the struggles. The moments shared playing and working together: Bonding over Minecraft and Nachos; Planning for the future of training with swords and archery. In the process of teaching, I am learning the real life issues of helping my children grow up in a world that is nothing like the one I grew up in.
My children see me working on tasks that break stereotypes. I cook, I bake, I do dishes, I do laundry. I make their lunches, and help with the homework. I bake bread for our family two to three times a week. I make sure the kids have a decent breakfast. I play with them and involve myself in their creativeness. I say, “Yes, and…” (most of the time).
Today, Ben turns 4. Today celebrates over 1200 days of successfully raising our son and helping him survive (despite our setbacks and failures during that time).
Today, we have birthday cake for breakfast. Happiness.
Find your moment of happiness and embrace it!