“LIFE IS WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU WHILE YOU ARE BUSY MAKING OTHER PLANS” – JOHN LENNON, 1980
I don’t know very much. I am pretty much a simpleton in this world. You ask me a question, I have no answer. While growing up, my parents were very over protective of us. Mom took care of everything and dad would laugh at me when I wasn’t able to do anything. Sometimes he would call me a baby because of things I wasn’t able to handle. If I remember right, even called me a girly boy a few times. I’d tell him things that would interest me and what I’d want to be when I grew up and he would laugh and tell me I needed real goals and dreams. Could you imagine what that does to a kid?
In school I was always picked on and harassed. Mom took me out of one school and switched me to another because of the harassment. The harassment even led to a nasty untrue rumor, that eventually got around to the new school.
I remember I started experiencing all these troubles when I was 10, when my family moved from the south-side of town to the north-side of town. I was the new kid, I guess. And I was also a loner. I picked up an interest in film and would act out my favorite films by myself on the playground during recess, I guess the other kids thought I was different than them so they just laughed at me. I guess this is where the harassment from them started.
Mom would see the things that sparked my interests. Mainly creative things: writing, music, and film and she would encourage me to keep on those interests, however what do I do to get people to see my talents? What do I do to develop those things? She bought me books on how to develop them, and helped me somewhat on that and was a major encouragement, but I don’t think she properly taught me how to handle things on my own. I was taught never to fight, to always run. However when I got older dad wanted me to build muscles and tried to get me to learn to fight – at a time when I felt “why for? I was told never to fight and now you’re telling me to?” My dad can be very confusing with his “do as I say, not as I do” way of thinking. He would drink and smoke but then tell us kids not to. Telling me not to fight back, just walk away but then trying to get me to learn to fight? I had no interest in building up muscle to fight. All I wanted was for him to quit laughing at me for not being able to do things, for the other kids to quit laughing at me, and to be able to do things and not get laughed at for them. I just wanted to be left alone.
I wasn’t harassed much in high school, but when others would make jokes directed towards me and weren’t necessarily being mean, I wasn’t able to recognize it because in the past I would experience it as harassment. I wanted to go to college after high school, but with run-ins with authority at school who sometimes looked at me like I was nothing but trouble when I wasn’t doing anything really wrong, and kept to myself mostly (I can’t remember the number of times I landed in the principal’s office just for telling others how I felt about things), and not being able to grasp certain educational concepts and being afraid I would get laughed at for asking teachers questions, I failed school. I graduated as a 2.0 or so gpa – I had mainly Ds and Cs. I had a chance during school to be an intern at a tv studio that mom set-up for me. I went for a tour of the studio, but in order for the job I had to talk to the supervisor of the studio but I was afraid to. I was afraid of rejection. I use the excuse to this day that it was because of the fact that I was working at the time, and wanted to make money, but looking back on it I think I didn’t do it really out of fear of getting rejected, so after graduation I just went to work in the retail industry in different stores. In 1999 I heard about a film school in New York, so I sent off for some information. Dad got the information before I did and even at 19 years old still insisted on laughing at me for my interests and dreams!
In 2002 I had nothing going for me, so I wanted to move far away to get my life on track. I had no real money saved up, so I got up the courage enough to talk to dad and his only reply was, “you can’t do that. What if something happened and you needed me and your mom’s help?” The thing was, I didn’t want my parents help anymore! I wanted to be able to be able to be on my own – heck, I was 22 years old!
In 2003, I lost my job at walmart and someone turned me on to graphic design. I realized that I was creative enough to probably do very well at it, and in 2007 I saw an ad for a digital creative school in Florida called “Fullsail University.” I sent off for info, and it’s obviously the dream school for me. However in order to go there I would need to have money for a trip to florida to tour the school, and I would than eventually needed to also have money to move there. My ex-wife, who I was with at the time, encouraged me to go to that school however, I didn’t have the money to go there, so I felt life wasn’t going my way at all.
In 2009, we break up and I met someone new and in February 2012 a tornado destroyed the store I was working at in Branson. I felt like what do I do now? My current wife and I got married, and I heard about the digital media program at North Arkansas College. I saw the classes necessary for the degree and I thought – “that’s the perfect degree for me!!” so I did what I needed to do to get started at NAC and this current semester we are in now is my 3rd semester.
Sometime after my current wife and I got married, we started having some marital issues. We always had problems with our relationship but they got worse when we married. In April 2013, we had a huge fight where I ended up getting mom involved and she called the cops and I was arrested for a night. The next day my wife and I separated, and a couple days later her kids are taken away. We get back together a month later to try to work on things, which wasn’t a very successful attempt. She’s now in the DHS system and sees a counselor there. (All this is another long story that nobody really needs to know about)
Because of a blowout, she wanted to take me to one of the counseling sessions. So I went with her to probably 4 sessions, where I learned that I needed to quit depending on my mom and dad for help. After another blowout we separated again and so that counselor hasn’t requested to see me since then. (Also note: in April 2013, when the DHS investigator was doing there investigative report, they wrote that I “appear to be below average functioning” – which does not help my self-esteem much either!)
Even though my wife and I are separated, we are still together and I am now currently living with my brother. I have been since July 2013. I am currently battling with my mom sometimes when I try to confront her about why I think I have the problems that I do. She is very defensive about her overprotective parenting. My brother may have disabilities where he needs help on some things, and doesn’t understand certain things, but I am trying my best to help him and get him to understand things. I have expressed to him several nights how I been feeling.
Unfortunately, probably because of these conversations with him he has probably started having a worse attitude to mom, I don’t know. But mom has expressed to me that his attitude to her has gotten worse, and even though I hadn’t told her about conversations with my brother she feels I been telling him things. I have nothing against my mom and dad, however their overprotective parenting gets on my nerves. I feel it has stunted my growth as an individual. For the most part of my life she took care of important things because I didn’t know how to. I could take care of my own finances, but that was probably about it. So despite his disabilities I have tried to help my brother get more independent. Trying to show him why I feel our lives are so messed up. He probably started having a worse attitude toward her because of this, which wasn’t my intention, and when I even try to talk to mom about things I’ll be calm about it and she wants to be all upset about it. I try to open up to her and tell her why I feel my life has been so messed up, and since it deals with how she raised us she gets very defensive, and hateful and refuses to listen or understand what I’m trying to tell her. I find one of my biggest issues is I am easily irritable when others are irritated at me. I have learned that there are better ways to handle certain situations in this world and one should not get so irritated. Yes, I still get irritated I just try to still remain calm as much as I can.
What is wrong with my life? I was saved at age 16, but I do feel it was mainly from peer pressure. I was baptized in a Presbyterian church at 17 because mom and dad wanted our family to join the church. However, did I really understand God or his love? Somewhat, but not really. I even attended church each Sunday there for a while for the rest of high school, but had a falling out with them because of confusion, so for a while after I graduated I quit going to church unless I was invited somewhere. And then for the last couple years I attended somewhere, and in June 2012 (a month before my wife and I got married) she invited me to go to Alpena First Baptist Church, and I attend Sunday school and church there each Sunday ever since.
I hear other’s testimonies which are absolutely amazing. Including my best friend’s testimony (who is a member of Harrison First Baptist Church, by the way – where I attended for about a year) – and his testimony never fails to amaze me. The other testimonies I hear also never fail to amaze me. I hear about the scriptures in the bible. I may never understand God’s power completely, but it’s amazing how he has healed others through his grace!
So what is my testimony? What can I share to express my feelings of God’s love?
I’m not a very smart person. I don’t know much about anything accept for things that interest me. I definitely wasn’t a great student in school growing up, and I am not an A student in college, but I’m excelling more now as a college student than I ever did in school growing up. I was shocked at my grades in math and English last semester! I made Bs! In high school those were probably my worse classes (getting Ds in them)! I’m also a very quiet, shy, and introverted person. I don’t like to stand in front of crowds, or speak to people I don’t know, or even read in public settings, however this last Saturday I was helping my wife at our booth at the farmer’s market and I was able to lure all sorts of people to our booth. We stayed the longest we ever did that day, until 11:30 – and she was $28 richer from the sales she made that day, normally she only makes about $10 – $15, if she makes anything at all. (My wife has also denounced God completely because of her own personal problems, and every time I witness to her she flips out at me, but I do still keep trying and hope someday I can be able to win her back to the lord, please pray for her) Last week I was also able to read a whole set of verses in Sunday evening bible study without any issues, and this morning in Sunday school I stepped up (without being asked to) and read a set of verses.
I have come to realize that it don’t matter who you are, what your background is, or why you are afraid of doing things in life, but if God is put first in your life than you can do anything. If God is there for us, than who can be against us?