The first time I went to school I was literally kicking and screaming. From what I’m told, my parents took me there on a Friday and I fought for so long that they gave up and took me home, where I locked myself in my room for the entire weekend, only opening the door to accept the food that my parents lovingly provided.
As I look back, I remember how much I loved my bedroom, my fortress of solitude. I was lucky enough to have my own bedroom and I made it my haven. I loved my space. I’ve even fantasized about going to jail just for the solitude and the simplicity.
I was one of the smartest kids in my class, but it could have been because my parents were breeding me to get good grades from the time I could pick up a pencil. Either way, doing math was better than playing video games. I was the king of not taking notes. If you took a picture of my classes growing up you would see everyone in class with their heads buried in notebooks writing furiously and me staring off into space, trying to relax amidst all the peer pressure to fit in. I never fit in.
If you looked in the dictionary under the word “loner” you’d see a picture of my face in high school. I was socially awkward and didn’t know a thing about women so I picked up the guitar and started singing. Singing a song with a guitar is literally the fastest way to make everyone love you. That little spark lit a fire that led to over a thousand music gigs over the course of ten years, and I’m still inspired by how music makes people feel.
I still don’t really know why I went to the Naval Academy but I absolutely loved it. It was like a four year summer camp. I loved that it was my idea. It was the first big life decision I had made on my own, and I don’t think my parents wanted me to go, but they got used to it and proudly displayed the stickers on the back of their cars. At the Naval Academy I got my first experience of being popular. Even with the uniform and the guitar I still managed to struggle with women until someone handed me a book called The Game, after which I proceeded to put myself in enough awkward situations with women and thoroughly embarrass myself to the point where I stopped being self-conscious. A lot of men were led astray by this way of learning but my saving grace was that I didn’t hate women and getting laid wasn’t a big deal. I ended up learning a lot about what it means and doesn’t mean to be a man.
At my five year college reunion I realized that after twenty-eight years of not doing what I was told, it was finally paying off. Friends I went to college with envied my life, and even though I had just gotten out of the Navy, they loved my dedication toward playing music for a living, my long hair and the tan leather jacket I bought in Italy. In 2011 I cut off my long hair, bought a bicycle and rode it 3,000 miles across Europe. Before that point I hadn’t owned a bicycle since before college. During the trip I quit underwear, deodorant and grew a beard. Since then the strangest nightmares I’ve had are me having to re-join the Navy, being completely ok with it then freaking out when I realize I have to shave my beard. I get this dream very often.
I went to Burning Man after my bike trip and fell in love with a girl from Paris. I started taking French lessons five days a week but my teacher was so academic that I barely felt like I learned anything. I was terrified of jumping into commitment with her and we drifted apart after about five months. One year later I met another girl at Burning Man who stole my heart, except this one was from Poland. We got engaged four months later. I look at my life before this relationship and barely recognize myself. I finally learned what it meant to be humble. Being in a deep, committed relationship has been both the most difficult and most rewarding experience of my life.
I moved to Bali in 2014. It’s nice here but I’m not spiritual enough to dig this scene without a break. I literally have no idea where I’ll be in six months and I’m so happy about that.
My life is like a movie that I’ve never seen and I can’t rewind.
This idea was inspired by my friend and passionate writer JP Morgan.How do you stop yourself from loving people fully?
Come find out at IntimacyFest, happening June 15-18