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(Disclaimer: Sorry for the length, much was cut before the final version, i hope you see it through.)
This is not a world history lesson or even a political narrative, this is a story about something I struggle with, an addiction which there is no rehab for, least not in the way I could have once used it. This is the story about my relationship and domination of violence.
I mentioned in a previous story about how I was once taunted and bullied and that I had overcome it but with lingering effects that changed me from a once kind and compassionate curly haired kid that dreamed of being the archetype hero of a wild imagination, to an infinite bundle of raging hatred for the world.
When I was bullied, it came because of two main reasons:
1. I was poor, below poverty line, so I did not have new clothes or latest fashion and lived in a trailer etc.
2. That my parents were getting divorced, what made this worse was a teacher had blurted out that I had no father as my dad was my stepdad, which was a new wound for me but for her to announce it openly brought upon criticism from my peers.
So the day I began fighting back against my bullies, the day I turned and lashed out in my built up anger, was the day I began to change.
Over the years, I went from the bullied to the bully of bullies, I would attack those who picked on others, and this got worse as I realized I was no longer a skinny nerdy kid; I grew 18 inches in a year and beefed out giving myself the physical grunt to back up my attitude towards the world. So I was in and out of treatment centers and halfway houses for a long time, never finding that defining moment in which would give me a paradigm shift in my behavior or anger.
The strange thing was, and this is important—I was never angry or violent at home, I rarely raised my voice and this held true throughout my life. Instead, at home I would keep it bottled up and self-loathe bringing me into a shadow of any real substance. Even when my high school sweetheart, the mother of my first born cheated on me, I was angry but never lashed out at her over it; it was to say the least, out of character for me.
I go into adulthood, no slowing down. I start a career where violence, sex, and drugs surround me, I was getting paid to fight—I became a bouncer. I was good, very good at my job. I took no shit from anyone and never lost; yet always managed to stay on the right side of the law (for the most part). I did not fall into the trap many had, of drugs and booze; sure I picked up random girls for a night of fun, but these were not my vices, not what I craved each night as I stood on those doors in the glowing haze of neon and smoke. The fight was all I found thrilling.
It was intoxicating to me, the words “FIGHT!” shouts out from a crowd—we moved in. Being punched, hit with bottles, cuts; wounds galore and it would not phase me. I would battle as many as I could and dish out as much if not more than them. I felt a sort of pride in winning, conquering my foes regardless of how stupid the circumstances were. I couldn’t even work at tame places because I would itch for the chaos, but I did have some restraint as I would never create it.
Over the years this did something to me, I no longer thought in the same way normal people did, someone would accidentally knock into me and my mind always flashed, “Lucky I don’t smash you” while I accepted their apology. Or, I was always accessing threats, sizing others up and how I would handle them if I needed to.
These weren’t anyone who had anything to do with me, literally was stranges going about their business doing no harm. There was a small benefit to this mindset, I would help people in need quite often, I see a man hitting a woman, bam I was in the middle, I saw someone getting attacked randomly, bam I moved in to protect; the issue was I didn’t even try and use my words.
One day I was working at a venue, and a huge fight broke out, we did our thing and broke it down with one guy seriously injured, bleeding everywhere and out like a stone. Now, this was a scene I’ve witnessed many many times, I do not know why it struck me as it did but seeing this kid's sister, girlfriend and best friend all crying over him as I was on phone to emergency services, did something in me. I did not know them in the least, hell, I barely remember them coming through the front door but there they were, impacting my life while theirs is falling apart. After I got off the phone I went and assisted in helping this kid, I put him in the recovery position and kept checking his pulse, talking to him but there was little else I could do. The paramedics came and took him away and I saw his loved ones into a cab.
That night at home, I was covered in blood, some mine, some his and some his attackers. I didn’t feel the normal high from the battle, I felt flat. Was it just an off day? I was having personal issues so maybe my mind was distracted. I had no idea.
Next night at the same club, I found out the kid was ok but was hospitalized but stable. I was happy but not as happy as to hopefully get that intoxicating buzz of the fight. The night dragged on, few issues here and there, nothing out of the normal besides a large guy streaking, which was funny.
Then a group on the door came forward, they seemed to have a bad attitude from the start with my other doorman. I was gearing up, seeing this many times before and how it would normally turn out. The yelling started, aggressive posturing echoed in threats; I was ready, I slid myself into position next to my bro, other guards were alerted; I was about to get my hit for the night.
The boys gathered. We were ready, all fighters and damn good at it. First, we gave the warnings, standard fare to at least try and be professional, fists ready, some guards removed jewelry. It was going to be a hell of a war, we were outnumbered but nothing we couldn’t handle; then suddenly I moved forward, between my crew and theirs. What happened next was...shocking to all those who knew me.
“Listen guys, obviously this is not going the way anyone wants. Like my doorman said it's just too many dudes for the lack of girls in there already. It's a sausage fest and if I gather myself correctly, you looking for T&A, not a fight,” I couldn’t believe the dribble that just came out of my mouth. I wanted to strike yet words keep falling out instead.
They agreed and asked where they could go, I suggested a place full of attractive young girls and they shook my hand and left. No one said a word to me about it, not a single word. They just went back to their posts and like myself figured I just dropped the ball. It was the door girl who took the entry fee that said something to me first, she had gotten to know me pretty well, even friends outside of work. All she said was ‘You are growing up finally.’ I laughed it off but it may have been true.
This was not the end of my addiction, but it was the beginning of my struggle.
Many years later, I have discovered my past is a source of my anger, and that it is fear that drove me to act before thinking, fear of being made to feel less than I am, fear of being exactly what I was always made to feel as a child—nothing, unwanted and unloved.
Now I found the love of my life, have kids who I adore and love more than anything, but I struggle every day with this cold, boiled rage that lives in me, a demon chained that wants badly to release upon a world that angers me so much. I still get into the odd fight, I still have ‘I got this’ attitude and still have little fear for my own safety and will still protect people, fiercely if needed.
But, I now use my words instead of fists first, I now understand what it is in me. It was to protect my own emotional fragile nature, and I can still use violence when I absolutely must—a last resort, as a tool to protect others, not to feed into that demon. I am flawed and I accept that now, but I am not nothing, I am a father, and that is my greatest resource against my once stupid vice. That and my writing in which has become an outlet for my everlasting anger.