Thursday, June 19, 2014
Has it truly been this long since I've blogged? Since 2011? Well, in that time, I made some major life decisions that began on June 1, 2011 when I decided to burn my written journal that I had been keeping for nearly 20 years. There were aspects of my life that felt incomplete... inauthentic... dreadful. I didn't want my children to one day find this book and read it. That was the impetus for me to burn it. I then reset my course, and tried to figure out a few things in my life. I had earned my black belt in karate and continued to practice. My work in comics as a writer and artist had been on hold since 2006. I just knew that I wanted to find direction, earn a graduate degree in order to help me in my profession by giving me the tools I needed to lead and hopefully help me earn better pay. In that time, I decided to go to graduate school where I earned my Master's Degree in Management and Organizational Behavior from the University that I am currently employed at as Manager of Marketing and Communications. When you're in that role and a spokesperson for the University, you really don't have the liberty to blog and just talk about any topic that you want in a forum like this as it would be picked apart and someone would worry that my opinion might reflect somehow on my employers. Not that I'm censored, but I have to watch just about anything I say and any social opinion that I want to express that may seem controversial or counter to the teachings, ideology, hallmarks, etc. etc. etc. It was easier to just not post a blog in order to "stay safe" in my job. Somewhere there, while I was going to graduate school, things changed at the workplace, at home, and in the karate organization. Heck, things changed in my marriage and personal life. I realized that I had been living in a marriage that was inauthentic and disconnected. It felt that way to me and thus was MY reality. Don't get me wrong, I loved my wife and wanted this to truly be until death do us part, but I realized that the marriage had been dead along time before that going back to the first few years of it. I'm not going to sit here and tell you our dirty laundry out of respect and decorum. I know somewhere in there she loved me, but things were so dysfunctional between us. We separated in November 2012 after even she admitted were "17 years out of 20" of an unhappy marriage where we were divorced in October 2013 due to irreconcilable differences after technically 21 years of marriage, plus four years of dating previously to that, and the birth of two wonderful children. I'm still thankful for it all in those times and experiences. The good, the bad, and the ugly. It has made me who I am and where I am today. It wasn't all bad and ugly. There are parts of me that continue to miss her, but there are constant reminders that it wasn't healthy for either of us. I am sorry that my marriage failed, but it was necessary for us to both move on in order to live a more authentic life and find happiness. I want only the best for my ex-wife and friend. She is a wonderful mother. But we were terrible for one another as husband and wife. So, you see... life did throw me some curve balls since I've last blogged. A divorce. A graduate degree. I converted to Catholicism. And did I mention that I helped create a new karate organization with my fellow black belt pals? During the middle of going to graduate school, the karate organization that I was apart of had a falling out with the head sensei. It was truly too bad, because there were efforts made to patch things up and trying to fix things that did not happen. In the midst, a group of black belts decided it was time to leave this older organization and begin our own new karate organization where we shaped the mission, vision and values. It was probably one of the greatest things we did in continuously improving our art. But it too, was like a divorce in its own separation. I regret that in decision-making that concludes with parting of the ways between individuals... whether it was Shooting Stat Comics in 2006, the karate organization in 2011, or my marriage in 2012... it can be devastating to friendships and those you love. It is something that I have to live with and just pray that time will help heal. Forgiveness can happen. We can move on. The one constant is change. Change. I'm facing a world of change in my life right now. I wasn't forecasting this point in my life just five years ago when I earned my black belt in Yoshukai Karate. I'm in uncharted territory and I do not know where I will be a year from now or even five years from now. I'm sitting here in Daytona Beach, Florida right now as I write this. I'm on vacation with my two teenage children. This will perhaps be my last "hurrah" with my daughter as she is about to go off to college and enter adulthood. Change. I'm facing a world of change right now and it isn't anything I can blog about just yet. My cards are still being played close to my chest, but I am both excited and yet feel some anxiety that I must suppress and just let go. I must trust that I am taking the steps that I must now. And in this, I'm living a more authentic life, being the man I want to be, and I've unexpectedly learned to fall in love again during the midst of all of this. (Okay, I just showed a card).