Chapter 1 You Are Not Alone

I quit high school. I'm not proud of it and wouldn't mention it at all except that I want to make a point: I quit because I couldn't make "my world" work. It just didn't make any sense.

I didn't quit because I was a bum or a drug addict. I quit because I wanted to do something with my life, but everything felt like it was against me. I'm not saying it was, but just that it felt that way.

A voice inside my head was screaming, "You were created for a purpose!" Everything around me was screaming back, "What's the use? There's no point to any of it." Nothing made sense.

I just couldn't fit all the pieces together. I needed a plan for my life, but all I was getting were conflicting bits of a story that didn't make any sense.

I wanted my life to count, but nothing made sense.

I'm not saying that I actually "learned" what they were teaching or that they were right, but this is what I was being taught. The problem was that nobody ever took all of these moral, spiritual, and academic lessons and tied them together into a system, worldview, or story that made any sense to me.

My teachers taught me that I evolved from a monkey and that everything was chance.

And then there were my friends. Today I know that they were just as confused as I was, but we all tried to pretend we had it together. We taught each other a few things the adults failed to mention. We taught each other about sex, drinking, smoking, partying, friendship, cussing, shooting pool, having fun, and racing cars. We had fun and learned some things, but we also led each other astray.

So I began to flounder. School was boring. My part-time job was boring. My family was boring. I was boring. I was also angry and depressed. I couldn't get motivated. My temper flared up at almost any provocation, real or imagined. I was too immature to know that I was immature. I was putting my whole family through a living hell—even though at the time I did not know this, nor would I have cared if I had known. I was in pain.

My stomach was tied up in knots. I had no idea of who I was, why I existed, where I was going, or how to get there. Basically, I was an unhappy person.