April 2019

This is going to be hard to write as I’ve been struggling with this for a couple years now. I dislike my wordy writing style but I can promise this will be honest.
I stopped delivering care bags, on a consistent basis since the summer of 2017. When I would visit my friends in the neighborhood suffering homelessness, I’d keep my visits and deliveries to myself until I found a little piece and would continue again. It was around this time in 2017 that I was asked to be my high school’s commencement speaker and I found myself more reflective about my past than usual. After forty something years, I realized my motives for the things I’ve done have been an effort to fill a hole inside me. Some part to show myself, I have value. To show others my existence has value. My childhood was one of physiological and physical abuse. I know my Mother and Step Father loved me but it wouldn’t prevent them from harmfully pushing their frustrations of dealing with a willful child. The punishments for the mundane were excessive and a physiologically dark, of which I still suffer today from. Some punishments were standing outside in the winter in hardly any clothing. If I tried to come into the house I was met with frightening rage and violence. Light bulbs removed in my bedroom, where I was sometimes made to sit in from after school until it was time to go to sleep. Sometimes no food or lunch money were taken as a way to break me to get in line. Then a few times being physically abused. When I was 15 I went to school with a black eye from my step father. My mother tried to convince me I did it to myself. Maybe she couldn’t believe he would do this to me even though he was full of rage and was prone to fits of violence directed to me. Even though she was home when he came into my bedroom and threw me around. I was a little boy in stature, I was 4’9″ in seventh grade with a blonde bowl cut. I wasn’t much bigger when this happened at 15. There was a State Police investigation that didn’t go anywhere accept for me realizing things weren’t normal at my house. My Step Father and I didn’t speak for two years until they through me out of the house about six months before I graduated high school. I have never been so broken as I was with dirty bare feet, ripped shirt walking to the neighbors house where they took me in until after I graduated. I was hurt and embarrassed I had to reveal things it turns out people close to me already knew. I slept in my best friends room as he was away at his first year at college. I could see my house from the bedroom window. I was moved to a small twin bed put up for me in the t.v. room later. I called and called my family, desperately trying to get back but the phone would be hung up on me every time. I wrote letters that never were answered. I had to mentally and emotionally move on from my family. I cant recall that type of pain and I feel sorry for that 17 year old boy that was me when I think about it today. The year was in 1992. My graduation night was me looking at the set of double doors in the back of the auditorium, hoping my Mother would walk through them. That’s what I remember from my high school graduation. She never did. I got an opportunity to replace that memory with a better one, twenty-five years later by being the commencement speaker. My commencement speech was entitled “Rise” and I did discuss my childhood and empathy with the concept to be kind to one another because we don’t know what they are going through. In college I self published my journal, had art galleries out of my apartments, attempted to patent a piece of fitness equipment, helped other artists sell their work and live a life of similarly unusual endeavors with my business Artist Painters LLC and care-bags.org. I realized maybe I was doing these things all my life to try to fill a hole in myself that I cant seem to ever fill. I forgave the shortcomings of my parents long ago, but it doesn’t seem to help my pain that I have to confront every now and then. My Mother and Brother haven’t spoken to me in over 6 years now. I don’t know why. It was reminiscent of the time when I was 17, though unnaturally equipped to deal with now. I made phone calls, wrote emails and letters, all to be unanswered. I’m uncomfortable with the notion that I make care bags to convince myself I have value. That’s why I stopped making care bags, stopped speaking about those suffering homelessness at schools and stopped taking donations from others wanting to help. I’ve wanted to share this with whoever I’m typing this to for a while but wasn’t ready until today. I’m an artist through and through. I share things to survive. I share myself as an artist to survive. I’m writing this to myself and who ever is reading this is just along for the ride. There’s no reconciliation here today other than something mysterious that has allowed me to write this and make an additional six care bags to deliver. I tried to keep this brief as possible but it just scratches the surface. I have a lot of pain I deal with. I have been suicidal more times than I can count in my life but I’m still here. That’s really hard for me to share. My past has effected my art and what I think art is in an unnatural way. My past has effected my relationships, effected me financially and how I feel about myself. Everything I have, I’ve earned myself. I need to remind myself and be proud of it but I just can’t. I know I’m not alone in presenting a life to others, that seems golden but with times of great pain hidden. I’m still here. I have been healing for a long time but sometimes a stone gets turned over out of nowhere and its a trigger that says more healing needs done. If you read this, thank you. I just wanted you to know why I haven’t been making care bags. I want to do good things because that’s me as a person, I don’t want to do good deeds because of something unnatural. I’m getting more comfortable with the “doing” and not holding myself for things I cannot change about my past. I’m working through some thing obviously as I try to find a grasp on my past and how I’ll proceed in the future. I’m glad I was able to identify some of the “whys” as I hope there is healing for me and what motivates me. I hope we are all ok. These bags make over 1140 care bags delivered to those suffering homelessness in my community.


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