I lived my childhood surrounded by lots of anger, shouting and drama, believing it was normal — the fate of every human being. I couldn’t make sense of my surroundings, so it left me in a state of confusion and guarded detachment.  My world could turn from calm and pleasant to chaotic and out of control in the twinkling of an eye.  Afflictions intruded in diverse forms, but most often in the most insinuating ways. So, as a boy I learned to bear emotional upsets behind a facade of bravado where “everything was just fine”.

In my adulthood, I entered the lowest valley of my life where I quietly and slowly lost myself to a deeper and more serious set of adversities. My sense of peace laid flat on its back with all four feet propped up.  If anxiety and depression could describe my condition, I wouldn’t have been able to say, for I was too numb to feel.

During these years, I became as invisible as I could, flying under the radar as much as possible — making myself as small as I could to escape further complications. If I saw an acquaintance on the street, I’d walk on pretending not to notice. I did not have the strength to interact. I stopped caring how I appeared. Any photographs taken of me during this period revealed an empty eggshell existence. There was no sparkle in the eyes.

It was in the midst of this Cinderella scenario, the survivor instinct finally awoke — even though it was a pin hole in diameter. My life was about to change though I had no idea how. What began to grow, however, was the conviction I no longer needed others to understand me. The underlying motivation changed from people pleasing toward personal development, sprinkled with some unexpected moments of connectedness that gentle people extended to me.