Tom, meet Tom

June 29, 2012 in Ramblings

I am safely in Tucson, AZ right now…headed to Phoenix in the morning. I wanted to share this amazing story with all of you. It happened in Sierra Blanca TX.
I was the only person staying at the Americana Inn in Sierra Blanca. It’s about a 30 room motel and other than myself, it was completely deserted. Around 9:30PM, I went outside so I could wheel my bike in my room. I heard someone singing and playing guitar. I looked to the upper end of the parking lot and saw a guy sitting outside playing music. He was singing Bette Midler’s song “The Rose”. I have not heard that song since I was 13 or 14 years old.
I grabbed my camera and started walking towards him. It was then I noticed that he was on a bicycle. Attached to that bicycle was a trailer. The conversation went something like this:

ME: Hi, I’m Tom.

HIM: I’m Tom too.

ME: I’m on a Journey.

HIM: Me too.

ME: I’m riding for charity.

HIM: Me too.

ME: I made by own cart.

HIM: Me too.

This man’s personality was so similar to mine that it was unsettling. Empathetic, open, good natured, spiritual…it was like looking in a mirror.

I felt like I was filming a scene for some strange independent film or something…I felt like I was standing there talking to myself as I was on my Journey…

Tom’s rig in front of Tom’s rig…lol.

Tom sang me a Johnny Cash song:

The more I talked to him the more similar our lives paralleled each other. At one point I said to him “Tom, don’t you find this more than a little odd”? “I mean, we have the same first name, we are both on two wheeled vehicles, we are both on a life journey, we are both riding for charity, we both made our own carts, AND we are the only two people here at this motel”.

He looked at me and smiled and said “I believe that everything happens for a reason”. “I don’t think it’s odd at all”.

This whole thing had me freaked out…then I started to think about why this could possibly be. Here’s another one of those transparency moments that makes me uncomfortable…but here goes…

For the past few days I’ve been feeling a little embarrassed and self-conscience. I decided to be transparent on this blog …as you can imagine, it’s difficult to really put yourself out there. Especially for men, it’s hard to express emotion…because we are wired by our culture NOT to do that…It is sometimes seen as a weakness, not a strength.
I’ve been concerned that maybe some of you might not want to read this thread because of my openness to express what’s really happening inside of me. To be honest, I thought about reeling it in a little. Maybe just focus on the bike more, or the food, or the scenery. But after meeting myself (lol)…I decided to keep doing what I’m doing…because I got an unusual (but blessed) look at the empathetic side of myself. It was almost as if God was telling me “Don’t touch a thing”. “You’re this way for a reason”. So, I’m goin with that :)

Tommy started his journey in Florida and will finish in Los Angeles. Fully laden, his cart weights almost 400 pounds!!! he carries about 15 gallons of water with him at all times. He had had over 50 FLAT TIRES!!! and for some odd reason, most of them in TX. He realizes that the cart is seriously overloaded and a lot of the flats were sidewall failures.

The night I met Tommy, I gave him $50 …I really did not have it to give but I knew it was the right thing to do. I figured it would pay for his room that night. The next morning as I was outside packing my trailer, a guy named John approached me, said “I believe in what you’re doing”…and handed me $50. Can this journey get any more unbelievable?

Self-Esteem and Child Sexual Abuse

May 7, 2012 in Ramblings

I feel a little awkward sometimes about being so transparent throughout this journey. Sometimes I feel embarrassed or even ashamed. I made the difficult decision for complete transparency so survivors and supporters would have a sense of what is inside someone who has been through child sexual abuse. I wanted other survivors to be able to say “I feel exactly the same way”! and supporters to say “I understand it so much better than I did before”.

One of the biggest challenges I struggle with is self-esteem. For 30 years, it was LESS THAN ZERO. When I was abused, something was taken from me. I am still struggling to fully discover what that “something” was.
The problem was compounded because my parents terribly mishandled the entire situation. (more on that some other time…I love my parents with all my heart and have largely forgiven them for making some very bad decisions).

For thirty years I have walked around in this life feeling worthless…completely without value. I was in an extremely emotionally abusive relationship for many years…a couple years back, a friend of mine asked “Why do you permit this kind of treatment for your life”? Without even thinking, the words “It’s all the better I deserve” just fell out of my mouth. I was shocked. I had no idea I felt that way. It was at that moment I realized something was seriously, seriously wrong.

I struggle every single day with my self-worth. I bring all of this up because of the weekend scooter ride I just participated in. I was sitting here blogging about it and feeling the fun of it…feeling the “it’s a wonderful life” in it. Then, suddenly the guilt set in…and the thoughts follow…”I don’t deserve that”. I should have been working or doing something productive”. I should have been focusing on something serious”. “I can’t permit myself to have fun or see the light side of life, it’s wrong”.
I don’t know why I always feel that way but it kills my joy for life. I know that I did NOT feel that way before I was repeatedly abused. Something changed.

I really need to figure this out because it has suffocated my life and suffocated my joy for too many years.

Would any other survivors of child sexual abuse like to comment on this? Or anyone else who might have some insight? A personal goal of my journey is to FIND a joy for life and LIVE that joy. I know it’s there somewhere…I just need to find it and connect with it.