"What's more, if the rest of my life will burn into an unfulfilling dead-end... then, this is where it will start."
That was me, almost one year ago. When I came here, to this place. When I left my dad's house. This is where it began. This is where I began to change, to grow. This was the last of my stages of absolute ignorance, in the dark. It was a year ago... I've just grown since then. I think I was still me back then. I know there are things about me that can never change, and have never. But some things did. Partially because I wasn't sure who, exactly, "I" was. Take this, for example. "Goodbye old me, whoever you were." That was me, in the same entry. "Goodbye to the Beach". I wrote it the day after I came here. I went to sleep that night, and woke up the next day. I remember talking to my friend that day. Chris, the Captain. I remember walking home from work, to the apartment for the first time. I was still a child. I texted my brother, because I didn't know how to work the shower. "I have faith in you". He texted back. I was concerned about getting lost on my way to the apartment for the first time. "You can always leave a trail of bread crumbs". That's what my friend Jonathan said. He used to live here, back then. Before he left for Texas, to be with his lover.
"Goodbye old me, whoever you were." How could I have committed that treason against myself...? Who did I expect to save me? What was I waiting for? I want to go back to him, younger, lost, sadder, weaker, and ask him that. Who is it that you're waiting for? Do you have any idea what sort of wait it will be? I was being faithful. If only I'd known that I was being faithful back then. If I had identified it as faith, then it would have swept me off my feet. But I couldn't realize that it was faith. Faith, the cruelest, most silent killer. But I was faithful. I was waiting. I wasn't thinking, striving. I was drifting. I was drifting through gray static. Someone I respect very much, a hero of mine, refers to some lives as being like a train. Along the way, there are stops. The stops are relevant. The gaps between them aren't. They won't be remembered. There are still periods like that. There are blank entries... periods of time which I won't remember. Parts of my life that will truly amount to static.
Back then, alone in that little apartment, I was very nervous of the thoughts I was having. Who did I expect to save me? Was it my brother? How terrifying. My brother almost left me with no place to live before the year was out. But, that would come much later. Months later. I was alone, I didn't know how I would go anywhere but here. What could I do for myself? Nothing. How could I create something from nothing? I felt that, I understood, and I was scared. But over the last year, I have learned so many things. I have stopped waiting to be saved. And now, in this state of being truly conscious, of understanding the things I do, of being actually alive, I have noticed and seized things like friendships, and even love. I have deepened friendships to the point where I feel as though I, for the first time, have family. There was a girl who I loved very much, and it was a horrible, painful battle, emotionally and mentally. It ended up being emotion versus mind. I wanted to make an exception for her... everything I believe, I wanted to put it on hold and make an exception. But I didn't escape the cold hands of reality, as no one does. She disappeared from my life. I didn't know what I would do. I was in so much pain. Something that made me feel better was that I was becoming closer to a girl who I'd been really attracted to. She and I were becoming closer, and it felt good. This girl... I'd felt strongly towards her, and I'd wanted to tell her, but I didn't. I let a lot of time pass where I never spoke to her, and when I did again, she had a boyfriend. Today, she's actually my lover. I felt like going into detail about how much I love her and why, but I realize that this isn't the entry for that.
I was just as lost with my writing as I was with my life. I knew I wanted to write, but I didn't know why I couldn't. Why I never finished a story. Why I copied others so much, and why my stories always began to feel empty. It's been months... I haven't written anything. It's actually been half a year. And yet, I'm more a writer than I've ever been. I've been learning, I've been studying, and I've been shaping myself into the storyteller who will tell all my stories, for the rest of my life. And, now, I have begun to realize another choice, a possibility, and an answer that was hidden, that took my breath away when I uncovered it. An integration of everything my spirit has brought forth... my drawings, when I was little. I would draw all day. I remember so many times, drawing until I realized I was struggling to see the paper because it was getting dark. I remember that intense passion I felt for music, I remember trying to get my family to feel it to, but having to realize that they were empty of this feeling. And then, my stories. The stories I've been writing for years, now. Even though I could never finish one, the drive to try never faded. It's because I have this deep-rooted passion... but I didn't have the tools to build with it. Now I have. The integration of all these things- art, visual images of these beautiful thoughts, music, creating atmosphere for all these places, and story, the purpose behind all of it, the reason, the ideals... it all integrates with animation.
I am me. Nero is an identity that I have finally claimed for myself. Changing my name was like a symbol to me- like a symbol of starting again. But I was never sure about it. I always felt dirty, when thinking of myself as Nero. Not anymore. I have been born. This is still just a beginning...it's very much a beginning. I'll finally admit it. before, last year... that wasn't even a beginning. That was a prelude to the beginning. And never mind the years before that... it's unfathomable to me, now. I reread one of my old journal entries from some time ago. Years ago. "I'm at a point in my life where there is no more need to change." The ignorance... all through my oldest entries, all the pages, full of the words of a spoiled, bawling infant. Not last year, though. Last year, I was beginning to grow up. I was no longer a screaming baby, crying... things were beginning to occur to me. I wasn't finding out the answers, not yet. But I was coming face to face with the bitter void of not having the answers. The emptiness was crushing. I understand now... taller, stronger, no longer frightened, assertive, staring others in the eyes, that's what I am. That's what I have become. So, so much more than the child I used to be. And now, having understood all of this, I can still understand, and I can admit with no shame, this is a beginning. I can still change. I will always be me, from this day forward. Only, more so. There will be changes in the future that remove more of the chains. I used to be strangled, terrified, blindfolded, gagged and bound, chained. I'm free now, just emerging, squinting my eyes at the blinding light, not able to see perfectly just yet. But I am free, now. I am free to be born. I am able to begin living.
That's what's come of it. How could something rise from nothing? This place will be here I wither, right? Where I slip into endless gray, static? This is where I bring on the unfulfilling dead-end of my life? But, look at everything that's come of it. Look at yourself, Nero...
I'm not totally happy, not even close. I'm not perfect. My work hasn't even begun, much less is it complete. But I am no longer chained. I can begin walking towards the shining beacon on the horizon. When I came here, I was chained... but those were the final days of darkness. Those were the final days before dawn.