Photo by Kelly Balagurchik
Photo by Kristina Nicole Harris
A note from me about my Audiobooks and why the message means so much to me...
This is a pretty bold message for me to type to you guys, it’s hard to talk about in so many ways, but its on my heart and I feel like I need to share it with you before the movie comes out… So (deep breath) here it goes!
I am no stranger to the public, normally when asked about me, depending on who you ask, You will most likely hear that I am always the HAPPY kid, or I SMILE a lot... But things aren't always as they seem.
I have made so many friends who have shaped my heart in so many ways. Throughout life I have experienced many happy moments and tragedies. From each experience I learned lessons some good, some bad, some that stick with me, and others I wish that I could forget.
As I stated before, I am known for being that free spirit, behind that smile that I am always known for lived a person that I didn’t recognize for many years…
We all have things in our lives that take us to “that point” it could be a death, a bad decision, a tragedy, or a mistake that makes us ask ourselves… What might have been?
We all make mistakes, some of us dwell on them, some forget them, and some learn from them and move on… For me, I made a few mistakes and dwelled on them. I was going through a very rough time, a few family members and friends had a hard time with me coming out of the closet, it was hard on all of us, I used that sadness and pain and invest it to things in my life that I shouldn’t invest them in.
I lost sight of God, instead of losing faith in the church congregation; I let their views of me and my life have a toll on my relationship with God. Instead of running to God, I ran away and slowly started falling into a state of depression that I had never experienced before.
I went from being happy all the time to just taking each day just dragging through life. I found it hard to function on some days.
Eventually things started getting easier, I was that Happy Go lucky Josh, but underneath that smile, I was sad, I hated myself, and eventually that depression took over my life completely. I tried medication, it helped but I felt this emptiness in my life that just wouldn’t go away.
I had changed jobs and lost my medical insurance. With no medical insurance I could no longer get the medication that was helping me. When you take that kind of medication and stop taking it cold turkey, it can have an effect on you… The things that wouldn’t normally bother you just seem that much worse… I pushed those in my life away and kept them at a distance. Some noticed a change, others had no idea…
I will never forget the night that I died…
To help spread the hype of The new Star Trek movie that had just been announced, they were showing the pilot episode of the Original Series at select theaters, I went with a group of friends, I had one of my token tote bags full of snacks and Chinese food that I ate during the movie. It was a typical night.
Our friends took my roommate and I home. I went into the kitchen and poured a glass of wine and put my iPod on shuffle. The first song was Twenty one by The Cranberries (when you hear the story you’ll see why this song has such significant meaning to my life) I turned the lights off and lit two candles and lay in the bathtub with tears flowing. I have no idea, what set me off… but something that night triggered me to just completely down spiral.
After The Cranberries, it was a group called Lamb, they have a song called Gabriel, it’s such a beautiful song, I have always loved it. With each song came a thought and a memory… The last song that played was Konstantine by Something Corporate. I encourage you to google the lyrics, “and you don't wanna be here in the future so you say the presents just a pleasant interruption to the past and you don't wanna look much closer cause your afraid to find out all this hope you had sent into the sky by now had crashed...”
These few lyrics have always stayed in my heart because when it comes to relationships, I meet someone but it doesn’t go anywhere, because of whatever reason, I can relate to it because the present … meaning me…. Is pleasant, its fun… it’s good for now… but all I am is just an interruption to their past relationships…
My actions that night had nothing to do with a boy so please don’t think that… I’m just telling you all this because this has been my mentality about dating for years… So I can really relate to the song…
I got out of the bathtub and dried off, I looked in the mirror and I hated the person staring back at me, I felt as if I were looking at someone that I didn’t recognize anymore. With the mistakes I had made, choices I made, people that had come in and out of my life, my sexuality, my family and friends who didn’t respect my sexuality and judged me for it… everything took a toll on me all at once….
I had a box in my closet full of pain killers and other pills from my two ankle surgeries and back problems. I walked down the hall into my bedroom and got the box out, I poured the mixture of valium, vikoden, darvoset, and sleeping pills onto my bed, I put Konstantine on replay, and finished my glass of wine… I sat there looking at pictures of my life, all the accomplishments that I had made, but nothing seemed good enough.
I got a bottle of cherry vodka from the kitchen, I took handful after handful of pills, with tears streaming down my face, all the hope and life that I had in me just didn’t seem to matter, noting seemed to matter anymore… I just didn’t care…
I said a prayer as I drifted off to sleep, asking God to forgive me, hoping that when the mixture of alcohol and drugs in my system took me to my death, that I would make it to Heaven.
Just as I started to doze off I felt sick to my stomach, that’s the last thing that I remember…
It was the early hours of the morning, my roommates cat woke him, he almost went back to sleep but he felt compelled to go see why the bathroom light was on, he found my lifeless body laying in the bathroom floor. My pulse was weak, and I was fading fast.
My heart stopped that night… I flat lined three times… if he hadn’t found me I would have died….
The doctors were able to revive me, they placed me into a medical induced coma and I was out of it for four days.
I woke up and the first person that I saw was my mother, I looked and my friends and family were all in the room, I was groggy, I had no idea what was going on at first, but then reality kicked in and I realized that I wasn’t dead…
My family, friends, and I had a long talk, and throughout time we found peace together, I knew that God allowed me to live for a reason. The mistakes in my past were mistakes, I learned a valuable lesson from each mistake that I have made… I felt compelled to write the book that I am writing because… When I woke up from that coma I knew in my heart that God was giving me a second chance, I do embrace life, I honestly could care less what the world thinks of me because I take life from day to day and my goal is to live it to the fullest… yea we all have bad days, we have those days that make us feel like giving up, I still have days that make me just want to say F you world! But when I do, I focus on that little things in life that make it great, those things that make life worth living.
I was out and about and it was raining, and I knew that I was going to get wet when I got out of my car as I was going to walk into the house, I just got out closed my eyes and looked up toward the sky, and felt the rain falling down on my face… Gosh it was such an amazing feeling…. From the outside looking in I’m sure if someone had seen me they would have thought that I had lost my mind…
But that’s just it… we need to focus on those little things, we have to do what makes us happy… Because if we don’t no one else is going to.
The whole point of this is to tell you that, life is never to difficult, I feel like a hypocrite for saying that because when I have my bad days I don’t want to hear sweet things like this… I just want to have my bad day lol…
But Albert Einstein said It best “The tragedy of life is what dies inside a man while he lives”
Don’t give up on yourself because in the words of George Eliot, “It’s never to late to be who you might have been….”
The truth of the matter is that nothing is to bad in your life to make you give up on yourself… I gave up on myself once and it was the biggest mistake that I have ever made… But I learned from that mistake, I learned to embrace life and just LIVE IT….
SO if you’re not happy with where you are in life… CHANGE IT… Do what makes YOU happy!
Sure I have really crappy luck when it comes to dating… But I know that someone is out there, maybe you are already in my life, maybe you are reading this… Maybe I haven’t even met that person yet… But when I do meet that person , I am going to say that I think about you all the time, I wonder what you’re like… I wonder if I will embarrass you with my karaoke… but most of all I pray for you every day, I pray that I can be a blessing to you just as you will be to me… I pray that we can enjoy this wonderful journey in life together, because no one deserves to go through life without true love…
Through love and friendship I found the true meaning of life....
God gave me a second chance at life.... and I am LIVING my DREAM! God gave me a second chance at life and I am going to use it to tell my story... My prayer is that it touches people... If it reaches one person... Just one then my mission in life is complete!
Behind The Smile Takes you literally Behind the Smile that you (the World) sees and I share the good, the bad, the ugly, and all that has happened in my life up until this point. About a year after writing Behind The Smile I had a lot of people telling me how it has helped them in some way and it inspired me to write Broken ? No it's not a question yet then again it is.... You'll see why when you listen to the book.
Broken ? is the sequel to Behind The Smile. You don't have to listen to Behind The Smile first to get the message of Broken ? But... It will make a lot more sense to you. These words are all I have to give to you, they are my own and they are my heart, they are my life, they are my story. I pray that these audiobooks bless you in some way, shape, or form.
I'm so thankful that Netflix released 13 Reasons Why because I think that anyone that watches the show see's a bit of themselves in some form or the other...
One of my favorite projects is the Semicolon Project:
The Semicolon Project was created for those who were going through struggles with self-harm, depression and suicide who could have stopped moving forward, but didn't. The reason the semicolon was used as the symbol of the movement was because in a sentence the period represents ending our life yet the semicolon represents our choice to live on and continue throughout our lives and even with the bad days we are reminded that good days are coming.
If you or someone that you know is battling depression or having suicidal thoughts or tendencies please reach out for help… Life is too short and too precious. Each and everyone of us are here for a reason. None of us are a mistake! You can call The National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255 (Available 24 hours everyday) You're not in this alone!
I didn't write these books for fame or money I wrote it to tell some of my stories and my inner demons and how with the help of family, friends, and faith I can be the man I strive to be and so can you!