I wanted to be a writer or artist more than anything else growing up. I was a creative kid, always writing stories in a notebook or filling art pads with my drawings. My mind worked differently than other kids, and while part of that was being neurodivergent and mentally ill, the other part was me just being a creative thinker.
I wanted to do something fun and artistic when I grew up.
But I started work when I was 16 in fast food. Before that, I’d sweated in my dad’s bakeries and spent some time doing farm work, but my first “real job” was Burger King. And even though I was a fan of the food, it was not what I wanted to be doing with my time.
I loved writing, reading, and art, and wanted to do something creative for work, but had quit school because we moved so much, and my prospects of going to college were slim. Taught my whole life that it was a waste of time, they said I should be focusing on God, so I had no real prospects of doing anything creative as a career, like writing, or learning about it in college.
After long years working in food and retail, I finally went to college at 28, because I was away from the influence of religion, but instead of studying writing or traditional art, I joined one of the first computer animation courses in a CAD school and never looked back. At this time, I had a growing family, and I had to pick something I could make money doing in the long run.
Two years in, I realized that while I enjoyed drawing, I was not a natural artist, nor was I any good. The characters I created were amateurish and boilerplate, and I didn’t see much future for myself in an industry that was so cutthroat and competitive.
I finally found something creative I loved doing and was quite good at. My work was getting noticed, and I worked for companies like Intel and the USPS.
All that time, I never gave up writing. I hosted my own blogs and filled notebooks with my scribble-like text.
A few years later, the buildup of too much stress and a mental illness that didn’t respond well to medication took me down and left me with nothing. I lost my jobs, my family, my house, and my cars. I had no one and nothing to fall back on.
I was a shut-in, alone, and the only thing that kept me going was my writing. I never cared if I was any good or not; I loved figuring out my way through painful episodes by writing about them. People loved my honesty, and my blogs became quite popular.
I existed on autopilot until 2011 when I picked up my life and moved halfway around the world to be with a woman I had never met in person. The Philippines turned out to be the best decision I ever made. The combination of living in a better and less stressful environment and having lots of support helped me through some tough times and even one more suicide attempt.
In 2018, looking to make a little extra money, I joined Medium and took my writing seriously for the first time. The following months and years would see me focus so wholly on my creativity that I couldn’t help but improve as a writer. I found my voice and style and wrote every day without fail.
Writing opened a lot more doors for me, and I dabbled in podcasting and video. My writing fits so well with both, so I tried to learn everything I could about the industries.
I learned video production and audio mastering, and even though I didn’t have the best tools to create with, I made do. As I learned more, I could see how writing, podcasting, and video fit together, and I wanted to find a way to combine all three.
In 2021, I began to see that I need to expand my work to include everything I was learning, and I set about separating my personal “for fun” writing and the career I was trying to build. Medium was having a bit of a slump, so it gave me the push I needed to finally get started in video and audio and stop making excuses.
In April 2021, I finally launched a YouTube channel and companion podcast that focused on the essays and articles I had written over the years, especially the last three. I’d finally saved up enough money to buy the computer and audio equipment I needed to create and started offering podcast editing and mastering services on a freelance basis. And while I don’t do either anymore, I still keep the projects in the back of my mind to work on in the future.
I didn’t continue it as my illness got in the way. In 2022, the only things I was able to continue doing were writing for Medium and NewsBreak, and my blog which gets updated several times a week.
Now that I had experienced failure again, I had no illusions that I would ever get rich or become a famous influencer, but I had outlets for my creativity and a way to earn a simple living doing what I loved.
It took me all these years to find a combination of things that I’m happy doing even though I find I never seem to have enough time to do everything. It has never once been easy, but it sure has been rewarding.
A creative life is ever-changing, and I couldn’t tell you what I will be doing five years from now. As a 53-year-old who still has no clue what he wants to do with his life, I imagine I will continue the journey to find my purpose in life.
I’ll enjoy watching my young kids grow and find creative things they love to do. My daughter already has an interest in YouTube, TikTok, and digital art, and I plan to foster the spark she has inside and give her that chance to explore different things.
I wish I had support for my creativity as a kid, instead of having to deny myself and perform for the sake of religion, but I am finally living my dreams and doing what makes me happy.
It’s been a journey of changes but remarkable in every way. Maybe my journey wasn’t the easiest, and I could have done much better had I had more support, but I did well, considering. I look back on the things I’ve created over the years and smile because I’ve come a long way and have always improved.
The journey I took made me a better person and creator, and the steps I have taken to get me here are my own and I own them.
I wouldn’t be who I am today if it hadn’t been for what I came from and where I am going.