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MY STORY

Dear Andre, I hope this email finds you well

“Dear Andre, I hope this email finds you well. Please come to the office on Wednesday at 10 am for a quick meeting.

Kind Regards

Jane Doe”

On May 11 2016 exactly one year ago (at the time I wrote this post) I drove into the terrible morning traffic. After almost two hours of honking horns hell I walked into a small conference room located on a second floor. It was a sunny day outside. The brightness of the day casting a shadow over an evil Elmer Fudd looking Human Resources manager.

“Good to see you, come on in, have a sit. Would you like something to drink or some mixed nuts?”-He said, pushing a little bowl towards me.

“No thank you.”-I replied, as I saw something come out of his mouth and land in the bowl.

He had a note pad with a pen, a white sheet of paper next to it and there was a conferencing phone on the table.

“Did Jane tell you what the meeting is about?”-He asked as he picked up the phone and dialed Jane’s number.

I am not sure what made me more nauseous, the smirk on his face or the stench of his breath.

“No, I have no idea.”-Of course I knew what the meeting was about and I suspected what the paper next to his note pad was. In fact I had been hoping for it for about a year.

“Hello guys” -The female voice on the other side of the line said. “I hope you’re doing great, so let’s get down to it. Andre, we appreciate all the work you’ve done for the company, specially in the past three years. Elmer, would you please hand him the letter I sent you. Take your time to read it and then we can discuss it.”

Not trying to hide a fake smile, he handed me the sheet of paper that was sitting next to his note pad.

Dear Andre, […]Effective May 15, 2016 your services will no longer be required. […]

-“OK, I’ve read it.” -I said. That was the best news I’ve had in a long time.

-“We are letting you go with a full compensation package and you keep your company stocks.” -Said Jane.

For over two years I’d felt trapped in a dead end job, frustrated and unhappy, running the rat race backwards. The multinational corporate world just wasn’t for me. But I could not afford to quit because I was up to my neck in credit card debt.

-“Well, thank you.” -I said trying to hide the excitement while signing the termination letter.

A world of possibilities had just opened up.

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MY STORY

Back at my parents’ house

After living in my yellow ’72 VW Beetle for a little over a week, I moved back into my parent’s house temporarily. At that time my dad had some heavy drinking problems and my mom was dealing with a an illness called Lupus.

Lupus is a terminal illness that worsens when the patient is under stress, so his drinking made it worse. It was a vicious circle, he was stressed because of her illness and she was stressed because of his drinking. Neither knew how to communicate it with assertiveness.

I’m not justifying anyone’s actions, but this is how I see it now with a calmer heart and from a more neutral stand point.

The stay at my parent’s was supposed to last a couple of months; time enough to save some rent and credit card money.

What was supposed to be a couple of months turned into nine and things did not improve at my parent’s. His drinking worsened, she was wasn’t getting any better. The credit card companies were harassing me on a daily basis, the pressure was more than I could handle.

Me and my dad would be fighting all the time, which of course was not good for my mom. so instead of being part of the solution I was being part of the problem. Back then, my younger brother was also living with my parents, and we got into each other’s nerves all the time also.

It felt like I couldn’t get a break! But it had it had its good moments also. I had the opportunity to spend more time with my mom before she passed away. We’d have lunch and converse, I’d bring my daughter over the days that I had her and she’d get to know her grandma and they played on the swing set whenever my mom was feeling good enough to leave her bed.

I finally saved enough to rent a small apartment and moved out again.

Next: The place was a small one bedroom apartment above the…

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MY STORY THE DOSE

Bromance break up

strawberry-balloonsAfter a nasty divorce I lost sight of my priorities except for one. My daughter, she became the center of my attention and devotion. There was no room for anyone or anything else.

Even though she was my north, whenever I was not with her, it was as if my inner compass was broken. I fell into a horrible depression. For the first month I would wake up, go to work and on my way back home I would stop at the liquor store. I would drink until I passed out and then repeat. the only exception to that were the days I saw my kid.

After that first month I quit my job, I knew that if I didn’t, I would soon get fired. I had been working for this multi-national company as a collections trainer for some time and it was during that time that I met this guy. He had been through a divorce, he had a kid as well, he was also an actor graduated from the same school as me and we had the same interests.  We became Bros.

The Bromance

For as long as our friendship lasted, we worked on projects, we planned a business and launched a small production company, we fixed the world! We talked about how successful we would be and worked hard with as little as we had to make that a reality. Every bit of time and money we invested in this project.

One day we were screening a short just for fun film that we made playing around with the idea of a bigger project. A girl from my past showed up unexpectedly at the bar that we were the screening was talking place.

She was single and so was I. We figured we would give it a try this time around so dated for a while then moved in together. I knew from the start that it wouldn’t work, but I still did the best I could, it was just not meant to be. One year later we split up and accepted that we would be nothing but friends.

My pride always kept me from asking for help, and this time I was broke. I was still carrying debts from my marriage, I had no place to go and I would not ask my parents to take me in, not even for a week.

At that time I had a piece of crap 1963 yellow VW beetle that used to break down every day. No other car has given me more headaches than that tin. I packed all my stuff in it and drove off. I didn’t call or tell anyone, then one week later my friend called asking where I was, so I told him that I had been living in my car for a week and why.

beetle
It was a piece of crap!

Even though I would not ask for help, what he said, caught me by surprise..

“dude, get your shit together, figure out what you’ll do and then look me up”

Not quite what you’d expect from your best friend and business partner. That was the last time I spoke to him and the end of our bromance.

Two weeks after that incident I received a called from my dad asking how I was. I told him that I was now renting a room somewhere (there was no way I would tell him I was living in my car). He told me to come back home until I had things figured out.

I moved back in and lived one of the most difficult times of my life, which I will tell you about next week. Stay tuned…

 

 

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MY STORY THE DOSE

Meeting my Ex-Wife

Meeting my ex-wife was interesting.

I entered my new performing arts school, walked to the information window and she came in after me. She was sitting in a sofa waiting for her turn. I caught a glimpse of her and though she was cute.

We were in the same class and I was too afraid to talk to her so I waited a couple of days. I finally gathered the courage to talk to her and asked her out, at first she hesitated but said yes. We would go out after class.

I waited but she never showed up. The next day she apologized because something had come up, I accepted the apology and we agreed to go out that day.

I waited, but again she did not show up. The following day, she came up to me saying that her mom picked her up and she could not turn her down. She asked if she could make it up to me by going out that day. I was hesitant but I agreed because there was something in her smile.

She stood me up yet again. It was a Friday and we hadn’t exchanged numbers so the weekend went by and I was done with her.

The next Monday, she told me that she had a baby and he had been sick, that was the reason she did not show up. But he was fine now. That day we went out and a relationship began to grow.

I fell in love with her and her baby, we planned our wedding and in the process she got pregnant. Two years after we met, we got married (we were going to get married anyway so we just moved the date earlier.)

She had a good job at the university and I was a manager for a company, we were having a good life. A nice apartment, two cars, I had two motorcycles. We would go on vacation every two weeks. Life was good.

Then one day the company I worked for was sold and I was fired. The job market wasn’t good at the time and we faced a lot of couple’s problems. She filed for divorce and I didn’t want sign it. One day I read a text message in her phone and that was the end of our marriage. It was an ugly divorce, my self-esteem was almost non-existent from the previous relationship. And now this?

My daughter was two years old. For four years after that, she was the reason I woke up every morning. It took me a while but I finally got back on my feet. Or so I thought (this is a story for the next chapter.) Six years later all that has healed and we now get along. I remember most of the good times we had together, I am trying to forget the bad ones. But there is one thing I don’t remember her saying.

I love you

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MY STORY THE DOSE

I survived high school and got into college

I drove my car into a light post at 100 mph, but first I will tell you why.

I survived high school and got into college. Arts was the obvious major, I was always good at drawing so I took the test for graphic arts. Failed it by half a point in sculpture. while waiting for a second shot at it, I took anthropology

The school year went by without much to report until it was time to take the test again, but this time I was ready. I had been developing my sculpting skills but failed again by half a point in sculpture.

I took the drama class while I waited for my second chance at graphic arts and did pretty well. My professor, whom was a renowned critic told me I should apply for the performing arts school. I did and got in.

My first class was acting and the first person I met was the first person to break my heart.

We met on the first day and had lunch with a bunch of other people from the class. We were spending a lot of time together and after a few weeks we started dating.

The performing arts environment is quite toxic. There is a lot of partying and mixed emotions and everything that it involves. The excuse is that we are expressing ourselves in whatever way we want.

It is the perfect mix for disaster and this time it was no exception. She cheated on me so I cheated on her and we kept coming back for five years. It was the most toxic relationship you could imagine. And I suffered the consequences for twelve more years.

I was an emotional train wreck. I was hurt and got high all day everyday to not feel a thing and when I didn’t feel anything I got high to feel something. When the pain was greater than the effects of drugs, I drove my car into a light post at 100 mph.

That night I couldn’t take it anymore, nothing was filling the void and I didn’t want to live like that. I said my goodbyes, got in my car and drove until I hit the 100 mph mark in the speedometer. My arms and hands locked on the steering wheel and I aimed for the next light post.

Something knocked my hands at the last possible second, the car spun and I missed the post by no more than an inch.

An there I was by the side of the road skipping death for the third time.

The rest of the school year was shitty, I was doing great in all my classes but acting.

There were two professors that liked my work and both of them said that I should move to another school, otherwise I would not make it. I didn’t want to feel like a failure again and changing schools felt like it.

After a lot of thought, I applied at another performing arts school and I got in. I did great in all my classes, met my first wife, got a scholarship to study in the Netherlands and graduated top of my class. But I will tell you about it later.