The nothing comes from a fantastic movie that I enjoyed as a child called The NeverEnding Story, I can hear the main theme in my head as I type this. The clip below will give you the history of the nothing and how it relates to the film itself.
For me the nothing has always existed in my life. It has taken large periods of time away from me and always seems to be hanging around when we all reach our lowest points, when we are being tested the most. Most times I wasn’t aware that the nothing has its powerful grasp on me.
As this site continues to grow and I share more posts, I will tell you all about my eldest daughter and the struggles that I am having with her. She recently turned 16 and told me that she was moving out of my house, despite my efforts over the past 10 weeks on trying to get us help with therapy, quitting my job so that I could spend more time at home with my four children. Everything that I have tried seems to push her away even more, and despite my desire for only the best for her she has to want it as well.
The day she walked out the door, the nothing pounced on me and pulled me back into a state of inaction. I had been going to the gym everyday for the past few weeks, I had been eating healthy and it would seem that I was able to shake the old life I was trying to grow out of and the nothing pulled me back down to nothing.
First to go was the gym, nothing. No exercise, no activity for over ten days.
Next was the diet, chocolate, pizza and beer all became my friends again. Fruit, whole grains, protein shakes, nothing. All gone.
I had trimmed down to 175 pounds, and within ten days I was back up to over 190 because I had done nothing.
I sat on couch, watched way too much television, barely played with my other three children because I was busy feeling sorry for myself, my brain was caught in this endless cycle of trying to figure out what had happened. I was pouring over the past few months, giving everything this girl needed, getting her all the support I could to make her feel happy and loved. She has been struggling with depression, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, changing her social circles, starting to skip school. I could see what a destructive path she was on, and I wanted change for her. We also struggled with our relationship as when I was remarried ten years ago stepmom and daughter fought a lot.
The job I had was a lot of evenings and weekends, and I was there for her when she needed me the most. I was lucky to figure all this out this past summer when we were out of that toxic relationship and on our own. She took her freedom, and nights alone at home to heart and as mentioned started to get herself into trouble. I feared where this was headed and wanted to get her the help she needed.
Unfortunately the nothing had her as well. Nothing is wrong she would often tell me…
So I took action, I did something. I changed the man that I was and am now walking a path that took my life into a completely different direction. I could feel the stress lift off my shoulders, I was able to forgive myself for my past and the times when I did nothing. I was becoming a better man, and a better father. I had convinced myself that I was going to take my children and show them a better life. One filled with the wonder of nature instead of the mesmerizing 2.5 inch screen that far too many teenagers stare at for far too long on a daily basis.
I was reaching out, I was sharing, I was starting to give back when the opportunities would arise, and I started to look for more. The children were happier, I was engaging them more and more every day. All except Emily, she continued to resist and walk her own path. It made me more determined to continue what I was doing and eventually she would forgive me for the past few years, see that I had changed the man I was, and the father to them. I showed her what this new life was going to be all about.
She didn’t care. She didn’t care about anything… nothing if you will.
The last two weeks really messed with my head. Doing nothing I would question and second guess myself. Why had I done this, when the child that needed my help the most still wanted to have nothing to do with me. Everything felt forced and awkward. Nothing is our relationship was changing, nothing was getting fixed, nothing was getting better.
I could not break this mental cycle I was trapped in.
I am very fortunate, as this cycle has trapped me before, the last time was a nine month cycle of nothingness that was a direct result from divorce #2 and the time it took to slowly withdraw from that toxic relationship, sell the house and finally move out on my own. That is when I last escaped from the nothing. I got my life back, and started to live again.
Fortunate that it did not take nine months to break this cycle, only nine days. And with the help of the support system that I have been slowly putting into place these last six months. A family therapist, a few men’s support groups that I have joined, and just enjoying time with my other children have all helped me battle the nothing.
In the film, The NeverEnding Story the nothing is destroying Fantasia, the place where our hopes and dreams live. As we get older we stop believing in things as we did as children, we give up on our dreams and let them slip away into nothing. All that it takes is to believe in yourself, keep your dreams alive and keep on moving. Literally and figuratively.
So while I may have ended up pushing Emily away further, it does not mean that I have given up on my goals and will continue to push and move things forward as best I can. Life is never ever going to go the way that you plan, even the best laid out plans will have speed bumps and pitfalls along the way. A big part of my journey was to learn on how to battle the nothing, and when it took hold how to shake it quickly as possible.
Last time was nine months of nothing, this time only nine days. I would argue that is progress. Perhaps next time it’s only nine hours of nothing.
If you do nothing guess what? Nothing happens. Nothing will change.