This is a condensed story of hopelessness and redemption. A joyful ending but with a rocky start. You've been warned.
The Impact of My Childhood Trauma
I'll be blunt. At the young age of 7, I was sexually abused. This lead to identity confusion, anger, and resentment towards others. The result was severe depression beginning early middle-school. I felt no purpose. But what middle-schooler should be contemplating their own purpose? Early trials and tribulations in life forced me to mature quickly. From the abuse, I felt used and alienated from so many people in my life. I felt like I didn't belong and that no one could understand how I felt. I would run away from home and allow myself to be influenced by bad people. In the attempt to medicate my depression, I smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol at parties.
The Worst Before It Gets Better
By freshman year of high-school, the light at the end of the tunnel got so small. I was long-past wanting a purpose in life. I just wanted to feel like a normal human. I wanted to smile without faking it. My hope was dwindling away because I was trying so many 'solutions' without any positive result. I tried to fix myself and each attempted 'fix' lead me feeling worse than I was before. I felt worse the Monday after a weekend of partying than before the weekend started. I continued to spiral downhill. I was trying to fix myself on my own accord and it only drained my spirit.
By the summer before my sophomore year of high-school, I had began cutting myself in the attempt to feel something. Unfortunately, nothing gave me purpose, peace, or happiness. So I decided to take a more permanent solution by trying to kill myself. Long story short and by the grace of God (my own belief), I survived.
After a few people were introduced into my life, I was able to learn new perspectives on life that I had never known. I was encouraged to volunteer on service trips to Haiti and around my community. For the first time in my life, I was serving others instead of myself. From this service to others, I was able to develop fulfillment in life. The new perspectives in life, showed me the blessings in my life that I was unable to see. This fulfillment from serving others created a powerful shift in my thinking. Instead of asking, "How can I make Jeremy happy?" I would ask, "How can I make others happy?" This change of direction in my life gave me a purpose. It showed me how my actions can make others happier and better. And if my existence can help others, then that's something worth living for. This was one of the most transformational times in my life. At that time, I came across a quote that sums up my newly discovered calling and purpose in life.
“To do something, however small, to make others happier and better, is the highest ambition, the most elevating hope, which can inspire a human being." - Biologist John Lubbock.”
With my newly found purpose in life, I started a skateboard company in high-school. Through art, events and social media content, I cultivated important conversations about mental health, purpose, and life. Although the business closed with a deficit, I was drawn to entrepreneurship because of how much it impacted my life positively and how much I saw I was able to impact others.
These experiences gave me a foundation to build a life on. By senior year of high-school, I had launched a successful digital marketing agency. After graduating high-school and deciding not to go to college, I kept growing with a goal to educate and inspire others.
I am grateful for my life experiences. All of them. Each experience in life, good or bad, has prepared me to be a better human being. I've learned that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance produces character; and character produces hope.
“It is impossible to graduate from the University of Life with no scars.”―Matshona Dhliwayo
I am open about my life because I've learned to not be ashamed of my scars, but use them to inspire and help others.
To quote the famous poet,
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson