I’m on the brink of another mental breakdown. But this one is different. Nothing to worry about. Just actualization and reality setting in. This one I feel melancholy. Just okay with accepting that now my repetitive failures and unwillingness to make the necessary adjustments may have finally caught up to me. It wasn’t even a year ago when I went through a McDonalds drive thru to get a $1 coffee to be met with a NSF message on the terminal. Some of you probably remember reading about that. You’d think I’d course correct, right?
It stems from a problem I bury time and time again. I’ve been in this ongoing cycle since my now ex-wife, Christy walked out on me around 11:15 pm Friday November 21, 2015. I went into hysterics once the gravity of the situation hit me. And boy, did it hit me hard. Like a freight train to the chest or free falling into the ocean but still laying face up, reaching for the sunlight on the other side of the suffocating pressure of ten thousand waves of darkness crushing your heart, your soul and everything you know is right. Like the life was literally squeezed out of you.
It’s just easier to distract myself. First the speed skating. Sure it was a coping mechanism for the dark depression I wasn’t even aware I was experiencing. But after Christy left me, I deep dived that shit. At first the World Health work team was a positive atmosphere. A place where I could invest my time into what I loved, and when I wasn’t skating with my oval family I was working minimal hours of temporary escape from the pain that was in my heart. My rationale was to avoid exhaustion from training, which is what I was going to do. Hindsight shows me I was just trying to re-create a version of myself that I loved. The old version of me was still searching for answers from my runaway wife as to why her choice was to seek refuge elsewhere rather than solving the problems of our marriage that went by unannounced like an anchor, slowly pulling the relationship to a complete halt. This inevitably destructive path of low income, high investment was where I was headed. Although justified as training gear, coaching, food, recovery and the likeness of an athlete, my income didn’t even come close to sustaining this and before too long I was putting everything back on credit. Either MasterCard, my line of credit or my business VISA, it didn’t matter because I was an athlete. That’s what we did. One mentor once explained it to me that you have three priorities; your health, your relationships and your money. Along as one is still in operations you can continue to chase the podium. What shit advice that is when I look back and consider it from this perspective. But I didn’t care. Considering I was a fitness professional I sure wasn’t practicing what I was preaching. I was leading myself down a path of very poor health. Poor financial health.
Then came Europe. Again, masked as a trip to become a successful athlete to make up for the broken marriage and failure as a husband, I decided a month on another part of the planet without giving proper notice to work was a good idea. Not only that, but I was going to do it as an athlete so it was somehow more regal or something. Well, it certainly cost a lot. A lot that I didn’t have. And that was upfront. Never mind the expenses abroad. I didn’t care. It was in my head that I was going to move to Germany and skate full time.
That brings me to bad life decision number three, or four through 7 if you’re playing at home. Leave a secure job without an exit strategy. In my defence, I was coached to quit. However, I fully admit I did nothing to lessen the possibly catastrophic blow up at World Health. It was like my spirit wanted out of that space. The truly tragic part of this all was how naive I was to trust my former brother in law who was also my boss’s boss. When asked “How was that situation 100% your fault?” my answer could be “I let trust blur logic.” Of course he would side with his wife’s sister and rally an allegiance against me. Duh, his job was to protect his own name. Part of that was to remove the threat of me from potentially harming him and his family. Why else has he gone and blocked every account, and persuaded everyone else – all my former friends to do the same? It’s hard to hear the truth if you’re always tuned into a different station. Before I knew it the rumours were flying about my moonlighting operations, my unfaithfulness to Christy and my integrity as a personal trainer. None of which were true, but it doesn’t matter. He had position.
Come to think of it. I’m not upset about the divorce at all. Christy was a hurt individual. Hurt people, hurt people. I just hope she finds peace with herself.
I’m more mystified by how Curtis turned on a dime and rallied all of my former friends to abandon me like my wife did just a year previously. I mean, impressive really – but how much anger do you have inside you and how much of a low life do you really have to be to to cause so much trauma on another human? If any of you reading this have contact with him, let him know on my behalf I hope he also finds peace. He doesn’t return any contact I’ve put out there with authentic means to find closure.
In any case, I left World Health without a plan. It didn’t matter though, I was going back to Germany to skate and make the olympics for Canada or Germany or something. Little did I know that Euro trip would be the greatest use of money spending I ever made. because when I came home I didn’t get the news I wanted from cardiology. Actually instead I was strongly encouraged to retire from competition due to medical concerns that my heart was going to blow up. Well, that was bullshit. But probably the only smart move I made because I’m at least still alive. Sad, but alive. Ensuing depression level skyrockets… now I wanted a puppy. He’ll love me. More money dumped on unneccesary things. However, Darwin is the light of my life. I honestly don’t know where I’d be with out him and his unconditional love. So I guess I was right, someone does love me. But then I decided that I didn’t wanna live with people. More money. Couple new bands I wanted to play drums for. So I got a new drum set. More money. Wheels started turning about music again. Oh how I loved music. I also loved training people though. It was crazy and so backwards that these two polar opposites excited me equally.
Meanwhile I had started running outdoor fitness bootcamps. Decided that was cool. Invested $300 into mobile training equipment like kettlebells and bands, $1200 into a Fitness Entrepreneurship Certification to try my hand at operating my own business in the summer of 2015. No more skating. New puppy, new position of importance. New lease on life. Always trying to prove something. See the cycle?
Now I want to get out of the diesel car that served me completely fine for almost exactly two years. Why? VW diesel emissions and a very good sales person. Long story short now I pay twice as much on half the vehicle. I let myself get sold. Poor life decisions surrounding money. There’s a theme. No thought process. Change for the sake of change. Then there’s that saying that I come back to “When you expect a different result from the same actions you’re certifiably insane.” Yeah. That’s my November 2015- Present.
Anyway, new car, no more skating, focus on business, ignore relationships, fall in love with every girl that spoke to you, gradually add more credit to an already growing debt without any real action plan to pay it down, hope for a big shot. This is 2016 to 2017 in a nutshell. Then I wrote a book. What? Yeah. I know.
That was the start of something good. You see, when I was in Germany in 2015 I helped the guitarist for a band called The Intergalactic Lovers with a knot in his back. I provided immediate relief from an ongoing source of pain for this guy. They wanted me to join them on the road, but I had a flight back home to Canada so I could pack up and live in Germany. And then it clicked. Musician wellness was a thing that hadn’t been tapped into. Why? It’s not like musicians like having a shitty quality of life.
And so I went on to change my brand towards musician wellness and since 2016 I have been focusing more and more on that target demographic. Having several published works, including two full self-published print books, 2 full feature articles in Canadian Musician Magazine and gained full time contributor status from 2016-2017 to Alberta Music E-News, playing a key role in Western Canada as the guy that knows health and wellness as it relates to the music industry lifestyle having lived both lives simultaneously… I’ve found myself developing into an educator, a coach and keynote speaking advocate for health and wellness in the industry. So, there’s a lot of positive stuff in here. So why am I so broke? Like borderline bankrupt?
I’ve never taken my own advice of holistic health.
My financial health is like stage 5 cancer. Code pink.
Jump ahead to now. I still have a completely maxed MasterCard, obnoxiously high debt load that I’ve ignored while it piled up. My income hasn’t been enough to even claim taxes on since 2015. So I’ve never really fully recovered from the unmarried era of my life, yet I still find ways to spend money…
Well, tonight I had an awakening. Well, really it started on Monday. When I realized a client who was originally prepared to make a payment that would offset rent didn’t. And won’t. Sending me into a mad dash to recover nearly $900. But today it’s actually coming to the surface.
I stopped in to the bank after promising my landlord the other half of rent as soon as a couple EFT payments came through. Little did I know a few auto-payments hadn’t yet come through, so I have more money going out than coming in. And I have no way to pay my credit card, internet and phone. Pretty bleak, right? Well the good news is Darwin has food, I’m still currently in a home with enough food to last awhile and my physical and mental wellbeing is intact. I’m expecting pay from Trolley 5 (a moonlighting door/host gig I picked up to earn some cash to start the revival), and two EFT payments coming in. So short term I will somehow get by, even if I’m a little late on some things. The difference is I have a long term game plan.
But it doesn’t involve Calgary.
So what’s the next step?
Well, as I alluded to when I opened this piece up, I’m melancholy. I’m okay with facing the music per se. I might miss rent. I might bounce auto payments that I should have done a better job of preparing for. And while I bounce off rock bottom one more time, I’m reminded of Florence + The Machine’s lyric “it’s always darkest before the dawn”.
I’m about to break through and do something huge. I have secured a well paying gig with a band that’s about to pop, I’m valued in Toronto as the authority of musician wellness and I have secured a training position at GoodLife Fitness in Toronto to earn a stable income while I transit to Leaf Nation.
Actually, the title of this post is a lyric from K.Flay’s “Dreamers”: one of my anthems.
Things are finally paying off. I can honestly say I’m okay with my current status because I am a rags to riches story in the making. There’s a reason I have pursued the musician wellness route so hard after all my trials and tribulations. From the skating gig not working out, to Christy walking out on me – all of these were signs that I wasn’t following the right path. This is my legacy. What I was meant to do; music and wellness. There’s a reason the band I’m now a part of is doing so well on the indigenous charts. My roots are coming into play. We knew we weren’t quite there, but now it’s coming together. I honestly just need a little kick to get me over the last little speed bump that’s in store until June 21. That’s when tour starts. Then I come home and drive Darwin and as many suitcases of drum hardware and clothes as I can fit in the overpriced Tiguan across the country to my new home base in Toronto.
It doesn’t matter to me if you feel compelled to help my cause. It’s not your cause, I’d never expect you to. Everyone has shit. Everyone’s shit is important. My story is one of many and many more people have it much worse than I do. I will keep on bouncing and keep on learning. I will learn from everything I have just put into perspective and with a detailed game plan of how to right the situation, I will make a difference in the world with a small army of support.
If you do have it in you somewhere to believe in me as a person and as a persistent, borderline stubborn son-of-a-gun that’s too stupid to quit on this dream to build a life from passion of music and helping others, I did set up a gofundme page that you can make a small donation to. It’s here gofundme.com/helpmikemovetotoronto
Some people have already expressed their distaste in my cause. Citing it coming off as too needy, not credible, and in poor taste as I’m not providing something immediately in return. I’m not one for taking handouts. My sense of humour and eternal optimism masks the dark depression I’ve battled since 2015, and is deeply rooted in what I do. Every contributor and every dollar that’s donated to me will help fund my transitional phase to course correct from the lessons I’ve learned and highlighted in this post. I’ve made a commitment to stabilize my income and earn what I am worth. The crowdfunding is not meant to downplay any other causes. This is what I’m doing with my life and while every dollar of the $1507 is greatly appreciated, the fact is $1500 is just the tip of the iceberg. That will float me into a position where I’m able to make changes and directly affect lives on a much larger scale. This cause is greater than just me and for anyone that needs a “what’s in it for me?” before supporting my quest to T.O isn’t on the same level of awareness anyway (there’s a reason no one has claimed any of my “things” to offset the money they contribute in donations yet…).
For those of you that made it this far, you get it. Or you’re just really bored and up for an invite to the deep, dark personal side of the kid that’s ordinarily excessively optimistic. The truth is I believe in what I am doing and while your support means the world and could accelerate the process significantly, one way or another I will find a way to make things happen.
Thank you for taking the deep dive into my mind with me tonight.
See you in the stars,