Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Ok, so let me just get this out of the way now and then I will continue on making my blog a little less serious and a little bit more ridiculous, or as I like to say, ritalkulous.
I am amazed with the quality of people that I currently have surrounding me. I didnt really expect any negative reaction to my previous post but I also did not expect the overwhelming positive response that I received from everyone. Thank you all so much for your comments, whether they were left on here, via email, or in person. It gives me great satisfaction to know that I have so many great friends who genuinely care about me and my life. I just hope I have returned the feeling to each and every one of you.
Ok, thats that. Now on to the juicy stuff.
I have always had an odd fascination with things that are not necessarily of this world. Being a wannabe physicist I have always looked to the heavens in awe and wonder. Do I believe there are other forms of life, other human beings in our vast universe? Of course! No doubt in my mind. I dont think that they look anything like the "aliens" that the movies portray, but there are people out there, just like you and me. There are also other life forms out there, who knows, maybe even dinosaurs still live somewhere in this universe. I think its sad to think otherwise. I have always had a thing for crop circles and even went as far as to write an entire final paper on them during a semester of English. After the research that I read through I find it very, very hard to believe that they are all created by earthly beings. There are obvious fakes, and a few noteworthy attempts, but the "real" ones, cannot be explained away. But thats just me. Believe what you want. But read my paper first, then believe what I tell you to believe! Even if they are fake, they should be revered as greats works of art. Some of them measure 3 football fields in length and carry perfect symmetry throughout the intricate designs. I think they are just beautiful.
It is another subject I would like to discuss a bit more tonight though. And that is one of ghosts. I have never been a big believer in ghosts but the idea has always fascinated me, I loved watching Ghostbusters over and over again as a kid. Lets not forget other great ghost movies such as Ghost Dad, Bill and Teds Bogus Journey and Beetlejuice. I dont know how Ghost Dad fits in there, but it does, trust me. Outside of the movies I have always found the idea of ghosts to be intriguing. I have heard many stories throughout my life that if I had to be honest with you, some of them have spooked the crap out of me. My neighbor told me stories about a haunting that has been going on at Capital Theater where he has worked for years. I remember listening in on my aunt telling stories of shadows being where shadows shouldn't be after my cousin died. Since then I have kept frequent tabs on the Utah Ghost Hunters Society (http://www.utahghost.org/) Even being the skeptic that I am I still find a lot of entertainment value in what they have to see. Last night may have just changed my mind though.
I have been staying at the Comfort Inn on main street in Logan for the last few nights while I do an audit here for a local credit union. It is not a fancy hotel, but they do have a couch in the room and two sinks, one in the room so if someone is in the shower you can still get ready, so thats not too bad. But its what else the room apparently has that is causing me not to sleep well at night.
Last night I was just laying in bed watching the Olympics while my brother slept in the other bed. I was watching the first of four basketball games that were being played throughout the night. At 12:50 I decided to give up and go to sleep. I turned the TV off and rolled over. I grabbed the spare pillow and hugged it to my chest and closed my eyes. Twenty-Seven minutes later it happed. At exactly 1:17 AM I opened my eyes to see a large black human shaped object standing next to my bed sort of hovering over me. It seemed so real to me that I actually swung the pillow that I was hugging out at it. The pillow never connected with anything and as soon as I got the pillow back to my chest the shadowy image was gone. I looked over to the other bed to see if Zak, my brother, was playing some sort of joke on me but he was still there sound asleep. It took me a while to get back to sleep but I eventually did. To add to it, after work today I left to go for a run while Zak took a nap with the Olympics on in the background. When I got back to a silent room he woke up and asked me why I turned the TV off. I, of course, did not do this. It would seem that this ghost of mine just does not like the Olympics. Well, I guess that is his loss. Because they have been pretty fantastic so far.
Anyways, that is my ghost story. I imagine it will grow as the years go on like most "big fish" stories tend to do. But I am sticking with it as fact.
Here are a few of the Haunted locations in Logan according to the UGHS.
Logan - Cemetery:
The sound of crying is often heard by certain headstones late at night.
Logan - Grapevine Restaurant:
Former employees report dishes flying against the walls and breaking, brooms being moved from one room to another as if being carried by an invisible entity.
Logan - Green Canyon:
There is a certain area where strange things have been reported. When you enter this location you get a feeling of despair, depression and hopelessness. You get a strong feeling of evil, and not a sound is heard.
Logan - Nunnery, Logan Canyon:
There is a pool where a little boy drowned. There have been many sightings of children that were killed there.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
And this is mine.
I believe that at some point in every persons life that they come to grips with who they are, where they have been, and where they are headed. That point came for me, maybe much later in life than most, while sitting on a chair, on a breezy porch, outside a house, on Bona Vista drive in Aruba about 2 weeks ago. It was a very calming moment for me. Especially when I think back at the crazy road that had brought me to that point, sitting in a Desert paradise alone for a few moments at the end of the night, finally having a feeling, after 12 years, of what a normal life is supposed to be like. This is when I decided that it was time to tell my story.
Everybody makes poor life choices from time to time, and as the scriptures tell us, all choices, whether good or bad, will always come back to us in one form or another. The interesting thing to me is that usually one thinks that the bad choices that are made will come back to you in a bad way. When one makes a bad choice they will some how pay for it in the end. But for me, for my biggest mistake in life, I feel that I have only been greatly blessed. I know that we are supposed to learn from our mistakes, but I never expected 12 years later to still be counting my blessings that have stemmed from a moment in my life that I will never, not in my whole life, be able to forget.
On the morning of August 12th, 1997 at 12:43 pm I became a father. Yes, you read that right, this is not a typo. I became a father to the beautiful 7 pound 14 ounce 21 inch Elicia Anne Steele. Though I can say that my life had forever changed some 40 weeks before this, it was this day that my life truly changedBut lets go back a bit first.
I grew up a fairly normal kid. I am the 4th of 5 kids. My parents raised all of us to be smart and genuine people. But somewhere around the age of 17, after 20-something years my parents decided to call it quits. This of course blew me away. I tried to pretend for years that this did not affect me, but with the previously mentioned daughter this does not seem to be the case. In taking personal responsibility for my actions I still to this day do not blame the sequence of events on my parents but I will say this, with my dad out of the house my mom had no control over me. She always thought she could be the disciplinarian, but it was my dad whom I truly feared. This began my rebellion years. It brings me some satisfaction to think that the only two things that really came out of those years, both of which so happen to be permanent, were my daughter and my tattoo. My rebellion really only came in those two forms. Oh, and not listening to a single word my mom had to say. My sense of family had been tossed out the window, and for a long time I really didnt care what she was trying to tell me as my mother. Looking back, I should have listened, but in many, many ways, I am glad I didnt. Oddly enough, I am a better, stronger person for it.
I met Nicole, Elicia's mother, through my friend Kyle. Ironically, it was Kyle who was trying to pick up on her when he invited her over to my house one summer afternoon. We hit it off almost immediately and the rest is what they call "history." I have thought long and hard for the past 12 years as to why I made the decisions that I did at this point in life, and I still have no real conclusions. All I know is that I did, and that is that. My new found freedom and rebellion obviously took control of my life at this point.
The day that Nicole told me she was pregnant was the single emptiest day of my life. She had been throwing up for weeks and we thought it was from an esophageal problem that she had struggled with for years. Being pregnant was honestly the last thing on my mind. She called me on the way home from her doctors appointment and calmly asked me if I wanted to come over, which I did. When I got there, thinking nothing was up, she simply sat down beside me, placed the ultra sound picture on my lap, and said "Hi Daddy!" You know that feeling you get when you drop into a large descent on the roller coaster? Multiply that by at least 1000. My heart dropped into my stomach, down to my knees, squeezed out through the pores of my feet and oozed out all over the floor. It then took the opportunity to regroup, kind of like the T-1000 from Terminator 2, look up at me and laugh for a while. That moment lasted for what seemed like a month. I say it was empty because I have never felt so alone in my life. Nicole and her mother were both sitting there staring at me, but I couldnt see them. My heart as mentioned was laying there laughing at me, but it was not with me. .
All words were gone, all thoughts were gone and worse, I knew that I was gone. I had reached a point in my life that I no longer recognized myself. The me that I had known, would never be again.
As bad as that day was, telling my mother was worse. I waited two weeks and avoided my mother at all costs. When I finally got around to telling her I never actually told her. I called her up and told her I had to talk to her and Nicole and I went over to see her. I called her out of her room when I got home and just sat on the top of the stairs with my head in my hands. After a few minutes my mother just came out and said to Nicole, "you're pregnant," and just started to cry. That feeling you get when you are on the roller coaster, multiply that by 10,000.
Single worst day of my life. To see the disappointment in her eyes is something that I will never forget. After this I knew I could not go through with telling my dad or the rest of my family and I asked my mom if she could do it for me.
The next nine months were a blur. It was a combination of highs and lows, of avoiding friends, and coming to terms with my impending life change. I manged to get away with not telling one of my friends during the entire pregnancy. Nicole didnt look pregnant at all, she just kept slightly baggier clothes on. In fact when we went in to deliver the nurse at the check in desk thought we were lying to her. She hardly gained anything, it was mostly just the baby inside. My best friend Kyle didnt even know until Elicia was 2 weeks old. He just stopped by my house one day and stormed into my room while she and I were sleeping. Awkward! Anyways, the day of the delivery is supposed to be the happiest day of your life, well, at least up there with a few others.
But for me, it was filled with nothing but confusion and a harsh sense of reality. This was the first day that the reality of being a father and the fact that another human life depended on me hit me. This was real, there was no going back, I couldnt just wake up and go skateboarding down to the 7-11 whenever I wanted anymore. In that instant I became an 18 year old going on 35. You could see the look of "oh shit" (sorry, but that was really what I was thinking) in my face. A fact that I am not proud of but it was there and I cant do anything about that now.
Elicia was, after the first 2 nights of constant crying, a perfect baby. She slept through the night every night starting on the 3rd night home. She would wake up once every night at about 3 to take a bottle and would then sleep until about 7 or 8.
Because her mother was still trying to finish up her senior year (I had graduated the year before so this somehow makes me slightly better, right?) she stayed with me every night at my house. A majority of the parenting duties fell on me. I learned at this point in my life that everyone is inherently a parent. You just know how to do it. I went into all of this so worried about what to do, but it just comes and you just do it. You are a parent, it is a role that everybody on this earth has. Some just choose to do it wrong, or not at all, you have to put the child first, in everything. Sorry, got off on a little tangent there. Elicia was just a happy child. She never met a stranger, she loved everyone, and this will come in handy later in her life. She unfortunately grew up in the Teletubbie years and loved the yellow one whom I believe was named Laa Laa. If I was just flipping through the channels and passed by the show for just a split second she would come running into the room and stand in front of the TV.
She loved stuffed animals and even loved to hug the Jerry Bear that I had on the front of a Grateful Dead tie that I would wear from time to time. She was a quick developer, she was sitting up early, rolled over early, and was walking at around 11 months. She was very curious and inquisitive, in fact her first words were "whats that." She would walk around and just point at things and say "whats that?" She was the reason I woke up each day, and the light at the end of each day when all else was dim. I never thought at the beginning of all of this that I could find happiness and contentment within my shattered life, but she was the shining example, the constant reminder that I still had good left in me, I had just given it all to her. It was through her that I learned the true meaning of love, the true meaning of life, I learned patience, humility, selflessness, and responsibility. I learned the extreme importance of family and friends and ultimately the importance of my Heavenly Father.
As you might have been able to tell by the way in which I talk about her though, or maybe it is the fact that those of you who know me well enough have never actually seen her, she is no longer with me. For many reasons I will not get into the hows and the whys but she was taken from me by adoption when she was 17 months old. This is the point in my life of all points of my life that I wish I could erase and redo, or just erase completely. I feel that I know what it is like to lose a child to death but in some ways I feel that it is worse. I say this because she was still alive but I couldnt see her. I knew she was out there living her life with someone else, sharing that trait she has to love everybody, with someone else. She was no longer mine, and to me, that was worse than death. It was almost as if she had never existed as mine. Luckily for me though, she was adopted by a very nice and wonderful couple in Alexandria Virginia who wanted to keep me involved in her life. This came with its struggles however. I did not see her again until she was 4 years old and that first day was the scariest day of my life. People talk about butterflies in their stomachs but I dont believe that they will ever fully understand how I felt that day. That is a whole different story though. I have since been out at least once a year when I have been able to. She has a great understanding of who I am and even calls me her birth daddy. She feels very blessed to have 2 dads, 1 mom, and a whole bunch of grandparents who love her very much. My last trip was one year ago today for her 10th birthday. She is growing up so fast. She is starting to look more and more like me. For the longest time I had to question whether or not she was really mine because she looked nothing like me, but as she gets older that has changed, poor girl. She is now just an absolute handful, a ball of energy. I cant sit for 5 minutes when I go out to visit. One time we spent 3 hours pretending she was a dog, then a dolphin, then a horse. And I had to take care of each one of them. How does one actually take care of a dolphin? And is it even legal to keep one as a pet?
She is still the love of my life, and always will be. I feel extremely lucky to have her in my life, even as limited as it is. My daughter has made me who I am and who I continue to become.
We all have a story to tell and this is mine. There is so much more to the story and it grows everyday. My relationship with her continues to grow and the relationships that I enjoy with others now I can thank her for. If it were not for her and the distraction it caused in my lifes plan I would not know many of you who are reading this. I think that is the most important part of this whole ordeal. If it were not for my daughter I would not be where I am today, I would not know the people I know, I would not have the appreciation I feel for life, family, friends and the Gospel. Life is precious, friends and family are precious, never let them go, keep them in your life at all costs!
Happy Birthday Elicia!
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Hi there all in blog land. I figure I dont have a whole lot to say but my first official blog will be coming out on Tuesday the 12th. So get out your popcorn, juice, and tissues because it is bound to be an Oscar winner. Well maybe not seems how the Oscar has never actually been given out to someone for writing a simple blog, but I think we should try and make that happen!