This morning Taylor and Billie woke me up earlier than usual. Two hours earlier to be exact.

At 5:00am Mountain Standard Time, Taylor began her whining, which I have always translated to “Hey, fat ass! Get out of bed! I have to take a shit, and I have to take one now! Thats right, I dont care that you are sleeping. I am the most important dog in the world, and you better get moving or else I will shit somewhere secret in your house.”

To which Billie always pipes in, “Yeah, what she said.”

So, I dragged myself out of bed, stumbled to the back door and the let them out.

As I stood there, head pressed to the glass, the realization of what day it was began to replace the sleep induced haze my brain was mired. It was April 1.

For many people April 1 is significant because its April Fools Day. Its the day where pranks and jokes were common place filling the day with hilarity, embarassment, and for the anti-establishment folks, indignation.

But, April 1 means something different to me.

I had alluded often to the rock star lifestyle I lived for a number of years while building my last startup. A healthy influx of cash created an unhealthy environment, and I succumbed to all the bad choices a person could make. It culminated when a person, we will call him Bob, that I considered to be as close as family moved to California. See, he owed me about $40,000 in bad checks and borrowed money. He was moving to California to start anew, and with the promise of $25,000 when we got there, I decided to travel with him (by car) from Colorado to California.

While in California, suprisingly to no one, the money didnt appear. But that wasnt the bottom for me. I expected to be disappointed; I just hoped I wouldnt be.

To make matters worse, Bob promised to pay for my plane ticket home. It wasnt a big deal, a couple of hundred dollars, and I offered to pay for it myself. “No,” he insisted, “my company is paying for it, dont worry about it.”

After the trip was extended another two days, my credit card went missing. “I must have left it in a bar,” I thought to myself.

Finally, after it was apparent that no cash was coming from Bob, and I had reached the end of my emtional rope, Bob bought a ticket for myself and another friend who had come with us, and we headed to the airport.

While at the airport, I checked my credit card statement online…amazingly the tickets that Bob bought for us appeared on my statement.

It was at that exact moment that everything went black.

The one person that I thought I could trust above all others had no just lied to me, but did it in such a disrepectful way, as if it didnt matter that I found out about the tickets. As if our friendship no longer mattered; As if I was just another mark.

When I got home later that day, I ordered up a fair amount of fun times, and proceeded to go on a bender to end all benders. Imagine the worse scenes from any movie you have seen, and double it. It was just me, in my house, on my couch.

Seven days later, I finally got to sleep, and when I woke up several hours later, I finally realized something:

The only reason I was taken advantage of in the manner I was was because I was out of control. I was out of my mind. That brain power and deductive reasoning I was so good at had been blunted by the fun times. It was at that moment I decided that I didnt want to be That Guy.

It was at that moment, at 5:00am MST, April 1, 2006, that I decided I no longer wanted to be the fool.

Now, every April 1, at about 5:00am MST, my dogs wake me up. And, I know, its not because they need to go outside, because the timber of their whine changes. Its just their gentle reminder that it is my choice to be or not be the fool. And each morning I wake up, the first thing I do is make a decision, and for the last 730 days, I have made a good decision in the morning, and for 730 nights have been proud of my choices before going to sleep.

This morning, I woke up and realized that it was time to make another positive change in my life. This decision is more about enjoying the life I have now reclaimed.

What decisions do you make each morning? Do they make you better? More importantly, do they make you proud? And, if not, why not?

UPDATE: I went to a shrink today and found out that I have Bipolar 2, also known as Soft Bipolar. I am not sure what that means except that all my craziness is because I have a birth defect in my brain rather than something less concrete. I go for blood work, and later treatment (medication, of course), which I will cronicle my experience, much like my adderal experience. Interestingly, I may not have ADD…but more later.

  • Your post made me cry.

    It’s an honor to know you, Micah.

  • Your post made me cry.

    It’s an honor to know you, Micah.

  • Congrats and best of luck with each day by doing what is right for you.

  • Congrats and best of luck with each day by doing what is right for you.

  • wow. thanks for sharing.

  • wow. thanks for sharing.

  • That’s one of the most powerful pieces of writing I’ve ever read. Good luck with your new decision and congrats on the old one.

  • That’s one of the most powerful pieces of writing I’ve ever read. Good luck with your new decision and congrats on the old one.

  • I make the decision to get up and go out to do the work I need to do in order to provide for my family, which is the most important thing in my life. It also helps that I love what I do, so the decision to get up and go forth and conquer is pretty easy, but it has not always been that way (mine for other reasons than yours, but still has not always been easy). It makes me proud to know that I am providing for 4 children and a wife that love me beyond belief. It is actually my privilege to do this for them.
    Thanks for two heartfelt posts in a row, you are a good man Charlie Brown, keep up the good work and fighting the good fight.

    W

  • I make the decision to get up and go out to do the work I need to do in order to provide for my family, which is the most important thing in my life. It also helps that I love what I do, so the decision to get up and go forth and conquer is pretty easy, but it has not always been that way (mine for other reasons than yours, but still has not always been easy). It makes me proud to know that I am providing for 4 children and a wife that love me beyond belief. It is actually my privilege to do this for them.
    Thanks for two heartfelt posts in a row, you are a good man Charlie Brown, keep up the good work and fighting the good fight.

    W

  • Stu

    I’m glad you are making the right choices Micah .. Kudos! Here’s to another 730 days of the discipline of such direction :).

  • Stu

    I’m glad you are making the right choices Micah .. Kudos! Here’s to another 730 days of the discipline of such direction :).

  • Seriously – you need to take pride in this post.
    You need to shout it to the rooftops.
    Life-lessons are hard… hard to learn, harder still to incorporate in our day to day existence. Two years? Man, that’s something to SING about!!

    You seriously rock in my book.

    I’m absolutely in awe of the strength and candor it takes to look at yourself in this light and not only decide to change things, but to share it with others, so that maybe those who could benefit from hearing it get that chance.

    Way to go. Best post I’ve read all week. You’re definitely no fool.

  • Seriously – you need to take pride in this post.
    You need to shout it to the rooftops.
    Life-lessons are hard… hard to learn, harder still to incorporate in our day to day existence. Two years? Man, that’s something to SING about!!

    You seriously rock in my book.

    I’m absolutely in awe of the strength and candor it takes to look at yourself in this light and not only decide to change things, but to share it with others, so that maybe those who could benefit from hearing it get that chance.

    Way to go. Best post I’ve read all week. You’re definitely no fool.

  • I haven’t blogged about this yet, but someday maybe I will. Maybe I’ll come back and copy this and paste it. I don’t know. Maybe this will be enough for me here and now. I hope you don’t mind me using your little box here for a confessional, but for some reason, I feel like you would understand me.

    I feel like I can relate to you. I too have been taken advantage of. I too have allowed myself to let it happen. Five years ago, I was in a very long, mentally, emotionally, financially abusive relationship with man. I still suffer from the post traumatic stress of it. Sometimes I still have nightmares, but I’m working on it.

    I used to live with a crack addict. I almost married him. I almost had a baby with him. We were together for 9 years. While I put myself through college, he “borrowed” some of my loan money because he thought he could double it by selling some pot. I stupidly believed him. He was the most manipulative person I ever met. At that time, I was addicted to cigarettes but no other drugs. Not even alcohol, so as far as the drugs went, there was more for him because I didn’t use. I was his sugar mama even though I didn’t have the sugar to spare. He put me in some major debt. I could only attribute on paper through invoices about $6,000.00 when I finally left him but I know it was much more than that. I know I’ll never see a dime.

    I used to think that he loved me. I used to think that I loved him. I didn’t know what love was. He used me as a cover up for his drug addictions. I enabled him. I stayed with him for so long because I was ashamed and didn’t want my family to know I was so stupid. I had been in an abusive relationship prior to him, but that guy was physical and unfaithful, so this guy was a saint compared to him. He never hurt me physically, but the mental and emotional abuse I suffered on the inside more than made up for the the welts and bruises I’ve suffered from the previous relationship on the outside.

    He stole my identity and used my credit cards and made me believe someone else had stolen my cards. He held my hand and gave me a shoulder to cry on when I felt so scared and violated while filling out the police reports and spending all the sleepless nights gathering paperwork and evidence. All the while it was him and he watched me suffer. For months during the investigation, he walked around with ATM receipts proving his guilt in his coat pockets. He was just waiting for me to discover them.

    I found them. I tried to forgive him. I stayed with him for another 3 years. I treated his drug addiction as a disease and naively compared it to cancer. I used to tell myself that if he had cancer, I wouldn’t leave him, I would stick by him and help him get through it.

    People who get cancer don’t choose it as a lifestyle. They can’t cure it or make it go away and they don’t manipulate and hurt the people around them for their own personal gain. Addiction to crack cocaine is NOT like having cancer. I was so weak and manipulated. I was stupid. I just wanted to be loved and to have someone to love back.

    Approaching 30, I wanted a baby. My grandfather was also dying and losing a ten year batter with Alzheimer’s. Those 2 things in my life were what convinced me that life was too damn short to keep wasting it like the lighter fluid on my ex’s crack pipe.

    While battling the demons of my ex’s drug abuse, I was also taking care of my dying grandfather in and out of the hospital. I fed him through a straw. I cleaned his face. I trimmed his mustache. I put his teeth in his mouth when he attempted to talk. Once I had to hold a urinal and help him relieve himself. There was a nursing and doctor strike at the hospital while he was there. Every time I went to see him, he had food stuck to his skin because they didn’t clean him and he couldn’t do it himself. Dealing with his disabilities and failing health made me see the difference between a man who has the ability to make choices in his life and how he treats those around him and a man who no longer has the ability to make those decisions anymore.

    My Dad once told me that I needed to stop with the circus of men I was dealing with. He told me I didn’t have a very good track record when it came to my choices in men. (A lot of that had to do with my Mother, but that’s a whole other ball of wax.) My Dad was was right. I needed to step away and raise the bar. I wanted my grandfather to be proud of me if he knew the truth about the decision I had made for a mate.

    In the year 2003, I attended 9 out of 11 funerals that took place for friends and family members. Some were days apart. (I was only 28, not 82.) There were days where I had dirt caked on my black heels from one burial plot that stayed there until it was replaced by the dirt from another burial plot. My long black dress coat, normally reserved for this type of occasion, stayed draped over a chair instead of being hung on a hangar in the back of the cloak closet where it belonged. My outfits started to seem like a uniform for death.

    In October of that year, I watched my grandfather as he lay with his mouth agape. I now know “the death mask.” I helped administer the morphine swabs to make him feel more comfortable. I made CDs with music I thought he’d like and played them for him in his room while I watched my mother beg him to let go and go to sleep. I said goodbye to him and was happy he could die in his own bed in his own home and not in the hospital. He slipped away in less than 24 hours.

    Once again, I put on the death uniform, only this time, I chose a nicer outfit and cleaned off my shoes. His funeral and services were wonderful and it was a welcomed experience knowing he was finally at peace.

    Now I needed to find my own peace.

    That experienced changed me somehow. It hardened me. It gave me deep, permanent, dark circles under my eyes.

    Three months later, I lost my job and stayed laid off. I had hit rock bottom. I used the time I was laid off to do some soul searching.

    For months I researched, I networked, I plotted and planned. I also packed. I distanced myself from my ex as much as I could now that the last family drama was over. I was done pretending for them. I stopped sleeping in the same room. I focused on getting a job and organizing my life.

    One day, I woke up and told myself that it was the first day of the rest of my life. I called up my ex’s father and had him come over to help me and we took his son to rehab. We were in and out of 2 different services and shelters before I broke down and cried and begged them to help me put this man somewhere where he could get help for his addiction. Finally someone gave in and accepted him. It felt like I was taking a dog to the pound. He pleaded with me not to leave him. I told him it was for the best and walked away, out of his life. I would no longer allow myself to be manipulated by him.

    Luckily I had a decent relationship with his family and they helped me get him to rehab. While he was in rehab, I was able to finish packing up my life and secure an apartment with a female roommate in a different city. It was one I could afford while on unemployment and in an area I wanted to work for when I did find a job.

    I was finally on my own and able to start a new life for myself. It took a lot of soul searching, sacrifice and hard work, but I manged to do it. I began to travel and discover new places and people and ways of thinking. I moved to the other side of the country and stopped being afraid of coloring outside of the lines when it came to state borders.

    I’m now very happily married to a wonderful man who I would be so proud to introduce to my Grandfather if I had the chance. Sometimes I think Grandpop must have picked him out for me because they have a lot in common with all the languages they speak and love for hot peppers. He treats me the way I deserve to be treated and loves me like I never knew love before. We have a beautiful, healthy, smart son together.

    I make a decision each morning to be the best wife and mother I can be to my husband and son. I keep networking, I keep soul searching, I keep researching. I keep away from cigarettes. I have been nicotine-free for almost 2 1/2 years now. Maybe I’m an information junkie, but it’s better than smoking. Gaining knowledge each day and meeting people like you through blogs like your keeps me feeling brave and strong and empowered enough to share my own story even if it is in someone else’s comments box. It helps to get it out. Maybe some day I will be even braver and post it over on my own space.

    Each day I try to find and keep my inner peace in check. Today was another day I could do that. Thank you for the opportunity. Thanks for asking to share and thanks for sharing.

    Peace.

  • I haven’t blogged about this yet, but someday maybe I will. Maybe I’ll come back and copy this and paste it. I don’t know. Maybe this will be enough for me here and now. I hope you don’t mind me using your little box here for a confessional, but for some reason, I feel like you would understand me.

    I feel like I can relate to you. I too have been taken advantage of. I too have allowed myself to let it happen. Five years ago, I was in a very long, mentally, emotionally, financially abusive relationship with man. I still suffer from the post traumatic stress of it. Sometimes I still have nightmares, but I’m working on it.

    I used to live with a crack addict. I almost married him. I almost had a baby with him. We were together for 9 years. While I put myself through college, he “borrowed” some of my loan money because he thought he could double it by selling some pot. I stupidly believed him. He was the most manipulative person I ever met. At that time, I was addicted to cigarettes but no other drugs. Not even alcohol, so as far as the drugs went, there was more for him because I didn’t use. I was his sugar mama even though I didn’t have the sugar to spare. He put me in some major debt. I could only attribute on paper through invoices about $6,000.00 when I finally left him but I know it was much more than that. I know I’ll never see a dime.

    I used to think that he loved me. I used to think that I loved him. I didn’t know what love was. He used me as a cover up for his drug addictions. I enabled him. I stayed with him for so long because I was ashamed and didn’t want my family to know I was so stupid. I had been in an abusive relationship prior to him, but that guy was physical and unfaithful, so this guy was a saint compared to him. He never hurt me physically, but the mental and emotional abuse I suffered on the inside more than made up for the the welts and bruises I’ve suffered from the previous relationship on the outside.

    He stole my identity and used my credit cards and made me believe someone else had stolen my cards. He held my hand and gave me a shoulder to cry on when I felt so scared and violated while filling out the police reports and spending all the sleepless nights gathering paperwork and evidence. All the while it was him and he watched me suffer. For months during the investigation, he walked around with ATM receipts proving his guilt in his coat pockets. He was just waiting for me to discover them.

    I found them. I tried to forgive him. I stayed with him for another 3 years. I treated his drug addiction as a disease and naively compared it to cancer. I used to tell myself that if he had cancer, I wouldn’t leave him, I would stick by him and help him get through it.

    People who get cancer don’t choose it as a lifestyle. They can’t cure it or make it go away and they don’t manipulate and hurt the people around them for their own personal gain. Addiction to crack cocaine is NOT like having cancer. I was so weak and manipulated. I was stupid. I just wanted to be loved and to have someone to love back.

    Approaching 30, I wanted a baby. My grandfather was also dying and losing a ten year batter with Alzheimer’s. Those 2 things in my life were what convinced me that life was too damn short to keep wasting it like the lighter fluid on my ex’s crack pipe.

    While battling the demons of my ex’s drug abuse, I was also taking care of my dying grandfather in and out of the hospital. I fed him through a straw. I cleaned his face. I trimmed his mustache. I put his teeth in his mouth when he attempted to talk. Once I had to hold a urinal and help him relieve himself. There was a nursing and doctor strike at the hospital while he was there. Every time I went to see him, he had food stuck to his skin because they didn’t clean him and he couldn’t do it himself. Dealing with his disabilities and failing health made me see the difference between a man who has the ability to make choices in his life and how he treats those around him and a man who no longer has the ability to make those decisions anymore.

    My Dad once told me that I needed to stop with the circus of men I was dealing with. He told me I didn’t have a very good track record when it came to my choices in men. (A lot of that had to do with my Mother, but that’s a whole other ball of wax.) My Dad was was right. I needed to step away and raise the bar. I wanted my grandfather to be proud of me if he knew the truth about the decision I had made for a mate.

    In the year 2003, I attended 9 out of 11 funerals that took place for friends and family members. Some were days apart. (I was only 28, not 82.) There were days where I had dirt caked on my black heels from one burial plot that stayed there until it was replaced by the dirt from another burial plot. My long black dress coat, normally reserved for this type of occasion, stayed draped over a chair instead of being hung on a hangar in the back of the cloak closet where it belonged. My outfits started to seem like a uniform for death.

    In October of that year, I watched my grandfather as he lay with his mouth agape. I now know “the death mask.” I helped administer the morphine swabs to make him feel more comfortable. I made CDs with music I thought he’d like and played them for him in his room while I watched my mother beg him to let go and go to sleep. I said goodbye to him and was happy he could die in his own bed in his own home and not in the hospital. He slipped away in less than 24 hours.

    Once again, I put on the death uniform, only this time, I chose a nicer outfit and cleaned off my shoes. His funeral and services were wonderful and it was a welcomed experience knowing he was finally at peace.

    Now I needed to find my own peace.

    That experienced changed me somehow. It hardened me. It gave me deep, permanent, dark circles under my eyes.

    Three months later, I lost my job and stayed laid off. I had hit rock bottom. I used the time I was laid off to do some soul searching.

    For months I researched, I networked, I plotted and planned. I also packed. I distanced myself from my ex as much as I could now that the last family drama was over. I was done pretending for them. I stopped sleeping in the same room. I focused on getting a job and organizing my life.

    One day, I woke up and told myself that it was the first day of the rest of my life. I called up my ex’s father and had him come over to help me and we took his son to rehab. We were in and out of 2 different services and shelters before I broke down and cried and begged them to help me put this man somewhere where he could get help for his addiction. Finally someone gave in and accepted him. It felt like I was taking a dog to the pound. He pleaded with me not to leave him. I told him it was for the best and walked away, out of his life. I would no longer allow myself to be manipulated by him.

    Luckily I had a decent relationship with his family and they helped me get him to rehab. While he was in rehab, I was able to finish packing up my life and secure an apartment with a female roommate in a different city. It was one I could afford while on unemployment and in an area I wanted to work for when I did find a job.

    I was finally on my own and able to start a new life for myself. It took a lot of soul searching, sacrifice and hard work, but I manged to do it. I began to travel and discover new places and people and ways of thinking. I moved to the other side of the country and stopped being afraid of coloring outside of the lines when it came to state borders.

    I’m now very happily married to a wonderful man who I would be so proud to introduce to my Grandfather if I had the chance. Sometimes I think Grandpop must have picked him out for me because they have a lot in common with all the languages they speak and love for hot peppers. He treats me the way I deserve to be treated and loves me like I never knew love before. We have a beautiful, healthy, smart son together.

    I make a decision each morning to be the best wife and mother I can be to my husband and son. I keep networking, I keep soul searching, I keep researching. I keep away from cigarettes. I have been nicotine-free for almost 2 1/2 years now. Maybe I’m an information junkie, but it’s better than smoking. Gaining knowledge each day and meeting people like you through blogs like your keeps me feeling brave and strong and empowered enough to share my own story even if it is in someone else’s comments box. It helps to get it out. Maybe some day I will be even braver and post it over on my own space.

    Each day I try to find and keep my inner peace in check. Today was another day I could do that. Thank you for the opportunity. Thanks for asking to share and thanks for sharing.

    Peace.

  • @macmommy The first thing I did this morning was read your comment. My first thought was “Holy crap!”

    I am proud of you for sharing, and I am impressed with the strength it took to become you.

    Do you remember the 1970s Incredible Hulk TV show? Bruce Banner was trying to find out why people would get incredible strength at the times they needed it. To pull a family member out of a burning car, etc.

    I think there is a moment in some people’s lives where a decision occurs: to change or not to change the situation they are in. Some people never have to make that decision. Some people never decide to change.

    But for the few that do, that unexplained strength emerges, and it emerges in a way that the person could never expect or understand. And, for some reason, it never quite goes away.

    It gets a little easier, for sure, but not really. Somehow, every day, we have to call on that strength. And because of that, it makes us people we can be proud of. It makes us strong in all situations.

    For me, it makes me strong enough to not allow others to formulate my vision of myself. For you, it seems that it has made you strong enough to not except less.

    Thank you. Its the only thought in my mind right now.

  • @macmommy The first thing I did this morning was read your comment. My first thought was “Holy crap!”

    I am proud of you for sharing, and I am impressed with the strength it took to become you.

    Do you remember the 1970s Incredible Hulk TV show? Bruce Banner was trying to find out why people would get incredible strength at the times they needed it. To pull a family member out of a burning car, etc.

    I think there is a moment in some people’s lives where a decision occurs: to change or not to change the situation they are in. Some people never have to make that decision. Some people never decide to change.

    But for the few that do, that unexplained strength emerges, and it emerges in a way that the person could never expect or understand. And, for some reason, it never quite goes away.

    It gets a little easier, for sure, but not really. Somehow, every day, we have to call on that strength. And because of that, it makes us people we can be proud of. It makes us strong in all situations.

    For me, it makes me strong enough to not allow others to formulate my vision of myself. For you, it seems that it has made you strong enough to not except less.

    Thank you. Its the only thought in my mind right now.

  • Wow. Just wow.

  • Wow. Just wow.

  • A well-written post regarding an often not discussed issue. You are a courageous person.

    Peace to you this day… April 2!

  • A well-written post regarding an often not discussed issue. You are a courageous person.

    Peace to you this day… April 2!

  • Wow, Micah, thanks for sharing and it s so awesome that you had the strength, the willpower and the brain power to turn your life around. You should be proud of your post. April 1st will now mean something else special to all who read this!

  • Wow, Micah, thanks for sharing and it s so awesome that you had the strength, the willpower and the brain power to turn your life around. You should be proud of your post. April 1st will now mean something else special to all who read this!

  • Merredith

    And now I’ll always think of you at 5:00 a.m. on April 1st, too.

    Proud to know you.

  • Merredith

    And now I’ll always think of you at 5:00 a.m. on April 1st, too.

    Proud to know you.

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