‘Never again.’

I looked into the mirror, one of those rare moments where I will speak to myself… looking directly into those eyes staring right back at me and said those words over and over again.

‘Never again. Never again will I allow for it to happen.’

I called my closest friends. I told them. I apologized to them although no apology was necessary and promised to never allow it to happen again. I thanked them for witnessing, for allowing me to grow through it, and even though there was no possible reason for them to be offended…

I took it personally.

I took it very personally.

And as I wandered throughout the day, I kept hearing those words ringing in my ears.

‘Never again…never again.’

Fundamentally, something in me changed that day.

Something altered drastically…down to my core. It was a permanent shift that came from a place of never wanting to experience any of it again.

Unlike the dog that lays on the nail and simply moans and groans because the pain is not bad enough yet to get up off of it…

I got off.

Vowing to never go back.

They say that most people will do more to avoid pain than seek pleasure. I agree. I’ve found this to be incredibly true with my own story. Yet, there’s an element to chasing your dreams that involves pain.

The sacrifices, the sudden changes in your situation, the unexpected twists and turns and the physical and emotional taxes you must pay. Pain comes with pleasure. And as I see it now, I would have it no other way.

In the accomplishing of something that drove my life for 15 years, I experienced a moment of unbelievable ecstasy…and yet tragic pain. A pain that skipped all layers of where it could manifest itself and went straight to the depths of my heart.

I was broken in that moment…and enchantingly enough…reborn.

Burned straight to ashes and like the phoenix…rising anew.

I did not understand this for a long time after. 

I remained perplex, completely baffled, and cast into a complete flux of unknown situations and events pouring into my life. It was like entering a completely new part of the house…

One with rooms I’ve never seen before and a decor that was splendidly adorned with bright and luxurious colors…and at the same time, mixed with slow moving and dark tones.

I stood perplexed in these new rooms.

There was outpouring of danger, a blissful smell of adventure and sense of madness combined with the sweet presence of poetry.

My life became art…

I became…seduced.

And I fell hard.

Never before had I seen it in these colors, these tragic and yet perfect tones that would be the paints that I would use to portray the next scenes of my life. Oh and the possibilities.

The possibilities of living uninhibited and without any sense of restriction.

No rules to follow. No judgements to worry about. No…just answering to my deepest hearts desires and to the wits and plans of the heavens above.

Like a man drunk in love with life. 

Never faking or restricting the natural joy that flowed through his veins…

But allowing for a new love affair with his darker side.

The stubborn, impatient, and insomnia stricken side that caused him to abandon his bed for walks in the dead of night.

The side that allowed him to bleed out his heart onto the pages. One that craved adventure and danger. A side that was enchanted by the moon and begged to handle the darker paints that he had prevented himself from using for many years.

Mixed…I became in that moment.

And whole.

All coming out of a moment that destroyed a piece of me…

But remade me.

Never to be the same man again…

But rather something much more whole…a man casted further into his depths…who you could see on the surface as one way, but you would never understand just how far the rabbit hole went.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project