Joseph Scialabba is a single father from the Chicago area who unexpectedly lost the mother of his child to drug addiction. This blog post chronicles his experience with raising a female child alone in the 21st century.
AGENT OF CHAOS
It used to be fun, the chaos, the craziness, the madness that consumed everyone and everything around me. I wrapped myself in it, strove to find it, and welcomed its residence in my life. The more chaotic the better I used to think, because while others would go to pieces, chaos was my time to shine, to rise to the occasion and take control, I was good at it. Sounds nuts right? It worked though, for many years, in my business and personal life, chaos brought me all the success I dreamed of and much more. You get so used to it that you don’t even realize it anymore, it becomes your normal.
The problem with being a catalyst of chaos as I was is that the farther to one side you swing that pendulum, the farther back it comes. The eventual price to pay for all the chaos I created through my life was high, a price tag you don’t get to negotiate on either. Its c.o.d. and it doesn’t ask nicely. The storms of chaos that I helped create through my life, eventually came for it all, like a hungry tornado, a finger of god, they came to wipe the surface of my life almost clean.
For as long as I can remember, I was an agent of chaos. Going back to my childhood, it went beyond normal boy behavior. I liked to destroy; it gave me a weird sense of gratification. To rebuild in something in your own vision, presents a sense of fulfillment that was highly desirable. As an adolescent and early adult, I came to find that not only did I enjoy creating chaos, but that I was very good at it. It had a way of breaking people down, showing you who they were by how they dealt with the chaos I created, and within those results were how I would determine how to get what I wanted. It worked beautifully.
When I reached adulthood and went out into the world, early on I discovered others like me, and we joined forces. We made creating chaos a business, and a successful one at that. I’m not sure what else I could call what we used to do other then chaos. We would take over warehouses, dark and dirty, and invite a few thousand of our closest friends to journey to the worst parts of the city to dance and party all night long. We worked with gangs and police and politicians alike, whoever didn’t listen or cooperate met with unsavoriness. We controlled it by any and all means necessary, and we got good at it.
Business was booming, money rolled in, and we got to experience life without restrictions. It was a utopia, a mix or art, desire, music, expression and we got to the top of the pyramid, because we were willing to create and execute chaos by any means necessary. I had found a place I finally belonged, a place that seemed to give me purpose, I was home. Nowhere else and no one else mattered anymore, I was going to take what I wanted and sow the seeds of destruction to those that weren’t on board. I didn’t care of the cost, because I didn’t think I would live long enough to see those bills come due. Life without consequences, or the illusion of consequence, is a dangerous thing for a young man with more money than sense.
HAVE NO FEAR
Fear, a wasted energy, an emotion with no foundation, but a daily marker in many daily lives. My worst fear at one time was losing it all, the girl, the life and business I had built, my friends. It all happened, in slow motion it was all swept away, like a tsunami of madness swept over the landscape of my life. Then all that remained was a barren slab where the home and life I had built once stood.
I stand now two years and change removed from that miserable state, and can say I've never felt more alive, that losing everything is as bad as it sounds, but it can also be liberating. I chose that I wouldn't let it consume me, that I wouldn't let that darkness take me too. When you have lost it all, when everything and everyone is gone, that is when you can finally be reborn.
It gives you the chance to start over, to correct your past mistakes, to rise again. Once you have stared that stark destruction in the face, the rest of the world doesn’t seem so scary anymore. I have gained all the confidence back that evaded me while I was drowning in crisis. I asked out the girl of my dreams, I moved on a dream job, I seized the opportunity and picked up my laptop to start writing for the first in a decade. When you lost it all, you just don't care about failing anymore. It injected my life with a sense of urgency and forthrightness to come back and shoot my shot, to take what I could, to seize the moment, carpe diem.
I’m not encouraging everyone to purposely go out and lose their loved ones and livelihoods like I did. I’m just saying when you get to ego death, when you lose it all, and you survive. It will change your life. I am the strongest I've ever been, moving the fastest I've ever been, maybe it was the universes way of telling me a life made of ill gotten deeds wasn't my purpose I don’t know, that is a story I've yet to write.
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, CA - AUGUST 23: Smoky skies from nearby forest fires create a haze around the lake as viewed on August 23, 2018, at South Lake Tahoe, California. Lake Tahoe, straddling the border of California and Nevada, is the largest Alpine freshwater lake in the Western United States and is a top tourism destination for winter skiers and many outdoor activities during the summer months. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)