A couple of years ago I met Stephen Puterbaugh. As an accomplished opera singer and performer, he is better known as Stephen Craig. He and I share similar backgrounds so naturally we have become close friends. Through the years we have grown exponentially as we gained insight into ourselves and the men we were to become.
Last week I read a Facebook post disclosing him personal journey. It’s vulnerable, raw and full of emotions that we all have battled to some degree. With his permission, I’m reposting it here because I KNOW it will help thousands of you as you navigate your own journey. Enjoy
There come's a time in every persons life when things may get...extremely rough. Through my travels, I have had the opportunity to perform and spread hope to many people, yet have rarely given my full story.
I have heard many people's stories of trials, faith killing trials, things that would break your heart, but these people always offer how they have been touched by those around them. Before I go any further I would like to thank my friends who have carried me through these years, years when I was not strong enough to carry myself. You have meant the world to me and I thank you. You know who you are!
I am offering this post, my personal story, in hopes to reach those who may not feel like no one is listening, for those who feel like even in the biggest crowd they are still alone and lonely. You are not alone!
Ever since I can remember I have dreaded two specific times of year. 1. My Birthday 2. Christmas. It was only this past Christmas that I have finally expressed what seemed buried and hidden underneath years of heartache and depression. I always new I did not like these two times of year, yet I always put on a big smile and tried to show those...outside of my family...that this and everything was just awesome, wonderful, and great...unicorns and rainbows basically. Yet inside I was screaming in pain, crying out for someone to hear everything I was yelling, but for some reason the harder I tried to scream out everything inside, the more numb and mute I became.
So in a deep silence i lived...I pushed through every birthday and Christmas with a big fake smile and always breathed a sigh of relief when the year ended and a new year began.
So here is what happened this Christmas and what came out of the deepest, darkest, holiday of my life.
As Christmas approached once again I could feel the darkness, anger, and depression set in...and yet again I had no idea in my forward conscience as to why it was happening. That was until I hit rock bottom. It was 2 in the morning a few days before Christmas, I walked out in the freezing cold in shorts, a thin t shirt, and a pair of clogs. I made my way through the snow to our detached garage, closed the door behind me, got in my car and put the keys in the ignition.
I did not turn on the car but instead sat in the loudest silence I have ever heard in my life, then I yelled, I yelled a lot, with very very harsh words, cursing everyone and everything but especially cursing God, but the more I yelled the more I started realizing half of the things that were coming out of my mouth were being targeted at me! I was yelling at myself!!!
I always knew I have had horrible self esteem, yet never truly realized the blind hatred I have had for myself...it was in those very dark, loudly silent moments that I finally realized why I hate my birthday and Christmas. Because I was not worthy of love in any capacity from anyone...especially not from those who love me. I pondered on this for a moment then for the first time in my life instead of quitting, I did something new, I got angry! Really Really Angry!!!
I took my keys out of the ignition and walked back inside and went to sleep. The next morning was filled with depression and hopelessness, yet through many conversations I was finally...after 31 years...able to finally say out loud why I have been letting fear drive my life, why I have not let anyone below the surface, why I demolish relationships with jobs and friends and family. I was finally able to say out loud what had been pushed so very deep.
Through this entire process I found something so very beautiful!!! The power that comes with facing those terrifying things beneath the waves, those things which drag us under.
I hope that this post would shine a light in the darkness, especially for those who are sitting in darkness this very moment. I have tasted that darkness, I have become deaf with the loudness of its deep silence, I have been so overcome with numbness that I thought I would never ever feel again.
I may not be in your same situation, but I would hope the light that came out of my darkness would shine bright enough to be able to shine some light in your darkness. I truly believe that the light came forth, but for many of us it is so dim by now that even the smallest darkness would seem to snuff it out. The beauty of light, though, is that darkness can never overcome it. Where light is, darkness cannot be.
So if you are in darkness and feel you have no light of your own, borrow some from someone else. I would hope this may give light to those who are dim. And never forget there may be darkness, but there will always be light to overcome.
I wish you all a very bright sunrise as we move into a new year. May this year shine brighter than ever before, may relationships be built with trust and love, by lifting each other, and not be dominated by fear. I love you my friends! Many Blessings to you this year
~Stephan Craig Puterbaugh.