A Year of Battle: Town of Gallows

This year has been so much. It hasn’t always been fun, but every small battle in my heart has been worth it. There were soul bursting highs and dream shattering lows that I have been through in 2016, but believe me when I tell you that I would not trade those things for the entire world. I have learned so much and I have overcome so much. I hope that you are aware of that. If not, let this blog post be a reminder to you.

I would not be the same man today, if you did not exist. I hope that you carry that knowledge forward, knowing that you have changed me forever for the better.

When I started this blog, I was wide-eyed and full of wonder at this new world I had begun to see. Everything I did was devoted to this hippy mentality and I was determined to make sure that I never lost sight of that. I had become so focused on the good things that I began to simply ignore the problems in my life and as I didn’t address them, they only grew in size until they were dragon wings with insults and breathing fire at me that I couldn’t defend myself from.

It has been four years since I started the blog and five since I started my business. Salt + Iron did not pan out how I wanted it to pan out. It did not remain stable because I personally was not stable. I was so focused only on this happy mentality that the things in my life that needed work began to fall by the wayside. I would come here every Friday and talk to you about how great things were. I would share with you lessons I have learned and things that I had decided. I would tell you that it was important how you left things with other people. That the last words you say to someone are the most important words you say to them, because you can’t control fate. You may never see that person again. Things may change between you two or, God forbid, one of you may pass away. As the first year passed I told you that you should focus on being happy, over everything else in life and that happiness I was casting became a shadow in my own. That year was impossibly difficult for me. So much happened that changed how I saw this world. I realized then that I was not always this hippy that was meant to inspire. I couldn’t be that if I could not be honest with myself about the situations I had been placed in. I was preaching love and harmony and all of these beautiful things, but those same things had fallen out of my own life. I had been walking for so long and not paying attention that my footsteps fell out of sync with the world around me. I began losing sight of why I started this blog and why I continued doing it.

As year three approached, I realized something. I was terrified of so many things. I was afraid of drowning in water, and in emotions. I was afraid of opening myself up and being honest with others. I was afraid of being honest with myself. I was afraid that these silly books and this silly blog would not pan out and would never reach out to the heights that I wanted it to reach out to. I watched as this kingdom I had constructed from straw and ideals fell apart when faced with real, true flame.

This brought me to my knees in a way I had never been taken down before. I grew so focused on the numbers and the statistics that I misplaced the motive. I grew attached to the ideals I had been holding onto since high school, those things that tell you who you are “destined” to be.

There is no such thing as “destiny.”

I’ve written it before, a million times over. Destiny is something that people created because we were too afraid to stand up and a make the changes we needed to make within ourselves. Destiny, I found, was the biggest, meanest dragon of them all.

I have a tendency to build up these ideas inside my head. Grandiose plots and plans that I spend hours thinking about. How a relationship will go, how my books market plan will pan out, how my poetry will affect people. I fall into this trap with every new thing in my life, every project, every breath I take that tells me “you were meant for this” stains my hopes and adds a foundation for me to build these grand hopes on.

Hope is not a bad thing, don’t think I’m saying that, the idea of hope is what keeps me going. It’s what keeps all of us going, in one fashion or another. The problem with hope is that it is fickle. Its scaly body doesn’t hold us, it doesn’t comfort us during all the times. Some days, hope throws us from its back and beats us with its thin leathery wings.

That’s okay.

Year three has come to an end, and I am not nearly done fighting my dragons. I have conquered so much this year. The expectations I held for myself and my business have changed because of it. My ideas on life and love have grown. I have found more answers this year than any before. For the first time in years, I feel like everything I did was not in vain. Though the inside of my mind would argue with you, I know that from where I’m sitting right now, I am okay.

I have always been okay.

Today, I see things more clearly than I have in a while as my perspective continues changing and mutating to something new. I hope that you are still pushing your boundaries. I hope that the things I spend hours writing every week are helping you. I hope that through it all, you’re still following me on this journey. I can be so ungrateful even in the best of times, but I have been living in the shadow of a fearsome band of dragons for a long time. I have not slain them all, but I promise you.

I promise you, that I will keep trying.

I pray that you will keep fighting beside me, because I cannot do this alone. I would never dream of it.

To everyone I met this year, thank you so much. I am honored to know men and women as kind and as powerful as the lot of you. Know that as we move forward, I have changed and grown because of your direct influences on my life and I hope that you never forget that.

When the world weighs down on you.

When the storms of life come and you begin to feel worthless, know that in ways you can’t understand, you have made the life of someone so much better, simply by existing within it.

When the dragons come for you, do not fear them. If you cannot kill them, blow your horn and those who love you will come to your aid. We will be here for you, all of us, as often as we can.

Don’t give up on this fight, my friends. Don’t let the world take you. We are on a journey. We are headed to a new town somewhere far away. We have seen and experienced enough to write books about. Don’t forsake that for this idea that you are fine where you are. Challenge yourself. Push yourself. Break yourself out of your box. Above all, love yourself.

We came from a Town of Gallows, and it is time to say goodbye.

As we move forward, I am so happy to announce the beginning of GME Year Four:

Noose Ends.

2016 was a blistering year, but it is still not over. I have many surprises for you yet. As we move forward with this blog, there will be some minor changes to the way things are delivered to you, but the message will always be the same.

Life (when terminally exciting or painstakingly cruel) is not meant (even in the depths of the darkest shadow) to be awful.

For any news regarding S+I or GME, please follow my Author Profile on Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr @alvatobiasbooks -AND- for S+I specific news, please follow Salt + Iron Productions on Facebook.

Thank you friends, for another good year. I hope to be supplying even more joy and love and yes, even hope, to your lives. There is no dragon that you cannot kill, but if you chose to spare its life, there is no dragon that you cannot train.

(One more note before I go: “Life is not Meant to be Awful: Vol. 3 Fighting Dragons” will be available for purchase this Thanksgiving! Nov. 24th)

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