Here are pictures from my year's journey around the world

My Life Changing Experience

Matt Mosenthine, age 11
Written in August and September 2006, just before my 12th birthday

Finally we are out of England and in France, but before I start journaling for France, I will write a closing to England. England to me was not just another country I have been to but more of a re-birthplace for me. I have had many awakenings in this small country known as Britain. Merlin (a new friend I met in Hereford) acted as a match that set a new flame to my fire, spirituality, and somehow, this flame set free my inner self, my real self. This flame also burned away my materialistic and judging sides. Of course, Merlin, a 14-year-old rock-loving hippie has no idea of his influences on me, although he knew he taught me not to care what people thought of me. This was the most important step, I realize now that before I had a fear of what people thought of me, whether good judgment or bad. If anyone did judge me I wanted to know, and I would change myself to match the standards of that person. Each time I changed another layer of fake goes over me and after a while I became almost totally plastic, and if this went on more and more, I believe my real self deep down in my heart would simply disappear and I would be living as a slave to judgment. The reason this was the most important step was because I could never be myself if I worried what people thought of me. Of course it still hurts when I see people pointing and laughing at me but that is because I am still a newborn, I am new to my real self. I think all of my eleven years of life was just a detour off of my life’s path, and now I am taking the A-30 freeway back to my true self.

All of these layers weren’t just from kids at school but within my own family as well. My father was very abusive both verbally and physically, both acts were very hurtful. I cannot recall exact events for it was a long time ago but I remember him always calling me stupid, an idiot, and a pervert. Of course at my age then I did not know what a pervert was, but I knew it was bad. After a while I knew exactly what he wanted from me and I changed myself to meet his standards. Well, tried too. It seemed the more I changed, the more my dad disliked me. Eventually I found out what a pervert was and felt lower than low. I had no idea why he would use a word like that on me, what did I do to deserve such abuse?

I felt more like a puppet than a human, without emotions and only feeling pain and self-pity. I did have many happy times but the excitement of these times were shaded over by hate by the next day. The few hours a day my mom was home I was by her side the whole time and for this my name went from pervert to sympathy seeker or mama’s boy in a mocking way. My mom was always telling me that the reason he treated me like this was because he was sick and when he got better, he would treat me better. Now my life revolved around my father’s well being, it seemed like my only hope. Every wishbone I broke, every birthday candle I blew out, and every dandelion I stepped on my wish was “please help my daddy to get better”. This hypnotized me, thinking he was going to get better, but deep down in my heart I knew his time was running out.

The night he died when Kate and I visited him in the hospital I held his hand and told him I loved him. A tear ran down my cheek and I quickly wiped it away and forced myself not to cry. I always remember him telling me when I was crying that he never cried when he was a kid and that I was a wussy. So now when he was dying and I was standing next to him I held back the natural flow of tears. He saw this and gave my hand a gentle squeeze that indicated that it was okay for me to cry. Right at that moment I forgave him for everything. This little gesture told me that he was sorry, he loved me, and that I was always a good son. I felt a huge load lifted off of my shoulders and I began to cry. The next morning when I woke up my mom told me that my dad died in his bed at two o’clock in the morning. I cried but soon covered it up and acted as if nothing had happened. This was very unhealthy and put me in the place I was before England.

Gabriel has been very helpful to me by helping me explore myself without judging me and giving me the space to practice my beliefs spiritually. I am honored to have him in my family, although sometimes it wouldn’t seem like that because sometimes we have disagreements, although that is normal, I suppose.

Another big force in my life was the recognition of Jah the Rastafarian god. This came shortly after I was able to be myself and able to practice my beliefs without a care of other peoples’ judgments. It is impossible for me to follow the flow of the modern church with the idea that any other religion won’t get into heaven and with constant wars between religions for power. My father was baptized Christian and my stepfather Bar Mitzvah’d and is Jewish, I felt a pull towards neither Christianity nor Judaism so I chose the way of the lion, Rastafarian, which ended up to be a mixture of both without the modern insanity. Most people when they hear of the Rastafarian religion, all they think of it is a bunch of dreadlocked guys smoking cannabis and getting high. Yes, smoking cannabis might be a part of the religion, but not the only feature. The true Rastafarians use the medicine to go deeper into meditation; some don’t even smoke it at all. I myself can go into a meditation state with a stick of incense and the feeling of Jah all around me, in the earth, in the sky, in the trees, in the sun, and most important of all, in me. Although I am not following the exact path of the Rastafarian, I am allowed to have my own beliefs.

At first I didn’t want to write this, not in fear of the response from all my friends and family, but more of a worry of its outcome. I was worried that I wasn’t going to speak the truth and my feelings, because I had never really done it before. Writing this was kind of like a healing for me, all of this coming from my heart and soul. This story helped me get over emotions locked away from my father and I would like to say it feels really good to let out the truth. You may think I am stupid for writing what I did, you may think I am such a retard for putting myself out in the world like I did, you may even think I am gay for sharing my feelings and emotions with you, but one thing is for certain, I am what I am and nothing else is going to change me.