When I closed the door on the violent far-right movement, another one opened. It was a long process but one which was worth it. I replaced many things from the movement with healthier alternatives, and on a positive note, it required me to use some creativity. I won’t make this process sound easier than it was, though; grief also lived there.
I won’t make this process sound easier than it was, though; grief also lived there.
When I think about the people still wrapped up in the movement (and might still be, for all I know), I know some could do better for themselves, just as I could have. I did not hate or resent everyone there, either, but there were some who I thought could rotate on a cactus for all I cared. However, there were many who I knew I would miss. Unfortunately, for those I would miss, I had difficulty not reaching out to them and trying to save them myself. I did my own assessment on this and realized that doing so might cause more harm than good in the sense that they might share our conversations with the rest of the group, and in turn, it would also mean inviting much more drama into my life than necessary.
In terms of personality, I did enjoy the rawness of many of them. Nevertheless, that was not enough to make me think it was worth continuing to speak with them. I eventually realized I could meet many people who had that quality to them outside of the movement.
There is a vast difference between a memory of me skydiving versus a memory of crime or harm to another.
It began with the guys I used to work with when I was doing construction. The industry allowed self-expression instead of maintaining a work persona. I liked that. I vividly remember one day when I told one of the guys about my former life and what I was going through, to which he responded, “Fuck your old friends. You’re rolling with us now.” It was a blunt but meaningful affirmation on his part, which meant something to me because I could see a better life waiting for me. Another piece of this process included my need for excitement. As draining as this was by a certain point, I also missed it because I always enjoyed a bit of chaos. For this matter, I had to discuss it when I was in therapy. We explored the roots of this issue, and it got pretty complicated at times. Nonetheless, I remember my therapist telling me there was nothing wrong with getting a healthy adrenaline fix. My mother wasn’t happy with this as she is afraid of heights, but I began making a bucket list, and much of it included thrill-seeking activities, such as bungee jumping and skydiving. At least by engaging in these things, I can look at the photos and videos of them and have fond memories of them; there is a vast difference between a memory of me skydiving versus a memory of crime or harm to another.