Austen was born on September 26, 1991. He would have turned 25 today. November will mark the 2nd-year anniversary of his death from an opiate overdose. I went back to his ‘Journey Through Sobriety’ to read the entries he wrote on and shortly before his 23rd birthday two years ago. At that point, he had been sober for over 6 months. Even though his life was short, he has left his own indelible mark upon the world. He is sorely missed, especially for what he would be saying now about the politics, sports and social unrest in the world. Today, I celebrate his birth and his life. I am grateful for his existence, only wish he could have stayed longer. From ‘Journey Through Sobriety,’ September 24 and 26, 2014:
Being a human being is not a boring or stale existence. It’s deeply historic, intoxicatingly spiritual. There is so much to my existence. I can embrace it and turn my back to the past. Not just the drugs but all the shallow thinking that accompany that life. I’m too real to be walking around lost in my head feeling that something is wrong with me, that I can’t truly exist.
The faith that things will get better. I tend to say, no that’s not how the world works, it’s random, bad things happen to good people and so on and so forth. But this shit is not so basic, and nobody here really understands what’s going on. I mean there are clearly millions of layers of existence occurring all at once, which we don’t have the ability to perceive or comprehend. I want to think clearly. I want to overcome the hole that I’ve been in. Giving in to my addiction would be catastrophic, it’s not a small mistake. It’s a big mistake with huge repercussions. . . .
I’m the illest, I’m the coolest, I’m the realest. Being a good positive person is what I am about. I have been chosen as a part of the universe. I’ve been given a seat in the amphitheater of existence. I still don’t know what God is. I still don’t feel alone though. I still have so many questions. The spirit of the universe seems to be an explanation of what is here with me. We are all alive within one singular thing. This thing has a rhythm, a heartbeat, a soul, a depth, it is actual truth.
I’m not here to waste away. I’m here to seek, to learn, to exist with positivity and greatness. I’m not here to be an insignificant speck. I’m here to love myself and spread love to those around me. I’m done arguing, it’s over, there’s no more self-sabotage. I’m never going back. I’m never giving up.
Everyday from now until I die will be spent seeking spirituality. Not needing things in the world. Going along with the rhythm of life. Flowing down the river and smoothly evading the rocks and impediments. Treat your body like the holy temple that it is. You only get one. This is my one shot to do this. I’m done fucking around.
I don’t want to be the jester or the clown, but I don’t want to be the somber knight either. … I can’t control my moment to moment feelings and behaviors. Days are too long and the dynamics are too complicated. I can control certain factors though. I can control my diet and my exercise habits. I can control my breathing and my coffee and nicotine intake. Austen…23 years old. . . .
What’s important is being real. Not desperate, not helping people to get some positive attention, but being a real fucking person. Creating actual thoughts, ideas, music. . . . Everyday I am linked to the mystical and spiritual components of the universe whether I acknowledge them or not. I need to stop comparing every thought and moment to what I imagine I was like in the past. This is who I am at this time in my life and it’s far from a shell of a former self. I’m not the worst or the best. I don’t have to save the world today. I just have to exist within the moment and believe in myself. What happened to genuine confidence. Confidence that is earned not inherited by an arrogant mind. I know what I’ve been through and I know what I’ve accomplished.
The walls are an illusion. The narrative is made up. None of it is based in fact. Don’t live your life according to some aging rulebook . . . implemented by default when I was 15 years old. It’s time to grow up. Be positive toward yourself, no matter what – life is worth living. We are not here to win awards and make money after all.
Austen Berj Brooks, September 24 & 26, 2014
Happy Birthday Austen Berj
Staying positive and strong and loving you always and forever in the rhythm of life.