My name is Joey, and I am a recovering douchebag.
I've lived an amazing life. I've traveled the world on someone else's dime, enjoyed a college-degree-level career without a degree, and became one of many peacocking urban males populating major coastal cities, fancy office buildings, convention centers, hotel lobbies, bars, and restaurants.
Oh, yes. I was as pathetic as you're probably imagining.
I was deploying fashion, discourse, athletics, and other personas to manage a public appearance of physicality, status, expertise, and productivity.
After all, when a man looks good and speaks well, little else matters, right?
I became adept at avoiding accountability and hard labor and was quickly seated at society's table by acting as a light source of optimism, a form of entertainment, a visual, an acoustic, a conversation piece...a storyteller.
I was living the life everyone coveted, and I knew it. I was even jealous of me at times.
However, within every insecure and arrogant male resides a scared little boy demanding attention. And If I was ever going to experience the true fullness of life, a shift was needed. My pretentious parade would have to end.
You see, I managed to marry a woman who saw beyond my facade and was the catalyst to my recovery. When we started a family, she had no intention of raising our two boys alongside another little boy. I had no choice but to retool. It was time to grow up, sit on a therapist's couch for eight years, and evolve for my family. I finally dared to deal with my chronic anxiety, episodic depression, and other neuroses I was too ashamed to admit.
And then...I wrote about it.