My Life Journey..and why I am who I am today. (It’s a long one) – PART 1, Early Years.
AUGUST 2019 UPDATE: THIS WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED YEARS AGO, BUT MANY MAY HAVE MISSED IT ; ) I get detailed, and am not shy here but it is all part of who I am, what made me who I am today and my ups and downs throughout life from one of my near death experiences to my grade school and high school days to going from broke to having loads of cash at my disposal. This is me, who I am, and I do not regret a single moment of it. I am a big believer in being open, honest, transparent and letting those who follow me know the real me. Enjoy ; )
JULY 2016. So as I sit here in my office on this beautiful morning I am looking at my hands, my arms, my reflection and I am saying “wow, it’s here..I’m getting old”! The lines that appear on my face every year, the little hairs that now grow on my knuckles and ears and nose…yep here I am at nearly 47 years of age, and finally feeling at peace with myself. It has taken those 46 years to really know who I am, what I want from life and where I want to head in the now 3/4 stretch of THIS life on earth.
I was not always so at peace in life. Like nearly all of us, I have went through life with up’s, down’s, stress’s and strife’s. Being dead broke to having loads of accessible cash at my fingertips. I can say that when I scan back in my mind over the last 46 years, there are some amazing things I have experienced, and some awful things I have experienced.
Either way, who I am today is a person who is all about positivity, love, light and happiness. Today I live a life of zero stress, worry or pain and it was my life journey that has gotten me to this point. FYI, What I am writing here is just brief snippets…though it may get a little long…
The Learning Experience
They say that our life here on earth, this physical life, is a learning experience for our souls. Some say we need to learn lessons in the physical life and world so we can become better souls as we progress through the levels and journey to something so much bigger than we can even comprehend. Trust me, I had some life lessons over my years. Challenges that I thought were impossible to overcome. Challenges that at one time nearly ended my life in a stupid and silly suicide attempt when I was only 19. Challenges that made me question my own morality at times. While today I am free from all of those challenges and live at peace with myself every day, I feel that I have experienced more in life than most 80 year olds and I feel these challenges and adventures are what led me to being the person I am today.
I also feel these lessons learned in life has truly opened my eyes, heart and soul to where I now have this special wonderful connection with the spirit world. Well, we always say “spirit world” but no one really knows what all of this is. I guess I should say my connection with “Their World”.
I will say right now that while I have done so much in life, there is nothing I have ever done that I regret. I have zero regrets, I have zero embarrassments as anything we do as humans are done because we are who we are. My life is an open book and I feel the things I have done in life all add up to create the story of who I am today, why I am here and what is to come.
The Early Birth
It all started when I was born in a basement in Chicago, IL. I was premature and had some major issues at birth. My Mother being only 20 at the time was probably scared out of her wits when I started to pop out in that basement on November 20th 1969 at 3AM.
I do not know all of the details but do know I had some major issues. I guess being born early led to me being somewhat of a “runt” because as I grew up I realized I was smaller than most other guys. It bothered me as I would see these kids, my friends, and they would look like a dude..you know, husky, big, rough and tough. Me, I was always skinny and puny and I remember one time in particular that made me realize this fact.. when I was 7 we visited some family in San Fransico. In fact it was my Uncle. As soon as he saw me he gave me a nickname “PencilNeck” which I HATED but of course was too afraid to say anything to him about it. Little did I know I was headed for a full school life of bullying and name calling, all due to me being thin, quiet, very shy and not like most other guys who were rowdy, wild and obnoxious.
Keeping to Myself
I was always QUIET, SHY and INTROVERTED for most of my early life, and I HATED that. For the life of me, as a kid, I could not get words out if I managed the nerve to go speak with someone. I was THAT kid in school who never said a word, kept to himself and was the kid most girls referred to as “The sweet one” and most guys referred to as “The Fag”. Yep, I was labeled that in school by a few of the well known bullies because I was small, skinny and quiet. I didn’t harass the girls like most of the guys did, instead I was irritated by the guys who did as I would see these poor girls get picked on constantly by the same few guys. It bothered me, but again, being so quiet and shy I kept it to myself, minded my own business. After all, my main fun in life during those years was going home to watch Speed Racer. Yep, that is true.
I would often daydream in school to try to escape the bullies. I would have dreams in my head that one day I would be a great stuntman, or even magician as I loved seeing things that appeared to be impossible..just happen. I was mesmerized by Harry Houdini and Doug Henning and David Copperfield. I wanted to be them when I grew up so badly as I believed in real magic. Then I remember once I found out the secrets to all of these “tricks” I was hugely disappointed. I mean, I wanted and did believe in REAL magic, and I did when I was around 7-8. I was so excited to watch these shows with my Mother. I think we even watched the Tony Curtis Houdini movie around 12 times over a few years, every time it was on TV. No DVR’s back then! But when the illusions started being revealed to me as tricks, I started to grow out of the whole magic thing as I wanted REAL magic, and little did I know I would experience this reality later in life.
I used to sit as a kid and wonder why I was so quiet and shy. I saw all of these other kids laughing, having fun and creating their little groups and me, I was always the last kid to be picked on the baseball team or softball team or football team..you get the drift. The loner.
I remember being the last kid when we were choosing teams for baseball. The teacher said “Huff, you go on that team” as she pointed to the biggest bully of grade school. Of course I dropped my head as the Bully said “I don’t want Huff on my team, he sucks”. So that was most of my grade school life. Sure, I had friends, a couple good ones and I even befriended the one kid who was mentally ill, which I caught major flack for. He was always beaten up and picked on so I saw him more like me, an outcast. We became friends somewhat but he was even leary of me due to his experience with these nasty bullies.
At the time, during grade school, I never understood how people could be so mean. Here I was, not a mean bone in my body yet I would get attacks a few times per week “Hey Huff, FAGGOT” or “Hey Huff, I’m gonna kick your ass”. I remember one day I was in the playground at recess and a bully came up to me and said “In the Dungeon, NOW”. I remember it plain as day. Now, the “Dungeon” was a place in this school’s playground that was the PERFECT place for bullies to beat up kids without being seen. It was awful, a secret place out of the sight of teachers. When he pulled me in there he pushed me against the wall and said “Are you scared”..I said “NO”, and he punched me in the gut as hard as he could. I remember panicking as I could not breath. I fell to the ground and he laughed and walked away. Of course I was fine, I just dusted myself off and walked back into the school. At this point I was getting used to the bullying and accepted it as something I had to deal with, which is NEVER a good idea. I know today that Bullies are the insecure ones, the ones who hate their life and the ones who are NOT in the cool crowd. Bullies are mentally off themselves and usually treat others badly to make up for their own problems. But back then, I just dealt with them as best I could.
I also remember always being into ghosts, spirits and stories about them. I would go to the library to read about all things ghostly. I was fascinated by it and something deep down always told me that spirits were real and were around us, and I truly felt “pushed” to want to learn more about them or what happens after death. When the movie “Beyond and Back” came out I saw it at the theater and it told true tales about death and what happens after we die, with true accounts and stories. I loved that movie back then, and it is even on YouTube today, in very bad quality, but still very interesting when you see the accounts.
BEYOND AND BACK – LIFE AFTER DEATH
The Later Years and my Near Death Experiences
As I approached 5th through 8th grades I was getting a bit braver and tougher. I had a couple of great friends who I bonded with and hung out with on weekends. This is where life started getting better for me as I now had two great buddies, we would hang at the mall, TRY to talk to girls (but we never had the guts to do it) and just have a good time, staying out of trouble. We were the good kids and proud to be that way. In fact we may have taken it too far as we didn’t swear, we didn’t smoke and we didn’t do anything that our parents would consider “bad”. We WERE the good kids but at the same time, due to that bonding experience we became more confident as we knew that if anything were to happen, we had each others backs. So we were getting a little tougher as well.
I remember in 7th grade a time when a Bully walked up to me and said “Wanna Fight”? I said “SURE!” as I was sick of these guys once and for all. We walked to a clear spot and he started swinging, and I started ducking. Instead of being the punching bag, I had enough and started to fight back. ONE PUNCH was all it took. I knocked the kid on his ass and he started to cry. After that day, no one messed with me again at school. My Father always used to say to me “The bigger they are, The harder they fall”. This is true. THAT DAY was a great day for me and I finally felt a sense of confidence and as I walked away smiling I remember all of these kids coming up to me patting me on the back “GOOD JOB HUFF”. Crazy how kids can instantly become friends with you when you knock a kid out. Like I was a superstar for beating up a kid, or well, knocking him out for a few minutes.
One of my Near Death Experiences…
All of the sudden I had buddies and we would play baseball in front of my house a few times per week. I loved it and was getting quite good at it until one day that is. I was going to be the catcher and stood behind the batter a little bit too close. As he swung, and missed, he made 100% contact with my head. Busting it wide open to where my skull was sticking out of my forehead.
I just remember feeling NO pain at all but seeing gobs of blood pour in front of my eyes like all of the sudden the world turned red. After a few seconds I realized what happened and fell flat on my back. As I stared up and opened my eyes I remember seeing 7-8 kids hovered around me.. things were being said like “Is he going to die” – “CALL an ambulance!!’ – “Steve is dying”…
Then my friends mother came down, saw me, and called my parents. My Mom and Dad showed up to the scene and my dad was ready to kill someone as he thought it was done by a gang member or someone on the street (we did not live in a nice neighborhood, it was rough and littered with punks, gangs and bullies.
As we drove to the hospital I remember just seeing BRIGHT light. I heard my mom sobbing telling me not to go to sleep. I felt her emotion in me and calmly said “It’s OK Mom, I just want to sleep, I am OK, I love you so do not worry”..she slapped me to keep me from dozing off as she knew if I did, I would not wake back up. She was the reason I never fell asleep, so she saved my life that day. While I was bleeding and while my skull popped out of my forehead I just felt at peace. I felt happy. I felt like I just wanted to fade off and head to that light in my head I saw so brightly. Was very odd as I had NO fear, NO pain, NO worry and the peace was overwhelming, NO negative feelings whatsoever. I WANTED to go to that light and peace so bad…but I never did fall asleep as my Mom made sure of that. It was like I was free.
As we arrive to the emergency room they took me straight back and started to stitch me up, but since I was allergic to the numbing pain med, they did it without giving me anything to ease the pain and it was CRAZY painful, VERY painful. As I screamed in agony and watched the stress on the Doctors face he decided I had too much pain and opted for butterfly stitches, which worked out much better pain wise but not so much for the style dept.
A week later I was back in school and had a huge badage on my head. I remember a punk kid who still picked on me coming up and saying “Hey Huff, you look like you have a maxi pad on your head” and he laughed. I said “Shut Up Billy” (yes, his name was Billy) and I said “Let’s Go, right now, let me see what you got”…and he RAN as fast as he could. Goes to show that bullies are cowards, and this is so so true. When push come stop shove they run like a baby and at that moment I vowed to never ever take any crap from any bully ever again, and I have not.
As 8th grade approached I had quite a few great friends in my neighborhood. I was opening up and I was more confident in myself. Yes, I was still stick thin and always felt like I was not filling in correctly but that was just my genetics and nothing I could do about that (though later in life I found out how).I accepted my thin-ness, my life and was finally 100% happy.
Of course my parents through all of my life were amazing. My Mother was always there, like a best friend. I have so many amazing memories of me and my Mother. She used to stay up with me until 1-2 AM watching old classic movies on PBS. We used to play games and she was and still is today the funnest Mom ever. Goofy, funny, and loved to have fun. My Mom was and is amazing.
My Father was the strict one. The tough guy from Harlan County KY. He was a bad ass and I have memories of my Father coming home all beat up from bar fights as he NEVER took shit from anyone. If someone said something derogatory to him, he would just go walk up and knock them out. Sometimes he got in over his head as those he would knock out had friends, lots of them. I remember one night being disturbed as he stumbled in all cut up and with a face full of blood and cuts. He could barely walk and my Mother and Sister had to help him in. I feel in some ways those moments also affected me and stressed me out, at the time. It scared me as I was so the opposite of that. I was all about love and peace and not violence and blood! Seeing my Father walk in like he was almost murdered was not a fun time for me at that age. But it soon faded..
As the years went on my Father turned into a gentle giant. No more bar fights, no more hothead temper (oh yes, I used to get the belt!) – just a gentle loving man, more like who I am today. I remember his last years being the best for me and him, ever. We took road trips, had deep talks while alone (which we never used to do) and he taught me so much and gave me specific instruction for what to do when he died (he knew he had cancer at this time) and how to help my Mother, Sister, etc. I miss him dearly every single day.
Back to School
After grade school I was excited about High School. I mean, THIS IS where I will get girls, have fun, and meet new friends right? Well, sort of. My Freshman year in High School was not so hot. My parents decided to send me to an all boys Catholic School, and that creeped me out. I WANTED TO MEET GIRLS but instead I got to shower after gym class with a bunch of naked dudes. Yuck. I hated it. I remember the coach always watching us boys in the shower. Looking back, I can still see his face watching us, pacing around as we stood naked. NOW it is very creepy, back then we saw it as normal. Makes me wonder about those all boys catholic schools…
My 1st year there was my last year there but even at that school resided one of the biggest bullies I have encountered. He walked up to me one day at my locker, and I recognized him as he was in my same grade school but graduated 2 years before me, with my sister. He was around 6 feet tall, and I knew that he was friends with my sister so I assumed he would be cool. Instead he said “GET IN THE LOCKER”..I said “WHAT?” and he said “If you do not get in the locker, I will put you in and never let you out”. I just said “NO, I am not getting in the locker”. At that time a teacher walked up and he scuttled off quickly while eyeballing me.
I went home that day and told my sister what he did. Needless to say, it never happened again and the guy even apologized to me a few days later for harassing me. Guess my sister knew some people who put the fear of God into him and threatened that if he ever bothered me, HE would be shoved in something worse than a locker. Lol.
So after that awful year at that school we moved to the south side of Chicago. THAT meant a new school! WOOHOO!
As I stared my 2nd year of High School at an all new school I realized quickly that I was the minority in that school. It was mostly comprised of black and hispanic kids, and me, I thought that was cool. I never had a racist bone in my body as I feel we are ALL created equal and we all deserve the same respect and love. Turned out I was spot on as I met some amazing people at that school of all races and had some of the best times of my life during those years.
This is where I finally met a girl, finally made some SOLID friends and finally started getting out to parties, clubs, dancing, etc. I was starting to look better as well, filling out more (just a little) and all of the sudden I went from shy quiet guy to a super confident guy who finally understood that life is supposed to be fun.
As I would go to parties though one thing always worried me..DRUGS. I would see my new friends use cocaine, weed and other substances and I was NOT about that life at all. So I refused to participate. Yep, I was the kid who turned down the mirror with cocaine on it when it was passed. I was the kid who turned down the weed as well. I did try once in my high school years, but hated it. So I just refused. Of course some guys called me a wuss but I had one friend who stuck up for me and would yell at them and say “Steve doesn’t want to fuck up his life, so leave him alone”. After that, no more problems. I would go to parties and just drink a beer or three 😉 I was respected for that. These days I have no issue with weed, and in fact have a medical MMJ card so when my back pan acts up, I can fix it without prescription meds. It’s been a life saver as has been CBD for minor aches and pains as I get older.
I remember one time my buddy and I decided to throw a HUGE party, as in EPIC, something you see in movies. His parents were leaving town, and we decided to use his house as PARTY CENTRAL. This was a night I will NEVER forget. The week prior we made FLIERS and had them printed, 1,000 of them to be exact. We passed them around school advertising free beer, free music and even “the use of bedrooms in case you need one”. Was that dumb or what? We were to stupid at the time to realize that promoting it in this way would cause major issues, and believe me..it did. I remember walking the halls that day and seeing fliers all over the halls and floors inside of the high school!
The night of the party we started seeing people show up. Within 20 minutes we had maybe 15 people in the house. After an hour we had over 100 and more on the way. They couldn’t all fit in the house so they took it to the front lawn and backyard. I stayed inside and was sitting drinking a beer while dressed in some funky “new wave” clothing. Back then, senior year of high school I was all about “NEW WAVE” music and style. What we called New Wave was music like “The Cure’ – “Depeche Mode” and so on. Even though I had this style and love of all things new wave, my Fave band was KISS. Yep, the makeup guys. My New Wave friends never understood that 😉 I’d be in my car with a mohawk (yes I had a mohawk at one time) listening to Detroit Rock City. Hahah.
But back to the party….
I was sitting there by myself when an Italian girl sat down next to me and said “Are you my Buddy”? I said “Well now I am”! She said “Well, did you know Buddies sleep together”? Me, still being “inexperienced” my senior year of high school, well, I gulped and looked nervous, which when I look back was so not cool of me. I was supposed to be this confident guy yet when a girl walks up, practically inviting me to have some moments with her I freeze. Most guys would have grabbed her and went on with it. But what did I do? I said “Hmm, really”. She then took my hand to go to a bedroom, my buddies parents bedroom.
We laid down and she unbuttoned her shirt to show me her tan lines and asked if we could trade shirts. As she was undoing her shirt I was frozen! I mean, WHO is this girl? Why is she here with me? Is she someones girlfriend? Will I get my ass kicked? At that moment another girl walks in, lays down on the other side of me ands puts her leg over mine while the other girl has hers in the same way.
Here I was thinking “Well Steve, this is it. Every guy’s fantasy and it is about to happen to ME for my 1st time!” It was then the light bulb went off and said “BE A MAN STEVE, LET’s DO THIS”…as I started finally talking back in a flirting way the door gets broken open by some HULKING dude who is drunk, stoned and everything in between. He looks at me and says “IM GOING TO KICK YOUR ASS FAGGOT”..and he used that term as I was all decked out in my “new wave” clothes and hairstyle. He was a metalhead and all metalheads HATED New Wave guys as they felt we were all gay and well, back then being Gay was different than it is today, wasn’t as accepted, lol. But I loved females…If only he knew girls back then were more attracted to NEW WAVE guys than MetalHeads, hahaha.
Turns out this girl is the one he was working all night long and when he saw me in the bed with her and her friend he FLIPPED! I am sure in his mind he was thinking “how could this little skinny weirdo get BOTH of these girls, and one of them is MINE”!!
As I ran around the bed to avoid this beast of a man who was 3X my size, the girl was able to talk him down a bit, but he demanded I go outside and fight. As I started out the door, to meet my doom the front doors of the house bust open..it was the cops!
Turns out all the neighbors complained and the cops were there to save the day, well, sort of. The house was trashed, some went to jail and my parents were called to come get me. It was one of the coolest nights of my life and that is when I learned not to sweat the small stuff. Shit happens right? I do know that we also learned to never throw a party again, and we didn’t.
Out of School, what to do now?
Well, I survived High School but did not have the money, motivation or means to get to college. Besides, I had the odd mentality back then that college was for suckers. I saw my uncle make loads of cash in his own business my whole life and I decided I wanted to be like him. He never finished grade school yet here he was, year after year being his own boss and making a very good living. Not rich by any means but a good decent humble living. That was all I wanted in life and made it my goal to figure out something I loved to do for a career. As I found out, it was not easy!
After High school I started applying for retail jobs, food jobs, you know, those minimum wage type deals that SUCK for money and work but are great for socialization and meeting new people. I worked at all kinds of places and my faves were a movie theater and even Sears 🙂
I made so many amazing friends back then in life (none of whom I speak with now, but at the time they were a huge part of my life) and learned so many lessons. I got into some trouble as well as me being a teenager desperate for money and things life, well, I ended up stealing from a store I worked at back then. I remember it well, and when I look back I feel so so bad about it but now I know it was a learning experience for my soul as it taught me a HUGE lesson.
I spent a day in jail, my parents had to pay some cash and I just felt awful. I lost my job and moved on, knowing that stealing is NEVER a good idea. As I grew older..18. 19, 20 I worked retail and did a damn good job of it. I was promoted to Dept Manager and I remember on week getting a check for $680, one week in retail in 1990 when I turned 21! I was in heaven and started to realize that money meant I could do things, buy things and be an irresponsible kid like we all were at one point in life.
I bought new clothes every week, had girls hitting on me constantly, had a wonderful girlfriend and was living the teen dream. Then came the car, the dates, the fun times, the skinny dipping, riding on car hoods in winter time while the car did fishtails, and some craziness that most of us as teens go through. Even though, I still was never into drugs. I drank with friends but never did drugs. Something inside always told me STAY AWAY and I did, amazingly.
So as I worked this great retail job, three weeks into my great pay (remember this is around 1990 so $680 a week was fantastic) the district manager comes to the store to tell me my pay has to be cut as I was making more than the store manager! I said “how can you do this”..and he explained that while I was getting commission for my dept, they were cutting it off. So before I knew it I was back to making $200 per week. I was not happy and knew I had to do something on my own for money.
After that job I started working on business ideas. I came up with ALL KINDS of silly ideas and tried them ALL. I had the drive, passion and motivation but one thing was missing… none of these silly ideas had anything to do with anything I enjoyed.
So I asked myself..:”what do I like” and one thing was that I was a HUGE fan of the band KISS. I loved them since age 9 and that 1st ALIVE II album I heard. I decided to start a KISS Fanzine and Video club. I collected KISS bootleg videos, and had hundreds of them. Good old VHS. I started to write up a magazine and inside the mag I would post videos for trade, and I received tons of trades and eventually people wanted to buy these videos from me.
I knew I did not own these but they were mostly fan shot videos like you see today on YouTube, except back then there was no YouTube which meant there was a huge demand for these things. I researched and saw ads in large music mags promoting BOOTLEG videos from all bands. I wrote all of them for a catalog and was blown away by the vast amount of videos and professionalism I was seeing.
I said “What the Hell”! and started to offer my collection for sale. Before long I was known as the #1 kiss video guy. I had a 1-800 hotline I updated weekly, I had free catalogs with over 1500 videos spanning from 1973 to 1991 (the time I started) and within 2 months I was selling loads of bootleg KISS videos. After two years and becoming pretty popular word got around to KISS about all of the bootleg video people out there and they made it public that they wanted it to stop, so they asked all bootleg video operations to stop. So I did. I gave it all up in an instant. I had more contact with them and actually ended up sending them a few videos they did not have, which they later used for some of their own video releases. It all worked out in the end in a great way.
My Dark Phase of Life
After I gave up my little KISS video business I decided to start collecting horror movies and underground cult movies as I am a HUGE fan of Horror and underground Cult films. I knew of huge companies selling these copies of these old classics under some law called “The Berne Act” which supposedly made it legal to sell NON USA version of these cult movies. So after amassing hundreds of cult films on trade deals I started to sell them.
The uncut version of Evil Dead (before DVD and before it was accessible), Uncut version of horror classics, and even some exploitation films from the 70s many which had nudity, sex and violence. After a few weeks I was seeing that ALL that would really sell was the Sex and Violence movies. Made me wonder what was wrong with the world, but I was making money and by this time I was married and had a baby on the way and $1500 per week at that young age is not bad at all, even with expenses and taxes, I was still brining in around $700 per week.
Here I was. No College Education (which I was regretting in 1992) and no chance of a real money making job. I have worked for Chemlawn in Chicago and made $350 a week working 40-50 hours per week. I wanted better. I knew there was better and now I was seeing BETTER.
Before long, my video business took off. I had thousands of rare cult classics, oddities and some movies I threw straight to the trash.
I did this for years, selling some videos, paying my taxes and living life with my then wife and Son Brandon.
I made some great connections during these days and met some very rich and creative people. People who saw me as being a huge video collector and before long I sunk into something that at the time I was PROUD of. Yep, I started having producers, directors and writers work for me to make my own original films with sex, nudity and violence – original films that I gave them free reign to create. Some were adult XXX and some were not but they were all made for me, edited for me and I did nothing but sit at home and pay them for end product which would then be sold. It was all 100% legal and legit, with all paperwork, STD tests for actors, etc… but even so, I still felt weird about it..you know, the gut feeling that tells you what is wrong and right?
By 1998 I was raking in some serious cash just mailing out DVD’s. I had a warehouse full of cabinets with DVD’s and VHS tapes and I had an employee who packed and shipped 40-60 packages a day. I was taking in so much money it was sickening. I saved and spent, saved and spent and saved and spent. I had the big house, the BMW’s and sent big fat $30-$40k – $50k checks to the IRS, and after a few years, by 2003-2004 I was feeling sick about it all.
I asked myself..”WHO AM I AND WHY AM I DOING SOMETHING THAT MAKES ME FEEL BAD”?
Just as in grade school, the kid with the big heart, feelings and a the sweet kid, I was now selling videos that I did not like – in fact, some of them I refused to sell after paying $5-$10k for one to be made, which pissed off certain people within the business but hey, it was MY business. The problem here was, I grew accustomed to the lifestyle of big money and doing whatever I wanted. I knew my family did as well, but even so I wanted out.
It just was not me and I could not stand by, even while at times making HUGE cash I spoke with my good friends, my then wife and even mother and told them I was dumping the business as it made me sick to do it. They all thought I was insane of course, but I decided I had to do what I felt I had to do. So I dumped it finally in 2007, sold to ANSI, Inc in NJ at that time) and practically gave it away to a guy I did not even know, in New Jersey..but he wanted to run it, so he made not so nice changes and did his own thing with it all, putting up some pretty vile stuff. When I ran it, I had all legal paperwork, and all 100% legal films, and what I did was 100% legal. When he took it over he took down 90% of my stuff and posted vile underground films, that were sick and disgusting.
Today in 2016 Adult films are accepted but back then it was not and I had a problem with it myself, some of it anyway. Some was on the bondage side but I also made sure and told the creators to always have a happy ending, which they all did. We hired actors, and actresses… yes adult actors but I always insisted on professionalism. One time I flew to LA to be on set with my camera guy/director to see how he makes the films. The actresses there told me I was too nice to be doing this work and I said “I feel that way too”. ; )
Even so, in 2007 I practically gave away that business and lost it all. We had to sell our house, cars and move to a small town that was cheap due to my decision to dump it. It was worth around $500k, and I sold it for $50k. Of course after the money was gone marital issues arose as I now appeared to be the stupid one, the guy who threw away all of that money. But I was finally back at peace. I lived near my mom, I took my son with me on walks and we did everything together. I was STRESS free for a while and never worried about that business again. I was DONE and happy to be done with it. Believe THAT.
So..what to do?
At this time I decided to start a Photo Blog. My #1 passion in life has always been Photography (much more on that will be in my book) and I decided to start a small blog to review cameras as I wanted to do something to pass the time. My wife worked as a nurse and I was the breadwinner for so many years all I asked for was ONE YEAR off.
I ended up building this photo website that was becoming popular. I soon had a couple of celebrity friends and even went on concert tours to photograph and experience these things on a personal level with the artist. I was even in a huge pool in Mexico with one celeb friend and his very celeb wife, the three of us huddled together in the pool laughing our asses off. Had some great great times, but soon…there would be trouble brewing in my marriage.
Eventually, with the big money gone and problems arising, and just not getting along anymore my wife and I decided we would split on amicable terms. We had a quick 2 week divorce, we asked for nothing from each other and I got the house and new car. Only one problem. While my website was becoming popular, the money was not growing. In fact I was making only $500 a month in my 2nd year with my photo blog. Now with a divorce, being newly single and living alone I was FREAKING out. No backup money in the bank and $500 per month coming in.
How will I pay the payments? The bills? The mass debt I was left with?
I decided to put all of my time, morning until 2AM, DAILY on my website. Soon, within months my money grew from $500 per month to $3000 per month and beyond..and it seemed no end was in sight. I soon managed to save enough money to not worry about ANY payments. I paid off my credit card debt that accrued over the years, and paid down my car.
I worked and worked growing my website all the while photo HATERS were attacking me out of Jealousy. They saw I had no college, no real education with Photography yet here was my blog quickly becoming one of the worlds most popular blogs for camera reviews. Def top 10 within 3 years, hell, maybe top 5. These days the haters are all gone from the photo world as they finally gave up and realized I would NOT EVER be intimidated by them. They knew I would never ever back down from them, they knew I did not fear them. Eventually I was rewarded greatly for my perseverance as my site today is known by nearly every passionate photographer around the globe and it receives 50-100k visits per day. #WIN!
As time went on I started to date again, but with three girls over nine months I started to think I was better off alone. I did not gel with any of them…they were nice enough, attractive enough but there was no “connection” happening at the deep inner level for me. So at this point I was deciding to just live alone, be alone and if anything happens naturally it would happen..and it soon did.
Life is good, but it started to get even Better
Soon I was doing workshops across the country (photo workshops) and during my Chicago workshop I received a Facebook message from an old Grade School friend. She was with me in Kindergarten and all through grade school.
That was and is Debby.
Debby and i have now been together for four years. We live together and are engaged and never in my life have I known anyone like this woman.
She is the most unselfish, most amazing, sweetest, kindest and most giving person I have ever known in life. Almost like an Angel who came to guide me and save me and give me peace. Seriously. We do no fight, we do not ever argue. We have never raised our voice at each other in five years, which to me is impressive. It is special. We will grow old together, and I know this for a fact. There will never be any other woman in my life, for the rest of my life. Debby has truly saved me and made me the happiest man alive (to me).
We just love. We are happy, and I know she is my true soulmate. I would do anything for her, I would die for her in a nanosecond. We are together every day, all day and rarely apart. She is with me until death do we part, I have never felt love like this for any other woman and she knows every minute of my past and what I have been through and she loves me more than anyone has ever loved me. I feel it every day. 😉
So if you are still reading this you will notice I did not even touch much on the paranormal side of me. Well, that will come in the next segment where I will go into detail as to how some of these experiences in my life turned me into the man I am today and why I feel some of these experiences helped me greatly with my Paranormal life I have now.
Today I live by some simple rules. ALWAYS do good for others and myself. ALWAYS respect those who respect me. ALWAYS spread positivity, love, light and peace. NEVER fall into the negativity trap and never do things I do not feel comfy doing.
I am generous with most as I am sucker at heart. I am so nice and giving that most take advantage of me so I am starting to change a bit to avoid these things but today, here in 2016 I just feel ALL THINGS GOOD. My goal in life is to continue with my passions, both Photography AND Paranormal but I will be honest, my love of the Paranormal is fading quickly due to the aggressive awful hate, smears, and outright lies aimed at me from those who simply think I am a fake, or have some illusion that I make tons of money from it, or even somehow believe the trash that some spew about me.
But I have been taking two years of hate, lies and attacks by those who blame me for their downfall for some reason. I guess it is a case of just hate on the most popular YouTube guy. Hate on the guy who has confidence in what he does. Hate on the guy who never attacks anyone (only in defense) or starts trouble. Attack a guy who loves this research and works daily on trying to improve it, along with others in this field. Attack a guy who chooses love over hate, light over dark. Attack a guy who has decided to leave negativity behind his life and attack a guy who never hurt anyone, ever. I live for TODAY not YESTERDAY. That is how I will always live.
It’s puzzling to me and being an Empath, my soul and heart hurts over this hate that infested this field.
I have done my best to create videos that are enjoyable to watch, and I have NEVER faked one shred of any evidence that I have done. NONE. EVER. That would be a waste of time, and a huge dis-respect to this very important field.
I AM BLESSED, AND THIS IS ME, TAKE ME OR LEAVE ME
All I know is that I feel blessed in so many ways. From being to where I am today, for following my heart and leaving things that did not feel good to me, by meeting Debby who COMPLETES me in every way, to my amazing Son Brandon who is the best kid in the world to me and even Debby’s amazing daughters who she has taught some great values to.
Today I make less money that I used to but I am happier. Big Money, Greed, Jealousy have no place in my life. That is not what I am about. I just want a simple house (have it and it is paid for), a decent car (have it and it’s paid for) and no credit card debt or bills (accomplished). I want a happy relationship that will help us grow, one that is full of love (have it!) and as I sit here this morning with my coffee, at the end of this segment I am feeling especially blessed to be able to have people like you who even give one care about this little story.
YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST, and I thank you so much for your support, your love, your light and all things good. These Bullies will soon fade into the darkness where they belong as that is all they have, being a bully and that is not a log lasting career, lol. GOOD always DEFEATS EVIL. EVERY TIME. Look at history. Just how it is, every single time.
But my life if an open book. To those who want to attack me for ANYTHING in my past, know this..I have done nothing in my past I regret or am ashamed of but at the same time I felt it was never any of anyones business, as it was MY life and MY life lessons. I learned lessons from all of it, and all good lessons. It made me who I am today and I would not have it any other way nor would I change one little thing.
Watch for the next segment (one day) where I will go into the last 6 years of life and the Paranormal. How I got so deep into it, why I did and the things I have learned from it so far (so much more to learn, as I feel we can work with these things for a lifetime and never know more than we do now) but after that I am leaving this field for good.
When a man works so hard at something for so long, spending and losing money every year to do it only because of the passion and love for it, and the fact that it is amazing to experience and be a part of, and then is just attacked with a witch hunt and hated on, and slandered and beaten down..then something is wrong,. Hate has no place in my life, neither does negativity. To those who lie and hate, and only obsess over others instead of living their own life, good luck with that. You are only going to end up unhappy, remaining unhappy. But that is not my issue, it is yours.
I am continuing on with this work and research and it will ALWAYS be a part of me, and since I have tens of thousands of folks who love what I do, and give me love and support, I want to thank THEM for that support. SO THANK YOU ALL!!! LOVE TO ALL!!!!