“My name is Ethan Michael Carter, and I don’t belong on this site.”
At least thats what I feel I should write, before I close down my Mac and get on with the ‘normal,’ things in my day.
But the truth is, I do belong here, and I do have a story to tell.
Maybe the inner child in me doesn’t want to stray down the dark alleys of what is otherwise known as my past? Who knows? All I do know is that I feel both apprehensive and exposed, when faced with the vulnerability that this article will inevitably bathe me in.
I was born in Buckinghamshire, in the UK. I was born into a family that would have been lucky to have been labelled ‘Dysfunctional.’ My family were — for lack of a better word — evil.
With an absent father, I was raised by my mother and her relatives. It was an environment devoid of love, and because I reminded them all of my father — it was always open season for hating me; hate that was expressed both verbally and physically.
While most people’s earliest childhood memories are normally of happier or more innocent times; mine consisted of constantly facing a barrage of hate – one that was always ready to mow me down.
My crime? Simple. It was being born.
All this hate took its toll on me as a child. I began to compartmentalize the injustices, and inadvertently file them away for some unspecified time known as ‘Later.’
I became quiet at school, and I was fair game for bullies. This cycle of being bullied at home and also at school, carried on uninterrupted, until I entered my teenage years.
In my early teens, I started accessing those ‘files’ of hate that I had stored away. I’m not sure what the catalyst for this was? Perhaps I was like a volcano that had been quietly waiting to erupt? Either way, I — almost overnight — went from being a shy and almost timid kid, into becoming an overly aggressive young teen. This aggression became uncontrollable. In school the ex ‘bookworm’ that was me, now decided to throw books at people instead of reading them. I would throw chairs at teachers, and fight as often as I could. The outside world had become my sounding board where I expressed all the mental and physical pain that I was enduring in my home-life.
However, my forms of expression were becoming increasingly unhealthy. I started gravitating toward spending time with older teens, and sought my version of ‘family,’ from the gang that I had now joined. At 13 years old, I was swimming in a sea of activities that included shoplifting, fighting, sex, and — in retrospect — what was clearly the onset of an early addiction to narcotics.
The only responsible adults around me were located at the school I was in, but I was no longer on their radar for concern, as I had by this point – been branded as ‘bad,’ and someone that was ‘undeserving,’ of their time and attention. They were less interested in helping me, and more concerned with how to kick me out of the school for good.
As I continued to spiral into a cyclone of anarchic behavior and rebellious rage, I felt more and more alienated, and increasingly alone.
Ironically, through my shoplifting ‘activities,’ I found my salvation. I stole a magazine one day, while out with my ‘friends.’ I didn’t steal it because I wanted it, I stole it because we were all robbing the Indian guy who owned the convenient store. So, I just grabbed what I could and came out of the store. Later that day, while I was bored, I pulled out the magazine, and noticed it was related to boxing. As I flicked through the pages, I remember reading a featured article about an ex-boxer who was attracting a lot of attention from local security, bouncers and even law enforcement. The article mentioned how this man’s gym had become a hub of excellence for all fighters. So, me being me, I decided to train there so that I could “kick peoples asses better.”
However, it turned out that the man who ran the gym, eventually became my mentor. A mentor for not just fighting, but for life.
He took the time to look past my anger and find root causes.
He took the time to take me to a doctor, where my behavioral difficulties were diagnosed.
Maybe that’s all we really need from anyone, for them to give us their time….
Thanks to my mentors time, I learned how to control my anger, and I even learned to make peace with my hurts. I eventually trained to be an English teacher, and taught in school’s for 5 years, before I eventually migrated into the world of writing; where I now am working on a project for FX.
Not bad, for someone that was labelled ‘bad,’ and ‘underserving,’ of help!
I’ve also suffered terrible hurts since then. I lost my fiancee in a car accident, and I suffered a brain aneurism earlier this year. Both these events sent me into a dark depression that was like a fog; one that both consumed and dampened, my motivation and will.
In-fact, I see depression as a bittersweet pill. Part of depression is alluring and invites us to build a home there; while the other side of depression laces you with self-disgust, and frustrating negativity.
During this time, I was afraid to admit how I felt, or to even seek help. I felt the weight and stigma of being branded as having something ‘wrong’ with me, to be overwhelming enough to keep me from seeking advice. But again — it was my mentor that helped me, but now in my adult years.
After seeking out medical advice, I worked through the depression that was brought on by losing my fiancee and my aneurism, in a similar manner to which I had done many years earlier in my teens.
It wasn’t an easy process, it never is. Perhaps, its not supposed to be.
I guess I see life or mental health, as being a lot like boxing.
Sometimes in the boxing ring called life, we get hit by body blows that leave us reeling in pain, and often times — have us kissing the canvas. But ultimately, despite the efforts of others to help— its up to us, how long we stay down.
I think eveytime we fall, we are given the chance to rebuild ourselves. Emotional wounds cut the deepest and leave lifelong scars. But, if we tend to our wounds correctly, we can heal stronger.
Ethan Michael Carter is a British-born Screenwriter, Fight Choreographer and Relationship Expert.
He is currently working as a screenwriter for an upcoming television series with FX.
After a short period of homelessness as a child, he trained with his boxing coach and mentor for over twenty years – in the art of manliness and relationships. He then used what he had learnt and spent five years teaching English in schools, before working as a successful Hollywood fight choreographer.
Ethan now takes what he has learned in life, and writes about relationships on his blog, LiveMoreThanYouExist.com
He also coaches clients from all around the world, teaching them about the true essence of manliness and dating in the modern world. Follow him on Twitter @Carter_inc