So, who is Jon-Olaf Hendricks? An interesting question, something I’ve honestly struggled with throughout the entirety of my life.
Who am I?
In my early youth I never gave this question much thought. I was entirely too busy running around the park, playing with the dog, or nagging at my little brother. Life was simple, I didn’t care. As we grow older life seems to begin to impose these questions upon us, and ultimately leaves us no choice but to define ourselves.
The first time I remember questioning my place in this world, actually derived directly from mine questioning the place of everyone else. It was in math class, at a very young age, perhaps I was in 3rd grade. I had asked a question something along the lines of “Why?”, and was met with a response something along the lines of “Because I’m your teacher and I said so.” Okay, now my 8-year-old brain is confronted with one of two options:
- My teacher can’t quite hear right, and has somehow misunderstood my question.
- My teacher is legitimately incompetent.
Attempting to discern between these two options, I would proceed to ask my question again. This time making absolute sure I was clear, and yet again receiving a similar answer with an attached tone of anger and a warning that if I didn’t stop disrupting class I would be asked to leave. “Okay yup, this individual is most definitely retarded”, my young mind would conclude. Being the naturally curious individual that I am, I had to ask, “Why is it that you’re paid to teach me, if you can’t even answer my questions?”… I was sent to the office. As I sat there being scolded for my curiosity, I remember asking myself , “who are these people? …Why cant they seem to understand these very simple concepts? I’m only asking a question, why are they mad at me? Why don’t I seem to fit in? Shit, Who am I?” I would wind up concluding that I was born far ahead of my time, and am doomed to spend the duration of this life surrounded by a bunch of fucking morons. An idea that I, rather sadly, held onto throughout High-school, college, and up until the age of 24 really.
I was always getting into trouble, for me it was all one big joke. If I wasn’t supposed to do something, that’s exactly what I did. Partially because my youthful energy got a kick out of watching these adults get all worked up, over their own inability to adequately conceptualize the bigger picture. The fact that they chose to blame me was even more comical. But also because, on some deeper subconscious level, I longed for an individual capable of challenging my intellect. I was so misunderstood all I could bring myself to do was laugh about it. Except this wasn’t funny, it fucking hurt, I was all alone in this universe.
Around the age of 12 or 13 I began to realize that I could use substances to slow down my thought process. I could get so fucked up that the bigger picture faded away. I could make myself ‘dumb’ enough to fit in. It wasn’t long before I was addicted to crystal meth, and ultimately expelled from High-school.
Hmm, that’s not really what I had in mind.
I quit the drugs cold turkey, and got myself back into school 5 weeks later. A time I spent in deep reflection… “Who am I? Who do I want to become? What is my purpose?” I was going to come back stronger than ever, with clearly defined answers to these questions, and ‘be better’. And so I did, I was an athlete, a top-tier student, the class clown, blah blah blah. Everyone was so proud of me, I had successfully turned my life around, and was on a path toward ‘something real’. I had the approval of the masses, but something still wasn’t right. Alcohol would work its way back in to my life, for precisely the same reason the drugs had existed before. When I was drunk I felt like I fit in. This care free “fuck it” mentality that alcohol produced was the exact opposite of what existed at my core, which was perfect. Nobody understood what existed at my core, I barely understood it… and any attempt at expressing it to the world served no purpose other than to bring me pain. A desire to see better for people, who don’t even want better for themselves… who in fact lash out in anger when you propose this idea of ‘better’. I was so confused, so hurt… getting fucked up was simple and made this pain go away. A sort of, ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ mantra took hold, and I chose to embrace it.
As I look back on my life, I can now see one generalized theme. I can understand that all this chaos leads back to one central concept. A problem really, that laid the foundation of all my confusion, and thus lied at the root of all the turmoil. I was born a free spirit, as we all are, and I had absolutely no desire to leave this state of existence. Except, and where the problem arises, I was living in a world that demanded I do so.
“You cant be a kid forever, you have to grow up sometime”, is actually just a cleverly disguised way of saying, “I demand that you create an ego and choose to live within its walls… you must let go of your spirit. Define yourself, trap yourself, it’s what everyone does”. For what ever reason, at a very young age, I had already wrapped my head around an understanding, that just because everyone else was going in the same direction, didn’t necessarily mean anyone was going in the right direction. And so, without at the time actually understanding any of this, let alone having the words to properly express it all, I refused! I would not become a part of your society, I would not build an egoic cage to trap myself within. Ironically, through my devotion to this cause, I created an image of myself. An image that stood out, that was different, and via youthful confusion I allowed being different to define me. Once defined, I was trapped, the cage had been built, the ego had taken hold. I would remain trapped within this cage, this state of mind, until December 15th, 2016.
Through all of this I have developed into the man I am today, and if asked “Who are you?”, I would find myself responding something like this:
I am a free spirit. I am a lover. Deeply and passionately, without even ever having had met you, I love you! (I’ve come to learn, that although this may be to intense for most people and often brings me a great deal of pain, that I may never receive a reciprocation of this feeling… it inevitably only brings me more pain not to acknowledge and share this aspect of myself.) I am a human being of planet earth, on a journey with no real destination in mind, other than the inevitable grave. I wish to capitalize on this life before that grave, and there are certain aspects of this world that get me more excited than others. I choose to pursue that excitement. I operate with an understanding that what excites me, may not necessarily excite others. I understand that I am who I am because of how my life has unfolded, and because of how I have chosen to deal with it. I reflect on the fact that the life of others could not have possibly unfolded in the same fashion, and that even in similar situations others may have chosen to deal with them differently. I acknowledge that we are all products of our different environments. In this vein I do not allow myself to conclude that I am in any way superior or inferior to anyone else… we are all just a bit different. I avoid identifying myself to any magnitude in any direction, at all costs! In the end I am, nothing more and nothing less, than a human being.
A human being on the exact same quest as you my friend. Although all of our paths may start at different points, twist and turn in varied fashions, and be riddled with a vastly diverse sequence of obstacles… are we not all in pursuit of generally the same thing, internal peace and a grander sense of happiness?