At a young age, my dad took me cabin camping in Yosemite. There were a lot of warning signs for bears, including the special “bear out” trash cans. I did not know what this meant, but when we all saw a bear in the distance I began to see why there was such a fear. How big…and the stories…the fearful faces…these were all I needed to find that fear deep inside.

When night fell and we locked our flimsy cabin door, my dad was reading and I was laying in bed to go to sleep. I could hear the insects crawling, the tree leaves whistling, and the 200 sq. foot cabin creaking.

I began to imagine the beast. I began to hear delusions of footsteps in the woods. I was scared. I feared for my life.

I asked my dad if he could keep the light on, read, and stay up until I went to sleep. My dad, being a supportive father, agreed.


Here is the invisible consequence, however.

Because of this and many other times where I used parents, friends, and others to take on the responsibility of my mind and body, I still (to this day) long for this dependence. Just last night, my fiancé was folding laundry in the bedroom with a light on. A tiresome day now behind me lead me to get under the covers and start falling easily into slumber. I was so relaxed…not because my mind was at peace through reflection, clarity, and fulfillment, but because I was internally numb and appeased by the safety-net of her being active, awake, and having a light on. I enjoyed this lazy approach to life because I didn’t have to suffer to use my energy and efforts to fall asleep in a place where I am alone in the dark of my thoughts and feelings with nowhere to run, blame, or excuse.

What makes this unhealthy?

  1. Physically. The feeling of comfort is a facade. If I originally thought I was safe when they were actively awake with the light on, I should consider myself “unsafe” as soon as they fall asleep. And, even when awake, the beast could still break through the door.
  2. Emotionally. The safety-net over my thoughts is not real. This is because without even facing and reflecting on my fears whatsoever I somehow, magically feel comfortable amidst life. This is not reality nor is it independence.

These neurotic and irrational relaxation techniques amount to a negative consequence. When I am alone and there is no safety-net, I will be completely indulged in the feelings of these fears with no internal skills to acknowledge and explore them. Scary? Yes.


I relied on others to face life for me…sometimes, even manipulating them to take responsibility for me.

I did not know what internal skills and reasonings were necessary to create my own emotional safety…nor what was necessary to observe and know the context of my physical surroundings to understand reality and where my feet are grounded with my mind and my mind alone (no safety-net).


There is a hole deep inside me. Instead what needs to be there is an experience of reality, substance created from genuinely acting in that reality, and consequences felt and learned from during the failures and successes measured in that reality.

I keep trying to fill my void with entertaining and stimulating distractions such as social media, TV, movies, video games, and partying. I keep trying to build walls around the pit with emotional dependence, shifting responsibility, and blaming others and the world for my drawbacks and mistakes.

However, after the distraction is over…after reality knocks down my walls…the sinking sand is there to greet my thoughts and emotions.

The hole is

Pain. Fear. Unknown. Death. Loneliness.

When you look in my eyes, you can see the emptiness. When you look at my awkward and unconscious image, you can see the facade.


Hello pain. Hello fear. Hello unknown. Hello death. Hello loneliness. I am Kevin. I am meeting with you today so that we can develop a relationship. So, that we can fall in love by exploring and understanding each other. You are a part of life. I am here to live.

I am here, vulnerable, and open.

I do not know until I fail. I do not utilize failure until I desire learning. I do not want to learn unless I desire living. And I do not want to live until I accept pain as a very dear friend and companion.

I need to be okay with failure, mistakes, and the unknown if I want to fill the emptiness that dauntingly lingers behind my eyes.

Let’s just get out there…let go…fail.

“But, Kevin, if I continue to fail, then that means I am showing myself and others that I am not the person I say I am.”

I get trapped by acting on this fear. I’d rather contort my image to maintain my “standing” instead of grow the actual internal substance of that image. Maintain my standing and find the emptiness behind my eyes or find my honesty within and let my authenticity shine through.

“Actually, Kev, if I continue to fail, appreciate failing, and acknowledge it, then that means I CAN have the answers to consistently be the person I want to be.”

Man walking at sunset

So, I close my eyes to sleep in the dark of my mind. My thoughts appear. My feelings fall over me. This is me. All the shit. All the confusion. All the wonders. All the creation. All the weirdness. All the images. The memories.

What am I so afraid of? What could come up that I seriously just couldn’t handle? I am a human being. I can fully embrace whatever comes my way with warmth and love. I have strength and energy to see my ugliness and beauty. Here I go! Diving deep! Anything buried down there, I am capable to face. Anything overwhelming, I am capable to organize and see clearly.

Face Fears

I open my eyes. I get ready. I head to work and am met with the traffic on the freeway. It is hard to relax. It is hard to be patient. It is hard to fail. It is hard to learn. Go! Go! Go! Be perfect! Judgement! Judgement! You point your finger at me and not back at you!

With so many power hungry egos in the human race honking their horn and riding my ass in the car behind me, it feels as if there is no space to have patience, mistakes, and opportunities to learn and grow.

However, there really is a place…a garden…a sanctuary. The space to freely and genuinely grow needs to be created in the invisible space inside my self. Peace of mind. Warmth. Love for my character and his growth. Do not acknowledge the judgers, the horn honkers, and the perfectionists…because I know they are hurting themselves with the same negative slashing. Instead, acknowledge the space I have created within where it is okay and praised to fail, learn, and grow in due time.


Thank you, Glen. “Stay The Road” from Didn’t He Ramble

If you have a little bit more time, listen to Glen help bring us back to the context of where we stand. Sometimes we need to be reminded how small we are in the grand scheme of the world and Nature so that we can live in reality instead of the world of these expectations we sometimes take too seriously and assume are real.

About Kevin Carlstead

I graduated as a hospitality and psychology student at University of Denver. I spent most of my teenage and young adult years in the hospitality industry. I am still searching for what industry suits my personality and talents so that I can feel more meaning throughout my days. My current career pursuit has me enrolled in a graduate program to become a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I was born and raised in San Diego, CA. I love music with something to it. I love life with something to it. I have made it one of my purposes in this life to integrate both of these things that I love. This blog and my own songwriting has given me the platforms to do that very thing. Thank you for reading.
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