The Renegade Press

Tales from the mouth of a wolf

“Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

I used to be really afraid of death. For as long as I can remember I have been petrified by the knowledge that life is finite, and that each passing year brings me closer to the inevitable moment when I pass away, drifting into a state of eternal nothingness as my body turns to dust. Throughout my teenage years and early twenties, I would lay awake at night crippled by fear as I contemplated my own morality and questioned what kind of legacy I would leave behind when I died. I suffered panic attacks, cried a lot, and often felt isolated and alone.

At times my anxiety was so great that I was afraid of my own birthday. The annual event marked another step towards my death, and as I grew from a boy, into a teen, and finally into a man, the fear that I felt towards aging grew with me. I became afraid of the world, and petrified of leaving it. I was so fearful of being forgotten that I turned to writing as a means of creating a legacy that would allow me to be remembered long after I was gone.

Writing became an act of solace, and a means to combat my anxieties and fears…

…At least initially anyway. But as the years progressed and my creative skillset improved, I allowed myself to be driven by my fears and wrote with a maniacal obsession that became all consuming. Before too long I wasn’t just writing to fight fear; I was actively seeking to create anarchy inside of my own head because I believed that in doing so I could push myself to become a greater writer, and a stronger man. In my desire to outlive myself through my works I sacrificed friendships, destroyed careers, lost the love of my life, and became so closed off to the world that my own family questioned whether or not I loved them.

Eventually I became so caught up in this cyclic state of fear and anxiety that I pushed myself too far. In an effort to overcome the demons I was actively creating and allowing to live inside of my head, I lost sight of who I really am. I became angry and bitter, and while I wasted years believing that I was becoming a man; the truth is that I have spent my life hiding behind masks of wolves and world eaters while trying to convince those around me that I am strong. But I have been weak; and the only person that I ever fooled was myself.

Since The Renegade Press began four years ago I have received an endless stream of correspondence from readers who have been genuinely concerned for my health and wellbeing. I have always written from a place of pain because I thought that to be a great writer I needed to accentuate and exacerbate the fractures within me. But my loved ones and my audience saw that I was capable of being so much more than a bitterly angry little boy with a quick wit and a tendency to lash out at anyone and anything that he feared, or didn’t understand. When they looked at me they never saw the strength of a wolf that I envisioned they did. They saw a man who was hiding from his own insecurities and lying to himself.

They were right. And I was wrong.

Anyone who has been following this site for a little while will know that a few months ago the woman that I want to grow old with walked out of my life. She left because the man that she fell in love with had become so caught up in a frenzied desire to become a wolf and a world eater, and to fight away his fears that he let her down. Despite loving Sofie with an endless depth, I was so driven by fear and fuelled by a horrid desire to become more that I made her feel alone and question just how much I actually cared.

I cared more than she ever really knew. The proudest moment of my life was when I published my debut novel in February 2015 and she gave me a hand written letter telling me how proud she was, and how much she loved me. It wasn’t until she left that I realised I had spent almost two years pushing myself relentlessly to produce another manuscript just so that we could experience that moment together again. In doing so I destroyed everything that we had, and everything that she had expressed within that letter. I thought that in order to make her love me I needed to continue to allow my fears to drive me to become better. But I didn’t. I had my entire world in front of me, and she already loved me. I was just too stupid to realise it. I still have that letter; and I still read it from time to time.

Since she left I have walked through my own version of hell; taking time away from writing to rediscover myself and put to rest the horrible traits that I had allowed to fester within my heart for far too long. In doing so I have discovered an inner strength that I never knew I was capable of possessing. It hasn’t been easy, and I still think about her every day, but I have had to let go of the person that I’m going to love until the day that I die. At the same time, I have learned that despite best efforts from both parties, my sophomore novel War will no longer be released by Meizius Publishing.

Pink-Peony-resized1.jpg

At first I crumbled, and I cried. I have spent years wanting nothing more than to marry the girl who stole my heart from the very first moment that I saw her, and fought desperately to recapture that moment we shared together by producing another book. But losing her and learning that I will be parting ways with my publisher has made me stop for the first time in almost twenty-eight years and actually question just what the fuck I am actually doing with my life. In doing so I have come to realise that I’m no longer afraid of death; I’m afraid of experiencing an un-lived life.

As I walked through the hell inside of me and experienced the cacophony of disharmony that had consumed my mind, I realised that I was allowing myself to be driven by fear, rather than being led by my dreams.

I know that sounds like a bunch of bullshit written by a man trying to open up himself and be vulnerable with the world he lives in. But what I am trying to say is that I have finally figured out the answers to those harrowing questions we all ask ourselves, and which until just recently have eluded me: What is the purpose of my life? And what is my endgame?

The first question was actually surprisingly easy to answer. The purpose of my life, and yours, and everyone else’s is this: to be happy; no matter what happiness looks or feels like to you. The objective of the entire human existence is to be happy; and to be led by your dreams, rather than pushed by your fears. Since realising this and letting go of my fear of death I have learned how to smile again, and the importance of slowing down to enjoy life for what it is. I have come to the realisation that I don’t need to pen a best seller in order to consider myself a successful writer; by having just one person read this blog, or pick up my book, I have already exceeded my own wildest dreams.

The desire to drive myself to the dark places I once longed for is gone. Because of this I’m not the man I was a few years, or even a few months ago. I’m not a wolf or an eater of worlds, nor am I ever angry anymore. I’m happy; and for the first time in my life I can say that I am genuinely proud of the man that I have become, and will continue to become from here on out.

As far as my endgame is concerned… She first appeared on this website as the inspiration behind a post titled Landscape, and is the only woman that I will ever write about. She will continue to be the most exquisitely beautiful person in my life until the day that I die, and although I don’t know if I’ll ever see Sofie again, I still consider myself the luckiest man in the world. Because of her I know how it feels to fall madly in love with another human being, and to want to spend every day of the rest of your life making their world just a little bit brighter.

I would throw away everything for that girl. I would give up writing, pass up all my earthly possessions and walk through hell every single day from now until eternity, just to see her smile.

The eater of worlds is dead; killed off by his own fears and insecurities. But in his place stands the real Chris Nicholas; the one who became lost inside of his own head for a period of time and forgot what matters most in his life. That man is a writer, a lover, a brother, a son, and a friend. And most importantly, he is happy.

I don’t fear death anymore; I fear looking back on my time here on this earth and realising that I missed out on so many wonderful opportunities because of such a naïve notion of allowing apprehension of the inevitable to destroy the wonderful gift of life that I have been presented. I don’t want to grow old having squandered my time, or having lived an un-lived life.  No matter what happens from this moment onwards; whether I ever publish another book, or have the opportunity to grow old with the woman with the little blue hearts; I can say that I am happy, I am proud of the man that I am becoming, and that I know just how wonderful it feels to experience true love.

After my time walking through the hell in me I have learned not to be driven by fear, and that my dreams are as simple as they are powerful. At just twenty eight years of age I have my happiness and I know my endgame. What else could a man ever want?

50 thoughts on “Endgame

  1. Erasmus Koay says:

    I will try to write as clear as possible in 3 components.

    1. I enjoyed reading the first half of the writing ad iffy of the last part. Mainly because this post is well-written for a 28-year old.

    2. You have your just opinions as how you see things and that includes the end-game. At 28 yo, you are in that generation or that age to be emotionally moved. Today, you talked about end-game, tomorrow its prelude and the cycle continues especially when there’s a direct loss that you could’ve prevented. What about thoughts for your parents? your siblings? teacher perhaps or even your deepest self. The examination is at best, crust-level.

    3. At 28 years old, no doubt its just a mere number. A 28-yo guy can be very matured, enjoying life that he built with his own hands, drink wine ad traveled the world or working for a good corporate. A 28-yo of something else, could be just you when the chips or steeple cards are coming down one after the other. I would say – Chris Nicholas – is still trying his natural best to play out towards the end-game. Which is what’s really sucking.

    Its not about building dreams, or fear of death, this and that, at the end of the day – it still remains whether the old Chris or new Chris realised and do something about it. This – is always all about, Chris.

    The only way Chris needs to go with this – is listen to any other but Chris and decipher what’s good in it for long term.

    Best of luck.

  2. Life is often filled with countless pains, they are the trials we must face in our separate lives, and nobody else can experience these moments on our behaves, and, it’s through weathering all of these trials that we’d come to know our own strengths.

  3. Miriam says:

    I sensed many emotions in your post including peace and acceptance. I hope thats how you’re really feeling. This is beautifully written as usual.

  4. You articulated so many emotions which I could relate to. I wish you all the best as you pursue your end game. I wish you peace of mind.

  5. eirenehogan says:

    So glad you’ve learned that lesson while still so young.

  6. This is such honest writing. I absolutely loved it.

  7. hermelinepierre says:

    Chris, the journey to your end game is going to be great. Your writing shows that you’re in a great headspace and ready to take on the world.

  8. Chris– it is good to hear your voice again. I have often felt disconnected when people say that they have lived a lifetime. In my experience, most of us will live multiple lifetimes. We are different people at different moments, often all in. . . until we aren’t. Or the moment is over because things can end naturally (such as graduating from high school or college) or they can end abruptly, not of our choosing. These periods of transition can be moments where we can get lost, and if we are lucky, we can rediscover or recover ourselves, having learned valuable lessons. The perspective of age tells me that it is the things that we learn in pain that often burn most indelibly in our consciousness than those things we learn in the quieter more peaceful moments. Whatever happens with your book, with your relationship, please do not doubt your impact. Your voice rings out in the wildness and lands.

    1. Kris says:

      This is a perfectly phrased response.

      1. Thank you. I truly love Chris’ writing. It calls me, like a siren song. I worry when he is silent.

  9. Gale Wright says:

    You are a fantastic writer and thinker. You are so far ahead of things to have answered these questions while still in the first third or so of your life. I’m sure I’m not the only person who identified strongly with so many of the issues you have discussed here. And that’s pretty cool in and of itself. If doubts creep in as you go along, come back and re-read this to get your focus back.

  10. jillontoast says:

    Somehow your articles always speak so powerfully to me that I end up crying by the end of them. I 100% empathise with everything you have penned here, and reading this 4 days before my birthday was just so apropo. Thank you for the quote and for reiterating that our goal is to be happy. I’m always so worried about how my actions affect others that I forget that, as long as I’m not hurting someone, it’s ok to go after something or to ask for something that will make me happy- even if it ends up annoying someone else. And if it doesn’t come to fruition, is it so bad that I tried? Still need to learn to let go of the fear of impending doom. I will try focusing on the moment and reaching for happiness. Someone once told me “don’t let the fear of tomorrow ruin today”. It was good advice. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. You have made a difference.

  11. Holly Ann Kurt says:

    Just remember STILLNESS is where we find true peace. As writers, poets and creative thinkers we can often drive ourselves insane because of all the voices he hear.

    Be still, know that that everything your spirit craves in HERE in THIS moment, not the past, not the present and not in someone else. You are brave, you can accomplish more than you already have and do it while living in a place of unconditional love.

    We must live through grace so that we can bring about sustainable change, which is everlasting and abundant. If something is built upon a foundation other than love its fickle and can crash and burn at any moment. Of course we learn through our suffering, which teaches us wisdom.

    Now you know better, now you do better. Thank you for being who you are, doing what you have done. Through the heart ache, through the unfortunate experiences, through the self sabotaging. Through that it will only bring about greater success, passion and will for your life.

    A breath of life for you, Chris. ❤

  12. I’m glad to hear you have given up the wolf and recognized what you lost. I don’t want to tell you at all how you should think – you seem to be on a good path. I am only going to reflect on my own beliefs as these thoughts have been inspired by what you wrote.
    My past has been twice as long. I am a heathen with little fear of death who thinks my “eternal” life depends on how I have affected/influenced/ helped/ motivated/loved . . . . etc. . . . OTHER people and I have faith that goodness begets goodness. In 30 or so years I will be wormfood. But – I hope – my having existed and my influence on all around me will create further waves of kindness. To me, that thought is . . . heavenly.

  13. I’m sure you’ve probably heard that timeless phrase, “I know how you feel” , however, I do know exactly how you feel and where you’re coming from. For almost half of my life I lived within the dark corners of my fears, allowing past demons to call the shots. Not until two years ago, on my 30th Bday was I able to bury the past and finally allow myself to feel happy. I had never feared death, love was my greatest fear. I was once told some sage advice from a man I admired… “Never allow yourself to become so lost in making a living that you never make a life. When you’re 85 years old looking back on your life, you want endless memories not should of-could of- would of regret.”

  14. Wow, what a turnaround. So glad to hear it not only in, but through your words. Unless Sophie is now married to someone else, perhaps it’s not to late to try again. I am happy for you and would give you a virtual hug with all the uplifting and joy that goes into it.

  15. This is amazing, really. I loved .

  16. artrosch says:

    Chris, there’s no such thing as an un-lived life. It finds you as you are and nothing can stop it. It’s like Enlightenment. No matter how hard you try to avoid it, still it finds you when you least expect it to. You’re brave to reveal so much. I salute you. Bravo. The world will eat you like a wolf. Yup, that’s how it works.I don’t fear death. Pain, however, terrifies me.

  17. dewyplace says:

    28 is a very young age in the scheme of thing. You’re already there for you know what you want. I’m in my 40s and still don’t know what I want.

    ‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Alfred Lord Tennyson

    On that note go and try to win her back ..

  18. Kris says:

    You are barely older than my eldest son. Your lives run parallel and I ache inside for you both in your times of sorrow. Yet, you both see how you can grow and you both will soldier on to become a better and stronger person. I am so damn PROUD of you! (can I adopt you?)

  19. Jennie says:

    Wow! A very big wow! In your own words, “onward”.

  20. Holly Ann Kurt says:

    I’m single. Lol

  21. Many of the world’s best writers weren’t writing at your age. I’m old, wormfood as someone here said. But I too identified so much with your post. I found it described many of the things I feared in MY life. If a 28yo made that connection with a 72yo, your writing is just fine. I think the trick is total sincerity. Be yourself as you really are, THAT makes charisma….

  22. T.Mann says:

    I am new to WordPress, new to this blogging world, new to putting emotions and feelings out into the world for all to see. This was my first post that I have read from fellow bloggers. My passion for writing has just increased through reading your post. Beautifully written, beautifully honest. Thank you.

  23. This is great writing for 28, I am 30 i’ve just done my first post and in comparison mine is awful 😂 I guess its a time and experience thing! I share very similar feelings to you, yet deal with them in a different way which I guess is a good example of how were all different. Your moving in the right direction, keep going and you’ll carry on to grow 😊

  24. Currently I have just one person reading my blog, based on what you said , I consider myself an achiever. Cheers to that. Thanks

  25. Wendy says:

    Wow Chris Nicholas! You are rising like a phoenix from the flames to inspire those who have fallen into the depths of despair and to bring a wonderful sense of ‘hope’ for the future. Have fun enjoying the good times in your life… Strange how our ‘posts’ have crossed over with the same sentiment.. Enjoy the magic in your life today.. x

    1. Thanks Wendy. That means a lot. In many ways I think losing the woman I want to grow old with helped me to realise just how incredible she is, and just how lost I had actually become.
      I have no idea what the future holds for me. But I want nothing more than for her to be a very large part of it. Time will tell if my dreams ever become a reality.

      1. Wendy says:

        Nobody ever knows what the future holds which is why it’s so important to enjoy the magic of each moment as it happens today… Sometimes the ‘worst things’ in life turn out to be the best even though we don’t see it at the time.. From adversity, we can grow into the person we need to be – have a wonderful day! x

  26. I loved this Chris! Beautiful and heartfelt.

  27. It takes courage to be vulnerable and you have courage in spades. ❤

  28. Raney Simmon says:

    Thank you for being open and honest to us about your feelings and what you’ve been going through. But I’m glad to hear that you’re going to be okay.

  29. celinexstyle says:

    I had a very similar experience on fearing death, but I think it is since I was about 5 years old. I always cried and couldn’t fall asleep at night and it didn’t get better until my parents told me I would live infinitely. Now I’m 21 and honestly I would still be fearful if the death thoughts popped into my mind. But what makes it less scary and easier to get through except for not thinking of it is to think of writing as another way to get immortality! Words carry the thoughts and it is thinking that makes you alive (you are alive because you think you are alive). So after I become physically dead, when other people read my thoughts, I become alive again, in a way, in their heads. 🙂

  30. FruitfulLife says:

    Thank you for your honesty and for sharing your private life with us in a trusting way. You honor us with that.

    Please remember that life will have seasons of living and learning. If you make comparisons to the seasons in nature, you’ll notice new growth inside yourself which manifests itself in outward beauty (spring). You’ll experience times of cruising through bright sunny days with the occasional storm (summer). Your life will hold periods when there is a death of the things that must be put away in order to rest and allow yourself to withstand severe hardships (autumn). Finally, it will seem you are not growing at all, but you most certainly are creating an atmosphere in which growth will occur again. You will feel frozen and unable to move, but that stuff of which you’re made and which lies dormant-waiting for that time to create a little of that newness of spirit-is still there. (winter). I suppose I should say, from experience, these seasons don’t always happen in the same order they do in nature.

    Don’t ever forget the plan can change. The purpose does not. As you move through the seasons of life, touch others. Remember that cage of fear you were trapped so you can reach out to others who are experiencing the same fears you’ve had. We can never be sure of what our risks in relating with others will bring. We all get hurt. But we also experience moments and even long periods of gratification in the world around us. We are often not as strong as we think we are; other times we can model quiet strength for others. There is no shame in needing other people

    I rejoice for you. A long time ago, I could have written my story using some of your words. We aren’t so unique in our experiences, we humans. You sound like you have learned some of the important lessons. While we may not always feel ‘happy,’ we can find joy. Happiness will most often be determined by things outside of us; it’s transient. But joy takes up residence and decides to stay. I’m glad that it seems you have joy. Keep learning and growing and hey, get busy with that new book.

    “Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.” William Faulkner ~ Cheers!

  31. You show great insight for a 28 year old, much more than I did at your age. I am sure you will tern your experiences into gold – I only managed silver!

  32. Wow, Chris. Just wow. It’s been a long time sine I was touched and felt connected to someone through their writing.
    My mother passed away at 38, I was 20. I am now 41.
    From the time she passed away until my 39th birthday, I was POSITIVE that I was going to die at 38 and leave my children motherless. I would have left behind a 20 year old, which, of course, exasperated this fear. My two younger children would have been 16 and 13. I worried that my 13 old daughter (in my mind) would have to go through puberty alone and her first broken heart, pregnancy, childbearing. I told myself the boys would be okay. They didn’t need me to show them how to be men. I knew their father couldn’t either, but I was confident that my father would step in. But, who would be there for my lost little girl? It never occurred to me that I had a wonderful sister that would have.
    My fear was so great that I would have anxiety attacks (more like panic breakdowns) whenever I allowed myself to think about it. On each birthday, I’d lock myself in my room and cry the entire day. This went on until my 39th birthday.
    Unlike you, I didn’t fear death. I feared abandoning my children the way I felt that my mother abandoned me. On my 39th birthday, my little sister came over and said plainly, “You’re older that she was. You lived. Sort of…Get over it. She didn’t abandon us, she DIED. I’m tired of watching you die every day.”
    See, I wasn’t afraid to die. I was afraid to live. And, for me, writing IS living. It took my genius sister to point it out to me.
    Since then, I’ve written nearly every day. I’ve published nothing. I wouldn’t even allow others to read about the people and stories that lived in my head.
    I guess I too, was wearing a mask. Hiding my true self. I still do. I hide behind an anagram. Mostly to protect my adult children’s identities but also because I’m like a mage. A glass cannon. I hit hard but shattered when hit back.
    But, I am working through it. Starting a blog has helped.
    You will get through it. You are talented and smart. And, if that picture is you, WOW! Never put that mask back on.
    Since you’ve stopped hiding, look in the mirror. You are the wolf. It’s your spirit animal. See that the world is for frolicking, not eating.
    I kind of feel like I should tell you that I love you because I feel like I’ve seen your heart and its pure.
    Instead, I will say, keep that howl alive. Always write. I know it leaves us naked, vulnerable. I’ll make a pact to you, even if you do not join it. I will continue to work on me if you continue your journey.
    -Carrie Hathaway

  33. Phil Huston says:

    Simple is never easy. But it is the straightest line.

  34. Laurie Welch says:

    “The objective of the entire human existence is to be happy; and to be led by your dreams, rather than pushed by your fears.”

    I am at a crossroads. The reasons for being here are not as devastating as yours, but I am stuck. To be led by my dreams, not my fears. I think this quote of yours, reflected from Mr Emerson, is just about the most healing thing I’ve heard in a long time. And the thing that has now unstuck me.

    Chris, I wish you very well as you go forth.

  35. Dee says:

    I hope you find love again, Chris.

    Talking to self: I want to fall in love just to know if people really feel that way – they’d give up everything for someone – just to be with that one person all days of the life. I am tired of hearing that, watching it in the movies and reading about it in books. All that heartbreak and all. Is it that bad?

  36. leeksspeaks says:

    I absolutely admire you. This piece of art is amazing and I adore it.

  37. desdemonad says:

    I don’t know if you read philosophy but I highly recommend the Taoist and Buddhist systems, to help bring acceptance, peace and freedom to your life. Start training yourself to be in the now. Live. Remember
    “Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.”
    Soren Kierkegaard

  38. cazdawnie says:

    Writing is a way, or is indeed solace for many. Been thinking about death lately, retracing the first time I ever truly pondered over it when I first became a teenager. Acceptance of it is still something I’m working on, but I guess it is important to take it rather slowly, to be gentle with yourself 🙂 You write with great command!

  39. inesbeatrice says:

    I’m glad that you have found your happiness, or at least have recognized that this is your ultimate goal and you can now actively work towards it.

    I have questioned sometimes whether there is a sort of masochistic streak in artists because people always speak about fear or pain making their art great. While it’s true that experiences shape people I think the importance/influence of pain/fear is only applicable to about half of artists– after all some people create things that are great for their comedy, or lightness. That being said, I typically write heavier things and some recent works have gotten quite dark so I wonder whether I’m encouraging and feeding those elements of myself that produce this type of work rather than cultivating the parts that could allow me to write poems and stories with a happier tone.

    Your mention of panick attacks and concern (in some cases obsession) with mortality and purpose is something with which I’ve recently become (unfortunately) familiar with. I lay awake at night, once the daily noises and images fade into darkness, and the internal monologue of worries and concerns takes over until it’s on full volume in my head and I become paralyzed. It’s terrifying, isn’t it?

    Anyways, thank you for this post. I find it hard to open up and share things that are quite as personal as what you share through your blog; I think it takes great self-confidence to do, so I applaud you for that. It is comforting to know I’m not the only one consumed by these fears and even better to know that it can be beaten.

  40. ”A wise man once said nothing.”
    Unknown

  41. Hi! Thanks for stopping by my site and liking “An Unusual Day.” I think you are right on when you decided to start thinking more of your family and friends. One time I felt so down I didn’t know what I was going to do to pull myself out of the pit when the phone rang. A young couple wanted to come over to receive a dresser I wanted to give away. It was in the garage and accumulated lots of dust. So I scurried around to find a gentle cleaner and cloth and got at it. They showed up as i finished. They’re grateful, I’m smiling. They left and then I said, “Huh. I’m not feeling low and futile and ready to cry at the least amount of sad news.”
    More than once in my life I’ve believed a lie and when it got proven to be a lie, I woke up to the truth and rejoiced. I can’t control my eating – false! (to name one)
    My husband will always make me happy – impossible burden for him and unfair of me to expect that of him – that took me a while.
    Anyway, thanks for writing. I will pray for you tonight.
    My mom used to say,”this too shall pass,” when she found herself in a difficult spot.
    I’m sorry for your pain.

  42. Sha Renée says:

    Hi Chris. This is beautiful. I enjoyed reading and hope that you and your soul mate find your way back to each other. Trust me… it can happen. -S

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