BUT LET's tell the whole story and what i really struggle with too...
Let's take it back to college days: Alcoholic Skateboarder musician philosopher with a business degree and a lot of insecurity, pressure, and self doubt. in college, I would avoid all classes that had presentations, which stemmed back all the way to 7th grade. or, if i couldn't get out of them I'd get drunk beforehand. I was deathly afraid of any situation where i was put on the spot. I graduated and felt a huge weight to make a bunch of money and be "successful". i went deeper into the alcoholic ways as i waited tables and felt like a waste even though i was having some fun. After months and months of heavy binge drinking, i was puking blood regularly as well as bright green stomach bile, had tremors, hallucinations, and could not function at all without at least 5 drinks. i was hopeless.
my friends had an intervention when i was 24. Huge thanks to all my friends including my brother, Lauren O'neil and spencer and the cole family for helping me make the first step that day a long time ago. To try and be in a healthy environment, I decided to get a job as a salesman at 24 Hour fitness in camarillo. I was around fitness and was learning sales which helped me stay busy and get my mind off the struggle to stay sober. I had so much energy. I did so well in my first few weeks that they transferred me to the santa barbara pre-sale location, which was a highly sought after position, but i had no idea at the time. only problem was i had extreme anxiety when driving on the freeway and was one of the other things i had avoided for a while and the main reason why i drank so much just a few months earlier. anytime i would drive past certain distances or leave my safe zones I'd experience brutal anxiety, and i felt crippled without alcohol. after a few panic attacks i just avoided all freeways and travel.
turns out, although i was terrified, I made it through and the drives got easier. I commuted for a few months, then decided to move up there. I ended up breaking the pre-sale sales record at that time and was consistently ranked top 10 in the entire company nationwide. One month i even finished #1 in the entire company. Funny how successful i became after facing big fears. I didn't correlate that at that time.
I ended up getting burned out and then did a few more sales jobs up in Santa barbara before moving back to camarillo. i loved it for about a year but all the money i made at those sales jobs was dwindling and my zones were shrinking again because i wasn't pushing myself to travel. After working a few more jobs i didn't like, i decided to become a trainer where i could be fit again and also do sales, which i was very good at. i did really well as a trainer and was the top producer. I met so many great clients, all while playing in a band and a lot of local shows. everything was great but i wasn't pushing the travel thing at all. I was happy to be where i was as long as i didn't have to face the problem. I was constantly avoiding. After a while though I got pretty sick of missing all the important events that were out of the area: friends weddings, bachelor parties, bands i wanted to see, family reunions, I've missed them all.
After 5 or 6 years i quit 24 hour fitness and started my own fitness company called Gamut Fitness. Although I wasn't facing my main issue i was taking risks and they paid off. Most of my clients followed me to my home gym, and my schedule was stacked. And i got to keep all the money. I'd like to point out that although I had struggles, I still was loving life in other areas and staying as positive as possible with fitness, meditation, skateboarding, etc. But, my anxiety from not facing my travel issue was increasing.
that's about when i got into art, to decorate my new condo, and also to help me cope. Art Changed everything for me. i started really wanting to change and was no longer happy staying here(i wasn't happy staying but couldn't quite get myself to leave. it's a very strange spot to be in, and i've been there for a long time.) I couldn't stop painting. I was obsessed and started missing a lot of fitness clients because i was staying up too late painting. My clients were understanding but it was obvious that i was transitioning and opening up a lot as a person, tapping into some underlying energy hidden beneath the surface. that's when i decided to change the name from Gamut fitness to Gamut, and take the brand a new direction. It was clear what the brand was now: Art and wellness, mixed with music, sports, meditation, etc, the full gamut. and on top of that the empowering messages that i was telling myself to help cope with my anxiety and avoidance issues made their way to the apparel.
Since then I have had some small successes with traveling and haven't overcome it by any means. This is going to take a lot of work, and telling you about it is a big step for me, because i've hid it from people for a long time. I want you all to know that I am agoraphobic. I struggle to leave the area. The brand has stayed in CAMARILLO and ventura for the most part. I have turned down countless huge opportunities out of the area. I have also had huge inspiration and success because of it. I am proud of my camarillo family. i have developed some great coping tools and new skills. i am determined and resilient. I am kinder and more sensitive. I am learning and growing a lot. my paintings reflect what i go through. I am ready to share the real story and be vulnerable with you all. My growth depends on me trusting that I can be me 100% and unashamed to be who i am, especially since i want to impact younger generations more deeply and on a bigger scale, and guide them to be as authentic as possible. I believe the world needs ME to be open, that i have a greater purpose tied to all of this.
THANK YOU FOR READING. IF YOU'd like to hear more about my story please listen to my audio diary released earlier this year on endpain.com. Endpain is an amazing resource for storytelling and aDdressing tough issues, reducing stigma and Connecting people.
Here are some new pieces that were shown in my most recent show called CURRENTS ON AUGUST 25th at STUDIO CHANNEL ISLANDS ART CENTER: