Nothing is forever

I was planning on releasing Dopesite this week, but as you might have guessed, there was another major hurdle to overcome. On Monday morning, I received an email from the software engineers at the Startup Program I was recently accepted into, and they politely expressed that what I wanted to do was impossible. 

The amount of times I’ve been told something was, “impossible,” throughout this process is hard to calculate, but it’s somewhere between, “You should’ve given up by now,” and “What the fuck are you still doing here?” Yet, here I am. I’m the kind of person that believes there’s a solution to everything, I just think that people don’t stick with the problem long enough to get there.

Either way, after all the years, all the work, all the overcoming impossible; I was devastated.

Sadly, or astonishingly, this wasn’t the worst news I received this week. On Friday, I found out an old friend of mine took his own life. He was very important to my development in my younger years. I really felt that deeply. Then, soon after receiving that crushing email, I heard from my brother, it was finally time to move my dad into assisted living. 

The weekend beforehand, the two of us had to call him together to encourage him to wear his diapers at night, so that he’d stop wetting the bed. That was more heartbreaking than any of the shit above.  

Life can be heavy. 

Sometimes it feels like I’m carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders.

Last night, when my wife walked through the door after work, I was leaning on our kitchen counter, staring at the wall, and listening to, James Blake’s, “The Wilhelm Scream,” on repeat. 

All that I know is
I’m fallin’, fallin’, fallin,’
Might as well fall in

James Blake, The Wilhelm Scream

I’d been thinking about my friend who took his life. The only thing that’s held me back from letting go in a similar fashion at various times throughout my life is my wife, before that, it was my brother. 

I live for them. I’m alive because of them. In the moments between, I live for this, my writing.

When your own life isn’t the reason that you’re alive, it’s a very strange thing to reconcile within yourself. In some way, living for others has felt more important to me somehow, but it can also feel terribly empty at times. 

Last night, I felt terribly empty.

I think most of my adult life has been spent contemplating my purpose in life, or differently, the reason why I’m alive, not for others, but for me. It’s very hard to isolate sometimes, at least, for me. 

For the last few years, Dopesite has seemingly been that purpose I’ve long been searching for. It’s why I’ve fought through so much for it. It’s why I’ve stuck with it over the years. It’s why, “impossible,” had to leave my vocabulary. 

I do know that there’s a bit of irony in the fact that my product helps others find purpose in their own lives, yet I think it was probably inevitable that I’d build a product like that eventually. Still, Dopesite is mine, and mine alone. I have something for me now. However, that’s also why the news that I received on Monday was so devastating. 

I just want to be there. I want it to be complete. For me, completion is not the end, it’s the beginning. 

Then, as seems to always be the case, the solution revealed itself to me. It’s never as you think it’ll be, but you have to stick with it, in order for it to reveal itself. After hours of jotting down notes, and staring at a blinking cursor, I decided that I needed to let my mind wander for a bit, so I went onto Instagram, and there it was.

I saw a post from my friend, Torri, who had opened up about her own struggles as of recent. Torri is like a little sister to me. Her vulnerability moved my heart. Her livelihood is through Instagram as an influencer now, so telling her followers that Instagram is owning her life, was about as vulnerable as you can get. 

View this post on Instagram

Been feeling super uninspired lately, and honestly social media is really getting me down. When I started creating content on this platform over 6 years ago I was still in highschool and honestly just wanted to find another avenue to express myself. I was an actor working 12 hour days on set and sharing a glimpse into my everyday life while connecting with people from all over the world felt so FUN. But social media was definitely NOT the only thing I had going on. It scares me how much it has infiltrated our lives (especially for youth who are just figuring it all out), and how we slave away to conform to this platform (myself included). I don’t know if it’s the mad rush of perfection on my feed that I’ve been consuming lately (aka Kendall and Kylie at The Met) or maybe even just other bloggers I look up to who always seem to have it figured out … but it’s the first time in a while were I have just wanted to sit back and press MUTE. Spend time with loved ones (without having to share that plate of food I am eating) and go on trips without having to pack 500 outfits for the gram’. It’s funny because it’s never communicating with YOU guys that makes me feel uneasy, but consuming OTHER people’s lives so closely that impacts me. I know that this is just a wave of emotions that will pass (and don’t get it twisted, I am SO incredibly grateful for every. single. opportunity social media has given me). I just thought maybe I could find some peace in sharing these emotionzzz.

A post shared by Torri Webster (@torriwebster) on

I’ve always approached problem solving from the heart, and not, from the mind. The mind can easily understand “impossible,” whereas, the heart has no limits. If you ever hope to overcome “impossible,” you have to involve the heart somehow. As such, I decided my purpose for the day was to help Torri. 

In doing so, I inadvertently helped myself. 

After reading her post, I immediately sent her a message. Torri and I have lived lives in reverse. We’ve both done things that few people can understand, because they haven’t lived anything like it, only, we did it at different stages of life. I wanted her to know that it’s ok to be where she’s at and that there are people out there that understand. 

I ended up leaving our conversation with, “Take a few days off, have fun, I don’t think any version of yourself knows better about who you wanted to be than your childhood self. Adult life is busy and consuming, go get lost in a dream for a while.” 

After hitting send, I read my own message, and decided to take my own advice. I threw on some clothes, popped in my AirPods, put on some Sufjan Stevens, grabbed my notebook and pen from my desk, and left the house. I decided I was going to go walk the waterfront, which was something I used to do in my younger years. 

I was going to, “Go get lost in a dream for a while.”

As I walked down the waterfront, I slowed my pace as my eyes gazed upon a long-forgotten memory, there was this bench from over a decade ago, where I wrote down some of the most important and meaningful lessons of my life. Not unlike the present, I had a notebook in hand, and so, I went to that bench and sat down.  

What I wrote there was everything you’re reading now, and also, what follows.

As I sit on this bench today, I remember why I’d been here in the first place all those years ago. There was this girl, Heather. She entered my life immediately after my high school sweetheart and I’d broken up after 5 years together. I’d say we dated, but it wasn’t really like that. When we were together, I was too fragile after 5 years of being with the same person, and she was leaving for India.

Heather and I spent about two months together. The day she left for India, I walked to the bench that I’m on now, and wrote down some very meaningful things as I looked out upon the water. As I wrote, I learned that Heather had taught me one of the most important lessons of my life, she’d taught me that everything in life is impermanent.

At the beginning of our time together, she was adamant that we weren’t meant for each other, at least in the forever sense. I couldn’t understand that at the time, but she was right. After spending 5 years with someone, all you talk about is the future. With Heather, there was only the now. 

The future is only a figment of our imagination. 

Heather told me once, “You don’t want to be with me forever. You just don’t know that yet,” and I was baffled at the time. I’m not anymore. She was right.

My last real memory of her was building a fort underneath my desk and adhering glow in the dark stickers on the bottom of it. We slept there that night, looking at the universe that we’d created, and that was it, she was gone. 

Life is kind of like that. Something seemingly important happens and then it’s gone forever. We should never forget that.

I wouldn’t be with my wife today if it weren’t for Heather. She left and it was okay. Rebecca left in a similar fashion as to Heather for England but that wasn’t okay with me. I had to go after her. Without Heather, I might not have understood that. 

Everything is impermanent, but that doesn’t mean everything isn’t worthwhile. 

All of it, my friend, my dad, Instagram, Dopesite, my own life, it’s all impermanent. It exists for a very short period of time. We should live everyday with purpose, because tomorrow is not promised. I believe my purpose today was helping Torri. I like helping people find their purpose. It makes me very happy. Happiness is worthwhile.

Today, it came full circle. 

After I wrote this, I put down my notebook, and looked up upon a perfectly clear blue sky. The sun started to cleanse my darkening soul, and I smiled upwards like a lunatic, because even though tomorrow was not promised, I believed it might be better than today.

Then my phone vibrated. It was an email from a software engineer I work with from Brazil, and more or less, it read, “Impossible is nothing.”   

Should I tear my eyes out now?
Everything I see returns to you, somehow
Should I tear my heart out now?
Everything I feel returns to you, somehow
I wanna save you from your sorrow.

Sufjan Stevens, The Only Thing

It’s all sad but it’s not bad,


Author avatar
Stephen Shaw
I've worked with artists like Janet Jackson and Sammy Adams, I've helped with causes like HXOUSE and Fashion Cares, and I've consulted for brands like Adidas and Budweiser. These days I make things like Dopesite, Artful Record® and It’s All Sad™ 🌎🌍🌏

1 comment

  1. Auntie Bonnie


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