How a Bong Changed My Life

Finding perfection at the bottom of a water pipe

You would think I write so much about my life I would run out of material. There’s only so much angst that one lifetime can hold, and in the past year, I’ve explored every nuance of an existence that most would have given up on long ago.

But the more I write, the more I find events uncovered that have long since been buried by the avalanche of struggle and pain. It happens to me more than I’ll admit.

This is one such event.

Sometime in my early forties, I was sitting on the floor of my one-bedroom, having just taken a huge rip off my green glass water bong I affectionately named Bertha. I remember loving this piece of glass so much because it was almost perfect in form, except for a large flaw in the glass of the tube. When they were creating this work of art, they somehow got a purple shard mixed in the kaleidoscope of green and white. The guy at the head shop tried to hide it at first, but when I took a closer look there was no way I could miss it.

I fell in love immediately.

Photo by Grav on Unsplash

I loved Bertha for all her imperfection. I loved her because she was like me. I could have been perfect in every way if not for a flaw that changed my psyche and my path in life. I started with the same dreams as everyone else and had I not exposed the defect on the underside of my mind — no one would have known about it and would have taken me for someone meant for great things.

Sure, I could have gone on to do magnificent things despite my challenges — many people do get past huge issues in their lives and go on to impact everything around them. I was intelligent enough that I should have found a way to get past the imperfection that was killing me.

But I wallowed. I tread water for so many years because I listened to the doctors that told me not to follow my dreams. They said I would only be disappointed if I tried to do too much. I’d be lucky to exist in a limbo of mental wards and halfway houses. All my dreams would serve to do is complicate my already cluttered mind, and I’d be better off if I trusted the medication and focused on surviving another day.

I fell in with a group of literal mental patients like me, who clung to one another because we had nothing else. We commiserated and empathized. We absorbed all the negative energy and passed it down the line until our cycles of psychosis matched to one another.

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

For so many years, I chose to stay sick, because that was the easiest thing I could do. I chose to never reach for a better life because wishing for better circumstances was something that “normies” did.

I spent my thirties in a limbo between life and death. I cried, cut, despaired, worried, raged, medicated, and denied myself, but never reached for anything that would have helped me out of the mire. I talked to voices in my head and let them control me. I pushed away whatever family I had left that still clung to the hope that I would ever get better.

I almost didn’t make it out of that place alive.

I looked at my bong Bertha that day and saw myself. Bertha was flawed, but she still served an important purpose. She wrapped her flaw in a current of green and white and made herself beautiful.

I know she was a piece of glass, but that day sitting on my stained beige carpet, I saw her become more. In that piece of glass, I saw what I could become. I was perfect except for one deep purple flaw on my soul. I still had time to transcend my pain and make something of myself.

Even after the euphoria of the Sativa wore off, the thought stayed behind and changed who I was. I started looking for a way to make a better life for myself. It was from that day that I later found my wife Flora and eventually the Philippines. It was that day and that bong that lead me to believe in myself enough to make me choose a career in writing and media. If I had not remembered what I learned about myself past the haze of cannabis, I might still be sitting on the floor of my apartment finding solace in Bertha with her deep purple flaw.

Berta moved on to another owner, and I can only hope that someone else found enlightenment in her defects and beauty.

As for me, my life only gets better every day. I allowed myself to dream again. I allowed myself to see my own perfection despite the flaws.

Now, I’m a writer, and one day soon, a media mogul. I don’t know where my path will lead me, but I know at least it’s up and out of the hole I spent so many years living in.

Yes, I’m flawed, but that flaw is what allowed me to see the perfection in my soul.

Thanks, Bertha!

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Introverted essayist and fulltime YouTuber | Dreamer - I am doing it my way and it might take a bit longer. Don't wait up.

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