Artist Joe from Oregon, USA, is KindaProud of being a ‘Survivor’

We are KindaProud of Joe for allowing himself to ‘feel all the feels’ and work through and communicate his emotions; for speaking up about his experiences to end the stigma of suicide and to encourage others to open up. Being that vulnerable takes a lot of bravery, and Joe is right, it’s the only way we make these kind of experiences an acceptable conversation topic for others. The more of us that speak out, we hope that less people will suffer in silence.

Here’s is why Joe describes himself as a ‘Survivor’ in his own words…

Joe Beal

My name is Joe Beal

When asked who I am. Rather than speak based on years of fear and poor self-talk, I choose to say “I am a survivor.”

I SURVIVED a child hood living in a filthy house with not a lot of money, sometimes eating nothing but Mac & Cheese and hot dogs for a week at a time just to get by. My mom was not very good at taking care of the home and family back then, and my dad was very disconnected and did not show affection at all. My parents would fight and argue daily, and it would all get worse around the age of 14 when my dad was involved in a truck accident that left him with a broken neck and unable to work.

I SURVIVED being sexually assaulted on more than one occasion at the age of seven years old by our male babysitter.

I SURVIVED being physically assaulted by a man on my 18th birthday that put me in the hospital after I bumped the antenna on his car as I walked by with friends.

I SURVIVED being rear- ended by a semitruck while parked in traffic on a freeway.

I SURVIVED the loss of my three-day old daughter and would be divorced from her mom within weeks after her death. All of this left me devastated as all I wanted more than anything was to be a good dad and a good husband.

I SURVIVED a two-year period of destructive behavior following my daughter’s death that included a speeding ticket for 144-mph in a 55-mph, being drunk most almost every night of the week and some days, doing dumb things on a skateboard and motorcycle as I felt I had nothing to lose.

I SURVIVED a skateboard fall that would leave me permanently disabled followed by more than a dozen surgeries to my arms just to get back some use of my hands.

I SURVIVED a second marriage that was very unhealthy for the both of us as well as our three kids and ended in a messy divorce and custody battle.

I SURVIVED a house fire that would destroy my home and the fire report said occupant was less than 30 seconds from not exiting the house.

I SURVIVED an 85-mph head on collision with a drunk driver that left me with no memory before the age of 11, a severe head injury, and more surgeries to my arms causing more issues for my disability.

I SURVIVED what I like to call the church trap where I fully devoted my life to Jesus Christ, worked at the church, went to bible college, and volunteered with youth until I realized the choices being made by my church, my wife at the time, my bible college, and our head pastor in no way lined up with what I was reading about Jesus in the bible.

I SURVIVED being t-boned by two high school girls that blew through a stop sign totaling my truck.

I SURVIVED a mental breakdown following my second divorce that sent me to a facility for a couple of weeks, twice.

I SURVIVED seven years of being a single dad to three beautiful and amazing kids while, doing my absolute best to be a positive role model, and giving them a better upbringing than I had as a child, regardless of our situation. I have always putting their needs before my own.

I SURVIVED the financial mess that my divorce to my kid’s mother left me in and with no choice but to file bankruptcy on all the things that had already been taken from me in our divorce years earlier.

I SURVIVED the loss of my grandmother after three years of helping my mom take care of her as Alzheimer’s and dementia ate away at her mind.

I SURVIVED being ran over by an SUV while snow blowing a driveway by a lady that was not looking in her rearview mirror.

I SURVIVED most recently a double disk replacement surgery in my neck that was caused by degenerated disks that happened because of my disability.

I SURVIVED PTSD, and so many thoughts of SUICIDE over the years that I literally lost count. I had never shared any of my dark thoughts with anyone over the years, until recently after 18 months of going to an amazing counselor and recently loosing yet another friend to suicide.

I decided it was time to be honest with myself and those around me about my struggle with suicide!

After well over a year of going to my counselor it finally clicked for me that my past does not define me, my fears do not define me, the horrendous things I’ve been through do not define me, my hurts do not define me, my disabilities do not define me.

What defines me is the fact that I am a survivor; I am still here, and my recent understanding that life is not out to get me. I am a great father, I’ve raised three loving and hardworking kids, I’m a great husband to my now wife of three years, I’m a great son and friend, I’m an Artist that makes beautiful creations from jewelry to large scale art installation’s that are known worldwide.  I’m a healer that can speak with so many different people, as I’ve most likely walked the path you’re on at one point in my life.

A counselor once told me “You have been through more things than any ten people you could gather off the street and you’re still here and you’re still going, there is a bigger plan for your life young man.”

What keeps me going? What has helped me finally find my way out of that dark place?

Lots of love!

I am working on selfcare, learning to love and take care of myself, learning to breathe, learning who I am, learning and understanding how I work so I can grow and doing it all with so much love and support from my kids, my wife, my mom and dad, and my counselor.

Its honestly quite amazed at how easy some things are and yet how hard other things are regarding my personal journey.

I can say for the first time in my life, the only time suicide crosses my mind is when I’m trying to think of ways to speak up and end the stigma around suicide that kept me from asking for or seeking help so many times in my life.

Don’t get me wrong there are still days that are very hard, days that I have doubt’s, days I fall back into old thought patterns, and even panic attacks that can last for days. The difference is I’m learning to be in the moment and feel all the feels while trying to work through and communicate why I’m feeling these things rather than let my fears take control.

I am for the first time in my 43 years in place where I can see the beauty that life has to offer while still honoring the struggles, and trials I’ve been through in life that have made me who I am today.

Joe

“The Dream Swing”, Joe’s incredible art installation from Burning Man 2014 in the Nevada desert 

(Credit to photographer Trey Ratcliff for this amazing picture)

Tornado Pink Heart

          Here is an example of Joe’s jewelry and one of his fossil sculptures

To find out more about Joe’s artwork go to;

www.nostalgicmetal.com

Does Joe’s story resonate with your own experience?

Would you like to share your story to give HOPE to others? Here’s how you can contact our KindaProud Reps…

 For Kelly’s KindaProud book:  #EmergingProud through Suicide

Please email Kelly at: kelly@positivityprincess.com

Thank you to Joe and all who share a story in order to give HOPE to those struggling ❤

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3 Responses to Artist Joe from Oregon, USA, is KindaProud of being a ‘Survivor’

  1. Mandy says:

    What an amazing life story Joe – and amazing artwork. Thanks for speaking out and long may your positive journey continue

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kelle Bates Erikson says:

    I know Joe through the commonality of making metal jewelry. Whenever he and Karin stop at our gallery I have always felt that he was struggling inside himself. Now I have an idea of his past and how bravely he has faced it. This makes me respect and cherish our friendship even more.

    Liked by 1 person

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