At one point or another, we have all questioned who we are. What we like, what we don’t and what makes us, us. As we mature the question of what we’ll do with our lives manipulates us almost continuously through self-comparisons, our family, and even our friends.
Fredy Pabon, 26, is a local poet, author, veteran, and father who documented his life and coming into his own in a book he published titled “What I Never Said.”
His story begins at the catalyst of what changed his life, leaving to the Marines, finishing boot camp, eventual deployment to Afghanistan, and having a child. But what drew me into this story is the ability of one man to experience both sides of the social spectrum. Death, destruction and complete chaos, and life, like the birth of his daughter, love and the ability to forgive and find love again and his particular view of the human experience. This is the story of a young man trying to find himself and what happens after he is found.
How did you start writing?
After high school I didn’t know what it is that I wanted to do so I decided I was going to join the Marines so that I could do something different from the norm. While I was there, I was collecting poems about everything that was going on whether it was boot camp or in Afghanistan or travels to others countries and when I would visit home I would do the same thing and step out of my comfort zone and explore what is out there. That’s what the book is about it has different stories and different emotions. I know it sounds crazy, but I tried to put myself in different positions just to know what it would feel like to experience that emotion. Drinking and losing my way for the night, rejections, and places to meet new people and engage in conversations and see where it would go for the night.
Why was it important for you to document your life and make readers feel like there is someone else out there that understands them? Did you feel lonely or were you going through a period of solitude and what is that space like for you?
It’s hard to be stuck in your issue and your problem and admit to someone else that you’re going through that. I was trying to find a way not only tap into my emotions, but also express it to someone else while I was going through it. I took my problems and didn’t try to fix them, but address them and go with it because I’m sure someone else has gone through it. I didn’t sugar coat anything, and what’s there is how I felt at the time. I just dived into what was going on and lived in it every day just to see where it took me and here I am.
How have people responded to your book?
A lot of people thank me for being honest and so see-through. There’s a lot of people out there that have reached out to me about their personal issues. It’s cool because sometimes it’s people from other parts of the country like Sweden or Australia, and they have reached out to me about their relationship issues or similar problems, and it’s comforting to know that someone out there is watching, comprehending and listening to what it is that I'm putting onto paper.
You have a dual understanding of people from being in the military to civilian life what have you learned about the human spirit and how people can be in these situations.
I was thinking about this yesterday actually, and it all comes down to space. When you grab your life and get away from everything that you’re used to you, see how people can work together to make a difference, and sometimes it takes a little bit of a push. I’ve been trained and brainwashed to think, act, and speak a certain way. To come back to freedom I had to say 'this is what I know and what I’ve been used to for the last eight years' and ask myself what can I do with this? But in the end, we all have the opportunity to create space by stepping away from everything we’ve been handed or have learned or indulged in and making a difference our way. That’s what I’ve seen in my transition.
Did you leave to the military to find the context to write about or did the writing come first and the Marines second?
My reason was to find myself and gain perspective. Some people have the ability to create right off of their mind and just make something magical. At the time I was 18, and I had not tapped into that creativity just yet. My idea was to leave, do something I never thought about doing, see places I never thought I would see, and at the same time find myself and create something new for myself and the people around me.
Switching gears, you had a daughter which you dedicate the book, how was it like changing and having to go from the structure and cold hard discipline to bend and become softer after having a baby?
My daughter was born October 9, 2012, and that was the day that changed my entire life for the better. I wasn't in a good place I was drinking a lot and had no other motive except for writing. Writing is great, but I needed to do something else for myself. I felt that the time I held her for the first time. I dedicate a poem in my book to her which has her birthday, and it starts like you’re in a bloody scene, and you think that something bad is happening but it turns out it's when my daughter was born and turns out to be the most beautiful thing. She made me focus and see that something great was happening here and now and my daughter was the reason why I decided to put this out there. Her life could touch someone else's and the in the same way this is what the book is about. These words are going to affect someone out there and affect their life, the same way she did mine.
What’s next for you? Do you have another book in the works?
While I wrote “What I Never Said” I've been working on a novel, it’s taken me at least six years, and it won’t be ready for another two years, but in between, I’m releasing another book titled “Lost In Discovery” with a friend of mine. We’re creating a poetry book of how to be successful in your world, by creating space and tapping into the feeling of wanting to be accepted and reaching the climax in your life and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. We’re hoping to release it in May of this year.
For anyone reading out there I just want them to read a poem that’s in the book. It goes like this:
Even the night has to look into the light with hope
because no matter the weather or state of our universe
this fear of complexity gave us the only gift you and I will ever need
and that’s the day after the next.
Regardless of what’s going on right now we always have the day after the next, it’s never going to be the last day to do something. You can always turn it around.
To support Fredy and purchase his book, visit https://www.createspace.com/6245190 or keep up with him on Instagram @FredyPabon.Author
All photos courtesy of Fredy Pabon