Every Step Of The Way
You by now already think I am crazy.
I hadn’t been paying attention to mainstream media for quite a time and that one time I went and checked out the daily mail I found an article that hit close to home.
It was about a man whose goal was to walk across America barefoot to raise awareness of planet earth, climate change and global warming.
The article talked about this man and how he had tragically been killed along his journey and mentioned his hometown of Providence, RI.
I cannot exactly recall the article or exactly what it said but in my mind it was of a man who made a risky decision to make it his life’s mission to raise so much awareness people would hear of it and no one really knew (and to those that didn’t know him or who he was and the lack of press, he looked as though he was just a long haired big barefoot man (possibly a veteran in distress) that needed shoes and was doing something crazy. He didn’t make the papers that I had read here in eastern North Carolina by his mission. It was on an Internet site that talked about his death.
It made my gut turn to read where he came from and that he died so I wanted to know more.
This man was a treasure that is so valuable there should be books written about him.
Exactly 1 week ago he died and I read about it the next day and for the past 6 days I haven’t stopped thinking about him and what he truly represented.
A life force of such significant magnitude that others probably thought he was crazy. That’s how I identified with him and for the last week I have been somewhat “obsessed”
Obsessed not as a I want to stalk you word. But as a word of a deeper level of interest that it hasn’t left my mind and I want to know more.
The deeper I dug….the more my heart just sank.
After being on a months long journey that brought me the same amount of nausea as morning sickness I had been researching my family history.
February 22, 2016 is what I will call my alive day where I had a breakdown and almost and could have died (been a few times I have escaped death with the feeling of invincibility until somewhere along the way you lose that thought and give up completely which I didn’t do entirely .. More on my backstory later)
There are many things society says are wrong with me. That is why I no longer believe in the notion that there are “crazy” people. Insane yes. Criminal yes and “crazy” no. Eccentric is a good word if you have nothing else to really say. After being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and hospitalized many times (“normal” people would call me damaged) and I learned believed in order to “cure” myself instead of taking handfuls of medication that would make me drool on myself and be a zombie I had discovered that trauma is the root of all addiction and mental health had to have some root as to why I was the way I am and perhaps it had something to do with my ancestry.
I am also ADHD so it is very hard for me to remember, pay attention or spend a lot of time being patient. During my quest to discover my ancestry I conditioned my mind to harness some of its power to digging and looking and finding and I used those skills which I either developed or lost or hadn’t used in a long time to navigate this person.
Who was Mark Baumer from Providence RI and why did he trigger such an interest inside of me?
Was it because I am from Rhode Island and the last time I had really remembered any news from there it was when Olivia Culpo became Miss Universe. That I grew up in the smallest state that had the most corruption and destruction and this man made it outside the borders of that state on his bare feet which many times I had wanted to run away from and that is how I ended up here?
Understanding that I have to get deep to the root of why this man from this state who was on the opposite political spectrum (I voted Trump because I am the spouse of a US Army Veteran, mother of a Marine, Daughter of a Navy seaman and granddaughter of an AirForce Sargent) but I also have heart that believes this world is changing and the real people with problems are the big corporations, the mind controlled consumers and the message that I received is that he took it upon himself to use the money he had won from a poetry contest and won money to finance his trip and he just up and grabbed his things and went only to meet a tragic end with the very thing he was against.
After months of marriage therapy and utilizing my listening skills to harness the attention that was so hard for me to get ahold of. I immediately became transfixed on this person.
Never in my life had I ever had an “obsession” or deep like for anything that was not in my world. My children were my life, my loves and my priority. My husband and possibly my parents but they brought me such pain that I never really had them on my mind (only the trauma of my past) to be diagnosed with every letter of the psychology today alphabet of disorders. So this was exciting for me to find out who he was.
The videos on YouTube were very interesting, inspiring and motivating. His words reached me in a place that no one else touched before in a way that no one ever had. Trying to distance myself from the fantasy that this person is still alive and I could really meet him one day to the sobering reality that this man just died. I felt an understanding that no one could feel unless you were someone like me. He was brilliant and different. Just like me. We may be disturbing to others and not everyone’s cup of tea but we are not bland or boring. We are of a different breed that would give everything we have to anyone in need because we feel so much. We are not deadly to anyone else but ourselves.
Complaints happen from people who have nothing really else to talk about so instead they pick on people and things and it gets annoying. My lack of friends is not for the inability of people not liking me. It is because I cannot stand people who have nothing good to say or who don’t remind me how crazy I am and have to overcompensate for my lack of understanding them and I am not always on the spectrum of what is “normal”
Admittedly I am bipolar and My moods change and fluctuate and the vulnerability I have people have and so easily take advantage of.
During the videos I examined them as if I were looking for clues. Clues as to his existence as to what made him tick and in my eyes he was brilliant and his outlets (even the plugs he stuck up his nose 😂) for expression are those that mean so much to me.
Social media is a great way to express yourself when no one you are around gets you.
For a very long time I just had to cover myself in the sadness that washed away my voice. My creativity, my existence in fear people would make fun of me, find or who I am and I would burn every trail I had walked upon. Along the way there are lots of friends that are now no longer friends in the wake of the casualty of defriending that only in social media does it buffer you from your true feelings.
In light of all this I felt I had made a new friend. Watching him talk, listening to his words that to me made perfect sense. (except for his dislike of Trump, but that really is the best part of not seeing eye to eye is that you can teach each other another perspective you might not have found on your own) This just happened.
So play after play I analyzed like a playbook into my own life. Following his journey from day 1 to day 100 and then realizing that is it. I cried.
The next day, Monday, I folded up my computer and went to sleep.
Depression hit me like a ton of bricks. More than depression was a pure unadulterated sadness that this man I had spent more time watching his videos, following his journey, listening to him speak, laughing at his jokes and appreciating the love and beauty he brought to the world…was gone. I felt so crushed.
I couldn’t make sense of it.
Unless maybe along his journey he lost hope.
Of all the days, I went back to day 44 when he got yelled at at a man that didn’t want to share the road and told him he would be killed. There were so many moments of so many profound things that those that have been so close to death understand. I had cheered him on and the moment when he chose to go to Florida, I kept saying “please come back” but I knew his journey would be his fate and that is where his journey ended….
This is where I stopped crying.
The next day I decided in his memory I was going to do something to help spread his message.
After living in RI and having my experience with main stream media (I owned a store called Posh & Naughty 10 years ago that sold lingerie & things to empower women but the media twisted it to what got them the views and someone had asked why I didn’t get famous, I told them, Rhode Island controls who they want to let out of the littlest state. After a 10 year custody battle with a corrupt family court system. I ran away. Once I ran out of the courthouse in high heels and drove to the top of the Newport Bridge just for the view and was escorted to the hospital by a nice RI State Trooper. Now I wonder how far could I have gotten if I was barefoot, I digress. To those that just saw Mark probably thought he was “crazy” and categorized him as many people in the area and when he’d decided to Walk Across America Barefoot for a non-profit organization to raise awareness for global warming and climate change, I am certain he had a tough time getting coverage or an interview with Projo in his admirable activism against Gov. Ramundo to stop killing our planet.
Understanding that layer it makes me even more sad. He did the right thing and spoke out and even got arrested for what he believed in. Saving our planet and stopping the corporations from killing our water, using excess energy and stripping our planet in order of what it needs to survive.
So in all of this. It effected me greatly and I feel a greater sense of purpose.
Amazing how media will selectively cover you for a story they want when you are alive and will write everything if they profit off your death.
Everything Mark Baumer stood for I believed in my heart to be true. He was funny and captured me with his personally and he sacrificed his life so people like me who are going through something tough could learn, gain perspective and most of all .. Do Something Now.
So today. I have been vegan for 5 days. I walked 5 miles 4 days ago without the use of anti-anxiety meds and I am going to live doing what I can to help others in his honor and his name I am going to do my best to help others in need and raise awareness about real issues going on in life.
I have been to the gym and walked on the beach last 4 days and getting out there and doing it.
Today, it was 40 degrees outside on the beach and I thought of Mark as my husband and I walked. It was cold and the waves crashed and my face was cold. My nose ran and I didn’t make it very far. I went as far as I could go and someone had walked the path before us and of all things the person left their barefoot prints in the sand.
I know that somewhere something is out there. I am blessed to have read about Mark Baumer. He was a real man that had a real message and his life will never be forgotten.
I love you Mark Baumer