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“Merriam and Webster did not write the dictionary, they simply put it together. Words can only have a meaning when people give them a definition.” –Logan Badders
Although only about two years older than myself, Logan Badders is one person that I can say has made a major impact on my life in a very short amount of time. I see him as an important person in my life, not only because he’s someone who will listen to me no matter what I have to say, but because he is always open to give me feedback, regardless of the situation. Whether what he says is what I want to hear or not, I can learn to accept what he says and the advice that he gives me, only because he cares and wants to see me grow, to find who I truly am as a person.
While his words seem to flow effortlessly now, life growing up wasn’t always as easy as one might imagine. Even though Logan was raised by a Baptist priest, religion was never a priority. In fact, the more Logan was pushed by his mother to believe in a god that he didn’t see was real, the more he wanted to be different. Conformity was the last thing on his list; he needed to find who he truly was. “I was battling who I was raised to be with who I wanted to be.” Badders stated, “I just didn’t feel comfortable in church, it wasn’t where I could be myself.”
As a child, growing up with divorced parents is hard enough, let alone living with a severely bi-polar and borderline schizophrenic mother. Logan was not allowed by his mother to see his father, who was the most inspirational person to him. Having family that he could connect to and become close with was still important to Logan, so he turned to his grandparents.
“After losing my grandmother, Deloris “Jo” Lewis, in early 2007, I rebelled. I grew apart from my family and friends. I acted out on feelings of depression and sadness. Then, in the summer of 2007, I lost my other grandmother, Carla Pence. At this point, I began to put my feelings into words, into thought, and into art. I began to learn more about people, about how we react to certain aspects of everyday life, and about how the loss of someone can either strip them of their will to strive, or break them down just to re-build,” Badders recalls.
It was also in the year 2007 that Logan began his journey to finding who he really is and becoming himself. He found music to be a very important part of this journey. He took the lyrics from his favorite band “Tool” and translated them into advice. The lead singer of the band, Maynard James Keenan, was the one who inspired him most with his words. Some of Logan’s favorite lyrics include, “You must free yourself from yourself.” These words alone stood out to him because that is what he wanted for himself, to be free.
“Leaving” reality and entering his own world has always been very easy for Logan. He would write in a journal, but instead of writing page after page of lengthy entries, he wrote words. These words described the aspects of himself that he was not happy with, such as selfishness and arrogance. “The only way you can truly see yourself is to look in a mirror. I would look for these traits in others, to see how I looked to everyone around me,” Logan described, “I always say, the only way you can rebuild, is to destroy.”
It wasn’t soon after when Logan became severely depressed. His mother wanted him to seek help. She took him to see a counselor, with whom he had shallow talks and received a prescription. This is when he discovered that, although these counselors may have countless degrees certifying them in their profession, “the only person that knows you, is you.” This doctor, however, did teach Logan a way to keep his negative attributes in check. He would start out the day with a pocketful of paperclips. Whenever he said something in a negative manner or acted against who he was working to be, he would move one paperclip to the other pocket. This helped Logan to keep track of his progress throughout the day. “I would start out with twenty paperclips. Even if I still had ten left in original pocket by the end of the day, it was a pretty good day. But I knew if I was down to five, I had some things to work on.”
After a while, Logan grew tired of this treatment. It was becoming apparent to him that the only person that could help him was himself. This is also when Logan adopted the mindset of not needing help from others. If he didn’t have the knowledge to live his life and to figure out who he was, then who did? “I would rather scrape my knee trying to achieve something that I wanted, rather than ask for help.” Logan stated. He decided that he did not want to use the crutch of a counselor or medication to find who he really is.
By the time 2009 rolled around, things were looking up. “I did more for myself, and I held my head a little bit higher,” he added. Although Logan lost two more grandparents, he didn’t let that set him back. “[In the summer of 2009,] I lost my great-grandmother, Doris Pence. She was a large influence on me and my will to grow. I lost her to old age. However, when I lost her, I did not shed a tear. I felt as if she had made amends with her decisions, and it was her will to let go. I saw her, she knew who I was, and I held her hand. I felt the power leaving her palms. So I let go. I went home, only to get a call of her passing. A nod in acceptance was the only thing necessary,” Logan explained.
“That winter I lost my grandfather; Thomas E. Lewis. This was a man I respected with all of my heart. He was a Baptist preacher. He knew I wasn’t at all a religious person. But we understood each other. He preached about the word of God. And I preached about the word of myself. Before he died, I told him I respected him for striving for something like religion for fifty-plus years. He died three days before Christmas.”
Many people fear death and losing their lives, but Logan sees death as not only an ending, but a new beginning in another realm. “Instead of thinking of death as a horrible thing, I believe that death marks the point in which you’ve learned all that you are meant to learn.” While helping fellow students cope over the recent loss of a classmate, he kept this in mind when consoling others. When everyone around him cried about the boy losing his life so young, Logan’s reply was simply, “How can you say he died young if you don’t know how long he was actually meant to live?”
During Logan’s time of depression was when he overcame his toughest obstacle. Since his realization of not wanting help from anyone, he decided to follow his father’s path of discovery and learn everything for himself. “I will purposely put myself into awful situations, just to see if I can handle them, and if I am capable of coming up with rational resolutions.” Logan described, “You have to lose your mind entirely. You have to lose every piece of reality that you’re clinging to. There comes a point when everything that you’re holding onto catches on fire, leaving you with nothing.” He then described every mistake he made as touching a hot stove. “How many times when you were younger were you told not to touch the stove because it was hot? Once. This helped me to try and not make the same mistake twice,” Logan added, “I would talk to people, and rather than just giving an instant response, I thought more about what I wanted to say, and how to say it in the most effective way.”
At this point, Logan wanted more than anything to go live with his father. “We started to talk more and were beginning to develop a better relationship,” Logan said, “He took me to see the band “Tool”. It felt refreshing to know that the Maynard (the lead singer) was actually performing right in front of me. Hearing him say the words that meant the most to me was just the greatest feeling.” During September of 2009, his wishes came true and he moved in with his dad. “The best part is that he let me walk the path I wanted to walk on,” Logan stated, “He wasn’t trying to make me fit into a mold like my mom did.” By not being a religious person, Logan freely admits that he erased God’s “path” for himself and drew his own.
2010 brought even better things for Logan. At only sixteen years old, he was excited to be recruited by someone to play in a band. “The band grew larger than we ever thought it would. In the summer of 2010, we were touring the east coast of America, working on our writing and ready to get a record label.” Devoting all of his time to the band was making it simple to just put his own self-discovery process aside. With all of the fame and money involved, who wouldn’t? But in December of the same year, Logan quit the band. “We all became selfish and arrogant,” Badders explained, “I lost all of my progress and went back to the person that I no longer wanted to be, just to make a dollar.” After leaving the band, he gained a friend in himself and found that he had to “touch the stove again” in order to keep himself in check.
Logan had started dating a girl named Cassidy back in July of 2010 and began helping her discover the self-discovery process. However, instead of accepting his advice, she became suicidal. “Cassidy required a lot of my time and attention. She had a very rough childhood and I started to forget what I had been working on in order to help her,” Logan said, “I had a really bad relapse. I began to lose respect for my dad and what he stood for, even though that’s what I had wanted before.” By the time December rolled around, he ended the relationship to get back on track. “She was mentally abusive and very controlling of me. But I surrendered myself to her,” Badders explained, “New year’s 2011 was the best. I was back with everyone and I had a great time.”
This was the year when he started to discover the universe. “I lived in the basement. I sat, listened to music, and just typed away. I would listen to interviews and watch documentaries. This is when I really learned to love writing.” Logan said. He then started listening to the words of comedian and musician Bill Hicks. Logan described Hicks as “rebellious” and spoke about how the comedian also saw conformity as a negative thing. “There is a decision to make every single second of every single day, whether you realize it or not.” Badders said. There is one quote from Hicks that sticks in Logan’s mind, and it is that life is a ride. He sees this as a choice to either stay on the ride, and see where it takes you, or to simply get off. “I took what he said to heart. I started to talk to more people. I love it when people want to hear what I have to say,” Logan stated, “I was preaching the gospel of I don’t know.”
Logan has strong beliefs to back up his feelings about not wanting to practice religion. “I feel that if you are stuck in a religion, you are not free. You are being controlled by a God, and not by yourself,” Badders described, “It can strongly hinder the brain from accepting new and exciting ideas of your own.” There is only one line in the bible that Logan will fully agree with, and it is that the truth will set you free. “I think this is a very true statement because no one should be controlled by anyone else. For example, jail does not set you free; you’re confined, that does not give you freedom. It’s simple.” Another reason he does not favor the bible is because of the concept of disciples. “There are people and then there are ‘she-ple’”, Badders explains, “She-ple are followers, people that rely solely on others for things. They are completely invested in religion. I don’t want followers or disciples.”
When giving others direction on their path of self-discovery, Logan often thinks about one word in particular; why. “One thing people don’t ask themselves enough is ‘why’,” Logan says, “Why is the most valid word that has come into reality. Why is the most valid and important question that you could ever ask.” Logan says he wants people to not just hear, but to listen to what he has to say. “Sometimes I wish I could just tell people ‘you don’t know anything’ and watch them drop their mouths in awe because it actually makes sense to them” Badders adds, “How do people live without knowing who they really are? There are things like nature that people don’t pay attention to enough. See that tree? To some people, it has no meaning, but do you know what comes from that tree? Oxygen. Without oxygen, we would not be here. Now it seems more important doesn’t it?”
Finally, Logan told about a few things that he ponders every single day while learning about himself. “You can take anything and learn from it. Take what you have been gifted with and make something from it,” Logan states, “I would rather surrender myself to the unknown, that’s what’s truly rewarding. That is why I write; it’s art. Art is losing the bounds of reality, forgetting the world. It’s like reading a book without page numbers, coloring outside the lines.” Logan describes the moral of all his statements to be “It’s up to you. Always is, and it always will be.”
While I haven’t known Logan all that long, I believe he has taught me a lot. Whether or not he always knew the answers, he helped me to find them within myself. Often times when I come to him, looking for a resolution to an issue I might be having, he will question me as to what I see as the right solution. Logan always reminds me that I am living my life and that I should live it the way I want to. He tells me that I don’t matter. I know that sounds harsh, but in reality, I don’t. In the grand scheme of things, no one does. It is a proven fact that one person on this planet dies nearly every half of a second, but that the world just keeps spinning. To some people, this is a very hard truth to grasp, but, to me, realizing these things is what keeps me grounded.
You may ask why I am so intrigued by someone that sounds negative, but in reality, he only speaks the truth. If you were to constantly do great things for others and constantly get praise, it would be easy for anyone to become a total airhead. This is why Logan enjoys helping people. He knows that not everyone will openly accept his words and direction; but this is how he keeps himself grounded. “You have to burn yourself a few times to find yourself.” Logan says. I have a lot of respect for him because he accepts everything and everyone for what they are and doesn’t force anything.
Many people may question why I have so much trust in someone that I’ve known for very little time at all. Being able to count on one person to be by my side whenever I need a push in the right direction means more than anything else in the world. Giving me the tools to succeed in life and find who I want to truly be is the greatest gift I could ever receive. While I have learned many different things from speaking to Logan, one of my favorite pieces of advice is that I have to power to make a change. If I don’t like the path that I’m on, or how a situation plays out, I am able to make a change for the better. And if that is impossible, it must not have much precedent in my life anyway.
“I learn something new every day. It’s not like I have a book full of solutions.” Badders stated. “Some people say I am insane, but who’s to say that’s a bad thing? Insanity, to me, is the ability to reach outside your own reality. Sometimes people lose control and are insane for the rest of their lives.” And he is completely okay with that.