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Undescended Testicle: Being Naked to Be Real and Vulnerable

Undescended Testicle: Being Naked to Be Real and Vulnerable Barefoot Rehabilitation Clinic

23 Oct Undescended Testicle: Being Naked to Be Real and Vulnerable

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I was the kind of kid who kept to himself.

There was no conversation unless someone else started it.  The corner of any space was my refuge, where I could stay, observe, and learn about room dynamics.  Surrounded by two walls, I wasn’t blissed out in all my glory, but I was comfortable, protected and safe.

Regardless of introversion, any adolescent wants to fit in.

At an eighth grade school dance, I was in the cafeteria.  Surely in the corner of the room, as always.  But cafeterias are larger than most rooms.  The corner is not so cornerish with so much space between your one body and the mass of people all the way over there on the other side of the room.

The typical comfort of the two walls was not so comfortable with the illusory fog of the crowd so distant from me.  Wandering eyes were too easily able to stray their typical boy-boy or girl-girl conversations to see the kid by himself who doesn’t know how to interact in group settings.

“Oh shit, what now?” I thought.

Calling Out Your Own Bullshit

At that dance, I wiggled out of that all-too-common discomfort for most adolescents by teaching myself:

Chris, it doesn’t matter that you’re alone.  Look like you don’t care and you win.  You can be comfortable with that defensive strategy.

Note that this experience was a few years after my parents’ divorce at age 10.  I had already beaten myself over that life experience and taught myself that I was the only one I could trust in the world because I couldn’t control my parents.

At age 12, I had the added learned behavior of behaving in a way that I thought was me not caring what other people thought of me.  Really, it was me caring very much what other people thought but proactively defending any perspective by the front: “I don’t care what you think, so I’ll grow my hair long, not wear deodorant, scar my body, listen to dark, unconventional music, and pretend like your opinion doesn’t matter to me when deep down, I really care that you like me.”

I just turned 31.

What blows my mind is that awareness of these two defensive fronts …

  1. Being a control freak to do everything myself and not let anyone help me out of fear of what loss of control looks like (divorce).
  2. Sharing and behaving in unconventional ways as protective mechanism for caring way too deeply what others think.

… this awareness escaped me until about three months ago.  I’ve been living my life in complete ignorance of these subconscious thought weeds.

This writing is the unrooting of emotional/thought patterns I no longer accept running my life.

Digging into the Depths Of the Psyche

Bullshit weeds and their roots run deep!

I pride myself as someone who is always introspecting and pursuing different paths of self-inquiry.

In the past five years, I’ve explored and received insights from the paths of:

  • Buddhism – The first noble truth is that suffering exists.  The second, that craving causes suffering.  The third, that ending craving ends suffering.
  • Vippasana Meditation – Having never meditated for 11 hours a day for 10 days before, this 10 day retreat was my first experience into a definite change in mental state.
  • Tao (not to be confused with Taoism) – Tao’s focus on family seems to me a highly leverageable paradigm for healing many of the the 21st century’s problems when it comes to poverty, depression, and drug use.
  • Autobiography of a Yogi and teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda – Magic through understanding of the mind is tangible.
  • Landmark’s Curriculum for Life – This amazing course was the beginning exposure of the weeds in my mind garden.
  • conventional psychotherapy – Sitting on the couch and sharing your thoughts with a therapist you trust is highly invaluable still.
  • archetypal dreamwork – After reading Carl Jung’s Memories, Dreams, and Reflections, I’ve wondered what’s up with my sunconscious mind when not conscious.  Working with Jill Eras, I was amazed to learn how much my subconscious mind was trying to reveal to me with the dreams I was having about how I am living my life.  For those of you who don’t remember your dreams, I didn’t either.  Jill can teach you how to remember your dreams easily.
  • journaling – I don’t know what it is, but letting the subconscious stream onto paper has an immediate transformation on my mindset.
  • medicine ceremonies involving psychedelic substances as described in Breaking Open the Head by Daniel Pinchbeck – One ceremony transformed my consciousness into owning what universal love feels like on Earth.  I’m doing a second ceremony in Brooklyn in December if anyone is interested in joining Katie and I.
  • recreational marijuana usage – While more of a vice than a tool for growth, I have had realizations while high that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.  Namely, that all of reality is an illusion and what we make of it.
  • nature walks – When I don’t want to sit and meditate, I mindfully walk outside.
  • Rising Strong by Brene Brown – Brene’s story and her research helped me put perspective to the emotions and feelings I was (or wasn’t) going through.
  • Waking Up by Sam Harris – if you want the benefits of spirituality for the mind without the dogma, this is the book for you.

All of these paths have proven fruitful.

Still, my story (written in 2010 on my personal blog that I no longer write on) has remained very superficial.  Typically, it goes like this.

My parents got divorced when I was 10.  I had 25 cavities at the dentist that year from stress.  I played football as a form of suicide by football players.  I drank in college, burnt myself with hot coat hangers, found friends to hit me with bamboo sticks, and was generally a superficially happy person.

I thought I had gone deep enough to begin to heal when I went to chiropractic school and started treating myself well.  And my story has been the same ever since.

Depressed kid heals himself to find health and happiness, then wants to heal the world.

All of the pain I experienced wasn’t enough though.  I didn’t go deep enough.

I need to go deeper.

Let Me Tell You About My Testicle

There we were, playing a rousing game of NFL 199- Something on the PlayStation.  My brother Kyle and I played a lot of video games.  Inevitably, a fight ensued.

Kyle knew that I was born with an undescended testicle that had been operated on when I was one.  At the time of the incident I’m about to share with you, it was a non-issue except for the fact that one ball hung lower than the other, but I’ve heard that many men have this non-incidental finding.  I’ve also seen evidence of this truth showering with my high school and college football buddies, who I seriously doubt all had an undescended testicle.

On one particular day, Kyle decided to poke fun of my undescended testicle, one that I was very self-conscious about.  After all, my package was my own and no one else’s to harass.

For whatever reason, Kyle’s controller was in front of his face, like he was reading a book from six inches away.  Fortunately for him, the controller slowed down my back hand fist coming at his nose.  Unfortunately, controllers to the face hurt.

Kyle proceeded to cry and scream to my mom “Why is Chris even here?  Get him out of here!”  You see, I was visiting my mom and brother, which I did on some weekends because I had already moved in with my father.  I basically gave my mom hell after the divorce until she let me move in with Dad (I’m still sorry about that Mom).

Thinking back now, I wonder, why did this happen?

Realizing that Kyle had touched an emotional button for me, I found the depths of the bullshit weeds I had been looking for!

More About My Testicle & Other Head Trash

If you’re not naked, go back to sleep. ~Rumi

As I said above, this writing is about weeding.  I don’t need a shovel, I need a bulldozer to get at these roots!

Wanting to be naked with Rumi, I want to awaken and not let this stuff get in my way from creating the life I dream of.

Here I go …

It’s uncomfortable to tell you about my testicle, so I share it with you.

I control everything around me and pursue perfection because I subconsciously don’t trust anyone.

I care so much what you think about me that I pretend not to care so that you don’t share what you think about me.

I hate believing in scarcity and tell people that I only operate from abundance.  However, I notice myself getting jealous of people who have found more success than me and I allow their hard work to make me feel like I should move to a cave in Hawaii in live in it, surrounded by four walls instead of two.

I tell people that I’m one of the best chronic pain specialists in New Jersey.  If I had to put a number on my success rate for how many patients I actually help reduce symptoms, it’s probably around 60%.  This observation makes me feel unworthy.

Anxiety drives my behaviors and actions to be busy being busy so often that my girlfriend, Katie, tells me once every other week how scared she is that I will never slow down and put family first the way I desperately want to.  If I’m honest, I definitely have put my businesses in front of not only her relationship, but any relationship, for the past three years (I’m sorry Katie – this is me working on it).  This fact sickens me.

I think that’s it.

If I discover more, I promise to share.

For my future family.

What is Your “Undescended Testicle”?

In writing (digging) this piece, weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  Instead of always being Atlas and shrugging the world up, I can simply let the world drop without so much effort and struggle.

The bright future ahead of me means that I no longer have to let these emotional neurological pathways continue to activate on automatic as they’ve done.  The garden is clear for any type of creation I want to visualize happen.

I can move out of the shadows of the corner and finally unveil my true identity, as Batman!


Photo Courtesy of Greg Berg

I hope that in my sharing, you’ve become aware of the different thought seeds that have been planted in your mind garden.

Some flowers and fruits are surely ones you want to keep.

What are the weeds you want to remove?

If yes, my desperate plea to you is to start digging.

It is paramount that you not be intimidated by the size of the tree and ignore it.  Sitting and staring is not allowed.  The only option for living a dream-filled life is to grab the implement of your choice and start digging.  A shovel might be a small step, akin to you journaling every day to start to explore this bullshit weed.  If you need a bulldozer, I recommend the tool that scares you the most.

For many, conventional psychotherapy, a 10 day Vipassana meditation retreat, or an intense Landmark Forum seminar might be that implement.

Please, go deeper.

Know that I am committed to you not letting yourself get in your way.

Don’t worry, I’m holding the mirror up for myself too.  That includes you, Chris.

speechbubblesWhat is your undescended testicle? Please share comments below.

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Dr. Chris Stepien, DC, Full-Body ID Certified, ART Certified, CSCS, and CrossFit Level 1 Certified, is a Sports Therapy & Chronic Pain Resolution Specialist with Barefoot Rehab in Parsippany, NJ.  When you're in pain that hasn't gone away and you've been to at least 3 other doctors, Dr. Chris wants to help you. And when you're sad, depressed, or not enjoying life, Dr. Chris wants to hug you. He invites you to reach out, no matter what your concern is. Barefoot Rehab is here to serve you.
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  • Phil Nauta
    Posted at 20:51h, 23 October Reply

    Damn, wonderfully written Chris. Last year when I was going through a tough time I got into a lot of the stuff you mentioned here – from Buddhism to Vipassana to therapy and Brene. I learned something new with each. Thanks for sharing…

  • Dr. Chris
    Posted at 21:00h, 23 October Reply

    Thanks for your kind words Phil. Glad you found these same interventions. They’re massively helpful and can’t wait to find the next big thing for me. Let me know if there is anything not on my list that worked for you.

  • Nick
    Posted at 09:18h, 30 November Reply

    Oh boy, it’s like reading a description of me. I had an undescended testicle, I had it operated on (you were lucky to have it done at 1, mine at 3 was much more traumatic: https://undescendedtesticles.wordpress.com/my-story-orchidopexy/). I have been a control freak, a perfectionist, unable to trust others. Feeling like damaged goods and that I don’t measure up to anyone else.

    I spent 6 years doing therapy; it didn’t make much impact. Meditation has helped the most, giving me a different perspective.

    Good vibes for your journey!

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 14:59h, 30 November Reply

      Hi Nick, I’m sorry to hear that you have had to go through something like this as well. Have you looked into a therapists that explore your psyche for the trauma and help you release it instead of conventional cognitive behavioral therapy, where they just talk to you about your issues, intellectually? I’ve used a dreamworker and hypnotherapists, both of whom seemed to get faster and more permanent gains than the intellectual conversations of CBT. Please let me know if I can support you in any way.

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