David Venter is making a comeback but first, pull up a chair, grab some pop-corn and get ready to pass judgement because, some serious tea is about to be spilled. It’s time to open up, get real, dive deep, and go over some uncomfortable and not-so-flattering topics that most would advise to rather keep on the down-low. Fair warning; this is going to be a long read, but bear with me and get comfortable. I have a story to tell. Here we go…
Who is David Venter?
Is he that professor dude that pops up in Google searches? The owner of Venter Trailers? How about that developer from Cape Town? Or that other dude who’s really into sports? Yes, they are all David Venter but they’re not THE David Venter. There’s only one. Yours truly.
Yes, hi! It’s me. I’m @thedavidventer, Born in South Africa on July 1, 1987, ex-CEO and founder of the now-defunct Vervean Media advertising and event management agency that I launched when I was only 18 years old, with great early success going straight to my head; I’m the David Venter you saw in a few episodes of local South African TV Series’ Snitch, Egoli, and 7de Laan; I’m the David Venter you used to see hanging around with local celebs and industry leaders in VIP areas at Truth, The Palms, Taboo and The Senate clubs in Sandton, Midrand and Centurion; I’m the David Venter who used to build epic websites for local talent; The David Venter who used to bring you the latest runway fashion show videos and reviews on my old blog; I’m the David Venter who used to live-steam moments of my life on JustinTV; I’m the David Venter who used to flaunt my sexy skater-boy boyfriend like a trophy everywhere I went and I was hoping to marry him some day. I’m the David Venter who used to get out of the car at red traffic lights and dance in the street to pop music (in peak traffic). Correction; I WAS that David Venter.
Yes, I know, what the f**k? I was obsessed with titles, money, status, material possessions, and seeking attention. I didn’t have a care in the world. I lived in the moment and I had it all; confidence, friends, love, money, pride, a certain level of respect, envy and fame amongst my peers, a fancy apartment, a fancy car, and a wardrobe that most fashionistas would die for. I was “living the dream”, right at the top, literally overlooking all of Johannesburg and Sandton from a luxury apartment on top of the hill in Northcliff. I was a social butterfly. Wild and packed house parties were the weekend norm. Mid-week clubbing and cocktail get-togethers became a habit. Breakfast consisted of Grappa, Espresso and Eggs Benedict with business partners at Fashion TV. Lunches and dinners consisted of trying exotic meals at different gourmet restaurants and silently judging the less-fortunate for not being on my level. Luxury shopping was a daily occurrence. At one point I earned more than my entire family combined, raking in as much as 3k per day. Having come from an average middle-class household and reaching financial success at an early age without any previous failures went straight to my head. My ego was beyond huge. I felt like a God and the world was my bitch.
So, what the fuck happened to that David Venter?
It’s been 10+ years! Is @thedavidventer a ghost of his former self; a has-been? Am I expired? Am I cancelled? Not quite…
Reality happened; a knock back down to earth happened; heartbreak happened; attempted suicide happened; Cancer happened, along with years of anxiety, low self-esteem, and crippling depression, followed by self-doubt, unhealthy relationships and an obsession with the past. I got stuck and everything that I once was fell apart which, looking back now, doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. I was kind of a dick. It took losing everything to make me grow as a person and discover my true self.
Everything that I worked towards disappeared into the abyss, myself included. Goodbye love. Goodbye boyfriend. Goodbye business. Goodbye friends. Goodbye money. Goodbye apartment. Goodbye car. Goodbye wardrobe, Goodbye hopes and dreams. Goodbye motivation. Goodbye self-esteem. Goodbye dignity. Goodbye life. I got to a really low place and I had to choose between being homeless or swallowing my pride and moving back in with my family. Suicidal thoughts still clouded my mind. The metaphorical dark hole I fell into was lower than rock bottom. It felt like I was done and that there was absolutely no way out. I attempted to kill myself, twice, and failing at it made me feel like an even bigger failure. I felt like I could do nothing right; I couldn’t even do suicide right. I was useless, pointless, a waste of space; I was done.
But I’m not here to be negative, to complain or to seek pity. And based on how I now perceive my former self, I certainly deserve none. Regardless of what I did or did not deserve; debilitating heartbreak and depression, attempted suicide, cancer and all the other issues in-between was a traumatic experience that no one should ever have to go through. We all have our own issues and deal with them in different ways. I’m still learning to deal with mine and I’m here to tell you my comeback story, not to dwell in the past. I’m here to show you that staying humble is important; that life is a rollercoaster of ups and downs and that it’s very easy to fall and lose everything but, no matter how bad things get; no matter how hard you fall; no matter how much you lose, there’s always a way out of the metaphorical black hole and it’s never too late to make a comeback.
Love lost is a tragic and debilitating thing. Depression is a silent killer. No one truly knows how difficult life can be until they live through the darkness themselves. It’s easy to judge those who have less; who do less; who complain. I used to look down on such people, until I became what I used to berate. Sometimes, life teaches us important lessons in the worst kinds of ways but I do not regret my experiences. Going from nothing, to having everything, to losing everything and now working to build my life back up from nothing again, has thus far, been the most educational and rewarding journey of personal discovery.
Loneliness, emptiness and nothingness slowly turned into an appreciation for solitude and self-reflection. There’s no better way to get to know yourself; who you truly are as a person; what you’re really passionate about, when all you have is time alone with yourself. Through my time alone and with very little influence from mainstream society or monetary and material distraction, I got to know my true self. I discovered things about myself that made me realize I’m not the same person I used to be, or pretended to be in an attempt to fit in with a certain crowd. Being different; not fitting a certain clique, class, behavior or mould should be freely expressed and celebrated. I developed a new appreciation for who I am as a person rather than basing my self-image on my bank balance in comparison to others and no longer projecting my own insecurities through berating others. I started to enjoy my own company rather than fearing loneliness and rejection and no longer have persistent suicidal thoughts. I did a lot of reading, studying and personal development, and I still have a long way to go but I think I’m on the right track. I’m thinking more positively again. I started seeking inspiration from others who’s been through similar traumas. New ideas came to mind. New passions surfaced and new dreams were born.
As I’m writing and reviewing these words, it seems like going from the darkest of places to a place of motivation and inspiration is an easy switch to make – It’s not. It’s been 10+ years since I’ve hit rock bottom. Every day has been a struggle, and I still deal with depression. I still have dark days, anxiety and social issues but things are getting better every day. Instead of staring at the wall, mind clouded by negativity and suicidal thoughts, I’ve slowly started working on my dreams again. I got back into fashion and music. And now I’m even getting back into writing. The more I focus on myself; what I think of me, rather than worrying about how others perceive me or how I have to act in order to fit in; who I truly am as a person and what I truly care about, the happier, more motivated and creative I become.
Spending a lot of time alone, doing a lot of reading and really discovering my true self is the number one thing that reignited my will to live and to once again work towards reaching my goals and dreams. But I’m not going to take all the credit for my currently in-progress comeback. I also have some wonderful assistance to thank for this newly acquired joy and motivation.
No, I’m not going to thank God. I’m an Atheist. If anything, my previous belief in God and in the ancient myth-based laws is what caused a lot of my self-hatred, self-rejection and depression. Religious belief had a part to play in my emotional downfall. What helped me and who helped me actually exists in the natural world. I’m fortunate to have an understanding and supportive family and a few close friends who treat me like family. They understand what I’m going through and they understand depression and associated mental issues due to depression (or they try to, to the best of their abilities and I will be forever grateful). With their help and continued support, along with the slow but steady growth of my new business ventures, I am able to maintain a healthy supply of strong THC and CBD Cannabis oil (literally the best anti-depressant and also a cure for cancer), and I am able to cover my basic needs and run my day-to-day business operations. Dear friends and family; If you’re reading this, thank you! I would not have been alive today if it weren’t for you.
I’m now living on my family’s property in the Eastern Suburbs of Gauteng, in a garage that’s been converted into a flat, slowly but steadily getting back on my feet; back to my passions and working towards my goals and dreams once more. I still spend a lot of time alone, mostly by choice, surrounded only by my pets who I love as if they were my children. Some days I still struggle to get out of bed and face the world but it’s getting better. I’m learning to cope with the bad days and to appreciate and make the most of the good days. Social anxiety is still a problem, so even when I do decide to put myself back out in the world, it’s often extremely difficult. On rare occasions, I would socialize with family or visit my most understanding and supportive friend. It’s a slow process but it’s happening and it’s getting better! The comeback is happening and it feels great!
So, who is David Venter now?
On the Internet, I’m the potty-mouthed guy who speaks his mind without a filter; the random and often offensive meme sharer on Facebook and the politically charged opinion tweeter. In person, I’m the quiet observer; the introvert; the deep thinker. I have overwhelming empathy and I care a lot about the world and the people in it. I’ve become extremely sensitive towards anyone who degrades or infringes upon the liberties of others – This is also why I find it difficult to mingle in mainstream society and why I struggle to fit in to any elitist clique or belief-based groups. Classism is bullshit. Separation is bullshit. Remove the beliefs, the bank balance and material fluff and at our very core, we’re all natural human beings in need of love, acceptance and freedom to pursue individual goals, desires and self-expression. The only thing that’s really important is how we treat others. After all the time I’ve spent alone; reflecting; learning, I’ve developed a new appreciation for all things natural, honest and real. I feel more connected with everything that truly matters and it’s giving me a new sense of respect, appreciation and love for life itself. I’m here. I’m back. And I’m trying to make the most of whatever challenges come my way.
So, what are my passions? I love art, music, nature, truth, liberty and equality. I use what I have, where I am, with the skills I possess to turn these passions into my profession. I’ve started my own electronic music record label and produced some music, launched my own graphic print clothing label, and I spend many hours of my free time debating religion, politics and current affairs on various social media platforms in hopes of also sparking an interest in the reality of our natural world within others. Empathy is the key to solving the world’s problems. I often wish that I could do more than just discuss these things on social media. I also enjoy seeing other creative individuals succeed in their endeavors. It’s extremely rewarding and inspiring to witness the art, creativity, success and personal growth of others.
Yes, I sell a shirt that says EGO on my online store. Yes, I manage brands named after myself. Yes, I refer to myself as THE David Venter but it’s all mostly done ironically and/or comically. That said, I am indeed proud of what I’ve managed to accomplish and what I keep working towards despite all the bullshit I’ve suffered and despite being imprisoned in solitude by my own mental illness but I am by no means better than anyone else, just different. It’s not about ego or status. It’s about knowing my worth. At a glance, or if you think you know me based on my past, you may think I’m a self-obsessed dickhead but in reality, I’m quite down-to-earth, and way more obsessed with observing, learning, and appreciating the growth of others. Learning from others, rather than looking down upon them, is what’s helping me to grow and discover my true self.
After all I’ve been through, I’ve been humbled but I’ve also come to know my worth through discovering my true self. @thedavidventer is here. I’m putting myself back out into the world; I’m making my comeback, however long it may take, however small it may seem, and I invite you to join me on the journey ahead. The David Venter from the first few paragraphs in this article is not the David Venter that’s here today. I am not rich. I am not popular and I am not better than anyone. I found success without failure way too early and when the reality of life finally emerged, I was unable to cope with it. Now I’m just a struggling artist trying to make something of himself again. Who knows where things may lead? I sure don’t but there’s only one way to go from here and that is UP. I’m here and I’m ready to grow. The comeback is happening and I’m extremely grateful to all who join me on my journey of growth, discovery, creativity and positivity. Let’s do this!