It’s Natural To Be Afraid

As I sit here writing this, I have never felt more determined and motivated to not only continue adding entries to this blog on a more consistent basis, but to attack everything in my life with an increased intensity and focus.

I’ve done a lot of soul searching over the last four weeks or so. Examining my life as a whole, where I’m going, where I want to be & who I want to be with when I get there. What stands in my way and how I can overcome those obstacles. Goals I am hungry to accomplish and how previous failures and tribulations have shaped my character.

The conclusions I have come to have been quite liberating. Rereading my last entry it’s easy to reflect back and realize my competitive fire just hasn’t been burning very hot. I haven’t until recently been aggressive enough with my approach to everyday things like my MMA training and dieting, things I’ve long vowed to take to a new level.

I’d been having a really difficult time attempting to find something solid to write about. For me the best way to deal with writer’s block or a lack of creativity is to read, so that’s what I’ve been doing.

I reread all of my old blog entries (they will all be cataloged on this site shortly, just working out some html kinks), looked over other blogs of people who’s writing I respect – Assassinato, Bond18, etc. – sorted thru pages of notes I’ve taken over the past few years from books I had previously devoured.

What I’ve come to realize is that every creature at some point in their existence reaches a precipice when they must evolve or adapt in the face of adversity, the most common which is of course death. You can either embrace this fear and channel it, or be destroyed by it.

I feel like I’m at that point in my existence. I have many important, tough decisions to make that will forever alter the course of my life. It makes me think back to the last time I really felt like this.

When I was 15 in 2001, only a few weeks after 9/11, I decided I wanted to leave the comfort of my mother’s house in Suffield, CT and move to my birthplace, Springfield, IL to live with my father. Many factors played in my decision to leave all of my closest friends and the people I had grown up around behind, the strongest of which was my desire to live with my dad.

My honest assessment now of my rationale then was that my blind desire to live with my dad almost certainly rendered all of the other reasons not to move irrelevant. This is what I had always wanted. It was what my heart and intuition were telling me to do. I remember saying goodbye to my friends and family at the security checkpoint that day, and not looking back.

Now that I choose to look back, I’m absolutely astonished I had the fortitude and constitution to make such a bold decision at such a young age. Sure I thought I knew everything, but truth is I didn’t know what the fuck I was getting myself into. I hardly knew anybody and didn’t know a thing about the Catholic school I’d be attending. But I trusted myself.

What I couldn’t imagine beforehand is the pain I would have to endure to complete that chapter of my life. After coasting thru high school with no academic motivation other than to dominate gym class, I found myself at Lincoln Land CC as the 15th guy on a pretty talented basketball team. Since I had moved here I had been pretty unlucky not to fare better in basketball, basically having 4 coaches in 3 years, the last two of which were complete douche bags. I was almost certain to redshirt, which I was okay with because I love the game so much and knew I could compete with the crop of freshman guards. But everything that was going on in my personal life was starting to weigh on me.

My father suffered his first seizure sometime mid-semester, a result of drinking too much. My moms’ mother’s health was beginning to deteriorate, and I was feeling the pressure of balancing school, sports, and partying.

The day before the rosters were printed in the paper, I told coach I just didn’t think I could do it anymore and thought it was unfair to the rest of team. I never really told anyone else why or felt the need to explain anything, I was just looking for an escape. All I know is I should have stayed and fought.

The rest of the school year came and went and I was hardly going to class. I went back east for the summer with no idea what I was gonna do the coming fall aside from play cards, pickup hoops, and party.

I’ll always remember my 19th birthday that summer, because there were no presents or parties. I had returned home from my visit and was excited to see everybody, but I was greeted with grim news. My dad told me and my sister he had pancreatic cancer, that it was inoperable, and we were gonna fight it.

For those of you who don’t know much about the disease, it is one of if not the most deadly form of cancer. Roughly 40,000 people get diagnosed every year, and about 1% are alive after the first 6 months.

My dad died in the hospital on January 20th, 2006, two days before his 49th birthday. I’ll never forget my older brother waking me up to break the news…it was as if the night before I went to sleep with no worries at all, and when I arose the next day the world was crumbling around me. My greatest fear had been realized; the person I cared most about wasn’t around anymore.

I did my best to console my siblings, telling them everything would be alright while concealing any emotion another person might show. I had to extract strength from the pain. Turn a negative situation into an opportunity to better myself and those around me. I took all of it, the good and bad, the happiness I felt to no longer see him suffer such intense pain and the sadness I felt he’d no longer be around to offer me guidance when I needed it most. I absorbed all of this energy and stored it for fuel.

At the funeral I sat next to my younger brother who was only 11 at the time, my arm around him as he cried on my shoulder. I looked around and saw everyone else pouring out their emotions. But something gripped me tightly inside. My instincts told me not to succumb to my emotions; to be stronger; to stick with my purpose.

To this day I have never shed a tear in someone else’s presence when remembering my father.

Over the next 6 months I don’t think I showed much of anything to anyone. I did my best to push through it, to build on it. I searched for peace in reading and reflection. I smoked herb and played poker, honing the psychological skills I had gained through the traumatizing experience to better my cause. I soon realized that I could not treat this as a setback in my life, but instead a stepping stone. I was now infinitely stronger for what I had gone through. I entered the most difficult period of my life uncertain of the outcome, and emerged eager to forge my own future.

Many times in life we are placed within terrible circumstances. None of these things can be controlled. The only thing one can do is adapt their attitude to best suit the situation.

I continue to take steps everyday to tighten my grasp on this reality. When I first started living by myself in o6, I started becoming much more of a survivalist. I suppose it’s easy to slip into that mindset when your only focus is the grind. In doing so, I also became much more of a minimalist, making sure I had only essentially what I needed and cut away most of the clutter.

In the past few days I’ve made it my duty to organize every minute detail of my life. I literally lined up everything I needed to do from laundry to finances and schwacked all of them one by one like it was fucking D-Day.

We’re staring down the barrel of May and that means it’s game time god damnit. Me & Brin1285 are moving into a new house – well sort of – before we go to Vegas and…move into a new house. Kinda a bummer we’re not gonna be able to get settled before we leave. I need to get all new furniture among other things, so all that good stuff will have to wait.

Brin just started his blog back up here at WordPress so be sure to check that out. It’s almost strictly poker related whereas mine is more/less the memoirs of a “clueless braindead spewmonkey” as Brin so eloquently put it. I think we’re gonna head up to Champaign this weekend and kickkkks it. Everyone always tells me I need more epic degeneracy in this blog, and I’m okay with that.

That’s gonna do it this time around. Check back for random blurbs and pictures, perhaps even a vlog. Run good. No chop.

Zune Top 5
1} Miles by Always the Runner on An August Golf
2} I Need A Dollar by Aloe Blacc {theme song to HBO’s ‘How to Make it in America’}
3} The Only Moment We Were Alone by Explosions in the Sky
4} Narita by Lymbyc Systym on Field Studies
5} Ground Zero by Lil Wayne on Rebirth

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~ by therealJWilliam on April 27, 2010.

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