Written in September 2016
Hard times build hard people.
The pain. The pain you feel is a white ball of healing light. -Tyler Durden
The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way. -Marcus Aurelius
Does what happens to you keep you from acting with justice, generosity, self control, sanity, prudence, honesty, humility, straightforwardness?
NOPE – Then get back to work.
The following is free form writing. I found out today that after dedicating hundreds and hundreds of hours of work and sacrifice towards a goal, I did not make it. I failed. When I found out, the first image that came to my head was a visual memory of the look on my son’s face when I had to leave him. He was two years old and wanted to play with his dad. I remember having to clear him from the threshold of the door so I could close it. He had a lack of understanding in his eyes, but his understanding of the world made more sense then mine. We locked eyes as I closed the door. Those hours, those moments I will never get back. He will never be that age again. I let him down.
The moment I oriented myself on the information I had received, I felt like someone had died. I felt like I was under water, my hearing changed, time slowed, I felt like someone had their hands on my heart. The feeling felt similar to when my dad died and when we found out about Connor. As I sit here, I temporarily feel like any laugh or smile is only surface related. There is a deep level of grief.
This grief, this pain, I want to meet face to face. I want to allow it in. I want it to hurt me. I’m lucky because it hurts. I want to cry. I will grieve. I will respect these feelings. I will get up and stand with them. I am brave enough to face them. I will stand up in the storm. I will face these arrows. I will be proud and unbending in defeat. I cherish these moments. This pain is a blessing.
It means my heart is pumping and I fought. I gave it my all. I have not worked harder at anything in my life. I might not have reached my goal, but maybe that is the point. I am a better person because of what I went through. I learned, studied, and grew. Standing up and facing failure with pride is just as important as being gentle in victory.
I have not let my son’s down. Their father fights hard regardless of the outcome. This impediment to my goal advances my goal. This struggle, this test of character is the way. This “failure” only gives me time to get better. Its a bump in the right direction. Life is like bowling with bumpers in the gutter. There are no failures, only bumps and redirections until you hit your target.
September 2017 – One year later.
I’m proud to say, I made it.
I did not read what I wrote that night or any other night after (nor did I ever intend on making any of this public). I was afraid to read my own writing. For some reason I thought if I did it would make me weaker. I was vulnerable. I came home, felt the passion for writing and laid it out. Two minutes after writing, I had no idea what I wrote, but I knew what I meant. I knew what I felt.
I carried the pain of “failure” with me, but failure is subjective. Failure to me is nothing but a “not yet.” If there is any fraction of personal accountability involved in something then there is room for happiness. There is room for relentless drive. I knew what I was capable of. There was another chance and it was in my hands. Let me say that again… It is up to you! All I had to do was put in my violently aggressive drive towards my goal and not leave anything to chance. It was up to me and that made me happy. Accountability is happiness. You just have to go for it. Know yourself, know your goal, put yourself on the line and go for it! The mantra I repeated was, “Pain now, pride forever.”
After many years, I finally made it. But this is just the starting line. Now it’s time to get to work. I hope by sharing this, by opening up, it helps someone else out there. I leave this here for those of you who have been knocked down, discouraged, and feel like you won’t make it. If you feel like that, you are right. You won’t make it. But if there is anything you can do. If anything is in your hands. Then to you I say- Pick up your shield, dust off, believe in yourself, move forward and earn it. You will get knocked down, but that doesn’t define you. It is temporary. It’s what you do after that matters. Stay strong and don’t give up. The beautiful thing is, its up to you.