Tag Archives: family problems

Guatemala

Two lessons you can learn from hard times

If someone were to ask me why bad things happen I would probably have two answers.

1. To learn from it.
2. To bring us all together.

All of the adversity I’ve experienced in my life has served to make me stronger and bring me closer to those who can relate to the things we’ve gone through.

When my Mom attempted suicide a few months back I poured my heart out on this dear old blog. I received over 20 comments of encouragement from people I’ve never met all offering advice and/or compassion. So when someone is going through something hard I offer this:

Try to learn from the experience and/or allow that pain to draw you closer to those who care. If you channel the negativity into power that’s when you grow. A bad childhood can lead to maturity and strength. Abuse may lead to empathy and a deep sense of compassion. Crying on your best friend’s shoulder can form a bond that is more akin to a brotherhood.

If everything was perfect all the time I can’t help but think we would be shallow, horrible species. Sometimes people who have been sheltered and pampered their entire life are the worst of mankind. Spoiled in the most literal sense of the word.

Be thankful for the hard times. Those are the experiences that truly shape who you are.

Ying and Yang of Growing up Rough

From the ages 6 – 12 I lived in a predominately black neighborhood in South Atlanta.  To be honest it was the hood. Not just the kind of place where people claim they grew up in a rough neighborhood, but it was really just the suburbs – this was quite literally the ghetto.

Rough Neighborhood 

I was the only white kid, that I knew of, in my neighborhood.  I remember two high school guys fighting outside my house one day and even my dad was unable to break it up. I remember being a little scared that the one boy was going to kill the other.

He had a padlock in his hand and was bashing the poor bastard’s skull in.  His white shirt was drenched in blood. What’s even more fucked up is I remember rooting for him too.  The guy that was winning was from my section of the neighborhood and I kind of looked up to him.

Another time a young man was shot a killed at the beginning of our subdivision.  I remember walking to the bus stop for school the next morning and seeing his blood still staining the sidewalk.  It was strange – he was the first and only person I have ever known personally who was murdered.

There are times I look back on my life and relive it like a movie.  I can barely believe it myself.  I remember times my parents would have so many people over they wouldn’t notice and wouldn’t care when people slipped me shots of liquor, which I took proudly, just to seem cool.

I remember seeing pounds of pot stacked in my living room being packaged for sales.  Even back then I knew how many grams went into a nickel, dime, or quarter bag of marijuana to sell on the street.

I saw my Dad go to jail a few times, I saw my Mom on the brink of self destruction, and I saw enough young people come and go through our home that I’m quite sure both my parents will find a warm spot in Hell for all eternity for blindly instigating their addictions.

Ying and Yang

My life is almost a Ying and Yang.  On the one side I look back on events that seem surreal – some of which I’ve mentioned. Other events make me realize how I made it.  For example, my best friend, who I spent a lot of time with, had two of the best parents on the planet.

They were from Puerto Rico and devoutly religious.  I distinctly remember once suggesting to the Father that he lie to his daughter so we could leave to play basketball without her getting upset.  He looked me directly in the eyes and said: “I never lie to my children.”  That will stick with me for the rest of my life.

I also remember playing little league football.  It seems like every child who grows up in a rough neighborhood is absolutely convinced he will grow up to be a professional athlete.  I thought this too, without question, for my entire childhood.  I think that explains why so many excellent athletes come out of seemingly rough circumstances.

It’s kind of funny too.  While my Mom and Dad were terribly addicted to one drug or another most of my childhood I distinctly remember that my Mom would make me do all of my homework and write my spelling words down five times each until I was in the 5th grade.

If she did one thing right it was letting me know how important school was to her. Both my parents knew how to make me feel proud of myself and I think that has proven invaluable throughout my life.  If anything, I have never had an issue with self worth.

Moving Out

I’m not sure how I would have turned out had I not moved out of that neighborhood when I did. Man was that conversion interesting.

I remember going from a school where I was almost the only white kid in the entire building, where you had to be checked with metal detectors before entering the school, and security guards walked the hallways – then to a school with almost all white people and no security what-so-ever.

I had an accent, wore baggy clothes, and was completely oblivious that I was any different from the rest of the kids. In fact, it wasn’t until high school that I started to dress like a typical “white guy”.  It took a thorough lashing by all of my “friends” in high school until I realized I dressed like a black guy. I quickly remediated my wardrobe problems and slipped into the expected mold.

Somehow I found a place on the sports teams, made all A’s, and found a way to fit in. It is almost insane to me how resilient yet fragile the human mind is.  You can overcome almost anything or crumble because of almost everything.

When I take a careful look at my life over the past 25 years I am incredibly thankful for what I’ve overcome.  I’m incredibly thankful for what I don’t have to relive. I’m infinitely thankful for the future I see myself having and sometimes it all still feels like I’m remembering a movie I saw – not my own life.

The Horrendous Cat Story

I like complaining about family, and believe it or not, I like to hear people complain about theirs! In fact, I’d say that one of the core elements to me and Atty’s friendship is our shared history of dealing with shit family.

Today I’m going to tell you about a stray cat that started a small war in my in-laws family. As you read it, you might think it sounds a bit like a cheesy reality TV show. If so, you’d be right about that.  Enjoy.

A new addition to the Family

A little over a month ago a stray cat showed up at my wife’s grandmother’s house. I think the cat was a little too clean and pretty to be a true stray.  I assumed yet another bunch of asses moved off and abandoned the poor thing.

My first instinct was to tell them not to feed it and it’ll go away. But then I thought to myself, “Eh, I’m not here four days a week, what do I care? Feed the damn thing. I won’t have to deal with it

As time went on, the cat became quite the family pet. Everyone fell in love with this beautiful, white fluffy cat. My older daughter especially loved it and asked incessantly to go see the damn thing. She never could decide on the cat’s name either. One day he was Wilbur, another Charlie, and another Tom.

After having the cat around a little over a month, he was pretty much the new family mascot. I even caught my wife buying food for it. The cheap bastard in me wanted to protest but then I once again thought to myself, “Eh, what do I care. I don’t have to deal with it. It lives over there…”

But oh, how the tides do change oh so quickly.

The Cat bit my Grandma!

Last Friday I was sitting at my computer. Fridays are my work from home day, and despite what anyone thinks, I was actually hunkered down in my sad, lonely little corner of the house working. Then I heard my wife on a call.

What…. It bit you? Really? But it’s such a nice cat…. Huh…. A tetanus shot? You really think you need a tetanus shot? Well I can’t take you, Holden is working and I can’t carry the girls with us to the doctor. Let me call momma and see if she can take you.”

My wife had been talking to her elderly, hypochondriac of a grandmother who will find any excuse to have someone carry her to the doctor. Immediately, my wife phoned her mom.

Hey, well the cat bit grandma. She wants someone to take her to the doctor…….. No, I can’t take her…. Well, if you can’t who will?  Yeah, I guess we’ll just have to call animal control…….. no, you know what, I always knew something wasn’t right with  that cat…………no, I said I can’t take her…… what, She’s calling you now? She KNOWS I’M ON THE PHONE WITH YOU! Why is she calling if she…..alright, I’ll just talk to you later.”

About now, I sat back in my chair and sighed, cause I knew shit was about to get dramatic.

15 minutes later my sister in law calls. She’s hysterical.

Hey…. Yeah I already called animal control…… no they aren’t going to kill the cat…… no they won’t put it to sleep, it’ll be fine……. What? It’s not MY fault the cat bit her, what do you want me to do about it….. calm down…..”

My sister in law is a bit peculiar to me in that she appears to value the lives of animals more than humans but has no problem devouring a bacon cheeseburger. I have seen the woman get in heated arguments over whether or not dogs actually do go to heaven! She would find a scene in a movie depicting a burlap sack full of puppies being drowned in the river more distressful than a scene depicting the holocaust.

Oh, and my father in law… multiply it by two.  Seriously, these folks ain’t right! -to put it in southern boy terms.

So, a few more minutes later and my father in law calls. About now, I’m pounding my face into my keyboard. I’ve not left the desk and refuse to acknowledge that I have any knowledge whatsoever about what is going on.

My father in law is all but screaming at my wife. The man isn’t quite right in the head. He is a truck driver by necessity because no one can stand to be around the foul mouthed, overly opinionated hick. The guy seriously has to have a job that puts him alone in a small compartment all by himself 99% of the day.

My wife hangs up and starts sobbing. I feel bad for her; after all, what the hell did she have to do with any of this? She’s just the poor soul in the middle of a bunch of morons.  I knew we shouldn’t have fed the cat.

So… lesson learned. Next time a damn stray shows up, I’m demanding no one feeds it and if need be, I will grab up whatever it is and “Re-Home” it.

-Hodlen

I do not speak to my Father

Yesterday was my Dad’s birthday. I didn’t call. I didn’t talk about it. I didn’t remind my wife or say anything to my best friend. I thought about it a few times and let the idea fade from my brain until I was busy doing something else instead.

Maybe I could have been the bigger man and gave him a call. I’m not sure he deserves it though. On the other hand maybe it would have been good for me – evidence that all of my harsh feelings towards him mean nothing. I didn’t call though. I want him to know that the life he has lived isn’t okay and that he doesn’t deserve a phone call from his only son.

My Dad represents almost everything in life that I dislike. He abuses the system, he mentally and physically abused my Mother, was never and still is not a good provider, he is the most selfish man I have ever known, he is a drug addict, and toxic to everyone he’s around. The worst part is that he walks around with a since of entitlement like the world and everyone in it owes him something.

The last Straw
I think the last straw was a couple months back when my Mom attempted suicide. My Dad and me weren’t really on speaking terms then either, but I hadn’t completely abandoned the idea of speaking to him. My Mom called me crying saying that my Dad was seeing someone else and that she “wanted to go be with Jesus.” It was terrible and I was more disgusted than afraid.

After that incident I found out that my Father had been sharing his meth addiction with my Mother. They were both hooked and it made more sense than ever why she was so fucked up. My Father has successfully used drugs and mental abuse as a form of mind control based on insecurity and getting high for the past 26 years on my Mother. No I think its too late for anyone to do anything about it. I somehow escaped.

The Holidays
The holidays are approaching too. This should make avoiding family even more difficult. At this point I completely refuse to speak to my Father or his mother. She has harbored him at a motel he owns where he makes beds and does maintenance for rent. That’s also where he cheats on my Mother and does meth.

The part that most disgust me is that my Grandmother is on this holy trip. She is and always has been “religious” yet she has somehow justified allowing my father to live on her property, have sex with other drug addicts, buy and sell meth, and abandon his responsibilities as a husband. That motel is a compound of irony.

I will not be uncivil – my quiet protest will be my absence. Luckily I have in-laws who are excellent people and I have adopted as my family. That also make my wife happy so it’s a win-win. I will make a small amount of time for my Mother, but her inability to do anything for herself, her mental laziness, and her constant complaints are something I can only deal with in small doses.

Looking ahead
In years to come I am not exactly sure how I will deal with this situation. Part of me says just forgive them and move on. Let them live their shitty lives and let the universe punish them accordingly. It is not my place. The best thing I can do is let it all go and move on.

Another part of me says just never speak to them again. Forget about it completely and move on in a different way. However; honestly I am not sure which method is the right one. If I maintain a relationship with my parents does that set me up for more heartache and trouble? Does it give my parents more opportunity to suck me in and make their problems my own? That is the risk.

Either way this whole thing has taught me the value of being a decent human being and a man of integrity. I am thankful for that.

You have a Problem Child Sir! Medicate HER!

This awesome blog post is brought to you by Holden.

The last few days of work have been killer for me. My team is up against a tight deadline and we’ve been pulling insane hours. I didn’t leave work until about 10pm the last two nights in a row, and after work you either go back to a lonely hotel room where there is basically little else to do but watch reruns of crappy sitcoms on TBS or you hit the hotel bar for overpriced drinks and conversation with a lonely bar tender.

At the same time I’m embattled at work my wife has been having a meltdown of sorts at home. My four year old and one year old are being challenging- fighting, screaming and destroying shit, and as you found out in my last post, my wife is up against a bit of a cancer scare.

And to top it all off, there is yet another issue at hand, the quiet war being waged against my four year old and the endless, quiet suggestion that I put her on behavior altering drugs.

Would you prefer the red pill or the blue pill……

A few weeks back my wife went to visit my bat-shit crazy family out of state. I warned her it was a bad idea, but she’s a bored stay at home mom and wanted a change of scenery. While there, my mentally retarded, nutty ass aunt and grandmother pummeled my wife with their opinions regarding my wife’s parenting style and the mental health of my four year old.

Yes, my family whom we barely know told my wife she was a shitty parent and that my kid needed to be put on behavior modifying medication. This is why I live 500 miles away from these fuck-tards.

My wife being who she is took this to heart and has let it bother her. Now fast forward a few weeks to pre-school and we have a pre-school teacher also conferring her very professional medical opinion upon us, insinuating that maybe my four year old needs some help. I’ve been asked if her hearing is bad, maybe she has Attention Deficit Disorder, maybe she has this, maybe she has that….

Instead of my wife, the teacher, the family member actually dealing with a four year old the way you should (with structure, discipline and consistency) they’d rather suggest we dope her up. Why? Because this is the state of our sad, downward spiraling society plagued with incessant laziness and endless propaganda from big pharma suggesting that we need to medicate EVERY MOTHER FUCKING PROBLEM UNDER THE SUN!

The Spitting Image of Her Father

I see so much of me in my little girl that it amazes me. She is my greatest source of pride. When I was a kid, I had behavior issues too. I got bored easy, I didn’t always pay attention or listen, and when I got out of line my dad busted my ass.

Today, we frown on real punishment in favor of bullshit games and medication. Yes, we’ve traded hard love for pills and games. We are slowly hobbling and handicapping ourselves.

I only imagine what would have come of me if my parents had medicated my problems away, stripping me of the very characteristics of my personality that have ultimately driven me to go above and beyond in many aspects of life. It isn’t so much that I deny some kids (possibly even mine) have legitimate issues that might need medication to correct, its more so that I think we’re not giving my daughter our all and are instead looking for the disgusting easy way out.

How to Fix the Problem…

Ah… the golden question. It is easy enough to sit around and whine but what do I do to fix this problem? First things first, I need to chill out and calm down.

I’m on the road four days a week for work, I can’t change that. My wife simply isn’t the type of parent that is going to figure out this issue on her own, I can’t change that either. But I can try to manage it and create structure from a distance and be extra attentive when I’m at home.

This is a double challenge. A challenge of coaching my wife up to rise to the occasion and a challenge of giving my daughter the attention she needs to correct a problem. I need to create goals and tasks on how I’ll achieve them then attack this from the top down…

More to come on this in time.

-Holden

We are not Supermen

This awesome blog post is brought to you by Holden, the new kid on the block here at BlogTruth.

Last week my wife called me and told me she might have cancer. It was a strange moment when the news came over the tinny little speaker of my cell phone. I was standing in the hallway of a client’s office with strangers pacing back and forth around me when I got the news. I was 400 miles away from home and wouldn’t be back for three more days to confront the grim news with her in person.

I could tell she was scared as hell, and I was too. I told her to stay calm, take it a day at a time and not overreact. Inside I was having trouble taking my own advice.

As soon as she gave me the news, I felt like I was Batman being unmasked by the joker in front of a mob of angry Gotham citizens, completely unarmed and defenseless. I could only imagine how she was feeling. In an instant I must have parsed through a hundred different questions to myself. How would our daughters adapt? How would I adapt? How would we deal with watching her final days count down one by one? My wife is only 34, how can she have cancer! If she’s sick I’ll need to quit my job to be with her, but if I quit my job I won’t have insurance. After she passes I’ll have to quit my job to be home with the girls…

After a few rattled moments I settled down and collected my thoughts. Regardless of how many questions I had or how colossal my fears, I knew I had to be the logical, grounded and methodical partner in the marriage and I knew my wife would be looking to me to keep my shit together so that she could keep hers together.

You are not Invulnerable

Sometimes I feel like I’m a tank, like no matter what life throws my way, I’ll just plow through it and keep forging ahead. That short phone call reminded me that is not so. In a way, we all live in glass houses built on foundations of sand waiting for one unexpected catastrophe to rear its nasty little head and fuck it all up. For a few days I was angry at what my wife was going through. I was annoyed that people insisted we pray over it or that God had some sort of awesome plan. I was sad at the idea of my little girls growing up without their mother and heartbroken that my one year old wouldn’t even remember her. But most of all, I was pissed off that there was absolutely nothing I could do about any of this. No amount of insurance or financial planning, healthy eating or exercise regiments, or anything else could prevent my wife or anyone else from developing a serious illness like this. There was no one or nothing to blame, shit just happens sometimes.

A Week after the Bad News

A week later and things have looked up a bit. My wife is scheduled for an outpatient surgery next week and the doctor didn’t seem overly alarmed. We’re all hoping for the best but unfortunately that isn’t really ideal for a take action guy like me. I like identifying problems and attacking them, only in this case there is nothing to attack, there is only vulnerability. There is only the tired and defeated super hero unmasked and without his utility belt, exposed for the world to do as it will to him.  Suddenly you realize you’re really not so tough after all and definitely not a super hero. You’re just a guy hiding behind a façade, and the Joker just kicked you in the balls.

Fuck cancer.

-Holden

My mom attempted Suicide today

My Mom called me while I was at work today. She was upset, but that’s not terribly unusual. She often calls me crying when my father and her have had a fight. I stepped outside to get some privacy and that’s when she said it.

“I just swallowed a whole bottle of Klonopin”.

She was sobbing almost uncontrollable at that point and the adrenaline hit me in the face like a hammer. I almost started to shake and I could feel my lungs contract a little because my body was preparing itself in a fight or flight sort of way.

“Mom, call 911 right now.” She refused. “Mom, for your only son, please call 911 right now.” She refused again and the crying became more intense. “I just want to go and see Jesus” She said. The crying became uncontrollable at that point so I hung up. I took a deep breath and knew it was essential that I stay calm so I could handle the situation; however I couldn’t for the life of me remember my Mom’s address to call 911.

By the time I was able to reach 911 I was informed that parametics were already on the scene. Apparently my Mother also called her sister. I honestly believe that her “attempted suicide” was more a call for help than anything else. She didn’t really want to die.

More to the Story
Oh, but the story gets more interesting. After rushing to the hospital some hours later I find my aunt who has interesting news for me.

“They found Meth in your Mom’s system.”

My only question was who is she getting it from. “She’s getting it from your Father – he’s addicted to.”

So great – though my parents are separated they occasionally share a few hits of Meth together – how romantic. I can’t say I’m surprised though, I’ve had to deal with this shit my entire life. Fucking druggies and liars – you can’t really have one without the other. My parents are both.

I immediately called my father to get the whole story because as it turns out my aunt is a notorious liar too. I have to be a goddamn CIA agent to get any truth out of anyone. So my tactic was to seperate each, question them, and compile the truth from each of their corroborative stories.

Not surprisingly my Dad lied. He first said he had no idea what I was talking about. He said it so convincingly I’m sure he believed it himself. After about a half hour of questioning and begging him to simply “man to man, level with me” he came clean. He has himself been on Meth for years and occasionally shared with my Mother. This is not surprising since each of my parents have done stints with drugs that they finally admitted to me over the years. My Dad, though he does Meth daily and will not quit, claims he is not addicted.

So here I am – a guy trying to live his life. A mother who attempted suicide today, a mother on Meth, a Father also addicted to Meth – and just wondering what the hell I’m supposed to do with this mess. I have shielded myself and my wife from my family with a veil of selfishness – a refusal to recognize my parents’ problems as my own and continued successes in my own life. I refuse to bring myself down because of them. I’ll handle this shit just like I do everything else. If/When I have kids one day – they will never have the burden of their parents to worry about.

I think the helping my Mom to move closer to me is out of the question now, but we’ll see how this plays out. The idea of bringing that kind of trouble into my life may be worse that leaving her to rot in her own soup of destruction. This requires more thought.

She was asleep when I arrived at the hospital so I didn’t even speak to her. The hospital refused to wake her because she was “extremely aggressive” when they brought her in. More good news.

What’s Next
So for the next few days my Mother gets to stay in the hospital. I get to drive 60 miles (one way) to visit her and eventually they will transfer her to some sort of mental hospital for a week or so. At least I’ll have something to write about for the next year decade.

Daddy Issues

I didn’t call my Dad on Father’s Day.  I haven’t called him in months, in fact.  My Mom tells me “his feelings were hurt”, but that is most likely a fabrication made by my Mom in an attempt to pretend things are normal.  I’m sure my Dad thinks I should have called him.  He is one self entitled bastard – he probably thinks I owe him 10% of my paycheck too.

The funny thing is he hasn’t called me, well, ever.  When I moved into my house from a three story walk up he stood me up after promising to help me move.  I’m not bitter though – I’m emotionless about the entire situation.  In fact, sometimes I wish I could wash my hands of the entire situation and stop pretending we are supposed to do these things – like call on Father’s Day.

Alright Honestly

Okay – I’ll be honest.  I’m not totally emotionless.  I have a mixture of love for my Dad for being my Dad and disgust for how terrible a person he is.  The worst part is he has not even the slightest idea that he is a piece of shit.  I’m not being biased either.  He really is a pretty terrible and selfish person.

He doesn’t support my Mom – leaves her to the Government, but is sure to take his fair share of the food stamps when the opportunity becomes advantageous.  He didn’t call my mother nor come home on their 25th anniversary, yet expects a phone call of love and admiration on Father’s day.  He shows up late for absolutely every event in his life – out of sheer selfishness and lack of concern for punctuality.  He hoards, doesn’t work, breaks the law, and honestly believes he is a good person.

Ignore it and it will go away

The problem with having parents you would most like to forget is that you can’t.  They keep reappearing like a case of herpes. I have two options.  I can continue doing what I am doing and ignore them until I have no choice but to acknowledge their existence OR I can try to resolve my issues with them and make up.

For me, I have resolved my issues.  I am comfortable with my detachment from them, but I know the truth.  The truth is complete resolution is the only real option.  I’m not saying we have to go to the park while my parents push me in a swing or bake pie together, but I have to get back on an even and healthy keel.

The hardest part is that I know I will be the one who has to change – they are incapable.  They do not have the mental capacity.  It will be me.  I have to accept their flaws and move on from it.  Let them do what they do, hold my nose to ignore the odor, and be content.

These things are easier said than done…

Mom Looks Old – Is this a signal I should start being a better son?

My Mom is getting old.  I’m starting to notice for the first time.  She’s only about 50, but I can see it in her face. The sun spots, the wrinkles, her lack of health, and her emotional instability that a lifetime of difficulty so ungraciously molder her look.  Even talking to her sometimes I can tell she can barely hold it together.  She cries almost instantly – from feeling abandoned, by everyone, and maybe even from guilt.

She came over to my house Saturday for the second time during a family get together.  We didn’t talk much and I regret that.  I have a hard time talking to her because honestly I don’t have much to talk about with her.  She stays at home 99% of her life.  It’s quite sad.  She is handicapped, has no car, and lives in project housing.  She and my Dad do not live together, but are still married, so she only gets out when someone takes her.  She also lives over an hour drive from me so I rarely venture to see her.

I could say that she’s done this to herself and in a large extent she has, but honestly that shouldn’t keep me from being a good son.  Any negative feeling I have toward my parents I need to put behind me.  I know those feeling will only be magnified and stacked on top of guilt after she dies.  I know she doesn’t have long left.  I know that’s terribly morbid, but I have to be honest here.  It is completely possible she will die within the next decade.  She may never meet my future children.

Maybe its my job as a decent human being to intervene.  I’ve actually considered helping her buy a house, but at 25 is it fair that I put my dreams, my wife’s dreams, on hold for her?  Maybe it is.  At very least I could make a better effort to spend time with her on a regular basis – even though seeing her means listening to her problems and feeling guilty the entire time.  She doesn’t even try to do it – her life really is depressing.

Why the fuck do I have to have Mommy and Daddy issues?  It’s almost laughable.  I go to work and excel.  I’m confident and manage teams of 20 for milti-million dollar projects at times, most of my friends and acquaintances don’t have a clue about my upbringing, but the issues with my Mom and Dad leave me at a loss.

I know I have to step it up and be a better son.  Not for my parents, but for me.  They may or may not deserve it, but its really the only way I can prevent doing permanent damage to myself.

Sometimes I honestly feel that I could forget about them and be fine.  Even right not I feel totally detached from them, but I feel that tiny tug at the bottom of my heart telling me they brought me into this world and I have been given this gift of life – avoid guilt and regret – and be a good son.

What the hell are these feelings?  Is this Evolution’s way of making me take care of the elders in my tribe?  Is this God?  What strange sensation is this!  Yeah, I’m laughing to myself.  Despite all of my desire for logic and using my brain rather than heart – some sense of my moral code of ethics tells me taking care of my parents and preserving the relationship is important.  Even if they are pathetic people and did a terrible job raising me for the most part.

Anyone else have Mommy and Daddy issues they overcame?  What’s the right way out here?  Lessons learned?

i didn’t get here alone

When I was in high school I was kind of a typical guy on the surface.  I hid all of the problems I had at home.  I put on a confident face at school, but not fake confidence – it was real.  I was lucky to have it for no reason at all.  Maybe it was arrogance.  I played every sport the school offered, but I was best at wrestling.  I went on to become a state runner-up my senior year of high school in the largest school district in the state.   Looking back on it, I’m not sure at what point I decided I would try so hard at sports.  I think it was an outlet for everything else going on in my life.  I think it was all for me, something for me to be proud of and to focus on.

I also found pride in my school work and honestly I think people thought I was a dumb ass because they associated me with they typical jock stereotype.  I made all A’s.  The truth is, I didn’t even hang out or associate with many other athletes.  In fact my two of my three best friends were a Brazilian and a guy from Holland.  For some reason I never associated with most of the people I grew up with.  I think I had a natural aversion to rednecks and ignorance – even when I didn’t know it at the time.

Really, all this is inexplicable.  I have no reason to be this way.  I was raised by two parents that didn’t graduate high school.  My dad worked doing manual labor and we accepted welfare and food stamps.  Both of my parents had trouble with addictions.   The year before I left for college I bought my own groceries.  In fact, I had planned to just pay for college all on my own, but I didn’t have to do it alone.  Truth be told someone, for some reason saw something in me and helped.

I’m not sure how he found me and he never asked for anything in return.  His daughter was in the band and he was a prominent member of the community.  I can only assume he saw me playing sports and somehow found out my background and decided he wanted to help.  He took me under his wing and mentored me.  He found money to cover my first year of college (scholarships from people in the community), he found money to pay for my school supply (including a computer), and offered me advise I couldn’t get elsewhere.

I know that someday I will do the same thing for someone else.  I know that I appreciate what he did for me more than I have ever expressed to him.  Maybe I should tell him, honestly, but I feel like there is some unspoken thing between us that it doesn’t have to be said.  At the time I didn’t even appreciate the help as much as I should have, but looking back – I can’t believe how fortunate I was and I know that it changed my life forever.  It changed my spirit and how I see being a good man and a good person.  I hope I can do the same thing for someone else, so selflessly, someday.  If you have the opportunity to help someone, like I was helped, you should too.  He may never know it, but his generosity really made the world a better place, even if it was only one person at a time.  I’ll continue that and make sure his investment was a good one.