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What Are We Waiting For?!?!

July 2, 2013

This past weekend, two things bothered me.  A lot.  I couldn’t get them out of my head.  I thought about them all weekend – until Sunday afternoon when I broke down.  I cried.  I had an ‘epiphany’ of sorts.  They awakened something in me that made me realize I need to be better.

—–

~ My father is retiring.  50 years of working with custom kitchens and bathrooms in a family owned business and he is closing the doors.  He is one of the strongest men I know – and right now he can’t lift his arm over his head.  He also can barely kneel his knees are so bad.  In my opinion, he needs physical therapy daily… but he won’t do it.  Why?  Because he’s my Dad and, in his generation, that would be a sign of weakness.  And one thing my father is not is weak.  So… we’re at the shop with my brother and we’re taking out a kitchen and what is he doing?  He’s carrying cabinets all around- AND USING A HAMMER TO BREAK UP A GRANITE COUNTERTOP.  He can’t lift his arms without excruciating pain, yet he STILL won’t ask for help from myself OR my brother, who are both more than able to do this.  We make him stop.

Firecracker 4 Mile 033A few months ago I asked him how he got so bad.  His response?  In a nutshell – when he was young, he was indestructible.  He kneeled on hard floors and concrete slabs for hours a day and didn’t wear any kneepads or kneel on a pad because, seriously, who does THAT?!?!   He carried huge cabinets on his own without asking for help because, c’mon, he can totally lift it himself!  He swung a hammer close to 200 x’s/ day for 50 years, and didn’t even think about the consequences.  That’s NOT a natural motion or impact your arm is designed for.  But he was big… and strong… so what could happen???  Right now, my brother does the exact same shit.  My brother is in crazy ridiculous shape but, regardless of that, he sees what ‘hulking around’ did to my father and yet STILL does the EXACT SAME THINGS.

~  My friend is morbidly obese.  The other day, he posted on his Facebook wall that he was headed to the hospital and to wish him luck.  We’re not as close as we used to be, but I still care about him and his battle with obesity.  I ask what happened.  He says he has numbness in his legs.  Later in the day he posts an update that tests came back normal and he now has a walker to help build the strength in his legs again.  He has gotten so heavy he can’t carry around his body weight.

A few years ago he had surgery to help with his weight.  He started losing pounds by the dozens, and he and I sat on his back porch for an entire afternoon and talked about what he needed to do mentally in order to not only continue to lose weight, but to keep it off for good.  Hell, I even took off from work that afternoon when our chat started getting serious because it was so important to me to have this conversation with him I didn’t want to leave.  He was willing to listen, but wasn’t open to therapy.  I insisted that losing weight wasn’t going to make him happy, but being happy was going to help him lose weight. “Nope, doesn’t work” he kept telling me.  Instead, he bought a treadmill and THAT was gonna help him keep it off.  He’s now put the weight weight back on – maybe even more – and is using a walker to get around.

—–

So… back to my weekend.  Because of these two instances I couldn’t get these three questions out of my head:

WHY IN THE HELL DOES NO ONE ASK FOR HELP!?!?!

WHO IN THE HELL ARE WE PROVING SOMETHING TO BY TRYING TO DO THINGS OURSELVES?!?!

BY NOT ASKING FOR HELP WHAT IN GOD’S NAME DOES ANY ONE ACCOMPLISH?!?!

questionmarksI’m so frustrated seeing all these people I know/ love/ care about falling apart because the most they choose to do is post passive-aggressive statuses on Facebook to hopefully get enough ‘likes’ and “you go, you’re so strong!” comments that they can sleep an extra hour that night.  They incessantly tell anyone willing to listen how resilient they are, while everyone they’re telling is talking about them with each other wondering when they’re gonna hit rock bottom.  I’ve told many of these people things they didn’t want to hear, even ruining the relationship I had with them in the process, because I did what every friend says they’ll do – yet mostly fail to do when the time comes; I tell them what they NEED to hear, not what they want to hear.

The thing that REALLY struck me about this though was – I’m the exact same way.  I’m terrified to ask for help because, to me, it’s a sign of weakness.  It shows that I’m not ‘strong’ enough to handle whatever life throws at me on my own, like apparently “everyone else” does.  It was an overwhelming weekend for me… it’s hard when you have a moment of self-realization like that… but one that I hoped would help me deal with these issues with more clarity in the near future.

Then Monday came.

I got the message around 1pm.  My friend (and co-host with my former podcast No Filter Radio) Chris texted me:

“I don’t know if you’ve heard what’s going on.  But if not I need you to call me”

I called, and that’s when I found out another one of our co-hosts, Mark, passed away in his sleep.  He was 33 years old and leaves behind a wife, two children and countless friends.  33.  I’m 39.  I have no kids, but can’t wait to have some.  I’m not married but can’t wait to make Jennifer my wife.  THIRTY-THREE.

At this point, I have no idea what the cause of death is.  And, to be honest, it doesn’t matter in the context of this conversation.  He’s gone.  And all I could do after that phone call was sit in my office, cry and think of those exact same questions from this weekend:

WHY IN THE HELL DOES NO ONE ASK FOR HELP!?!?!

WHO IN THE HELL ARE WE PROVING SOMETHING TO BY TRYING TO DO THINGS OURSELVES?!?!

BY NOT ASKING FOR HELP WHAT IN GOD’S NAME DOES ANY ONE ACCOMPLISH?!?!

But I added one more:

WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR?!?!

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I think it’s time we all stop screwing around with ourselves.  Seriously.  It’s over.  Time to stop being the victims in our own lives and start taking ownership of what we need to do to become the best people we can be.  From now on, I’m asking for help whenever I need it.  I’m done.  It’s not a sign of weakness – it’s a sign of strength.  And if you don’t feel that way?  Well, maybe it’s time you found some other people to surround yourselves with.  I could lose people I genuinely care about because they’re too proud to ask for help – and that’s just some bullshit.  I’m going to marry a wonderful woman, start a beautiful family and I’ll be DAMNED if I am going to do ANYTHING to myself that prevents me from being around to enjoy this life I’m creating for myself as much as humanly possible.  I’m tired of being a victim.  It’s time to be a success story.  I read that this weekend in a blog, and after the weekend I had it couldn’t ring more true.

I’m not training for races anymore…  I’ll still race, but I’m training to live.

To my friend Mark… REST IN PEACE.  Please know how much you will be missed by myself and so many others.  Your memory will live on in your music, our shows and will ALWAYS live on in my blog.

Why will his memory live on in my blog?

Well… he created my logo.

3 comments

  1. Nicely written. I’m sorry for your loss. Good lessons learned and you are still young. You will make a great husband and father someday.


  2. You have to help yourself, you’ve only got one life to live and people don’t do things for you. Ask for help, give help, be a good friend and people like you will be good friends in return. Too often do people lay around and wait for things to happen and what they don’t realize is that you have to make it happen yourself.

    What in god’s name are you waiting for? A human to take action, that’s what.


  3. I grew up with Mark. We played in a band together for years. They even named a song after me “slap happy fat boy” At one point in my life I was 340 pounds and I would get winded going upstairs. Over the last 2 years I started running, stand up paddleboarding, and eating correctly (not dieting). I am now 245 and in great shape. I was guided by my girlfriend who I asked for help. I agree that having a support system you can count on will help you with your goals. Maybe even a more important idea to have is goals. Setting an achievement and then doing what you say you’re going to do. Mark and I had talked about recording all of our music after our friend Shaun passed away a few months ago… But we didn’t follow through… If I have learned anything from all of this it’s to do what you say you’re going to do. For anyone reading this, ask for help, have a motivation, follow through, because one day more might be too late. RIP Mark.



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