Monday, July 8, 2013

What Am I Up To?

     Long story short, I'm working on a corwritten serial with Sydney Schwagger, who's blog you can find at: Let's Be Adventurers. It's about the events leading up to Shakespeare's play, MacBeth. You can find the blog we are posting this story on at: Before MacBeth. I will post links to each posted story here.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Life's Surprises Can Be Good On Occasion

     Life has, over the past month, whiplashed me so hard I'm still not certain which way is up and which way is down. Come to think of it, maybe I wasn't certain of it to begin with. All I know is that despite how quickly things turned around and left me confused, they turned around for the better. All the messed up events of senior year are done, and what I've been thrown out into is pretty darn good.

     Something that I thought was burned to the ground has been resurrected. Never assume. Or do. I'm still not certain which. But never give up hope. Hope is important. Without hope, I would have danced on the ashes of that which had burnt and scattered them so far they never could have returned and had new life.

     Actually, that's a bit of a lie. I did lose hope, at least for a little bit. A snake whispered in my ear to do unspeakable things in honor of the new ash pile. And I nearly succumbed. But I didn't. I'm so glad that when I plunged to the depths and attempted to unleash my dark side, I found that someone was calling my name to bring me back.

     I did go to a very dark place for a while. I wanted revenge. I wanted to feel good. I wanted to give into the darker me. But I can't. I couldn't. All my life I've been the nice guy, and guess what? That's apparently not a facade. Apparently that's actually who I am.

     And so I just sort of waited. I stared at the ashes for a while. Poked them. Looked for something in them, perhaps a trinket that had remained untouched by the fire. Blamed myself for what happened. Blamed the other person for it. Blamed the both of us. Blamed fate. Blamed life. Resolved not to blame anyone. Stared at it for a while longer.

     And then one cold night, I was offered warmth. I questioned it. I asked about it. What I found made my heart skip a beat. When nighttime closes in and all shiver to keep warm, a blanket offered is a sign of friendship dearly hoped for. I wanted to accept that offer. But it was not the right time that cover to be shared. Not just yet. Not then.

     And I still waited. Hope had now again found it's way into my heart. Something had begun to be built over the ashes. And I would not sit idly by and let my friend build it on their own. I knelt beside them and began to move pieces to their places, the two of us still separate, but now working together. Yet this wouldn't do. We couldn't do it this way.

     I turned and looked my friend in the eye and said: "Let's build this together. Anew. The ashes forgotten."

     I was overjoyed when they said yes. The reasons they had for building now satisfied me. We would build together. The past was the past. And the future...

     Well, they always do say that the best is yet to come.

Monday, April 15, 2013


I'm a fool if I think that history shan't repeat itself. I'm a fool for not recognizing the warning signs. They were there, but I didn't want to see them. The breaking dawn has again changed. It has yet again shifted in a direction that I did not expect, but should have.

Why are we so blind when it comes to these things? Why must the blows in life we take always take us by surprise? Why can life not go as expected for once?

I will not shed a tear for the path that has been closed to me. It hurts, but mourning is not my lot in life. No. I'm made for more than this. I'm a warrior, and I expect no less from myself than pressing forward.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Why Am I Doing This?

     Last night I attended a pool function--DI night. In other words, all the poolees got worked over by three DIs, and some of us got IT'd. IT stands for Incentive Training. In other words, a DI hauls you off to the side, then starts screaming: "PUSH, PUSH, PUSH!" in your face. You have to respond with: "Pushups, aye, aye, sir!" and start cranking them out. What makes this fun is that by the time you reach the deck, he or she will have probably yelled: "Side straddle hops, side straddle hops!" and you have to get up, yell your acknowledgement, and start doing jumping jacks. Then the DI might get in your face, insult your manliness, call you a little girl, or anything else they can think up. While you are working, you have to keep track of what you're saying, and yell acknowledgement back to them at the top or your lungs. And God have mercy on your soul if you get what you're supposed to yell back wrong.

     All in all it was a good time. I got a brief taste of what I'll experience when I ship to boot camp later this year. I met the 'breaking point' and pushed past it... Even though there were a few times where I physically lacked the capacity to push myself up off the floor. And it made me look forward to boot camp even more. Even though I know it will be the hardest thing I've ever done in my life up to that point, I know it's a challenge that I can overcome, as long as quitting isn't an option, and the word can't isn't in my vocabulary.

     I know I can take it on because I have good reasons to. I'm doing this to serve my country. I'm doing this because I want to do something that matters. I'm doing this because I think there's still some good left in this world and that it's worth fighting for.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Plans Change

     My first post of this year, I thought I had things figured out. I thought I knew the exact direction I was going.

It's not the dawn I expected it to be, but let's be honest... is it ever?
 There were a lot of ideas swirling through my head, but very shortly after that point, one rose the surface; it was honestly one that I did not expect to. Of all the ideas and possible pathways for me to take, this is the one that blindsided me when it emerged as the one for me to take. When this took ahold of me and drew me toward the path I had to walk, I didn't see it coming. At least not consciously. It was something that had always lurked at the back of my mind, even through previous years. And now it returns full force.

     Upon graduation, I am going to enlist in the United States Marine Corps.

     When I was a kid, I'd always wanted to go into the military. It has always stayed in the back of my mind. So I guess I should have seen it coming that I would make the choice to take this path.

     But now I have. When I graduate in April, I'm going to sign. And I couldn't be more excited.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Fear Is A Choice

     What do you fear? Think long and hard. Come up with something that truly terrifies you.

     You are choosing to be afraid of it. You can argue all you want, but being afraid is a choice. Yes, it is a natural action. Yes, it is a reflex to danger. Yes, it can be controlled. You laugh at me, don't you, dear reader?

     Let's take an example fear... Being afraid of the dark. I used to be afraid of the dark. My parents didn't know this, but I used to be freaking terrified of it. I tried everything to get rid of this fear. I tried tensing my mind up, trying to block it out. I tried standing in the dark for long periods. None of it worked, and I was scared of the dark for far longer than I am going to admit to the public.

     Fear is a choice, even if it's a subconcious one. Once I realized this, I was able to overcome my fear very easily. I accepted my fear. You cannot overpower fear, it is a foe much stronger than you. When it washes over you, tensing your mind to resist will leave you paralyzed. Instead? Relax into it.

     I'm not spouting any zen crap here, what I'm saying is that you have to find peace with the fear you have(which you should note, is a lot easier as a Christian). The way that I did this was imagining the worst possible thing that could come to back my fear. Being a writer with a fantastic imagination, this conjured a gang of five clowns with large knives some pretty horrible images of what waited for me in the dark. Then, I allowed myself to imagine those fears taking place... A hidden monster killing me, falling down an unseen hole, having my throat slit from behind.

     The fear was unbelievable. Until I shrugged and said: "Well, can't do anything about it."

     When you accept that you are powerless against fear, it loses its power over you. It's like swimming. If you kick and flail and struggle, you're going to sink lower and lower and lower. But if you take nice, deep breaths and relax... You float.

      So the next time you're afraid, acknowledge your fear, acknowledge you can't do jack about it, and move along. It might just help you.

Monday, January 14, 2013

In Probably Not the Most Derogatory Term We Use: Resolutioners

Resolutioners. Yes, you. The ones who jumped onto a gym membership the moment the New Year rolled around.


Sorry, I've been holding that in since January 1st.

I have absolutely nothing against wanting to better yourself, to drop fat, to gain muscle, to get stronger, to get better conditioned, etc. I fully support this and anyone who truly wants to accomplish any one of those goals. One of those goals will support all the others if you actually focus on it, but we're not going to cover that here.

Resolutioners have one trait in common--most of them, at least--they disappear sometime between February 1st and March 1st. For some reason, they stop coming to the gym. They're on a contract and they still pay 40-80 a month, but they don't show up.

Now, I have no problem with an empty gym--I get to use the power cage more--but I do have a problem when people can't legitimately pursue a better them. I think that it is one of the manifestations of the general attituge of American society. It's a microwave attitude. A 'six-pack abs in 6 weeks' attitude. A 'vote for the guy that gives out the most free stuff' attitude. It's a disgusting attitude.

I'm not going to blame just the people themselves for having that attitude. No, the media is also to blame. Just watch a few late-night infomercials for fitness products. P90X. A 90-day program. Similar products dot the channels, all promising to deliver in 8 weeks, or 12, or 6. You get the idea. If I were to sit someone down, look them in the eyes, and say: "Building a body you can truly be proud of takes 2-5 years of straining under a heavy barbell and eating like you were made to eat" most people would display an astonishing 40 time as they ran for their room to cry in a corner.

People have no sense of commitment. People don't understand that great things take time. People don't understand that the kid in the gym benching 315 probably didn't start lifting 90 days ago. Yeah, a 12-week cycle of Smolov can bump your bench or squat up 50 pounds, but that's what we call 'peak strength' and is easily lost. If that confuses you, just Google it and stop being confused. Most people require a year or more of serious training(read: Starting Strength to Texas Method to 5/3/1) to reach a bench number like 315.

Yet you look at all these people coming in the gym on New Years, and they seem to think they can sculpt the body they want in a few months. It saddens me. What saddens me even more is that when I approach someone and tell them they might be better purposed by getting under the barbell, some sorry excuse such as: "squats screw up your knees" or "deadlifts are bad for your back" is given.

Overall, the attitude towards physical fitness is rather disapointing... People belive that it's an option. Sure, it is nowadays. But the human body was made to do amazing things. It wasn't made to grow a gut the size of Montana. I apologize if that offends someone, but seriously. Don't make it a resolution. Make it a lifestyle.

Now go forth and lift something heavy.