I the midst of one of my rigorous training periods for an upcoming expedition a friend asked me, “What demons do you have within you?” He was referring to my crazy obsessive drive to train hard and push my limits. I was taken back by this question. It made me think. We all have our demons. It’s the traumatic experiences life comes with that effect, shape and mold who we choose to become. For some it becomes destructive. For others it sparks a drive defying it to control their desires. I would like to think of my demons having the latter effect, but not always was this true.
Not many of you know my story. Social media tends to only reveal a superficial image that filters out the real individual that’s behind that perfect image you took 10 times, then edited just right before posting along with a positive thought you had among the hundreds of other thoughts in you mind of struggle and doubt.
I’ve had a dam good life. A blessed one, which many would dream of. I came from a loving supportive family and friends friends. I took part in lots of extra curricular activities Boy Scouts, fire explorers, martial arts, and school sports and student council. I went to a good college and my senior year my girlfriend unexpectedly became pregnant. I struggled at first. I had plans. I learned quick that life is what happens while your making other plans. It was time to man up fast. Upon graduating and not finding any jobs I joined the navy so I could provide benefits and a solid income.
Hope was born October 8th. I was blessed to witness her birth. In boot camp Becky and I decided to get married. I believed it was the best way I could give Hope the life she deserved. My 1st duty station was San Diego. I found a two bedroom apartment in Clairmont and began preparing for Becky and Hope’s arrival. As time grew closer Becky became upset and soon began saying she didn’t want to move to San Diego anymore. Eventually by the time she arrived she was angry and depressed. I tried what I could to make the transition to San Diego as easy as I possibly could. I’ll never forget the day I came home from work to find the apartment empty as her stepfather was putting the last of the furniture into a moving van. Becky and Hope were gone having flown back to Massachusetts without me knowing and with no intentions of returning. I became severely depressed and angry. I felt more alone than I ever have been in my entire life. As angry as I was and so much hate in my heart I didn’t want to drink and wallow in misery. I wanted to prove to her she made a mistake leaving me by becoming a better man. Every day after work I would go directly to the gym and began working out 5-6 days a week for at least two hours. I enrolled in graduate school and got my 1st masters degree. Years later I went and got my 2nd masters. Anger turned into drive, and fear turned into focus. Every day I wake up with the intention of becoming better than the day before. It’s become a habit. My best days of training are the ones when I hurt from one of life’s obstacles. When I got something to prove to those who broke my heart, held me down, or told me that I’ll never be able to do something is when I can push my body beyond the minds limitations.
We all have our demons, but it’s what you do with them I believe which will define you. I still train tenaciously with something to prove to the guy I was that day my ex took my daughter away. Some would say it’s hate in my heart and I’m okay with that because of the joy and accomplishments it has eventually brought me in life. It’s like Nixon once said, “Only if you have been in the deepest valley, can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.”
Follow me on my journey as I prepare to climb Ama Dablam and raise money for those fighting for their lives. Please help me raise money for the Cancer Support Community of Redondo Beach.