Be a Survivor...be a winner.

Hey guys,
I looked back and since I never do 'rules' very well...(probably why the army and I never really saw eye to eye) I skipped around in the month from a year ago and found this post from my something special for jack sh*t series...you would have had to be around back then to know what that was about...but I wrote a bit more about my epic childhood and the lessons I learned from it...and one of the lessons I learned was that I had been born in the wrong place. That for some reason, unbeknownst to me, and probably because I had something to learn...I was born in a place where I did not fit in at all.
This is one of my best posts because it described the lynch pin for every other discovery I have made about myself since....
Lake station, Michigan.
Here is an excerpt from 8-16-09:
"All that summer I felt restless. It is a very small town, a village really. There aren't alot of young people. Its mostly a retirement area. There aren't many jobs, my mom didn't have a lot of money and I worked a lot of odd jobs to buy school clothes and go to the occasional Friday night movie.
Here is the point of this post. I never fit there. From the time I was small, I never liked car harts, I never wanted to camp, get drunk or go muddin' . There isn't anything wrong with any of those things, but they just weren't me. I didn't even fit in with my own family. I thought for a while that I must have been adopted. I loved to read books. I would find books about different places and read about them. I wanted to travel and see the world. I dreamed about the Eiffel tower from the time I was ten years old. I used to hold the antennae on our old t.v. (It was the only way you could get the channels in....to actually hold the antennae up with your hand...) and watch Dallas (or the Grammys, and infamously in our family-once I watched Gone with the Wind...talk about TV elbow). When I was twelve, I talked my mom into letting me watch Out of Africa, when I was sixteen...I sat, practically alone, in the local movie theater and watched Havana with Robert Redford. (The only other person in that theater was my art teacher Mrs. Thurston, whom I had great respect for) I would sit by the highway and watch cars go by and wonder where they were going. I never felt right there. Then one day, I was walking down the hallway and I heard the song Colorado Rocky mountain High. I had never heard that song before, or even of John Denver. It was the line " I was born in the summer of my 27th year, coming home to a place I'd never been before'. It hit me like a hammer...standing in the hallway of my mom's trailer, it all suddenly made sense. Why I didn't fit there. I wasn't home. This wasn't the place I chose, this had been the result of someone Else's choice. Of course I didn't feel right here, this wasn't my home...I just had to find my home. The rest of that summer, while working in that stupid caboose, I sat on those steps and could almost feel my life coming for me. I was so ready. It took me two more years for things to happen. So here is what I know. Sometimes, through no fault of your own...you are not where you are supposed to be and you are not WHO you are supposed to be. If you have this persistent feeling that you just don't fit, or your life doesn't fit you...it may be because it doesn't. There is nothing wrong with you, you are just in the wrong place."

You know, after I left home I found my place. I did travel...saw the eiffel tower. I did what I set out to do.
By doing.
My one shot was the army.
Since that summer, there has been one musician I understood in the same way I understood John Denver.
I was riding in my car a few years back and listening to the radio...up till that point I listened mostly to country and pop.
Then this rap song came on and it hit me the same way the other song hit me...right in the gut..the way the best songs do...It was lose yourself by eminem.
I understood this person.
He could have been singing my song.
And if he would have known me, he would have understood me too.

I was willing to face anything to leave where I grew up because there was nothing for me there.
So was he.
Mr. mathers is my dopple ganger...so when robin got on her eminem kick, I was tickled.
I admire people who have had to actually overcome some sh*t in their lives.
They often have rough edges and aren't always socially acceptable..because their lives made it impossible to play nice.
It's easy to be genteel when you have people in front of you paving the road and behind you cleaning up your mess.
When you have to crawl up out of the hole someone else dug to get to even ground, you are already a fighter.
When you have people all around you settling, telling you to settle...telling you to be a secretary not an artist....
And his most recent song with b.o.b where he says
'allright lets pretend Marshall Mathers never picked up a pen
lets pretend things would have been no different
pretend he procrastinated had no motivation
pretend he just made excuses that were so paper thin they could blow away with the wind
marshall you’re never gonna make it makes no sense to play the game there ain’t no way that you’ll win
pretend he just stayed outside all day and played with his friends
pretend he even had a friend to say was his friend
and it wasn’t time to move and schools were changing again
he wasn’t socially awkward and just strange as a kid
he had a father and his mother wasn’t crazy as sh-t
and he never dreamed he could rip stadiums and just lazy as sh-t
f-ck a talent show in a gymnasium bitch you won’t amount to sh-t quit daydreaming kid
you need to get your cranium checked you thinking like an alien it just ain’t realistic
now pretend they ain’t just make him angry with this sh-t and there was no one he could even aim when he’s pissed it
and his alarm went off to wake him off but he didn’t make it to the rap Olympics slept through his plane and he missed it
he’s gon’ have a hard time explaining to Hailey and Laney these food stamps and this WIC sh-t
cuz he never risked shit he hopes and he wished it but it didn’t fall in his lap so he ain’t even here
he pretends that…"

If I would have settled, I would probably be married to some dude who works at a minimum wage job, who drinks his nights away and watched my children live the kind of low expectation life I led.
I wouldn't have seen Europe and traveled, I would never know what I had in me.
I didn't accept it.
I listened to that inner voice.
The one that said "This isn't who you are, and this isn't where you belong."

That he got to where he is can only be attributable to the size of the fight in his soul.
When you come up that way, you can't play nice, So you play hard.
It makes you tougher.
It makes you a survivor.
I thank God for every obstacle I have had to crawl over.
It made me so I don't crack easy...
It made me a survivor.
cherish your tough times...they make you.
Have a great night guys.


Retta said...

"cherish your tough times...they make you."

This whole post has made me really think... remember... wonder.

I'll admit I'm not to the point yet where I can "cherish" the tough things in my life, then and now... but I see your point.

I don't want to settle... I did that for too long, because I didn't know I had it in me to do better. Now I know.

Great thought-provoking post Chris, thank you.

Fiona said...

Great blog. Made me think too!

Fat Grump said...

Chris, I have been fifty plus years on this planet and most of the time I really feel I ought to be somewhere else, doing something else. I often ask myself 'Is this it?" even though I have got a lot to be grateful for and a lot to make me contented. I am not though.There is an itch in me which hasn't been scratched...and I have no idea how to change things. Sometimes I just want to leave the rat race behind and find peace elsewhere. It could be 'The grass is always greener' syndrome but I am telling myself that first I have to change me...then I'll see if I still feel restless.

I am glad you broke out. It takes guts to change things..to make things happen.

Sean Anderson said...

Your writing stirs me in the deepest most wonderful way.
I often say that the most dramatic part of this transformation process has nothing to do with the physical...The physical gets all the glory, but this---this my friend is the most dramatic transformation of all.

My best always,

Ann (-50 lbs in -60 lb challenge) said...

Chris, it is one of the greatest challenges people have - to figure out WHAT they want, and then gather the courage to seek it out. So many people live the life they think they should, as determined by other people. But, just like the person who tries unsuccessfully to lose weight to make others happy, it isn't until we focus on our own needs that we reach our true potential. I loved your post. Congratulations on your success (so far) and I really enjoyed looking at your transformation photos. Well done!

bbubblyb said...

I just love reading your words. I'm with Sean about your posts stirring things inside me. I'm often finding myself welling up with tears reading your posts. I think we've lived a similar life.

M Pax said...

Having to crawl out of a hole, you learn what matters. It does make us. We think badly, but you're right. It makes us better. Stronger.

E. Jane said...

Hi Chris,

Great Post! You're one strong, smart woman. Don't sell the "smart" part short, because it also took intelligence to undertand what you had to do to make it work.

Robin said...

Let's pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars, I could really use a wish right now, a wish right now, a wish right now. Yeah, MM's third verse gets me right in the heart, too. I can't say anything with certainty, but I think LOSE YOURSELF was a mental turning point for him. When you start mentally turning corners, you can't go back. I haven't heard his entire RECOVERY CD, but I know that he has gotten some bad reviews. They are saying that some of his lyrics are things that Slim Shady, or the old Eminem, would have made fun of in the day. In other words, they are too positive. Not angry enough. They are crucifying him for growing up and manning up. Well, maybe not everyone, but some. I suppose it is a good thing that he knows when to tell people to step off. As long as the record sells, he can tell them all where to put it.

As for what you said, I think a lot of people don't feel at home. There is an element of displacement that they don't know how to overcome. So glad you found your niche.

Anonymous said...

This post made me cry. I have always been struck by that line in Denver's song, too, but reading it today--in the context in which you wrote it--it was really as tho I had read it for the first time. And my heart witnessed to it's truth.

All of that "not fitting in" to the life you had, hit home. Probably because I'm still not fitting in. I have come to realize that it is for the reasons you have listed. I am different--not more right or wrong than those around me, but different. I'd explain, but this is your post. :)

chuckle. I used to pretend that I had been adopted, too. For awhile, that seemed like the only explanation that made sense!

Thanks, Chris, I'm reading this one again.


Putz said...

yes, but think of the people who are not like that>>>i went to europe only because i was an army brat and had nothing else to do, and of course erope made me stronger, but now i have health problems and am being kind of whimpish about them>>>so things chane dearie>>>how i liked to call you dear just then , but it is because i have love for you so it is alright

Linda Pressman said...

Chris, funny, I've been on an Eminem and B.O.B. kick all summer. Just got Eminem's newest CD but it sounds like maybe I need the one before this.

The issue of being a fighter really speaks to me. I was just sitting in my neurologist's office today telling her that I decided the best way to treat my newest crop of headaches is to not carry my headache pills and she kind of thought I was nuts, but really it was my best idea.

Sometimes I have to know when it's time to stop fighting perhaps.

Kim said...

This is the best thing I've read in a while Chris. Thanks...I needed it. Just got home from the beach.

Anonymous said...

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