What Does Living Like A Warrior Mean
I can tell you that a warriors mindset transcends the battlefield and all the images many of you have conjured up in your minds. Living like a warrior may not be a literal battle, but rather a figurative one. Don’t imagine swords, blood, guts, and death. It is more likely your mental outlook that says I will overcome any obstacle (foe) no matter how insurmountable it may seem at the time. This could be kicking a habit like smoking, drinking, pornography, gambling, etc. It could be so simple as going back to school to get a degree after years of being out of school. It could be learning to read after a lifetime of illiteracy. The foe or obstacle can be anything you want or need to achieve. The common core of this equation is you and your mindset. You may not choose the foe, it may choose you. The only thing you have control over is yourself, your attitude, and your perseverance. Like many situations in life, you have to grind through them to succeed or to survive. That is why I have decided to start www.thegrindclothing.com . More on that later though!
Alcoholism, The Pain, The Fallout, and Redemption
I can only relate my own personal experiences with my parents and their demons with drinking. After an earlier blog post, I received feedback from people saying it really rang true with them. I watched from the time I was a little kid and saw the decline they went through into the dark hell of addiction. I didn’t understand it at the time but they were in a full blown battle for their lives. I couldn’t feel sorry for them because they were doing this to themselves and my sister and I were on the receiving end of a lot of the collateral damage this disease causes. What I realized much later in life is that they were good people with a spiritual hole in themselves. I am a Christian so I call it a God size hole. No amount of money, women, cars, houses, watches or other useless material goods can fill that abyss. They both had issues that they hadn’t dealt with from a younger age. My Mother especially had some baggage that her father put on her when he was going to leave my grandmother after having an affair. That rejection caused her lifelong pain. Through two health scares, they both gave up their addiction. My father quit drinking many years prior to his death after getting burned in an accident at work while welding. My Mother had a cancer scare and she prayed to God that if he made sure she didn’t have cancer, she would quit drinking. True to her word, she quit cold turkey with the help of AA. In an irony to beat all irony, she quit on St. Patrick’s Day. Imagine, an Irish woman quit drinking on St. Paddy’s Day. They both lived their later years in happiness, addiction free. I finally got to know my real parents, not the drunken shells they were when I was a kid.
Cancer, Death, And The Coming Of Age
In 1998, I got my first real reality check in my life when it came to my family. My father was diagnosed with lung cancer; inoperable and incurable. He was given 4-5 months to live upon his diagnosis. I remember feeling so stunned and vacant. I had to find a way to bridge a gap between us that had existed since I was a little boy. I loved my father, I just didn’t really know him. He lived 14 months and I got to spend some quiet moments alone on the golf course. Neither of us were the most verbose people at the time, but we managed to talk openly and heart to heart about some matters that had been brushed under the rug for years. It was actually cathartic and provided me an opportunity to heal from the years he was buried in addiction. I have nothing but fond memories of him. I let go of any painful thoughts long ago. My Mom just passed away on October 2, 2015 of the same dreaded disease. I was very close to my Mother and we had a bond that my sister described as “the golden child.” It was an unbreakable bond that transcended words and actions. It just was a beautiful thing to know each other as though I was cut of the same cloth. I watched her battle adversity over the years from health issues, to financial issues, to just everyday life. She was such an tough and enduring soul; God doesn’t make people like that very often. She was very generous and giving, but was unafraid to stand up in the face of adversity or unjust behavior. My sister told a story the other day about when she worked at Randazoo’s Fruit Market in the Deli. A lady would just be crappy to my Mom all the time. She would just disagree just for the sake of disagreeing.
One day, my mother saw that there was an order for an M. Mathers. My mother wondered aloud if it was for Eminem. The lady started in on my mom and said “why would Eminem buy deli trays from Randazzo’s? Considering at the time that it was the premier fruit markets on the east side, it would make sense, but this lady loved to disagree with my mom. So when Eminem, Kim Mathers, and Hailie all came in to pick up the trays, everyone was kind of in shock. When they left, all my mom did was turn her head and looked at the lady and said “fuck you!” That is the warrior in my mom. She was the nicest lady on the planet, but cross her and look out. I used to have people come in the gym and tell me they met my mom and she was awesome. She truly was giving, but she was a tenacious as a badger if you got her angry. She taught me that spirit and it resides in me to this day. I already see vestiges of it in my daughter. Living like a warrior means so much more than fighting. It’s about grace, poise, discipline, and knowing when a fight is coming and then winning it quickly and decisively.