35

Hi, everybody.

Today’s an odd day. A good day but a sad day. 9/9/86 – My brother’s birthday. He passed at the age of 9, so quite some time ago. Today he would have turned 35. I spoke to him at his grave, “I wish I could have you as a friend.”

It hit home. I do miss my brother, or at least the “idea” of him. I was only 4, turning 5 in a few days when he passed away. I didn’t know him that well, no one did, he was only 9 when he passed. But from what my parents tell me, he was one bright light in this world.

A few times a year I do think about him – not as often as one might think. He passed in 1996, so I’ve had my time for closure and repair. However, I do think about what it would be like to have that constant contact. Have a brother there for me and me there for him. I think it’s a large reason as to why I try to mentor others and coach others – I want to be there for someone. I wish my brother could be here for me and vice versa, but that’s now how life works. Life works the way it wants to work, and it’s silly to be mad about it.

I think about what my brother would think about me. I know that “doesn’t matter” according to literally every self-help book out there, but that’s their damn opinion. I’m curious. I want to know what he would think of me, how much we would get along, how close we would be. But I don’t have that chance and neither does he. That’s OK. That’s what this world laid out for us and that’s what we have to cope with, learn from, and move through.

What the hell am I talking about now? I think my emotions are taking control here. I do miss him. Quite a bit. But I still have family, a mother and father, that mean the world to me. Today is about making sure they’re OK, not me. And I hope I do a good job at that. As for what my brother would think about me? What our relationship would be like? I know it would be good. I know he would care for me and I would care for him. Why am I asking such dumb questions, eh?

I love you, my brother. I hope to see you again.

pause

I wish you well. Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.

Pop’s Day

Hi, everybody.

Happy Pop’s Day to all you wonderful fathers out there. You are appreciated, very appreciated.

Right now I’m in my parent’s living room. Typing here on my phone. I don’t have much to say—I’m just grateful. I’m grateful to have such a wonderful family and a Pops that’s always supported me.

My Pops never told me who to be. He let me be me, even if I was shitting the bed there for a bit. My Pops never tried to influence how I thought. He knew I understood right v. wrong, it just took me a bit to put that knowledge into action.

I feel like my Pops has always had trust in me. And that means the world to me. He’s the best damn man on this planet, he really is. I’m grateful to have him. I am grateful to spend part of this day with him.

I hope you get a chance to hug or high-five your Pops today. If you don’t have a father, please forgive me. To all those celebrating, enjoy your day. Show gratitude.

I wish you well. Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.

Pop’s Birthday

Hi, everybody!

Today is a special day. The man himself, Pops, turned ## today!

We golfed this morning. Relaxing. Had a couple of arguments but we’re past those already.

If you have family, keep them close, even if you tend to get on each other’s nerves every so often. Family is important. You’re important.

I wish you well. Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.

Oh also, Pops, if you’re reading this—I love you and appreciate you. Thank you for being there for me every second of my life. – Bud

Need A Break (Or Do I?)

Hi, everybody.

Right now I’m wearing too many hats. I’m coaching a boxer for her first fight. I’m volunteering my time at a boxing club that’s been around for 43 years – needs complete remodel and renovation. I’m applying for federal grants for the boxing club considering they are are 501(c)3 organization, with the help of my Pops. Oh, I’m also at this new job, which means I’m in meetings from 9 AM – 5 PM every day. Add in my part-time gig of coaching at a local gym on Mondays and Tuesdays, and you can see how packed I am. Oh, add home-owning duties to the mix.

I shouldn’t be multi-tasking right now, but I do not have much of another option. To make sure I balance this and stay aware of how I’m holding up, I’ve decided to write it all out.

I will be OK. Things will slow down.

We are doing good things for the community. The tough work will pay off. Not for me, but for so many inner city kids. I’m excited about that. So very excited.

But the title says I need a break. I don’t think I do. I think I’ll take a break once we do all of these awesome things. That sounds like a good time for a break: After completion.

I wish you well. Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.

Hell of a Day

Hi, everybody.

I have to make this quick. Also, I can’t really look at the screen while I type. I’m actually in the middle of a meeting. This meeting is from 9 AM – 5 PM over the next two weeks, so I’ll give myself a break for a quick blog today. Don’t feel too bad about it.

Let’s talk about yesterday real quick. Hell of a day. Did I tell you lot that I got my female boxer matched up? I think I did yesterday. I might fight on the same card. Who really knows right now.

Also, my dogs busted their heads through my living room windows during a meeting with my VP of Sales at this company. Super awesome. Glass everywhere. Dogs were fine. I freaked out. Yelled. Felt guilt after my dogs looked scared. Apologized. Gave treats. Retreated.

Then I reached out with anger but my support system (Pops) noticed I was reaching out with frustration and stress. He let me go to the gym to get some boxing in while he came over and fixed up my patch job. He told me he’ll have the windows fixed my Saturday. The man is a miracle worker. I’d be lost without him, honestly – well, for the most part. At least with household chores.

I really do need to start paying more attention to this “Boot Camp” (orientation) for work. I’m glad I took the chance to write to you lot. Have a fantastic day. OH! And if you’re graduating soon, congratulations!

I wish you well. Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.

Make Time

Hi, everybody.

I almost made a crucial mistake today. I almost didn’t write to you lot. But I made time. (Do I always have to make the title make sense? I don’t know. Sometimes it’s cringe-y to do it.

Phew, that was close.

It’s another busy day. My weekends are usually jam-packed, but this weekend is a bit more mild–thankfully. No boxing training tomorrow afternoon. Just sparring at 9 AM mixed with training my Pops at 1 PM-ish. But the boxing isn’t done today. It’s just getting started.

Amateur boxing is back where I’m at! A show starts at 2 PM and my boxers will see amateur boxing for the first time. I bet you one of them decides not to box after the show. I think everyone else will be inspired and motivated by what they see.

Anyway, I NEED TO SHOWER AND LEAVE THE HOUSE! I appreciate you reading my shit. I really do. I hope your weekend is going well. If it isn’t, well, I’m sure you will figure it out. We always do if we try.

I wish you well. Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.

Brené Brown on Perfectionism

Hi, everybody!

I’m still on fire. This is like the 4th blog post in like 2-3 days. OOOOH, DOGGY.

I wanted to build off my last post regarding love and belonging, according to author Brené Brown and her book The Gifts of Imperfection. Today we will be discussing perfectionism. Something I’ve always struggled with but just didn’t know I struggled with it, well, at least till I read Brown’s work.

I’ve always bitched at my Pops for his perfectionism, but his perfectionism rests with material items. Putting a desk together the correct way, perfect lines while he mows, etc.. That’s not what it is for me.

Here’s what Brown has to say:

“Where perfectionism exists, shame is always lurking. In fact (opinion), shame is the birthplace of perfectionism.”

I’ve always stood ready to die on a hill that I am not a perfectionist. Maybe I am. Maybe I’m not. Maybe we all are to a certain extent as Brown stated in her book. Maybe she’s right. Maybe she’s wrong. But it’s worth a thought.

Brown goes on, “I think perfectionism exists along a continuum. We all have some perfectionist tendencies. For some, perfection may only emerge when they’re feeling particularly vulnerable. For others, perfectionism can be compulsive, chronic, debilitating, and similar to addiction.”

That rings true to me. Why? It’s something I struggle with on an hourly basis. I think every day needs to be perfect. Every action I make needs to be the perfect one. Yeah, it doesn’t translate to making sure all the paintings on my wall are completely straight, but it translates into something so much more important for me. And it can be destructive. Being aware of this empowers me.

Remember, no matter how lame it sounds, you are enough. Better than enough.

I wish you well. Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.

Story Time #1 – One Lives for Two

Hi, everybody!

I’ve been thinking, & I think it’s about time you lot get to know me a bit more. No, not my name, location, etc., but some moments in my life I believe impacted me in a certain way (neither all good or all bad).

So, with that said, we’ll call these installments “Story Time” – I can’t think of anything better right now. One of my many English professors told me multiple times to just “throw up on the page” when writing, so here it goes: My mantra explained.

The way I recall this event may be slightly different than how it actually happened. My Pops is the only family member that knows about this blog, so he may pick out some errors if he decides to read this. But hey, we can’t change our memories. This story takes place when I was four, almost five. My brother nine, & my mother & father in their late 30’s – early 40’s. I’m actually sitting on the couch in the same home this all happened. Eery, really. I don’t enjoy it much here.

I really get off track quickly, don’t I?

Anyway, about that mantra I’m supposed to explain. It’s “One lives for two”, & it’s for my late brother.

Flashback to 96′, it was a blindingly sunny day in the backyard, early summertime. Kids running, laughing, screaming, & of course, playing every single sport known to mankind. I remember my parents served pizza that day, but I couldn’t eat it. Stupid gluten. I was really mad about that. Next thing I remember is my brother collapsing in the backyard. Again, I could be misremembering, but I do remember a frenzy. Things I couldn’t understand. Things happening so fast. No more laughing. Only screaming, running, & crying. No one knew what to do.

My parents took control. One gave CPR, the other called for help. Neighbors booked it up the street to alert the cop on our block. His wife said he was too busy sleeping to come help. What a guy, right? Fuck that guy. He ended up divorced, go figure.

I stayed the night away from my brother. I stayed at a neighbor’s house. I don’t remember a single thing we did. All I remember is sitting on my bed the next day, parents slouched in front of me letting me know Nick wasn’t coming home.

Last Wednesday, my parents & I took a small tree to his gravestone. After my parents stepped away as we were leaving, I took a step back towards him. “You’re an asshole for leaving me here alone,” I said, laughing & crying. I hope he got a good laugh out of that.

I wish you well. Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.

Pops

This post is dedicated to my father. He’s one of the very few people with knowledge of this blog, so he’ll most likely read it. I hope he does. He deserves to read what makes him such a… perfect Pops.

Pops hasn’t had it easy. Everything I’ve been through, he’s been through + the other things that I’ve put him through. I really don’t know how he does it. Let me explain.

Pops had quite a few misfortunate events occur in his adult life (understatement of the century). I’m sure he had plenty as a kid, but I haven’t asked much. I probably should one day. Throughout adulthood, though, he hasn’t had it easy. His first-born son passed away at the age of nine. He tells me of times after my brother passed, times where he couldn’t sleep. Where he’d wake up after intense nightmares about the loss of his son. Where his anxiety spiked through the roof & he’d pace. I can’t even imagine how tough things were for him during that time.

His wife, my mother, suffered a brain aneurysm in her early 40’s, only about seven or so years after they lost their son. This changed mostly everything about my mother, outside of her knack for always giving unconditional love. Pops stayed at the hospital almost every night when my mother was in the ICU & as she recovered. I believe it was three to four months before my mother was released from the hospital. I think he was there almost every day, & slept on a cot next to her almost every night. Praying for her. Being there for her. Showing unconditional love through each tear & each breath. Again, I can’t even imagine.

Yes, I was going through this stuff, too, but I was young. I didn’t fully understand the magnitude of these traumatic events, but my Pops wasn’t as lucky. In fact, I don’t know if he’s ever had an ounce of luck in his life, but the man just keeps going. Again, I can’t even imagine.

After all of this, you’d expect things to get easier. They didn’t. My mother had to learn how to walk again, how to talk again, how to really do anything again. Who was there through it all? Who showed up each time she needed help, love, or both? My Pops.

It didn’t stop there. His mother & my grandmother, started to suffer from dementia, & he was once again the person in charge. How did he handle it? Well, just like he’s handled everything in life. Through love, patience, & most importantly for him, faith. His faith is something that I can’t quite grasp, but boy am I happy he has it. During this time he was also struggling with me, an early 20’s kid causing needless trouble & couldn’t save a penny if he glued it to his forehead. What did he do in that situation? He helped. He didn’t have to, but he did. Concurrently, he was losing his job. Think about that for a second: He was losing his job but still put my mother & me in front of himself, along with somehow managing the loss of his own mother. How he handled everything with the prospect of losing his job, the only income my family had, is beyond me. Again, I can’t imagine.

When his sister passed, who was in charge of handling the funeral, who had to drive 17 or so hours to & from our state to her state a few times? Pops did. Were there capable people down where my aunt lived that could’ve handled the situation? Probably, but Pops is Pops. He lives to help. He lives to impact others in a positive way. He lives the way everyone should live. That Golden Rule you hear about? He’s perfected it.

I struggled hard today. Very hard. What happened next? I bet you can guess.

Pops dropped everything he was doing at work & drove to my house, where we talked for hours about everything from my problems, to solutions, to leadership. We really covered a lot of ground, but I didn’t even notice what was going on. Why? Because Pops was being Pops. Loving, caring, & always listening. I can’t tell you lot how much that means to me. I wouldn’t still be here today without my Pops in my corner. My mother wouldn’t be here if my Pops wasn’t in her corner. Who knows how many other people he’s impacted this way, but I bet it’s not exclusive to us. The man is a machine of kindness and compassion.

You know what I think about sometimes? How quickly I would run away from these situations. I’ve talked to countless people about it. He’s been through so much. So much shit tossed not just in his general direction, but directly at his face. However, nothing stops him from being Pops. Why? Faith. Again, I want to have that, but I can’t imagine.

This is off the cuff. I felt the need to write about him right as he walked out the door to drive the hour or so back to his house. He’s coming over tomorrow morning to help me get the house ready to sell. Can you believe that? He just spent five or so hours listening to me cry, listening to me complain about everything in life, & listening to me cuss at almost every pause in my sentences. Yet he’s still coming back tomorrow. Is Pops even real? Now that I’m typing this, I’m starting to think he’s an alien or some type of robot – maybe he is that machine made of kindness & compassion. I just can’t imagine how he does all of this for the people in his life.

I’m a very lucky son. Yes, my Pops & I have had our fair share of butting heads (one time we put a hole through the hallway wall when I was kid, but that was my fault – most everything we butted heads on was my fault… go figure). However, no matter what I’ve done in my life, & I’ve done some terrible shit, he’s always been in my corner. Always. Just like he’s always been in my mother’s corner & just like he was always in his mother’s corner.

If there’s one person that deserves some type of “legacy”, some type of statue or some shit, it’s my Pops. Not some random president or the first man on Mars (I know that person doesn’t exist yet). That shit doesn’t compare to what he’s done in his life. It truly doesn’t. He’s the most amazing man I’ve met & I’m somehow lucky enough to be his son. He’s talked me off the edge more times than I can count. He’s put in countless hours with my mother & me to make sure we’re doing well. I can’t remember the last time either of us asked him if he’s doing well. Maybe it’s time to return the favor. Actually, it definitely is.

For those of you without father figures that are reading this post, don’t get too down. Just because he’s my Pops doesn’t mean you don’t have someone like this in your life. They don’t have to be your dad. They just have to care about you unconditionally. My Pops does that. He’s done that my whole life & seemingly since the day he met my mother. I wouldn’t know prior to that, but maybe I’ll ask tomorrow morning.

Anyway, I hope he gets a chance to read this. I don’t do a good enough job telling him these type of things. They just never seem to come out – maybe because he always puts me in front of himself. He’s just that selfless.

Anthony de Mello, a Jesuit priest & author I bring up quite often, says that all men are selfish. Anthony, I respectfully disagree. My Pops is completely selfless & there’s no way anyone could prove otherwise.

Again, I want to stress to you that you have someone in your life like this, too. My Pops isn’t one in a million. I know that. You need to know that. Start to look around you, see who’s really there, see who’s been there for you no matter what. Once you find that person, never take them for granted. They could, & most likely will, save your life.

I wish you well (especially you, Pops). Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.

Also, I love you, Pops. Thank you for everything. I mean it.