GRIT: Grow Righteous In Tribulations

People always ask and wonder how I manage to stay positive in the midst of all my trials and tribulations. And to be honest, I haven’t always been this way. This is a trait that I have personally worked on to develop since my childhood and teenage years. Growing up, I was often perceived as an angry child. Not too much in my childhood days, but mostly throughout my pre-teen and teenage years. I had a poor attitude as a child, correct. But hey, what kid doesn’t? I was raw, unfiltered, and yet to be programmed by society and how “they” thought I should behave. My raw traits eventually developed over time when my father instilled discipline and wisdom into me. I was a kid with a bright future, very intelligent, headstrong with a mind of my own, slim and athletic, fearless personality, great sense of humor, could wake up with more energy than most, and I had the desire and passion to get up and follow my heart every single day. Although I possessed all of these great traits, I’ve always felt misunderstood. I now understand that I’m not for everybody. I would always hear the quote, “if you knew better, you’d do better”. But yet, I would take my own route and learn from the school of hard knocks, just to then hear my Pops’ voice in my head telling me all of the lessons that I now had to face the hard way. Repetitive patterns of this behavior lead to me becoming diagnosed with ADHD at a young age. Now this was something in which I definitely struggled with learning how to manage. For those who don’t know, ADHD is a medical condition that stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. A person with ADHD might have problems such as the following few examples:

  • Struggle with paying close attention to detail, makes careless mistakes in school or job
  •  Has problems staying focused on tasks and activities, such as during lectures,
    conversations, or extended reading
  •  Seems to become elsewhere in conversations
  •  Inability to complete and forgetfulness of daily tasks
  • Problems with organizational tasks and poor time management
  • Inability to stay seated in classroom or workplace/ squirming in seat/ fidgets with or
    taps hands/ feet
  •  Always on the go
  • Inpatient/ impulsive

Whether it was true or not, I have always hated the fact that I had been diagnosed with this condition. My parents had taken me to see a psychiatrist who believed that this was the best diagnostic for me. From day one, I was a difficult patient. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind talking to people. But I’ve never been the type to open up unless I knew that I could trust you. The strain that was placed upon my psychiatrist and my parents were not intentional, but I just didn’t know myself at the time. I despised the fact that they would place me in front of a total stranger, who would then ask me a wide variety of personal questions with the expectations of me answering them truthfully. I was prescribed medication to take daily that would “calm me down and help me channel my energy, thoughts, and actions”. I soon realized how much I hated being under the influence and began to pretend taking, then hide the pills. It wasn’t always easy, seeing as how my parents would always check to verify if I actually swallowed them. After a while of pretending to take my meds, I began to notice how they would raise my prescription dosages when they didn’t get the results that they wanted. My small round pill soon transitioned into a much larger pill that was genuinely tougher for me to swallow. I would think to myself “wow! What have I gotten myself into?” I knew at a young age that these quantities would just keep growing as I aged, and never wanted to become dependent upon these drugs. My mom would always give me apple juice in the mornings to take with my medication instead of water. Back then, I used to love apple juice. But nine times out of ten, you will never catch me drinking apple juice to this day as a twenty-five-year-old man. I still cringe when taking a sip. If I’m sick, I’ll thug it out as long as possible. To this day, I hate taking medication and only take it when necessary. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten over being forced to take my meds. I feel as if it stuck with me, subliminally. One day, my father found the box that I was hiding my pills in and got very frustrated with me. He told me “you’re a very smart kid, and whenever you do decide to get it right, you’ll get it right. But I will no longer allow you or anyone else to make excuses for your behavior. And I will no longer waste my money on counseling sessions and prescriptions for somebody who doesn’t want to cooperate, and allow others to help yourself.” As I look back, I realize that he was absolutely right. Because at the time, I didn’t want to help myself. I simply didn’t have the will to want to do better.

Basketball made me better as a person because it taught me how impactful my attitude and persona can really come off. Not only that, but it taught me an abundance about work ethic as well. Basketball is and will forever be my favorite sport. The love between the sport and I go back to my childhood days, back to when I still lived in Oklahoma. Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson were my two favorite players in the game, undisputedly. Kobe became one of my idols as I adored his worth ethic and approach to the game. I brought the same underdog mentality as Iverson when I stepped onto the court. I was often undersized, and was placed on teams that I always felt as if I was more than capable of competing at levels higher than the others. I played for my high school for my freshman and sophomore year, and in the following offseason, I was cut due to my attitude. The coach who would’ve been my coach the following year and I would always get into it. He disliked the fact that I would correct him on plays during practice and wouldn’t just do as he said. So, he decided to label me as a player who wasn’t coachable. I truly believe that in all reality, my confidence in myself brought out his insecurities. The following year, I attempted to transfer schools so I could play for another team. Everything was set, seeing as how my mother was a teacher in the district, but I had no transportation and couldn’t afford my own vehicle. From that moment on, my hoop dreams on playing for my high school took a major blow, and I begin to hang with a crowd other than the hoopers. I never realized how big of a shift that was for me until I got older. Those next groups of friends changed my perspective on life in many ways. Some for the better, and some for the worst. Without being able to play my favorite sport and constantly being surrounded by kids who wanted to achieve the same goal as me, I had to redefine who I was at the school and find myself a new crowd.

Although it wasn’t by intention, it didn’t take long to redefine myself. I was an influencer before I realized it, and had clout before I even knew what it was. After I stopped playing basketball, I caught myself getting into legal trouble year after year.
Mostly petty crimes that I made as a juvenile, which only one of those instances were solely my idea. Time after time, I was placed in negative circumstances based off of what a friend of mine had wanted or decided to do. The term “ride or die” fit me perfectly. My loyalty to my friends and loved ones negated my common sense and I never yielded to ask too many questions. I was taken for granted, used, and abused. Although these situations were truly inconvenient, sometimes with me just happening to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, I take full accountability for all of my actions. I was never forced to do something and I’ve always had a choice. All in all, I’ve learned that it’s ok to say no sometimes, no matter who it is, or how much respect you’ve got for that person. It’s essential to not get too caught up in pleasing others that you forget to stay true to yourself and who you are. You never know if your perspective might be the perspective that will change generations to come.

I learn valuable lessons in every relationship that I get into. My last relationship taught me the most. The same signs that you ignore in the beginning, might become the cancer to your relationship. Although it was fun while it lasted, it was truly heartbreaking. It’s tragic to lose the love of your life. In my mind, if it’s us against the world, then I’m all for it. I don’t need validation from society to feel happy and appreciated from my woman. Black love isn’t represented enough in our communities. You never truly understand where you are in life until you hit a roadblock. Had I gone to positive role models for guidance, I might’ve been able to make it work. But thinking should’ve, would’ve, could’ve, can become toxic, so I try not to dwell on it too hard. What’s for you will always be for you. Not only am I more conscious of my flaws now, but I’ve also learned more about myself within these past two years, then I have in the previous 5. I now know what I look for in a woman, what I desire from my woman, and what I need from my woman.

Towards the end of the relationship and after the break up, I suffered from depression. I didn’t need to see a counselor or anything, I was questioned from a trusted advisor, and then self-diagnosed myself. My biggest problem was acknowledging it because I had isolated myself for a long period of time. On top of that, I had no one around who actually knew me, the real me, to check me on my behaviors. Once I realized it, I began to conduct in activities to feel better about myself and bounce back to my normal self. I’ve gotten back to the habits that truly bring me joy. I woke up telling myself that every day would be a good day and would remind myself of how blessed I was. I hit the gym on the regular to work out and/or play basketball. I began to drink more water and took better care of my body. I started going out places by myself, which is something I would typically never do. But, it forced me to adapt to my environment, socialize, and learn to practice networking. I began reading self-developmental books because I understand that everything starts in the mind. I truly believe that if you can think it, you can achieve it. I began cooking more. I practiced learning to play the piano. I volunteered every chance I could get, so that I could surround myself with like-minded individuals who didn’t mind providing genuine acts of service. I expanded my network. I began to practice journalism, which is therapeutic for me. I finally began to communicate with my peers at my medical school. The next hobby that I’m picking up is photography. I have the privilege of having an older brother and sister-in-law with an established photography company called “Harbor Grace Photography”. It’s been confirmed that they are willing to take me under their wing to train and guide me to at a professional level. I’m incredibly honored because this could lead up to more promising skills and opportunities for me to grow as an entrepreneur. Although I’m privileged to do so, I know that it won’t be easy. I’ve seen the hours that they put in first hand, and I’ve still got to master my craft in order to perform up to their standards. Although I’m profound with this new information about myself and what I look for within a spouse, I’m happily single. For it is better to be alone than to become a person that loses his soul to the fear of loneliness. No matter the situation, lover or friend, ensure that whoever you’ve got, has got your back as well. Loyalty should never change throughout the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

I say all of this to help give a better understanding of myself and to inform you that everything is mental. How bad do you want for your situation to progress? Everything starts with your brain, how you think, your attitude towards setbacks, and your perspective on life. Grow through what you go through is a motto that I live by. As long as you learn from every situation, you’ll never take a loss. When looking at life from this positive perspective, it means that I’ve added meaningfulness to myself through every unfortunate event. Knowledge holds value, which is why “they” make you pay for your education. Wisdom is priceless, which is why “they” try to re-write history and separate us from our ancestors. When everything seems out of your control and you’re facing rainy days, remain calm throughout the storm, and find the message in within that’s hidden beyond the clouds. Always keep your faith, and keep your VSN Tunnel.

– Tunnel VSN Juice


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