Most people who know me would agree that I can have a stubborn streak. And while dealing with someone stubborn can be tedious and even exhausting at times, there’s a lot to be said for stubbornness. I consider it to be one of the deterring factors that’s kept me alive for as long as I have been. If I were never this stubborn, I never would have overcome Diabetes complications as was child. I never would have reached the level of martial arts training that I have. And I definitely wouldn’t have made my way through basic training and enjoyed a reasonable foray into law enforcement over the past decade and a half.
But there were a lot of nay-sayers along the way. People who didn’t believe that any of those things could be accomplished and that I shouldn’t have been attempting them. In some cases, a lot of cases, I wish those people could be here to SEE what’s been accomplished. But such pride-filled fantasies are not only unnecessary, they accomplish nothing. But it’s always difficult when you have people who seem to want nothing more than to watch you fail. And I’ve seen this happen a lot.
The most classic scenario involves being at the gym. You walk in, change and start working up a sweat. Public gyms have a lot of positives and negatives, as I’ve often written about. But at one point, you look up and see a heavy-set person on a treadmill or elliptical machine. You can see that they’re soaked with sweat, breathing heavily and are doing their damndest to push through the inevitable fatigue that comes with moving a vessel that large. But they’re doing it. And then the inevitable happens: a couple of snooty bitches (male or female) will come by and “subtly” say something about the person on the treadmill. Maybe something to the tune of, “Wow, you can tell that they sure don’t belong here..” or “Why would they let someone like THAT in here? I didn’t come here to see someone fat in my gym.”
I wish I were making those sentences up. But these are ones I’ve personally heard while USING a public gym. It ties into my whole concept about how some people just want to watch the world burn. Folks, obesity and excess weight is no joke. But setting aside the whole concept of body-positivity and loving yourself as you are, excesses weight can have serious health repercussions and shortens your life in a plethora of ways. So, it would make sense that a person in that position would WANT to work towards getting into shape. And last time I checked, wasn’t the POINT of a gym to GET in shape? By that logic, it stands to reason that everyone in the locale isn’t going to look like a bad scene out of Baywatch.
That’s only one example of such a scenario and it’s a classic one. One I dealt with was actually from my parents. Yes, you read that right; the first people I had to deal with being negative about a choice I made was my mother and father. During my childhood, complications resulting from insulin resistance didn’t provide much of a positive outlook on the possibility of living to see my teens. When I took my health into my own hands and decided to join the martial arts, I was told that I was too weak, too frail, to join karate. They’d hit me and hurt me, and I’d never make it through a class without my blood sugars bottoming out. Ultimately, my parents and family at large were of the opinion that it would be contributing to my early death to join karate.
As a result, I wound up doing what a number of people have done through the centuries, in my situation. I joined in secret and did it anyway. The result was not only improved health, reduced insulin sensitivity and a lifestyle I never would have been exposed to otherwise but I went on to excel and teach others. Not too shabby, for someone who was told they could never do it. And that’s something that unfortunately happens far too much. This example involved my family, but I’ve faced this sort of negativity from friends and associates through the decades, as well.
Folks, one of the worst things you can do in this life, is knock down someone who‘a trying to climb. Everyone has a story, everyone has a journey and it’s far better and easier to help lift these folks up than try and knock them down. Imagine if I’d actually listened to my nay-sayers (parents notwithstanding) and stepped aside from martial arts? Maybe I wouldn’t be here today. Or if I was, maybe I’d be in much worse health and unable to enjoy life to the level that I do. I was lucky enough to have people who pushed me and encouraged me. So when you see someone working towards something amazing, be one of those people. ☯️