WHERE I'M AT: 5 YEARS IN REVIEW
Actualizado: may 12
Must we look back in order to go forward? I believe so. Who we are today, is no more than the sum of who we were yesterday. I look at me now and can't help but remember who I was before. What we do with our experience, our knowledge, accomplishments, and disappointments, its what really defines who we will become. That's exactly what this blog is about, closure on a chapter so explored by myself that I can finally say its ok, I understand, that's who I was, that's what happened, that's what shaped me, and this is who I am today.
For three years now, I've held a special tradition. Every year I pick a song that represents my general mindset for the year and engrave it on a Zippo lighter. It's a way to instantaneously take me back to those feelings, to never allow myself to forget. However for this to be a complete story, I must take you before that tradition began, backward into a past when things weren't as clear as they are today. However, even back in that time, I used to pick a song and listen to it a lot throughout the year, so I will be sure to include them too.
Year 2014 - Recovery
Why do I act like I'm all high and mighty
When inside I'm dyin'? I am finally realizin' I need
Help, can't do it myself, too weak
Two weeks I've been havin' ups and downs goin' through peaks
And valleys, dilly-dallyin' 'round with the idea
Of endin' this shit right here, I'm hatin' my reflection
- Going Through Changes @Eminem
Back in 2014, I use to love that word, "recovery", for some reason felt that it that it resonated with me. Recovery from what? You may ask. And part of me still does today. However, I do have some idea of what my possible recovery may have meant. Back then the feelings I used to drive me forward came from a dark place, greed, lust, discontent, I simply want it all. Yes, I had gotten a lot, especially when it comes to business and getting my way all throughout school. But it was unfocused, pure instincts that without control guided my behavior towards my goals. They didn’t care about anything or anyone, they needed to win, to prove we were better. Narcissistically wanted to show I was the greatest, whatever the cost. I was all about money and manipulating things to my likening, hell, that was me for the greater part of my life.
However, recovery meant something, some part of me knew I was going on a destructive path and needed to be corrected. In part, I did. To understand those feelings I had to look back. Had a psychologist for a while, one of the few people I really respected back then. Helped me much to see things clearly, especially when it came to exploring my past. It wasn't easy, nor joyful for the greater part of it, but it helped. Things were good. I was hanging out a lot with my friends, started playing paintball for the first time which sparked a passion for sports, and was seeing this girl that would eventually become my girlfriend in the longest relationship I have ever had. Oh boy was I not ready for that.
2015 - Love the Way You Lie
Baby, without you, I’m nothing, I’m so lost, hug me
Then tell me how ugly I am, but that you’ll always love me
Then after that, shove me, in the aftermath of the
Destructive path that we’re on, two psychopaths but we
Know that no matter how many knives we put in each other’s backs
That we’ll have each other’s backs, ’cause we’re that lucky
- Love the Way You Lie Part.II @Eminem
Self-understanding was no longer a priority for me. Things were interesting, my life was pretty busy with a relationship, friends that wanted to party all day, and lastly university. Nevertheless, it all took a big toll on me. Not only did I stopped working on my "recovery", but I found new emotions I had never felt before. My focus turned from myself to my relationship. Whatever darkness I had not faced yet controlled me from behind, I didn't understand my actions, my feelings, I just followed like a blind monkey. I wasn't aware of it, but I was slowly pulling apart the good things in my life, steering away from my friends, and treating my relationship as a videogame I needed to win. It was a year filled with emotions. It also showed glimpses of the strength I possessed. Just passed my birthday, around September, I suffered a knee injury that would affect me for the rest of the year. I was mad, I couldn't play, it hurt all the time, even when I walked I could feel it.
My attitude took a big hit, I was overly stressed and took it out on the people closest to me. The doctors didn't know exactly what it was and just told me to go for therapy until it got better, I did. Stopped all physical activity until the end of November came around, the first time I will go compete in the paintball world cup in the USA. I was nervous, hadn't played in almost three months and had no idea if my knee was going to hold up through it all. One day before the tournament we had practice and it felt great, not only were we destroying all other teams, but my knee felt in great shape. That wouldn't last. In my first match in the tournament, something went wrong. After a sprint, a clear sting of pain began to fill my right knee and for me that was it, I was out of the game. My teammates, however, wouldn't let that happen, go back in the field! my captain yelled, and I did. Played all the tournament with an incredible amount of pain, a swollen knee, and ice bags each time we had a break. Now I realize I wouldn't have had it any other way. I am thankful for them not letting me quit and ashamed of me for wanting to, sometimes we need that push when we don't have the belief in ourselves yet.
2016 - Chaos
My friends keep askin' me why I can't just walk away from
I'm addicted to the pain, the stress, the drama
I'm drawn to shit, I guess I'm a
Mess, cursed and blessed, but this time I
Ain't changin' my mind, I'm climbin' out this abyss
You're screamin' as I walk out that I'll be missed
- 25 to Life @Eminem
Chaos is everything but order, it's the unexpected. The glass of wine that falls off the table. The earthquake that shakes the ground when you are sleeping. But above all, it's how I remember this year. It started with me in therapy for my knee, upset, angry with the world. Why would life put so many good things in my table and then don't let me enjoy them fully? A paintball passion that couldn't be fulfilled, a relationship I didn't understand nor be satisfied with, and so many temptations to start looking for my old ways.
The year went by slowly, my knee got better, and went back to playing. My attitude, however, was only on the downfall. With my relationship in an emotional roller coaster status, I started looking for other ways of finding content. Began to go out much more with my friends, it was all about having fun. And I found it, the fun, whatever it took. This year is named chaos because of the uncontrollable emotions I felt inside. The anger and blame I placed on my partner for things that were not going as I wanted, the rush of adrenaline I felt every Sunday as I went and shoot people in paintball, and the fun satisfaction I had when I went out with my friends and party till I had forgotten about everything else.
The year ended in a hurricane of emotions I wasn't prepared for. I had accomplished nothing that I felt proud of for the whole year. It felt like I had just wasted time, and even worst, my relationship was in the brink of a long-awaited death, and we were about to say goodbye. I still recall the last days of 2016, a smell of disappointment and unsatisfaction in the air. But I was sure as hell going to try and cover my nose with all the booze available to me. It was some days to remember, parties, stupid fun, and memories that for better or for worse, I will always keep with me.
2017 - Kings Never Die
How 'bout that? I’m somehow now back to the underdog
But no matter how loud that I bark
This sport is somethin' I never bow-out at
I complain about the game, I shout and I pout, it's a love-hate
But I found out that I can move a mountain of doubt
Even when you bitches are countin' me out
And I appear to be down for the count
- Kings Never Die @Eminem
We need chaos. Growth, potential, they all come from the unexpected, the opportunities that it creates. It was a new start, again I had to face everything I hadn't finished fighting before, but this time, I was not going to battle, I was going to war. I had to find answers, why, where did my behavior come from, those feelings I had, I needed control. What I learned that year, is that to know your enemy, is to control him. I became an explorer of my mind, went to dark places, but each time I held control more tightly. My emotional grip was growing. I was reading like crazy about everything connected to the human mind and evolution. I was visiting one of my old mentors to explore my thoughts and hear him call out bullshit when it was needed.
I was fighting the toughest war I had ever faced before, against the toughest opponent there is, yourself. In order to support the mental stress, I was working out two times a day for a total of 4 hours, two hours of strength training in the morning, and two hours of cardio in the evening. I felt like I was dying, and I loved it. Each morning my body felt weaker, but my mind was stronger. I created new paths out of the unexpected, started thinking of business plans, perfected my paintball skills and training, it was all getting better. Around the middle of the year, my body could not handle it anymore, and it gave out. I was so weak I could barely run 5 kilometers without getting tired. And that's how I got into nutrition as seriously as I am into it now, I just needed some more fuel for the tank, and I got it. I remained fighting all throughout that year, but I was not clueless anymore, I began to understand myself on a deeper level that I have ever done before. I was not in control yet, but I was aware, I was awake.
My performance increased in all aspects of what I considered as my priorities in life, the mind, paintball, business, friends, and university, in their respective order. I knew failure was around each corner, but also knew the path to success was there, laid down in front of me. Whatever the obstacle, knowledge was the answer. Know yourself, know the world and how it works in each of its ways, and then you can control the uncontrollable. I was back to feeling like a king, but not in a narcissistic manner, this time I earned it, I did the work. I went to war and came back victorious. I was the king of my mind.
2018 - Believe
But it's never too late to start a new beginnin'
That goes for you too, so what the fuck you gon' do?
Use the tools you're given!
Or you're gon' use the cards you're dealt
As an excuse for you to not do shit with 'em?
I used to play the loser/victim
'Til I saw the way Proof was driven
I found my vehicle and I haven't ran out of gas yet
And when they stacked decks, turn handicaps into assets
- Believe @Eminem
I had only started to discover the potential for the human mind, 2018 showed me what we are really capable of. It also slapped me in the face, showing me what a pussy I had been in recent years. Yeah, I had always found a way to get to my goals, but where those goals really the ones I wanted? Or was I just trying to settle and follow convention? Meditation was becoming a greater part of my life, my emotions even when heavily challenged, mostly remained under my control. I was pushing myself towards pressure, whatever I didn't feel comfortable doing I did.
My progress in all important aspects of my life became evident, I was no longer feeling like a slave mentally, my relationships with my friends where improving and was cutting loose the ones I had to. My sports skills went beyond what I had ever imagined possible, and had good plans for the future. I learned, however, that you can't have it all. Being solely focused on improving yourself is a lonely route, greatness in whatever you want requires sacrifice. I use to believe a healthy balance was there to be found, business, love, friendship and passion, I can't say I do anymore. When you push yourself to callus your mind, to train it like if it where a muscle, you will inadvertently become aware of everything around, the good and bad things in your environment. It will force you to stare at the mirror and see what you need to do to be better, even if you don't like it. If you want to train like the best, to be exceptional, you will have to sacrifice other parts of your life, friends, even miss out on chances on love. If being a business giant is your goal, again it will force to find unexplored paths, being the only, a rare breed amongst people that follow convention and can't quite imagine what's going through your mind or actions. Both of those where big aspirations for me.
The paths, however, were now much more diverse and open that I had ever imagined. Armed with tools I could now use to get proficient at any aspect in life, I found myself in a moment of choice. Was I going to settle for a normal life? aspire to be like my mom perhaps? A family, some money, and a healthy routine to live comfortably? No. I knew it, my instincts knew it, and my dark side came rushing in like a volcano full of rage. That turned things more complicated. Now I had to tell myself what was I willing to sacrifice to be uncommon amongst the uncommon. That is a question I am still dealing with today. The end of the year tested me again, as an old friend came back for a second round.
My knee was fucked up again, this time thankfully, it was my other knee. I took it as the challenge it was, dealing with the pain, with the stress, the possibility of not playing again, this time I would control the situation and not the other way around. With rest, lots of yoga, and some luck, I was back playing after a couple of months. My next move was not as clear, but my ultimate goal appeared like glimpses in a daydream. Show the world what you are capable of, and in turn, help the ones who aspire for more get there. With my head full of questions, the opportunity to train paintball with one of the greatest came my way, and I ended up leaving for a three month trip to Russia. It seemed beneficial in several ways. It would not just make me uncomfortable, living in a place I didn't know with a language I don't speak, but would also give me a chance to improve my skills and give me some time to think away from the routine.
2019 - Where I'm At
Cause I’m movin' on, don’t worry about me
‘Cause I’m gon' be just fine without you, you’ll see
There ain't no one on this Earth right now I’d much rather be
‘Cause, goddamn it, I’m glad that I’m me
I said if you could be where I’m at
You’d wanna be you too
If you felt the way I feel, I bet you’d be in as good a mood as I am
But you don’t ‘cause you just feel like you
- Where I'm At @Eminem
Here we are, our last stop. The cards are on the table, and I am about to play my hand. Finishing university is my only set in stone goal for the moment, yeah at least get that paper for which my parents paid for. Nonetheless, what comes next, who knows. Making money is a priority, quickly and efficiently. Money is options and opened doors, and I need them. Improving my sports performance also, getting a few paintball trophies would be nice. The most important thing, however, is to keep callusing my mind until it becomes unstoppable. To stop fearing my darkness, but to learn to unleash it when I want too.
Sounds corny, probably, if you have never experienced true darkness. But all of the greats have it, hidden, away from the lights. It pulls your raw natural instincts to the outside world, the ones that we are born with, those that want to get over everything and everyone for our only goals, survival and transcendence.
Yes, we are born bad, and then turned good with education and convention. But all greats need that dark side, it's what feeds them beyond what's normal, what makes them risk everything to get to that win. Do you think a mafia boss is really different from a successful CEO or an elite athlete? Nah, they are all the same, in one way or another they all use those instincts, they just hide them well. The emotions I was "recovering" from, yes those that guided me through my adolescent years without control, I need their power to do the job. Coming to Russia proved as a way of sealing the person I am today, helped me experience emotions I thought as lost long ago, like real connection, while also pushed me towards discomfort and pressure. So what do I want right now in life? what do I strive for?
Meaningful victories. The ones that only come from a battle inside your mind. The one I had when I fought against myself in 2017. Or when I played my first paintball tournament, did the 4-day Inka trail in Cuzco, or took the decision to come to Russia at the last second. Those victories, when you are pressed to perform, to get into an abyss of stress and discomfort, and you take it all in with pleasure. Whatever the outcome is, you come out stronger, cockier, ready to raise the bar for the next fight, the next challenge. You cant be relentless if you cant take discomfort, you must learn to love discomfort. And you cant be unstoppable if you only deal with pressure when you have no choice, you must seek pressure. So, Where I'm at? I just discovered fire, and I am about to burn the whole fucking world down.