I never really wrote about this, but staring down at the two little circle shaped scars on my knee today and a little push from a friend of mine, I decided to put it down on paper. I think I avoided writing about it because I was spending so much time trying to overcome it. I hope that makes sense.
I spent an entire summer a couple years back trying to increase my vertical jump, so when intramural basketball season came along, I could dunk. I spent months doing plyometrics, heavy leg days, and jumping my ass off. I increased my vertical 10 inches, my legs grew and were incredibly strong. Basketball season came along. First game, I dunked over a guy who was around 6’4. The next play, I went to drive to the basket, and someone put their knee right into the outside of mine. It twisted and drove my knee right into the floor. I dragged myself off the floor, put my back up against the wall, and knew this was bad news.
The next day, my knee did not look like a knee. It looked more like a soccer ball. I couldn’t walk. I went to a physical therapist after a week, he told me my IT bands were tight. I spent months and months stretching, rolling out, and continued to workout. After 9 months, I saw a family friend physical therapist, she told me there was a great chance I tore something in the cartilage. I saw a doctor. MRI confirmed a gigantic tear in the outside of my knee. A week later, I had surgery.
A couple of days after surgery, I was in my apartment near school, laying on the bed icing. I had no idea what to expect. My doctor told me he was going to keep me off my feet for a couple of months because the tear was so bad. I had to spend at least two weeks doing nothing, and I can’t tell you how difficult it was to just sit there. I have been to the gym almost every day for the past few years, so not getting my daily endorphin high compounded into athletes depression. What could I do? I was stuck. I felt absolutely useless. I was just starting to really pick up all the pieces, and the letters I was writing were starting to come to a conclusion. There was a lot of time to think.
Your body has a very interesting way of eating away at things it doesn’t need. All of the extra muscle I had gained throughout the past couple of years…was slowly deteriorating. I lost inches on my legs, and my upper body was starting to go. Everything I had worked so hard for was disappearing. That perpetuated the feelings I was going through. But one day, I sat up in my bed, wrapped my knee, got my crutches, and make the trek to the gym. I decided in my mind that if I couldn’t beat the process of atrophy, I could slow it down. I spent a couple of hours in the gym each day, working everything I could. At first I had two crutches, then one, and then a cane. It was around this time that I taped Greg Plitt and his speeches about life and motivation etc, and would play them over and over in my headphones. That was it. Just hearing him for a couple of hours a day speaking about everything and anything helped me get through the pains in my knee and leg. It helped me not focus on what I couldn’t do, but what I could do. While my legs were gone, my heart was strong, and I knew that one day, they would be back.
A year later, they are back. In fact, they are both stronger than they have ever been. In fact, in terms of my natural bodybuilding, they are becoming the most impressive part of my physique. But this post really isn’t about that. It is about overcoming adversity, fear, and having a vision in your mind. If you focus on what you can do, then you will make positive strides. What was happening when I was in bed those first few weeks was that I was focusing on things that I couldn’t do. That tore my mind apart. I wanted to do so many things that just weren’t in the cards for me. When you change your view, different actions follow, and drastically different results occur.
As I am seriously editing my book and getting into the process of talking to professional editors and representatives for authors, I look back on everything and see the differences between now and the first day I started. I have said many of times, that the name of this blog doesn’t accurately represent what this is all about. It is not about being better than anyone else, or trying to be an icon for perfection. It is about a man’s journey to transform his life, one day at a time, and to see that not everything is so black and white, but full of color. My friend said it best the other day when I asked her why she would buy the book. She said,
“We all have a story to tell, of our life and most people never know how to tell that story. Some people tell it with music, some with paint and canvas, some with the spoken word. You are telling your story with the written word… but you not only have the story to tell… but you know what your story means, that is one of the rare gifts you offer in this book”
And that’s what it truly comes down to in part. I have never believed that I was writing a manual for people who want to improve things in their life. Instead, I felt that through the power of story telling, I could relate to you on a much deeper level. Because I know that the feelings and emotions I have gone through are something that many of you have felt in your life. We may not have had the exact same experiences, but that really doesn’t matter. We have had the same feelings. Of love, of loss, of success and defeat. The list goes on indefinitely. It was my goal to speak to my audience in a way that makes them feel that I am right next to you, that I am right there with you while you are going through tough times, good times, and everything in between. And what I can truly say is that if you were sitting here with me right now, you would be receiving the exact same voice from me.
I am putting my heart and soul into making this book the best it can be. I am breaking a few rules that are traditionally followed my typical books…but as the saying goes…if you want to be a maverick or true original, you have to be willing to break the rules. Love. Passion. Never Quit. I can’t wait to go on the next part of the journey with all of you. Without you guys, this would just be me alone rambling. But this community has caused me to grow in ways that I didn’t even imagine at the beginning. I owe a lot to you, and will never forget the people who got me here. So, when that day comes where I am sitting behind a desk or in front of everyone speaking words of appreciation, you will see a smile on my face, and I will give every one of you everything I have. Thank you for helping me realize a dream…that even still chokes me up when I think about it. Thank you.
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