Finally, after much deliberation, procrastination… my book, Imminent Reaping has hit Amazon and Kindle. Imminent Reaping, my first book, is a 45-page short story for now. I am writing this up to a 300-page masterpiece. I hope you all like it, I hope it sells. Anyway, that’s all for now.
I recently gave a speech for our local National Guard unit. I was speaking on toughness, or as the Army calls it, resiliency. In my view… toughness is something that has to be developed. Merriam-Webster’s calls resiliency “the ability to rise above adversity”. How many of you consider yourselves to be tough, or resilient? How many of you honestly can look down at your life and say unecquivocally that you have that trait? In my eyes, we all have it, but in varying degrees. In my case, I had to grow into this. It was painful and took almost 35 years. This is something near and dear to me. I love seeing people “get over”. I am all about “putting people over”. Toughness is a whole hell of a lot more than using curse words, talking loud and being overbearing. Some of the toughest people I ever met were under 5 feet tall, under 100 pounds.
I am sure a lot of you are reminiscing by now, looking at your body, looking at the tattoos, the scars, memories. If you grew up in my era (late 1990s/early 2000s), you can attest to a shift in the overall consciousness of Americans.Seems to be a less confident, less resilient people now. More groupthink, less “rugged individualism”. More victimhood rather than a “can-do” spirit. I will leave you all with this: Do not be afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid to be hurt. Never fear anything.
Recently a buddy of mine in the A has been racking up wins. Now, he’s a supervisor at his new job. I am very pleased and proud to know that he is doing great. Add to that, he’s a burgeoning writer. As a friend, I can stand by and watch him succeed (as a fan watches his/her fave sports team). I am proud to know Mr. LeBeau and to watch his development- from ashy to classy. He had been taking quite a few L’s since I’ve known him. Now, I would like to take the credit for his development and his success… I know I’d be lying, and doing that makes for nothing more than being a disingenuous fraud.
I was recently made aware of a friend’s bad relationship. He was set to leave his wife… he had a change of heart. He was wise in my eyes to get himself some $$$, to immerse himself in his work, then go to war. Folks, no matter what kind of bad relationship it may be… when you’re tired… of lies… tired… of disrespect… tired… of a B.S. sandwich… you gotta make the tough choices. Make these choices with the intention of freeing yourself. You can and will survive. You will recover.
Have you ever felt that you are in a valley in life? That everything you do is seemingly “in escrow” for a later time, but you need things now? Add to that, the people around you are not making anything easier, whether they complain a lot, whine, or whatever it is that they do? Troubles, trials and tribulations are the name of the game in life. We do live in an era where people have been softened up with “sweetness and light” coming from every angle. What is more confusing, there are those who actually do have answers, but their manner of delivering the answers further isolates and frustrates the people in need. How can you make something out of the seemingly endless cacophany of voices that all promise you that they will help you, make things easier and bring things to a head? I am no expert, guru or any of that. However, I can tell you about how it is imperative that you think for yourself. Thinking for yourself, personal accountability, stuff like that, is a lost art in our world today. But HOW do you think for yourself, when it is easier to go with the flow of media, popular opinion and groupthink? It is something to behold when you see someone using the brains God gave them. It is amazing to see men and women accomplish their own dreams instead of seeing people go on some track that allows them to live “life on autopilot”. How many times have we on social media or on our blogs, comment on those who we deem to be “stupid”? How did they get to be mentally deficient? And what makes us, any better than they are? Is there some disconnect that we haven’t figured out yet? Is it because it is 2014? Is it because we live in such an affluent society that even a growing class of people who do not have the skills to pay their bills is nothing to fear, since “we got ours”?
i simply wanna say that the times in which we live, it is more important than ever to realize we must “break out of the matrix” and begin to THINK FOR OURSELVES. I know it’s not very popular to be a thinker. I know it’s not very popular at all to have a set of beliefs that prides itself on a deity, or “rugged individualism”. If it were all to end today, what would you want to be said about you in the history books? To be THE LAST MAN STANDING, you must realize the times we are in, the urgency of life (as it passes all of us by to some degree), and just how frail we really are. It takes brains, brawn, desire and the willingness to endure tragedies, troubles and disappointment. As it says in Psalm 30:5, “weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning”.
For those of you who this hits, I hope it helps you, as writing is therapeutic for me.
For all of you seeking something in life, remember this old Roman proverb: PERDES OMNES QUI ADVENERUNT (Destroy All Who Came).
I am putting myself out on front street again. Ya’ll know I am not afraid to do that. This pic is of me from 1990 (8th grade). Yes, I was a stuttering, bucktoothed, short kid who lacked the self-confidence to do anything. I posted this on social media this past Thursday for a #throwbackthursday meme. I was a bit embarrassed at first, until God pulled me aside and showed me how far I have come in my 37 years of life. In fact, the past 5 years have more than made up for the previous 32 that came before it. All the things I have conquered through faith, perseverance, diligence and sheer will. The question I pose to all of you is are you still growing? Are you still making strides to BECOME something, someone great? Or are you just wanting to sail through life, make money, have fun, have friends and die? Only you can answer that question. I, for one, can honestly say, though I am just getting started, I HAVE COME A LONG WAY BABY. Never allow yourself to settle for anything less than what you want out of life.
Only through pain, strain, defeat and conflict is anyone ever going to achieve anything worthwhile. Yes, greatness is within all of us, but are you willing to suffer, starve, fight for what you want?
Here is a snippet of my book “Imminent Reaping”. I have been at work on this (off and on) for about two years now. Enjoy!
“SILENCE YOU FOOL!!! I AM NOT HERE TO BE PRAISED!!! I AM HERE TO OFFER YOU A JOB”, says satan. “You have all the qualifications that I want and need for our team. You are now Adramalech”. Unbeknownst to Jimmy, six demons walked in and were standing behind him, one with a drawn sword. In one fell swoop, Jimmy’s throat was cut, blood rushing out of his neck like a river. The demons jumped on him, eating his flesh. Satan reaches into Jimmy’s carcass then screams. At that moment, what was Jimmy arose. Adramalech was born. Adramalech roared. Loudly. The foundations of the building shook and patrons cheered as he cut the head off a stripper and ate her body. “We will destroy those fools from Heaven tonight”, says Adramalech. “I am the weaver of nightmares. I am the ripper of flesh, I have destroyed many men over the years… from Sarmatians, to Romans, to Americans, Russians and Saudis… I am the ultimate killing machine!!” The crowd roars in approval. In the outskirts of Hell City, just past Sheol, the place once known as Abraham’s Bosom, is the place called The Outer Darkness. No light, no nothing except fear, dread, darkness and death. The Night Raiders, demons who torment souls, would ride by on mounted patrols. Urias, his Hosts of Heaven, and The King touch down. The King calls them to order. The Hosts of Heaven, 240,000 in number, are divided into divisions. With the 240 divisions, there are various chains of command. But Urias is the head of them all, answering only to The King, who is the Commander-in-Chief. After settling down and camping for the time being, all the leaders of the divisions met with Urias and The King to discuss strategies. Urias will lead a small detachment into Hell City, about 20 soldiers will go in. There will be subsequent waves of soldiers coming into Hell City after they breach it. Everyone was on their “A game” for they knew what this was, and what it meant. The first real strike into Hell since Christ died on the cross in 30 AD. Urias and his detachment leave the FOB (forward operating base). Before they left, The King gave Urias a message: “Remember I told you that you I would be with you in spirit, but didn’t tell you what that meant? I will ascend into Heaven, but I will leave you a share of My Power. All you have to do is say My Name. Just say the name of Jesus and you will have My Power, which is limitless. Remember that as you head into that wretched city”. The detachment heads out and almost immediately they encounter the Night Raiders and other demonic fighters. They surround the detachment from all sides, and try to attack. Urias, waiting to strike, lunges forwards with a blistering attack of kicks, punches and sword attacks. Demons falling like rain, just dropping like flies. Angelus, was ripping demons in two with his bare hands, smiling as he did it. Urias ducked one punch, did a spin-kick which took down two other demons. He then proceeded to slice them open with a sword thrust. The battle went on for hours, until the last demon was dead. Sadly, half the detachment also dies as well. Finally, the detachment reaches Hell City. The stench of the streets overwhelmed them, as a few of them were puking. The sight of the rape rooms, the sacrifices and the overall evil was horrifying. Hell City is a combination of Toronto, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Moscow and Riyadh. At the first step onto a street, the inhabitants knew something wasn’t right. Several thugs went after the detachment and were executed quickly. After a few moments, came another wave of demons- only these demons were sent by Abigar himself. The demons make their way down slowly, as to stalk them. Angelus steps up with a haymaker, striking three of them with one blow. Various other demonic creatures join the fight. Urias is fighting five, sometimes six of them at once. He gets his lip busted open, he laughs as he spits in their faces. More demons rise up, and just as quickly, they are struck down. One after the other they came, reminiscient of the hordes of antiquity. And one by one, they fell. Angelus, Samael, and the remaining warriors of the detachment fight with swords and their bare hands. Angelus and Samael (whose name means “Venom of God”) joined hands and ran, clotheslining several demons as if it were a professional wrestling match. Urias, meanwhile, was using his swordsmanship skills while carving up a huge demon reminiscent of the demon duke sitri. Then from behind, came a demon riding a lizard-like creature that stands at least 40 feet high and is about 25 feet wide. The creature stormed towards Urias and the soldier Reuel. The creature and its rider Sallos, a duke, lunged towards Urias, but missed. At that very second, Reuel jumps on the lizard and starts hacking at the tail. The tail falls off, and another one grows on instantly. Reuel ducks an arrow by the archers, but is struck in the temple by Sallos’ sword, leaving a gash 3 inches wide. Reuel laughs as he falls, but not without plunging his sword into the giant lizard, as he descended down the lizard’s side. As Reuel hits the ground, he is trampled by the angry beast. Sallos looks around only to see Urias screaming as he approaches him. Urias comes down hard with a strike that cracks Sallos’ helmet and severs his head. Urias laughs as Sallos’ head peels like a banana. Urias then proceeds to take the reigns of the beast and plunges his sword into the back of its neck and leaps down, pulling the sword with him. The beast roars in agony and blood hemorraghes. The blood is a dark green, sulphur-based hemoglobin. Urias reaches the ground finally, rolls out the way of the lizard as it stumbles then collapses. It roars two more times, then dies. Wave after wave of demons come and go. Urias looks around and sees only 5 of his detail with him: Angelus, Melek, Yophiel, Gabriel (an archangel) and Ariel, the chief of the exiled. The six of them look around and see 1200 seething demons of varying sizes staring at them. The fallen angels all rush the six heavenly warriors from all sides. The six angels stand back-to-back, as they protect each other from all sides. One devil’s head is sliced off, then cut in half. Another devil’s head is crushed. Hours pass, as the demons are obliterated one after the other. With the numbers dwindling, the remaining demons all charge at once, all 150 of them. The fighting continues until the number of the demons are down to the last three. Urias looks around, sees Angelus and his huge blazing sword. Urias runs over to Angelus and grabs the sword. At that moment, a bat-looking demon swoops down on Urias, claws and teeth bared. Urias ducks right and grabs it by the throat. Urias then takes Angelus’ broadsword and shoves it in the devil’s mouth, coming out the back of its head. As the demon shakes, bleeds and finally dies, Angelus is smiling WIDE, laughing. The last cry of the demon echoes in the darkness. The echo fades back into the eerie silence.
Okay, so it’s the title of a 1999 Robert DeNiro/Billy Crystal gangster flick (funny as can be). In this case I am talking about a status update by an ex-classmate on facebook. Now I have had my issues with facebook in the past few years, as it has sharply turned into a wasteland of idiocy. Jennifer Rupe (yes, the lady let me use her real name) wrote this:
This is an abnormal post for me and it is hard for me to write but here ya go….So…people hide being unhappy fairly well; me being one of them (Yes me, the clown everyone thinks is always happy). I have struggled with my weight my entire adolescent and adult life. I did get pretty thin once in my adult life…didn’t last long due to an ahole man bossing me around, but I allowed it. Anyway, my mama and I had a conversation a few days ago and it made me pretty sad. I always tell her how I wish I could get serious about losing weight again because I am so unhappy. (I am such a quitter and can’t stick to anything.) She always tells me how beautiful I am and that one day I will make the decision and stick to it. Well, during this last phone “therapy” session with her she did something she has never done before…she cried uncontrollably and told me that she did not want to leave this world knowing her baby was unhappy. (Imagine your mother crying telling you this, pretty painful huh?) I cried of course (Those of you that know me well know I can cry at the snap of a finger.) How sad is that? It pierced a place in my heart that I didn’t know it would. When you have been repeatedly knocked down and mentally abused it really takes a toll on your faith in yourself. So, I need lots of prayers of strength coming my way, please. Inspiration from other people should be shared not withheld. Thanks for reading… — feeling alone. I hit her up, waxing poetic about the old days back in L-Town. We talked about people we didn’t like, the few people we did… in my case, I could live without, well, all of em LOL!! All in all, it was a productive conversation. I felt it was great, talking about how things were, how we really felt. Now the 20th HS Reunion is next year (amazing how quickly time passes huh). Life has a funny way of evening things out. It would be a trip for me (since I am on the West Coast now), to go back home, to see how much HASN’T changed in TRAP COUNTY, GA. I sit back and think about these type of things once every while, and it makes me feel great to know I made it and I am moving onto bigger and better things. Speaking of bigger and better things, 2014 is the last year I will have an active facebook account. For those of you who follow me, this will not affect this blog. It just means that I am not gonna be wasting time on zuckbook when 2014 gives way to 2015. Now, my analysis of what Miss Rupe wrote. In my opinion, Jen has her head on straight for the most part (remember, she is, like I am, is someone who had a rough childhood). It’s easy to hide and be a doormat. It is not easy to seek help, and to rise and overcome it all. From what I have seen since I have been on the West Coast, there are so many people who don’t have anything to believe in. It is about the same down South (esp in my neck of the woods, the backwaters SW of Atlanta, GA). In my eyes, that is sad. There is so much sadness out there, at the same time, there are so many things to live for. For those of you who follow this blog, you all know I am not afraid to talk about myself, etc. I see myself in so many of the young men and women these days, as they try to find themselves. Things like shuffling their feet, not looking a person in the eyes while talking to them, a slouched stance. It used to trouble me, until I started growing up. As I grew up, I started seeing things differently. I stopped being so judgmental, as the young folks call it these days LOL. As for Miss Rupe, I can relate. There are times in our lives where we feel powerless to change the things going on in our lives. I am quite sure you can hearken back to a few instances where you were dealt a bad hand in life, and you felt cheated, insignificant, insecure- I could go on. I know I felt that way for at least three decades. I know now, with the power of God in my life, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. I am definitely excited for my future. I challenge all of you to find something to live for. You are only young once. You are only living this life once. It has been said that our lives are as a vapor (James 4:14), Your life is like the morning fog–it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. I challenge each of you to MAKE HISTORY instead of WATCHING HISTORY.
Toughness is a word bandied about a lot. But what is it? As defined by Webster’s Dictionary, toughness is being able to withstand great strain without tearing or breaking (which is also the definition of my first name Kente’); strong and resilient. Toughness is also defined as being aggressive; pugnacious. Seems to me that toughness these days is nothing more than comparing resumes, overtalking someone else, name-calling and throwing around big, politically-correct words, followed by a fistfight. That is not toughness. Toughness, at least my definition of it, is simply an attitude of resilience. Not giving up on anything or anyone. Nowadays, it looks like everything and everyone is disposable like a paper cup or plastic silverware. We have recreational dating, we have all kinds of things that are strictly for fun. We literally have entire industries based on the flippancy of people. It is 2014, and look at how weak everyone has become. In our “progressive” world, we have modern families, we have everything that is top-shelf. Toughness is not promoted. Why? Toughness is sorely needed. Comedian Chris Rock recently stated that “kids need bullying”. Why on earth would he say that? In my estimation, he was referring to the toughness created by dealing with people who hate you and decide to mistreat you. Life is not fair. The attempts by the popular culture and the political class to “level the playing field” is ludicrous at best. Life is tough. It does not stop. Time doesn’t stop going. So I ask you all who are reading- is toughness part of you? How many of you have beat a drug problem? Or stopped drinking? This past week made three years for me being sober. I do not miss drinking. At first, I would fight the temptation not to drink. As time went on, it went away.
Toughness is an attitude. And attitude is everything. By toughness, I don’t mean living like an outlaw, destroying everything in your path. Take me for instance. I am an Army vet. I stand 5-11, weigh 238 lbs. I am a guy who likes to fight, military history, etc. Some of the toughest people I have seen were women who didn’t raise their voices or their hands to anyone. I sat and listened to their life experiences, their wisdom. They talked to me in a very soft voice. Old ladies. Tougher than a “two-dollar steak”, as the old saying goes. I am a big believer in what is called “self-talk”. Self-talk is what you say to yourself. Lots of people think that talking to yourself is some sign of inherent mental illness. That perception couldn’t be further from the truth. People tend to believe what the world says about them more than what they believe about themselves. It is a sad sight to see, a person who is a doormat. People who believe lies about themselves. As you all know, I am not a man who is afraid or ashamed to talk about himself. I battled fear, doubt, insecurity, depression, anger and angst for years. A lot of my “issues” came from my self-talk. The more you dwell on the negatives in your life, the weaker you become. Mentally weakened people are not tough. You see it in sports, like in a football game. One team may be stronger, more athletic, more well-like by people in general. The other team may be despised and a “gaggle of hooligans”. The less talented team wins with ease. Why? Mental toughness. One team will bring confidence, swagger and the will to win that crushes the other team. Such how it is in life. People must understand that no amount of knowledge, no adherence or compliance with the popular opinion on “social issues” will help you win in life. The issue of toughness is all about being able to endure hardship, as life is all about loss, pain and being able to withstand it without being destroyed by it.
In closing, I am living proof that life doesn’t have to be a series of losses, or whatever you are fearing. People fear conflict so much they will concede to anything that guarantees ease, peace, tranquility. It is imperative to develop toughness. But how do you develop toughness? In my succinct opinionation of it all, it is to realize that nobody owes you anything. Nobody is responsible for you eating, nobody has to help you. It is all about taking personal responsibility for your life. Using self-control, discipline and never giving up on your hopes, dreams and goals is essential to developing toughness, mental toughness I should say. Physical toughness and strength is also something that has to be developed through calisthenics (push-ups, sit-ups, running), weight-training, stuff like that. I would rather have a weak body than a weak mind. In summation, toughness is something that is developed. No one can do it for you (most folks will assist you in your demise). It is all about your level of pride in yourself, the level of determination to achieve and succeed in life. Never allow life to crush you. Life in my eyes is nothing more than a long, drawn out war. Conquer life or it will conquer you.
I gotta ask the question here: How many of you have tried getting things done, but could never really enlist the help you needed? How many projects, dreams, hopes and visions go unfufilled simply because people are afraid, skeptical, arrogant, etc. It has happened to me several times. I tend to think about these types of things when I am working, or doing something around the house. It used to KILL me at how folks act. I made sure I got the upper hand, as I do now. The key is to simply lay all that down. I didn’t say I gave up. I didn’t say I backed off of what I was shooting for. I laid the disappointment, the anger down. I laid it all down, and started hitting the books again. I prayed, I got my mind right. Now I am on the trail again. I keep working. Got a new job this past week. I refuse to allow circumstances, people and disappointments get me down and to sour on my God-given dreams. I will never allow that to happen. How many of you have given up on something because everything seemed tough, rough and bad all over? Well guess what- winners never talk about what they are going through. They talk about what they are going to. GET YOUR FIRE BACK. Never allow anything, anyone to dictate what you think. Why would you allow hard times to keep you from what you were put on Earth to do? Why allow someone to steal your dreams? I don’t care how bad things may be. People everyday overcome their obstacles, they climb the mountains and plant their flags. This is exactly what I am doing. This is what I am looking to do. I got my mind trained on it. I think about it 24/7. I challenge each and every one of you to make sure to get you fire back. Get excited about life again. Start setting goals, and stick to them. Make sure you enjoy life, as opposed to merely enduring life. Life isn’t easy. In fact, seems to get harder everyday. All of you gotta commit to victory in life… and to commit to God. GET YOUR FIRE BACK. It’s not too late to see your dreams come to pass.