TOUGHNESS

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.

Advertisements

SNIPPET: IMMINENT REAPING

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. 

Desire the Pain

Image

It’s your boy once again- I must ask all of you to think. Ever feel like you didn’t measure up? Ever felt like a failure? Ever longed for something that you just couldn’t get, no matter how hard you tried? I have had decades like that. Now I am not fishing for compliments or sympathy. I can empathize with anyone who feels like they are “less than”. Frustrating as can be, isn’t it? Entertain the notion that the pain is for your education. I have learned that every betrayal, every setback is the setup for the come-up (thanks, I thought that one up on the fly LOL). I have also learned to desire the pain. What and why in all of God’s green Earth would you want THAT, you may ask? Seriously, check it out. Pain, obstacles and setbacks are a part of life. I understand this is the postmodern era, and we are in 2014, where things need to be as easy as possible. You all must understand that pain, conflict, distress and disappointments are simply a part of life. It’s just a big a part of life as love, food, sex and happiness. In my life, I have seen that pain, struggle is quite harsh. It is necessary. It has served me well. I remember growing up a weak, soft little boy. The hardness of the times I grew up in served only as a catalyst for me to be better, and to overcome every hardship foisted upon me. The hardness of the times I grew up in served to make me more analytical of why things are the way they are. It also made me hungry for success. Remember the article “Loser Mentality” I did around Thanksgiving? Me growing up the way I did, I desired pain and turmoil. Why? So I can say I conquered it all. My challenge to all of YOU out there in cyberspace is to not dwell on your failures- instead, try this: TALK TO YOUR FAILURES, TALK TO THE MOUNTAINS IN YOUR LIFE. It seems crazy, but know this- we as people often form our opinions of ourselves and the world around us from those closest to us, and the dominant people in our lives, whether that be parents, your favorite entertainers, athlete, whoever. Why do you think that there are so many memes and quotes on social media featuring some celebrity (i.e. B-List comedian, political theorist, writer) plastered all over some peoples’ walls? Simply because people are not taught to think critically. What do I mean by critical thinking? Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally. It includes the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking. I have noticed in recent years that most people don’t have this skill, oftentimes going off emotion as the basis of all thought, attitude, etc. Don’t feel bad, I operated that way for years until I knew better. Now what I mean by talking to your mountains is making your words craft the life you want. Do you realize you have the power to create the life you want, simply by speaking it? Ever say something about a situation that you didn’t want to happen, only it seemed to do exactly what you didn’t want it to do? I challenge you to train your brain to have a positive outlook. Don’t like your life? Change it by changing your outlook. Look at what you’re putting in your head- the music, the movies, what you read, etc. Examine yourself. Make it of the utmost importance to destroy any and everything that is potentially holding you back from having the best. If you believe that you have been held down long enough, that you deserve better- give this a try. What do you have to lose?

Image

As stated before, pain is merely a part of life. Bottom line, I wish people would get this. Life is nothing more than a fight. I do these quotes called BATESisms, touching on things in life and the living of it. I had once posted on facebook that ‘life is nothing more than a fight- so hit it in the mouth repeatedly until it submits”. Our society has become so detached from reality, so over-indulged in excess (nothing exceeds like excess), and generally soft by general standards. The “offended card” is overplayed, as our nation has sunk into a nitpicky, politically correct pose. Not much freedom of speech to be had now. I am off my soapbox (didn’t really intend to go there LOL) now.

In closing, I ask you- what’s it gonna be? Life, or a slow downward spiral of pain, shame and hiding from achieving your potential because of the fear of loss, the fear of looking dumb, the fear of rejection? It is time for you to take control of your life.

 

Loser Mentality

fearisaliarOne thing I have been seeing a LOT of lately is people with what I call a loser mentality. It is something I cannot stand ONE BIT. People have gone brain-dead. Folks are so soft now. Every now and then, I take a walk on the streets. I see a lot- like fashion, attitudes, stuff like that. I wish people would toughen up. Now what I mean by a loser mentality, is the attitude of “small thinking”. It soon morphs into a lifestyle. It is based on the fear of loss. The fear of loss is something most people have. I used to have that kind of thing rule me. One day, after losing everything, I made up my mind to never ever live that way. Once I woke up to just how my life was controlled by fear (thanks be to the God in Heaven), I was repulsed. I was scouring my life, looking at everything. When I say everything, I mean everything. Every experience, I scrutinized (I am my toughest critic) EVERYTHING. I ended up making a list of personality traits that I wanted, and still remember going to the dictionary, looking up words that I liked- like dominate. I ended up coming up with a laundry list of words. Then the words I meditated on religiously.

After looking up the words, I started implementing words, quotes, even imitating a few people I admired (in my life, and from television to a degree). If you follow my blog, you know I am not ashamed to talk about myself. This subject/topic has always been one “near and dear” to my heart. I hate seeing people fall to fear. I hate seeing people not be able to break through to realize their dreams and goals.

In closing, I will say this: for those of you who are “religious”, you can pray to whoever your diety is and gain strength from your higher power, still drawing from your experiences and conquering your fears. For those of you who claim no religion, you’re gonna have to dig deep and get it in that way. In any case, your life is “all on you”. There is no way around this fact of life: there is, was and always will be conflict, change, things of that nature. That much is clear. Cowering, hiding behind fear, your past, whatever- is not going to help you accomplish anything.

Have You Ever….

Yes, that is a lead-in to an old Brandy song… but what I am talking about here is.. well… life itself. Have you ever caught yourself doing something you swore you would never do? I have. I remember in the past, I have done many things I swore I would never do. Just sitting and thinking about things in life, I can almost read myself like a book. I would like to think I am not some revisionist trying to save face with myself and others… I also would like to think that I stay real with myself… besides, you can lie to others, but you better not lie to yourself. I can see where I was a teenager, making dumb mistakes as all teens do, transferring into adulthood, making even more “guy mistakes”, raising hell, talking LOTS of “ish”, making few friends, relishing being a villain… now into my 30s/late 30s, for some reason, people look to ME as some kind of voice of reason… imagine that… just a short time ago (the 90s are not that long ago LOL), I would have been buried under the institutions that I somehow have come to represent to a degree.

When I go back home to GA, I am blindsided by change… it’s like I was never there. Everybody marrying, having kids, moving away, getting divorced– the stuff of life. Sitting back in my present city (I am all over the West Coast now), it is looking pretty good for me… Memory Lane isn’t easy to go down at times… makes me more hungry to get things done in life. When I think of where I have come from… the backwoods in West Georgia, miles away from anything it seemed like… to going worldwide at least 3 times in under 4 years. It humbles me.

I wanna ask ALL of you in cyberspace who are reading this to do the same thing with your own life. It is something to behold, especially for those of you who have had to overcome some stuff to get where you are in life.