Over the course of this blog I will discuss different villains that we face in our life. Currently my main focus is the villain I have faced the most and that is my weight, but another one was brought to my attention recently and it made me realize that it is the greatest villain you will ever face in your life: the memory of your former self.
Now what do I mean by the memory of your former self? It’s usually presented in a different way. Most of the time it’s presented in the saying that a “fat person will always see themselves as fat even if they are skinny.” It’s also presented in the way that if somebody has done something horrible in their life, that no matter what they do they will always be remembered for that “one thing.”
Take a look at sports.
Randy Moss is a NFL player that at the beginning of his career and his college years was known as a “thug”. In recent years he’s done a lot to give back but there are still people out there that see him as the “thug.” Michael Vick is another example… no matter what he does, or how good he plays the game, he will be known as the guy that made dogs fight.
In the music industry, Michael Jackson will always have “the incident” hanging on his career. Kanye West will always be known as the guy that interrupted an awards speech because he thought somebody else should have won. In movies, there are actors and actresses that will always be known for their drug abuse or their time in jail than any award that they win.
In a personal life, this idea could apply to anyone that has went to jail for something… “once a thief always a thief” is a phrase that comes to mind. “If he cheated on me once he’ll cheat on me again” is another.
It’s a difficult question to ask, but if somebody makes a mistake in their life… do they deserve to be punished for it for the rest of their life? When it comes to a person going to jail, if they serve their time should that be the only thing that they are remembered for? Is that their legacy? If a person raises $1,000,000 for a charity, but they were arrested for stealing a year before that… are they known as the philanthropist? or are they known as the thief?
It’s a difficult topic… and it can be broadened to so many different horizons.. more than I even mentioned here. Everybody has their opinion and they are entitled to it.
Now let me take this to a personal level for me.
After I graduated high school, I did not make the best decisions. I got a credit card as soon as I turned 18 and maxed it out… then got another credit card a few years later and maxed it out as well. I didn’t pay rent on time, or bills. While I was not showing the best decisions with my finances… I also wasn’t making the best decisions with my health. I wasn’t exercising. I was eating $10-15 of Taco Bell at 2am then immediately going to sleep. To sum it up, I was not as educated in these areas that I needed to be. I did not have the willpower to make the tough decisions and looked for the easy way out on a lot of things. I didn’t think things through all the way.
That was me 10 years ago.
Throughout the last 10 years, I’ve met Michelle.. I’ve matured.. I’ve seen the consequences of the decisions I was making… and most importantly I chose to change things in my life and lifestyle so that I did not continue to make these bad decisions. I stopped looking at the immediate consequence of an action and started to look at the “down the road” consequence instead. I decided to make sacrifices to the short-term, so that I could gain in the long-term.
To put a “geek” spin on this, I think Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) said it best:
My thoughts and emotions shift. My body aches. My soul does not. I’m finally thinking clearly. I’m finally thinking like me. There’s no more cries for vengeance. No more fear. But plenty of damn will. Will to stand up. Will to fight. And will to Live.
I had found some willpower… I had a vision… I had a game plan… I stopped making excuses and I started taking action.
And it paid off.
I worked on my finances… and I went from having nothing but late payments for everything to not having a single late payment in the last 5-6 years. In May 2009 I finally got approved for a car loan to get a used car and due to my credit history I had to deal with a 21% interest rate. I knew I had “earned” that rate so it’s something I dealt with. As of yesterday, I was approved for a loan on a NEW car and the interest rate was only 5.9%. I can not begin to tell you how good that felt.
What I can tell you is what did not feel good.
Before I had even made a decision about the car there were murmurings if I could “handle” it. If I could make the right decisions about that car. I was met with “I just don’t want you to get in over your head” and “have you thought this through?” or my favorite response… “NO”. I’m not going to pull any punches here, that hit me hard. These comments I feel… were being made to the old me, and not the new me. I had to keep telling myself that all night last night so that I could start to feel good about what I accomplished yesterday.
It also made me think that even if I do meet my fitness goal… will people look at me as the new Isaac? or will they continue to see the old Isaac? And if they continue to see the old Isaac, how long will I have to “pay my dues” until I get treated differently?
So after a lot of thought and prayer on this topic… I have my answer to this question:
“Is it worth it to continue to fight even if the memory of the old you holds you down?”
I am a firm believer that God will not give you anything that you can not handle, and that he will test you. I’ve put up different lyrics and sayings as statuses on the facebook page and one of them was “life is not tried if merely survived” and I am a firm believer in this… one of my favorite workout songs when I’m lifting weights is “Prayer” by Disturbed. The song was inspired by the story of Job in the bible and how no matter what happened to him… he continued to push forward in his beliefs. He REFUSED to let the villain win.
I REFUSE TO LET MY VILLAIN WIN.
I REFUSE TO LET THE MEMORY OF MY OLD SELF DICTATE HOW MY NEW SELF ACTS.
I REFUSE TO NEVER STOP ON THIS PATH AND THIS BELIEF.
I AIN’T EVAH GONNA STOP!!!