I’ve never told anyone this.
When I was about 11 years old, I developed a compulsive disorder. Every night before bed, while lying on my back, I would fan my hand across my pillow at least one hundred times. I believed that the more times I fanned my hand across my pillow the more days God would give me to live. Days turned into years, and I continued to do this believing I had banked enough swipes to keep me alive for a long time. This was a great moment in my life that I didn’t want to change and I wanted to ensure I wouldn’t die enjoying it.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) definition: a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.
In retrospect, this sounds crazy I know, but I loved my life, and I wanted to make sure it didn’t end.
Fear and excitement began to set in that I was going to be a freshman in high school. I lost 20lbs before my freshmen year because I was afraid of being teased as the overweight kid. I joined the football team and began physical training. I was enjoying this moment in my life. I didn’t want it to change, but it did.
By the fall of my sophomore year, some of my good friends keep on growing in height and weight. Not me. I was 5’4 (still am) and 120lbs (still not) soaking wet. As much as I fought the idea of not being able to play football with my friends I knew that I would be a benchwarmer. I hated change, but I couldn’t bear the idea of embarrassing myself on the football field. Fortunately, the transition to becoming a wrestler was very natural for me. I was blessed enough to place 4th at the state tournament my Junior year. Then came graduation.
About a month before high school I sensed change was happening. I didn’t handle it well. I used partying and lashing out at my parents as a coping mechanism. The day before graduation my parents kicked me out of the house. My entire family came to watch me graduate but needless to say it wasn’t my proudest moment.
In a last-ditch effort to adjust to the change, I decided I wanted to go to college. The only school at the time that would accept me with a 2.0GPA and below average SAT score was The University of North Florida. And that was only if I started in the summer. I would have to pass all my classes to be accepted in the Fall. In a matter of a few weeks, my mom packed my clothes and dropped me off in Jacksonville.
I ultimately passed all my classes, but I wasn’t ready for college, so I dropped out after the semester ended. Too embarrassed to come home I decided to move to Texas with my uncle whom I only met once. Running away became my new coping mechanism for change. Then came the military.
I would have loved to tell you that I joined the military as the patriot that I am but that was not the case. I was lost, scared, and confused with my life and I felt like I needed the structure of the military to get my life into shape. So I ran to the military.
I would have loved to tell you that I joined the military as the patriot that I am but that was not the case.
I can go on and on about my life and the many struggles that I’ve gone through, but the point that I want to make is that the moment I realized I couldn’t control everything in my life was the moment a weight was lifted off my shoulders. The success that I enjoy today is directly influenced by my experience trying to control everything in my life and the complete failure that brought me. Those years of trying to control everything and the disappointment it produced hardened my personality and created a level of depression that I never thought would go away.
I had to learn to become more flexible and understanding in that I couldn’t control everything. It took me years of working through some of those emotions and having some great mentors along the way to guide me through adulthood.
I read a passage in the bible a long time ago that helped me understand change in a whole new light. It said:
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted: and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.
This passage taught me a very valuable lesson. And that’s change is evitable. We can’t control the seasons, but we can control our attitude during those moments. It gave me a freedom that I never had nor knew existed.