Monthly Archives: March 2014

I Was Robbed at Gun Point!

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Yes, I was robbed at gun point. I was pistol whipped, I had the cold steel of a barrel placed against my head and given a countdown of 3 seconds to live. I’m here writing this story, so I’m sure you can guess which option I chose.

Though it was not the choice of the car jacker’s that I chose, but it was more of an innate victor response that allowed me to survive.

I suppose I should explain. Let me start with the hormonal choices of a teenage boy that lead me to allow myself to be placed in this situation that opened the door for me to be a victim of the crime.

I was 17 so my choices were limited and I was grounded to further limit my options. For the life of me I don’t know why I was grounded, but knowing me, I’m sure I deserved it. I was allowed to drive my sweet ’92 Chevy Lumina APV Minivan and go to my girlfriend’s birthday party, but was to go straight there and come straight home and I had to be home before dark. Which considering the circumstances were not bad options.

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The problem was I broke every one of these rules.

1) I did not go straight there. I picked up a female friend who lived close by.

2) I took her home afterwards even though there were other people more than willing to give her a ride.

3) My friend who I brought home was not to have boys in the house when she was home alone. While we followed the letter of the law we did blur the spirit of it by sitting and chatting on the front lawn.

4) We talked till dark and so as you can guess, I broke the “be home before dark” rule.

An interesting fact is, that while we were sitting on the lawn, 2 cars drove by hopping curbs and erratically navigating the open streets of the neighborhood. This lead us to the conversation of “What would you do if held at gun point?” To which I literally told her, “I’d wet myself, I’m not even going to act that tough.”

We concluded the night with her having to use the restroom and me deciding that the time being after dark was already pushing the limit of my parental guidelines.

On my way back to my hot rod (I say loosely) a car pulled up similar to the one that drove by about a half an hour before and a gentleman jumped out the back driver side with his shirt pulled over the back of his head and his hand (or so I thought) under the front of his shirt with a protruding silhouette pointed at me shouting something unintelligible. Though it embarrasses me to say so, I hadn’t fathomed this would happen to me, so needless to say I was in a minor denial state as to what was going on and just stared like a deer in the headlights. Until a gentleman stepped out of the driver side with the gun in my face demanding me to lay face down on the ground.

Well that I understood and at this point I brilliantly followed the instructions given to me and I laid face down and hands up with my keys on my index finger. The one man I could understand instructed me to stay down and the other two patted me down. This was the attempt to find the obvious buried treasure of a minivan-driving 17 year old boy.

Who was I to complain. I was finally getting the physical affection that I had hoped for that night. The affection was just not in the manner or from the gender I had been hoping to receive it from.

When they couldn’t find my wallet, one kicked me in the side and rolled me over on my back. I don’t know why, but I kept my face covered and when they asked why I quickly explained to them it was “so there was no confusion to the fact that I could not ID them”. At least I was hoping they’d believe that I couldn’t identify them, though seeing them pretty clear on their initial arrival.

They proceeded to ask me where my wallet was and I told them it was in my right front pocket. They dug around and when they couldn’t find it they asked again. I claimed someone had either already gotten it or it had fallen out during the confusion. They could not believe that one of them was withholding the wallet, I’m assuming honor amongst thieves and all. They told me to search the ground for it rather politely by giving me another swift kick to the other rib.

While searching they held the gun to my head and then hit me with it, causing me to see stars, out of frustration when I couldn’t find my wallet. The man informed me I had 3 seconds to find it or he was “blowing my head off.” I frantically searched as he counted down “1…2…3…” in the unusually long pause after the three, something snapped, and I was yelling at them to either shoot or go at the top of my voice.

This was my reaction and not a planned response. Looking back I probably would have just requested the latter part on its own. However, for whatever reason, it worked and they told me to quiet down and stay down till I heard both cars pull away. Which I patiently obliged.

Now while nothing I did deserved the crime that was committed against me I can say there were choices I made that lead to allowing myself to be in that situation.

All of these choices ignored the fact that everyone of the guidelines were in fact set in love for mine or my friends safety by our respective parents.

The first choice caused me to clearly abound on the guidelines set for me, but in such a minuscule way there seemed no harm. By detouring to pick my friend up there was a harm and it was setting a precedence for making choice number two easier to make despite my given boundaries.

Choice two was the one that brought me to the “scene of the crime.” If I hadn’t taken her home I would not have been there at all and they wouldn’t have had me as a potential target.

The third choice, while not a rule directed toward me specifically, was in place for a reason and had I respected that reason I most likely would have been home before dark in my PJ’s preparing to watching Quantum Leap reruns.

Which brings me to number four. The old “before dark” rule which I’m sure we all know personally. This was setting me up with the wrong time for my being at the wrong place in choice number two.

Again the choices I made did not justify these men in any way to commit their crime. Nor is it my fault they chose their criminal behavior. To me, they are a victim as well (‘vict’ is the mind set and ‘im’ is the choice to give yourself in sacrifice). By making choices to allow them to commit this crime they were a victim of their own mindset. However, I only have control over my own mindset and there are clearly things I could look at and adjust to ensure I was never on the business end of a handgun again.

Now in case you were wondering. They were caught about a block away where they parked my van and due to lack of witnesses later they beat the charges though they were arrested. I hope that they learned from it and moved on making wiser choices in all honesty.

As for me, my parents found out. (They were surprisingly not mad though I think they saw it as a learning experience and a testimony to following instructions.)

I had some sweet black eyes and bruises to show off at school and it was finals week giving me extra time to study.

The girl in the story grew to be one of my best friends throughout high school and not to mention from then on I was the only boy allowed in her house while mom and dad were not home. We respected their house for anyone thinking it.

Finally I got this amazing story to share with others.

In short we all cannot stop crimes committed against us, but we can make smarter choices to reduce the probability of them. We can all choose to let those uncontrollable circumstances either define us for positive by learning and growing from them or negatively by weighing us in that moment for days, months, or even years.

That’s not to say we don’t grieve or have a natural recovery period. It took me a while to ride with my windows down in that area, but I can honestly say I made a decision to not let it change my life out of fear, but to let me learn and grow from the experience.

Thank you for bearing with this one I know it was long, but I tried to make it as entertaining as possible for you. I’d love to hear your stories and feedback. Comment below and have a victorious week.

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The Victim of Brotherly Love

I wanted to take this time to admire my little brother. This man has overcome so much and I can honestly say that this man has done nothing, but over come adversity and maintained a positive attitude through the whole process.

A brief synopsis is he had a rough childhood. His father wasn’t always there, but he did have a loving and caring mother and two sisters in his life. He has been over weight previously in his life and I remember watching him grow and being ridiculed for his looks on occasion. He also always did the “right thing” no matter what popular opinion may be which is, as we know, often considered “uncool”. He to this day doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, and views his body as a temple.

To clarify he is my little brother through marriage, but I had the blessed privilege to watch this boy become a man and I deem myself lucky enough to have had as an influence in my life both as family and friend. Our history consists of working together, unemployment together, living together, seeing relationships through good times and bad together.

Through my blog you will hear me reference him and I want you to know him because watching him from the outside has been an inspiration to a lot of what I’ve learned.

He is the type of man that will drop everything to help you move and not ask for a dime. He has been through many situations over the years. He’s lived, literally in a closet (not in the term thought by most he is solely interested in women). He has been in a relationship where his first love of 5 years wronged him in a way I would find difficult myself to overcome, but he has done so with dignity and class. He has gone from a good career to working at McDonalds starting at minimum wage. All the while he kept a smile on his face and was one if the most joyful person throughout the process.

Don’t get me wrong I’ve seen him grieve and I know he was in pain at times, but I’ve seen his ‘vict’ (or his mindset) and the potential for that grief to allow an ‘im’ mindset (the victim) and I’ve seen him concentrate his mental focus to the ‘or’ mindset (the victor). He opted to smile when I know he didn’t feel like it or laugh when the situation, for most of us, may have dictated otherwise. He truly is a potential victim that chose to be a deliberate victor.

He has since gotten his own place, started on a career path all while successfully maintaining his goals in both his own mind as well as in the minds of others. He achieved both by being verbal about those goals and making them known.

Believe me when I tell you more than one person has chuckled hearing them for the first 109 times, but they are his goals and he’s stayed truer to them than most stay truer to a friend.

He may not see the successful man I see ahead of him, but I do. I see a man that through his goals and through adversity had remained unwavering. In return others have started to see the same man I see. What has started as a boy’s dream in other people’s minds has gradually become a man’s goals driven by passion and determination.

His goal may seem odd to others, but to him and I it has become fact. He is no longer over weight, he has set a goal to be an instructor of Jeet Kun Do and run a facility that allows others to follow and recognize their dreams through training in multiple ways. I don’t want to reveal his entire business idea because I believe it truly revolutionary to that industry and I know if anyone can do it, it’s him.

He currently is training 6 days a week and in every free moment he has, he’s going through the motions. He has a vision, before reaching this goal, to travel and find the roots of this principle and he is currently half way to the financial goal to make the learning voyage all over the world. All of which was achieved through his mindset and discipline, but most importantly by taking adversity and turning it into opportunity.

I am affected by this because no matter what I do and where I go, he is a factor in some of my decisions and drives. He positively reinforces the goals I have and I try to do the same for him.

I believe he has found the key to fight through adversity and that is solidifying his dreams. I encourage you to do the same. What ever the ‘ict’ potential situation is (the potential onset of the victim mentality) I ask that you focus on your goals by writing them down and reading them every day.

Make your goals a reality and a fact in your own mind no matter how impossible they may seem and when they become your reality then they can become the reality of those around you or it will at the least allow you to evaluate those around you. These goals though should be yours and yours alone (if married, spouses should be on board, but talking out the issue and making sure the concerns are voiced from both sides are important)

Just remember while others may not agree at first they will eventually have to admire the drive. If you waver or give up on this dream it will become difficult for all, including yourself, to remain supportive. Also, it can create a resentment for not only yourself, but for those around you. Ultimately it is your choice to fulfill those dreams.

Remember I believe you are a victor and not a victim no matter who you are. I would like to hear your goals comment them below. No matter how silly or impossible others may claim them to be.

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My First Victim vs Victor Situation

These stories may seem silly, but some of these may be relatable for you from my life. However more so they can and will give you insite into the mistakes I’ve made along the way. This may seem a superficial, but as you read it I promise you that each situation I laugh at now looking back at them even small ones has made an impact in my life.
My first situation was one that I remember being so upset about at the time, but shortly after I found it rather hilarious and it was my first lesson in learning to not take my looks and what others thought at face value and as well not so seriously.
When I was about 7 or 8 we were visiting family in Pennsylvania we stopped by a McDonalds and got me an ice cream cone. While eating the cone I had gotten some on my chin and my loving parents broke out laughing uncontrollably in the restaurant which made me red faced as I had no idea why my parents were laughing at me. I got extremely angry and without thinking blurted out, what I thought was, a witty retort. It wasn’t at all, but then again I was young.
I was a tight wound child on my own accord. It was nothing my parents had done they were always supportive and positive. I was just always wanting to be the best and look the best at everything I did. So needless to say, I know the potential was there for me to have created a scene.
My parents both laughed harder which in turn made me look at the situation with humor and I realized that I was just making it worse by not accepting that in my excitement to devour the cone I had created a humorous situation at “my own expense”.
Once I realized how nice it was seeing my parents laugh. I couldn’t contain my joy and joined in on the laughter. Now at that age, and just how I was, I had the capability to create a tense and embarrassing situation for myself and my parents by throwing a fit because the people I loved were laughing at me.
I realized that while they love me I had done something that not only looked hilarious to them, but continually reaffirmed that what I had done was just cute to them. We continued to have a great day and it was a story I was sharing and continue to share this day.
Looking back I had 2 mind sets or as I call it my ‘vict’ in a short period of time. One was what I call the ‘im’ mentality (or a victim mentality) which would have just compounded the situation creating a more embarrassing moment leading to a potential ‘sass’ moment allowing disrespect towards my parents and embarrassing everyone in the restaurant and creating strife within our lives that day. We all have been a part of or witnessed a situation like this in a public setting and know the potential feeling it can emote. Which in turn would cause me to potentially lose that great memory I created with my parents, but more importantly to lose out on a lesson I carried through life. Not to mention a great visit to Gettysburg. Where my love for Abe Lincoln only grew.
The second was what I call my ‘or’ mentality (if you haven’t caught on which I know you have my victor mentality) which was believing they loved me and they were having fun with me and not at me. They loved me either way and were enjoying my company and I could have looked a total fool, but they wanted me around above all else. No matter what I did to look the fool they would not trade me for any other person in the world. This story, though I may not have understood at the time, got me through many rough patches worrying about what other people thought I was doing.
Today I know that there are many people who love me just the way I am and I have that mainly because I respect them for who they are. I am able to do things today others may seem weird, but my friends and family chalk it up to just being me. Even if it’s a mistake they know it’s not malicious because that’s not who I am. I’ve trained myself over many years to intentionally try to not be malicious and to try and put others above myself (though I have fallen short at times). There are times it’s rough, but that brief moment out ways the long term pleasure I receive from the right choices.
I encourage everyone to take time and to start to repair any situation by only looking at what you did wrong in it. Not to say others weren’t wrong in some capacity within the situation, but we can’t control them only ourselves. I couldn’t control my parents laughter, but I could join in and see the good or if they had meant it maliciously I could have stepped away and calmed down. Either way I had a choice to be the victim or the victor. I know we all have the capability of not only bettering our lives, but the lives around us by just taking the moment to analyze ourselves first before placing assumptions on others.