Recently some close friends of mine have been dealing with people who talk bad about them behind their backs and Ive spoken with one friend in depth about the situation and his response was “alright bro, lets make a pact, anytime a hater talks bad about us we have to combat this by doing something super rad” I agreed with him and said, “deal.” This made me think to a specific scenario in my recovery that related to what another person said to me and how if influenced my motivation positively in my recovery. So everyone has something to say, right, well then as a response everyone has the ability to react anyway they choose. Unfortunately a lot of people allow their reactions to influence their lives negatively. In this story Im about to tell I realize that I did allow this influence to bring some negative attention to my life but in the overall scheme of things I used this motivation to more positively rehabilitate my physical self. This story will be the only time you ever see me mention this persons name again on paper and you’ll only ever hear me speak about him if for any other reason outside of my bias. This person is insignificant in my life now and has zero once of influence or acknowledgement in my life other than this story.
In 2014 after my accident I was paralyzed from the waist down and therefore bed ridden. I was a mess mentally, physically, and emotionally after the accident and because of the seriousness of the accident and the location it occurred I received a lot of messages from people asking to know, "what happened?" ready for me to read as soon as I awoke from surgery. During the first week of the accident I had replied to a bunch of people asking about me and one BASE jumper in particular who reached out with a short and to the point message asking simply, “What happened?” from Tom Grayson. I replied with my explanation at the time. I have no clue now days as to what any response message I sent out would have had said but I do remember attempting to explain what I understood at the time. Tom later viewed my reply over Messenger and then never responded. You might be thinking who gives a fuck but during this time before my injury was a very transformative point in my life and also my first year of BASE jumping. Tom had been in the sport longer than I had and ran some t-shirt company called “SAFEISH”. At the time before my accident he was someone you might look up to when entering the sport of BASE but with me personally our interactions were mostly negative from the beginning. His character is mostly irrelevant to this story and the important thing to realize here is that his words and then lack of words affected me strongly and since that day I said to myself, while crippled in bed and infuriated about Toms message, I said, "I am gonna walk again and I am gonna BASE jump again.”
This deep aggression mixed with many other negative emotions Isn’t good for us but one of many positive ways of dealing with it, if this fire is there, is to use the strength of the energy/motivation for something positive. I used this energy and dumped it into the promise I made to myself that day that I would walk and BASE again. I replayed this message and memory in my head a million times. I would wake up in the middle of night in so much pain that I was crying and screaming and I would think I can’t accept this. For months after the accident I wished that I had died instead of lived because the pain was unbearable. I would curse Toms name and say to myself, “fuck you Tom I’m gonna walk and I’m gonna BASE jump again” so angry at the thought of him and how I wasn’t relevant enough to reply to. Now In my current life I realize many things about this whole story and going back to one of my previous posts I mention how you can find motivation anywhere and use it to your advantage. In this situation I was hurt by this person and then to the extent that I used it to my advantage/Motivation to recover. Unfortunately this was something that I could have let go a long time ago but I held on to it for a long time because I saw the intense motivation and then progress I received from it. With this motivation I began pushing through the pain to progress. As the old coaches of the past would have said, “no pain, no gain” and I believe this as mostly true. I would go to the pool and get into the water from my wheelchair and say to myself, “fuck you Tom I’m gonna walk again.” Later when I made some of my first steps with a walker down my Moms hallway I remember saying to myself, “ fuck you Tom I’m gonna run again.”
A year and a day after my accident I made my first BASE jump back from the Perrine Bridge exactly where I had nearly died a year before. Now knowing that I made a BASE jump a Year and a day later you might think I was ready to do so. I was not ready to do so but I did anyway and I very fortunately didn’t get re-injured. During this time I was still very weak while walking. When I would sit down on the ground or stand back up I would be completely hinged over at the waist balancing myself with my hands until I could stand. After that one jump and then repacking my parachute I was sore and not mobile for nearly a week after. I still wasn’t close to running yet but I had gotten myself so far in that year and a lot of the motivation came from my anger towards someone. This back and forth negative relationship between Tom and me lasted for some years. The last time I said to myself, “fuck you Tom” was the day I made my first Wing-suit BASE jump from a beautiful mountain in Brazil. This was more than two years after my accident and was the last time I allowed his name to influence me. From that point on I was free from all the aggression that came from his message after my accident. Over time through travels and reading and life I’ve gotten to a point now that Im happy with who I am entirely and I know that who I am becoming Is positively moving forward. Ive also learned better ways to find and express motivation and aggression without the use of negative Influences but I still see the Importance of this story and where my motivation came from at the time. Much of this story comes from a time during which I was depressed, sad, angry, insecure, weak and in pain more often than not. Through life and the years that have past since the accident I’ve since determined that the accident was the best thing that has ever happened to me because it was the biggest ego destroyer/ reality check that anyone could ever live through and here I am today happier than ever and more mindful of the past, present, and future than ever before. I am stoked to say the least and so many things have changed In my life since this story takes place. I see its value in my recovery both mentally and physically. These days I would not recommend someone to find motivation the same way I did at that time but I would say that If you read this and think maybe you are similarly pulling motivation in from a similar route that Its okay to do so and its important to be aware of it but to not let it affect other areas of your life, only allow it to influence you getting up out of bed in the morning and pursuing that motivation with a positive intention for its use. Turn negative into positive. And so now, currently in life, when my friend came up to me recently and we made our pact to do rad shit anytime we hear a hater hate and I said “deal" because now we aren’t worried so much about who or why, we just know it as something negative that we are gonna use for motivation and turn to positive and to us there is nothing more positively awesome than doing rad shit with our friends.