I saw it on a bumper sticker and I decided to get it tattooed on my body. I had survivor’s guilt. I was with Sparkly Devil just a few hours before she died. This happened in May 2013 and I’m just now able to type this out. We were all backstage, laughing, talking shit, and drinking. There was a bottle of Bulleit Bourbon being passed around. We all drank from it. We all thought her husband (who was driving) was fine and that he didn’t seem impaired. Fact: No one can “see” blood alcohol levels, especially if none of the telltale signs of drunkenness are present. Fact: His BAC was .18
When Sparkly Devil and Bones Padilla left for the night, her last words to me were “I’m getting stronger!” We were scheduled to run the Tahoe Tough Mudder together that year and she was excited about how well she was doing in her training. She was getting stronger and I was happy to hear how excited she was about that strength.
They never made it home that night. They were in a car accident and Sparkly Devil died on the scene. For weeks, I kept questioning what I could have done differently. What if I didn’t pass that bottle? What if I stopped them from leaving even though Bones “seemed fine to drive”? Why didn’t he die that night? (That may sound like an ugly thought. But, I’m being vulnerable here. Bear with me.) After all of the crying and guilt, I realized that I was doing something that a lot of us do… I was allowing my mind to be everywhere and everywhen else but here and now.
Some time later, I got a tattoo inside of my right forearm, where I’ll never be able to ignore it, the ink reads: “I’d rather be here now!” I saw it on a bumper sticker. I look to this ink when my mind drifts to the wasteland of “what if”. I look to this ink when my ego wants to time travel and make things (my definition of) right. I look to this ink when I need to be reminded that magic exists, here in this moment. I look to this ink when I need to express gratitude for the ability to be here now. There will come a time when I can’t change what’s happened. When that time comes, I’ll need to stay centered and be here now. There will come a time when the training will hurt and I need to embrace that pain to move forward on the path to strength. When that time comes, I’ll need to stay centered and be here now.
When I began using TRX to assist with my handstand/hand walking skills. I was training and misjudged my vector. I came down hard on the, thankfully, padded floor during rush hour at Equinox in downtown San Francisco. I wasn’t embarrassed because of the onlookers. (None of them seemed to give a shit.) I was embarrassed because I let my ego try a new move and gravity won, decisively. I lay on the floor laughing out loud until my inner voice told me to get some ice and plan better for the next attempt. At that time, I had to remember there is no such thing as an exercise that makes you feel weak. There is only an exercise that will show you the path to strength. #Jism Falling didn’t make me feel silly. Falling pointed out my flaw in execution and showed me the path to balance/stability. It’s my hope that you all have some positive/rhythmic phrase that you repeat when the pain comes. No matter what your mantra, I hope that there’s no other place you’d rather be than developing strength in your body, spirit and mind.
Just a thought… What if we all stopped comparing Superman to Batman, Lebron to Jordan, ex-girlfriends to next girlfriends or feelings of nostalgia to the present? What if we stopped complaining that apples don’t taste like oranges? What if we all breathed a sigh of acceptance to what once was and found the peace in accepting the things we cannot change? That would be a nice world to live in. If “remember when” is the lowest form of conversation, “should’ve been” is the sub-basement. Stay present. Be here now. Keep celebrating as you grow stronger.I love you, Sparkly.