Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth — more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid … Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.” ― Bertrand Russell, Why Men Fight

I have been called a lot of things in my life.  I am a lot of things.  One thing we can probably all agree on is that I am defiant by nature.  For most of my life I struggled with an immense amount of very intense and rebellious energy.  Couple that with being naturally stubborn… and you have a perfect stew of “fuck yourself.”  As a result I have spent a lot of my life exploring myself and my actions… searching for why I feel the way that I feel.

When I was a boy, a teenager, I went to see this old Cherokee up in the mountains of Appalachia.  He took me into a room that was immensely hot, told me to lay down, played some tunes and hummed a prayer.  This went on for about 20 minutes, I think.  I’m not sure because I fell into a dream like state.  One of those half awake moments, aware of what was happening on some level, but also dreaming at the same time.  I was walking through a snowy, pine forest…. large snow flakes falling to the ground between the trees with a wind gently blowing against my face.  I could feel the crisp, biting cold on the tips of my ears and nose as I was walking through the woods.  It was quiet… the type of quiet you hear in the forest during a deep snow.  Most animals are burrowed somewhere warm, and the air has a scent about it.  All you can hear is the wind and the sound of the snow packing as you walk.  I wandered for several minutes, taking in the sights and smells… wondering what I was doing… but I knew I was searching for something.  When I turned a corner around a tree there it was.  A lone wolf, sitting in the snow, staring back at me.  I did not feel fear, rather it was an understanding.  We looked at each other, it stood there in quiet confidence, as the steam came out of its nose while it breathed gently.  Then I jolted awake and sat up quickly.  At the same time the old Cherokee stopped and looked at me.  He asked, “What did you see?”  I told him my vision, and that I saw a wolf.  He said, “Then that is who you are.”

European grey wolf

It started to all make sense to me.  There has always been an intensity about me.  Throughout my life I have always been an influential person, wherever I am.  In some ways I am toxic, or an anti-hero, in some ways I am a leader.  But, whatever the situation is, I have never been just a face in the crowd.  Sometimes this is for better, sometimes for worse.  I don’t do this on purpose… it is just who I am.  There is a strength to be found here.

There’s a saying about a Lion, Tiger, and Wolf: “The Lion and Tiger are more powerful, but the Wolf does not perform in the circus.”  As I continue through my world of Weightlifting I run into all types of athletes.  Also, in this sport, there is always someone stronger, more powerful.  Some of these athletes put up incredible weight… but there is still a weakness.  They care.  They care about who talks to who.  They care about who lifts what.  They care about who is where.  They care about who is watching.  They care about who pays attention.  They care about who is liking what on whatever social media.  They care about “likes.”  They care about who wears what.  When I listen to someone talk about this shit to me, I probably seem distant and may reply with a shrug or a simple, “yep.”  I don’t care… I’m not here to talk about any of that.  I’m here to challenge myself and defy the world I live in.  All of this clouds your ability to perform to your best.

For me Weightlifting is a tool I use to defy.  It allows me to break the typical chains of a conformist life.  I challenge myself every single day.  Every time I grab the barbell it is me saying that I am willing to harness my own energy and over come what is in my life.  It is literally a metaphor in motion.  It allows me to channel my own intensity and energy.  To take something and project onto something else… or nourish that energy which is good within me.  When I am competing I am only up there for myself.  That is the only reason.  I don’t care about the clout, or who’s lifting what, or who’s watching, or anything of the manner.  I only care about my ability, performing for myself, conquering my own fear, learning, and challenging.  It is me defying.  I am defying my doubt, I am defying those that think I can’t, I am defying a mundane life, I am literally defying gravity.  Be the wolf.  Don’t allow yourself to be trapped into the thoughts and distractions of the others, or the Lions and Tigers.  They think they are powerful because they are endowed.  But, they are trapped in the circus.  Be untameable.  Be Defiant.  Be untouchable.  Be fierce.  Be the Wolf.  The Lion and Tiger are more powerful, but the Wolf does not perform in the circus.