With the new year finally here, I figured that I should share a motivational story to help those who need it.
I was actually requested to write a story of resilience in my life over the summer, and the book that the story was featured in was published this past fall.
However, I figured that this would be the perfect platform to share this story on, because there are many past, present, and future Obies who may need an extra pep in their step for the new year. This is going to be a more personal post, and it gets a bit dark. Fair warning to those who expected something more lighthearted! Since it's my personal experience, I also incorporate some of my religious beliefs. I just wanted to give you all a heads-up before sharing the story! Anyways, here it goes:
I draw my strength from my spirituality. Without faith, I have nothing.
With that being said, I want to begin my story with this quote from the Holy Bible: “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” - Proverbs 24:10. That quote is what my mindset has always been, no matter what stood in my way. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the challenges that occur are easy for me to face. In fact, there are times when I sit and reflect on my life in awe because of how much I’ve been through as a result of trusting in my faith.
For those who are unaware, I am a journalist and a football player, so my schedule is extremely hectic.
I write for national media platforms off-campus as well as most of the writing platforms on-campus. It may seem like a lot (and it is), but it’s all right though, because I have an extreme passion for what I do. There have been many late nights when I had to work on articles so that they are quality when it’s time to release them, and that’s on top of the endless amount of essays I have to write as an English major. What I’m about to share happened as I maintained my duties as a ball player and a journalist.
The fall semester and winter term of my junior year was an absolute nightmare for me.
For starters, my grandmother suddenly passed away the day before I had to play a football game in the middle of the season. That was easily one of the worst days of my life, and it still haunts me to this very day. Almost immediately afterward, I learned that it was the two-year anniversary of my high school mentor’s death. Oh, and I went through a bad breakup. It honestly felt like the world was fighting against me, no matter how hard I worked. All of it was incredibly difficult for me to deal with, let alone even comprehend.
Things certainly didn’t get any easier.
Along with all of this, I live with the trauma of having friends from my old neighborhood in jail or dead. And in case you didn’t know, I’m also a black man in America. That’s just the icing on top of everything else. Living with all of that on my plate along with many other personal battles was extremely frustrating and earth-shattering to handle at times. I would sometimes go as far as to question my faith and wonder why I was going through so much… pain. All of it seemed to pile up at once, and for the first time in a very long time.
So, after all of that, what did I do about it in the following semester?
I’ll be honest and say that it was a gradual process of healing through everything. I just wanted to stop feeling pain. I could handle the class workload and everything that was asked of me on the football field. That side was easy. The hard part was when I was away from everyone and my work. I couldn’t sit alone without thinking about all the hardships I had on my heart. I got tired and prayed about it when I returned to Oberlin after Winter Term. I simply asked for positivity, happiness, and focus.
The following day, I felt this overwhelming drive.
I can’t explain it, but I just felt like going harder than ever in every aspect of my life. I wanted to be a more positive influence on my friends and family, because I knew that my adversity may have taken an indirect toll on them. I wanted to improve my body, because I was far from being in shape at the time. I even wanted to grow spiritually. I wanted it all more than ever that day. Then, that day turned into two days. Those two days turned into a week, and so on. Before I realized that I was going through massive positive changes as a result, others started noticing. My peers would often comment on how there was something “different” about me. I apparently had a different energy to myself. I also lost a total of seventy pounds as a result, so that definitely helped my body feel as good as my spirit did after a while.
I can credit the transformation to my family, friends, mentors, and more all day long, but the number one thing that got me through was my faith.
My faith in God pushed me through. Adversity is something that is a part of all of our lives. No matter how big or small it may seem, we all face it at some point. It’s okay to feel down when you get down, but at some point, there has to be a time when you say, “Forget this; I’m going to elevate through this,” and that’s what I did. To whoever is reading this, I hope and pray that you’ll be able to do the same. I know you have the ability. You just have to make the decision to grind through the valleys so that you’re able to reach the peaks in your life.
That's my story, everyone!
A lot has changed in my life since then (mostly for the better) and I am extremely blessed to be able to share this story with you all. It's even cooler to know that I'm currently living through the "sequel" to this story with my senior year. Hopefully, I have an even better one to share with you all before graduation!