As men (and women)… anger; hopelessness; anxiety; depression; sleepless nights; misunderstood childhoods… and perceived beliefs… these then… are our inner demons.
Why include perceived beliefs?
Because… a perceived belief has you create a decision making process based off of that perceived belief.
Why perceived? Because your current belief may be based on a lie… or at best, a half truth.
“You can succeed beyond the past, but not beyond your belief”~ Orrin Woodward by way of goodreads.com
I have a Bulldog’s attitude when I need to learn something about something; and a Hound dog’s tenacity once I catch the scent.
In this particular instance though… my biggest inner demon… a poverty stricken mindset… had me barking up the wrong tree.
He HAD been sittin’ up there; for quite awhile; that’s why the scent had accumulated around the bottom trunk of that tree; but when he heard me coming; like a big Tom mountain lion, he leaped from this tree to that tree…
Thought I had him treed.
But something wasn’t right.
I’ve experienced that feeling before; and now, after “40 winters have besieged my brow” I’ve come to trust that feeling; I slow down; and start working out that tangled trail of tracks that was leading me to the wrong conclusion.
“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!”~ Sir Walter Scott 1808
“Go ahead! Really let it go! Hit me harder!”
Sorry man, that left hook, that’s all I got for you, pathetic, I know.
Just a little talk I had with a boxing coach I had.
Ever tangle with someone 50lbs heavier than you? No? The Ugly Truth/Reality… isn’t the only thing that hits hard.
That’s how big, or bigger, this demon of a poverty stricken mindset has been in my life, thus far. I’m in there scrappin’… but like I tell my kids, “He’s a big sumbitch!”
When did I first cross paths with him, how did I learn to recognize his tracks in the snows of those forty winters?
When I was a kid; having to go to the grocery store with food stamps; when I saw my mom counting out supper helpings and seeing she was gonna come up short if she ate, so I pretended to be sick so she could eat; and first day, freshman year, having a “friend” laugh in my face when I showed up in the same shirt I wore on the last day of school in the spring.
By the way, he doesn’t wear gloves either, those claws dig deep.
When I started my personal improvement journey, and writing it down, this has been a recurring theme, and I have mentioned it in articles, like this one, and have expounded on it in my books, “Killing Suicide” and “The Definite Dad”… (available on Amazon)
At first, the responsibility to avoid that critter, wasn’t mine. I was just little.
Who was responsible?
My folks, like all parents, and especially, like we talk about here on theemergingman.com, the man of the house… my dad.
In his position, he was responsible, to make sure I didn’t tangle with any of those demons… much less the biggest one.
Here is, part of the truth, the part that set my initial “belief” which in turn I was using to make decisions concerning my own life.
Yes, we did not have “money” when I was young; Yes, my dad only had a 7th or 8th grade education, as far as the stories go; Yes, he would have been hard pressed to get work… but he did.
My mom was tops in her class, out of all 3 of them, that’s a joke, she went to a very small… literally, old school as a kid, where the older kids helped the younger kids, but I do have a report card or two in “Mom’s Papers” and she scored well… and graduated.
But they both worked… okay, we have that established.
Now for the elephant in the room, the humdinger, when I was in kindergarten, my dad had “an” affair, resulting in me having another sister, which I wouldn’t know about till later in life.
Okay… fine… mistakes were made, forgive seven times, and all that; they stayed together… okay, but still tumultuous; chaotic; violent at times; and seemingly the work was never enough to cover the bills… okay.
SO… my brain throughout life says, “Okay, you are poor; you are considered unskilled labor; you have few options; in the words of another “friend” (a female in high school) “You are a dirt bag!”
Okay… duly noted.
If my plans didn’t work out; if I never promoted; if my side hustles failed; that was to be my lot in life, because I was “poor”, it meant that I would always be poor, even though I would subscribe to the mantra… “if at first you don’t succeed, try try again” knowing going in that it was doomed to failure from the start.
That’s how I operated… due to that perceived belief.
I operated that way… well past those “forty winters”.
Even into my recent, going on 6 year, personal development project.
So, recently, still on the track of that personal demon called “a poverty stricken mindset,” I circled back down the trail a bit, working out some old familiar tracks to see if they really led to where I thought they would lead.
The truth. The Ugly Truth. Showed me the beginning of the trail that I missed. Because I was just little, wasn’t the track I knew about my dad and his “one” affair… it was the head of the trail, a path of life, actually, for him, a well worn and rutted trail of infidelity, leading all the way back to when my parents were first married; and even showing up in how he treated his enlisted time in the Marine Corps.
He was not.
Now then, my sons, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say. Keep to a path far from her,Proverbs 5:7-10 Biblegateway.com
do not go near the door of her house,
lest you lose your honor to others
and your dignity[a] to one who is cruel,
10 lest strangers feast on your wealth
and your toil enrich the house of another.
And if that wasn’t truth enough.
The Truth. The Ugly Truth. Was…
He would rob my mom of money when she had it. To spend on his life of infidelity.
You read that right!
HE WOULD ROB my mom, of even the house payment, if he could find it, to go out chasing skirts!
So my belief; my understanding of, “Even if you work hard it won’t matter,” is based on a lie!
My dad had jobs. But my mom had jobs; factory jobs; side jobs; side hustles; doing taxes; selling crocheted items; holding rummage sales…
I thought she was industrious, being off the farm and all… nope… she was doing whatever she could to keep the wolves at bay outside… while having a dog of a husband on the inside robbing the plate right off of the table she was trying to set!
I’ll say it again… “So my belief; my understanding of, “Even if you work hard it won’t matter,” is based on a lie!”
Based on insufficient data. On, garbage in garbage out, programming…
On the fact that he was ROBBING MY MOM, ergo his kids; ergo his extended, and moms extended, family; ergo his community; ergo God and all of HIS truthful principles, plans, and mercies, of the world He created, to provide an abundance of life, an abundant life, a life poured out into and over flowing your cup, lap, and flood gates!
The math says, “If he WOULDN’T have done that, there would have been more.”
We can crunch some more numbers and debate “how much more” there would have been, but come on.
These hunting trips, hunting for the truth, even the ugly truth, can be grueling, I was getting horse barking up that wrong tree, but I stuck it out, was willing to look foolish as I learned, following those crooked tracks to unwind what was really going on.
And for that I have been reminded, of another problem I figured out, and when it was figured, God placed His hand on my shoulder and said, “That’s what I love about you.”
Bulldogs and Blueticks are fine canines… but this Truth. This Ugly Truth. Has let me outta my cage… and I ain’t gonna be baying at the moon, or up an empty tree, no more.
Time I learn how to roar… like I was meant to.
Now before some of you jump to the conclusion of me being on a high horse, or anything like that, let me tell you…
I am not an innocent person, none of us are, I’ve gone through the “amends step” and when and where others would allow me… I’ve apologized for my past behavior.
But just to be clear… my sins are not my dads sins.
My kids never went hungry; all my money goes into what I call “the house account”… my wife uses it more than I do.
And I never robbed my mom. Except of some sleep, when I hit my teenage years.
Now… for the silver lining.
Heck yeah there’s one.
The Truth. The Ugly Truth. Is… well… ugly.
But having been released from my “cage of lies” I am where I always do best… on the pitching mound of responsibility.
I can stop whining about, what is wrong with me, because now I know.
And with that information I am truly, and truthfully, released from my dads… “cords of death [that] entangled me, the anguish of the grave [that] came upon me; [as] I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.“ from Psalm 116, brackets and additions are mine.
I take on responsibility. I am responsible for a small tribe of people that come and go from my house. I’m responsible at work; I’ve been a responsible neighbor; and volunteer.
I like being in that position; God likes me in that position.
And now I can truthfully take the reins of my EMERGING MAN life… I’m the dad I always wanted. My kids benefited from me. My wife doesn’t worry about me running around.
And like I’ve said at work… more than once… when most people are dodging the responsibility that’s up for grabs… and the powers that be get around to asking me if I want it?
“Ok, but get the hell out of my way!”
Funny, I’ve never had a boss looking over my shoulder, like that personal demon was doing.
And stronger still, is the fact that this ugly truth has allowed me to see Gods principles… like sowing and reaping… to be very true.
Uglier still is how that sin of adultery has effected other members of my immediate family in their personal relationships.
Your anxiety; your emotional frailness; your depression; your ulcer; all are trying to do you a favor. They are alerting you to the truth, the truth that something is wrong.
If you dig into your symptoms and find a cause… it may be an ugly truth, like my dad was robbing my mom, but then it’s flushed out of it’s hiding spot; you can and have identified it… and being “a truth” it can’t hurt you… it will however, start to heal you.
I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.Words of Jesus found in John 12
I was in that cage, in the dark… for a long time.
Now… my “belief” is different. And now… it’s on me… to “believe” different.
The Emerging Man… offering… “Positivity w/ Work Gloves”, get dirty? of course your gonna get dirty… it’s work!
To ENCOURAGE, EQUIP & ENGAGE is a B.HAG! A BIG HAIRY AUDACIOUS GOAL… that reminds me of a lion.