From the ‘box of chocolates’

Life is a rip-off when you expect to get what you want.
Life works when you choose what you got.
Actually, what you got is what you chose.
To move on, choose it.

Werner Erhard, from “Up to your ass in aphorisms” (1973)

I posted on social media Thursday evening about an item I found while cleaning out my old desk in the basement — a scrap of paper with nine words scribbled on it, notes from a phone call that resulted in the photo that appears below.

McGuffey Lane (January 31st, 2009)

The Wednesday before the 2009 edition of Zachariah’s Red-Eye Reunion, John Schwab of McGuffey Lane called with an idea for a promo shot, to be captured from atop the drum riser in mid-show. He asked if I’d be interested in the assignment.

I was, of course, and I managed to get a shot I’m damned proud of. Over the last 13 years the image has racked up a lot of mileage. Finding that note the other day was cooler than you can imagine.

Deb made a very different discovery while going through a file cabinet next to her own desk. She came across a “suicide note” from her ex-husband.

Forrest was right — “You never know what you gonna get.”

The note was real but its content was an ploy, an empty threat staged for effect, one of countless instances of emotional abuse. It’d be another year before she and her boys escaped the toxic environment and started a new life.

After finding the note yesterday she came upstairs, sat down next to me and told me about it. I reached for her hand — and that’s when I noticed that she wasn’t at all emotional. She showed no stress and no strain as she recounted what was, at the time, an excruciating moment in what had become an intolerable relationship.

Her demeanor was striking but not surprising. Over the last 17 years I’ve watched this woman grow stronger and more resolved in who she is. At the center of that transformation is refusing to be a victim.

National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-SAFE (7233)

That’s a good thing, since I have no room in my life for victims — as in absolutely none.

Everyone has shit to shovel, some of us more than others. Deb could teach a master class in how to sling that shit, and often she has. She’s inspired others to build their own strength and make their own changes.

I’m insanely proud of my wife — not only for who she’s become but for what she means to the people whose lives she’s touched. Those who see her example and are willing to work have broken their bonds of victimhood.

A victim who won’t put in the work, or who expects someone else to “save” them, will remain a victim. A victim who waits for the world around them to magically change, or adapt, or slow down, or make accommodations and allowances, will remain a victim.

In the midst of helplessness, the solution is within. There’s support available — for people dealing with what Deb went through, she recommends the National Domestic Violence Hotline (click on the image above to connect). But ultimately it’s up to the individual to choose and, most important, to act.

Winners defy circumstances. They reject the rationale that their lives are out of control and that answers are beyond reach. They declare their own value, resolving to no longer live as a victim. They make the conscious decision to be the cause in their world and not live at the effect of external events.

It’s a choice backed by action, followed by a life of refusing to be a victim ever again.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon