This was amplified every time my brother Luke would talk me up to my face or to a crowd of friends. "Oh man, Josh would kick your ass" or "Josh could take them any day". My size, strength and general mental processes put me at ease most of the time with the illusion of superiority. I'd tell myself that despite my weight or physical unfitness, my mental work would compensate and force my body through what ever it took to accomplish the fight.
In high school, I was a favored target of many of my friends. They'd pick little fights here and there, shoving or jumping on my back, trying to get the best of me. I recall a few times they even ganged up together and attempted to bring me down in numbers, but to no avail. After long bouts of rolling, pushing, throwing, and grappling, I was the winded winner. Heavy breathing didn't stop me. My mind was the only thing that kept me going in the heat of the playful-violence. This invincibility followed me out of high school for awhile until I was forced to confront the truth of it.
Working 27 hours a week at McDonald's while going to college and dealing with emotional bog-downs really had amped up the stress levels near to the breaking point. That was when I saw my heart in a different light. For years my heart had been the battery cell for my romantic endeavors and the blood-pump that gave me erections. Kinky right? Now I felt it beating out of my chest regularly. Pain increased with every deep breath, though I still felt deprived of oxygen. It seemed to grow worse every time I stepped into work and experienced the fast paced mind-raping that is McDonald's. After a few days of this I let my mom in on what had been happening and she suggested I get my blood pressure checked out.
As I walked into Russ's supermarket, I could already feel the organ in my chest pounding against my ribs, reverberating into my ears and giving me a sick feeling. The blood pressure machine told me that I was in stage two hypertension. "Oh, shit," I remember saying out loud as an elderly couple stood nearby. I took it several more times and it gradually decreased as I sat still and manually regulated my breathing. But the instant I stood up to leave, the beating came back. As I stepped into the parking lot, it hit me. "I'm afraid". An emotion that seemed foreign to me. This feeling wasn't one generated by imaginary axe murders hiding in my closet or a demonic face appearing to me in my sleep. I was confronted with MFing real life. I knew at that moment I for sure wasn't invincible. The thought was like a fish finally surfacing, only to be clubbed to death.
Since then I've been seeing doctors and doing the things it takes to figure out what's wrong. Things like peeing in a cup, getting poked by needles, getting probed in the ass, receiving an ultrasound on my kidneys (okay, so I might have made one of those up). But now I think everything is going to be alright. Caffeine has been my best friend and now it looks like it may need to become more of an acquaintance or a weird-ass distant relative who you wanna see maybe once a year, if that. I'm supposed to cut that stimulant out of my body because that tends to be a major problem in young kids these days I guess. However, not even that will slow me down. Life requires some evolution, whether in character or in physical.
Sometimes change requires a wake-up moment to take place, like I said above. The bottom line is, I'm not invincible. One day my time will come to leave this place, but until then, I'll do my best to stick around, God willing.
Got an eye opening experience you'd like to share? Post it in a comment below...