Fear Factor

I would like to talk about fear and the control its had on my life. I was born and raised in New Mexico on ranches. my dads a cowboy, my uncles on both sides are cowboys, and my grandpas on both sides and on and on. Nothing but right. My family is hard working and hard drinking and fighting. I think the typical ideal of the American Cowboy. My moms brothers not only were ranch cowboys but also rodeo cowboys. All three rode saddle bronc and my dad rode some bulls and bareback but this was before i can remember. We were as poor as you could be but doing what we loved. My parents fought alot and with the drinking it turned violent eventually. I had one brother who was five years younger than me. We always used to joke about growing up in bars. which we did. I think thats were fear first set into my heart. watching dad get shit faced and people hitting on mom. Sometimes a fight would break out. As a small kid it was a pretty scary environment to see two grown men beat the hell out of each other and my brother and I would hide under the pool table or something. very helpless feeling. If the men didn’t fight, mom and dad would after we left. Usually physically. All my uncles lived the same life. It got to the point my parents hated each other I think. We lived way out and when I started school I was scared to death. I hadnt really been around people and it was scary. I had friends though but we started moving from ranch to ranch I think my parents thought it would help but no luck there. I went to seven different schools total. I went to three different ones my freshmen year. fun times. Nothing like being a new fucking freshman three times. My parents divorced my sophomore year and we moved to town with dad. Its was a tiny town where amazingly we stayed until I graduated. The procedures of divorce can be easier with divorce services in Newport Beach, but not always the life after.  I lost dad to a whisky bottle after the divorce but I had close friends by then and just ran around with them. Ill always regret that I really abandoned my brother. He had his friends and I had mine and we just hung out with em. they say you should be what ever you wanted to be as a kid. Well I wanted to be a cowboy and serve my country. i grew up watching westerns and war movies. Rambo was my favorite war movie. Dad and his oldest brother were in the army and both my grandpas were navy men in WWII. I wanted to be a green beret. John J. Rambo. Well since I didnt have any real guidance with mom really out of our lives and dad working his ass off and drinking, I joined the Marines. I know, not the plan. I thought this will make me be a man and help drive this fear out. Well I went to San Diego and started my long and amazing career as a marine. do yall remember filling out your initial paperwork for the navy? It says Do you have or have you ever had………. then like forty things you check. Well one of those little boxes was ” used an inhaler”. I told my recruiter that I had bad allergies and had once used my brothers inhaler. he said just mark no and dont mention it again. I graduated and worked the summer of 95 doing road contruction. I went to the Marines in June I think and was ready to kick ass. The first night they keep you up all night and go over all that damn paperwork. Well of course I got asked have you ever used an inhaler. I dont know why but I just said yeah my brothers. No big deal. On with the life. Afew days later, I have to go to Balboa hospital and have a test. Asthma. failed. He said you have slight, SLIGHT asthma. Well Fuck. Done. I was literally in my seperation platoon longer than i was in my real platoon. I remember sitting out side of a door at attention, Yes sitting, and officers would walk by, this is after grilling me on why I lied on my paperwork, and they would call me a liar. I had tears streaming down my face and they kept it up until they had enough and sent me off. Well NOw I have no direction and I have failed. I am a failure. that was my mantra. Off to home and face my friends. What do you do when you have no direction and your 18 and emotionally wrecked, you drink and do drugs. I excelled at it. thats all I did besides work until late 96 and then I met this amazing girl. We dated a whole 4 months and got married in January of 97. So im still emotionally a mess and now I have a wife and she gets pregnant right away. We were living on a ranch working for my dad and we are way out. I mean way out in the country. My new bride hates it and we find out that were having twins. She started bleeding and we have to drive hours to the doctor once a week I think. Well we leave there and move in with her parents in Kansas. She goes in to early labor and has our son. the contractions stopped and the other child isnt born yet. didnt know that was a thing. We have the baby air flighted to Wichita and we follw the next day in a plane with medics. My wife and boy are admitted to the hospital. Now I am a long way from my dad and brother and have a wife and child with one more to go in the hospital. also with no direction. A week later she has our girl. She was born at 24 weeks gestation. way way to early and her brother was born a week ago. the are both hooked up to all kinds of machines. The doctors tell us that our daughter is most likely gonna be blind. Our son never really does good but our daughter starts breathing on her own and moves out of NICU. After five months and countless surgeries we decide to pull the plug on our son. I held him in my arms when they took out his breathing tube. I know yall have lost people and been there when they passed. Its fucking terrible. They said they didnt know how long it would take but he died within minutes. So now Im 20 with a son to bury and a daughter still in the hospital and a wife who feels more pain than I can ever even imagine. he had been alive to her much longer than for me. I didnt know how to be the man she needed. I really didnt even know that she hurt so much. Well we buried him on our one year anniversary. OUr daughter finally left the hospital but she is blind and starts having seizures . We get her on meds for that. Once she started school we found out that she was autistic as well. Life went on for quite a few years. I changes jobs every few years and we struggled financially. we had a few miscarriages and then I lost my brother in a car wreck. He was in my truck on his way to see our mom, he lived in kansas at this time, and so the police thought it was me. They think he fell asleep because someone was behind him saying he was driving then just casually drifted into on coming traffic on a little Texas road. Of course a big semi was coming the other way. The driver tried to miss him but he went under the trailer. The coroner told me it was the worst wreck he ever seen. My truck caught fire before they could get my brother out and it burned to the ground. a state trooper came to our apartment to tell my wife I was dead. He asked if she knew where I was and Im right there so I was like, Im Cal. He then asked who had my truck. Well he then went on to tell me he was dead. I got the great job of calling my parents. My mom knew something was wrong and before I could finish she was screaming and i could tell she dropped the phone. Dad was worse because he had no idea. He answered with his usual, Hey son. then I had to break his heart. Life eventually went on and my wife and I grew farther apart. I was fairly oblivious to it. Im an idiot about things sometimes. She did get me to church and I was trying to live right but I was always unhappy. I wasnt made for city life. I just wasnt. I tried hard to adjust. I dressed like a city guy and all but I will never be that in my heart. You really cant take the country out of a guy. I tried to ride broncs in my late twenties. I went to Lyle Sankies bronc school and everything. I just waited to late and didnt have the heart for it. I never lost my desire to serve my country either and be redeemed for my failure. After 9/11 I tried to join the National Guard. they said they didnt care what the marines said. They would give me a chance to go to meps again. I was so excited. I went a processed. Everything was good. then my recruiter said I had to go back and have an asthma test. I decided right then that I WAS PASSING. When it was time to breath in the medicine that make you react, I didnt breath hardly any in. I was like, last time your honesty got you in trouble now were gonna cheat. Well I passed. All I needed was the army doctor to say that he would release me. Didn’t happen. Now I have to go through a second failure. Im devastated. Years go by and we have two wonderful boys along with more miscarriages in between. We got farther apart and after enduring 19 years of financial trouble and death and all, I cheat on my wife. Ive always hated cheaters. Now I have to look at one every morning. My wife divorces me and I am devastated. I take full responsibility for it. I could lay out the road that led to it but the bottom line is I cheated. the one thing I had, my family, is now broken. I move into this shitty little apartment. thats where all my fears came together. I know my neighbors sold drugs, I am without my family for the first time. I carried my pistol every second. I have never been more lost. Im truly alone for the first time in my life. Most of my friends faded away. When my parents were fighting back during my third school my freshman year, I put a gun to my head. It was this little .25 semi I had. I chambered a round and i was crying. I put the barrel to my temple and sat there thinking how it would end my pain. I decided not to end my life then. Now my life is much worse but not once did I think of suicide. I now have people who depend on me. My Ex wife did give me joint custody and I leaned on those kids alot. My fear has always manifested as anger and Im one angry son of a bitch. I am a Christian. I believe in God and Jesus but still have all this sin and hate and fear. This was two years ago. Recently ive been trying to find my way back to God and deal with this hate. I lost it at work about a month ago and cussed out one of my nest friends. He stopped talking to me for a while and I didnt think he was going to forgive me. He did eventually. Another good friend of mine told me about podcasts.I had never listened to one. He said that I have to listen to team never quit. I was like, oh yeah I will sometime. He said dude they interviewed Tuff Hedeman. I was like wtf. so I turned it on. Now like I said I am a Christian. Im far from perfect, I cuss way to much, I yell and scream if you cut me off in traffic, but I am a believer. I felt alone in my struggles of trying to be a man under the ideal that I was raised under and reconciling my self with god and being loving and I dont know. It just has never jived. Be a tough man and kick ass, which i never really do, but you know. dont take no shit but then theres this love your neighbor and then facing all my failures and fears. Its never really worked good. Then I listened to Tuffs story and heard some of yalls stories. Then I listened to like three a day and cant get enough. to hear MEN, NAVY SEALS, BULLRIDERS, talk abut depression and feeling alone and full of hate and then turning it into something good. Dave, when you say Love, yeah, I get it. IM in tears like a big pussy. My parents did always say they loved me. I have been loved but I see now that Im not alone. Its ok to love and I dont have to prove myself or make up for all my failures. I dont know, Its amazing. I wish my story ended like most of the people you interview as in Im living my dreams and all but its freeing knowing that everyone has their own story. I cant live my dads or uncles stories. I have to live mine. I guess my never quit story has always been but it really began with my divorce. I cant quit. Im still alive and have things to learn and more importantly I have children who need a dad. So far I just have what not to do for them but I am open about my failures to them. I dont hold anything back. they know what ive done and I tell them so hopefully they dont do all the same stupid things. Marcus talks abut learning the hard way, I feel like Im so dense I cant learn any other way. thank yall for breaking these barriers and talking truthfully about these things. Life is hard and we cant quit. A friend of my ex wife has a special needs kid also and she , like us, gets asked how she does it all the time. I always liked her response. Its essentially, what other option do i have?I cant stop being a mom. Thats so true. What am I supposed to do. Lay down and die?Ill do that someday anyway right?What if for today I live. truly live. It aint dying Im talking about Woodrow. I have this energy that Ive really never had before. I dont feel that dark cloud that has been right there ready to set on me every second. Yes Im gonna have bad days as we all do and Im gonna keep failing, but I dont have to live in fear of that failure. I can learn from it and try again. I cant and wont quit. Thank you guys again for pointing the way.

Author: Cal