I have never met someone who enjoyed schooling that I would see as interesting.  Adversity breeds invention, and one needs to invent the self in order to find who they are.  You are not born with a personality, but it is created in a curiously fateful way.  We are born with genes that give us talents, impact behavior, intelligence, and a physical state.  Likewise, your environment is the creation of your parents genes in the places you live, the food you eat, and the experiences you have had.  We are a combination of nature and nurture.

The introvert is part of you as well.  You are a fourth generation introvert as far as I know.  The introvert will not make you the life of the party or the popular boy.  Both of you are terribly handsome and intelligent, yet that is not what makes someone popular.  Good looks are necessary but the other is a charisma that can be stupid and cruel.  How do these people become popular you may ask?  The popular kids speak to the lowest sense of ourselves.

There is a part of everyone that likes to see someone have a bad day.  We like to see someone fall, especially if we did not when we approached that spot.  It is part of the basic human condition to elevate oneself by debasing others.  Popularity and the win is all relative and that is why the popular are not extraordinary individuals.  They simply know how to debase everyone else around them.  Their extroversion and stupidity help as they can loudly protest your worth as their feeble minds can.

You are not wrong in hearing my own debasement of their character and worth; nobody is perfect.  I have lived through the torments and issues that meekness will provide a man.  That is why you were always taught to step forward.  The safest way through is at the head even if it is against your instincts.  If you cannot make it to the head, at least try to land mid pack.

Popularity breeds in itself the mundane.  It is with adversity that we come to invent and in the process build our story.  The cruel of this world is what builds heroes. Keep that in mind as you build yourself.  If you accomplished something, what was it that inspired you?  Did you move in spite of that voice that told you not to?  That is where growth happens.  It is slow and painful, yet should be steady and celebrated.  Never stop finding your next adversity.



War or Peace

The subject is one that I feel strongly about because of how it shaped me.  The answer to the question is not always clear.  To fight or stand down is a difficult decision to make.  You have to understand that, as you grow to be the man you want to be, you will make the wrong decision many times before you learn.  There are adages on either side that are true and some that are not when it comes to war or peace.

“Live to fight another day” is one I have come to hold to any encounter as some may escalate to that point and you may not get a second chance to practice this one.  “Never back done” was a statement I held closely as a teenager; however, as a man I see sometimes that this method has folly.  The important point is to never let anyone become comfortable being disrespectful to you while also realizing that your ego and pride will leave things to escalate all to often.

This question plagued me in high school.  I was a late bloomer and overweight.  I was slow to get stubble on my chin and loathed exercise.  I was the hue of the modern day kid with days filled with television and video games.  I felt my own greatness, but it derived from my father’s accomplishments.  Every man believes he is his own hero but few rise to the challenge to realize their own requirements.

After sheltering in private school, I had maybe one skirmish every year.  When fists became involved in public high school, I shied from every encounter.  I did this until I became an easy target.  Being dark skinned only left a target on my back.  Even weaker white boys would make a target of me as they knew the tougher older kids had their back if I showed resistance.  I was to take their abuse, and I deserved it for being in their space.  Name calling, being sprayed with hair spray, spitting, pushing, or a random shove into a locker became a regular thing.  I did not meet their eyes as I had too much shame.

When I met your mother, I was in a better spot mostly because of chance rather than effort.  I had hit a growth spurt and lost some weight while starting kung fu.  I did not seem an easier target, but I was.  After our dating that summer, I realized I had worth, and if it came to protecting her, I would have fought to death for her.  We broke up after that summer which was the biggest mistake of my life.  In the aftermath, I needed something to feel passionate about again.

I became passionate about being better.  I began to lift weights and became more serious about martial arts.  I started in Bujinkan Ninjutsu after feeling I had attained all I could from Kung Fu.  I had some jobs and began saving money.  I knew I wanted to be a doctor and I retook my classes in which I had poor grades.  In this process, I needed to obtain respect for myself and learn to make others respect me.

I took on the never back down policy; I wanted to be respected and feared.  Interestingly, I have never been in a real fight.  Every brush with fighting never lasted past a few blows.  I came to realize that bullies are weak.  They have a longing to be noticed and feared.  If you do not show them that fear, they lose their power.  What I needed to achieve was the attitude that I would rather die than feel anymore shame.  It seems in today’s age, kids will sadly hurt themselves before they will stand up for themselves.  I decided that I knew I was worth it and there was no pain worse than shame.  I took on every adversary which usually only amounted to prolonged staring, chest puffing, and some body checking.  I did not always have the words for witty quips, but what I did have was the resolve that this person would not get away with disrespecting me.

The last real physical altercation I had was as a senior.  A fellow classmate that I had not known about my change in attitude decided to throw something at me.  I raced directly back to his desk and pushed it backwards and demanded a fight.  We were only three weeks from graduation and a fight would have been foolhardy at that point.  He decided to back down with weak statements of “how crazy that would be” and “maybe we could fight later.”  He swallowed his words.

Since that time, I had a man run back to my car after an argument at a stop sign.  Your mother was with me at the time.  He was a typical thuggish character and angled his car so I would have to stop.  His hand trailed behind his jacket as he approached our car.  I believe he had a gun.  I would not allow him to disrespect me when it came to words, but I would not engage him either.  I had some stabs to my ego that day and I may have been lucky that he did not try to touch me.  In retrospect, this was a wise day to concede and “live to fight another day.”  Words were not worth dying for, and, furthermore, my main objective should have been to protect your mother.  In that instance, I lived to fight another day.

I was in several shoving matches in my school days that I ought not to have been.  I truly believed I never started anything, but that did not mean I was not overreacting.  If I felt words were disrespectful, I responded physically.  As mentioned, I have never been one for cleverness in heated moments.  I even came into some of these ‘fights’ with friends; however, my ego could not stand anyone overhearing disrespect.  I thought it would shatter the safety I had found.  There was safety in conflict.

In retrospect, I likely had a mild form of PTSD that led to some of my decisions and ferocity.  Some of these bordered on my becoming the very thing I loathed.  I forgive myself though as an adult.  The trials of teenage years are fraught with mistakes and shortcomings.  Overcoming fears is an important part of life as it is part of gaining wisdom.  It prepares you for the type of man you will be as a brother, son, husband, and father.  Listen to that voice you have that tells you what the right answer is.  It will grow wiser and stronger as you utilize it.  You will know when to fight and when to live to fight another day.

– Savage


The Ladies Touch

I find the more I talk to men the more I see the importance of a lady in a man’s life. A true lady has much to offer particularly the masculine man. There is a certain softness, surety, and peace that comes from the presence of a lady.

A soft voice, a piece of beauty, smooth skin, and a warm meal do much to change the everyday demeanor. An acquaintance that I recently saw had me in mind of what has changed him. His complexion has changed, his smile gone, and his spark that made him interesting has gone out. I spoke to him after a prolonged period of absence and was taken aback by these changes. A deep conversation later and I found he has divorced and is now single. The effects are clear that this was not for his betterment. He has become cold and gruff. I hear in his voice how he speaks to his children differently and I see half of a person. This is a clear pattern I have seen throughout my life.

This is what is lacking in him. It is not his better half but his other half. Unbalanced masculinity leads to a person lacking in polish and spark. There is a void that is filled with mindless pursuits, coarse language, and an inexplicable abyss that is seen in the eyes. He would tell you that a woman did this to him.

Perhaps the wrong type of woman did, but it may have also been that he was the wrong type of man.  My father never wanted me to marry. He believed that men were better without wives. He taught that they were a drain on finances and emotions and should be changed regularly to remain fresh. My grandfather, filled with many positive attributes, taught me to never trust women or let a woman control you. He obviously felt controlled and suppressed and did not act gentlemanly to his wife. This is always been the one area where I felt he failed in teaching.

I have learned that there are various types of women in the world. A girl of female essence who has submission, grace, beauty, and household knowledge is of immense support. Ideally a woman with a wild spark can also keep a man feeling young on long days. One with proper etiquette and ways is a rarity in these times. A lady is a dying breed having been replaced with special interests in the my generation.  My own wife changed my grandfather’s outlook in his last chapter in life.  I wonder if this led the way to the changes I see him.  He has softened greatly with the company of women and has found happiness again.

Any person is free to choose however they will be, but a gentleman craves the presence of a lady and is only completed by finding his counterpart. This is what I hope for my sons. I want them to bring home ladies that will give rise to the next generation for this family I have worked hard to make strong, wealthy, educated, and happy. I hope they know my kind of happiness.

– Savage