Sometimes you forget
Sometimes you believe
Sometimes you don’t pretend
You are not who you are
Not make believe or fantasy
You believe the empty words
The things they say because they should
Because they should be kind
They are the encouraging sort
Some days I forget they expect me to fail
Some days I believe their belief is real
Some days I am not pretending, it’s not an act
But then I see what is real
And I carry on, no big deal
Many people won’t know who Ray Lewis is, they can Google and see he was an American Footballer playing Linebacker for the Baltimore Raven’s, and the story ends there.
However, for many Ray Lewis is a familiar name. For some the story of Ray Lewis ends outside a night club with a fatal shooting, pop pop pop, he flees the scene. Eventually handing himself into be charged with double homicide. To many that man is Ray Lewis, Ray Lewis if not the man who pulled the trigger, he is the man who while he may have walked free from the courtroom is guilty of letting the culprit escape justice and therefore as guilty, if not more guilty than that man himself.
For some that will always be Ray Lewis, the man accused of murder. I was not there, all I know is he was there and he saw something. I have no idea if he told the police everything he saw, and told them everything he did completely truthfully. I can never know. The people judging Ray, like me were not there, and they too, will never know, some painfully as it was their loved ones who died on that pavement for no reason that night. Angry and without justice, Ray will never be anything but guilty to these people.
Others see Ray Lewis, the man with two Superbowl Rings, who played his whole Career at the Baltimore Ravens, became a General on the Pitch, a motivator and inspirational figure of it, and arguably one of the best proponents of his position ever to play the game. An almost superhuman player who not only talked of sacrifice for his team and for the purpose, but lived it playing 2 games including his last Superbowl with a detached tricep and a career littered with injury and comeback. They see the Ray Lewis foundation, and his work to make Baltimore a better place, the hospital visits he tries to keep secret, his benefit work and even how he reconciled with his father when many would have chosen to stay bitter.
For these people Ray Lewis is an inspiration, a motivator, a philanthropist and leader, a man who like his words lives his life to leave a legacy.
I see both versions of Ray Lewis, he inspires me because he is both men. He is the man outside the nightclub who will never be forgiven, and he is the motivational speaker and inspirational leader who walks the walk he talks. He stated, “if you are bold enough to challenge my reputation, then I am bold enough to defend it”. To Ray, his innocence is enough, the doubts are thrown at him but he refuses to wear them, to accept those definitions of who is and he has been bold, and now he is on TV as a pundit, still bold, still Ray – and they are still throwing those rocks.
Ray is no Mr Mouse. Ray, like the logo of his foundation is a Lion. I cannot know whether Ray Lewis is any more or les culpable than he is, but I know he is one bold man, stepping out and being so open a target, getting shot at and taking those shots and not being destroyed by them. Mr Mouse admires Ray, his boldness, his stepping out to greatness, the way he didn’t let the fear of what was definitely going to happen stop him being great, leading, motivating, saying what he had to say and being who he had to be. And when they tried to destroy Ray, he stood strong, and he did what he did on the field and he took the criticisms and his spoke with actions off the field too. He made his mark, and has left his legacy, the Mouse wonders how he can be more of a Lion like Ray
I have resisted for a while, but lately, it has been really very difficult not to turn very simple questions into mini or maybe not so mini motivational speeches about what is really important in life.
What I am saying isn’t new to me, and really is not some sort of amazing light bulb epiphany at all, I have known it for a quite a while. It is the coming together of threads that have been around for a while, so this is not a new fabric that I am weaving. This behaviour has left me wondering, why now? Clearly, something has to have changed for my behaviour to have changed in what is a not terribly subtle way.
I have exchanged some intellectual knowledge for experience recently; the experience did not change the intellectual knowledge, rather confirmed it with field data. However, in terms of what was important, and what people who knew the days ahead would be days not months or years, considered important, I already had good field data, so my own, not sure if I will see tomorrow experience did not cause a change even if it added my own data to the set.
I am also not sure any new data has been added, or that anything new was required for me to realise the unique and genuinely blessed situation in which I currently reside. So while I face challenges, the place I face them from is unique for me, and objectively one of the better places to be. I am also aware or the privileges and blessings or my situation and the experiences that I have had on my way here, and how in facing any challenge I am equipped in ways other people are not so fortunate to be. This is not new, and not to do down my own situation, which is not great, there are definitely people worse off, and a lot of worse situations to be in facing what I face.
So I am not sure what has happened, it’s been a while since my birthday, no one close to me has died, although yes people have passed away in my world, and their loss did sadden me to a tear or two, especially those I knew, perhaps it is that. But in general, there has been no change bar the passing of time from a week or a couple of weeks ago when I was not so introspective nor so philosophical.
Which has been my week, rather mundane tasks of sorting out my workspace and getting rid of things that should have been gone long ago, having bad days where nothing happened, and trying to gently sketch out the best way forward and what done looks like now that my personal landscape has changed. Things are definitely slower and taking more time, however, I am not convinced that is a bad change, and I my enthusiasm has changed in quality.
My business head knows that the best business makes money when the owner is not working as well as when the business is working, and it also knows that a lot of markets are very saturated with awesome unique products from very talented people. Add to that, skills in new media promotion and things that I am not sure I could do even if I wanted to do them, which I am not sure I do, I am having to work out a plan, strategy and even define purpose carefully. Perhaps learning from my previous, not outright failure, but definitely not success either enterprise and the things I didn’t do with that business, and how I massively overextended myself and my workload in that venture.
I still have no idea why these inputs have made me so philosophical.
I had plans
I had an attack and several more
I had plans
They are no more
So I have to go much more slowly than I wanted, I have forgotten stuff, things don’t make it to paper and I forget how to write question marks and do simple things, I guess that’s life now.
I planned to take a week off after competing and it ended up being a very good idea. The competition when exceptionally well and I secured my qualification for the British Finals as I set out to do, came back healthy and am now on course to go from the British Finals to the World Championships and be considered a contender.
That is the success, and I am not going to down play that success, I am still stunned to have this amazing opportunity at all, let alone after all that has happened so far this year. The weekend was successful with many improvements in self-management and performance management across the whole time which point towards a successful British performance and importantly that this will open up not just the opportunity to represent Britain at world level but also to be a legitimate podium contender. It is impossible to convey how surreal and odd it feels to be writing that about myself, and how I am proud of what I have done, but at the same time it really does not feel very real so I am not really that proud because I don’t feel I have done that much. Although, as I am told pretty regularly, to have the opportunity only 6 weeks after lying in a hospital with paralysis, its one hell of a comeback.
However, when I got home it had been 8 days without an attack, and while I made it through the weekend out the house when I got in I sat on the sofa and I went out. The full monty, this was a high register attack, lasting well over half an hour with the loss of speech, tone, and with paralysis. This would have been a hospital admission if we did not already know nothing would happen. I was devastated. I knew what was coming and it did, the hangover effects, this time it included the slightly hilarious not being able remember how to write a question mark.
By Wednesday most of the glitchyness was gone, most of my understanding and cognition was back, my emotional fragility was on the way out, and my motor skills were returning, left behind were a headache and dizziness. Its now 8 days later, and several smaller attacks later as well and I am at best 80% back to where I was 6pm on that Sunday night.
That was the failure. It probably feels like a bigger set back than it really is, but it is a real setback. I did have plans for the week after half term and so far to day I have lost most of the morning because I passed out, and I cant drive till we are sure I am safe which along with my motor skills and paralysis changes the athletic endeavour part of my life significantly. But I am still embarking on this part of my personal, professional and life journey back from where I really wanted to be. Even this reflection is not the reflection I would have wanted to be writing.
This is Monday, last week pushed me back, but I have achievement locked, and I have plans to grow my business project slowly but surely, I have another small scale little income project running and that can run its life and earn its little bit while it burns too, and I am busy taking the steps I can to get from where I am to where I want to be accepting they are smaller than I may have wanted or anticipated but that a step is a step nonetheless and I can build from where I am.
My plans have not changed, they may just take a little longer and happen a little more slowly.