I really hate to admit this but, I must. After all, the purpose of this blog is to hold myself accountable to healthier life style and maybe help others along the way. So, staying true to my accountability, I used to be a very negative person. I am not sure if that came across to a lot of my friends or colleagues that knew me during those times. I thought I did a great job of hiding that fact about myself. I think if most were to look back and remember those days, they can see it now. I am, and have always been, my very worst enemy.
When I was growing up I was a red-headed, freckle-faced boy who thought I was just the ugliest duckling on the face of the earth. I took anything and everything said to me to heart. If someone called me ugly, I had to be. If someone called me fat, I was fat. I wore my heart on my sleeve and desperately wanted to be liked by everyone. My self-esteem was non-existent.
Across the street from my house growing up, there were a couple of kids who were also red-headed and freckle-faced. I won’t call them by name but, if they are reading this, they know who they are. The boy was about 3 years older than I and the girl was my age. I really looked up to the boy as one would an older brother. They had a confidence I never had. They were just comfortable in their own skin or at least it appeared that way to me. People thought we were related, we looked that much alike. Yet, their confidence never rubbed off on me. I just thought so poorly of myself.
As I got in the teen years, it got maybe a little better in the aspect that I was an athlete. If it came to sports, I had confidence. I was a good athlete and I knew it, Off the field of play though, same old negativity set in. Even though I was a popular kid because of sports, I had no self-esteem in the social world. I was terrified to even fathom asking a girl out. The thought of being told no was just too horrible to face and I wasn’t about to let that happen. I became the “Big Brother” type or as it is so well-known as today, “In the Friend Zone.” I was content on being that guy. Hey, at least the girls will talk to me this way. I can’t tell you how many crushes I had on girls that had me in their “Friend Zone”. I am not sure if they even knew but, it really didn’t matter. In my negative way of thinking, they wouldn’t like me that way so what is the point. It really did not get any better in college either. I did not date much, too afraid to ask, too afraid of that word “No”. Again I was that guy the girls loved because I was safe. A good guy who was just soooo nice! I was content being that guy for them too. Don’t get me wrong, I treasure those friendships, some I am still friends with today. I just never allowed myself the opportunity to pursue something else. It was my negative way of thinking that got in my way. I was the guy that blocked myself. Hard to overcome that!
I did not get married until I was 32. I thought I was marrying for love but, if I am being honest with myself. I married because I really thought I would not find anyone else. We were married for almost 12 years and that marriage gave me the most precious of gifts, my son. But, it did not give nor show me what true unconditional love from your significant other was. I know now that she really didn’t love me, nor I her, the way a husband and wife should love each other. A lot of that I think had to do with my negativity about myself. I really did not think I was worthy of love so, I took whatever morsel of love or acceptance that was thrown my way. I’d shower her with affection and was rarely given it back. I wasn’t treated right and to be fair, I probably wasn’t as good to her as I should have been. I can look back at it now and say this with conviction, it takes two to make a marriage and it takes two to break one. I still dealt with a lot of anger that I had talked about before. We did not see eye to eye on how to raise our son so, there was always a fight about that. I couldn’t tell you how many times I would be coming home from work thinking, “Is this the day I get home and find her gone with my son?” I feared that would happen every time I left the house. That was how badly my negative way of thinking influenced my life.
After the divorce in 2009, not much changed in the way I viewed things. I had lost my job, my marriage, had knee surgery, could not make ends meet and was about to lose my home. I blamed God for everything and I hated everything. but my son. I had lost all this weight, was still working out and for the first time in my life, I really liked the way I looked. I looked really good on the outside but, my inside was dark and ugly. I was a miserable human being that not only didn’t have love or happiness, felt he did not deserve it. I was cursed, not blessed. I found something wrong with every thing around me. If something good did happen, I always waited for the other shoe to drop and some how it always did. I looked at every aspect in my life, with the exception of my son, as a negative. My house sucked, my life sucked, my job sucked, I am a horrible father etc…. I did not see anything positive and even blamed God. “What have I done to deserve such a miserable existence?” “God, you have turned you back on me so to hell with you!” “You have forgotten about me anyway, so I AM DONE!” God wasn’t done with me though…..
My son met who would go on to be his best friend around the time he was in 7th grade. That friendship led him to the path of God and in October of 2013, my son was baptized. Ethan would ask me to go to church, sometimes I went, sometimes no. Every time I set foot in that church, it seemed the preacher was talking directly to me. No matter what the sermon, it had something to do with some aspect in my life. I met some wonderful people in that church, who invited me to discussions and prayer. For the first time, I opened up about how I just hated life and what had happened to me along the way. No judgement from them, they just showed me love and understanding. I started looking at the blessings around me. These people helped save my son, the Godly people who God set in his path, were not reaching out to me. For the first time, I started thinking positive and I could see the change in how I saw life. I realized yeah I had a rough time of it before but, I made it thru to the other side. I did not lose my house, I was able to feed and take care of my son. I now had a job that gave me more time at home with him at night and making little more money. I even went and sat down with Ethan’s preacher for a one on one. Told him how God and I had a rough relationship, I thought God had turned his back on me. After talking with him, I knew God never turned his back on me, I turned my back on him many years before. My heart began to fill with remorse and I could feel a positivity settling in. It flushed all the negative away and opened my heart to love. Even my body responded in a way I had not imagined. I was getting bigger, stronger, healthier and for the first time in my life, I was happy being me. The best part of that journey was I got to share it with my son. He loves the gym!! I was more confident than I had ever been and negative thoughts rarely, if ever, enter my mind now. God and I got on the same page again and I was gleaming with positive aura!!
In 2015, the new positive Ricky married the true love of my life. Remember when I said I knew I did not love my former wife like I should and vice versa? Well, the reason I know that is because of the love I share with Anna. It is the greatest feeling to have unconditional love from the most amazing person I know. I truly believe she is a gift from God and I thank him for that blessing daily. I have a great home, great friends, a great job and I am in a position to help others when and where I can. I look at everything in such a positive manner that I can’t believe I was the person I was for so long. I look back now at the person I was a cringe. But it was that person that drove me so deep into the abyss that the only way back to the light was God and positive thinking.
We each have a choice. If we look hard enough, you can find negativity all around you or you can find positivity all around you. The choice is yours. That old saying, “Someone always has it worse than you do” is so true. If you wake up everyday, have a roof over your head, a job to go to, food to eat and true friends in your life, you are a very blessed person. If you have people who love you unconditionally, you’re truly blessed. Look around you, see all the good that you have, not the bad. Focus on the positive in your life and get the negative out. You and you alone can change the path you are on if you aren’t liking the way it is taking you. The one question you have to ask yourself is, “WHAT IS STOPPING YOU?” Are you, like me, your own worst enemy??? Believe in yourself, look for the positive in everything and I promise, you WILL be happier!!