selfishly selfless, unedited, part one

Sitting on Larry “Legend” Svec’s Memorial Bench

It’s been 10 soul-sucking months since Jacob left the physical earth.  It really does help me to say things like “physical earth” or “this dimension” when describing Jacob’s death.  Dying sounds a lot more permanent and I’m not ready yet.  In the past 10 months, I’ve started a foundation, left my job, started another company and made the decision to blog.  I enlisted the help of my best mate Mike D to guide me through this blog process.  “Just write.  No matter what, keep writing.”  I feel a bit like ee cummings, devoid of punctuation.  I guess I will and let this be a little messy.  Let’s do it.

It was my intention to make today’s theme delve into the effects of those who love me.  I’m not ready to face that today.  Mike told me there will be days when writing is going to be hard.  Most days will be if you’re doing it right, I guess.  With that, I threw in the airpods and put on “Midnight Marauders” by ATCQ and I’m off.  Today, I want to talk about priorities.  What do I place first in my life?  Am I selfish?  The answer is clearly, “yes.”  Is that bad?  Does that mean I am bad?  These are questions I want to understand.

When I got sober, I read things about the importance of my sobriety.  I sought help and it was ingrained into my head that my sobriety was the most important thing in my life.  Without it, I have nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  Well, no that cannot be true.  My kids, wife, siblings, parents, and friends are more important than my sobriety.  I didn’t get it.  It took YEARS to begin to understand this concept that being truly selfish is the most selfless thing I can do.  I still struggle with this in its purest form.  When you’re on a plane that loses cabin pressure, what do flight attendants tell you to do?  “Put your mask on first before assisting children and those in need of assistance.”  It makes sense.  How can I help anyone else if I cannot help me?  How can I truly love anyone else if I don’t love myself?  This kills me inside.

My physical and mental health have never taken priority.  For years, my security was my only concern.  I found security in poison.  I was an animal.  The ability to reason is both the greatest difference between humans and other species, AND……our downfall.  I was self-centered in the wrong ways.  As I’ve matured, this has haunted me.

I’ve been lucky through all of this to keep my three best friends.  Mike is my other brain.  He thinks like I do.  Ben is unlike anyone, ever in this world.  He’s a simple man with few words.  My other pal is John.  John is the perfect balance of everything.  I mention these men because I don’t know if I’d be alive without them and I will, no doubt, mention them as I go through this journey.  Also, they all still call me by my nickname, “Funk” or some version of it.  Let’s get back to selfishness and its importance.

I went from two existences.  My first was one of decadence. I didn’t care about anyone I hurt.  Everything in my head was justifiable.  If you grew up like me, you’d be this way too.  I. I. I. Me. Me. Me.  I was selfish in the worst ways.  As I got sober and learned how to live “sober,” things changed.  I went from selfishly selfish to misguidedly selfish.  I put my family first.  I took bad jobs but made sure I was “there” for the family.  Was that really being helpful?  No.

As the years turned, I became more and more sedentary.  That was not me.  It never has been.  My diet changed from greens, protein, grains and sweets to sweets, sweets, fast-food and the occasional homemade dish.  You could set your watch by me though.  I was always home.  The wife and kids and wife did not need to wonder where I was.  I was/am right there.  I went from the metaphor of the 800 lb gorilla to being the actual freaking thing. <”Midnight Marauder” ends. Let’s move on to “Low end Theory> 

As I look back at the past 15 years, I see a lot of bad excuses.  I also see a lot of times seeking Ben for help.  In every instance, he’d ask four questions, already knowing the answer.  “Funk, are you sleeping?” No.  “Eating well and drinking water?” No “Are you walking?” NO! “Watching tv?” Yes!  Ben <I can insert any concerned person here, btw>, you don’t understand what I’m going through.  <insert total bullshit excuse>.  That’s it.  All of my excuses are bullshit.  Yes, Jacob had cancer.  Yes, we lost money.  Yes, I had shitty jobs.  Yes, I had stresses.  Yes, life happened.  I am learning that “life” happens.  I now realize that it’s about these two things: How do I respond?  Am I spiritually, mentally, and physically fit? I know the answer.

Tomorrow’s blog: Selfishly Selflessness

2 responses to “selfishly selfless, unedited, part one”

  1. fascinating. Your writing continues to progress in its depth and perception. I look forward to reading more. z


  2. Brandt,

    Heartfelt as you words clearly were, know that surrounded by friends, you are never alone. Whether it be via pals circling you and at times guiding you, or through others that have sustained grim losses like yours.

    Don’t overthink the past except to embrace its gifts. My father passed 36 years ago — even before I got sober. That stated, even to this day I seize the best of my memories of him, and often think “What would my dad be saying about what’s going on right now?

    Propped up by your family and friends — and YES, by your memories of Jacob, you will continue to move forward, toward an inner peace.

    Take this from a pal that life has also redirected over the years: It is not about the pace, but the direction.

    Thanks for your writing.


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