During my morning run today, I was thinking about yesterday’s holiday. Martin Luther King Jr. was a great man. He was a visionary, an idealist, and an engine for change. He was also a tragedy in that as is so often the case his dreams were his undoing. People fear change. I think they fear it more than anything else. King was a threat to the old way of things. He was a threat to an economic and sociological system that profited greatly from keeping people ignorant and in fear. He had to go. Just as JFK had to go, Abraham Lincoln had to go, and Dwight Eisenhower though not murdered in cold blood; had to go as well. All four men were calling attention to a broken and corrupt system. All four were calling for change, for a reordering of the status quo.
There are many more great men that might be added to this list. Let’s not forget Malcolm X, John Lennon, or Robert Kennedy. Were I a paranoid man I might be tempted to see a pattern developing in all these deaths and killings. I might think that Americans whether through silent approval or outright belligerence make it a point to quiet and or destroy anyone who threatens to rock the boat. Throughout or short history as a nation it definitely seems to be the norm when dealing with decedents and political activists.
How this relates to you the reader of this blog is simple; the more you devote yourself to changing your life and the world around you the more resistance you will meet. Granted wanting to lose fifty pounds and adopt a healthy lifestyle is not on the same magnitude as trying to overturn centuries of racism and discrimination. Everyone has to start somewhere though. I am not trying to make light of Dr. King’s movement or accomplishments if anything I would like to call out his greatness for others to follow. He was a man who believed wholeheartedly in his cause. Despite the odds stacked against him, he still felt that he could achieve his victory and refused to settle for anything less. He faced down the wrath and hatred of a nation at war with itself and stuck in the past. A few naysayers among your friends and family should hardly stop you then should it?
Here’s a simple truth that you must face and accept on your road to change; it’s going to piss people off. Some will be jealous, others resentful, and some outright hostile. For me it’s the passive-aggressive ones that annoy me most. You know them, the friends that are always quoting some magazine or book that says you working out is actually more unhealthy then their couch surfing. They have a whole list of statistics and studies to quote from as to why they are smarter then you and more knowledgeable about health. Consequently these articles they swear by are never present when quoted so that they may be confirmed or scrutinized. These people are also recognizable by the insistence that their 300lb friend uses the best diet there is and knows all about weight loss.
As I said in the first paragraph; people fear change, especially when it upsets the image of you they expect you to follow. Make no mistake if you truly want change in your life it will involve rewriting the story of who you are. You will have to redraw the picture so to speak. This starts by erasing some blemishes and by blemishes I do mean assholes that flood your life with negativity and doubt. Your list of friends will lose a few members in the beginning. Fortunately though, as you move ahead in your goals and continue on your path; you will find others who share your view and passion drawn towards you. Like attracts like and positive people seek out others like them. The people we have known the longest also are the most resistant to our change. It upsets the reality they have built and defined. The moment in your life that you take it upon yourself to ensure your own happiness and well being will be the moment you discover who your true friends are and who really cares. These will be the people cheering you on and patting you on the back. They will be the ones offering support even when you stumble. They will take delight in your dreams and joy from your success. Anyone who does not is excess baggage and must be cut loose.
My family is not supportive of me. To be fair my previous behavior in my youth has a lot to do with that and I accept my responsibility in it. I also accept that people can grow and mature. Through struggle and hardship, people can re-prioritize and find new meaning in life. We can learn from our mistakes and overcome them. However in my family that is just unacceptable. I live in a family filled with mistakes and cover-ups and as long as they can keep the spotlight on one then the others can carry on in denial of their own deeds and transgressions. Never having to own up to the rotten things you’ve done, means never having to apologize, or change.
My life these past few years has upset that routine. It has called into question what others in my family do and your actions in life might do the same among your family and friends. Don’t be afraid of it. Welcome it and bask in the glory of it. Change is hard and all the more when you have to do it alone. Never allow others to tell you what you can be or what you can accomplish. I have had to walk away from my family and many friends but I will build my own one day and make more friends. I have no more time for my doubters and detractors. My life is my own and I am responsible for making it the one I want. Never be afraid of standing against the crowd. The greatest people in history have bucked the odds and stood their ground when it seemed stupid or even suicidal. That’s what it takes though.