My Story- Chasing Fulfillment

I included this side by side because both pictures are a representation of how my mental state has evolved between pictures. I was told I needed to share my story, so here it goes. We will start with all the life events, emotions, etc that lead up to the picture on the left. I didn't begin trying to change my mental state (the way I perceive the world's force exerted on me) until then. 
Basically, I was born in a very religious, strict household. My dad was a pastor and my mom grew up Presbyterian. They were also both perfectionists and pushed me to be the best at everything I did. My dad, ironically, was much more easy going than my mom. He valued family activities and spent time with me. My mom wouldn't let me do anything fun unless I made perfect scores on my tests. 
I also grew up very poor. Everything was hand-me-downs. We were home-schooled so sports weren't really an option either. I was just pretty much one of your typical super religious nerds with a superiority complex. Then, one day, someone told me I was small. I'm not sure why, but it really messed with my self-esteem. I started working out when I was 13. Hard. I even dieted. I wanted to stand out and that seemed like the only way I could. Before church, I'd do curls for 30 minutes every Sunday. I hoped it would get people to notice me. Writing this, it all sounds pathetic. But, kids eat tide pods nowadays, so I guess it wasn't so bad haha. 
Back to being poor. My parents didn't have money to buy me a lot of toys. I remember the day I became an entrepreneur. I was in Wal Mart with my mom. Asked if I could get this $6 toy cap gun. She followed with "Where's your money?" I told her I didn't have any because I was only 9 and didn't have a job. So, she took me to Home Depot and bought me the cheapest lawnmower she could find and $5 of gas. She told me I could have mow my neighbors yards and make money that way. As long as I mowed my parents' grass, and took care of my equipment, the mower was mine. We had a deal. I never bought the gun. To this date, that lawnmower has made me a ton of money. It taught to be independent. If you really want something, and put in the work, you can have it! 
I don't remember much life changing stuff happening until college. That whole experience was a nightmare that aged me way too fast. 
I had zero desire to go to College. My parents basically forced it on me. It was that or feel like a failure for life haha. Note to parents. Let your kids make their own decisions. I am paying the price STILL for mine being pushy when I wasn't mature enough to tell them no. College is not for everybody. 
Anyways, I wanted to make my parents proud, so I joined the Corps at Texas A&M. I quit after 3 months. They told me I was going to be a quitter for life when I left. Pretty much gave them the middle finger on the way out. Unfortunately, they were right. I quit everything hard I tried to do for the next 3 years! I literally couldn't handle hardship. 
I decided I couldn't live like this. I started prepping for a show. I trained 7 months for it when I was 20. Lost 75 pounds. I didn't do well, but I finished something that was extremely difficult for me. It empowered me and I lost the desire to back out of tough situations. Now, you'd have to kill me to get me to quit something. 
I had also started personal training around that time. I felt like I could do anything once I got past my fear of quitting. My business blew up. However, with school, I didn't have as much time to develop my business as I would have liked. I worked two other jobs. Overall, I worked between 60-80 hours a week, while attending college full time. That was my life until I was 21. Then, I quit going to class. 
I just couldn't take the lack of sleep anymore. My blood pressure was constantly high. Classes were unrewarding. Being around the entitled students drove me nuts. I was angry about how my life was going. I just wanted to make enough to pay my bills and get a decent night's rest. I started focusing on my business and things got way better. My parents were angry at me. They wouldn't let a day go by without reminding me what a failure I was. Nothing hurts more than never getting affirmation from your parents. But, I couldn't live that miserable anymore so I kept at it. 
Fast forward a few years to 2014, and my business is successful. However, lots of family problems. My brother ended up moving in with me for about a year because of them. We both got disowned after that. It was very hard for me. I have two younger sisters I've always worshiped that I wasn't able to communicate with at all for about a year and a half over that. A few other personal problems happened as well that left me extremely depressed. I couldn't find a way out in my head so I ended up just getting high or drunk all the time. That went on for about 6 months. I realized the drugs and alcohol weren't solving any problems and tried to just block everything out instead. 
I'm not gonna lie. That worked for awhile. Until my best friend shot himself. I literally found him in his apartment 10 minutes after the fact. It turned my world upside down. For about 3 months, I just slept all the time. Literally didn't want to function. Then, it started nagging at me that I was still here. I was depressed too. Why did I want to hold on when he wanted out? I decided that I must have a purpose. To find happiness, I needed to find what it was, and live it! That's how I got to the picture on the left. 
Now to the picture on the right. 
That took me awhile. My relationships always failed because of how depressed I'd get. I'd get distracted from my mission (at the time I thought it was making money) then get depressed...then a breakup...followed by more depression...then getting it together temporarily...until I found a new girlfriend to take my mind of things whenever I got bored of my life. 
In May 2017, my friend John Bishop reached out to me and changed my life. He and his wife, Michelle, made me realize that I have the potential to be as great as I want! They also showed me that I have the power to influence people. However, it's my responsibility to use that ability to better their lives. He also got me reading this book called "The Compound Effect" by Darren Hardy. That book changed the way I view everything. I write down two things I'm thankful for every morning. Also,  every time something bad happens, I write down 2 positive (or more) outcomes from it. Those actions have totally transformed my mentality. I went from being a victim of my emotions, to being a victor over them. It is my CHOICE to be upset over something. So, most of time, I CHOOSE not to be! 
It's not as simple as telling yourself to think happy thoughts. It takes REAL work. You have to write. You have to maintain control over your mind. YOU have to be aware of your thoughts and feelings. Most of all, you have to realize that, ultimately, YOU are responsible for your thoughts and the actions you take based on them. If you cheat on your girl, it's not her fault because she made you feel unwanted. It's yours. You took the action and made a CHOICE. You could have also just as easily made the choice to talk to her or end the relationship. 
This year...I ended up in the ER...they're saying I had a panic attack...but it felt like I was having a heart attack...and EKG said I possibly had 2 so I'm not sure what really happened. All I know is, in the moment, I was ready to die and meet God. I knew beyond a doubt where I was going, but, because I hadn't exactly been living for Jesus lately, I also knew I was gonna be embarassed when I got there. I was so convinced I was going to die I didn't even wear my shoes to the ER. I gave my neighbor the password to my phone and told him to text everybody afterwards. Then, I lived. It was all over in an hour or so and they told me to go home. 
I spent the next week feeling completely lost. I couldn't figure out while I was still here. It turned my whole life upside down. A lot of things fell apart that are personal and don't need to be brought up here. Let's just say it was a wake up call. I should be dead. But, I'm not. I realized that I have a higher purpose than just getting people fit for shows, or so they can get laid, be healthier etc. 
I realized that my calling is to empower people to gain control of their emotions. Improving your self- image is a HUGE step for someone who is struggling with depression/anxiety. That all starts with diet and exercise. I can give people the tools to change that one aspect of their lives. By watching my actions, hopefully they change the rest of their mental state as well! 
I have never been a religious person. However, God put people in my life (and took some out), caused certain events to happen, etc that have made me the person I am today. I could not have done any of this without him, so that's where the credit is going. I am not a perfect person, but I do stand by my beliefs. What holds me down, at the end of the day, and why I don't fear death is this:
1. Christ died for my sins
2. I 100% believe that
3. I have salvation for eternity not because of what I've done, but what God has done for me. 
I realize this may offend a lot of you. However, these are my personal beliefs. If you have a problem with them, that doesn't bother me in the least. I will not force them on you. However, if you have questions, I don't have all the answers but I do have some! 
If you are struggling with something, from the bottom of my heart, I hope this helps you realize that you aren't alone. Everything happens for a reason to bring you closer to God. Embrace the hardship and let your life events lead you to Him! 
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