The sun hasn’t set.

Just wanted to put a little note out. Let people know I’m doing well. My recovery from my recent accident has been amazing.

For those of you who were unaware, I recently mangled the 3 vertebrae at the top of my back. I underwent a spinal fusion.

After a few weeks I went from the hospital to a rehabilitation center. I rollef in on a gurney and walked out about a week ago.

I am letting the people who follow and read my blog know that I’m not done. I have a few in the pipeline still, but I am also focusing on a few oppurtunities at the moment. So if I go awhile without posting it’s not that I cashed it in or gave up on life.

I’m living it.

To the best of my abilities and in reverence to those no longer with me.

Levels

Levels is a new online fashion store catering to a culture that has grown from the inner cities to dominate fashion all over the world.

Full disclosure I’ve known one of the owners of levels613 for several years. We have discussed some shared business ideas but never actually pursued anything together.

They recently ran a contest to promote their opening. I was the fortunate winner. I received a package with a long sleeve, crooks tee, jeans and hat. Very happy with my gift box.

Anchored by Crooks and Castles and featuring exclusive brand King/Queen status levels613.com is poised to be the store of choice from hoods to burbs.

Levels has room to grow and evolve bringing back brands we love while showcasing some of the newest available swag in North America.

Not only does levels613.com have you covered with clothing options but accesories for headwear as well. With an ever changing and evolving product line levels is worth checking out every few days.

They also have the option of getting your own design put on your swag. Wanna rep your hood? Have an album or label you’d like to promote? Just a dope image you want on a tee, send it in to the team at levels and get it professionally done.

Prices are comparable with stores, prices being in cdn dollars. It has run several discount promos since it’s recent opening. With the steam it’s gathering I see no reason they’ll slow down anytime soon.

Stay busy my friends.

Idle minds are breeding grounds for misery. It’s best not to overthink this. Life is for the most part blunt and straightforward.

Sometimes we’re searching for meaning that just isn’t there. We start to attribute things that are irrelevant memory fails and the subconscious fills the holes.

Other times the subtext is all there reeking of metaphor and we catch some insubstantial piece. We lock onto some negative detail, we gas it up, we let it become a bonfire in our subconscious.

The reality is I always did what I could. Bad things happened, and even if I could of done something different, it’s too late to change the past.

So now I find myself sometimes trying to recollect and make peace with the past. There isn’t any beds left to make. We’ve been sleeping in them a long time.

Now if I start to trail off down memory lane I try and apply myself to the dozens of projects I’m neglecting.

Don’t let your thoughts betray you. When you know something is wrong don’t linger on it. The mind will start to make it true.

Plow the energy into something. Whether it be creative, practical, or controlled destruction. This energy is mine to control or I’ll be controlled by it.

What am I here for

As I lay in this hospital bed, having survived another experience that could have been my last, I teeter back and forth between a few feelings.

On the one hand I am extremely grateful. I managed to survive a broken spine. Sounds crazy to me as I write it. I broke my spine and walked down the hallway a week later.

The other hand I’m feeling not worthy. I have had so many oppurtunities past what some people have. Whether being witness to violent crime as a youth. Being hit by a vehicle, being shot at, being blown up, and now having literally broken my spine.

Why do I keep getting these passes? Any of those moments could have been my last, some of those moments were people’s last. Yet I tick on.

Part of me wonders… Why. Why have I survived these near deaths. I’m still standing.

Must be the lil guys I’m leading to greatness.

Sometimes though, I feel it’s not enough. No matter what I do I can never justify the life I still have, and others don’t.

I guess I don’t have to, but it drives me. I feel like I owe it to the, people who haven’t survived the shit I have, to live life to the fullest. When I figure out what that means I’ll get on it.

I guess until than if you didn’t break your neck, your not giving it hard enough. Ha see everyone one the otherside.

Freefalling

Freeeeeeeeeee freefalling.

Feeling scary good.

Sometimes I just have to walk away. I’m not the biggest or baddest guy, but I can have a bit of a temper. I have lost a fight or two or three. Didn’t preclude four or five or six.

Over the years, I have realized there comes a point in angry disagreement where there’s nothing left to be said. At that point I look that man in the eye, and can usually tell if things are about to get violent.

Anyone who says violence doesn’t solve anything, has never split 12 beers between 5 infantrymen.

That being said it’s usually pretty avoidable. See the pissed off veteran who looks like he’s about to explode, leave him alone. Don’t come try to be the peanut topping on my turd sundae.

Everyone knows the golden rule. It’s a common theme across majority of the worlds religions. Simple. Respect. Treat others how you expect to be treated.

Say your pissed off and tryna curse out the grass. I’m not going to come up and talk about your vibes affecting the grass growth. You’d be in your rights to make the green grass grow.

I may be a bit of a xenophobe, but I treat people with respect. Even when my brain is screaming DUMBASS; knowing I have a temper I tend to assume I’m over reacting.

Hindsight says im only over reacting about half the time. Sometimes though I feel like I’m standing around handing out free passes all day. Eventually enough is enough.

I understand jobs aren’t fun and games. You gotta do tasks you don’t want to. If it was fun and games why would they pay you to do it.

What I’m not going to do is hide and not voice my concerns. After I’ve done that and see no acknowledging of those concerns I’m left with two options.

Fight or flight.

There is no turning that off. My instinct is to fight. A fight left unfinished today could hit you when you least expect it later.

That blood starts pumping. Every nerve in my body tingles ready to pounce. I can feel my ears turn red.

Abort abort!

My mind pushes through. The consequences flash in front of me. The thought of losing my freedom. That time with my family.

As satisfying as the three part plan to inflict maximum damage I’ve developed would have been.

I take a deep breath. Unlock the jaw. Open the wall of blocked thoughts.

Punch right out and count to four.

Got no main forgot the reserve too.

Look out ground I’m coming through.

Top 5 things I miss about the army.

Not gonna be too worried about structure with this one. Not that I ever am but here we go.

#5 Starting off with something you won’t hear to often, the pay. It’s a little ironic, because I started writing this after coming across a note I had wrote while in the Army. Reasons I won’t re-enlist\hate the army. Several of which related to my pay situation.

By the time I seperated though after some time in service and yo-yoing my way up the ranks. I was making decent money with amazing benefits.

#4 Shooting. I could still get to a range now and again. I’ll probably never have another chance on the .50 cal Machine gun or the MK19 Grenade Launcher. RPGs and AT-4s are literal blasts from the past now.

Than there was the above photoed beast. Who was fun when she got there, but a terrible traveling companion. I mostly just carried her accessories anyway.

#3 The Vacation. 30 days a year starting the day you sign up. Which is cool except you always gotta decide between going home, or actually taking a vacation. My job now does the vacation pay thing. That’s just code for I won’t be taking a vacation. So I wouldn’t mind making that decision again.

#2 The Leadership. This one is a little double edged. I had some leaders that weren’t too impressive, but for every 1 turd burglar of a leader, there was 2-4 guys who were high speed low drag. Every now and again though… you’d come across some truly inspirational guys. Some guys tried to fake it, others imitated, but a few of the guys I worked for drive you to want to be better. They had an aura, a stature that wasn’t about height or muscle. They led with a genuineness that made you buy their sand in the desert.

#1. The camaraderie. Damn I miss my brothers in the Infantry Blue. We were ,are, and always will be family. Earning your blue cord is something the rest of the army talks about, but never will quite understand.

Walking out of Ft. Benning with your cross rifles had a lot of us strutting like some peacocks. Getting there was hard. The term blood sweat and tears gets thrown around a lot these days, but it takes all that and a bucket full of intestinal fortitude to earn the right to wear Infantry Blue. That’s just the beginning though. That great sense of accomplishment is just the first step on a long road.

My Outlaw Brothers we got shit done that one human being doesnt have the right to ask another to do. With a smile and a roasting we carried ourselves up and through shit that I can’t explain to the average man.

My Crowkiller brothers we were some asshole reducing mamma jammas. Whether rolling through broken down neighborhoods or holding it down in the prison cells we were thirsty for a scrap.

Those bonds are indescribable to anyone who wasn’t there. Likewise indestructible.

Never be cool like we used to be

When I was 17, I was a badass infantryman, anxious to do what I was trained to do. To close with and destroy the enemy. To kick ass, take names, and notch belts.

Now I’m 32 and I shovel poo.

Door kicking isn’t just a title. It was my way of life. It’s what pulled me out of my spiral and gave me purpose.

Now my life is level… and it makes me crazy.

I lived for the excitement of a gun fight. The rush of not knowing what’s on the other side of a door. To an extent even the confusion after a blast.

Now I hide from the world. Worried what I might do if I lose control of the switch.

That switch my platoon sergeant used to talk about. Being able to be kind and courteous one moment, react to violence with overwhelming force, and than return to that kind courteous ambassador of our nation.

Now I have a weak grip on that switch. I feel it slip sometimes. I feel that rage I’d use to apply superior firepower, but I don’t have a target for it. Family becoming collateral damage is my biggest fear.

That or the the possibility I’ve irreparably damaged my sons. My struggles with rage are now theirs. Recognizing my failures I’m trying to turn the corner. Trying not to become complacent about my feelings.

Jedi mind tricks and what not. Staying mindful of my anger. Progress in this arena isn’t optional. It is slow though.

Walking amongst heroes.

Cheers to the dead. They’re the only ones whose war is truly over.

A big part of my reservation about making these blog posts is I want to be candid, but I don’t want to dishonor my comrades or their memories.

Exposing my wounds is my decision. I can live with whatever consequences may come. My experience isn’t just about me though.

30+ men made each trip with me. Not everyone came home from Afghanistan. Wounds happened on each trip. Some guys went on third and fourth tours. Some of us collected injuries and went home early. Each man’s story intertwined with the 30 comrades to their left and right.

We were grunts. The backbone of the army. The queen of battle.

Those were the bravest most honorable men I’ve ever had the privilege to work with. I had leaders that I would have followed to the gates of hell. I worked with men who went on to be those leaders. Some of them still serve today. I had the privilege and duty of leading men in combat. Three other men who’s lives were my direct responsibility.

As I wrote these posts I try to remind myself that there may be other guys going through issues. Guys who don’t get any sort of therapy reading their history through someone else’s lens.

I have found some encouragement that some guys are and will drive on as long as I feel it’s helping me at no one else’s expense. I’d write either way.

The Outlaw Crow Killer

Losing touch.

I am a pretty guarded person. It’s easy for me to keep everyone at arms reach. I’m not sure why.

Maybe I am. I don’t think I mean to do it. Maybe forgetting people is easier than missing them. Every now and then I realize how out of touch I am with everybody.

So I start trying to tell myself that I am going to message a few people. Catch up on a few conversations. I start with the people who fought the hardest against my wall building. My best freinds. Friend… I’ve let it come to this.

A day goes by than a week and a month. Than I’m wondering if it’d be weird now. If I’ve finally let too much time elapse. If I’m finally left inside these defensive walls I’ve built. If they’ve finally become my prison.

Than I make a phone call. Shoot a message. It’s never akward when I do get back in touch with people. Not in anyway I’d expect it to be. Only when I find out the milestones I’ve missed. The life opportunities the moments I didn’t share. It probably comes off that I’m indifferent, but that’s not the case.

Now it seems like old friends are dropping like flies. The reunions we keep putting off are getting smaller and smaller. I’m so caught up in the struggle I’m losing what I should be struggling for.

Between starting this and finishing I have started the contact cycle again. I am trying to sustain it here goes everything.

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