I Love Roller Coasters! The Tale Of Three Experiences
Who Doesn’t Like Roller Coasters?
My sunrise is much bigger than gaining control of my physical health. It’s about living with a healthy mind, body, and spirit. It has become woven into the inner fabric of my life.
When my oldest child was born fourteen years ago, I became the fun parent. The one who would dance around the living room and act silly. The one who would play tea party with all the stuffed animals. And, the one who would join my daughter on all the thrill rides at the amusement park.
This was me at my best before my sunrise. This is who I was destined to be and I loved every minute of it. There is nothing more rewarding than making my daughter smile and I have always been pretty fucking good at it.
Jekyll and Hyde
Unfortunately, there was another side to me, one of self-loathing and self-destruction. He was making a regular appearance in my life and I have to admit that it had a negative impact on the relationships I valued most. He worked relentlessly to destroy my self-confidence and tried like hell to derail me from being the leader I was destined to be.
Roller Coasters 2015
My daughter really enjoys roller coasters. I am a fan too but each time my daughter and I get in line for a coaster my mind starts running. Will I fit into the roller coaster car? I weigh in excess of 300 pounds these days and it shows in all the wrong places. As we approach the front of the line, my anxiety increases with each step.
I continue to pack on the pounds with my self-destructive lifestyle. With each passing day, the likelihood I hear the CLICK as the coaster operator attempts to close the safety bar decreases. How embarrassing it would be told to exit and take that walk of shame while other dads were able to ride the coaster with their kids! We arrive at the front of the line and get in the car.
I feel nauseous like I’m going to vomit from my nerves. My daughter is wearing a smile from ear to ear and I’m forcing the same as I anxiously await our fate. The attendant presses the safety bar and CLICK we are in!
I breathe a sigh of relief and my forced smile is replaced by the real deal. My nausea disappears. This is my life. I suffer from daily anxiety and I feel like shit. I promise myself that I will make changes, but I don’t take action. That really fucks with my self-confidence.
What Can I Do? Pay No Mind To That Pink Elephant – 2015
My weight grows and I feel worse with each passing day. My family history isn’t very good either and I’m hyper-aware that the men don’t typically live past their forties. The memory of my father is a constant reminder. He died at thirty-four leaving behind a wife and two little boys to figure shit out.
My doctors diagnose me with sleep apnea and I have alarming blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. I also can’t seem to sleep through the night without these scary heart palpitations. I search for a solution to these conditions but don’t acknowledge the obvious pink elephant in the room. I choose to be this way. I am prescribed four daily medications and I take them religiously as directed.
But I make no modifications to my poor eating, drinking, and dormant lifestyle. My legs and feet start to swell so my doctor suggests I buy compression socks and special support shoes.
I have a fast-pass to the morgue. I continue to treat the symptom and not my true problem. Instead of facing the truth, I convince myself I have a problem without a solution within my control. I reach the bottom of the barrel when I meet with a gastric bypass surgeon for a consultation.
Some people may need this surgery. That’s not me. I am searching for an easy way out.
Roller Coasters 2018
My boy is three years younger than his big sister. He is now eight years old. We are in Disney and he wants to ride a roller coaster. My wife doesn’t care for thrill rides, so I get in the long line with him. I easily weigh 350 pounds and I am bigger than ever before. My anxiety is running crazy.
We are finally in the front of the line. I slowly climb in the car and with my permission the attendant presses as hard as he can but unfortunately NO CLICK. My belly is too big to close the safety bar. My little boy doesn’t understand what is unfolding in front of him. He is still wearing his big smile as the attendant and I try again and again but still NO CLICK. Finally, it hits my boy as I get up out of the seat and tell him we have to leave.
He fills up with tears and I feel fucking awful. I can absorb the pain my self-abuse directly causes me but I can’t take it when my self-destructive tendencies spill over and impact my kids. He and I exit the car and take the walk of shame down the stairs. All along my son is crying and asking me why he can’t ride.
I know the answer but it scares the hell out of me to face it. I drink myself to sleep that evening but not before I promise myself I will change.
Still, I don’t change. This is my life. Welcome to my hamster wheel. Talk about fucking with my self-confidence! Knowing I need to change. Promising myself I will change. Yet my actions remain mostly the same. All along I watch as my choices spill over into the lanes of those I love the most.
Someone stop this hampster wheel!
I’m Calling Bullshit! – 2019
My wife and I are pregnant with our third child and I am finally ready to call myself out on my bullshit and lies. I am brutally honest with myself. My terrible daily routine is going to cause my little girl and her two older siblings to go through the remainder of their childhood years without a dad in their lives.
My poor wife is going to be left to pick up the pieces after I die. My mom had to pick up the pieces when my dad died and now I’m forcing my wife in the same direction. It is the slap in the face I need to take action.
But Where Do I Start?
I know exactly where I need to start. It is finally time for me to come to terms with my child abuse. For me, that is the root problem that needs fixing. Excessive eating and binge drinking are short-term solutions to my real issue.
They serve as a brief oasis from post-traumatic stress, grief, and anger buried with the seven years of child molestation I suffered at the hands of someone I once loved.
It was time for a showdown with my monster.
My Warrior Princess – Present Day
My little girl is almost two years old now. I’m down eighty pounds but I’m not a fan of getting on the scale. For me, good health is not defined by a number. I’m not after weight loss. I simply seek improved health. I want to feel better and I am doing just that. I work on my mind, body, and spirit every day and it is all coming together.
My warrior princess helped me see that massive action starts with stacking small wins in my everyday routine.
Stacking these small wins is a game-changer. My primary doctor recently stopped my high blood sugar medication and my cardiologist lowered my daily dose of blood pressure medications. Both doctors are amazed at my progress. They tell me that their patients very rarely come off these medications.
Well, I’m not most people. I am the sunrise warrior. When the doctors ask me how I’m making such great progress, my answer is an easy one. I needed a princess to remind me that I have a warrior caged inside. When I set him free, my lifestyle changes were easy. No more compression socks for me.
Now that I understand my why, I can endure any how!
Roller Coasters – 2021
My family is vacationing in Disney again. This experience is completely different from the others. My oldest daughter and my son are super excited to ride Aerosmith’s Rock n Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios. This time they are big enough to ride without an adult.
The hell with that! I jump at the opportunity to ride with my kids! We wait in line for an hour but the truth is I’ve been waiting for this moment much, much longer. I soak it all in and love every minute of it.
For my kids, they are simply excited to ride the coaster. For me, this moment means so much more. I have zero anxiety because I am one hundred percent confident the CLICK is headed my way. No walk of shame this time. I feel their anticipation. I easily shake off their complaints that the wait is too long. I see their smiles as we get closer in line, and feel the entirety of this moment. Perfect. It is a bonus that Rock n Roller Coaster is also my favorite coaster!
Light on my feet, I hop in the limo coaster car with my son while my daughter sits behind us. I easily pull the safety harness down myself. It was so easy and anxiety-free that I didn’t hear a CLICK but I know we are locked in anyway. It is my boy’s first time on the Rock n Roller Coaster. He is excited and nervous all at the same time.
We take off like a rocket and race around the darkened streets of Los Angeles as Aerosmith’s Sweet Emotion pumps through the speakers in each vehicle. My son’s adrenalin is infectious while he and my daughter scream at the top of their lungs. We do two loops and a corkscrew before the ride is over.
The ride stops and my boy looks at me with a smile from ear to ear and says, THAT WAS AWESOME!!!! I can’t agree more!
This is who I am now and I’m never letting go!
I look forward to our collective sharing and growth together as thrivers!
The Sunrise Warrior
I am a man living with his family in the suburbs of a metropolitan city. I have five bicycles in my shed, a basketball net in the backyard, and two vehicles in the driveway including a kick-ass minivan. I am a husband, father, son, brother, and friend. I am a business owner recognized as a leader in my field. I am an entrepreneur in search of opportunity in each situation. I am a passionate volunteer for a number of worthy causes. Read More