Walking like a champion (A hand to help you stand up)

Walking like a champion (A hand to help you stand up)

I woke one morning looking through a dark room

thinking life’s moving too soon

No light to behold

No sign of  troubles after

Wanting to fight yet not knowing how

for a second I gave up praying

nothing to believe in

Then I found your book,

A little hook was all it took

your word

Your heart, your soul

every word like freedom here, bringing me back to life like CPR

every promise a reminder that my story cant be over before it begins

No sitting here looking like life ain’t life no more

No point looking outwards for things you gave before I could walk

You taught me lord to walk proud

I had all I could

showed me the path

Walking the roads of champions

Push myself to the limit

Making a mockery of all the wisdom I acquired prior to your word

To those that say you will never make it,

those that used their words to do nothing but break you

we love you all

Those that felt you gave your all

No hard feelings

I thank you for your words

Your words made me who I am

If not for you I would never have fought

I would never have given my all to see those words untrue

Never have put it all in to ensure I dont believe those words

I thank you because I almost believed the words

I thank you because your words brought me to him,

your little reminders lifted me in a way I will never have found

I learnt opinions ain’t facts, you take it and let it be

I learnt to walk in nothing wearing nothing but my heart on my sleeves

And the days courage walked away I learnt to run out and pull it back

Being who you are comes from the heart

Telling you, that you can be all you set out to be means nothing if you don’t see it yourself

And if you cant see it now, look through the eyes of the one that never sees you as less

Look through the eyes of the one that doesn’t tell you one thing and act differently

Walk with me brothers and sisters

Leave all those lies behind

Let me show you the path I found for I know I can never walk alone

The father walks with us all

Reminds you of things long forgotten

For as long as he reigns,

your life,

your story hasn’t even started yet.

You will walk like a champion soon.

 

THE DAY I FOUND MYSELF (SURVIVAL OF THE WISEST: HOW I CHANGED MY LIFE)

THE DAY I FOUND MYSELF (SURVIVAL OF THE WISEST: HOW I CHANGED MY LIFE)

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To see a world in a grain of sand,

And  heaven in a wild flower,

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,

And eternity in an hour.

William Blake – Auguries of Innocence

As I walked down my office street my dreams and past aspirations flashed passed my eyes. And all I had was a deeply sad unanswered question, how did I get here? I remembered how many things I thought I would have accomplished at my age and how far I was from my target. Every day just seemed to drive me further away and I had no idea how to fix that.

I had spent countless hours dreaming, countless hours planning and spent what seemed like an eternity believing I could change everything if I just kept on believing in myself. You cannot even begin to imagine my surprise when I found out that almost every book I had ever read and every major tale I had ever heard about success was an absolute façade. It simply did not work. It was inspirational in its way but still something was missing.

I was 25 years old and I still had no major grip on what I sought after. I had attended private schools, gone to two universities, obtained an MBA degree and had 2 professional qualifications. I had achieved all of this before my 23rd birthday yet none of these added up to success in life or happiness. I had never been described as ugly nor did I have any major physical deformities. I was a Christian who deeply believed in all the church ideas on family and love. I had no criminal record, no mental or physical diseases and had not been in trouble with anything ever. I had a respectable IQ and no one had ever referred to me as weird or strange. I was not wealthy; was not happily married to the woman I cared about and I was nowhere near what I felt I could achieve and would achieve in life. So what on earth was wrong? Why couldn’t I just work for what I want just as I read? Why were hard work, determination and undying self belief just not enough?

I blame it on every lie I have ever read, all the “once you believe it you can achieve it” type lines. All the belief and talent in the world was never going to be enough.  Success seemed to have more to do with luck and opportunity than with hard work. I had enough of reading the stories and believing them, they did more harm to my self-esteem than if I had gone through life and tried to make the best of every situation. Guidelines to life sometimes ruin people.

I decided to take the next best step. It was time to work smarter not to work harder. I dumped the “belief only” advice and decided that its time that my life taught me what was real and what was not. They weren’t the Geniuses in life, we are. Why should my interpretation of life depend on their view of life? That’s the only reason I decided to write. I have no intention of going on some ego trip rambling about how I have unravelled the great mysteries to life (I think the Bible is the only book than can claim that or at least for the most part tries to claim that) and I do not believe in guidelines to success. We must all follow our paths but the best way to do that is to know what path we are presently walking on.

I guess it’s about the road that gets you to a place where you finally see yourself for what and who you are and lose all sense of false self grandeur. The day you weep your eyes out because for the first time you really see your flaws and you realise that just knowing what they are means nothing if you continue to do nothing about it. That day “your” world takes a new shape. That day friends and family that have stood by you mean even more; “everything becomes an opportunity”, a second chance to get things right. That day maturity grabs you by the throat and becomes your best friend. You finally dissect yourself accurately and on that day self-pity leaves your side and self-action takes its place.

That day you realise that even though your life and options aren’t what you want you learn to take the highroad (not your way), maybe you do this because you learn to look at everything as a lesson, or because you don’t want to walk around angry anymore hoping to rationalise life, or maybe it is because you finally understand the cards that are laid before you.

There are things we don’t want to happen, but have to accept. There are people we can’t live without, but have to let go and that there are things we don’t want to know or face (often about ourselves), but have to learn. There are days we lack the courage to try to change but know we must someday.

Doing something about what we already know is our fault is the real difference.

That’s where truth comes in. That little push helping you to become what you already were. A diamond in the earth was already a diamond even before it was cleansed and purified. Truth is only here to unearth the diamond that was there all along. I have no intention of presenting a story that thinks for you. I do not believe you need me to and to assume so would be to call you stupid or assume you are incapable of thinking for yourself and we both know that is not true. My “rant” will be a guide to what has to inevitably be your decision; after all it’s only fair you decide since you have to live with the choices you make after.

I Shall Not Walk Alone – My Road to Bone Marrow Transplant (By Samuel Smylie)

I Shall Not Walk Alone – My Road to Bone Marrow Transplant (By Samuel Smylie)

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I sat there with my sister Annette looking at the clock opposite us, at Clinic 6 at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, it was first thing in the morning and we had been sitting for nearly an hour, because my records had failed to be taken from archives. But however they eventually came and the long awaited call; “Mr Smylie?” rang confident from behind us.

“Good Morning, Sam how are you feeling?”, asked the Consultant Hematologist, as we sat down next to his disk, situated against one wall of a sparsely furnished clinic examination room. With a bed on the other side and a trolley of medical equipment against the other.

“Fine Doctor”, I replied considering I had just spent a week in hospital having all manner of tests, both routine and very painful, performed on me; after being told at my first visit to the blood donation clinic on Nelson Mandela Place just of Buchanan Street, in Glasgow City Centre, that I should probably go into A&E immediately.

I was 17 years old and all this was starting to get a little daunting for my young confident and growing mind. The Doctor looked at me confusingly, the way a lot of medical professionals were starting to look at me these days, not that I have, by this time, came in contact with a lot, apart from my GP and friends and family working within the field.

“Explaining this can be difficult”, started the Doctor, my sister shifted in her seat,

“Try your best Doctor”, I prompted,

“Okay, you have a rare Bone Marrow Failure Disease called Aplastic Anaemia”, I stared at him blankly, so no cancer? I thought.

“It caused by the bone marrow failing to produce blood cells to a particular degree that it may become fatal”, the Doctor went on to explain, now I shifted in my seat, my sister remained still.

“From what we can see you don’t have any underlying conditions that may have caused this to happen, we are unsure is it is hereditary, because we just don’t know. However your condition seems to be stable and not fatal”, chimed the Doctor as I struggled to take everything in.

“But Doctor, I don’t feel unwell at all”, I protested.

“Most people with this condition look and fell absolutely fine until the “final stages”, in other words if we hadn’t found this condition your bone marrow may have continued to fail until there was nothing left”.

So we left the clinic, and for the next 6 years I attended the same clinic, talking with the doctors and giving blood samples. No real complications ever came about apart from some very severe infections, that were caused by my lower than average white blood cell count.

However I was feeling deflated because dreams of becoming a Police Officer or joining the Armed forces were now non-existent, my girlfriend left me because she couldn’t cope with my growing depression, another added weight came about when I lost my father not long after diagnosis to Lung Cancer.

So I decided to work hard at university; which eventually paid of when I was offered a job with a large and respected IT outsourcing company, with great benefits and a career plan which will challenge me and allow me to mature and develop as a professional. Then after six years of stability everything failed, literally failed. My bone marrow had started to fully pack in, and from being able to run 1.5 miles in about 12 minutes I couldn’t walk half a mile without feeling breathless, frustrated and tired. I began to bruise easily, as well as bleed regularly from my gums and nose. My active life of weight training, running, swimming and learning to snowboard halted.

My social life became non-existent, as I could not go to busy places, work became increasingly more difficult (resulting in me being taken to hospital on Saturday afternoon), and then cam another blow.

“I would advise you not to go to your new employer this year”, advised my new consultant, who had taken the case because of the rapid decrease in stability in my condition.

So there I was on the telephone with the man who had hired me into my new high flying job explaining to him that I couldn’t accept the employment due to my decreasing condition.

I had lost my job, and my freedom then the biggest heart wrenching feeling came as I was advised that I would need to have a Bone Marrow Transplant or things could become getting a lot more difficult and very quickly, I obviously accepted and now here I am.

Never less the past year hasn’t been all bad, by my side I have had my very own guardian Angel, my beautiful girlfriend Rochelle has stood by me through all the disappointment, all the fear and the increasing feeling of frustrated anticipation as knowledge of the future is out of our reach as human beings. With her help I have managed to stay calm, collected and proactive in my treatment. To date I have had 4 blood transfusions to decrease the risk of heart attacks, organ failure or strokes, as I await for my transplant.

I have been in touch with the Aplastic Anameia Trust, the only charity in the UK that focuses on helping people with this rare disease, as only 150 people are diagnosed in the UK every year. That is equivalent to 2 in 1 million people in the whole Western World. Aplastic Anaemia is a killer, just like cancer, it sucks life away each and everyday and the survivors are truly inspirational people.

I still fight to this day, as the BMT draws ever nearer knowing that at the other side of an email, or a telephone I have someone there for me. But most importantly as my condition continues to get worse my angel is still by my side, hand in hand, until that day when I am better, and I can be the man I always wanted to be too her.

 

 

Climbing out of a hole? Surviving heartbreak.

Climbing out of a hole? Surviving heartbreak.

The day it all started was like any other. I woke up in the morning went over to kiss her after the normal “oh, How did you sleep?”. I would like to say I never saw it coming but that is not true. I knew it was coming I just hoped it was all in my head. After all i was told that “ as long as I am still here you have nothing to worry about” and my naive self I believed her. Well not really believed it was, more of hoped it would be true. I guess in my own way my ego could not accept that the me as I was, could ever not be good enough. My pride really did need a reality check.

I remember that day more than any other day in my life because on that day a lot of things changed for me. I guess it was the birth of a new person maybe more like a reincarnation than a new birth.

We had been to the shops during the day, had lunch together and at some point in the evening it all happened. I know you probably think it was a big row that led to something else and some day’s I wished it was, as that way I would have been able to justify to myself or rather hide behind the fight and not have to accept the real problem.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. So we got back from the shops and that was when she told me that she felt “we” needed some space. “A chance to re-evaluate our relationship” I was told. We needed to break up in a real way, not time apart or a brief split but an actual break-up so we can see if we really chose each other. I guess at the time I thought “you know what”, “How bad can that be?”. I knew what I wanted but if she really wanted to do this then I had to accept this at some point.

I guess I figured out in my own naive way that “most guys are assholes these days, I am sure she would go out and find out that I am actually a saint compared to them all. “The best amongst equals” I assumed. I guess my ego had been so drunk on naivety and smoked so much false sense of importance it was in its own world. I mean in retrospect, what a huge ego trip, to imagine I truly felt that I was better than over a billion possible candidates out there. I will hide under the excuse of youthful stupidity.

I mean think about it. I felt she was perfect in every way yet I thought that no other person out there would see that. Sometimes these days I wish I still had some of that “huge level of self grandiose feeling”.

Anyway I digress again. This isn’t really a story about heartbreak it is a story of survival. A few weeks after the break-up it really set in that this was real. This was not some temporary thing. I had really lost the lady I loved. I guess it sort of hit the spot when I once had to drive her to a date. I think I broke down and cried like a fat kid whose ice cream had been taken from him. I felt she was mine and no-one else’s yet I failed to realise she wasn’t a possession I had bought in the shop.  Her heart was not mine to own, it was hers to give.

Back to the break up, so as the days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months I realised how desperately I wanted her back.

I don’t think I have ever grown up as much as I did during that time. For the first time in my life, through the eyes of the guys she dated I started to see the man I wasn’t. I wasn’t as great as I thought I was, I was not as caring, I was not as giving and surely not as thoughtful. I was a lot of things but a great catch really was not it. I dint deserve her especially in comparison to how I saw her. I realised in that period that you truly cannot force someone to love you. You really only have to be someone that can be loved and hope they love you back. Their heart is theirs to give and not yours to own or posses. To anyone that is just about to lose someone they love very much it will do you a world of good to know this to be true. I mean really know it and not just read it. A person’s heart and love is theirs and theirs alone. It is a gift we can never own but must always earn. The minute we forget this, love sometimes starts to dwindle away. While true love can take a while to lead to separation there are a few things worst than lack of love in a relationship.

Anyway, I digress again. After over a year of this break-up and several changes, I finally started feeling again. I realised that I know longer wanted or loved this lady to feel complete. I loved her because with her I wanted to be a better man. I wanted to grow. I no longer needed to be with her but just wanted to be with her.

Being unemployed started to hurt more than it would have if I was still with her. I wanted to be a better man. Now I won’t b*****t you, heart break really hurts. It drains you of everything. I have never felt so much pain without actually having physical pain in my entire life. You question yourself at every turn and the worst part is that the pain seems to never go away. It is there in the morning, it is there at night. In some cases it even becomes an obsession.  I guess the best way to know if it has become one is to ask yourself a two part question, “is getting her back about love? Or is it now just a project?” “Could someone else realistically be better for you?”.

I survived this by a number of ways. I swore to myself that even if it kills me, another year will not pass by and I would still feel the same (In other words: taking full responsibility for change). I realised that though it is true that I wasn’t as good as I thought I was I still wasn’t un-lovable (in other words: Get some self respect, only make sure it is realistically mixed with true self reflection). I knew I wanted her but I wasn’t going to crawl anymore (although I never told her that though).  I could finally re-evaluate what I really wanted from her and not base it on only my feelings. My head could get involved as well. I knew I wanted this girl but I was going to try to do it the right way (In other words: It is okay to want the same person just make sure it is for the right reasons. This doesn’t make you a weak person it just makes you a dedicated person if it is not an obsession anymore).

My self confidence came back. I was still very attracted to this lady. I still wanted her but my motives were real. It meant any time I did anything for her, I no longer felt like it earned me brownie points. It was just what you do regardless of reward.

I know it sounds quick and really obvious but it really works. Do you know how I know it does? I presently have a job that matter’s , a house, a wife and hopefully in the future at some point kids as well. I have a good and very happy life now and I have never felt more confident in my life than how I do now. Guess who I married?

In summary if you want to survive a heart break

A)     Re-evaluate everything you feel was great (it could not have been that great if it led to a break up).

B)     Never be ashamed of love or give your ego a chance to over-ride your heart.

C)     Never give your emotions a chance to over-ride the right thing to do.

D)     If you love some-one then you love them. What the hell can you do about it? Accept it and if it goes away then accept that to.

E)      Gain some self respect my friend. People generally do not love people they cannot respect and people can see when you have no self respect. Don’t be the fat kid without the ice cream.

F)      Accept that just because you worked on yourself and you are now “a better person” in your own head does not give you direct authority over someone. They don’t have to love you back no matter what you do so make sure if you decide to change you do it for the right reason.  It must be a change for you not just because of someone else.

G)     Wait and see. Do not over think it. I know it’s hard but if it is meant to be. It really will be.

No matter what happens if you gain some self development and a new lesson then great. Someone will find you and someone will see you for you.

I will leave you all with this quote. Success is when preparation meets opportunity (Henry Hatman). Good luck and God bless. If you have any additional questions leave a comment and I promise to reply ( as soon as I can).

Let’s talk you never know who can help.

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