“Why do we fall? So that we can learn how to pick ourselves back up.” -Batman Begins
Shortly after I’d just turned 20, I was told that I was getting kicked out of my college, the Art Institute of Philadelphia, for failing three out of my five classes, for the second and final time. I was devastated, going to school for video production was my dream, and instead I threw that dream away with partying and the college lifestyle. For a little bit then suicide had crossed my mind, my life was over, what was I going to do with my life? Thankfully those thoughts didn’t last long, I forget how they left, I don’t recall talking about my situation with anyone, or any profound moment that snapped me back into thoughts of loving life, but those thoughts did happen.
I went back home to my parents house in Virginia Beach, and restarted my life again, got a job at Wal-Mart, til I got tired of how I was treated there, for the amount of money I was getting paid it wasn’t worth it, and at the time, I felt like I was above all of that stuff, I had this entitled mindset (the same mindset which I ironically mock millenials and hipsters for having today) that I was better than this, that I didn’t need this shit.
I did my own thing for the next few years, bouncing around to various jobs, including my dream job at the time of working at Blockbuster Video, until life brought me to joining the military in an effort to really doing something with my life again. I busted my ass to get in shape for that, going from a 204 pounds of pure fat to about 179 of lean muscle, I looked great, (I say, ever so humbly).
I did my time in the Navy, gaining that weight back because I lost that fire I had in me, and because, well, in Lemoore California, where I was stationed, there wasn’t much to do but drink, so I drank, and drank, and drank.
There was one time that I thought it’d be a great idea to go to a 4th of July party in the barracks, I bought a case of beer for the event, and it was a fun time, there was beer pong, and it was a blast, until it got busted by the XO of the squadron, and we were all sent to Captain’s Mast. I got off light, they sentenced me to AA, which helped me out a lot, and for the longest time after that I was convinced that I was an alcoholic, but later realized that, unlike so many others, I wasn’t, not really, but I was just bored.
I eventually came to the USS Enterprise, where I butted heads with the CFL quite a bit, whom to be fair, was kind of a dick to begin with, but when it came time for me to leave the ship to go on to my next Navy life as a Corpsman, Baker got the final word, by putting it in the paperwork that I had failed the last physical fitness assessment, and therefore should have been not eligible to go to Corps School in the first place, but this wasn’t realized until after I graduated the school some months later.
So I was stuck in this limbo of Hold Company, while I watched my friends go off to do great things in their Navy careers. I was there for a year, not doing anything with my job at all, but rather standing watches, sweeping decks, etc. I was there so long I eventually was leading Hold Company, as the liason between the Petty Officers in charge of us, and the rest of the division.
Eventually, my time had come to move on, but I didn’t remember a bit of how to Corpsman,not really. All the while my marriage was falling apart, (Oh yeah, I was married at the time too for the majority of my Navy career) and my life was in shambles, so things got worse from there, as they pulled my corpsman job title from me, saying I was going to be an undesignated seaman on the Vella Gulf out of Virginia.
So, I came back home, to Virginia again, as my divorce stuff was getting together. Met a great woman, who helped me, or tried to help me at the least to get my life together, and we lasted for a while, until after getting out of the Navy I was more focused on relaxing, and myself, then finding another career, I felt that I had done my time for this country, so now they owed me. We went to church every Sunday too, but the message wasn’t clicking in with me just yet.
I was screwed over, that’s why I was where I was, it was their fault, not mine. I refused to take ownership of any of my actions or reasons for why my life was where it was. I told my sob story to anyone who would listen, but still did nothing to change my situation.
Eventually she got tired of my bs, and broke up with me at a hockey game, like a Kevin Smith movie. Went back home to my parents for a few weeks, until I found an old friend from the corps school days that needed a roommate, so we got a place.
I lived there for a few years, tried my hand at a few jobs, eventually settling on insurance agent, as my cast of roommates had changed a bit as well during that time. The insurance industry was great for me, but it also changed me into something I wasn’t liking, I became materialistic, using my friends, family, and anyone else I knew to try to make a sale, make money off of their fears for the future, caring more about the nice suits I had, and the expensive haircuts and mani/pedicures I was getting, all to look the part of the consumate professional salesman. I lost some friends during that time, but what really made me leave the place, though all of that was a huge factor, was I wasn’t getting paid.
Insurance, as you may or may not know, is commission based, only. Some months you do quite well, very well for yourself. Others, it’s Ramen and Pork and Beans three meals a day. And I was in a downward slump, my anxiety was kicking in in full strength, and I didn’t really like talking to strangers, but that was my only option, as none of my friends would even meet with me. And I realized that I needed to leave this place, and use my GI Bill Benefit to go back to school, start over again. End this now, by my own choice, so I did. I took actions, I got registered for school, and told my boss I was leaving the company. It’s not often that I took initiative like that, so it felt really good to do that.
So, it was time for a further reinvention of me, Mike Keskeys, college student. This time I’m serious. And this is where I’ve been since, kicking ass for the most part, I let myself get lazy here and there, but a fire is lit under me now, especially now, with the love of a good woman in my heart.
I often cursed and looked back on my past failings as being screwed over, it was their fault, not mine, they did this to me. But I’ve recently learned to let go of those things, even in my most recent situation, getting evicted from my apartment on account of taking on a bad roommate, who was stuck in that mentality that I had once, “They” screwed him over, it was everyone else’s fault, not his for his failings, and the world owed him. But that wasn’t the case, and I realize now that I needed to see that, for this to happen, so I can reinvent myself once more, in a rebuilding spot right now again, but I’m only going to get better from this, like the wrestler Seth Rollins latest tagline is, Rebuild, Redesign, Reclaim. And that’s exactly what I’m doing with my life.
I realized recently that I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and I would always stop myself from pursuing this, because I was afraid of what other people would think, that maybe my stuff isn’t that good. But I’ve started to learn, thanks to the help of my girlfriend, and of our talks and devotions and getting back in line with the church, that I can’t be afraid to fall, I need to just take the leap, and write, can’t deny my calling forever.
And I know that there are those of you out there that aren’t religious, and that’s okay too, but I’m just writing to let you know my story, what’s helped me, and maybe there are those that can relate to that other side too.
I’ve learned that I have to let go of the past, because if any of those things hadn’t happened, when they did, then I wouldn’t be here right now, where I am, and actually a lot of people’s lives would be different now, so things do happen for a reason, no matter how chaotic life my get, you just need to find out what that reason is for you. You have to work for whatever you want to achieve in life, it’s not going to be handed to you. Even if you did get screwed over, you have to let things go, forgive your grudges, and move forward with your life. I’ve seen what happens when you don’t, it’s not good.
This is the longest post I’ve ever done here, I hope it can inspire someone today, maybe someone else needed to read my story, or maybe it’s just my ego compelling me to talk about me, either way, I hope this does some good for someone.