September 22, 2013

The two sides of JFW

I have too many hobbies and it's hard to find or make time for them all. Lately I've been focusing on two of them, Guitar & CrossFit. These two parts of my life co-exist and to some degree, I need one to do the other.

I started playing guitar when I was 12. My Dad wanted me to learn and instead of buying me the incredibly awesome Atari 2600 that I wanted (still bitter), he bought me a Guitar. Hindsight being 20/20, the guitar has scored me more chicks than the Atari every did so Dad was a genius. Thanks Pops. He encouraged me to play and I continued to through college as well as a little in my young adult life. At some point I "grew up", got married, and it just floated away as so many things in our lives do. Regretfully, the guitar gathered a lot of dust during those years.

About seven years ago, I got a divorce. I'm not sure how it is for other people but I didn't see it coming and it was like being ripped out of your normal life and thrown into some alternative life that didn't resemble mine. It was traumatic for me and as most people do, I ran to something. For me it wasn't booze but the one thing I knew, my guitar. I started writing songs and something happened to me. I'm normally a pretty happy guy at heart but this darkness that I was experiencing began to leave me through the guitar. It was like having a shrink without having to fork over the co-pay. I put together a few songs and decided that the best way to continue down this journey was to perform them live. I packed up my stuff and headed out to a open mic not too far from where I live. I had been to a few of these in my college days but never really pursued it much because I didn't like to sing in public. I was at a point in my life where I wasn't really worried with what people thought of me so I figured "What the hell". Normally, open mics are real hit or miss. You might have one good performer there and it's usually the host. Everyone else will end up being average or just flat out suck. Well, I swear to God the two people that went on before me were fantastic. The first kid sounded like the bastard child of John Mayer and Dave Matthews and I was regretting my decision to sign up after him. The host approached me and asked if he could "squeeze" one performer ahead of me. It was a girl and she was really hot so of course I said yes. Well holy sh*t if she wasn't better than the first guy. I wanted to crawl into a hole. Either way, I performed my set and scooted back to my chair hoping I didn't embarrass myself. It was just then when the hot girl that went on before me came over and said "I really like your voice". Two things ran thru my head instantly.

1.) "She must be mistaken. I'm a guitar player." and
2.) "Don't blow this by staring at her chest."

In that moment I learned something valuable. I could be more than one dimensional and I have really good peripheral vision. I started to perform and write more and more and it helped me tremendously.

A couple of years went by, I continued to perform but found myself still unhappy with who I was. I was out of shape, tired, and just didn't like what I saw in the mirror. A kid that worked for me was doing this thing called P90X and talked me into doing it. I'm one of those types that when I start something, I see it thru until the end so I immersed myself into it and saw really good physical result. I lost some weight and felt a lifetime stronger. I figured this would be the best shape of my life. Then a friend and I were chatting and he mentioned that he was doing this new thing called CrossFit that he described as P90X on steroids. I figured it couldn't be that hard so I tried it. Read the results here:


Much like everything else in my life, I threw myself into it and two and a half years later I am stronger and faster than I have ever been. CrossFit taught me mental focus, discipline, and what I have found with it is that for that hour or so I am at the gym, all my troubles melt away. I forget everything and my focus is completely clear.

Here is where they come together for me. CrossFit allows me to escape my feelings and focus only at the task at hand. Music allows me to share my feelings and release what is troubling me to the world. They bookend my life somehow and allow me a sense of peace when it is hard to find as well as help me feel good about myself. That's all you can hope for really...

Here is a clip of me performing/practicing. I apologize for the crappy angle of the video...

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