Written by Brandon Lilly
I sat and watched the cursor blink at me for close to 45 minutes before the words ever came. I have made jokes and Facebook status galore about being a man, and an Alpha at that. What the hell does that even mean?
The truth of the matter is before you can ever realize who you are, you have to realize what you are. There are good people who will always do good, there are bad people who will always be bad, and there are people who are bad that struggle to do good.
I am in the latter category. I don’t know why I am, I was raised in a Christian home with a mother who worked hard, and a father is the most honorable human being I’ve ever met. I always found myself in trouble. Always. I hated authority, and bucked it every chance I got. Early on in my life I found a taste for alcohol, and recreational drugs. Didn’t matter to me that many of my family members were alcoholics or into drugs themselves, I didn’t do it to fit in, I did it because of a self loathing.
I wanted to get caught, I liked being labeled the trouble maker because in many ways I knew I could get my dads attention easier that way than by doing well. I hated that too. I hated being the kid with no dad in the crowd at my games cause his job came first, I hated that my mom didn’t come because she didn’t understand what it would have meant to me. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that they were mainstays in the stands, but because I had switched schools my senior year I seldom played. I did however receive the Eagle Award which was given the the player who showed 100% effort in practice, and games. For some reason that award still sits in my closet. I hate lack of effort.
My papaw once told me that my name Lilly was special. That it meant something as a man to carry that name. This was told to me as an 17 year old kid from a 70 year old man in his death bed. He talked to me about honor, family, and struggle. He ha his demons too but he didn’t run from them or paint a picture that was brighter than who he was. He told me “a man wears his scars with pride, but he also learns from them.”
Shortly after that conversation I went out to a party and never gave it much thought. He died a few days later, and I didn’t even begin to understand the gift he had given me. At 17 maybe I wasn’t ready to, but everyday of my life I’ve searched for a meaning and a purpose. I’ve burned a million bridges, I’ve hurt wonderful people, and I’ve let golden opportunities slip through my hands. I now realize those are MY “scars”. I’ve learned painfully that the man in the mirror is not a reflection of one moment, it’s the reflection of 30 years of good and bad, right and wrong choices. But that to me is what being an Alpha is, knowing who and what you are, trying to better yourself, but letting go of the shame, and guilt of yesterday. I am by no means perfect, I am by no means good, but I am better than I was yesterday, and ill be better tomorrow too.
It’s funny how as we age we look at things different. I still have a hard time talking to my dad because I respect him so much, but I now see without all the hours he logged at work we wouldn’t have had the things we did. I see now my mom just worried about keeping her job, and the house kept and it was easier to do those things with two boys on her heels than three. They’ve both told me they regret it too. But one thing my dad has taught me is to work hard for what you want and believe in. In my time this is what I’ve learned.
Let life take its course, stop fighting the path that is laid before you and stand proud in who you are. It sounds absolutely irrelevant to powerlifting but the day I stopped doing things in the gym I didn’t believe in, and told myself to do it for myself, success or failure do it my way. Forget the pressures of anything but self satisfaction for a job well done. For in the gym like life, doing your best is all you can do, nothing more… That is what makes you successful, that is what makes me an Alpha.Facebook, YouTube, Twitter