My name is Charles Contreras. I have never been much of a writer – mainly because I tend to overthink things, and then think that whatever I wrote could sound better if I just changed one word here or something else in another place. I am much better at speaking my mind because then I’ve said it; I can’t take it back. So often in life we don’t do something that could make us great because we overthink it, we over analyze it, and we ride that delete button until it’s all gone. When Matt came to me with this idea, I was very hesitant. Let’s go back.
I honestly can’t think of a way to express any of my life in short verbiage unless I just give quick summaries here. We will talk much more in depth about everything in the future, I promise you that. When I was 13 my father went to prison and I had to become the man of the house. I continued to excel at school and sports throughout high school, even earning a full ride academic scholarship to Arizona State and being elected my Senior Class President. Then 17, I was nearly murdered when I was jumped by 6 men and hit in the head with a bat 3 times. That single event took away sports… and the hearing in my left ear. It gave me one present – a perpetual high pitch ring in my ear. It never goes away, it never gets quiet.
This ringing, and the pain I never dealt with from my father, lead me to start drinking heavily; to self-medicate the pain and just pass out, because trying to sleep with the ringing is tough. My drinking led me to drop out of school, chase away everyone I loved, and even attempt suicide. I felt like trash, but never as terrible as I did when I was convicted of aggravated DUI and sent to prison. I actually look back on this episode with a certain bittersweet glow to it. I learned my lesson and I didn’t hurt anyone. It could’ve been much worse than forfeiting my freedom.
I got out and started to rebuild my life. I am by no means a saint and still have a long way to go in reaching my goals, but I think that is part of the reason why Matt asked me here. I’m still dealing with my demons, still trying to learn to forgive myself for the things that I’ve done. The thing is, I know I can… I know I will. The word “motivation” is meaningless, without the word “self” in front of it. I can tell you everything that you want to hear, even everything that you NEED to hear; but I can’t pick you up off of that stool and make you fight. I can’t make you take the punches and keep pushing through it. I can’t make you keep fighting. Only you can make that decision. I know that I had encouragement in my darkest hour, but I chose to answer the bell and keep fighting. Don’t quit – commit, fight back, and win. We are here to be that little bit of encouragement that you need to realize that you are the champion of your own life. THIS is The 12th Round.