Reflecting on Mid-Years Past

I hate this time of year.  The days are getting longer and longer, it’s getting hotter and hotter and frankly, everything is at an odd angle for two or three months until mid-summer and then the world starts making sense again.

Something bad always happens this time of year. Last year, well, it was a big loss that really hurt me. I’m still dealing with what happened on a daily basis. That time wasn’t my fault, well, fully I didn’t help matters at all, but what happened wasn’t by my design and I did what I could for months to help someone out. Enough of that though. I’m rambling enough as it is.

This year we’ve had cutbacks at work. The paychecks are thinner. People are leaving and the negativity from some people can be felt and felt hard each and every day. This is the first time I’ve seriously thought of leaving my current job and you know, if things keep going the way they are, I may be working at a gas station in hell somewhere, but I’ll be surviving and I’ll go out on my terms.

As I’m putting this site back together and putting up more and more pieces of my life, I’m finding that this dread in the late spring-early summer dates back at least 20 years. Twenty freaking years.

Twenty years ago, give or take a month, I was on the outs with a group of friends who I hung out with at wrestling events. Frankly, that one was my fault. The group that I ran with were all egomaniacs, myself included, and we were all being used by a wrestling federation for fan-level promotion that eventually moved on to professionally promoting them through our positions in the on-line wrestling world.

People who didn’t like that group described it as a cult like mentality and that was probably true. We were all good friends, we had our traditions, we had our shared enemies and we pretty much destroyed anyone who got in our way. It was an exclusive group, you had to be brought in, and the egos and attitudes were worse than anything this side of Scientology.

I always had a feeling that I’d be the one to break up the group. I just always had that lingering feeling that the “Golden Age” of our friendship would be brought down by something I did. That said, and knowing that I in fact take more than my share of the blame for breaking up that group, I’m not going to give excuses for my actions. I was a kid yet (24) and I didn’t grasp how well things were. I was filled with attitude and I said and did things that pissed off the rest of the group. When confronted, instead of cow towing to the group, I tried to defend myself in a group situation that backfired and you know, I haven’t seen or heard from a lot of those people in the twenty years since then.

I took myself out of the wrestling world. All but a handful of my long time friendships that were associated with that group were terminated by the group after I left. When the end came, so many people turn their backs on me it felt like the end of the world and twenty years on I’m still afraid of the power some of them held back then.

That’s kind of sad. It’s kind of stupid too. I let it destroy my confidence and all these years later I still have trouble finding my value both professionally and personally because I don’t want to go through that experience of losing my whole world again.

But now it’s twenty years on and I’m faced with the same sort of choices. I walked away from something I loved twenty years ago. I walked away from opportunity as well (some of that group are now the pillars of wrestling journalism and pulling in more in a year than I can dream of from their websites). Now, as things get worse every day, I start to see the same sort of patterns and the same sort of attitudes in front of me.

I’m not dumb enough to do what I did twenty years ago, I’m smarter about confrontations, but I do know that this part of the year is a challenge in front of me. What I do usually sets up for a big explosion and I need to either ride the blast wave or let the blast wave destroy me when the time comes.

And that’s how I’m ending the night.

Ka-boom.

Jim