What is your daily focus, routine or ritual that you practice that starts your day off on the right foot?
Every morning I spend 15 minutes stretching out my back. If I don’t, my back will be problematic the entire day.
How do you feel when you wear the NDCQ Gear?
Honestly, I feel the way I normally do. I would say that wearing it helps serve as a reminder to never give up on life. So it may feel like you’re crawling inch by inch and progress comes at a price, but there is progress to be had so you can’t quit. I feel the way I normally do, not because I do not like the message, I feel the way I normally do because I have the phrase “not dead, can’t quit tattooed on my chest”. I will say that when I wear it, I feel like others might see it get that little bit of motivation that starts their road back.
What is your biggest NDCQ moment? And/Or how does Not Dead Can’t Quit motivate you?
My biggest NDCQ moment was when I put down the gun and decided to fight one last time. If I failed, then, I decided, I would pick the gun back up and finish what I started on 01 AUG 2016. I was at the lowest point in my life between my disability and my then-GF of 2.5 left me. My disability was taking everything away from me. I had tried everything to find relief in my back, except one thing; exercise. As my back and nerves got markedly worse 3 times in 2015-2016. I feared paralysis and being worthless. I was afraid. But, once I put the gun to my head and realized that I was OK with dying. Death was not the worse option for me then. However, I also realized that if I was OK with dying, then I had literally nothing left to lose by trying the one thing I was so afraid of. After all, if it didn’t help, I still had my gun. You see, it was not that I wanted to die, it was just the least worst option. So when a better option presented itself (exercise to hopefully help the spine), I took it. While this path is not easy, and there are still many days where I need to take a proverbial knee, it is the path I chose. As such, I got a tattoo on my chest of crossed flintlocks (the symbol of Army Infantry) with the words “Not Dead’ on top and “Can’t Quit” on the bottom. I got this tattoo to remind me that I have the strength of an infantryman and that I am not dead and I can’t quit. While some may think it cliché, it rings truer than anything I’ve seen. For me, I would literally be dead but for this path I’ve chosen and if I quit fighting, I know for certain that I will finish what I started in 2016.
What is your next personal target? Do you feel that having an NDCQ mindset and using the Not Dead Can’t Quit mantra will help you in achieving that target? If no, how can we improve our message?
In life, I only have one real goal; to be better than the person I was yesterday. That’s it. Now that goal drives me to accomplish things like pursuing my B.S. in public service and public policy and then a Juris Doctorate. As for the mindset, I view it as being the same thing I endured during long road marches. Road marches suck, they’re stressful, and near the end you just want it to end. So you start making smaller goals like “ok, make it to that tree” and eventually you’re fighting with yourself to take one more step, over and over. Yet we don’t quit and because we chose to suffer, we met our goal. To me, that is the essence of “Not Dead, Can’t Quit."