Today as I begin with today’s post. I have a little bit of an introduction to give you all. I want you all to grasp his words. During the ending stages of writing this book, I realized one element was missing. I had to add a foreword to the book. Did it need one? No however I felt it was crucial in making the readers of this story sense a tone of realism.
I felt that if I wanted to have my life story to be well received by the target audience, I needed one so that you the readers could see a glimpse of my life through the thoughts and perspective of someone else. The challenge was finding a person to write the foreword for me. When choosing the right person for the job, I had to make sure this person knew enough about me that they wouldn’t need to use Google to ramble on about nonsense.
I had to make sure this person that would be chosen to write the foreword could convey a real message one that provides a lot of emotion. I had to make sure that who ever I chose for the task was a good writer and as well lived some of those experiences with me that I so passionately described in my book.
Who would I choose brave enough to stand alongside me? Would I choose a former coworker that partnered with me while working in the wrestling industry? How about I choose a pretty girl from my past, would that grip your attention. What about a church goer or college roommate? No! to all those questions. While I’m sure each individual could convey their own perspective on things as it relates to a personal reflection but I felt the only person qualified to write such a forward is my best friend. When choosing the person for the job, I felt the only person that stood out as an elite friend among the rest was and is my childhood best friend Nathan Innes. When I use the term best friend I actually affectionately call him my brother. The reason behind this is because more often than not for more than 20 plus years, my brother Nathan has always been with me to share in my most greatest triumphs. Also he has been there to get me out of more troubled situations and or circumstances than I could bare to count. In fact I have to share a secret with you all, without Nathan writing the book’s foreword there would be no book. Why you ask? The answer is, it was Nathan that help me discover my talent for writing. He along with a few others help me craft my writing into what you all see here before you today. More on that story is to come as the chapters continue on.
My friend and brother Nathan is an esteemed film director, writer and musical disc jockey so in essence the fact that he actually wrote the foreword for this book is a surprising and caring gesture. Now here are some kind words from Nathan himself.
Foreword written by Nathan Alexander Innes
Well I’d love to take this time to tell you all about my good friend Anthony but after reading his life story I feel he doesn’t leave much to say. What I can give I think is some perspective and some validation to this inspiring tale. I think the best example is to take you back to the first day I met Anthony over two decades ago.
I attended a small rural public school. Quaint and not accustom to out of the ordinary happenings. It was grade two near the beginning of the year. Alliances and friend groups began to emerge and our multiplication tables were practiced daily.
The day Anthony and his brother Angelo arrived was one I can still see vividly in my mind. I arrived to school as usual and began speaking to my best friend the collaborator on this foreword Ryan.
Suddenly through the door a grey platform was ushered in followed by someone carrying a padded wooden chair. They set it at the front of the class right next to the blackboard. First they placed the grey platform down. It had holes in it where they secured the legs of the chair into. The chair even had velcro straps on it for support of some kind.
As a child however if looked like some kind of chair used for punishment. Then moments later Anthony walked in. I had never seen anyone in my life with a physical disability before and I can say in combination with the punishment chair I thought Anthony must be uncontrollable! An animal! (I found this out to be true but in a much different context, dealing with his perseverance and courage)
However as most children my preconceptions didn’t invoke fear it invoked curiosity and I will forever be grateful for that because it not only set precedent for how I would grow up and view those who are different but it gave me the rich opportunity to make a great friend.
Since then, in our younger years we spent hours at his computer co-writing story after story. Even when our proximity wasn’t close enough to be at the same computer we have spent many years in dialogue about the bigger questions in life and have kept in touch to this day.
Throughout the years, I have witnessed Anthony go for what he believes in and never letting his physical limitations hold him back. He is a born storyteller and I am positive you will enjoy hearing about his journey.
Now that you know a little bit about the background behind my birth, it’s about time that I tell you a short story about how I was received by my classmates in school. I lived in an age in the early 90s where words would become weapons. Both for good purposes and bad. “Sticks and stones will break your bones but names will never hurt you.” That was the motto in which I went to elementary school with. I came as a foreigner into this new public school system.
Prior to that I was raised strictly in the Christian school system, where you dressed nice, you polished your shoes and you combed your hair. I spent two years in the Christian school system only to be removed simply on the fact that there were no physical activities required for me to move about. I would need a lot of physical activity that goes beyond running and playing outside for recess I was transferred to elementary school in the country where physical education was a class unto itself.
I had never witnessed gym class before. I didn’t know what to think. I was just happy I didn’t get smashed in the face with a baseball or dodge ball. When I entered elementary school for the very first time within the public school system, I was an alien to most students. Nine out of 10 peers inside my classroom were convinced I had a form of leprosy because of this they kept their distance.
I didn’t know how much I would stand out until a small child not too much younger than I was at the time would ask me now infamous question that would transform my life in many different ways. I was age 7 when I entered elementary school and being on the playground was strange to me but even more strange was the gawking eyes that were led in my direction. I was very quiet child in school I kept myself not really causing too much trouble unless trouble came looking for me.
The moment I realized I would stand out easily from a crowd happened when a small child about the age of five approached me and asked me a question. “Why do you walk so funny?” He asked? I answered him by simply saying, “I don’t know.” The reason I answered him with the three simple words is because I truly did not know why walk so funny at such an early age. No one had told me that there was ever a problem with me regarding my physical disability.
Apparently the elementary school that I attended had never witnessed a person to have a physical disability. Oh to be the first one wasn’t as joyful as one may expect. As the school day ended the question regarding my physical disability rattled in my brain like an atomic bomb. All I thought why was I so different from the others, what is wrong with me? When I got home, I was determined to investigate and get to the bottom of the whole situation.
I came in the door fuming like a volcano waiting to erupt. I called for my mother. “Mom,” I said “why do I walk so different from the other kids.” As soon as I asked her that question, I could almost read the expression on her face. Saying to her “I wish I didn’t have to tell you this, so early on in life you will not understand yet.” She kindly replied “Go ask your Dad.”
Later that night, my dad would turn down the volume on the television to reveal to me that I had a physical disability because of an accident that happened at birth. He went onto say that “I saw your face go blue and it haunts me to this day.” I explained the reason I had wondered about why I walked so funny, he said, kids are going to pick on you because you are different from them, but you’re not any different from me or God.” Be ready to face the world, and remember to be strong.” So that was the $250,000 dollar question and although I didn’t fully understand the meaning, I would be prepared to fight back if I was ever picked on due to my differences. A few weeks later my father would begin to teach me about boxing. I was never allowed to use it against anyone unless they caused harm to me first. It was to be used strictly as a form of self-defense. At age nine, I had lightning hand speed. I would practice boxing, twice a week as well as doing my physical therapy three times a week. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world,” John 16:33.
For some reason I was natural at boxing. The only thing I lacked was balanced. I think my father used boxing as a way of bonding with me. He and my Mom would also continue to take me to London twice a week to be seen by therapists and doctors. The dedication that my parents showed to my illness would mark them commendable because as much as I had to physical battle with doing things a bit differently, they had to battle with the mental aspect of how to get me well enough to lead a normal life. “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong,” 2 Corinthians 12:10.
I believe that is why they strived so hard, because they wanted to spare me getting teased. Their courage and strength they displayed often gave me the initiative to keep going. Having to learn how to do things differently from other kids didn’t always come easy to me and I was always looked at as being a bit of weird for going against the norm.
Some of you might think that just because I had a physical disability everyone and everything was made a bit easier for me, Not so, at that time, I was the only one who had a disability. So nothing and no one made things easier for me, you may ask yourselves the question why and I have the perfect answer for that. Nothing in life was made easier for me, because people who had issues with their mental capacity and physical dilemmas at the time were few and far between. They were not as noticeable. So instead of having the school conform to my needs, I had to conform to the schools. I believe this is why I have the drive and determination I do , because I had to deal with a lot of barriers and obstacles because I had to deal with that as a young child, it would prepare me for the journey ahead. If I only was with God at the time, I wouldn’t have caused so trouble. However having the challenge as I did wasn’t always a bad thing. Of course I thought that it was at the time but I would later to find out that “God had a starring role in my life.
I will explain that subject a bit later on in this book. I will be honest with you all, I was often hated, this theory of my peers was based on physical appearance, however I believe that more than anything else I was misunderstood and my disability made it difficult for others to connect with me. It was because I was misunderstood that I desired to have acceptance that much more from people. “If love and compassion makes the world go around, I didn’t know where I could find any even if I rubbed two nickels together. It was a different time for kids during my school days, The nineties ushered in the era of sports and musicals. Guess which ones I took part in, One guess says it wasn’t football…. Often times though, I tried my best to play with the other kids, but I was that one kid that was picked last for everything and I do mean everything…. My thinking behind why this type of favoritism took place is because people sometimes fear what they don’t understand. My only problem during that time that I often leaned too much on my own feelings, because I failed to let the Word of God guide me everyday, I didn’t recognize that I could have joy unspeakable and no matter how bad the storms looked around me, I could remain calm because I had that Jesus love. However I believe that as bad as my childhood was whether at school or at home, it would give the strength and wisdom to always push through, even though they were times that I believe Jesus carried me. I was too weak according to man kind’s viewpoint of what a normal boy should look like. When I reflect on that thought my mind and thoughts go right to the scriptures. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10.
As I grew up without the knowledge of God like I have today, I realized that words cut deep like a knife and sometimes they were more harmful to me than sticks and stones. Even though I wanted to participate in sports during lunch break, it didn’t take me long to realize that if I was going to have victory, it wouldn’t happen on the sports fields but in the classroom. Yes, I faced physical challenges but in the classroom it was an even playing field. Academically my only challenges I faced in the classroom was the poor penmanship I had, however technology helped that learning curve. The school I attended pulled their resources together and purchased a computer for me to use for in class assignments. When the school purchased a computer for me, I took to that piece of technology like a fish swimming in water, also I took up writing and reading more often. I always enjoyed reading and writing, I used to write many a story, I used it as a way for me to escape my everyday life. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 1 Corinthians 1:27