It's almost seven in the morning over here. I've spent the past few hours completely and utterly annihilating a friend of mine at DragonBall Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2. I mean it. Since about two o'clock, he managed to win a single round in about the sixty-seventy we played.
He used to be better than me. I used to beat the brakes off of him in Tekken, but he could find refuge in knowing he could use me as a mop in DragonBall Z.
Such is not true anymore. Having completely and totally dissected his game, he hasn't stood a chance in a long time. He actually wondered in frustration if I was using a custom character. I wasn't; as far as the stats were concerned, we were evenly matched.
He's not the first person this has happened to. A long time ago, my ex-wife's older brother used to consistently hand me my head at the Blitz and Madden franchise. But the more I played him, the better I got, until he too found he didn't have a chance against me. It wasn't uncommon to see a score of 49-0 at halftime.
It used to happen in the arcades, too. When I first started playing the Street Fighter and King of Fighter franchises, I was bantha fodder. When I got better, I had someone put five dollars in my hand if I walked away and let him finish his game in peace. I would have scores of people lined up on the second player side, each waiting for the slim-to-nothing shot at taking me down.
It's not just video games, either. All those years on the road, facing someone faster, stronger, more experienced…it didn't seem to matter. I always managed to find that one shot, that one place to hit them that brought them down. A few people who have seen me compete said that something comes into my eyes. Another friend of mine noted; the less you believe in me, the stronger I become.
I have come to accept that I am not at all at peace with what happened to me as a child. People close to me call me confused and conflicted, and they're right. A month in my current life is forever ago, yet I can remember Julie's death, and everything my father put me through, as though it was yesterday. Falling asleep on Greyhound and waking up in the wrong place feels like two centuries back now, lifetimes removed…and yet I can barely remember what happened earlier this week. Nothing ever changes anymore for me. I admitted flat-out that if I could've lived on the road and fought for the rest of my life, then I would've done it. I stopped because I was getting older, and the risks were becoming too great. My life has become simplistic routine, and I only say I wouldn't change it because I don't want God to take it away from me. Otherwise…it's dull.
Also, if I give up, pack a bag, and hit the road again, it's like saying that I'm not good enough to succeed in this life. Like all I can do is fight, destroy, and be violent, and I really don't want to be that way anymore. I don't want to succeed to spite people anymore. I want to succeed because I know I can do it.
My father spent so long drilling into me how worthless I was that there's a part of me that still believes him. What I learned tonight, what I finally realized…was that after all the humiliation, the name-calling, and the beatings, I am still here. In fact, I've put myself in a position where I could actually afford to take a recently-evicted friend of mine in for a few days. I could put a roof over someone's head and offer him free access to my fridge without worrying where my next meal is coming from. I've had the same job for months. I write for a living. I haven't been arrested all year.
That was what he couldn't take from me. He could not break me.
It is the same thing that allowed me to overcome every obstacle I've come across that will finally allow me to succeed.
It is the Will To Win, against any adversary.
I don't know how I will let it all go, but I know that tapping into that same reservoir that allows me to overcome hurdles will allow me to do it.
I want this confusion to end. I plan to win this fight…