I suppose that a great way to start my blog is with an introduction of who I am, and why I am the way that I am. Most coaching blogs out there are filled with strength tips or write ups on the newest trend in fitness. While I’m sure I’ll put lots of tips for athletes and things of that nature on here, I would assume that most people who read my blog have read a few of my articles, so I want to go ahead and make something clear: My articles are written from a scientific standpoint and I have a tendency to tone down my personality and sometimes eccentric ways of expression. But this is my personal blog. It’s not just a blog about strength or a write up on posture or ground force reaction; although if I feel like it I may eventually cover this subjects. I’m using this blog to be the expression of my thoughts in their rawest form. If I was to present myself otherwise I wouldn’t be doing myself or my readers justice. So this is me. I am David Gentile. I’m human; I say and do things that may offend and I apologize for any offense that may be taken ahead of time. My goal in life is to love the world with all of my being and to help those that are having a hard time finding love for themselves, or for others, or for life in general. I don’t claim to know everything. In fact, I’m unsure of almost everything, but I have had many hard lessons in life and I feel that if one person is effected positively by reading my posts then all of the hours posting blogs will be well worth the effort.
Until recently I haven’t had the courage to tell many people my story, and the select few people who do know about my past hold a very special place in my heart. I have found that the key to healing is expression. True expression can be found in so many forms. For some its art, or dance, or song. For me its movement and writing. I don’t look at movement and physical prowess as a number or a total score. I feel that movement has a much deeper meaning. Movement is an expression of the mind, body, and soul in harmony. I’ve learned so many things about myself through movement, (probably why I’ve dedicated my life to being a student of it).
All things that are living move; as a rolling stone gathers no moss, so it is with our body and mind. Water that sits in a pool unmoving becomes stale. Children confined to a desk become inattentive, humans confined to a box cease to be forward thinking or creative. In order to express ourselves at our highest potential we must move! I could probably drone on for hours about the interactions of the body, mind, and spirit, but that is for another post.
Today I am going to vomit my early life experiences upon you. But I feel the previous paragraph is a necessary step to understand the evolution of who I am today.
It all begins with movement. I was the little shit head in class. I was the kid who could never sit still on the carpet during teacher reading hour and the kid who would jump up on top of the desk and challenge my teacher to a duel with the classroom yardstick. As you can probably imagine, this type of behavior was not conducive to productivity in the class room and it earned me a horrible reputation as the “bad” kid. I had countless other children tell me that their mom would not let them play with me because they didn’t want their child to act like me. To be honest this happened all the way up through high school. I specifically remember waking up at a friend’s house after an unplanned sleep over hearing my best friend’s mother lecturing him in the other room about how she couldn’t believe that he was choosing to hang out with “lowlife like myself” and that if he continued down that path he would end up being worthless….just like me.
At this point I’d like to take break to let everyone know that this is not a sob story, I don’t want or need sympathy from anyone although I do appreciate your empathy. Empathy is one of the keys to happiness in my opinion; but once again a topic of for another day.
When I was 8 years old my teacher wrote a letter to my parents saying that I was inattentive in class and prone to outbursts. As I look back now I say to myself no shit; if you lock an 8 year old in a class room and make him sit in a desk all day with only 30 minutes of recess in which he is forced to sit on the wall it’s impossible to thrive. All the while other kids were encouraged to play and exert energy, but not David because he had too much energy in class. That’s a very interesting way of solving the issue Mrs. Teacher lady.
Anyway, at this time there was no high speed internet. There was no google. No PubMed. So my parents did what every other parent who cared for shier child would do: They took me to see a doctor. This doctor happened to be a child psychologist because clearly there was something wrong with my psyche since I didn’t fit into the nice little box that every other “normal” kid fit into. The doctor sat me and my parents down in an uncomfortably small room that smelled like bleach, outfitted with a couple of itchy couches, and proceeded to tell my parents that I had a couple of different disorders that could be solved with drugs. To make a long story extremely short over, the next few years I was a guniea pig for any new drug that came out on the market for everything from ADHD to Depression to Manic and bipolar disorders. I was given mood enhancers, mood stabilizers, and even some drugs to battle Tourette’s, (which was a symptom of all the amphetamines being pumped into my body to counter my hyperactivity and inattentiveness; another genius idea). Once again I find myself looking back and wondering how they came to such a skewed conclusion.
Let’s break it down:
8 year old with and abundance of energy?
Clearly we should take away recess.
Can’t sit still in class because of overstimulation and no energy outlet?
Let’s prescribe some amphetamines to enhance focus.
Amphetamines instead cause higher energy and Tourette’s?
Well, we had better battle the symptom instead of the clearly defined cause. So let’s administer some downers to decrease the amount energy and physical ticks these amphetamines are causing!
Oh no! The kid’s life seems to be falling apart and he is constantly acting out in class with random burst of hyperactivity in the morning and lunch time, (both times at which I would take my medication for ADD) and now can’t think or function properly, is exhibiting poor memory and sluggishness and is falling asleep in class before lunch and toward the end of the day. (When the ADD drug ware off)
I think it’s time to give the child mood stabilizers….because the mood I’m currently is awesome right? Let’s keep him stable right there.
Oh that didn’t work
Let’s give this now nonfunctioning, depressed kid who can’t sleep at night because of amphetamines medicine for bipolar disorder because he is now exhibiting seemingly random acts of outbursts followed by extreme bouts of depression
Oh he’s still not acting right? Let’s yell at him and make him feel worthless and take him to a counselor.
OH he fights back?
Let’s up the dosage on the mood stabilizers.
And by the way let’s throw some Haldol in there to increase his mood…
Well nothing we can do. So let’s put him in special education because clearly he’s not smart enough to be in school, even though he tested at GT levels
I could probably continue with this genius formula for successfully raising a child but honestly I think you get the point by now
That my friends is a fantastic formula for taking a normal child who just wants to play outside like the other kids and express himself and turn him into a zombie who takes meds before during and after school.
Let me offer a counter solution simple solution compared to the thousands of dollars my parent had to pay to you Mr. Doctor sir.
Kid with high energy
- Let him play off his energy with extra recess
- Make only healthy food available that will properly stimulate him
- Engage him in the classroom instead of expecting him to learn in silence while the teacher drones on about things that will never interest anyone and ultimately don’t matter
- Let him express his own opinions and creativity…that’s a novel idea
- Let him walk around barefoot and wiggle his toes in the grass instead of lacing up his shoes so tight that he can barely feel his feet (feet provide valuable proprioceptive information to the entire nervous system)
- Don’t load him down with so much homework that he doesn’t have time for physical activity that would allow him to be tired at bed time
- Let him enjoy his life instead of trying to trap him into some twisted idea of what you think his life should be
- Let him use the toilet when he says he has to. Instead of suspecting he just wants to go out for a walk in the hallway at school. (If I have to fake taking a dump just to stretch my legs clearly there is an issue in the classroom)
- Let him teak breaks from the stimulus around him so that he can focus when focus is needed.
All of the sudden you have a child who has limitless energy and just wants to harness it. A child that looks at life as an adventure rather than a guided tour where he can’t touch or experience anything life has to offer. A child who is intrigued instead of bored, a child who can have experiences and then ponder these experiences in his own head and come up with his own answers. A child who can start the life long process of finding who he is and why he is.
Let the damn kid move around. If it’s the only damn thing he’s good at then let him explore it. When he’s tired of moving try stimulating his mind from the information you have gathered from him. He likes to run, he likes to jump, he like to play (but not with girls…yuck). Engage him in a way that may require you to actually put a small amount of effort in, so that he CAN learn
The point behind this post is that we are all individuals meant to bring something to this beautiful world and stumping someone’s creativity is in my mind, a form of murder. People literally live to express. In fact, I would go a step further and say that people themselves are expressions. Just as an artist paints a picture, we each paint our own pictures in life through the experiences we have. We are all artist in our own way. And if you take that away from someone it should be a punishable crime. The worst thing you can do to someone is make their decisions for them. If they are like me, they will rebel and become ostracized and if they don’t rebel they become livestock, just chewing the cud and following the heard. The heard grows up eating the same cud, moving at the same rate and ultimately living a non-fulfilling life because they never got to make any really meaningful decisions on their own.
By 8th grade I was known around school as the crazy kid with the temper problem. I would literally sleep through every class (not by choice) come home and stare at the ceiling of hours. Then I would get yelled at by my parents for being lazy and stupid and told I was going to live in a garbage can when I got older. Honestly none of that hurt my feeling because I didn’t care. I had lost all of my will. All of my energy. I was exactly what the doctor had programmed me to be. I sat still in class but now got referrals because I sat too still and didn’t participate just slept. I still didn’t do well in school because if I wasn’t sleeping in a mindless state of nothingness, I was one hundred percent numb to my surroundings and nothing anyone could do or say had any impact on me. Most days I would go home and cry and think about how much easier life would be if I wasn’t around. Usually after days like that one, I’d be so elated to actually have experienced a feeling that I’d do anything in my power to continue it. So I’d go to school and wait for someone to poke fun at me for being odd or for having a Tourette’s outburst and then I’d punch that someone in the face, (felt great)! I made an impact; just not a positive one. In the end, I got kicked out of multiple schools and sent to multiple reassignment programs until finally, after my second expulsion my parents withdrew me from school all together, put me in a home school program and told me to get a job. I was 15.
Getting kicked out of school and having perceivably no future turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. I stopped taking my medications and after a few weeks my consciousness started coming back, I started taking interest in things again. I began reading things I wanted to learn about, going on walks during the day, studying martial arts and hitting the gym for hours at a time. It was as if all this interest in life that had been dormant for years came back in full force all at once. I still had issues, emotionally I was pretty crippled, I still had this underlying hatred for people in general and a sense of unworthiness that felt as if it had been branded into my soul.
But as my interests continued to grow I found myself reading about nutrition, psychology and motivation. I might not have had the capacity to apply everything but what I could apply I did. I took an extreme interest in health, mostly physical but also emotional and spiritual. I found that the more I exerted myself in an attempt to be healthy the more overall energy I would accumulate to exert the next day.
I’ll conclude my first blog post here. I may continue on this subject in a week or two. There are so many things to discuss and think about that I don’t want to get caught up on one issue that to me is already solved. Keep in mind that this story does have a happy ending.