When I was about 25 or so I had this big idea I was going to fight in a cage. I signed up and got a friend to spar with me. I really wanted to go. MMA fighting was becoming wildly popular and I was lured by the thought of releasing aggression while making money. Pent up aggression I had plenty of. I was obese, out of shape, had no cardio and hadn’t been in a fight for 6 years or so. But still I was trying to go. I didn’t have gas money to travel to where the fight was. Had never expressed an interest before then. Honestly I was being reckless and foolish.
I ended up asking my mother for money to go to Oregon and see if this was “my calling”. I just new I was going to step into the octagon and be a beast! So I was shocked when she said “no, you ain’t no dang cage fighter”. I accused her of blocking fate and dreams and all kinds of stupidity. Angry at my outburst (rightfully so, I was being a dirt bag) what my mother said next sat with me so very deeply. I had never heard of what a dream truly was to her. I thought she never had goals and dreams. I thought she had given up on life, was content to be right where she was. This is what she said “if this was really your dream, if this was really meant to be, nothing would have stopped you, not even me or no money, not anything”. God, she was right.
From that day forward I sought that kind of passion in something, anything. Nothing sparked that in me, not until I came to prison. Then this fire was lit. It consumed me like I was drowning in it. I wasn’t driving my goals, my goals were driving me. Propelled forward, my life being perpetuated by accomplishing them.
I often think about that one argument I had with my Mom. It was one of the greatest gifts she’s given me yet. That one moment the sincerity in her voice, the red face, the tears welling up. It stopped me in my tracks, for the first time in my life I seen my Mother say something with abandonment. It just spewed forth like a projectile. Like she had been harboring this fugitive in her body and she was tired of holding it in. For the first time I had something to gauge with. A tool I didn’t have yet. I had never witnessed someone pursue a dream so doggedly.
Now that I am in prison I have goals and dreams that no one will stop. I will not be defined by the man that I was. I will not allow this crime to be my most memorable attribute. I will be someone who makes her proud. Absolutely not accepting right now. I have the ability to move beyond here or to lay down and die. So do you. Don’t be afraid to pursue a goal with abandonment. In fact do it. Because your own drive will determine your passion for it. When someone says no, it won’t matter. In fact, you’ll laugh at them. Because you know better.
Please go be who you were meant to be. Even if you come up short, or find you really wanted something else, just get on the path. Attempt and conquer!
Jeff Utnage 823469