People have been trying to convince me for the last 16 years that the past doesn’t matter.
I’ve never been on board with that, really. The past - you can’t have the present without it. Who I am, it’s defined by what I did. By the friends I made and lost, by the bridges I burnt and built. And the people with the loudest voices telling me to stop dwelling in it, well, they’re the ones clinging to a list of shiny belts they once touched like it’s the gospel.
But the more time passes, the more I come to realize that everything that mattered to me didn’t matter to anyone else. They really do forget about things, stop caring about things… and for my own sake I need to be more like that.
Instead, though, I sat in my living room, sunken deep into my comfortable brown leather arm chair, and stared out the window. I watched the leaves on the tree in my front yard shrivel up from some kind of blight and thought about what a gigantic pile of bullshit it all was. I didn’t work out, I checked in maybe once a month for a few minutes - I just sat and seethed. I played videogames, and ate food, and skimmed wrestling just often enough to convince myself that I hated it, that it had changed for the worse forever and it was all lost without me. And nobody was even smart enough to care.
And so I just kept sitting there, and I just kept seething.
I was seething when a pair of blue eyes walked into the room and draped themselves over my shoulder.
“Jeff, you need to stop doing this to yourself.”
No, I didn’t. I didn’t bother saying it out loud.
She heard me anyhow, though.
“I know how important the past is to you, but you’re going past the point of no return. The longer you sit in that chair and refuse to do anything, the weaker your legs are going to be when you get back on your feet.”
I grumbled, slumped a little bit deeper into the chair.
“And besides, you ought to be up and back to it soon enough that when you laugh at the people who cast you aside, they remember why you’re laughing at them.”
But even the thought of vengeance upon my enemies no longer had any sort of appeal to me.
“Jeff Jeff Jeff Jeff Jeff Jeff Jeff Jeff….”
And at some point I realized I was standing, and slamming a door behind me.
And then I hit my face on the side of my racecar.
My nose throbbed, and my bedsheets were wrapped around my legs so tightly I couldn’t kick free of them. I had to slither up over the side of the bed and unwrap them. Buying myself a badass bachelor’s racecar shaped bed seemed like a great idea after It happened, but now, it’s more just a pain in the ass to deal with, and I have enough of those.
Also pains in my back, and my left shoulder.
Actually, mostly my back.
Working out again after having essentially done nothing physical since the year 2013 was having weird effects on my body. Some parts of it were limbering up, some parts were aching more, and in a few - like my back - the limbering and hurting were one and the same. Like maybe my spinal chord had fossilized while I was doing nothing, and now it could only splinter and crack instead of flex.
It had taken both It to happen, and then another half a year of brooding, but I’d been dragging myself out of bed again, greeting the day, saying words to individuals that actually existed outside my rage-saturated imagination, and trying to get back to where I could do something.
After months, if not years, of screwing around and talking about doing it instead of doing it, I’d contacted the UTA head offices. I had a meeting, with the potential of signing a contract.
And now my nose was red and puffy.
This is where I would’ve just slumped down in my arm chair with a bottle of whiskey and let the world go to hell while I toasted the back side of the moon. Of course, I didn’t have that armchair any more. Or whiskey, for that matter. I like my whiskey, but the stuff has a way of tricking me, so that the more I think I’m in complete control of every aspect of myself the more I’m an obnoxious drunk piece of shit, and so the best thing to do is keep that stuff away from me.
Not that I gave it up. More that I don’t get a bottle unless I’m going to finish a bottle.
No, I’ve got this meeting to go to. I made the call, I did the work to get myself back in shape enough to be seen in a wrestling ring, and I can’t sit here forever. I’m a smart guy in a lot of ways, reformed nerd and all that, I know how to manage my money even when I’m just making indy money, but I haven’t got enough coming in. There’s a debut match waiting for me and everything, against Father Christmas himself for… some… reason. I just… have to get going.
And I hate that.
Feels like every time I ‘get going,’ I’m letting someone else win.
I stand, and kick my bed. Back heel kick style so I don’t hurt my toes. I used to get into the bed headfirst, but after tripping over the frame a couple dozen times I turned around, and hitting my nose like I just did, it’s only happened a couple times.
I still haven’t gotten used to my face in the mirror. My new beard is adequately beard-ish. My nose looks okay.
So I pull on a set of jeans and a Baltimore Ravens T-shirt, and then a black and grey flannel over that. Still love mah Ravens even if they’re 3 and 7 and half their starting lineup’s injured. And my wrestling boots, just incase. They still fit, even though the laces had dry-rotted when I first tried to tighten them up.
Then I look at myself in the mirror, one last time.
I’m still Jeff Andrews. Older, balder, surlier… but I’m finally up on my feet and heading back into the game.
"So keep hating me, it’s been good for business ever since."
- La Flama Blanca