My past articles (http://savethisforlater.wordpress.com) (http://buzzfeed.com/shawesh) deal with me starting to workout and lose weight, but there is always a path to why, this is part of mine. A first time written recollection of the lose of a close and amazing friend, Kurt Baker. Which indirectly and directly made me become a boss hog and lose this weight. #search #party #destroy ARTICLE 4 Part 1 Remember Tribute
Running down Sunset at 5:30 in the morning, under street light, avoiding the homeless that are sprawled over the sidewalk.
A song from an old lil Wayne mixtape came on, Kurt loved Weezy. “Either Freestyle” started playing, I started to cry while jogging. The song brought back memories that I have not thought of in a while. Changed the song and I stopped crying. Perplexed I went back to the track. BOOM crying again.
Music is awesome like that, transports our brains to a time, a feeling, a memory. It can stir emotions that we thought had been worked through. Even with the years of digging myself closer to rock bottom, Kurt motivated me to get out of my down fall, make me want to achieve more in life (along with amazing people, that never gave up on me, that I have been lucky to have an opportunity to meet).
........What were those feelings? Who is Kurt? Here is the story from the day I lost my friend Kurt Baker in 2008;
While driving up that wonderful Montezuma Road off the 8 climbing that hill, the drive I had done thousands of times since moving to SD, but hadn't in a long time since graduating, I started getting butterflies. Not like before I would step on the field, those always subsided after the first hit. So I guess it was more like bats equipped with metal wings after being awakened from a pitch black room with a spot light.
I have never had bad anxiety, I keep my cool in most situations. This was an indescribable feeling to me, I felt a mixture of every emotion thrown into my stomach, like my mind decided to drink different liquors in a short amount of time.
The closest I could relate to it is the feeling of inevitable conflict. Like in high school if your parents caught you drunk “we will discuss this in the morning.” Wake up in the morning, realize it wasn’t a nightmare. You stay in bed as long as possible, running through every scenario that could possibly unfold. Grounded, banishment………death?
Whatever it is, you knew it is going to be bad. It was like that, except multiplied by infinite, because even the worst of those only seem bad in the moment, once your punishment has been dealt and a few months go past, things are back to normal.
This was not one of those unsure moments, this was sense of despair, even at it’s most optimistic point. While driving up the hill I broke down, I have never cried from the fear of what might happen, from pure speculation. I was so terrified of what information that I would receive, I lost it. Once I started, I couldn’t stop crying. I could not form words, I felt everything explode from me in the form of tears; there was a two sided protest of questions screaming in my head
“is he going to be ok?”
“Fucking Kurt what the fuck”
“What could I have done?”
“No, no , no it’s not true he is just fine.”
I discovered that my friend Kurt had mixed OxyContin and Xanax with Alcohol, partying. He was discovered by our friend in the morning. Kurt had been taken to the ICU. Reality hits like a bag of bricks, I was with Nathan, a friend I had not only grown up with but pledged Sigma Pi with, we both broke down crying on his couch. We had lost people in our lives, but we were fortunate enough to never lose a close friend, up until this moment.
When we arrived at the hospital there were 50-80 people waiting. Not a word being said, beside the sounds of crying and the patting of backs. Hallway lined with “kids”, backs against the wall, heads faced down in confusion, like they got banned from a class for no reason. Transfixed on the pond of tears that pooled between their legs on the linoleum floor. A waiting room of frat guys and sorority chicks, holding each other crying, with balled up tissues, speechless. Just 12 hours earlier they where most likely in another room together, but shots instead of tissues, screams of excitement instead of tears of distraught and joy instead of dread.
I have no clue as to how long we were at the hospital, I know that everyone stayed. I know that I felt so much sadness, anger, frustration that I could have exploded. So large of a blast, it would send me back in time, so I could save him.
I Can Still Feel The Moment
I realized even if Kurt pulled through, he would not be Kurt. He had been without oxygen to his brain for too long. It was one of the worst pains I had experienced in my short life. It’s probably how I would feel if I woke up in a Saw movie, stuck; nothing I could do about it, I was trapped feeling helpless, horrified I could not help my friend.
Kurt was on life support, the hospital was keeping him alive so his parents could make it down from Sacramento.
I remember getting to his hospital bed with a few people next to me. We stopped and stared, we all started weeping.
Kurt, who was taller then 6 feet, slim kid, with a charm that even made me like him immediately. Laid on a hospital bed 5 feet in front of us, bloated to an unrecognizable representation of himself. I felt like I was in a movie and they spent 16 hours applying make up and a fat suit. Beeps, tubes, florescent lightning; we were in a horror movie.
I crouched next to him and grabbed his hand, mumbling how this cannot be real. I am not a religious person, but something about death makes us hope there is a magical land the fallen can still live. I get it, how can we cope with the fact that someone who we held dear to us and was filled with life, can no longer laugh or enjoy again. But on this day, I cursed God, he was the closest that I could blame. I told Kurt I loved him and stood up, still holding his hand.
As I turned around, wiping the stream of tears from my face, I viewed a crowd of friends with the same look that I must have had when I first walked up. The combination of disbelief and hopelessness.
The sea of anguish I saw on my friends faces, made me lose control, still the first time I witnessed a group of people who were in the same nightmare together. I cut through the group, to outside the hospital, Kurt and friends in that type of agony made me physically ill. Nathan and a few others had already made it out of the hospital. We cried outside of the ICU until we physically could not cry anymore.
Things changed a lot after that day, it made me realize, anything can happen at any moment. It has been 8 years plus one day since my homie Kurt died. His death shaped what I am right now, pushed me to achieve when I thought I couldn’t. It also took me to depressions that I was not equipped to handle.
“When you passed, I wanted to take back the time we wasted. I’d trade all the buzzes in for one more conversation. We could sit in the shade and discuss the meaning of sacred. Because I can’t see the garden no more just the avids”
He made me reevaluate my priorities, even if it took me 6 years. I have been through a weird 8 years, but I have never forgot about Kurt. He always finds away to pop up in my head. I realize this was a heavy piece. I shared my experience from that day because even through the tragedy you can find strength.
I workout through my emotion; not laughter or joy, but passion. Change, for me, is spawned from pain, doubt, suffering. That may sound dark but I do not believe negative energy is “negative”. It is just energy misdirected, I harness those “negative” ideas and turn them into fuel. I find it more therapeutic then anything. I get reminded of Kurt not being here, next thing I know I have ran 3 extra miles.
It is deep seeded events that shapes our perception of the world, ideals of life, and that aspects we find essential to life, or not so essential.
It is so hard to spark change with sheer want and will. For me to achieve change, it takes emotions that effect me. Make me feel anger, fear, unreasonable. The type of discomfort that makes you sick to your stomach. A feeling of disgust so great it turns me to an irrational phoenix of achievement. Walking on the edge of sanity.
Music helps relieve/reveal/explain/cope with a lot of my emotional milestones. Without the music to romanticize the severity of “common” life events in my mind, I most definitely would have gone mad by now.
I miss Kurt, it has been 8 years so I literally do not remember a time I was upset with him. My memories of us are only clipped to the amazing times, but the anger from losing him is what sparked me to start doing stand up, powered me through long runs that I wanted to give up on.
It also lead me to excess of partying. So much that I became the 240 pound man child that was unemployed and couldn’t put on socks with out losing my breath.
Kurt did not lead me there, I choose that path because mentally I did not want to deal. Not with just his death but with becoming an adult and taking responsibility for my future.
I have lost a lot more friends since Kurt, everyone tragic, no matter the circumstance. Kurt’s death was the first time I experienced the feeling of change, the mindfulness that I am the only one who can change my path. I took all the pain, anger, and memories from our past to motivate myself to never stop. I used those same feelings of hopelessness to get fit. Unlike any of my friends that have passed, my weight was something I could control. It was the easiest thing for me to change.
“We used to grip in that grain, and flip them candy toys, but I’d give back all that bullshit if I could get back my boy”
Adam Shawesh - Comedian, Writer, and Overall Dope
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