A Thought Leads to Thoughts Lead to Thanks.

Funny thing happened today.

So my cousin texted me today and what she said instantly brought back a memory.

In our lives there will be incidences that will stick with us forever. They’ll be like a metaphor for YOUR life. Β Mine occurred back when I was 18 years old.

So. Something happened at my cousins job today and usually she calls me when she needs to talk it out. And thus, came my thought, the one I want to share with her.

See… she called about her job. It’s unsatisfactory because it’s not what she wants to do. She decided to open a business with her daughter and she just texted me the other day to tell me that her daughter is working on the website and she’s looking into getting the business license. I sent her a text back and told her that, “I’m rooting for you!”

Because you know… When that finish line, when victory is in sight, you can see it a quarter a mile away but you’ve already struggled through a mile and three-quarters and now you just want to stop…???

This takes me back to that one event that stayed with me for my entire life and will continue to influence me.

I had a hard time with the mental toughness stuff when I was in the Army years ago. That’s why I really applaud parents who MAKE their kids finish stuff out. Stick with it even if they don’t like it. Push yourself through it. And what was tough for me was pushing my body to do what I didn’t want to do. I hated running. OMG, I hated it. For some people it was easy but for me it required mental toughness. I mean, I could push myself through every other physical activity but the running. I think it had something to do with the repetitive nature of the activity. But what I didn’t get then that I get now is that I should have no excuses, all I needed to do was push myself harder.

Alright so. I was in basic training and I already failed the running portion of the PT test twice. This would be my third time. And all the drill sergeants have tried to tell me that I can do it because I’m not even tired. Private, you’re not even breathing heavy. It’s mental! But to me, it felt physical because my body didn’t want to experience the strain. Make sense?

Anyway. So, on the day of the test, one of the drill sergeants, God bless him, suited up and said he’d run with me. You know what, let me tell you about military people, they will be some of the best human beings you will ever encounter. Because the first thing the military does is deprogram that selfishness out of soldiers. He didn’t have to suit up in his PT gear and run with me that day but he did.

And so, I’m struggling man….STRUG-GL-ING. My head was like, geesh, you don’t want to do this anymore. Wouldn’t you just rather chill out, go lie down, sleep. Your legs hurt. You can’t breathe. Stop Zuleika. You are the boss of you, STOP.

And so… a quarter of a mile to go, I stopped. I bent over panting as if I was going to die. And this drill sergeant easily galloped in front of me, turned to face me while running backwards and started shouting, “Come on Arkadie! You’re almost there!”

Me: I can’t! I can’t!

Him: Yes you can!


Him: C ome on!


Him: Alright, then fail then…

And he turned his back on me and started running towards the victory line.

I looked up and saw his back moving away from me. I looked behind me and saw all those girls with weak minds just like me, already failing. I saw myself doing exactly what he said, failing, and for the third time mind you.

So you know what I did?

I shouted, “Wait!”

And you know what he did?

He turned back around and shouted, “Come on then!” And he was happy for me and still willing to help me get to the finish line.

And man did I push it. I, as they say in the Army, “dug deep.”

I passed and not just barely but I come in at a decent time.

When things got hard, I could’ve done what was comfortable for me and that is to just stop. But where would that land me? In the same old place. One time I was watching this documentary on Michael Jordan and he said this in a very frank manner, “you can’t get there, unless you push yourself.” And when I heard that it reminded me of that moment when I was 18 years old. I heard that quote form MJ like about, 10 years ago and since then, I have lived by that code and use the experience of that PT test to fuel me when I think I can’t do it. I dig deep and go get after the hard stuff in life. I never give up, if it’s not easy for me as it is for everyone else, I try harder. I will get there and I’ll get there at the optimal time.

And this took me to another memory.

Another one of my cousins went to the same junior high school in Banning, CA that I went to. And once the teachers found out that I was his cousin they were telling him how “spoiled” I was. And after all those years later they referred back to my grandma bringing Mc Donald’s up to the school for me to lunch on. LOL!!! Crazy right???? But it did remind me of all the things my grandma did for me. See, my mom lived in Los Angeles and my family thought it was too dangerous in the city for my brother and I because we liked to go out and explore (I still have memories of places I’ve been when I was like 3 in LA just playing–crazy fun stuff, processed by the mind of a 3 year old kid! These memories are like acid trips! LOL!…not that I ever tried acid because I haven’t but those memories are like how they’re depicted on film) and so we were sent to Cabazon to live with our grandparents. Anyway. My grandma took stellar care of us. I realize the sacrifice you know. Seeing after two young lively children during the school year. The love. And so I just called her because THANK the Lord, I can! She turned 90 this year and has ZERO health issues. I told her how much I love her and thanked her for taking great care of me, which included getting me my filet-0-fish and french fries for lunch whenever I asked for it! πŸ™‚

I Love her. πŸ™‚

Anyway and so that’s how a thought, leads to thoughts lead to Thanks!

Now back to work.



  • victoriawarren

    You know what I think Z? Not that I know a lot, but I think that I you are tough as nails!! Kudos to you for having moxy!! Not everyone can get through basic training. Heck some men aren’t even tough enough!! πŸ˜‰ Go figure. LOL

    Happy 90th to your awesome Grandma and yum to the filet o’ fish. πŸ™‚ My Grandma was awesome as well, her BFF always said she spoiled me too much. I disagree,(of course) it was just love. She made me feel like the most loved girl ever!!

    Have a good weekend, πŸ™‚

    • Z.L Arkadie

      Aww… Thanks Vic! The truth is, most people can get through basic training πŸ™‚ Really, though it’s true. It’s mind training and they have a way of tapping into our psyche to get the result that’s required. I’m one of those people who agree that all of our citizens should do at least 2 years. It would only make us that much better as human beings and citizens. But I could only take three years of being told when to eat, when to sleep, where to go… etc. Too independent for that. Let me tell you… I never felt more FREE than on the day I left it all behind! Good riddance. LOL!