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I get Knocked Down, But I get up Again

I Get Knocked Down

(But I Get Up Again)

Copyright © Sydney Douglas Smith

 

 

Contact:

Email: dougandrubysmith@gmail.com

ISBN :

Shakespir Edition

I Get Knocked Down

(But I Get Up Again)

By

Sydney Douglas Smith

 

 

 

“I Get Knocked Down” was written by Duncan Bruce; Darren James Hamer; Nigel Hunter; Paul Greco; Louise Watts; Anne Holden; Allan Mark Whalley;judith Abbott.

We’ll be singing
when we’re winning
we’ll be singing

I get knocked down
But I get up again
you’re never going to keep me down

Pissing the night away
pissing the night away

He drinks a whiskey drink
He drinks a vodka drink
He drinks a lager drink
He drinks a cider drink

He sings the songs that remind him
of the good times
He sings the songs that remind him
of the better times

Oh, Danny boy, Danny boy, Danny boy

I get knocked down
But I get up again
you’re never going to keep me down

Pissing the night away
pissing the night away

He drinks a whiskey drink
He drinks a vodka drink
He drinks a lager drink
He drinks a cider drink

He sings the songs that remind him
Of the good times
He sings the songs that remind him
Of the better times

Don’t cry for me
Next door neighbor

I get knocked down
But I get up again
you’re never going to keep me down We’ll be singing
When we’re winning
we’ll be singing

 

FOREWORD

Tubthumping”, informally known by its prominent lyric “I Get Knocked Down”, is a song released by the British anarcho-punk band Chumbawamba on 11 August 1997. It was their most successful single, peaking at number two on the UK Singles Chart. It topped the charts in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy, and New Zealand and peaked at number six in the United States. It was also used as a theme song for Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves.

The term “tubthumper” is commonly used for someone, often a politician, seeming to “jump on the bandwagon” with a populist idea. The liner notes on the album Tubthumper, from which “Tubthumping” was the first single, put the song in a radical context, quoting a UK anti-road protester, Paris 1968 graffiti, details about the famous McLibel case and the short story “The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner”.

“Tubthumping” was placed at number 12 in Rolling Stone’s list of the 20 Most Annoying Songs Most recently, Matthew Wilkening of AOL Radio ranked the song at number 35 on the list of the 100 Worst Songs Ever, exclaiming as if in command, “Please, let’s all keep knocking [Chumbawamba] down. I don’t care what they say, eventually they’ll stay down for good.”

The band has performed the song with alternative lyrics on numerous occasions. When performing on the Late Show with David Letterman, a chant of “Free Mumia Abu-Jamal” accompanied only by a drumbeat preceded the final chorus. At the 1998 BRIT Awards, the band performed the song with the added line “New Labour sold out the dockers, just like they’ll sell out the rest of us” in protest at the New Labour government’s refusal to support the Liverpool dockers’ strike. A French version of the song was produced for the French-Canadian market.

The song was played as the Flight Day 4 “wake up call” during the final Space Shuttle STS-135 mission and flight of Atlantis in July 2011 for astronaut Sandy Magnus.

The band received an offer of $1.5 million from Nike to use the song in a World Cup Advertisement According to the band it took about “thirty seconds to say no.” They did, however, license the song to American video game company Electronic Arts for use as the opening theme of the game World Cup ’98, and in television advertisements for the National Accident Helpline, a profit-making firm specialising in personal injury lawyers.

This “Tubthumping” song “I get knocked down, but I get up again” or just a couple of the lines of it really seems to be my theme song in life.

The one line “I get up again” encourages me so much, it reminds me that in spite of everything that life throws at me, no matter who in life hurts me, even when circumstances are against me, no matter how many times I get knocked down I am not dead (yet) so I get up again. Spiritually I am aware that God is ultimately the one responsible for getting me back up again and so the song for me says “I get Knocked down, He gets me up again”, “He’s never gonna leave me down”.

Not always ready to defeat whatever knocked me down, but I do get up!

I haven’t always learned the lesson that I should have, but I got up!

I may be going to be knocked down again, but I will get up!

In other words, “You are never going to keep me down”.

Life isn’t meant to be easy, it’s meant to be LIVED. Sometimes good, other times rough. But with every up and down, you learn lessons that make you STRONGER. (Unknown)

The other way I have learned to look at this fact, is that I know that at least some of the times that I have been knocked down, I didn’t have what was required to just get back up again and face life.

Yet I got up again!

In this book, I will share with you some inspirational stories of my own as well as other people’s experiences of resilience and what I call “bouncebackability”, some poems, anecdotes, quotes and practical lessons to apply to your life to help you learn to brush yourself off and get back up again.

I am not proud of everything I have done, but I have done some things of which I can be proud. I ask those whom I have knocked down in life to please forgive me for the bad things I did to you.

I hold no grudges, nor harbour any animosity toward people who have hurt me or “knocked me down”, in fact I pray to God that he will give me the ability to forgive and love you.

This is my story and I am telling the facts as I remember them. They are real. Sometimes when I remember them I cry, sometimes I can laugh, sometimes I recall the lessons, but the thing that dwells the most is the love that I have felt.

Thank you to my wife Ruby who has stuck with me through a great deal of hurt, especially before I became a Christian and learned to love her.

I love all of my children and grand-children and I love all Ruby’s children and grand-children who I consider to be my own. Though at times some of us have not been as close as I would have wanted and this certainly not by my design.

God bless and keep you all and give you the resilience you need to get up when you are down.

Sydney Douglas Smith.

Have you ever got to the other side of a really hard time in your life, a time when you didn’t know what to do and how you would get through it all and then all of a sudden it is over and you think to yourself “I don’t know how I got through that, but I did?”

I have and that is probably why the following is one of my favorite poems.

TEXT: 2 Corinthians 4:8, 9

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”

As we come to this message it is the last five words of verse 9 that I want us to think about: “cast down, but not destroyed.” “We may be knocked down but we are never knocked out.” The Living Bible has it: “We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.” Now those words express the exact thought and meaning of what the Apostle Paul is trying to get across to us. Paul was knocked to the ground many times, but he was never permanently grounded. Through all the trials, struggles and failures God always, through Christ, gave him the strength to get up and get back in the race.  

It is interesting to note the contrast between Paul’s OUTWARD CIRCUMSTANCES and INWARD COMFORT. Outwardly “troubled on every side,” inwardly “not distressed.” Outwardly “perplexed,” but inwardly “not in despair.” Outwardly “persecuted,” but inwardly “not forsaken.” Outwardly “cast down,” but inwardly “not destroyed.” As with Paul so with us. When faced with defeat, we too can have the inner strength through Christ to turn failure into victory.  

To all of you who have experienced an agonizing defeat, because of whatever reason, listen to these words: You may be at the end of your ROPE, but you are not at the end of your HOPE. You may be down in the deep ditches of defeat and despair, but you need not stay there. Through Christ you can get up again and go on. As someone has put it: “Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.” When we are at our worst, God is at His best. When we are down, God is up. When we can’t, God can. When we are at rock bottom, God begins to work. It’s true! Look at the record.  

Adam was down, but God lifted him. Jacob was down, but God lifted him. Joseph was down, but God lifted him. Moses was down, but God lifted him. David was down, but God lifted him. Samson was down, but God lifted him. Peter was down, but God lifted him. The whole history of mankind testifies to the fact that God is the great LIFTER. He is the great FIXER. He fixes broken hearts, broken hopes, broken homes and broken health. There is not a problem that Christ cannot fix. He brings beauty out of ugly situations.

Lisa Curry said, “In life, we all get knocked down. The winner gets up, the loser stays down.

While you keep getting up, you’re never defeated.”

Butterflies are Free by Meredith Murray

It is hard for me to believe it has been five years since my near-fatal car accident. On June 20, 1995, my life was changed forever.

I think of my experience as a metamorphosis, like that of a caterpillar into a butterfly. My cocoon was my coma; my recovery was my metamorphosis. My transformation took five stages: the Egg, the Caterpillar, the Cocoon, Emerging from the Chrysalis, and the Butterfly.

Like the butterfly, I am unique. I look different. I cannot do many things I was able to do before my transformation. Yet, I am still the same person. The same name. The same body. And parallel to a butterfly’s entity, I have undergone a complete change.

The Egg

I am not proud of my choices and my life before June 20, 1995. I do not have reasons or excuses for my self-destructive behavior. From ages 13 to 25, I did most everything a parent would not want their child to do. If you can imagine it, I did it. The remarkable thing is, somehow, I survived the drugs, the abuse, and the suicide attempts. My scars are emotional and psychological, as well as tangible. I was submerged in an abyss I had created for myself. My self-esteem was so low at this time, I believed I was ugly and worthless. I rationalized that I would be better off dead.

The Caterpillar

The night of my accident, I was driving on a two-lane, desert road late at night. There were no street lights. All that was visible was the moon shadows across the desert, as far as the eye could see.

As the road curved, I saw only the headlights of the 16-wheeler coming toward me, in my lane. I quickly veered to the right, but my wheels went off the road and onto the soft-shoulder. My brand new Ford Escort went into a skid. My car flipped, end over end, four times and threw me 100 feet into the sagebrush and sand.

I remember nothing. I can only describe what happened because I read the police report. I cannot remember the paramedics trying to resuscitate me as I lay helpless and limp like a caterpillar on the ground. I have no recollection of the helicopter that airlifted me, with no vital signs, to the hospital.

Where did I go? Was I dead? What did I see when I flat lined? These are all questions that remain unanswered in my head. Will I ever know the truth? Does a caterpillar remember what it was like to be larvae after it transforms into a butterfly?

The Cocoon

My family often calls to mind the extraordinary feelings of joy they felt when I finally emerged from my week-long comatose slumber. I imagine it was like witnessing a caterpillar coming out of its cocoon, changing from one life form into another. I was transforming into a new form of myself.

When the doctor’s removed my ventilator, I struggled and gasped for air with every breath. I wonder if a newborn baby feels that way what it takes its first breath of life? I had no short term memory. I saw an object in the corner of the room. It looked like a big box, but there were little people laughing and walking around inside of it. A lot of noise was coming from this strange machine. My visitors were watching it. What was it called? They told me what the name was. It was like hearing the word “television” for the first time.

It did not feel like I was really me. I touched my head and part of my hair had been shaved so the doctors could drill a hole into my skull. They implanted a gauge that measured the pressure in my brain. It stayed there for a week. I could hear myself talking, but I did not know where the words were coming from. It was such a strange experience.

Nothing happened when I tried to move my left arm and leg. They were there, but they did not respond. I do remember the pain. The excruciating pain. I could not sleep at night. When I moved the pain was unbearable. It even hurt when I blinked my eyes.

My body was not working. I am told I could not hold on to anything. When they put something in my hand, it would just drop open. It was not receiving the messages my brain was sending. Or maybe my brain was not sending any messages.

My brain was not retaining information either. People would tell me things and I would forget what they said, or even if they said anything. I did not know where I was, who called, or who visited. I was very distressed. All day long I cried.

Nevertheless, I do have one memory of this time. July 1, 1995 at 3:15 AM, I fell out of my hospital bed. The nurses forgot to put the guard rails up. I woke up, and not remembering where I was or why, I tried to get out of bed. I fell to the floor and smashed my head on my wheelchair which was parked next to my bed.

I recall seeing flashes of light and silver when my head hit the floor. I remained on the floor for 20 minutes because the nurse had closed my door and no one could hear my cries for help. I was unable to move because the pain from my broken pelvis was so intense.

Finally, I tortuously crawled to the emergency button and pushed it. The nurses found me on the floor. They were only checking me every two hours. It was not written on my chart that I had a brain injury and very little short-term memory! This was an extremely demoralizing experience and a major set-back in my recovery.

Emerging from the Chrysalis

At last, one month after flat lining three times, surviving a week-long coma, and persevering through maltreatment at the convalescent home I was placed in to recover, I was transferred to a rehabilitation institute. Here, I received speech, physical, psycho, occupational, and vocational therapies.

Depression occurs in 15-25% of all Brain Injury Survivors. Notwithstanding all of the help I was now receiving, I became agitated, angry, disappointed, irritable, guilty, and frustrated. Intense psychotherapy helped me cope with these feelings, maintain a sense of self-worth, and ultimately realize and become grateful for my second chance at life. It was a journey of rediscovery.

I still had some residual effects from the accident, but I was now in the proper state of mind to take on my challenges. I was diagnosed with “post traumatic amnesia” (no memory eight days after the accident) and “retrograde amnesia” (no memory two-three weeks prior to the accident).

I had problems processing information and problem solving. The doctors told me I would require constant supervision once I was released from the hospital. My memory was tested on a scale from 1-100. I was in the 18th percentile. Before the accident, I was tested and evaluated as “gifted.”

A big problem I encountered was difficulty with word finding. This complication, I have learned, is called “anomia.” Anomia, more simply, is when your brain holds your words hostage. My anomia was a very frustrating component of my recovery.

The Butterfly

I learned that growth is not possible without risk. I learned strategies to help assist me through my challenges. I learned that it is not what happens to you that is important, but how you react to that which happens. My outlook on life was transformed. I now look for the good, or the lesson, in every situation and try to turn a negative into a positive.

I currently live independently, in charge of my own life. I have made peace with the new me. As a matter of fact, I like the new Meredith and my new life better. This experience has caused me to evaluate and determine what is important in my life and to change some of my destructive behaviors. Over the last two years, I have worked with disabled people in several group homes. I currently work as a “Neuro Rehabilitation Specialist” for a wonderful community/job retraining company for brain injury survivors. I have also trained my dog to become a “therapy dog.” We volunteer at hospital and convalescent homes in order to bring happiness to the patients.

I have taken a traumatic life occurrence and turned it into a rewarding metamorphosis. I am so thankful and happy that I am alive today. Whenever I see a butterfly soar by, I cannot help but think how much my life resembles these magnificent creatures. I am so free, so courageous, so beautiful! Just like the miraculous butterfly.

What is a knock down? It’s not uncommon to have life circumstances knock you down. So much is out of your control. The people who ran in the Boston Marathon, or came to watch it, didn’t expect a bomb to go off. People get knocked down in other ways every day. It can make you want to stay in and avoid life. Or you may want to run away from your life when something that meant a lot to you goes pear shape. For example:

*
p<>{color:#222;}. You put your hopes into getting the perfect job you applied for and someone else gets it.

*
p<>{color:#222;}. Your romantic partner leaves you.

*
p<>{color:#222;}. You’re in an accident that leaves you injured and it interferes with your ability to work.

*
p<>{color:#222;}. Your business fails.

*
p<>{color:#222;}. Your investments lose their value

*
p<>{color:#222;}. You lose your home.

Many people are going through tough times as the economy continues to knock us all down a bit. It’s how you handle it that counts. It’s your decision to let it break you or to get up when you get knocked down. Life isn’t over until it’s over. Plenty of boxers get knocked down over and over but get up –often bruised and bloody—and get that one punch in that wins the match. If you stay down, it’s hard to come back swinging. If you feel like life is knocking you down, stand up and yell:

I’m still here!!!”

You’re still here. You didn’t die from what happened. Maybe your ego or sense of security did but you’re still here. And while you’re still here you can pick yourself up and do your best to move on from the knockout punch life gave you. You can lie there and retreat into misery or depression or remember that you’re still here and can find your way out of it.

Steve Jobs said “Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.”

There are always options. There will be other job opportunities and romantic partners, you can heal from your accident, you can save to start another business and rent a home for a while. I know it might not be easy to get through it but if you keep your faith strong and affirm, “Things are getting better,” they will. It’s your choice to wallow in the darkness of how your situation makes you feel or let the light of faith in.

My 1st Knock Down

I must have been all of 10 years old. I had come to New Mills in the school holidays to stay with my older sister Doris and her husband Brian. We had moved to Manchester a few years before and I resented the move and had become a bit of a rebel. My big sister had my respect and so my parents packed me up and sent me off to stay with her.

 

I had a friend Michael, who lived just up the road when we lived in New Mills and my sister let me go for the day to play with him. We had gone down through the fields from his place and had spent an hour or so putting stones on the railway line and waiting for the trains to come along and turn the stones into powder, something fraught with danger but we didn’t realise it at the time.

 

We were on our way back and we came across some older boys who started to push and bully us and the chip on my shoulder wasn’t making it any better because I exchanged insult for insult and gave as good as I got. I kicked one of them in the shin and in the ensuing struggle Michael got away and ran as fast as he could toward home,

 

So that left me with four really big teenage boys who wanted to exact revenge on me and they did. The actual memory of what followed is blurred but I can remember bits and pieces like being hit around the head several times, being urinated on and being forced to eat what I think was dog faeces (poo). I am not sure how long it lasted but eventually they tired of it and left me. I remember vomiting all the way back to my sister’s place and washing up at the tap outside before going in. I didn’t tell anyone about this for a long time because of the sense of shame that I felt.

 

I hated Michael for not bringing help back that day. I didn’t see him until about 40 years afterward when I took my wife Ruby from Australia back to the UK but I never mentioned it to him and I guess I had forgiven him because I know I was pleased to see him.

 

I don’t know how long it took me to get over that day but I did. I was knocked down for a time but my life lesson had started and I got up again, I was to learn resilience.

I would need it for my future.

When it comes to entrepreneurism, most people focus on the success of a product or service rather than the process of how it was built. One of the key ingredients towards being a success as an entrepreneur, or having success in any form, is how you respond when you encounter failure.

 

As I have found, the worst thing you can do is make the same mistake twice.

 

So, when you get knocked down, do you get up again?

 

Look at Jan Koum and Brian Acton, the founders of WhatsApp. After leaving their jobs at Yahoo!, the two looked to further their careers by applying for jobs at Facebook. Neither received an offer. How did they respond? They went on to build a messaging service with no ads and no gimmicks (a big differentiator in the crowded mobile app marketplace) and their company was just bought by Facebook for $19 billion. That’s quite a turnaround.

 

How many times have you gotten knocked down in life and how long does it take you to get back up? Do you blame others for your pitfalls and do nothing about it? Or, do you know what it takes to build yourself back up?

 

We’re all going to get knocked down, but that never means we can’t have success. The most successful people in life almost always experience failure on some level.

 

In sports, there’s Derek Jeter. In his first full season of professional baseball, Derek led the South Atlantic League with 56 errors. He contemplated quitting, but has gone on to become one of the greatest baseball players in the history of the sport.

 

How about in politics? Abraham Lincoln – His family was forced out of their home at the age of 7 and he had to work to support them. He failed in business at 22. He ran for state legislature and lost. He had a nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months after his fiancé died. After making it to the state legislature, he ran for Congress three times. Lost. Then won. Then lost his bid for re-election. Ran for Senate. Lost. Ran again. Lost. Then, he was elected president of the United States and become one of the most beloved figures in American history.

Great Quotes

 

And don’t forget, even if you reach the pinnacle of your profession, failure is still all around you. How do you respond?

 

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Michael Jordan

I feel ups and downs are a part of one’s career, and this totally depends on how you take it. You can either be knocked down by the negative things, or you can take it in a positive way and learn from it. Deepika Padukone

 

If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good. Thomas J. Watson

The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That’s real glory. That’s the essence of it. Vince Lombardi

I used to think like Moses. That knocked me down for a couple years and put me in prison. Then I start thinking like Job. Job waited and became the wealthiest and richest man ever ‘cause he believed in God. James Brown

I’ve had some wins. And been knocked down with defeats. Glimpsed views from the top of the mountain. And walked through the darkest of valleys. But through this entire ride called ‘a life’ – I’ve refused to give up. Robin S. Sharma

If one dream dies, dream another dream. If you get knocked down, get back up and go again.

Joel Osteen

 

It is such a cut-throat industry where you get knocked down so much and get rejected so much. If you do not back yourself up, no one else is going to so you really need to learn to get up, shake the sand off your chest and keep going. Alex O’Loughlin

Sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you have ever been, to stand up taller than you ever were. Anon

 

Testicular cancer was the best thing that could have happened

Lance Armstrong’s story

 

When Lance Armstrong, spoke at a conference in Portland, Oregon, after he won the 1999 Tour de France bicycle race, he said to the audience: “If I had to choose between getting testicular cancer and winning the Tour de France, I would choose testicular cancer.”

 

Born September 18, 1971, Lance was raised by his mother Linda, a single parent, in Plano, Texas. Lance won the Iron Kids Triathlon at 13 and became a triathlete when he was just 16 years old. By the time Lance was a senior in high school he had many cycling sponsors and was training with the Junior National Cycling Team. After high school he won the U.S. Amateur Championship and joined Motorola, the top U.S. cycling team.

 

In 1993, he led Motorola to a No. 5 world ranking, the first time any US team had ranked so high in the world. In the next three years Lance established himself as the top U.S. racer. Headlines described him as the “DuPont Dominator” and “The Golden Boy of American Cycling.” When offered a very attractive contract to join the French Cofidis cycling team, one of the best in Europe, he left Motorola.

 

Lance started 1996 winning the Tour DuPont and the Fleche Wallonne. But in early October, he was diagnosed with an advanced form of testicular cancer. It had spread to his abdomen, lungs, and brain. Chances for his recovery were 50/50. Frightened, but determined, Lance began the most aggressive form of chemotherapy available. It weakened him and he lost over 20 pounds, but he had a deep well of reserves and the unconditional support of family and close friends. Confides, however, following the news of his illness, terminated his contract with them.

 

When tests showed that the chemotherapy was working, Lance allowed his thoughts to return to racing. Lance affiliated with the United States Postal Service Pro Cycling team and began training only five months after his diagnosis. Lance was declared cancer-free in 1997.

In 1998, Lance officially returned to professional cycling, wearing a United States Postal Service jersey. After an uncertain early season, he proved he was back in form towards the end of the year, winning a stage race and placing 4th in the World Championships.

 

In 1999, the world witnessed the greatest comeback in sports history as Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France, the most grueling sporting event in the world, a three week bicycle race of over 2200 miles through the most rugged mountains in France, Italy, and Spain.

 

In July, 2000, Lance again led the United States Postal Service team to a victory in the Tour de France, making Lance one of very few cyclists to win twice in a row.

 

Lance says the cancer left him scarred physically and emotionally, but says it was an unexpected gift. Throughout his life-threatening ordeal, Lance knew his priorities were changing. His physical well-being, something that had never been challenged, was suddenly fragile. His ordeal made him fully appreciate the blessings of good health, a loving family, and close friends. Lance described his bout with cancer as “a special wake-up call.”

 

As the world watched him ride day after day in the 1999 and 2000 Tour de France he became a hero. Every day he gave hope and inspiration to millions of people facing their own adversity. Many people say “If Armstrong could come back from this, maybe I can too.”

Lance says his illness may have been the best thing that could have happened. He gained a perspective earned only after enduring an experience like his. He is now motivated not only to win bike races, but to compete every day for the gift of life; his own life as well as the lives of others.

 

Lance has established The Lance Armstrong Foundation, an organization devoted to cancer research and helping people survive cancer. More information about Lance Armstrong and his Foundation can be found at: http://www.lancearmstrong.com.

A Punch or a Knock Down

 

Before I share my next stories, I want to clarify the difference between a knock down and a punch in life.

 

A punch is something that hurts but you recover from it quickly, you get to roll with the punches so to speak. When my parents migrated to Australia, I got a job in a wire works at age 13 and because I still had that chip on my shoulder I had my head put down the toilet and the chain flushed, it happened several times and they were just punches. All that was hurt was my pride.

 

When I was rejected by a girl or dumped by another they were punches that hurt but I still recovered and went on to meet a girl who I would later marry.

 

When life punches you in this way you know you will not fall down and most times you know you can roll with the punches.

 

A knock down on the other hand is something that changes your life forever, something that takes part of you with it and you learn a lesson (or should do) while you are down and when you get up you apply the lesson/s learned to the rest of your life.

 

I had lots of punches, I wasn’t a bad young person, but I got into lots of trouble, some even with the police.

 

I could blame it on the fact that I was mixing with the wrong crowd but that wasn’t true most of the time. Sometimes I just did the wrong thing for the attention, other times it was that chip on my shoulder again. As a young boy sadly I stole, lied, cheated until I finally got caught by the right person and learned a big lesson about the chip on my shoulder.

 

I grew up with two older sisters, Doris & Betty and whilst I was closest to Doris I was still very close to betty. When my brothers Neil and Norman were born, I remained close to my sisters while my brothers grew close to each other. When my sisters grew older, married and left home I was quite lonely and spent many hours walking the old Roman walls in the hills behind my oldest sister’s house instead of going to school.

 

Of course, looking at this situation now with hindsight the insight gained from having done applied psychology and counselling courses shows me that my loneliness was self-made and no matter how many times I tried I had convinced myself that “I didn’t fit in”

 

When my dad’s stepfather “Otto” died (we knew him as Granddad) my parents moved the family from our home in New Mills where we were happy. To Higher Blackley in Manchester to look after Granddad’s wife “aunty Elsie”. I resented having to live with an old lady, away from all my friends, away from my older sister and her husband who both loved and spoiled me.

I resented this move so much that my behaviour became abhorrent, I treated all types of authority with contempt, I wagged school regularly, treated my aunty with contempt even though she showed me much love. I remember on one occasion she had tried to give me a mandolin which was a beautiful and I realise now a valuable antique instrument which I just threw to the floor smashing it in pieces.

 

I remember the hurt look on her face and after that I knew she loved me. However following this she didn’t try so hard to get me to accept her. The consequences of what I had done resulted in my being sent to stay with my sister for the holidays and of course that was when I had my number one knockdown which of course I thoroughly deserved.

 

Now of course, I am sadder because I know I could have learned an awful lot from her if I had accepted her love. I pray that she forgives me for the pain I caused her, especially in the light of the fact that she had just lost her husband not long before.

 

When I was 12 aunty Elsie died. In 1960 my parents began the process of applying to immigrate to Australia and we sailed from Southampton in March 1961. It was an exciting trip, fellow passengers were the Gibb family, (the Bee Gees). One of my favorite memories was knocking Barry into the pool during the greasy pole competition crossing the equator. We arrived 6 weeks later in Sydney then travelled by steam train to Brisbane. We stayed with my sister Betty and her family. They had migrated some 12 months before we did.

 

Within a few weeks, I started my 1st job at Persky’s Wire Works, making bird cages. Soon after that we had moved into a Housing Commission home in Inala west of Brisbane.

 

The chip on my shoulder got me in lots of trouble with my younger fellow workers resulting in several times getting my head thrust into the toilet and the chain pulled. Fortunately I had inherited a good work ethic and learned to lose my “Pommy accent” and became known as a good worker. I stayed at the Wire Works for 3 years until I got a job with Dad at a lolly works, boiling sugar.

 

At 17 I got caught with my hands in someone else’s pocket by a Salvationist, a Christian man who both my dad and I worked for, he involved the police. I was charged and punished however the worst part was that I had embarrassed my father who I loved a great deal.

 

I did receive some counselling which helped to show me the reason I had that chip on my shoulder. It was difficult to stay at that job so I left and started working loading trucks for a transport company.

 

Throughout this stage of my life I rolled with the punches, the chip on my shoulder melted and I became a quieter young man who respected other people, remembered the values and manners that my family had modelled for me.

 

 

 

Skating, Engagement and Marriage

 

By late 1961, I had made a few friends and we would often get up to mischief together and one of our regular haunts was the local roller skating rink. I enjoyed skating and was quite good at it. They were always advertising for rink supervisors who would run the games and look after skater’s safety.

 

These were happy times for me and though I didn’t know it then I had a gift of being able to influence people and in some aspects, I was a teacher. Skaters looked up to me, my friends respected me and even though I was quiet and shy, I always had someone to talk to. The manager of the skating rink had even made me the head rink supervisor.

 

There was a mousy blonde, attractive girl who came skating every weekend and I liked her, but my shyness kept me from approaching her. One Saturday at the afternoon session my friend David went up and told her that I liked her and she said she liked me.

 

We skated together every Saturday afternoon for weeks, then I asked her to go to the movies with me, after that Kay became a priority in my life. We were 16, born one year and two days apart and became constant companions, her father didn’t like me because I was a POM but we stayed together and got engaged as soon as we turned 18. I guess I must have grown on her father a bit because I got a job working at the brick works where he worked and the money was much better. Kay worked at a suit factory in Brisbane and we both worked hard so we could save for getting married.

 

We got married on 9th April 1965 at Saint Matthews church, in Sherwood, Brisbane. I had turned 19 and Kay 18 in August 1964 so we didn’t need parental permission. We had bought a VW Beetle on a secured loan with Custom Credit and we were paying it off on time. We honeymooned at Caloundra on the north coast.

 

When we returned, we rented a house at Ellen-Grove and were there for just over a year. On our 1st wedding anniversary we had a party and Kay had a big argument with her father and her family stopped talking with us and this relationship never really healed.

 

We kept working and Kay got pregnant in January and our beautiful daughter “Lynne Annette” was born on 8th September 1967. We moved into a flat at Darra, mainly to save money to buy a home of our own which was more a dream of Kay’s than mine. Kay’s parents still were distant and had not met our daughter Lynne but she had the love of my parents who were so proud to have her in their lives.

 

When Lynne was about 1 year old my Parents moved to Darwin to be closer to my sister Betty, Brothers Neil, Norm and their families.

 

My 2nd, Knock Down

 

We had new neighbors, Tony & Jill move in to the flat next door. Jill was close to our age but her partner was some years older. Jill grew to love our baby girl and was a constant companion to Kay and Lynne.

 

Tony was wanting to travel and Jill to settle down.Tony shared with me that Jill was very wealthy and if I agreed that we would go with them he would make sure that my bills were paid and we as a family were financially secure.

 

We sold the VW which was still secured and all our furniture and off we went. We started off in a Jeep that he had bought for the trip and changed vehicles several times over the next few months.

 

Using some of our savings plus lots of Jill’s money which I learned was coming from shares that Tony was convincing her to sell to finance us we tried our hand at sapphire mining, Kangaroo shooting and ended up on a dairy farm at Eumundi in Queensland.

 

Kay and I worked hard, milking cows, driving the tractor and truck, maintaining equipment while Tony purchased new toys such as a crawler tractor and guns and a new 4WD all the time Jill was looking after our little girl while Kay helped me around the farm.

 

Over dinner one evening Tony suggested that Kay find a job off the farm to help to contribute to our keep and Jill would look after Lynne full time. Something just didn’t feel right and it sounded like they were trying to take our baby away from us so we said no as soon as we could the next day.

 

Things seemed alright but about two weeks later two detectives came and arrested me for False Pretenses for selling the VW while it was still under finance. I appeared in court the next day and was fined $2000, ordered to pay the finance company $3500, the car yard that purchased the car $1500 and then given 12 months’ probation.

 

Kay told me after court that Tony had given us bus fare back to Brisbane and we were not welcome to go back to the farm. (Unless we changed our mind about letting Jill have the baby).

 

Tony spent about $300,000 of Jill’s money during that six months. Kay and I were not paid for our work on the farm and the bills which Tony were going to look after were not paid, including the payments on the VW of course.

Knocked down was an understatement. We arrived in Brisbane that evening with a striped bag of clothes each plus a pram and bassinette, with less than $300 in the bank, no furniture, no food and nowhere to go. My parents were living in Darwin and Kay’s parents were not talking to us.

 

We spent that first night in a hotel room, and while Kay went to welfare agencies the next day I looked for work.

 

I got a job truck driving, to start the following week and we got assistance from an agency to move into a furnished flat.

 

It took a long time to come back but we did, I worked every hour of overtime I could, I worked at a second job loading milk trucks and we eventually got enough to move into a rented house with second hand furniture.

 

My fine and most of the restitution was paid and we were looking for a cheap car.

 

On February 20th 1969 our 1st son Brian Adrian was born.

 

Through careless judgment, I got not just myself, but my family knocked down, big time. We nearly lost everything including our baby girl. But we got up again, regained our self-respect and made new friends.

 

We learned lessons, like how important we were to each other and that our bills are just that -they are our bills we pay them ourselves in person no matter what and you don’t own it until you’ve paid the final payment!

 

 

Do you have Bouncebackability?

 

Do you remember those punching bag toys that used to bounce back at you when you hit them?  No matter how hard you tried to get them to fall down, they kept popping back up at you, sometimes even hitting you in the face… ouch.

 

(Check out the picture below, if you have no idea what us oldies are laughing at.)

 

Bouncebackability is something that is inherently within us.  Consider a child that can take a tumble and pop right back up and keep on going.  They might get upset, angry or scared, yet after only a few moments and words of comfort they are off again on their next adventure.

 

As a child, Bouncebackability is what stops a punch from becoming a knock down, Bouncebackability is the ability to “Roll with the punches” that stays with us, sometimes right through to our late teens and then we seem to lose it to a great extent and an even greater pity.

 

So what happened to us [*as adults? We become burdened by the world around us, we worry too much about the opinions and influences of others, and we become fearful and withdrawn.   Of course, after a few life traumas (Knock Downs) we can become a little hesitant and rightly so. *]

 

The skill is to learn how to manage your reactions to life’s knock downs (punches) and find your Bouncebackability again!

 

 

 

[*What gives you your Bouncebackability? *]

Overcoming “Victimitis” by David Pendlum

 

It is quite difficult to lay out any given step-by-step process of how I overcame what I like to call “victimitis.” The nearest I can come to a “step-by-step” process is by analogy, the grieving/recovery process one goes through in losing a loved one. The process actually began at a very early age, and it took a few decades of life to truly make headway in moving from “victim” to “survivor.” So, if I ramble in what follows, please forgive me.

 

First, there was the overwhelmingly deep, dark well of depression, sadness, grief, and the feeling that there was no light and there never would be light in my life. This step I would describe as being “in the throes” of victimhood, a vicious cycle of morbid sadness and intense anger at the world, and the constant feeling that “nobody loves me or cares, I am an outcast of the human race” that seemed to be non-ending.

 

This is the predominant memory of my childhood years. When I reflect on my own experience, I surmise that most individuals go through a similar type process who are stigmatized by any event/circumstance that is beyond their control. I am thinking of individuals who are stigmatized because of their race, their religion, their dialect, an addiction, etc., etc.

 

My reasoning stems from my very strong identity with minority groups; I feel much more comfort with and have a natural affinity towards non-Caucasian individuals, especially those of unique ethnic and cultural backgrounds, than my own "white" culture. When I reflect on the reason why, I think it probably relates to a deep sub-conscious identity with these individuals and their struggles -- by analogy, I have walked a mile in their shoes, so to speak.

 

I would have to say the second step for me was denial -- denial that I was born with a unique challenge, denial that I was different from others, denial that I didn't really fit in with the "in-crowd," in spite of endless taunts and mockery by children, and in some cases adults, when I was growing up. Part of the denial process involved the mental-emotional coping/survival process of rationalization.

 

God blessed me with a good mind, and I put it to good use. By the time, I reached grade 5, I had read every single book in the elementary school library, and the two librarians and teachers were lending me books from their personal libraries to read. Essentially, I denied my condition and survived the mental-emotional anguish of growing up with a very serious speech impediment and distorted facial features from a cleft palate by hiding myself in books.

 

I also should add that I grew up on a hill farm in Appalachia on the edge of Daniel Boone National Forest, and another escape for me was Mother Nature. While my siblings and neighbor children were learning the art of hunting, the same animals that would elude them were eating out of my hand because they knew I wouldn’t harm them. That gave me a tremendous sense of joy. Yet another survival tool during this period—and throughout my recovery—was an unfailing faith in God that continues to this day.

Today, I see my life a series of both small and large miracles, and I firmly believe that Divine Providence intervened repeatedly through the years to ensure I was in the right place at the right time.

 

Throughout this whole process was a cross-current of intense anger. I was angry at myself for having been born, I was angry at God for bringing me into the world with a physical handicap and for all the years of suffering the taunts and the jeers, the many surgeries to physically correct the birth anomaly, etc. The anger was by far the biggest hurdle for me to overcome in moving from victimhood to survivor. It wasn’t until I got through Graduate School and came to work in Washington, DC for the Federal Government that I really made headway in anger management.

 

I owe a large debt of gratitude to a lady friend who came to work in my office shortly after I did, and I am certain the hand of God was involved here, as well. She is a survivor herself, and we immediately established a strong repertoire and became close friends. One thing true friends will do is tell you the truth you need to hear.

 

She pointed out to me that I was creating my own state of misery by living out my life in “the rearview mirror.” I was yet hanging onto my self-image as an “ugly duckling,” and was using that as an excuse to stay nestled safely in the emotional cocoon of victimhood. This lady emphatically and repeatedly told me that she was not going to let me get away with the “poor me, ugly duckling” act anymore, and that is precisely the kick in the seat of the pants I needed. I sought and found a therapist who specializes in intense emotional trauma release work, and through this process I began to release 30 years of bottled up anger, fear, and sorrow.

 

Through this process, I realized that I had internalized much of my grief feelings, which had been transformed into internalized anger—the light bulb message was, “I am not angry at others for their transgressions against me, I am angry at myself for choosing to internalize all the grief and anger that I felt as a result of those perceived wrongs.”

 

It was during this self-healing process that I decided to take advantage of the latest advances in medical technology. I sought out and located a highly skilled medical team (oral surgeon, prosthodontist, and orthodontist), who laid out a reconstructive process (5-years in duration: March, 1991, to February, 1996) that totally corrected the physical anomaly. It was a painful process to go through, physically, mentally, and emotionally, but a very enriching one in that I came out on the other end feeling a “whole” person.

 

***

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I get Knocked Down, But I get up Again

In this book, I will share with you some inspirational stories of my own as well as other people’s experiences of resilience and what I call "bouncebackability", some poems, anecdotes, quotes and practical lessons to apply to your life to help you learn to brush yourself off and get back up again. I am not proud of everything I have done, but I have done some things of which I can be proud. I ask those whom I have knocked down in life to please forgive me for the bad things I did to you. I hold no grudges, nor harbor any animosity toward people who have hurt me or "knocked me down", in fact I pray to God that he will give me the ability to forgive and love you. This is my story and I am telling the facts as I remember them. They are real. Sometimes when I remember them I cry, sometimes I can laugh, sometimes I recall the lessons, but the thing that dwells the most is the love that I have felt. Thank you to my wife Ruby who has stuck with me through a great deal of hurt, especially before I became a Christian and learned to love her. I love all of my children and grand-children and I love all Ruby's children and grand-children who I consider to be my own. Though at times some of us have not been as close as I would have wanted and this certainly not by my design. God bless and keep you all and give you the resilience you need to get up when you are down. Sydney Douglas Smith.

  • ISBN: 9781370069101
  • Author: Sydney Douglas Smith
  • Published: 2017-05-03 00:20:21
  • Words: 46308
I get Knocked Down, But I get up Again I get Knocked Down, But I get up Again