By Chace Saumell

In a way it seems like 2011 flew by and yet when I try to think about the beginning of this year it seems like it was ages ago.

As all years go, there have been a lot of ups and downs. But this year has shown me a few things that have changed me.

I began a new job that I love in January.

By March, Sundown really started to take a shape into becoming the United front that we were shaping it to be and ending our year with our charity efforts for the Texas Food Bank.

In April, I lost one of my oldest and one of the most amazing friends I’ve ever known.

Jeff Willis rest in peace

Jeff Willis was the first person who ever told me I could write and encouraged me to do it to get my feelings out. Mostly because we would spend hours in class writing ridiculous stories but also because he was one of the few people I ever shared my pain with and he knew I could write before I did.

I actually ended up losing several relationships this year. Some to death, some to life circumstances, all painful in their own ways; but all of the loss and pain caused me to evaluate myself and my life and grow.

My kids are amazing and smart and funny and becoming way more independent. They make every day of my life more beautiful than I ever imagined it could be, simply because they are in it.

As far as my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was concerned, I was heading in the right direction and training harder than ever and learning more than I ever thought I could. I was becoming a viable threat on the mats and people were starting to take notice.

I survived the hottest summer in history. I can’t describe the type of heat and the duration of the heat that we endured here in the south but for those of you who happen to live in cooler climates, let’s just say the devil himself wouldn’t have visited Texas this summer.  It was utterly miserable.

Doing 2 a day workouts in the midst of this terrible summer while preparing for a competition, completely changed my body and mentally I became even stronger than I already was.

Then I got hurt.

For those of you that follow me on Facebook or Twitter or Sundown or any of the many ways we all find to look into each others lives, you have heard about my ACL injury.

This fraction of a second in my life has forever changed my outlook.

It might seem silly to some of you, but this one thing caused a ripple effect in my life that made me take a long hard look at so many things.

I saw that I am human and mortal and able to suffer in a way I never thought I would be susceptible to.

People often joke around with me by calling me a superhero. I usually laugh this off, because I know that I’m far from perfect and make my share of mistakes.

Trust me; I know I’m not a superhero. But somehow I guess I have never been face to face with how fragile I can be. I’m tough. I’m strong. I am driven. I don’t back down. I push myself hard ALWAYS in all things. And as anyone who knows me can tell you, I make things happen.

This injury, this seemingly insignificant speck of time affected me severely.

I had to rely on other people to take care of things that I’ve never had anyone do for me.

After my surgery, I couldn’t even put my clothes on, or get to the bathroom by myself or control my pain with sheer will power like I do in most cases. Everything in my life was beyond my control and I hated every thing about that every second of every day.

I have to say, I’ve never felt more depressed and miserable in my whole life. I was so angry and everything on the inside of me was heaving with rebellion. I tried not to show it, although I do know that I took some anger out on a few undeserving people. If any of you are reading this, I would like to apologize to you for the bad attitude and hurtful things that I said during this time.

All of these little things were just the icing on my crappy cake. The big things that I was missing out on were the worst.

I couldn’t train. I couldn’t control my weight with exercise. I couldn’t compete. I had to go watch my team mates compete while I sat on the sidelines and ache with a fervor I’ve never known before to be out there too.  I wish I had the words to describe to you the pity party I was having for myself.

You see, to me, needing help for anything, meant that I had failed. I wasn’t strong enough or smart enough or self sufficient enough to take care of everything myself.

I have taken care of myself most of my life. I’ve never had any help to speak of and I never would ask for it either. Needing help constituted weakness and come hell or high water, “weak” is not a word that I ever wanted anyone to use to describe me.

The strange thing is, I would be the first person to come to the rescue of any of my friends and never even entertain the idea that their needing help was a sign of weakness or incompetence.

I had this weird double standard that I was living by my whole life.

I was SO angry that I was placed in this situation.

I have never voiced that to anyone. The whole time I have been going through this ordeal, I have never come right out and said that I was so mad I could just beat the crap out of anything in my way. I have said that I was sad and depressed and upset but I never really voiced just how angry I was, not just about this situation but about several situations going on in my life. I was so pissed off I could hardly see straight.

During this time on my back, God got an earful from me constantly. Screaming obscenities at Him and asking Him why He would let this happen to me. Doesn’t He know who I am?

I realize now that He knows exactly who I am and exactly what I needed to come back to reality.

It wasn’t until I had surgery number 2 that I realized something that hadn’t occurred to me.

I am the luckiest girl on the planet.

Sure I don’t have everything I want and yeah my knee is jacked up temporarily.

But I was given this gift that I was so blinded by self pity before that I couldn’t see it.

I have awesome friends. I have so many people that love me and do things for me because they want to, I didn’t ask them to bring me dinner. I didn’t call someone and beg them to bring me movies to keep me busy. I didn’t have to tell my friends that I needed a Christmas tree, yet all of these things were provided for me.

I have this wonderful support system and while I am not blood related to any of them, they are my family nonetheless and I am so supremely blessed.

I am blessed by my church family, by my work family, by my friends who are all more like family than friends to me.

This injury also caused me to take a step back and look around at things that are important to me and try to reprioritize things in my life that are important to me.

I am looking forward to 2012 with a great deal of hope.

And with a little help from my friends and a lot of grace, I know that I can do anything.

I have learned that accepting the help of people that love me doesn’t mean I’m weak, it just means that I am allowing my friends to be a blessing to me the same way I would be for them if the situation were reversed.

2012 might even be the year that I finally achieve super hero status?

That which does not kill me, better start running.

Chace

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Written by The Sundown United

The SUNDOWN UNITED is a multi-faceted project that houses an apparel and accessories brand, and online-magazine(weblogs/articles). All ends of and begins with the Sundown United our trademark, lifestyle, attitude, and personal perspective on Americana art/lifestyle subculture.

6 comments

  1. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times. Control is an illusion….truly an illusion. The trick is to be thankful for that because having Someone in control is the most peaceful thing when you realize that God IS that person and always knows what we need, why we need it and even tho painful…that end result will be for our good. Love you Chacee!

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  2. This really made me stop and think, I hope you understand I never wanted to hurt our friendship, I could have handled things so much different. Great writing Chace, keep it up.

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  3. Stop making me cry, woman!!
    I am so so very proud of you for so many reasons. You have become a truly remarkable friend and I am very thankful for our friendship. I admire you in a lot of ways that you may never understand. Stay strong, sweet friend. Love you to pieces.
    xo- Jess

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  4. Great article Chase. I feel you on the part about having two standards for accepting help-those for yourself and those for others. I am glad that you are allowing yourself to grow.

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  5. Thank you Donna!
    Your words have humbled me.
    Thank you so much.
    I would love to be able to finally meet you this summer as well and introduce you to your Great Niece and Great Nephew.

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  6. OMGosh, Chace…. You had me in joyful tears because of the strength of your acceptance of humility, and that you put it out there for all to see. Next year I am coming to Texas to see family. I am surely hoping to meet you, at last. I used to tell my patients, who said they would rather kill themselves than let someone help them with bathroom needs, that even Jesus was not able to carry his own cross all the way to Golgotha… He showed the strength of humility in the acceptance of help. Girl, so have you. And you have shared this with all who will read this opening of your spirit which you’ve disploayed here.

    Your year has been amazing. In your talent for writing, you are opening others to examine their own ups and downs, and to evaluate the worth of a year in joy and pain of their own lives. You are teaching as well as learning, and showing the greatness of both. I am so happy for your talent of writing! You are a gift!!!

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