Post by Mandii Rider on May 12, 2023 20:34:39 GMT -5
Six Months Ago...
The crisp cool air of the Canadian Rockies felt like heaven on my skin as I exited the gas station that seemed to be warding off frosty the snowman. It had been years since I left the states and returned home without wrestling being the reason for my return. Home; this place never felt like home...I wasn't even sure what home was anymore; a place, a person, a memory? I had always believed home was a safe place to run to when the demons were chasing you. Home was where you could lay your head and rest easily. Home was everything this place wasn't.
Home was the ring, companies that I kept finding myself back at even when I said I was done. I grew up around the ring, it was the only constant in my life since I was six. Although there were regrettably grim aspects to my career in the ring it was my home. No matter where I was in my life, no matter the struggles I was facing, the ring was always a place I felt safe; I felt like me. I'd fought my whole life so it only made sense that I felt safe in a place that wasn't appraised for being safe. I suppose I am a flightless bird because when it comes to flight or fight I seem to be stuck in fight mode.
Home was a person, in fact, home has been many people to me at different times in my life. Home was Jason, my brother, my savior when I was a kid. He kept the abuse away but then he left, he left me alone in a home with a mother who didn't care and a father who beat, abused, and used me. Later, he was home again but now he's gone forever, six feet under and the only solace I have is that he isn't in pain anymore. Jeremy, my cousin, was home when he saved me. For ten years I followed him around from venue to venue until I decided to make the ring home, like he had. Then home was Marcus Haven, my first love and now ex-husband. Marcus was my father in every aspect but I hadn't noticed until it was too late. He gave me Sage, our daughter, but she was never home, she was my strength. She gave me the strength to live, to keep going, and to keep trying; but she was never home. I guess it's to be expected that when you grow up without a maternal mother you don't really know how to be motherly; I did my best though. Then there was Zak Jacobs who pulled me out of yet another drug binge in my life. He was dark, brooding, but there was a light about him. After Marcus I had trust issues and Zak was the first exception to my strict rule of skepticism and distrust. For a short while, Damien Callaway was home, the first healthy relationship I believe I ever had. There was no expectation, no impending doom luring over us, only what I would consider love if I knew what that was; that’s for another time. Finally, home was Chris Chaos. However, you should feel safe when at home and knowing Chris I rarely felt safe with him. Afterall, I had been the other woman and history has a way of repeating itself; again, another story for another time.
Home were memories; ones I would remember only in my dreams. The memory of reuniting with my brother and how melancholy the reunion seemed. I knew he was on drugs but regardless of the fact he wasn't himself most of the time he was still my brother in some ways. The memory of my first match, the adrenaline rush I experienced was like none other; it was also my first win. The memory of my first championship match and the loss that accompanied but respect that I had earned because it was only the third match of my career. The memory of my first championship victory and successful defense the following week. The memory of my daughter's birth...I could go on but none of these feel like home.
The smell of rich mahogany burning filled my airway forcing me out of my thoughts followed by an acrid odor that triggered olfactory memory. The crisp cool air was quickly swallowed by intense heat as I was swallowed by flames. The blood in my veins felt like magma and I was thrown back into that house, my childhood home. Sweat poured over my face but I had just been unconscious thanks to a cocktail of prescription drugs and the exhaustion that would always follow my fathers games and what he called his "fun" time. Had Jeremy not found me when he did, laying in the basement unable to move and still reeling from the abuse, I would have turned to ash the same as my parents. From the passenger seat of his old pickup I watched as my nightmares burned to nothing, perhaps that's the reason I've always been drawn to fire. Three hours passed before anyone would call in about the fire, five hours from that is how long it took to contain. There was an investigation but nothing came of it except three bodies found under the debris; my mother, my father, and what was believed to be me.
A real memory of “home”.
The cold shock of steel on my fingertips brought me back to my current reality. Somehow, in my daze I wandered to my car unharmed. I opened the door and slid into the driver's side Just as my phone buzzed in the cup holder.I looked down and unlocked my phone reading over the message, "I'm not going to wait on you to answer. If you don't let me know today I'm going to take it as a no." With a long sigh I dropped my phone down in the center console and started my car.
A little over two years ago I left a company I no longer felt at home in. Management had gone from being fair and just through the years to slowly becoming the impediment of everything I hated about wrestling today. Fair was only a word, as long as you were in the owner's good graces you would be rewarded and when you went against that, well, let's say some of the best talent don't retire anymore because they are just old and tired; we're tired of being screwed over and expected to just take it. Accomplishments in wrestling used to be earned, there was honor in the craft as long as you respected yourself. Now, accomplishments are given to people who kiss ass and play like good little boys and girls. The years of filling water guns with piss and super soaking the bosses office in grandma's peach tea because they pissed you off but still having your championship match that same night because regardless of the fact you just made the bosses office smell like a litterbox you earned the right to that gold, were over. Why had some of the greatest names in wrestling fallen off the face of the earth? Because the new generation of wrestlers and company owners would rather revert back to highschool clicks than give a talented wrestler their due.
I guess I'm just old school though. I don’t care what you’ve done to piss people off, if you earned your spot you deserve it. That’s one reason I decided on this car ride that I’d answer that text with a yes, why I decided to join Jenny in her antics instead of constantly reminding her she isn’t good enough to beat me. Regardless of our past, I know Jenny is one of those wrestlers who has what it takes to get to the top even if she is annoying. I’m also sick of being pinned against her in every promotion we find ourselves in because it’s entertaining. I need a break, which means the only way to get around her is to join her.
After an hour's drive I finally reached the dirt road leading up to the clearing in the woods. Emerald green grass covered the untouched ground where my home once stood. After the fire, they bulldozed the land and tried to sell but couldn’t. We found out the land belonged to Jason, once he turned eighteen he was given the rights to it which he would later sign over to me. The ground is tainted and there are too many memories attached to it. So why am I here? To start over.
Sage is grown, seventeen almost eighteen, and doesn’t need me anymore. Part of my exit from the ring the past couple of years was to focus on her. Now, I need to focus on myself again. I need to start from the bottom and build again. As I look out over the wooded area I’m reminded of a time when I had to start from nothing and make something of myself. I’m reminded, I’m still here, and I still have a home; I just need new soil to build on.
The ethereal night sky peaked through the tops of green peaked trees, being lit by millions of shimmering stars.
"I've never been a religious person, spiritual yes, never religious. I don't believe in prophets or the divine held above all of humanity. God is either a way to make yourself feel better about what happens after death or a boogeyman used to scare little children into following their parents' values and morals. There is no god up there just like there is no god here on earth. However, their are inadequate wrestlers who need ego boots who say they are gods and kings and legends."
I laugh under my breath as the frame makes its way down and focuses on me laying atop an unfinished house.
"Delusional are the wrestlers who think they are the best there ever is or ever was. There is always someone better out there, someone who has worked harder, someone who deserves it more. I've faced a lot of delusional individuals and one thing that everyone of them has in common is the fact they either talk like they have never experienced a loss or actually believe the lie they haven't really lost, if they had, it was a fluke.
That brings me to my debut match here in OCW against Zeus. It's pretty humbling that my return to the ring is not only the lowest match this week but also against someone who is obviously not capable in any capacity to wrestle. Instead of a wrestling ring, someone should ship him off to a mental institution to be evaluated before he decides to hurt someone, eh, or at least hurts himself."
I sit up, the view following me.
"I'm sure after Wheel Of Misfortune many of you who don't know me probably think I'm just as delusional and possibly just as incapable as Zeus; that I know how to talk on the mic but not back it up in the ring. I can say with full confidence that, while not necessarily impressive, I will defeat Zeus. I'll also work my way to the top as I've done before because unlike many I'm not afraid of having to work for things.
In a sense I’m here at OCW to start over so this debut match seems fitting. I didn't return to wrestling to live out the glory days nor did I come back to the ring to be handed anything. I said I made a legacy, one that continues here in OCW, and I plan to show why I'll be remembered for years to come."