I fought back my tears because I didn’t want them to see me cry. They shoved me against a wall, grabbed my head, opened my mouth, and poured a bottle of Tabasco sauce down my throat, laughing all the while, and I was expected to just take it. It was nasty and degrading.
But I couldn’t fight back. That was part of the “rules.” The general consensus was, you’re a freshman—this is what happens to you. You get hazed. You get initiated. They treat you horribly. And then you’re welcomed in. You‘re “one of them.”
Welcome to my 9th grade year at the private school I attended. I was in football camp, two weeks before school started, living on campus in dorms, 13 years old, and I didn’t even know what hazing meant—until it started to happen to me and the other freshman.
Within the first 3 days of camp, what was supposed to be a fun, hard-working training regimen to get ready for the season, quickly turned into a nightmare.
So I sought help.
Not from teachers or the administration… no no. I feared that would bring retaliation worse than I was experiencing.
I noticed that there was one freshman player who nobody was messing with. He walked around calmly through the crowd of upperclassmen, untouched. Unscathed. Un-hazed.
Because Reggie, at 14 years old, was 6 feet 5, and weighed over 300 pounds. He was a monster. And fast. And strong. And he was the new center for the team.
And he was about to become my new best friend.
I found him off to himself in his room, introduced myself, and asked if he was getting hazed too. He glanced at me out of the side of his eye and said nothing. But his look said it all: No one would dare touch him.
I told him about the things they were making me do and how the older players were treating me, and asked him if he would help. I’ll never forget what he said:
“I’ll take care of it.”
He stood up, and walked out of his dorm room, and from that moment, I was never hazed again.
Within a day or two, I remember walking in the common area where players were hanging out, and I saw them looking at me, staring me down, and I heard the most beautiful phrase:
“He’s got Reggie on his side.”
This morning, while I was writing my morning pages, I was experiencing a ton of doubt and worry and anxiety.
Can I do this? Am I good enough? Do I have what it takes? What happens if I fail?
And as if on cue, I heard this beautiful phrase in my head: “the Universe is on your side.”
I paused when I heard it, and teared up in gratitude, because I understood what it meant.
I also recalled that entire 9th grade experience in that moment. I haven’t thought about Reggie in years. I don’t know his last name and wouldn’t even begin to know how to reach out to him because somehow he didn’t make it to the yearbook. But this morning, I remembered what it felt like to have a big, caring, strong, forceful, human being ON MY SIDE.
Now, 25 years later, I was reminded: THE UNIVERSE IS ON YOUR SIDE. There is energy around us that is supporting us, cheering us on, and is working on behalf of our hard work.
Obviously, this is just a belief that I have. Some might read this and think, “It doesn’t work that way. There is no universe on your side.”
Suit yourself 🙂 It’s a powerful belief, and it serves me.
What would YOU try, attempt, or work towards if you KNEW that you were being supported by a force and energy greater than yourself?
How would you feel if you didn’t have to walk around campus, afraid that at any moment that you could be jumped and attacked?
What would it feel like to exist in a state without fear, without worry, without doubt—all because you had a force of nature on your side?
You might feel limitless and unstoppable.
You might feel like you are able to be authentic and completely you, and pursue your dreams unapologetically.
Ahhhhh. Get it?
No fear. No worry. No doubt.
The universe is on your side.