Bullying is an epidemic that needs to stop.
Unfortunately, we’ve all experienced it in one way or another at some point in our lives.
For APEMAN Mark Verity, it was something he dealt with his entire life.
“I was the kid that was picked on all the time from elementary school into high school,” he said. “The skinny kid who never fit in with the big crowd.”
It’s been said that man’s greatest enemies are fear and worry, and Mark struggled with both. He feared he wasn’t mean to do what he ultimately wanted to do in life (become a music teacher) because that’s what his parents did; he never wanted to ride their coattails. He worried he was being lazy and becoming a music teacher was the easy path, not necessarily the right path.
“When I first graduated college with my teaching degree, I knew I wouldn’t get a full-time position right away,” Mark said. “What I didn’t know was how many years it would be before I’d even get a chance to have one. For years I would do small leaves, two weeks here, a few months there, direct a show here, run rehearsals there. This was all spanning from 2011 to 2015, during which I regularly questioned if I was even meant to be teaching music or if I just was meant for something different. I always wondered if I was good enough, because both of my parents were music teachers.”
Consumed by worry, Mark knew one thing: He didn’t want to be the skinny guy anymore. So he took up powerlifting and quickly discovered APEMAN.
“As soon as I put an APEMAN shirt or belt on, I felt like I wasn’t that skinny kid anymore,” Mark said. “I felt like I could grind through anything. I realized it wasn’t about if I was skinny or not, but about improving my self-worth and how I looked at myself every day. I still strive to be stronger but at the end of the day, I’ve found something that helps make me fully happy.”
Not coincidentally, when Mark started gaining confidence through powerlifting, other areas of his life started to drastically improve. He is now happily a music teacher and continuing along his APEMAN journey.
“Every time I put a REBIRTH or FIGHT shirt on, I know I’m rising from the ashes of who I was before,” Mark said. “No matter what injury or tribulation I’m going through, I can work around it.”
APEMAN is all-inclusive. After all, our tagline is “Strong has many forms; find yours.” It doesn’t matter where you’re at in your journey or how much weight you can/cannot lift; you’re one of us. We’re damn proud of the work Mark has done to overcome his fears in life.
“APEMAN makes me feel like I’m someone to be respected, regardless of what number is on the bar,” he said. “I tend to walk taller, grind harder and feel better about myself when I’m wearing APEMAN. It helps me find the confidence in myself to know that regardless of the weight, I’m making progress and that I’m not going to let anything stop me from achieving my goal.”