APEMAN STRONG is not simply about the biggest, strongest people. It is about those who have survived true lows, suffered, faced demons and are fighting to come back against it all. It is the fighters, the survivors, which we strive to encourage every day, to carry on through their dark places, because it is the downtrodden that still find the courage to rise up that are the strongest of us all.
It's been said that the pressure of hardship is the most powerful sustainer of accountability. Almost as if everything you do is taken to an unfathomable level in order to surpass those with a head-start. That is to say, a case could be made that one is incapable of slacking when staring catastrophe in the face.
Take Taylor Michael, for example.
Childhood was never easy on him – and that’s putting it lightly. From the age of seven, his mother developed a sick, twisted and vastly inappropriate affection for him.
Taylor was molested for seven years.
First by his own mother, then by her friends.
Sometimes in life, you encounter a situation that is so evil, so incomprehensible that simply living and moving forward seems impossible.
But Taylor did. Every single day, he kept moving forward. Only forward.
For nearly a decade, Taylor endured the pain. He was told it was his fault. Beaten down. Told he was nothing.
He told his father what was happening, but that only led to doubt, belittlement, divorce and hatred. Hatred in the form of verbal and physical onslaughts. He was bullied. Hated himself. Tried counseling but it didn’t stick.
It wasn’t until he joined a new school at age 14 and found football that things started to improve. Truthfully, it was simply a means to stay the hell out of his home of horrors, but it grew to something more.
His mother and father doubted him – nothing new – but he proved he wasn’t going to let their issues affect him and hold him back his entire life.
He made the team.
Better yet, he received honest praise and love from his coaches and teammates – something he never felt before… something he wanted… but didn’t feel worthy of.
Football led to weightlifting, which ultimately changed Taylor’s life.
All of the hatred, anger and hurt he experienced his entire life could be channeled through lifting.
He started with deadlifts of 135 pounds. Boom. Nailed it. Hitting just that single rep as a teenager has translated into current personal records of 675 on deadlifts, a 505-pound raw bench and a 603-pound raw squat at just 23-years-old.
He even competed recently and took home 2nd place in his weight class.
Every single training session he thinks of his mother and father. How he’s overcoming the horrific hand he was dealt.
He’s not alone; Taylor is an APEMAN.
He isn’t a failure; he’s a success.
He’s not weak; he’s stronger than they’ll ever be.
Sometimes, whether we understand it or not, you need to spend time digging and crawling through the dark to truly appreciate how it feels to stand in the sun.
And Taylor’s life is brighter than ever.
Our CAUSE for the month of March is Sexual Abuse/Assault. We will be donating $5 of every sale of our Limited Edition UNITE Tee to RAINN.org, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. apemanstrong.com/cause.