Sometimes the pain in our lives seems impossible to get past.
Maybe deep down you feel there is light at the end of the tunnel, but seeing it seems like an impossibility.
For Wes Suttles, that very light took years to finally see.
Wes was the oldest of three kids to a single mother. His father used to physically abuse his mom to the point of putting cigarettes out on her back.
“He even broke into our home while we were sleeping,” he said. “I had to testify in court in order to have him incarcerated when I was just 11-years-old.”
They moved around so much after the divorce that making friends was not possible. In sixth grade alone, he went to four different schools. As time went on, being the oldest and the “man” of the house, Wes had to grow up fast and take care of his family.
“I worked three jobs to make it work,” he said. “But it wasn’t enough. We had to continuously move due to the evictions. I finally moved out as an adult and not only paid my rent, but my mother’s and sisters’, too. They were able to have a stable home and finish school, something I wasn’t able to do.”
Just when it seemed as if life was finally working itself out, things changed. Again.
“On Valentine’s Day seven years ago, I woke up to a ton of missed calls,” he said. “My mother had died of an overdose and my youngest sister found her. Two years later I found out my mom had another son and gave him up for adoption four years before I was born.”
Wes has battled depression after all of these tragic events. Lifting, however, gives him a safe place to release his anger, and rejuvenate his spirit.
“Lifting gives me an out, a place where everything is quiet, and all the pain goes into training,” he said. “I’m married now with a daughter of my own. I also went back and got my GED and I’m starting EMT/Fire in the fall.”
Everything Wes has been through has given him the power to believe he’ll overcome any obstacle in his way.
“APEMAN is important to me because it strips away the cookie-cutter stereotypes and showcases the real people striving to be the best they can be with the hardships they’re dealing with or have dealt with. It allows me to pride myself on continuing to conquer my demons.”