Today’s #SameHere Hero: a late one (or early morning Europe time), as there was no internet access on my flight Mike Hammer. Mike’s story is a simple one but a great one. He experience so many transition stages resulting from the trauma he and his family experienced at an early age, that the challenges actually help him gain such a great perspective on what’s important in life.
To him, it all became about family and family values. Not material things. And because of that – he’s now happy with the simplest joy – having formed a family of his own and being able to be around them. He’s been a frequent “Crazy” follower on various social media channels (actually not IG ;)), and we connected in person about a week ago, and he is now coming on as our director of the #SameHere🤙 Hero Program. So for those who submit moving forward, you’ll be hearing from Mike!
“At 5 years old I was robbed at gunpoint in my apartment in Queens, NY. In 5th grade my parents got divorced. During my High School years, I attended four High Schools and lived in seven different places as I was bounced around and had to live with various family members and friends.
My dad lived with severe depression throughout my life and died by suicide when I was 17 (while we lived together – just the two of us) and my mother’s second husband was murdered shortly thereafter. Throughout it all, I persevered by remaining focused on the goals I set forth – graduating High School and attending college. I consider myself lucky, to be honest. I’ve had family members step in and step up as well as friends come to help and lend their support.
I’ve never felt like a victim or someone who people should feel sorry for. Life isn’t meant to be lived in a straight line and it will take you off course every now and then. It’s how you navigate the unknown path and experience and endure the rough terrain along the way that makes you stronger. Thankfully, I have been able to keep an open and clear mind and a positive attitude as the landscape constantly changes around me.
While all of these collective events had a profound impact on my life, they did not impact me in a negative way. I remained resilient through it all, and focused on being resourceful and keeping a positive and optimistic mindset.
Fortunately, help came in a variety of ways. From certain family members to old and new friends and to the parents of these friends, no matter where I wound up, I usually felt supported. I was lucky enough to be provided with a place to go when there were very few options for me to choose from. I never really had to ask for help as I was used to providing for myself, but thankfully people were always compelled to help and I openly accepted.
I recently started to meditate (via app) which has helped create a clear mind. I have never taken medication and have been to therapy just a handful of times over the years (it was helpful). What has really given me strength and helped me remain positive and happy is creating a family of my own and living the life I’ve always wanted and dreamed of. That was always the ultimate goal for me – building my own family. I am fortunate to have an amazing wife and 2 great kids – what I believe to be the ultimate level of success. I am truly living out my dreams everyday.
I have never shied away from telling my story, because I know it helps me continue to heal but it may help others along the way as well. Plus, it’s such a part of who I am and by not telling my story I would feel as if I’m hiding and running away from something. People are always shocked to hear what I went through in my childhood and teenage years as they never expect it, especially based on how they perceive my life to be. It’s a true reminder to never judge people by what they look like or what pre-conceived notions you may have of them. Everyone has gone through or
is going through some #SameHere challenge in their life so it’s always best to be kind and not judge people.”