How it all started…
So it all started when I was a twelve-year-old kiddo. My Afro-American father (as a war veteran) suffered from PTSS and therefore, had to divorce my Dutch mother. I lived with my father two weekends a month in a small apartment near Amsterdam and with my mother in another town for the rest of the month.
Please do not ‘aaahw’ me. Men do I was happy that year! Two homes meant two birthdays, Christmas eve’s, and even two game cubes. For me, my parent’s divorce felt like winning the lottery. Or at least for a while…
Only going to dad occasionally, made it very hard for me to make friends. Especially, since as a kiddo, most of my friends came from school. I can remember my dad (and in the meantime his new wife) telling me:
“why don’t you just go outside and make some friends?”
I was like, where the hack am I going to find my friends in the suburbs of dull-town?
I soon found out that I was not the only kid in dull-town and a lot of parents actually complained that there was not much to do for children in the area. So the mayor decided to take action and build a place where parents could drop off their kids. And so Youth Land was born. Sound’s like paradise don’t you think? WRONG: It was basically a large field of grass with some swings and a big fence around it. Occasionally, there was a train that you could hop on which was kinda fun.
Anyways, as the only ‘colored’ kid in youth land, I noticed that nobody wanted to play with me, and there was even this older kid named Gale (remember his name, it is important for later) and he and his friends always pinched his nose when I walked past. Ever watched a typical college movie where you have this ‘cool’ bully type of guy that for some reason, everyone likes because they are ‘cool’? Well, that’s Gale.
As some random colored kid with no friends, I developed a shyness that prevented me from even trying to make friends. Youth land was just awful.
One year passed and Youth land got some upgrades. I was playing soccer, air hockey, and some other games since I FINALLY made a friend. Until one day my whole life got flipped around. Ever hear of that sticky, way too sugary chewing gum called Bubblecious? So there you have me playing outside with (what I thought was) my friend and Gale walking towards me only to rub a pre-chewed pack of Bubblecious in my afro. I remember Gale and my EX-friend laughing so hard they could barely produce a sound.
My stepmom and I tried everything: peanut butter, soap… you name it. Eventually, we had to cut certain parts out. I can remember my father getting home from work, hearing about it and he was FURIOUS. Not that some idiot put gum in my hair, but that I let it happen. My father, being the army man he is woke me up at 7 am the next day, drove two hours to the nearest kickboxing gym, and told me that I was going to learn to defend myself.
So EVERY weekend I was with my father, he drove me two hours to the gym and practiced in our basement for another hour with me. After a few months, I actually started to like it.
Ever been to a club or party and seen this one guy acting aggressively bragging about how he would fight and win over anyone? You know who I’m talking about. Let’s call this type of guy a Gale to give you a picture. They think they have high status and need to show everyone how ”tough” they are. They have difficulty showing their confidence and are therefore very eager to express it verbally.
I will tell you a secret:
People like Gale and their giant attitude, have the smallest balls.
I have been in countless of situations where some Gale at a party, in the club, or even just on the streets was acting all cocky and threatened to fight me if I didn’t comply with his attitude. I then calmly tell him that I do not accept his behavior and that there will be consequences if he crosses the line. And I never been in a fight (outside of the gym of course)
I discovered that true confidence comes from within, no matter your personality type and how much you are trying to show it off. From now on I would dedicate myself to being the best, most confident version of myself.
A few years have passed, and I’m now practicing five to six days a week since I want to have my first official kickboxing match by the end of the year. Sparring, running, calisthenics, jump-roping, and dieting. I am going all-in!
It is hard to reach my goal and stay focussed on university at the same time. It was like I was in conflict with myself.
On one side you had the Evander that wanted to stay focussed on sports and education. On the other side, Evander wanted to sleep in and hang out with friends.
I HAD to get more disciplined if I wanted to reach my goals.
And then… COVID came and literally shut down all hopes of actually going into real matches. Just sparring became very hard now I needed to keep a 5-foot distance and additionally, I wasn’t allowed to go out when I came back from university because there was a curfew.
It got me wondering: ‘How can I find a way to stay fit if I need to stay indoors?‘ – and just like someone was actually listening to my own thoughts I got an email.
An email that would carve out the path I was going to take for a big part of my life…
That same week, I got an email from the ministry that I was allowed to go into the army reserves. It took them 18 months to do a background check on me and I had already forgotten. Nevertheless, this meant two things:
That sounds like a perfect deal to me!
I passed basic, and advanced training (along with a bunch of other modules) and got really into exercising and self-defense. Some friends of mine asked me to teach them some basics so I started helping them on the weekends.
I discovered that there is one thing in life I have more passion for than developing myself: Helping other people achieve the best version of their selves.
So here we are, 2023 and I have decided I want to dedicate my time and resources to helping others get fit and gain confidence through exercising, just like me.