I Don’t Let Go & I Don’t Give Up

This is my seventh attempt to write this post. This is the post that I struggle to write because I can barely hold still. It happens. Life is full of activity and sometimes the things that go on around us are not that pleasant. Sometimes we face challenges that cannot be avoided and all we can do is walk on into the storm, or stand in place and let it hit us head on.

I trashed the first six attempts because I could stomach the hysterical drama that spewed from my keyboard. It was a little bit too raw or maybe I am just a little bit too angry to read about it in such stark terms. Not that I really wanted to dress it up, but sometimes you need to sugarcoat the medicine.

Here is a short story that fits my mood and perhaps offers some insight. I wore glasses for almost 20 years. I had lasik done about 5 years ago. I love being able to see, it was worth every penny, but I digress.

I am fourteen years-old. I am about 5’6 or 5’7 and weigh close to 160 pounds. I work out every day and am fairly strong for my age. I wear glasses. Most of the time I don’t wear them because I don’t like them and my vision is not yet so bad that I can’t get by without them.

One day another boy grabs my glasses and begins to run away with them. I take off after him. I know him and am not worried that he’ll steal them, but I am not interested in this game. He is smaller than I am and a hair faster. I am trying hard to catch him but so far I can’t.

Every so often he turns around to taunt me. I reach out and grab at my glasses, at his wrist, his sweatshirt, anything that I think that I can touch but it is not enough. I can almost grab him. Each time I swipe I feel the touch of his shirt against my fingertips. Each time I reach I think that I am going to get him but I never quite make it.

I shout at him and let him know that I am not kidding around. I make it clear that I don’t find this to be funny and that he needs to stop immediately. He doesn’t. We are young and male. My protest is just inciting him and his incessant taunting is beginning to enrage me.

He rounds a corner and luck smiles upon me. There are two people standing in the way. The human roadblock slows him down enough for me to slam into him. The momentum takes us crashing into the wall. If I close my eyes I can see the surprised look in his eyes as I grab him, hear the grunt he made as he hit the wall.

Suddenly I feel arms grab me from behind. Someone taller than I am has me in a Full Nelson. The mystery man spins me away from the other boy and begins shouting at me to calm down. But now there is no chance of that. I haven’t any idea who has grabbed me. I am not just angry, but I am scared. Screaming at me is not going to work. All I want to do is free myself from the mysterious grappler.

All I want is my fucking glasses and I say so. But he doesn’t let go. I begin to struggle. I test my strength against his. I can’t quite break his hold but I am able to use my legs to drive him backwards into the wall.


The first time catches him off guard but it is not enough to force him to release his grip. The second time pisses him off and now he is trying to make a point. Now he is going to try and hurt me. Now he is going to try and use his size to bully me. But I don’t let go and I don’t give up.

In case you are wondering by this point in time I know who it is. He is a senior and I am just a freshman. Age is working against me, but anger is making up some of the difference.

I can’t quite beat him. I can’t make him let go but then again, I won’t let go of him. He is getting the better of me, but I am giving him a bit of a beating. I get my legs wrapped around his trunk in a scissor hold and wrap my arms around his chest.

Now he is feeling the result of my anger and my fear. More than 20 years later I can look back and say that I was losing, but I wouldn’t give in. I just wouldn’t give up.

Eventually some people came along and pulled us apart. His shirt was torn in three places and his side had marks from places I had been holding onto.

I was frustrated. I was angry. I was embarrassed and I was fighting back tears.

So now you want to know what the point of the story is. Well, let’s just say that there are some things going on at the Shack that are making my life a little bit more challenging. Some of them are things that are in my control and others are not.

It is the things that are outside of my control that bother me the most. These are the items that make me lose sleep, that send me outside to punish the heavy bag. I am working on learning how to let go of them. Sometimes I think that I am doing a very good job of that and sometimes I wonder if that 14 year-old boy learned a thing.

I don’t let go and I don’t give up, but maybe I should.

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  1. Pesach June 6, 2006 at 11:54 am

    The frustrated young and powerless kid, you always want to go back in time and help him with current psyche and strength.

  2. Jack's Shack June 6, 2006 at 4:39 am


    Thanks. They will.

    Hi Elie,

    Thank you. It was a pain to write, but I felt better.


    Thanks to you as well. The heavy bag is therapeutic.


    I am a passionate man and that passion cuts both ways. Sometimes it can be an asset and sometimes it can be something else.

  3. StepIma June 5, 2006 at 2:47 pm

    Wow. Whether it’s a short story or a real-life story, it’s a true story.

    I had one of those myself, from summer camp (for me it was trying to get away from people trying to throw me in the pool)… you don’t get over the feeling of needing to fight, because it’s not about the glasses. It’s about control, and dignity, and I think fear also, that if you don’t keep standing firm, it will happen again, only worse.

    I don’t know what’s happening now in your home, or in your life, that’s hurting you so much that it made you need to write this piece, but I hope you can find a way out that doesn’t take more fighting — or letting go and giving in. That someplace there’s a person out there who can be reasoned with, or a third party who can alleviate things from the outside.

    I don’t think you’re wrong to want to keep fighting, however hard the fight is – but maybe you can make it easier if you stop feeling that you have to fight it alone.

    I hope things get better soon.

  4. seawitch June 5, 2006 at 1:01 pm


    Very well written. Sometimes all of us need to step back when are emotions are running so high. But those heavy bags can help out a lot.

    Hope things get better for y’all.

  5. Elie June 5, 2006 at 12:51 pm

    Powerful and vivid! Thanks for sharing; that was worth the seven tries it took!

  6. RR June 5, 2006 at 9:46 am

    Wow, that was one hell of a story. You almost had me crying at one point.

    Hope things get better soon in your neck of the woods.

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