Chapter 5 – I’ve got another confession to make…

I’m no fool… yeah that is from a Foo Fighters song, title best of you. Foo fighters was the most heard band during Luke’s pregnancy in the house. The truth is Luke came with illuminating the best side of me, however that is a side that I have never really shown. In fact, that is the side that I hid for a long time for numerous reason, and the biggest factor of my depression: my spirituality. However, I am far from being religious, in fact, in that sense I am very very PUNK! And no, is not Luke from the bible, is from Luke Skywalker (Star Wars), but I think I prefer Luke SkyRocker like a friend of mine told me. Anyways, Luke lighten up that side of me like the Tatooine sun.

After Luke was transfer to Joe DiMaggio Children’s hospital at midnight, my wife stayed in the hospital with her Mom and I went home try to sleep. By coincidence my middle brother was in USA for work from Brasil, so he stayed with me. We woke up early the next day and went to Joe DiMaggio, and as I was going in to the hospital I had at least 3 deja-vus. I was still confused, but it really felt that I already knew, and in fact felt like I already knew that place even though I have never been in that hospital before.

Got in the NICU the nurse explained to me all the test and what was the plan. I was able to change Luke’s diaper for the first time, and I told Luke what was going on. I also, started to play with him like he was doing chest press since we knew it he was not moving much. That is when I stopped to look the sticker in the incubator and guess when that incubator was clean? My birthday 2 weeks ago. For me, that was no coincidence, it felt like it was written in the stars.

The social worker asked me if I wanted any spiritual practice for Luke, so I requested Reiki since I always believe in energy, and energy do not lie. For my surprise they had a Reiki master in the hospital. Meantime we were waiting for the Doctor discharge my wife in the other hospital. The hardest part of all that was to explain to my wife everything that was going on and the fact that we gonna arrive home without a Luke for now until we know more. That is extremely fucking hard.

For me, when you decide to become a parent your are actually bringing a soul to the world, and each soul have a personal challenge. Why? is life and life is challenging. Luke was no different, he has his own personal challenge like every other soul in this planet (we are all perfectly imperfect), and in my view, my job as a parent is to empower that soul to achieve their personal challenge. That being said, I told my wife: “The answer for all of this will not be in the realm, and I believe we choose our parents, therefore Luke choose us for a reason, there is no coincidence” and I also show her this video:

That was the begging of the 84 days in the NICU…

Punkaste,

Rirou

Foo Fighters song:

Chapter 4 – I believe in miracles

A few days before we went to the hospital to be induced, we talked to the doctors since is was showing too much amniotic fluid. The doctor advise inducing since it could create dangerous for mom and baby, so we all agreed in the day after July 4th to induce. That night, I went to Doctor Google and read about extra amniotic fluid and first thing I saw was stillbirth. I simply refused to believe that could happened, because it was not what my heart was saying, and I always trust my feelings and now I was starting to learn how to listen to them. So, I said fuck you Google and went to sleep.

We went to the hospital with Dark Vader mask, and a playlist of Luke’s favorite tunes (based on reaction his in the belly, on that time his favorite was Kids aren’t alright by Offspring). Funny thing is when I marked on Facebook that we were in the hospital I marked the NICU without realizing, anyways she got induce at 7 am July 5th. On that time we didn’t know what was going on, expect the extra fluid.

By midnight contractions started to get stronger and by 4 am we had a scary moment when Luke’s heart rate drop to 40’s. I was so scared and nervous that our Douala told me to go for a walk. I remember I went to have a coffee and I sat at the hospital zen garden, looked to the moon, that was waxing crescent, and I literally said “what the fuck?” and I started to meditate. After a few minutes I went back to the room.

Things just started to get very intense at 7 am with another heart rate drop, and by 9 am another drop in the heart rate. From that point on the room was full with 3 doctors and 7 nurses. By 11 o clock am Luke was born, and his Apgar number was 2. He was basically brought back to life in my wife’s belly the Douala told me “he needs a familiar voice”. So, I told him “Luke, I am your father”, just kidding, I said “Dad is here”, he grabbed my finger and that was PUNKASTE at first sight. I honestly felt like he was giving me knuckles and saying “boom, I got this!” I kid you not, I felt whole, literally like “The punk in me honors the punk in you”.

In 9 minutes Luke was intubated and we went to the NICU. I felt whole and secure but scared. It was confusing how I felt with what was going on, but I knew one thing for sure…

Yes, I believe in miracles cause is many ways I am one…and I also believe in a better world…

Punkaste,

Rirou

Song lyrics:

I used to be on an endless run.
Believe in miracles ’cause I’m one.
I have been blessed with the power to survive.
After all these years I’m still alive.I’m out here kickin’ with the band.
I am no longer a solitary man.
Every day my time runs out.
Lived like a fool, that’s what I was about, ohI believe in miracles.
I believe in a better world for me and you.
Oh, I believe in miracles.
I believe in a better world for me and you.Tattooed your name on my arm.
I always said my girl’s a good luck charm.
If she can find a reason to forgive,
Then I can find a reason to live.I used to be on an endless run.
Believe in miracles ’cause I’m one.I have been blessed with the power to survive.
After all these years I’m still alive.I believe in miracles.
I believe in a…

Chapter 3 – The punk awakens

February 22nd of 2016 I completed 1000 days and I was officially injured for the first time in 13 years. That day was a Monday and after I tried to run I went to therapy. My therapist asked me, what you really want? I responded “I want to change the world”. She looked to me and said “you can start with kids, that is the best way to change the world but guess what? Our time was over for today”. That got stuck in my head. Anyways, I got in the car and went to the doctor to check my neck with that sentence in my head. I wanted to change, and I needed to change. My soul was screaming!

Some people say that the soul of the baby incarnated around the 12 to 16 weeks of the pregnancy, and that was happening right about that time. Everything was changing, my relationship with professional sports(in general), my business and with myself. Fatherhood really makes you think what you gonna teach your, and that is when things started to get interesting, because Luke was awakening the punk inside of me.

Since I was not training much I started to paddle-boarding since it was good for my neck, and also spending time in the ocean was helping connect with my soul again. The moment you get pregnant you step in to a huge matrix and you start hearing all kinds of things. My favorites were things like “Luke is gonna be a great athlete”, “you have to baptize him” or “you not gonna teach him the devils music”. My response was always one and very punk: “He is gonna be whatever the fuck he wants and needs to be”. Based on that you can have the idea of what my response will be for the other questions. For me we are all unique therefore Luke will be LUKE.

I kept doing my therapies, paddle-boarding coaching and things were changing fast. My projects with triathlon were not going forward at all. I tried to more with fitness stuff besides just triathlon and it was not working either. It was like the universe was telling me “yo, that is not the way to go bro”.

During this time I created an email for Luke to write about the preparation for his birth. I believe that connection between Dad and kids starts in the belly just like the moms, however in a different way. I talked to him a lot and lot of talking energetically with the emails.

Anyways, the connection was only growing and I was more and more awake. A few weeks before Luke was born my wife gave me a guitar for my birthday, and 4 weeks later we were heading to the hospital to receive Luke. Dark Vader mask was ready, and also a playlist for the birth.

Punkaste,

Rirou

Chapter 2 – 1000 days

At the end of 2010 I finally quite my job at the running store and started to live the triathlon life full time. I was coaching and racing professionally full time, so I can say I made but by 2012, I started to see professional sports with different eyes.

May 28th 2013 I finally won my first triathlon race. After I won that race things started to get kind of blurry again, because the truth is I won the race but how I felt inside did not change. I really thought I would feel different, but I didn’t. Crazy because I had that goal since 2004. After I won the race I kept looking for the stars looking for answers, because that was not it! The empty feeling was still there.

Triathlon was not making it, in fact it was making it worst. I mean, I was physically getting tired and sick, and I started to find out about all the drugs in the sport (I was a basket case). Not only that, but also how almost nobody played fair even during the race. Long story, but that just made me angrier. After that race, I bought a book that changed my life forever: The secret race by Tyler Hamilton, a book that tells in details the drugs in the Tour de France when he raced with Lance Armstrong. On that book Tyler talk about 1000 days, something like that he said: “takes about 1000 days in the sport to realize either you take drugs or you will never go far in your career”. Little by little I was realizing that was not for me, and the count down of my 1000 days started.

On December 23rd, Festivus Day I went to a friends house to borrow his bike, because I was changing sponsors and my bike was not ready yet. That day when I saw him with his kids I had a intuition, it was almost like time stopped and I heard: Fatherhood is what you been looking all for all this time.

2014 came along and I did 2 ironmans that year, and after the last ironman of the season in Arizona, I decided to smoked a joint the day after the race. I haven’t smoked in so many years so I went to Ruby Tuesdays and 2 burgers and 2 deserts later I stop to think. I look up the sky and thought: “What the fuck I am I doing?” I was so confused, I had a huge triathlon team, I was racing pro, technically a dream come true, with 6% body fat, another dream come true but I was not happy, or healthy. Weed always opens my mind, and like I always say “it does not numb my emotions, it just amplifies”. However, I was addicted to the stress, and my I guess my ego spoke louder so I signed up for another race in January.

January 2015 I did probably my best race ever, even with a 45 minute flat tire I got 2nd place in the local ironman. My best race ever, but after the race that feeling was back again and this time even stronger this time. It felt like I was being choked. Well, the inevitable happened: CRISIS! This time the worst crisis of my life. I was fucking up in so many levels and in all areas of my life. I remember getting in therapy with a headache for hitting myself in the head, and I told the therapist I finally did something right I am in pain. The answer of course was “that’s not good”.

Anyways, that crisis made me release a lot of shit. I took on writing and made me feel really good. I took sometime off from training, racing and increased my meditations. In one of those meditations I realized I was ready to be a Dad, and at first try we got pregnant. Luke was so ready to come. However, I decided to do another ironman in Cozumel and boy that was not a good idea. I lost my bottle, dehydrated and the race was a disaster. So, I did not finish the race and took the rest of the time as a vacation.

When I came back home I thought, that can’t be the last race, so I signed up for a local 140.6 (Ironman Distance in miles) in Naples Florida, same as January 2015. I did the race, won and came back home the same day, cause that is where my soul wanted to be. I didn’t even stay for the podium next day cause I was really done. The funny thing is back in 2004 I had a dream that I won an ironman with the time of 9 hours and 50, and guess my time on that race? 9 hours and 55 minutes close enough.

February 22nd I complete 1000 days and that day I went for a run, after the 1st mile I stopped because everything was hurting, specially my neck. I looked up the sky and thought, “I think I am done with this shit”. But what about the my business? That was a good question that I had no fucking clue! All I knew is that my soul was screaming for a change, I could not keep that going physically, mentally and emotionally.

Punkaste,

Rirou

Chapter 1 – So os loucos sabem/ “Only madmen know”

Today is father’s day in Brazil and since I am an amerioca, a mix of american with carioca, I decided to launch my fatherhood blog. Carioca is someone that is from Rio de Janeiro, which is my home town, and that explains the statue with my face on it. That being said, let’s go by part.

I wrote a few things in this blog before, but once I read back again I notice it was quite confusing, just like the way I was. I am not going to lie, the last few years were hard and confusing but once I turned 40 things started to make more sense to me. However, this confusion started way back in 2004 when my soul searching started.

So who is Rirou? Well, Rirou is simply Richard Wygand soul. I can say that in 2016 when Luke was born I found my soul, but once I found I did not know what to do. Those 4 years were intense, with lots of changes and raw primal emotions while I was escaping my own matrix, and started to feel good in my own skin. Now that we know that I no longer need to speak in the 3rd person, because Rirou is me.

So why I considered myself a punk? Well, like I said before punk is about attitude. The reality is I was always different, meaning I was always the sensitive boy, the radical, the weirdo or the crazy one. The truth is, I just had different view of life, I did not wanted to go to college, I did not want to be rich or famous. I just wanted to be happy. When I turned 19 I started to try to fit in, get in college and have a “normal” life. However, a few years later this process was crushing my soul to a point that I didn’t even know who I was still alive. In fact, I was totally numb inside. In 2004 the situation was unsustainable that I started therapy and decided to pursue what made my soul happy. I started to do Ironman because the physical pain was helping my emotional pain, and that felt really good. This attitude for me is being a punk, it simply means do what makes your soul feel good. This is exactly what I want to teach my kids, is to be who they are and share their light what makes their soul feel good, and only the crazy ones know that. That is why is this post have this tittle, which is a song from one of my favorite bands in Brazil.

This past Thursday, I was asked to give a mini testimonial on what it means to be a Dad for a show in Brazil, which made me realized this would be the perfect kick off for my blog. Also, since I have another kid coming, a girl this time, and is bringing a lot of memories I decided to the recap my fatherhood story with my clear mind. I actually separate the things a little bit, I made an YouTube channel for the kids Punk Rock songs that I am creating. And another channel where I do cover of my favorite songs with video clips of me relearning how to skateboard at the age of 40, and the crazy things I do with my kids.

Here is the video of my testimonial and what I think it means to be a Dad. The video is in Portuguese but I did my best to put subtitles.

Punkaste,

Rirou

Song: So of loucos sabem:

Lyrics translated:

Now I know exactly what to do
Good start, be able to count on you
Cause I remember everything brother
I was there too
A man when at peace
Don't want war with anyone
I held my tears
Because I didn't want to show the emotion
Since I was just there to watch
And learn a little more about perception
They say it's impossible to find love
Without losing reason
But for those who have strong thoughts
The impossible is only a matter of opinion
And that crazy people know
Only madmen know
That the crazy know
Only madmen know
All positivity I wish you
Because we need it in the days of struggle
The fear follow our dreams
The fear follow our dreams
Beautiful girl, I want to live on your street
You missed
You missed
I want to see you again
I want to see you again
You missed
Now I know exactly what to do
I'll start over, be able to count on you
Cause I remember everything brother
I was there too
A man when at peace
Don't want war with anyone

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