Lena Horne once said, "It's not the load that breaks you down; it's the way you carry it."
Grief and sadness can be wake-up calls - catalysts for self-reflection and perhaps a path to an intentional life, or at least a new awareness that a purposeful life is possible. Is resilience in genetics? Can strength be purchased or taught? How do some with wealth, riches, and access break under pressure, and some with humble beginnings remain steadfast?
Singer/songwriter and author Ross Victory uses his voice and talents to model how he channeled grief into life-affirming action. Victory shows the L.A. community how the cold, dark waters of sadness were not only his catalyst to personal change and deeper existential understanding, but grief released reservoirs of creativity with entertainment and educational value - music and books.
Victory admits that he was like millions of men and thought he could "sleep off" the woes of his life or "lift weights" to push through the frustration.
This self-made Artistpreneur lost his father, Bert, to prostate cancer under a state of elder abuse and fraud from a close family member. Three years before his dad's passing, Victory lost his older brother, Jason, to an aggressive form of brain cancer.
Before losing family members, Victory was stubborn about seeking help to process emotions and reaching out for assistance. Victory admits that he was like millions of men and thought he could "sleep off" the woes of his life or "lift weights" to push through the frustration. One day he could not breathe, and his blood pressure was over 150. He knew it was time to start down the road of repair, and it was worth the investment.
A significant part of his healing came in written words – journals, songs, and literature pieces. The writing process alone was cathartic and an exercise in being vulnerable.
How Ross Victory Is Influencing the Local Community
In 2019, Victory decided to write about the relationship with his late father. Journal entries transformed into three hundred pages. Three hundred pages transformed into speaking to other men about their relationships with their fathers and the stigma related to mental health. Victory says, "you don't have to write a book or music; you have to do what gives you peace. Do what lowers your blood pressure, and do a lot of that."
Views from the Cockpit is an emotional yet provocative recount of divorce, betrayal, and abuse. Still, how the book came into being and all the other creative ventures that came afterward confirms the beeline between trauma processing and creativity.
Victory says, "He believed that creating a 'book' would give his father's memory wings in a different, more permanent, meaningful form." He says that "the idea of keeping my dad alive was a source of endless energy. I felt like if I could finish this book and publish it, he would exist in the world still, and others would have access to him."
During the writing process, Victory remembered the love he had for music and storytelling as a child. He sought to stay in alignment with that joy by establishing a brand of books and music. He encourages others to explore their trauma at the pace and level they are comfortable with.
The light bulb, the automobile, and the wheel were built by people pursuing their life's purpose. And because of their internal drive, the quality of our life has increased.
How big is your voice, and how will you use it?
Victory shows L.A. one way.