If this is our first time meeting... Hey! I’m James. I’m 28-years old, I’ve been a high-stakes poker player since a highly inappropriate age, and I’m a bit nuts.
I’ve been a type 1 diabetic for 6 years, and as a teenager developed ulcerative colitis, from which I now live colon-free. I may have spent more hours of my life in hospital than on the tennis court, yet as you might have guessed: one day, I still plan on living my dream – to play in a Grand Slam match at Wimbledon.
And let’s be clear: I’m still a long, long way off.
Sharing my story before living that dream isn’t something I ever thought would happen. I was extremely sick for many years, and during this time my priorities felt very different. All the energy I could muster had to go toward necessary financial pursuits and deciphering how I could radically heal my body from the brink of disaster. The fewer people that thought I was crazy, the more connected to the world I’d still feel, which would mean more strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Now as we begin 2019, I’ve already begun living the dream. To be in the state of health I am now is something I was never sure would be possible, and I feel unbelievably blessed to be there. Choosing this time to start openly sharing my journey isn’t for the sake of a publicity stunt; rather it was motivated by a nagging feeling that I might be acting like a coward. If there’s a chance that my story might offer something to those experiencing similar challenges, that seems like something worth putting my balls on the line for. Whatever ‘protection’ I might be affording myself by keeping parts of my true identity hidden just surely isn’t worth it anymore.
On the blog you can expect to find a different perspective on an array of health and self-improvement topics. Whilst I’m not a doctor and can’t offer a comprehensive step-by-step guide to healing chronic disease – if you’re discontent with the state of your health, hopefully you’ll find some value and new information in what I do end up discussing. Keeping in mind, of course, that I’ve still got much to figure out myself, and will be here not as an authority who once figured everything out in a past life – rather as someone still in the trenches figuring things out like you.
There’ll of course also be tennis content, and some poker stuff as well. Then once we’ve got this vlogging thing figured out, we’ll amp things up and start getting onto those. Your feedback will be greatly valued along the way and will no doubt help to shape the direction of the content going forward.
Writing this article, I was reminded of a quote I enjoyed from Survivor Palau winner, Tom Westman, that started his closing speech to the jury at the final tribal council:
“When I found out I was coming out here, you turn into a panic and you start saying: ‘Well, how am I going to play it? What’s my best personality? How am I going to act?’... ‘Because this thing is a truth serum, and you don’t hide who you are. Good or bad, you met Tom Westman.”
It was both a very real moment and great game play. Everyone likes real, and the more relatable you feel to people, the more they’ll want to give you a million dollars.
I’ve long held a level of frustration with the culture that’s been created in this generation, stemming from how we use the internet and social media – people have never seemed less real.
When thinking about how to go about starting to create content, the insecurities start coming out. What if I seem too serious? Too weird? Too self-centered? Lazy?... I’ll just stop there!
Poker and the poker community is to insecurity as gasoline is to fire, so though I hopefully hid them at the tables pretty well, there’ve certainly been a lot to work through. Most of them have been nuked at this point, but jeez they die hard sometimes!
So, my promise to you: if you follow my journey, good or bad, you’ll meet James Obst. I wouldn’t even be able to bluff you if I tried.
Alright, it was a pleasure! Signing off for now.