Kip “Pretty Boy” Butcher. You could call him my friend, but a friend is someone you meet during your life and become close to. But that’s the thing, I can’t remember when I actually met Kip. It seems as if he’s always been in my life. I think I was four when we became friends. All I truly know is that he’s always been there.
Throughout my life, I’ve seen him transform into so many different people. I can tell you this, for most of my younger years, I was always a step behind him, following and copying every move he’d make. He’s a few years older than me, so his head-start, with friends, sports, music, girls, and even style, was something I followed.
He taught me what “cool” was, although unfortunately, he introduced me to the bowl-cut hairstyle—please don’t find pictures. He taught me how to play pool (and after a few weeks, we rarely played again). The skating rink, the movies, and getting in trouble at the mall: Kip was that childhood friend that parents warned their kids about.
He always had the new albums, introducing me to some of the most influential artist out there. It’s because of him that I knew who Outkast was. Three Six Mafia was his favorite. I remember purchasing Juvenile’s 400 Degreez cassette tape, only for Kip to arrive at my house with the CD version of that album (welcome to the future, Nash). I just couldn’t keep up with the guy.
He taught me how to be competitive—and because I attempted to outdo him in every category, I eventually learned how unimportant that actually was. And by being in competition with him for so many years, I learned that the true competition was with myself. I began following things I was passionate about, rather than following what others enjoyed.
All through school, he was known as a great football player. After school, he went into a semi-pro league, until breaking his leg, which ultimately ended his football career. I thought his days of being physical were over, but he became a Mixed Martial Arts fighter (learning jujitsu, boxing, and kickboxing) and reinvented himself once again.
All fighters need a nickname, an alias, and Kip decided on Pretty Boy, of all names. But it stuck. Now, that’s what people know him as. Not as a football player. Not the insurance salesman, or the car salesman, but as Pretty Boy: the fighter.
This story was written to say that, it doesn’t matter what you were known as, or what you’re currently known as—or if you’re even known at all. What does matter is that you’re not scared to grow and reinvent yourself.
All of the people that will know this new you, may never even learn about the old you. They’ll only know the you that you’re currently showing them. So any moment now, you can introduce them to the person you want to be.