Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Through my Eyes

     Some days are a lot harder than others. This isn't anything different than anyone else would say but it's unique from person to person. We all handle our issues in our own way. Maybe you go for a walk, play a video game or put on an album and let it take you away. The important thing is that you have some kind of outlet that works for you. The real kick in the ribs is when your outlets don't work like they used to or you simply lose touch with what made them work to begin with.
      I'm 37 years old, married with two awesome kids and when it comes right down to it, I don't really like myself all that much. I deal with severe body image issues and on more days than I'd care to admit, I feel like a failure. So, let's try and break this down and see if we can figure it out. 
     Body issues. Well, here's a hot button issue if I've ever heard one. It's everywhere you look. Mostly it's aimed at women. Making them feel as if they have to fit this societal mold of what a woman is supposed to look like. It's total crap and I think most people would agree with that. Critics hide it under the guise off "wanting people to be healthy." However they overlook wanting people to be happy. Let me tell you right now that it isn't just women who deal with this. Look at any magazine and the pictures you'll find of men will depict them as fit and trim, six pack abs and given the latest trends, probably bearded and tattooed. There's nothing wrong with that at all. But what about the guys that look like me? I'm bald and heavy. I'd probably have to starve myself for a few months to ever come close to six pack abs. I have hair on my body. I have no tattoos because I've never found anything I was willing to permanently put on my body and also because I really don't want any. But in this day and age you can be looked down on for not having any. The very people who cried foul because they were looked down on for having tattoos and piercings are now the ones who judge those of us who appreciate the art of it but have none. 
      I know deep down I'm always going to be that shy and unsure 15 year old kid who used his sense of humor to hide the fact that he dealt with self doubt and just wanted people to like him. Who used it to make the people around him feel happier because he didn't want anyone to feel the way he felt inside. The saying that the funniest people are often the saddest and loneliest, it's true. Tears of a clown and all that jazz. I will do anything to make a person smile because I hope that one of these times it'll make me smile as well. Smile and really mean it. 
      Now let's be clear about something. I love my wife and kids and I enjoy the life that I have with them. But that doesn't mean that the nagging voices in your head ever really shut up. That takes change, real change. You have to make them stop. You have to believe that whatever they're telling you isn't reality anymore. That's a tall order sometimes. 
      I wish I knew what to say to any of you out there who feel this way. I can say that you're not as awful as you paint yourself to be. But I can't make you believe it. I can say that one day it stops bothering you. But I can't tell you when that day is. I'm still waiting for mine. I could say that there are a wealth of people out there who love you and there are, that much is true. But you have to love you first and the most. You can't find it in other people and it's not fair to put that kind of responsibility on anyone else. 
     So in closing I'll say this. Life can really suck sometimes. People will let you down and break your heart. They're only human and that's kind of what they do. No one is perfect. But there's a lot of beauty out there and you can find it in the most surprising of places. Don't judge by what you see. Don't be afraid to look beyond what's right in front of you. Don't stand for people who do that to you.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Never Give Up

     The other day my son was at the kitchen table drawing pictures of horror icons because he loves horror movies. While in the middle of one he stopped and looked at me and said "Dad, I'm drawing Michael Myers. Do you think I'll be successful?" My first thought was "who the hell talks like that?!", then I thought "he wants my approval. He wants to know he's doing a good job so that he can keep on doing it with confidence." I didn't hesitate to tell him that his drawings were awesome and he'd be successful. Maybe he'll be an artist one day. Maybe he'll make special effects for movies. What he won't ever do is tell himself that his dad didn't believe in him. The same goes for my daughter. She's about to turn 16 and has her whole life planned out. She knows where she's going to school and what she wants to do with her life. I don't think I could be more proud of her and how much she's matured and pulled herself together over the last couple years. 
     You might wonder where I'm going with this. For a little while, I did too. Parenting isn't an easy job and there's no rule book. You play it by ear and do what you hope is the best. When I was little I didn't get a lot push to live my dreams and reach for the stars. I got told no and that I couldn't do things, a lot. I wanted to play the piano. I was told I wouldn't stick with it. I wanted to use chop sticks once at an Asian restaurant. My dad told the waitress that I would fail. I didn't. Now, before anyone goes thinking that my parents are assholes or anything like that, please understand that my parents are great people. My dad is my best friend and my mom is still who I go to when I need some realistic advice. But what they also are is too realistic. There was no dream I had that wasn't in some way worn down due to it being a little outlandish. They loved me. But they didn't push me. And it's that fact that has held me back in a lot of ways over the years. I've given up on the vast majority of my dreams because they aren't "realistic." I'll come up with reasons that whatever it is I want to do, will ultimately fail. I wanted to be a wrestler, a musician, a writer. All things that I feel like I would have been pretty good at. I even gave up on this blog for a while. It was hard to open myself up to people and not immediately see the rewards from it that I felt I'd see. What were those rewards? I haven't got a clue. But they weren't there and I walked away from it. 
      The irony in all of this is that I'm the first person to push people to be what they want to be, to root for the underdog. But I can't take that same advice for myself. Someone once told me that in a crisis, I'd be the guy that ran into danger to save other people. Because deep down inside I want to be the superhero. 
     I guess what I'm getting at is this. Please don't ever give up. Please don't stop fighting. I know there are moments when you can't take another step or give another breath or shed another tear. I know it because I've been there and still live there. Some of you know me and some of you may not. But I believe in you. I believe that if you want something badly enough, you can make it a reality. Stop listening to those venomous voices in your head and keep fighting. I promise you that it's worth it. Maybe not today, but one day you'll wake up and look back on your journey and realize that you made your life important because you never gave up. And on that day, you take that feeling of pride and you pass it on to the world around you. You stand up for every person that was where you used to be and you give them hope. 
     Yeah, I think you'll be successful.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


I’ve spent the better part of a couple years being relatively uncertain as to who I am or what I want out of life.  While this may come across like sour grapes to some, I assure you that it isn’t. The choice to hide my head in the sand and wait for everything to fix itself was very much my own. So when you read this, if you read this, please understand that this little bit of a rant is really more of my way of letting go of some pent up animosity that I have.  That being said, enjoy, and I hope that this makes even the tiniest bit of sense in then end.

If you went back about twelve years ago you’d have found me a very different man.  Someone without an ego, but someone who had a very quiet confidence.  I wasn’t defined by my career, my relationships or anything other than what I allowed.  I said what was on my mind and never second guessed any decisions that I made.  Somewhere along the line that all stopped. I became the exact opposite. I was nothing but my own list of inadequacies.  It made me all bitter and hard to be around. It affected me both mentally and physically in some ways. The other day in the middle of a phone call, someone said the wrong thing and pushed and belittled me just a little too far. It was like a switch went on in my head. But instead of yelling and raging about it, I made them suffer through a long and awkward pause and then calmly showed them that speaking to me like I was beneath them was a very bad idea.  It felt amazing. It was in that moment that I knew that I was back.

This journey is mine and mine alone. In the end I have only myself to answer to. My decisions, good or bad, are mine. Anyone who feels like walking with me is more than welcome to. But I won’t stop moving because someone is asking me to. You can keep up or catch up to me later.  I’ve spent a lot of time standing still, hoping that the things that I want would be handed to me. It has never once worked.

I used to worry that was too fat or too hairy or inadequate.  I’m none of those things. I’m me from head to toe. I will never be a model with six pack abs or a vision of “perfection.” I have a strange beard and I wear the clothes I want to wear. I eat what I want and drink what I want. Maybe it’s time we stopped letting photoshopped images of secretly flawed people dictate who we are. Ladies, stop worrying about the size of your ass and your stomach and be happy with yourselves. Curves are awesome. Start owning that shit and be happy.  If you want to work out to make yourself feel better, do it. But do it because it’s what you want. Not because someone told you it’s the only path to happiness. And if you’d rather have another slice of cake and a beer, enjoy it.

I don’t have a career. I’m 36 years old and I don’t have anything even remotely resembling one.  What I do have is a string of kind of interesting jobs. I’ve sold kaleidoscopes, worked security, been an accountant, sold gun parts, been a stay at home dad, a baker and a home health aid. I throw myself completely into whatever it is I’m doing and at times allowed myself to feel like none of these things were fulfilling. What they are is interesting, and I’ll take an interesting job over a boring career any day.  I let people’s opinions of what I was doing become fact in my mind. Because of that I stopped doing things that I really loved doing.

Live your life. You only get one go around and if you spend it wasting seconds because someone might think you’re weird or stupid, you’re missing the point. Be weird, do what makes you happy, just be yourself in every way you know how. People will love you or hate you because of it. But what matters most is if you love yourself because of it. And maybe they hate you because they see something they wish they could be. Maybe it’ll inspire them to let go just a little. Seriously, if I did it, so can you.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Anniversary

On January 19th, 2009, I woke up not feeling so well. I was still tired, my muscles were achy and I just felt, well, blah.  Considering it was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I had the day off, so I went back to sleep. I awoke at some point later, still not feeling well and noticing that I had just a tiny bit of pain when breathing. I hadn’t wanted to waste my extra day off sleeping but I had no desire or energy to do much else, so I just loafed on the couch. My then fiancĂ©, “J”, who works second shift and therefore sleeps during the day, woke up at 2pm. By the time he left for work at 3:30, my complaints had grown to having a little more pain and just not wanting to move. I continued to rest but I noticed that if I got up to get a drink or climbed the stairs to use the bathroom, I got somewhat winded but would feel better after resting for a while. I began a ranting monologue in my head, mentally checking off my list of symptoms.  Muscle aches? Check. Fever? Low-grade. Stomach trouble, headache, any other flu-like symptoms? No.  Ok, well, that’s not much to go on. But then, why do I feel so crappy and why do I have shortness of breath? I had so much going on at work that I just couldn’t afford to be sick, especially if this was going to turn out to be pneumonia. Or how about pleurisy? No way! I can’t have that. I am just going to rest and if I still feel this way in the morning, I’ll go to the walk-in clinic early and go to work from there.
Then things went from bad to worse. I had stopped hiking upstairs to the bathroom. It just wasn’t worth the exhaustion, the twinge of pain behind my shoulder that felt like someone was stabbing me with a hot poker, and the dizziness. The last time I went up there, I had started to feel a little disoriented. Things weren’t making much sense in the way that every little thing, every thought, every idea, every bit of logic was all scrambled in a hazy patch of fog in my brain. I had to sit at the top of the stairs for what seemed like a good 15 minutes or so before making the long journey back down those steps, back to my pillow and blanket on the couch.
For those reading this that are thinking to themselves, “Excuse me, big dummy, shouldn’t you sending yourself off to the hospital?” I say this: denial is a powerful thing. And I am a ridiculously stubborn gal sometimes. I was determined not to let this get the best of me.  I had a pile of things to do at work and a manager who would find some way of making you question your judgment in taking a day off, needed or not.  She had a way of making you feel disappointed in yourself that was hard to overcome and yet, not a word would be said to you about it. After all, I had just been out sick for 2 days 3 weeks before when I went to the ER with pain in my left calf. Since then, I had been hobbling around with an orthopedic cam walker (boot) and had physical therapy 2 time a week for what the ER had said was an Achilles tendon tear, though the pain in my leg hadn’t been as sharp lately.  Besides, feeling this bad, not only could I have not driven myself anywhere at this point, if I could have dialed 9-1-1, I don’t think I would have had the breath to say “hello.” Also having just visited the ER, I hadn’t wanted to seem like a hypochondriac.
 At this point in the night, I had decided that I may actually have to give up the idea of work the next day altogether and just hold on until I could get to the walk-in clinic in the morning. Disappointed Manager would have to just deal with it and I would just have to get over whatever disappointment I felt within myself. “J” got home around 2 am, I believe.  I hadn’t moved from the couch in at least an hour, was a little less disoriented, but still didn’t feel fully in control. The pain seemed to be getting worse, and the breathing was the same. He came and talked to me for a bit, trying to help me decide what to do. I decided to get up and go to the kitchen. The distance from my couch to my island counter in the kitchen is roughly 12 feet. In those 12 feet, I realized just how short of breath I still was. And I was absolutely exhausted from having moved that short of a distance. I somehow managed to communicate to “J” in fits and gasps, that I thought it was time for the ER. “J” pulled the car around and managed to get me settled in. The hospital is about 15 minutes away and in that time, even through the fog in my brain, I realized how dumb I had been to let both work and my pride let it get this far. Oh dear hindsight, I adore thee.
I was immediately taken in and given oxygen. When the attending ER doctor saw my boot, he decided to order a few tests, including an ultrasound for my leg and a CAT scan for my chest. He said he was just checking for blood clots in my leg and lungs, but it was just precautionary. The nurse who came to escort me to the CAT scan (oxygen and all) was less than pleased to be saddled with me. I’m sure she thought I was just another victim of the flu using the ER as a walk-in clinic. I didn’t expect roses and songs, but she was very short with me and rather rude. She prepared me for the CAT scan and then left the room to begin the test.
I firmly believe to this day that she read the results while she was out of the room.  The time had come to collect me and escort me back to my bed back at the ER. Suddenly, her whole demeanor had changed. “How are you doing, sweetie? Are you comfortable enough? Would you like another blanket? Is there anything I can do?” Someone felt guilty, for sure. That’s when I knew I was in trouble. The once Nurse Ratched wheeled me back quickly, but with great care, speaking gently to me along the way. She settled me back in place and left, wishing me well. I was scared silly.
A while later, the doctor came back with the news: the Achilles tendon tear was really Deep Vein Thrombosis and it had broken apart and had lodged in my lungs. A pulmonary specialist was called in and after more testing, it was determined that I was lucky in that the blood clots in my lungs, bi-lateral pulmonary emboli, had first passed through my heart and though one chamber of my heart was damaged, the damage was minimal. In time it would heal, but the important part was that the blood clot didn’t lodge there.
I guess I still didn’t realize how sick I was. My mind had created a scenario in which they would give me medication, I stay home for a day or two and go right back to work. I expressed my hesitation about not returning to work.  Her next words I remember so clearly that they still haunt me, “If you leave, you will die.” She then went on to explain everything, how she blamed birth control pills, how I would walk out of there if I did everything they said and just let them take care of me. She informed me that I was mere hours from death’s door and to consider myself lucky I got there in time. I was hospitalized for one week and on continued medical leave for another two. By then, I had improved enough in her eyes to allow me to go back to work as my administrative position would allow me to sit.
Since then, so much has happened. I was on blood thinners for one year. Eventually, that one chamber of my heart caught up and is now in time with the rest of the beats. My lungs healed for the most part, although bending over for longer than a couple of seconds makes me feel like my body will explode….and humidity? Forget it.  I have since been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, have had multiple surgeries resulting in a hysterectomy in order to correct reproductive issues, and arthritis, which is almost disabling on the worst days and still painful even on the best.  I tell you these things because it seems to be that a decent amount those afflicted with DVT’s/PE’s have all been diagnosed with many of the same issues within a couple of years.
There are decent days. There are really bad days. I am in some sort of pain most of the time. Even when I am having fun, the reminders are still there. And even though the cause of the DVT’s and PE’s has been removed from my life, the fear of what happened and it recurring is still there – and may always be.
But I survived. Many don’t. I have learned from this. I have learned to listen to my body and to trust it. I have learned to not care what others think about my need for a day off, if my body calls for it. I have learned to not let my need to not disappoint others take over. I now know there is nothing more important than how I feel about me, though I still do tend to forget that from time to time. One of the hardest things to fix is yourself.
It has been and continues to be a long road for me. But the point is, five years later, I’m still on it. Good days and bad, I’m still here.  I. Am. Still. Here. I looked death in the eye and flipped him off.
So, Happy 5th Anniversary to me.  Pain or not, I’m still looking up. It can only get better.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Policy

This is a blog that I should’ve written in the very beginning.  Not only to show the people reading it the purpose of what I’m trying to do, but to remind myself why I started this.  I called it The Stage is Yours as a way of giving people an outlet to anonymously remove those things in their lives that were holding them back. Free of judgment and prying eyes. But upon doing that, I stepped aside and took it away from myself. I stopped putting in effort to remove the things that were holding ME back. That isn’t fair to myself and it certainly isn’t fair to those of you that have so beautifully shared yourselves.  So I’d like to take this opportunity to pull the curtain back and do what all of you have done.  Take charge of my life and attempt to pick up the pieces.

I am a liar.  I have made up stories about myself and my life in an attempt to make myself seem better than I am. Lying to me is a compulsion. I am addicted to it. Small things and large things have all been effected by this addiction.  I am so caught up wanting everyone to like me that I modify who I am to suit individual needs. Or what I thought they would need.  This has left a giant hole in me. A hole that I tried to fill with alcohol and drugs and the attention of people that I didn’t truly know. I used people to make myself feel better. And for a time it would work, but it never lasted.

I have a wonderful woman in my life. Someone who never looked at me with judging eyes and never wanted me to be anything more than who I am. But I’ve lied to her as well.  I still sought out the attention of others. I still filled that hole inside me with drugs and alcohol. And now I stand here and could potentially lose everything. My wife, my family, all of it. This is what lying has done. This is what it will do to you.  She told me to put up or shut up. She told me that she doesn’t trust me anymore. I’m afraid, I’m terrified. More so than I’ve ever been in my entire life. This is what lying has done to me and the people I care about.  Maybe it’s time I told myself to put up or shut up. Lying shouldn’t be this easy. We teach our children that it’s wrong to lie. I was raised to believe that the truth was the most important thing. So put up or shut up. I don’t want to wake up a year from now and not have her here, not hear the laughter of my child. I don’t want to die with regrets.

Like any addict, this isn’t going to be easy. I’ll have to force myself on a daily basis to live the way I know I should live. To be honest, both with myself and with her. I’m going to have to attempt to rebuild her trust in me. I don’t know if I can do it. But I know for the first time in my life I have to try. I give up too easily on everything. And after a while, when you live like that, people and things will give up on you. I know that it’ll take time for the truth to be believed as well. When all you spew are lies, the truth sounds exactly the same.

Put up or shut up. Stop talking about who you want to be and be it. Stop standing on the side lines and waiting for things to happen. Make them happen. Stop lying and tell the truth to yourself and to those you love the most. Stop giving yourself to people that you don’t really know. Stop hurting people. Stop making excuses and fucking change.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Every Day

I've never been able to talk about what has happened to me. A few times I have tried to reach out but chickened out at the last second. My family doesn't know. My friends don't know. They may never know...

When I was 15 I met a boy who thought I was amazing. We met in January and the following month was my sweet 16. At my sweet sixteen party he decided to give me his present. He wanted sex. I wouldn't do it and he punched me in the stomach. He abused me in some way shape or form every time we saw each other after that. He was rough with me in every way possible. His father even verbally abused me. Nobody ever knew what happened and its still hard to talk about. When he finally dumped me I was truly broken. I was scared and ashamed. Worst of all I thought it was all my fault. 

A year later I was looking to feel something. Anything. I got involved with this guy and his friend took us behind the cemetery so we could be alone. I was in the backseat when his friend jumped in the car and started to kiss me. I tried to fight him off and yelled for help. I heard the guy I was supposed to be with laughing. When they were both done with me they took me home. I showered till the water was ice cold. I told my best friend and she said I was lying. She liked one of the guys and told me that "he wouldn't do that". A part of me died. 

There are 2 years of my life that I don't remember after that day. I was depressed, defiant. The one time I asked for help I was rejected. I had been destroyed. Slowly I was able to bury the memories of what happened and I tried to join the world again.

Some years later when all of my memories were buried deep and I was out in the world acting like I could function, I went out to a local bar with some co-workers. One of them invited their brother and we seemed to really hit it off. 

I only remember bits and pieces of that night. I don't know how we got to my car. I don't know how it happened. I tried to stop him but I was in a fog. I couldn't move. I was pinned down. I was half naked. I was saying no. It was the only thing I could say. I started to shake my head back and forth. He stopped because I started to throw up. After he left two girls were walking through the parking lot and saw me hanging out of the car half naked. The police were called.  I was taken to the hospital. 

The detective who took me, because I refused an ambulance, was so supportive and tried to help me. He knew what happened even if I couldn't talk about it. There was a counselor from the VAP (Victim Assistance Program) that tried to help me work through it but I just wasn't able to talk about what happened in my car. 

I felt like I failed. I thought I deserved it. I was ashamed. I didn't know how to tell anybody that I had been drunk, probably drugged, and that my friend's brother had attacked me in my own car. I had to drive that car. The counselor told me to get rid of it but I couldn't afford to. I couldn't look at my co-worker so I transferred to a different branch. I buried it deep. It took me almost 7 years to get my life back.

Today I am with a man that knows nothing of my past. If he asks me, I will do my best to tell him about it. We have been together for a year and a half and he has never raised a hand to me. He has never even raised his voice to me. He talks to me. He is affectionate and makes me happy. He talks about a future. He talks about our wedding. He talks about our children. For the first time in my life I feel safe. My boyfriend may not know about my past but he is the one person that has helped me heal. I love him. He's not perfect but he makes me laugh. He is supportive and makes me want to be a better person.

Even though I'm in a good place right now...I'm still scared. I'm still ashamed. I feel like I may have deserved it. All of it. I hate myself. How can he love me? How can anybody love me? I'm safe if they don't know. 

I'm still working through everything that has happened. BUT...

Every day I wake up. Every day I take a deep breath before I start my day. Every day I ask for the strength to make it through. Every day I tell my boyfriend that I love him. Every day he tells me he loves me. Every day I heal a little bit...

Thursday, November 21, 2013

To All of You

This is generally the time of year that people will start talking about how thankful they are for all the good things they have in their lives. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’ve always been one of those people that believed that if you’re only openly thankful on one day a year or around one time of year, you’re missing the point.  So, every fiber of my being is rebelling against the idea of droning on about how thankful I am.  I’ll try and avoid the laundry list of blessings but forgive me if a stick my toes in the water from time to time.

Anyone who is privy to my life outside of this computer might say to me, “Hey man, are you thankful for second chances this year?” The answer to that is no, I’m not. What I am thankful for is clarity. Which is something that for far too long I didn’t have. Not even in the slightest.  I’m also thankful for perspective and finally having the sense to look at the life that’s right in front of me and enjoy it for what it is. An always evolving adventure that is often far too short.  In my life I have lost friends, some at a fork in the road and others in the blink of an eye. A year ago I’d have thought about this and lamented over the times we never got to spend together. Now I tell myself that the time spent together was more important than the times never spent.  The only waste in life is not learning what those people were there to teach you.

 Tomorrow marks kind of an important day for me. My oldest turns 14. If I stop and think about that for too long, my ears start to ring and I get the cold shakes. I still vividly recall her swinging from my arms and climbing all over me. It must mean I’m getting older or something.  My son, who just turned 6, now sits and watches monster movies with me just like she did when she was that age. The cycle continues. So to the both of them, in the off chance that they read this someday, I love you both very much.

I learned that somewhere along the line I gave up on myself. It was just easier to sit back and let other people make decisions for me. It happens, everyone does it at some point in their life. Problem was, I was allowing people who were no longer a part of my life make decisions.  Like annoying voices from beyond the grave. I used to spend my nights locked up in my dark apartment, waiting for someone to come in and shine a light for me. All the while the light switch was right beside me. But I’m good now, certainly not about to shoulder the burden of the world anymore.  It feels really good to take a deep breath and just live. Enjoy the little things, Like the way the sky looks early in the morning when I’m walking the dog. Or the way the house smells when I feel inclined to play in the kitchen.
So if I’m thankful for anything, it’s the ability to be thankful.  My life isn’t as bad as I imagined it to be. I’ve got some great friends and an amazing family. When I started this blog, my goal was to “change the world.” I did. I changed my world. So thank you to all of you who have submitted or simply just hopped on here and read what others have written.  You’ve made this into a reality.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

That Light at the End of the Tunnel

I’ve spent much of my life feeling angry.  I’ve been angry about things that have happened to me and mine that were under no one’s control, that were unfortunate circumstance.  I could never find a way to process the anger or sadness or other feelings and put them behind me.  

Days innumerable have been spent in the fog of anger, of rage.  Of absolute negativity.  Of the inability to believe or hope good things would come my way – or if they had, to see or appreciate them.  

I’ve been too busy being angry, being determined to be angry to realize that continuing that path has kept the bad in a beeline for me.  

While it’s a hard habit to break, I’m determined to do it.  And I am doing it.  Baby steps are still progress, no matter how little.  

I’ve spoken of hope before, but I spoke of it in a meaningless way, sort of the way you’d talk about unicorns.  It’s a lovely thought, but you don’t really believe they exist.  

I’m beginning to believe.  Not in unicorns, mind you, but of hope.  That it does exist, that it is real, that having it can make life change.  

This year has held many dark days for me but they were days I had to convince myself would end.  

Without the dark, you’d never be able to see the stars.  

If the bad hadn’t happened to me, I wouldn’t be here now.  

I’ve changed my mindset, changed my perspective.  

While I certainly didn’t enjoy the bad, without it, the good that’s present now wouldn’t be here.  The bad has led me to the good.  

I can choose to worry about the things I cannot control, or I can accept them and move on.  I can choose to be a slave to anxiety, or I can count my blessings and be grateful.  

Life isn’t perfect.  It never is.  But this life is about acknowledging what you have – good or bad – and doing what you can with it.  And we only get one chance.  I don’t want to live the way I’d been living anymore.  I want good things, I want happiness, I want hope, I want love and family.  You have to believe in them, fervently believe they are possible and that you deserve them.  And, I’m finding out, if you believe, if you repeat over and over, they will come to you.  

We must choose happiness over the anger every day.  Every morning we wake up, we must make a choice to let fear or happiness reign.  We must choose to believe.  

And maybe I believe in unicorns too.  But only a little.  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Ignorance Shaming Week

I’m one of those people that tend to arrive late to the party.  It’s probably on purpose.  I do love to make an entrance.  So earlier today I read something about this little movement called “Fat Shaming Week”.  It seemed a little absurd to me.  Had I also missed “Pedophile Shaming Week”? How about “Bestiality Shaming Week”? Did we take care of all those groups and we’re now moving on to fat people?
After some reading and research it seemed that there was one main egg responsible for it.  I’d call them a person, but you see, this internet warrior decided to leave his face far off of his Twitter account.  I can only guess that this is to make sure they are safe from any critique or ridicule that they might in fact receive. But what’s a bully without a heap of fear and repression.  Maybe they used to be fat? Maybe they needed a hug from Mom and Dad?

 Anyway, I read through this shriveled nutsack’s tweets and fund them to be not only basic and misogynistic, but completely devoid of any real thought process.  Things like “If you’re fat, no one will love you”, or “Put down the fork”.  Clever, so clever.  Truly you’re proof of how great our educational system is.  If these were written out prior to shitting them onto the internet, I’m guessing it was in crayon, with a lot of misspellings.  One of his brilliant insights even said, “I just had sex.  And I’m laying here while the girl cleans herself in the bathroom.  Or whatever women do.”  The answer to what they do, is masturbate.  Because you’ve never satisfied one.
In my life, I’ve had the privilege of knowing a lot of great women.  Each one beautiful in their own way.  They’ve been of all shapes, sizes and colors.  They all have something they should be proud of.  They all deserve to be loved.  They deserve to live in a world free of narrow minded asshats like you and the embarrassing army of gerbils who thought your opinion had merit.

 So, in summation, I’d like to say this: If you so deeply believe in what you’re preaching, show your face.  Stand up and let the world see you, since you think you’re so much better than others.  Hell, Mike Jeffries of Abercrombie & Fitch put his face out there and he looks like what would happen if Eric Stoltz in Mask spent a day getting stung by bees.  I’d gladly invite you to suck my dick, but guys who wear Ed Hardy and smell like Axe Body Spray just don’t get my blood flowing.
Ladies, be proud of who you are and what you look like.  Be happy in it.  Confidence is the sexiest thing on a woman.  Go check out the hashtag #effyourbeautystandards on Instagram.  Take a picture, post it and give a giant middle finger to anyone who tries to hold you down.  Seriously, fuck those people and everyone like them.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Rainbows and Darkness

When your memories hold you hostage, how do you begin to take your life back?

When you’re held prisoner to a constant movie reel of past pain and heartbreak, how do you break free? 

How do you emancipate yourself from your own mind? 

In my life, I’ve experienced joy and misery.  Happiness and depression.  Rainbows and darkness. 

It’s the dark, the bad memories that are the ones that repeat.  The ones where I can remember each detail in Technicolor, the sights, the smells.  All of it.  The good memories are more faded like an old photograph, the edges dog-eared and the images not as clear as they once were. 

I’m the one that bestows that power upon them.  I’m the one that went willingly, head hung low in defeat, into my cell of sadness inside my own mind.  I condemned myself to this life, to putting my focus on the negative.

I’ve spent a lifetime drowning in the awful. 

It’s high time I started to kick to the surface. 

But how?  How do we begin to wrest ourselves from the self latched chains of our memories, our pasts?  What defining event will open the door?

What beautiful things have happened to me that I’ve shoved to the recesses of my mind and forgotten and replaced with something shameful, embarrassing, hurtful or sad?  What have I missed out on because of my frightening ability to see only the terrible?  How many smiles, hugs, encouraging words, beautiful scenes?  How many compliments?  How many breathtaking sunsets?  How many moments of just love, be it friend, family, significant other? 

How many lost memories are running adrift in my mind because I’ve refused to see them?

Is setting yourself free as simple as telling yourself that’s what you’re going to do?  Resolving to no longer give it the power it held before?  Can it be that easy? 

I suppose that it can’t hurt to try.  It can’t hurt any more than I’ve already hurt myself. 

So then today, now, right this minute, with fear and hope in my heart, I vow to stop it.  I’m taking away the power.  I’m taking away the power I’ve given to the bad memories, to the darkness, to the fear, to the hopelessness, to the anger, to the people who’ve hurt me, to the people who enjoyed my suffering. 

I’m done letting memories, emotions, and people control my life, my mind.  It’s done. 

I’m taking back my life.

Too long I’ve spent wishing to be happy, to be free. 

Today, I’m moving in a different direction.  I’m shedding those chains; I’m losing my prisoner number. 

I want to know joy.  Know it fully.  Know it like we have a secret handshake. 

Fear and hate and anger can go right back to the hell that spawned them all.  I’m done with you. 

I want my goddamn life back.

And it starts today.