Going Cold Turkey

It's been too long since I've posted anything here. To be honest, there was a period that I was suffering the detested "writer's block" and that eventually turned into laziness. I'm hoping that phase is now behind me. Anyway, that's not the point of this post. The real topic here is that I'm going cold turkey starting today with one of my biggest addictions – Facebook.

That's right, I've deactivated my Facebook account as of this morning. There are many reasons I've decided to log off (hopefully not to return anytime soon, if ever again), but it basically boiled down to reclaiming some freedom. Facebook has a way of taking over. Like any addiction, it doesn't happen all at once.

At first, Facebook was a great way of staying in touch with friends and family throughout the world. Then over time it evolved. It grew new limbs, started getting larger, found it had power over others, and morphed into a social experiment that shows the worst of being social.

I wish I was like a lot of people I know. These people are able to simply overlook the horrible and focus on the good. They ignore the racists asshole trolling people who are speaking up (cause it doesn't involve them), they overlook the news reports of our country being destroyed (either cause they are too scared or simply do not care), and/or they simply don't think that having a voice does anything (which shame on you). These people are not necessarily bad, I'm just not one of them.

I feel the need to speak up for every injustice I see. I'm not afraid to speak my mind or my truth. This alone has alienated me from some so-called "friends." I'm okay with that. I don't need a lot of friends. In fact, if you know me, really know me, you know that typically I have a very small group of people I'm close with. But because of Facebook over the last few years, I've pushed more and more people away.

I don't blame the site obviously, but I've become aware of its impact on me. I started to think about life before FB and I realized a few things. Before FB, I was actually more social in person. Because I couldn't send messages or see what someone was up to everyday, it created a will and want for me to hang out and catch up with them. This went away with FB. Before FB, while I've always been an angry person, I was at least hopeful of the world we live in. FB shows all the worst of humanity and makes it hard to hope.

Now if you've been on FB for any amount of time over the last two years, you should understand that someone who can't turn an eye, who isn't afraid to call people out, and who may not love humans a lot to begin with would struggle to breathe on the social giant. I found myself too many times arguing with people who would never change my mind, or I their's. I tried to ignore these situations but I can't. I don't have the will power too.

This is what FB has been for me for over two years. It's taken too much of a toll and I'm done. I've signed out and deactivated my account. I expect, like an addict, to have difficulties with this. I'm sure I will go through withdrawals and possibly even relapse. However, I'm determined to remember what life was like before, and find some hope again.

Wonder Women – Everyday Hero 1

I just got back from seeing Wonder Woman.  It is amazing!  A great superhero movie for everyone to see.   Gal Gadot‘s Wonder Woman is strong, smart, sexy (but does not ever act like it!), and one of the strongest females we’ve seen on the big screen.   She isn’t afraid to walk into a room of powerful strange white men and speak her mind.   Even her love interest is more about her getting to know and love the human race rather than one individual man that becomes her everything.  Wonder Woman is a great feminist story – and personally, the one I think America and the world needed at this moment.  If you’ve not seen the movie, I highly recommend it!

Now this post isn’t a review of Wonder Woman, but more of an homage and continuation of the themes explored in the movie.  As you may have read in an earlier post, I want to pay respect to some of my own personal heroes on this blog.  I’ll be doing that over the next few weeks and months; however, I was struggling to identify who my first hero should be.   I have a lot of awe-inspiring heroes that I’ll be writing about, but I wanted my first post to be special.   I wanted it to honor someone who has had a huge impact on me personally.   So I started to go through the names of people I wanted to spotlight and I noticed a not-so-surprising common aspect of my heroes –

Most of them are women!

From my mother, aunt, and grandmother to teachers, bosses, and friends, I time and again have developed much stronger bonds with women than men.  Yes its probably cause I’m gay, and yeah my daddy issues probably play a part of it, but it is undeniable that I have a strong draw and connection to women, especially smart, sassy, opinionated women, who fight for what they believe in.   Even the books, music, and TV shows/movies I’m drawn to feature a strong leading women.

Buffy was probably my first female hero obsession.  At the time I didn’t understand it wasn’t her looks I wanted (although SMG is  still one of the most beautiful women in the world to me!) but it was Buffy’s strengthen, wit, and determination I wanted.  From Buffy, I found new heroines all the time in my entertainment.   In music it was Shirley Manson, Madonna, Tori Amos, and more that I became obsessed with.   My all time favorite book, Mill on the Floss, featured my all time favorite character Maggie.  New shows and movies brought me characters like Meredith Grey, Sidney Prescott, Sarah Connor, and Olivia Pope.

Again, I can’t say this enough, it’s not just female celebrities and characters I’m drawn too.  In my real life, my mom, aunt, and grandma are/were my moms.  They each own a piece of my heart.  My cousins Amanda, Felicia, and Michelle are like sisters to me.  Then there are all my female friends over the years; from those who helped me cope with coming out, to those who helped me see my way through heartbreak.  And it would be hard to imagine where I’d be without teachers like Mrs. G and Mrs. Cody (both got me through high school), my college professor Katherine (it was her who introduced me to Russia and the adventure of a lifetime!),  and my many co-workers and bosses over the years.

All of these women, be them fictional or non-fictional, have had a major impact on me!   So let me say it here, on my first Everyday Hero post, that women (Take Note:  I’m not saying all women – there are still those ignorant ones who do what their daddy or hubby tells them to do, like vote for Trump….  I’m not talking about those type of women) are EVERYDAY HEROES in my eyes!

So here’s to the butt kicking, name taking, boundary pushing, don’t let anything stop them women!

 

Everyday Hero Spotlight – Introduction 

When I started this blog I didn’t really know what I wanted it to be.  Honestly, still don’t.  As time has gone on, I have taken note of a few ideas of topics I’d like to address and creative risks/experiments along the way I’d like to try.  One of those ideas is writing spotlight features about people that I see as heros. These will be everyday people that I know or I find along the way (there may be a politician or two that may appear, but, hey, they’re everyday peeps just like you and me).  In the end, the only thing these heros will have in common is that in some way  they’ve inspired me.   

And don’t think they’ll all inspire me in the same way…  oh, no!  That would be no fun.   I want to show you all how simply living your life and being you can inspire others.   Some of the heros you’ll meet a long the way will inspire my creativity, my humanity, my willingness to take chances, my ability to find positivity in even the most grueling situations, and overall they will inspire my love and passion for all the good things humans are able to accomplish.  (I may even prove to some of you that I really do love humans…even if it’s a small number of individuals).   

All I ask is that you check back to see who some of my heroes are…  you never know, you may even be surprised to find your name amongst the list!!!  

Friends – feel free to share my blog within others who may find interest in any of my ramblings….

Lonely vs. Loner

I feel like a tennis ball being hit back and forth on the court.  Except it’s not two sisters competing to win a trophy that has me feeling this way.   It’s my own neurotic self that is causing me to feel emotional whiplash.   What subject is causing me this internal strife?   Well it’s the subject that causes all of us or most immature but deepest struggle – love.

Now my turmoil isn’t over one person.   I’m not still stuck on an ex (sorry boys!).   In fact, it’s quiet the opposite.   I’ve grown too accustomed being by myself.   That mixed with my overall anxiety (especially when meeting new people one on one) has me feeling like Rhonda Rousey’s face after it met Holly Holm’s fists.   Bruised, swollen, and bleeding.

It’s not that I don’t want to find love and be with someone.  That’s far from the truth.  I’m lonely a lot of the time, but at the same time I love my alone time.   I need my alone time.  Being around people for too long (on some days being around them at all) drains me completely and requires time alone to recharge.   So how do I find someone when all I want is to be left alone?   

Maybe that’s the question of my life.   The lesson I’m supposed to learn.  Hopefully somewhere a long the way I’ll find “the one,” but I don’t think it’s as easy as going to the humane society and adopting a cat or dog (you all know I’ll be choosing a cat!).   If you happen to know of a place like that, let me know!   Meanwhile, I’ll continue the back and forth of feeling lonely and not wanting anyone near me till I figure this shit out…

Work Day Anxiety 

I suffer from anxiety.   I have since I was a pre-teen.  Back then I didn’t call it that.  I just remember constantly feeling exhausted. I learned to live with it.  Through high school, college, and early adult life I kept myself so busy that the anxiety was just part of being busy.   Then it got worse, especially after turning 31.   Things I used to be able to do, like my job as a trainer or going to the grocery store, became more and more difficult.   If you don’t live with anxiety it’s hard to explain why spending ten minutes in a store can send you into a full on anxiety attack.   But it can.  Imagine you’re scuba diving and your tank starts to lose air.   Your body tries and tries to maintain normal function, but with lack of oxygen your vision grows blurry, your body drips sweat, and the whole time your brain registers all that is going on but doesn’t know how to attack each individual threat (or I should say, precieved threat).  

That feeling can happen at anytime, or any place.   Even my own house.   Lately, I’ve found ways to address it and not let it run my whole life.   Through medication and meditation I’m doing better, but I still have moments and days that it comes roaring back.    Work days are typically the worst.   Now I work from home and don’t have to interact with anyone in person so you’d think that would help, but only so much.    On work days, I feel like in waiting for something bad to happen.   I know that is a stupid thought but it takes over my mind.   I find it hard to concentrate on much until work.   I’m jittery.  Waiting.  Checking the clock.  Checking my phone to see if something bad has happened or that I’m in trouble somehow.   It makes the work days start off in the negative, which at times can be insurmountable.

Now I do stop and mediate during this time, which is helpful, but the anxiety is always there.  Tapping away at my chest trying to find it’s way back into taking over my thought process and attitude.  I wish I didn’t spend time worrying so much about something that at the end of the day doesn’t really matter (I know that even if I have a bad day at work, I’m still okay overall).  I wish I could wake up, get things done, go to work, and not have a million thoughts smashing into each other and fighting for my attention until I simply can’t focus at all…  

34 with Daddy Issues

I was born into this world abandoned. Before my first breath, I knew what it was like to be unwanted by someone. I grew up knowing and understanding that I was the result of a brief fling between my mother and the man who fathered me. I knew that this man wanted nothing to do with his “mistake.” But growing up, it didn’t really bother me. Sure there was the fact, I couldn’t really be involved with Boy Scouts (remember the 80’s version was all about father/son bonding). Or that I didn’t really have anyone to teach me how to do “manly things” like throw a ball or change oil in a car (my brother taught me the latter). But my family did a good job of not making me feel different or less than. My grandfather, my brother, and my uncle Jim all played parts in making me the man I am today. I learned from all of them what it means to truly be a man – that is someone who is there for and supports the people they love no matter the situation. Even with all these positive role models and the fact my family’s love for me was absolute, I was still lacking a vital piece of me. Confidence in love.

I didn’t learn this at an early age. In fact, growing up I was so bitter towards the man who left me that I didn’t really spend much time thinking about his absences or the impact it had on me. People would always ask me as a kid if I wish I had a dad or if I felt like I was missing something. At the time, and still to an extent today, I didn’t know how to answer. How is someone supposed to know what they are missing from a relationship they’ve never had? I saw other father/son relationships and I could sumise only so much from those interactions. Typically my response was, “nope, I’m good without him.” But what I was hiding from them and even from myself was that the biggest thing I was missing was knowing fully I was loved.

Again, my entire family never made me doubt they loved me. In fact, I consider my mom, my grandmother, and my aunt all my mothers. They showed and continue to show me love all the time, no matter what. Yet I have never been able to shake this feeling (I’m just starting to come to terms with) that by being abandoned (even by someone I never met), my ability to love and feel love has been compromised. There is this whole side to me that is unknown. It’s a mystery. I don’t know anything about the other half of my family. I don’t know what type of medical conditions I may face due to that side. I don’t know if I have other siblings who may be more like me than my brother is. It’s just this dark void. And nothing I could’ve done as a child, except for having a father, would’ve avoided this hole from growing and infecting all of me.

I think if I was more aware of this from an early age, my life would’ve been different.   I would’ve opened up more to people.  I would’ve probably had my first relationship before the age of 23, and maybe that relationship would’ve ended differently.  Why you wonder.  Well how is someone supposed to really love and allow someone else to love them when they spend the entire relationship worried about being abandoned.  I feel bad for my first ex.  He (we won’t even get into the gay thing in this blog) had to try and love someone who couldn’t love himself fully.  I think this relationship brought up so many of my daddy issues I wasn’t even aware of.  From early on in that relationship, I was petrified that he would leave me.  After all, I was easy to abandon.   That caused all sorts of unhealthy relationship issues, and now that I look back on that relationship I’m shocked it lasted as long as it did.   I think that it is a testament to fact that people can love me, and me not fully trust it.  I mean trying to spend seven years convincing someone that you love them has to be exhausting…  and I was oblivious to all this.  I was focused on how not to be me, so that he wouldn’t want to leave me.
Time has passed since that relationship and there have been a few more here or there.  None have lasted long.   I question if it was more the fact we just weren’t right, or was I unaware of the fact I always push people away.   That’s it.  Isn’t it?   The lasting effect of not having a father.   I can’t trust anyone enough to stay with me.   If my own father couldn’t stand the thought of even trying to stay, how can anyone else?   So I built up a wall.   I’ve reinforced it over the years.   Abandonment doesn’t scare me anymore because I won’t allow anyone close to me.

This doesn’t just effect my romantic relationships, but my friendships as well.   I’m not a great friend.  I’ve cut so many friends out of my life because instead of working on a relationship with them, it was easier to cut then out before they eventually did me.   That’s how my brain works.   Instinct will always outweigh rational thought.   Instincts are bread into us.  They are taught through all our life events.   Thus when one instinct has been so unconsciously reinforced and strengthened by one’s self, it’s gonna be a bitch to undue.

Here’s the thing though.  I’m more aware of this than ever before.  I understand I’m a 34 year old man with a shit ton of daddy issues, and I’m working on it.   In the meantime, I may still instinctively push people away, but I’m hopeful that one day I’ll meet someone who simply will push back harder.

Humanity’s Ignorance 

Things aren’t great in the world right now.   Trump is in office (I still don’t understand how the fuck that happened), terrorists are attacking innocent people the wold over, Chechnya is openly telling its citizens to kill gays, and social media is sucking out the rest of the little remaining souls we had.  No matter how you look at it, things don’t look good.  People are turning on each other.  We are moving more and more back into segregated segments within society.  We can’t even stay housed in categories like liberal or conservative anymore cause the alt-left is attacking progressives who are attacking middle-of-the-roaders, and god knows what the tea baggers….err…tea partiers are thinking anymore!!!   It’s a mess.  Everyone seems to hate everyone.

That’s fucking depressing.  But it’s true.  It isn’t anything new.  Humanity has always been like this.  There has always been people who do good, people who do nothing, and people who do bad.   Terrorist are not new.  We just call them something different now.  No one called Hitler a terrorist but shouldn’t he be like the poster child?   Isn’t an act of a terrorist to terrorize?  So wouldn’t James Holmes fall under that category?   How about the KKK?  Or what about the Christian Church during the crusades?

What I’m saying is, today it’s IsIs.  Ten years ago it was Osama Bin Laden.  Twenty years ago it was Saddam Hussain.   Before him Hitler.   Before him the settlers of the United States (cause let’s not act like our ancestors are so innocent).  It goes on and on.  People are both good and evil.  It’s not one group of people.  It’s all of us.  It’s bread into us.  We are just animals struggling to learn what century we are in.  What distinguishes us from the rest of the animal kingdom is our ability to communicate with one another, but how much of our real thoughts to do we communicate?  I have horrible thoughts all the time.  I don’t act on them.  But they are there.  And I bet you have those thoughts too.  What separates the good from the bad is being able to see where that hatred comes from.  Facing it head on.  And adapting yourself to the understanding that you’re just an animal who has been taught to be ignorant of your own capabilities…

So what I ask is before you go blaming one group of individuals for all the bad and horrible things in the world, stop and admit your own bad thoughts, feelings, and capabilities.   Distinguish yourself from all the horrible evil people in the world.  It may help you understanding that just because someone looks like or believes in the same shit as someone else who is doing evil deeds doesn’t mean they all are.