Category: Life


 

 

And can we please stop this?

And can we please stop this?

Sorry in advanced for not being as active as I would like to be on my blog, have been really busy for the past few weeks. I’ve been trying to edit “Losers” so I can begin shopping it around and well, life happened. But I decided to come out and speak on a few subjects of note that have been bugging me lately which is, if you find something offensive, ignore it and go on about your day. Because if you’re easily offended by such things as something you see in the media, or hear someone say you should be thankful. Because it means there is nothing else that concerns you in your life. Because you’re not worrying about anything that actually matters, or means anything to anyone. You’re not hungry, you’re not worried about feeding your family, paying bills on time, you’re not worried about your job, or having to go to way in some foreign country, or land not knowing if you’ll ever make it home. You’re not worried about supporting your family if your spouse goes to war. It also means you’re not one of the ones who are fighting for you life in a hospital bed, you’re not struggling with your health, paying medical bills, or watching someone you care about pass away. If you have time to complain about something as silly as Starbucks cups, your life is fine and everything is okay. The world as you know it will continue to turn and turn, the sun will rise and the sun will set. This is how time passes and while you’re busy trying to find a sound and just cause, desperately trying to join a movement, that you can blindly attach yourself to, and join the bandwagon crying about how someone, somehow, somewhere hurt your feelings, or did something you didn’t like, or approve of. It’s all childish in the end. because you haven’t actually been greatly wronged by anyone, you just want attention, to have someone look at you and say, “Hey, you’re right!” But you’re not, you, really, really aren’t.

61787575So let’s all do something together, let’s all find and so something that can actually give your life some purpose. Because a big brother, or a big sister. Go to work in a soup kitchen, or a charity, join the national guard, invent something, write a book, channel all that rage, angst, and contempt into something creative, something positive! make art, help a neighbor, talk to a stranger, meet someone and strike up a friendship, let’s ignore all the drama and sensationalism in the media, on facebook, twitter and Pinterest, and let’s make the world better and into a more positive place to live in. We only have until now, and until the time we go to really leave this plane of existence to leave something long lasting behind. You only have one voice in the world, and you have to make sure that when you speak out, it’s for something that matters and not for spreading prejudice and hatred. I’m sorry here are the facts, not every cop is racist, or crooked. not all Muslims are terrorist, most of them are just people trying to get by and want to see their children grow up and make something of themselves.  I think we lost our semblance of self, in a world where everyone wants attention and wants to place blame somewhere else on someone else, rather than just being accountable for our actions and believe a harmless gesture is a personal attack against us, when sometimes a red cup, is simply a red cup, and sometimes you’re not really being persecuted, sometimes you’re just being an asshole.  0vNbnsa

 

And on the whole matter of the Syrian refugees, I’m proud to see so many people wanting to help them and wanting the American people to accept them with open arms. However, we’re facing an ever growing deficit in this country and I know we have solders and veterans we need to take proper care of, but keep getting denied certain benefits they were promised because there’s not enough money for it. Also our elderly keep getting denied a cost of living increase from social security because (there isn’t enough money in social security) plus we have a fairly big homeless problem here. And realistically, if we can’t get the money to  help these people, how are we suppose to take care of over twenty thousand refugees? These are questions I believe we need to all ask ourselves, and take a good long look at our underfunded educational system and how college graduates are hundred of thousands of dollars in debt, trying desperately to pay off their student debts, living to pay check, to pay check as the try to find employment in the area they’ve studied, just to find no one is hiring.  I think today everyone is too concerned with being guilt police, and are into the fad of taking on any movement that can gain them facebook likes, retweets, favorites, or just so they can feel as though they’ve taken up some cause to feel better about themselves.

But that’s just me and my thoughts, and this is my voice.

 

This is my voice

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Confession.

So I have a bit of a confession to make. It’s a bit of a doozy. So please bear with me if you can. Because it’s one of those things most people hear and immediately begin rolling their eyes and begin seeing me as some kind of monsters. Sharpening their pitchforks and lighting their torches. Especially these days, because my confession is that I’m (Okay deep breath) a Christian and I’ve been hiding.tumblr_m7bydoXFLt1rukhkdo1_500

I rarely talk about my faith in public and even more seldom do I admit it. Part of this reason is because I’m ashamed. I’m ashamed of how others claim to be Christians but don’t act like it. Unfortunately many of my fellow “Christians” seems to keep missing the point and they’re also the ones who seem to always be the loudest, turning their faith and religion into something bitter and obscene, preaching hate and discrimination over love and acceptance.

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we need less of this

When I read my bible (Which admittedly isn’t as much as I wish it was) but when do sit down and read it, I don’t see condemnation; I read a message of love. I read about a father who loves us, drunk on the love he has for us, half angry because His beloved mankind had cheated on Him, or had forgotten his name, use his name to preach a gospel of hate, arrogance and bigotry.

If you really sit down and pay attention to the words, you’ll see it’s a story about a God who made us all in his image, making us all equal. It tells of a God who sent his only begotten son to us, who didn’t just die for us, but who had suffered for our sins. Who even cried out the words,

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” While they were nailing him to the cross and He still loved them, no matter how much they hurt him, betrayed him, or disappointed him, he loved them still and he preached a gospel of love and compassion. I don’t know about you, but I would have a hard time forgiving and asking my father to love and forgive anyone who was torturing me. I would be wishing nothing but misery upon those who caused me such agony. But I keep trying to walk away from that part of myself; I keep fighting to do more good in the world than bad.

no more of this.

no more of this.

Now I may not be the most elegant of speakers, and they’re many who know the bible better than me, who can quote any scripter, who know the bible backwards and forwards, but I can’t help but think some of these people lost the message a long time ago. The bible tells me that if you preach hate at the service, those words aren’t anointed and that Holy water that you soak in becomes poison.
For me, many Christians lost their way the moment Jesus had gone. Or maybe it was even before then, when they doubted him, challenged him, longing to prove that he wasn’t who he was or claimed to be. Back when he was visiting the leper colonies and ran into woman accused of adultery, where many sought to trap Jesus, because the law then was to stone any woman caught committing adultery and when they told him this, he responded,John 8 Jesus eye level with woman holding her hand
“Let any one of you without sin be the first to throw a stone at her,” Then one by one those who heard began to go away. Because this is God’s love, it’s not a hate thing; it’s more of a love thing. It’s not about your beliefs being better than his, or her beliefs, it’s not about who’s right, or wrong. It’s about love, the Bible tells us to love our neighbors and yet almost every time I get on social media, I read, see, or hear something about Christians damning homosexuals, soldiers and the homeless.
But People don’t need division we got Gotta stick it together and love each other. Father, brother, sister, mother, uncles, cousins, aunts, forget about the chance, the cheers, the jokes, the jeers.
After 2000 years, you’d think we’d know by now. My grandma once said, “We will only find equality in the number of our tears.”

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We need more of this.

And she was right, because I don’t know what injustices you have suffer, based size, sex, race, religion,
Or the political pigeon crap on the shoulders of Us versus them. Like in Bethlehem, when a man said, “Hey I could be wrong, but can’t we all just get along?”

No! And we nailed him to the cross. See justice isn’t justice, it just is, and I can’t change it, you can’t change it, so we just have to try and rearrange it.

I’m a Christian and I support same sex marriages. I support it because I’m a heterosexual and I’ve seen people struggling with their sexuality, because they had grown up hearing how it was wrong, a sin, I’ve seen some of these people take their own lives. Thirteen, fourteen year old kids who are driven to kill themselves because of the “Christians” who think they can just pray the gay out. The Bible says, the most important commandment is loving God with all your heart, mind and soul, and the second most important commandment is this, “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” Something I feel gets lost on most everyone. I know what the bible says; I know the scriptures and I’ve been preached at and preached to by people telling me I’m not a real Christian, because I believe in loving others as much as I try to love myself. Some insist on telling me how I need to be educated and really read my bible. (Whatever that means) But my bible tells me to love my neighbor, to honor and respect those of other faiths and beliefs, reserving my judgement of God alone to decide. Because only God can be my judge and know what’s in my heart.

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You never hear of a Jewish person declining to let Christians to get married, because they aren’t Jewish, or of anyone getting upset because a Hindu, or a Buddhist wishes to marry. To me it’s just people, people wanting their love to be accepted in the eyes of the law, to each other and their faith. You can choose to accept it, or just ignore it.
I believe Christianity needs to be more of a love, forgiveness and a grace thing, not so much about hate, and using their gospel as ammunition to spread a message of hate and condemnation.

I feel like several times people pick and choose what they want to believe in the Bible and the lessons they wish to follow. When very plainly the bible says “Do not judge or you too will be judged for in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, “then it repeats in the bible, in another line, which reinforces the message that God doesn’t want us to pass judgement on anyone else, in a passage that reads,
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
To me this often speaks volumes in itself. To me it says we as human beings can’t hold judgment over others, and yet it’s what I see many Christians doing and they do it all the time. When we’re supposed to greet everyone with open arms, with love, understanding and grace, much like Jesus Christ had done during his time here.

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I also speak as someone who’s spent a lifetime being judged by others, hearing others of my faith tell me I’m a not a real Christian, or tell me how I or someone I care about is going to hell. But none of us knows what battles someone else is going through, or if God already has a plan us or for them.

So that’s my confession. I’m a Christian who believes in a loving God and I also believe in science and evolution. God gave us brains and the potential to grow and learn. Whose say a cosmic creator didn’t instill in us the building blocks to grow, change and adapt, because that’s always more exciting to me. Instilling change in something and sitting back to see what comes of it.

 

“Bullying builds character like nuclear waste creates superheroes. It’s a rare occurrence and often does much more damage than endowment.” ― Zack W. Van

Hello again and once more I regret for neglecting my blog for so long, but I’ve been busy, which is good. I’m still writing, trying to wrap up “Losers” before beginning the long arduous task of editing, proof reading and finding the best route to get everything published.  But I hope everyone reading this, or not reading this is doing well. But I would like to take this moment to talk about a rather big issue plaguing todays’ youth, bullies and those pesky internet trolls, who once upon a time, all their kind lived underneath bridges and now their plaguing us with their anonymity and cruelty.

Internet-Troll

It wasn’t until I began this blog that I started opening up about being bullied back in school, where I mastered the art of trying to be invisible and to ghost my way through the halls doing my best to go unnoticed. However try as I might, I always did everything I could to just be ignored and to just ignore those who relished taking pleasure from my pain. Most of the time I managed to just ignore it and disappear into a book, or by surrounding myself with good quality friends, who would always help me forget, or jump to my defense. But more than once I came across a bully whose approach was more hands on. Who didn’t just call me names, or made fun of my speech, or how I looked and sometimes played that ridiculous rhyming game, where they would almost always make fun of me for my last name.
Sometimes I even come across the occasional internet troll, who are always  trying to crush the spirit of others, as if it would make their mirrors cast a better reflection of the one they gave, as if it was the only way to save themselves is to make the ugly so that no one would notice them hiding it. Personally I believe trolls were simply school bullies, who one day looked around and saw how much the world had changed, while they stayed the same. Who then turned their hate into stones and hurled them at beauty, as if they can’t bear to see anything other than ugly, anything Different. So they enjoy the anonymity of the internet where no one else knows who they are and the believing that being a troll somehow makes them better than who they’re trolling. Failing to see that it isn’t cute, it isn’t funny, talking others into death, while they sit back and laugh, as each family learns to graft skin over the wounds they gave them, coaxing the sober back into bars, offering nooses, cliffs, and pills to those who unfortunately found them before they found help. These internet trolls, have praised suffering in others, waltzed in between tragedies, dipping misery as if we would somehow be impressed with the dexterity of their animosity. But once upon a time, they and all their kind lived underneath bridges, but now they live online, in basements and attics, trying project their ugliness unto the world.Monstaa-991x1024

But let’s talk about bullying, I know some say they deserve our pity, our empathy, because they don’t love anything like the way some of us loves math, science, history, or literature. Some say that bullies are born from neglect and abuse themselves, so they take our their pain and frustrations on someone else, creating a never ending circle of prejudice and hate. But I don’t think this is always the case. Sometimes, yes this may ring true, but I think more often than not, and some people are just assholes. There’s no reason, no excuse and to pick on someone else, to make them feel like less of a person.

We see it all the time and everyone always acts surprised when we see or hear about a kid committed suicide because they just couldn’t take it anymore, or decide they have enough and go to school packing heat in the waistband of their jeans, turning their school into a shooting range. The media always seems so quick to blame music, the violence on t.v, religion or videogames, very few ever take that look and ask,

“Did I cause this?” Because a person can only take so much and everyone always wants to compare bullying to when they were a kid, or down play the harassment and ridicule, by saying they never meant anything by their words, or actions, saying they were just playing, or messing with someone. Always quick to laugh it off and say how they treated someone was just a joke, harmless teasing, etc. In reality, that kid they picked on, the person they teased, and harassed in the cafeteria, school halls and locker-rooms soon become a ball of TNT lit from both ends.

You see, I wasn’t the class clown, I was never really much a rebel, and I wasn’t a skater boy, a musician or a band geek. I was just me, I was the weird, awkward Stephen King kid who loved to read, write, watch tv and play videogames.  I never had very many friends, but the ones I had were quality over quantity and I love each of them as family because in my mind they are and have been family to me. But I never really told any of them about my problems with being bullied, because I was terrified it would cause them to think less of me.

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The first real bully I ever faced down, was a guy name Goliath  (Not his real name, but I feel the need to protect his identity.) Anyway, Goliath was one of those kids who failed his freshman year at least two or three times, which mad him older than any of us and Goliath was also much, much bigger than I, he stood at 6’4 and weighed somewhere around 280 lbs. and unfortunately he was the first real bully I ever faced. (Although I did have the occasional bully who stuck to mainly name calling, whom I either ignored, or managed to use my wits to humiliate them with a truly perfect comeback) But then there was Goliath, who harass me, almost daily. He sought me out no matter where I stood or or hid, and it wasn’t just names he hurled at me, it was spitballs, paper wads, etc. And he was always followed around by a pack of hyenas who egged him and would take their shots at me whenever they could. The hyenas were my peers, always cackling, always laughing no matter what they, or Goliath did.

Now I tried all the tricks they tell you to do when face to face with a bully. I tried befriending him, finding some common ground which never really worked, and then I tried ignoring him, which also failed miserably for he would seek me out and get hands on. Twisting my arm, or hand painfully back, shoving me, putting me in a headlock, etc.  Also to me, and to all victims of bullying, we learn very quickly how little going to a parent or a teacher actually works. It often at times makes things worse, and earns you the nickname Narc, crybaby, or tattle-tale, etc.

But as Goliath’s harassment grew more and more frequent and physical, I finally decided I had enough. Now I was much shorter back then, around 5’4 at most and weighed about a hundred pounds soaking wet, so advantage was clearly Goliath. But I didn’t care; I deiced to fight back, but with fist, not a gun or a knife. It was his respect I wanted, not his life. So I waited for him to find me in the school yard. Which he did with remarkable ease and I braced myself for whatever was to come as he lumbered towards me, with his pack of snickering hyenas following close on his heels, but I stood with my head held high.
Goliath knew something was different about me almost immediately and asked if I was afraid of him.overcoming-giants-quote-e1361853718801

“No,” I whispered; as he proceeded to mock me and tell me how he was going hang me up from a nearby tree by my feet. But I didn’t move, I just kept my jaw clenched until he went to grab me. Which was when I punched him as hard as I could into his abdomen (Foolishly believing a shot in the gut would drop almost anyone, but it didn’t, it felt like punching a monster truck tire) But gave him pause and he grunted as he looked at me and I dropped back into a fighting stance.

“C’mon asshole ogre, you might just kill me, but I won’t make it easy and make it cost you!” I shouted, barely noticing his hyenas hoot and practically salivate at the prospect of watching me get my butt kicked, but I didn’t care, I would fight him and I wouldn’t fight fair, I’d do whatever I could to hurt him as much as possible.  But he didn’t do anything, he just stood there, rubbing his stomach and started shaking his head at me, then he said something I’d never forget.

“You have some major balls on you and I can respect that. We’re cool, I’m not going to fight you and if anyone ever gives you trouble, you come and get me and I’ll take care of them for you.”

Goliath and I never really talked much after that, we would pass each other in the hall with a nod to each other. Once we even shared a class together where he would occasionally ask me for help with some of our assignments. He never asked me to do his homework, or asked to copy mine, or any of that nonsense, he just turned out to be the type who was too embarrassed to ask the teacher for help and would ask me to clear up his questions instead. But not all giants I leared are so easily defeated.

 

But I learned my lesson with Goliath, if I was to stand up for myself, I would have to study and I would have to work on myself. So I started working out in secret. Push-ups, sit ups, pull-ups, lifting free weights, running. I would also read and watch everything I could get my hands on about fighting, self-defense all things I would practice alone in my room, or out in the woods around my home. My training would then come play the following year when I ran into yet another bully who’s approach came hands on.

Caleb Tyler Bullying

His name was Smaug and we had gym together. Now Smaug wasn’t much higher on the social ladder than me, but he desperately wanted the approval of the “Cool kids” so he began giving me a hard time in attempt to humiliate me on a daily bases, most of his attempts often failed, but I think he believed if he made me feel inferior, he would somehow manage to elevate his own status. I managed to ignore most of Smaug’s taunts, while occasionally shutting him up with a well-placed comeback of my own.

Then one morning, I arrived to P.E a bit early and Smaugh saw me and immediately broke away from the circle of “Cool kids” and approached me, I immediately knew that no good was going to come of this and I was already having an awful day, so I raised my hand in surrender and said,

“Please don’t start with me, I’ve been having a bad enough day as it is.”
Then he smiled, glanced over his shoulder at our peers whom he desperately wanted the approval of and when he turned back to me, he shoved me, and then he grabbed my backpack and tore it from my shoulder and threw it to the floor.

I blinked, and said, “I’m warning you man, I’m not going to take this from you today.” He laughed, asked me what I was going to do, and then he slapped me. Earning a guffaw from our classmates who had begun gathering around us for the show and then he made his mistake by laughing and turning his head to see the attention he was getting, which was when I did a straight punch to his solar plexus, dropping him to his knees like a sack of bricks. Our classmates all had a good laugh, some cheered me on, wanting me to press my advantage and a part of me really wanted to. A part of me wanted to just let loose and let out all of my pain and frustration on him, to beat him so badly he’d think twice before ever picking on someone else. But When I looked down at him, hugging his chest, with his head down, I knew I didn’t need to, I had already won. So I just picked up my things and stepped over him to go change. It was strange to me how quickly some of the crowd turned against me that day, calling me pussy for not beating the crap out of the kid. I just didn’t see the point.

 

Smaug didn’t come charging into the locker-room for a rematch, in fact he stayed out of the locker-room, and after I changed I saw him sitting at the top of the bleachers, still hugging his chest and just glaring at me. But at this point I felt confident I could handle myself if he came at me again, but just to be safe, I kept a watchful eye on him throughout the rest of the period while he sat in the bleachers. After class, he approached me I was leaving, and asked me why I hit him, so I told him, he was asking for it. Later to my surprise, he actually befriended me and we remained friends for the rest of the year.

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Now I’ve never considered myself a violent guy, considering myself more of a lover than fighter. But sometimes I think you have to fight, because sometimes it’s the only way to make it stop and I know all about the fear that comes with fighting. I honestly believe that no one really loves to fight, I’ve done my fair share of trying to talk myself out of a violent confrontation, but sometimes you do have to make a stand. I went into every fight with the knowledge that I may lose and will probably lose. (thankfully the only fights I lost were on the mat and not in the real world) But to me it’s about going as hard as you can for as long as you can manage, there’s a strength in not retreating, or giving up. It may not always be true, but I’ve always felt that if you make bullying you more hassle than what it’s worth, if you hit back and keep getting up every time you get knocked down, that person or persons will eventually give up. All you ever need is one good punch, kick, knee or arm bar. But study up and don’t go into a situation blind. Watch MMA, watch boxers, read books on martial arts and fighting, if you can take classes, train with friends, workout. Stop thinking a gun, or a knife, or a homemade bomb is your only solution. I know they’re kids at school who don’t make it easy and more often than not you just want to find a way out. But if you survive and come through the other side, it does get better.

I’ve had to deal with one kind of bully in one form or another, but one lesson that always stuck with me, was that no one has to and you don’t have to go at it alone.

I went to School with a guy named Allen Shafer, we weren’t really friends, but he in my opinion was always a very stand-up guy and in High School, that sort of thing is very hard to come by. Admittedly, I never knew Allen well, I only had a few classes with the guy and he was always the coolest in my opinion. Because he was popular, cool, funny and he was jock, but he never acted like it. He always treated me like a person, not a geek, a dork, or a dweeb or like another outcast. He was cool.

I remember we had this cooking class together and him and I got assigned to the same cooking group, and in all honesty it felt like someone was really looking out for me. Because his was the first group I was in that I didn’t feel excluded. On some mornings he would get to class early to make himself and our group (including myself) breakfast, which immediately struck me as odd, because I wasn’t really used to people doing nice things for me. So at first I was suspicious, but in time he proved to be a cool guy, going as far as teaching me how to make different types of eggs, omelettes and etc.

He would also talk to me, ask me how I was doing, wanting to know what I did over the weekend and a few times he even invited me to some of his parties, which I never attended, but always appreciated  that he asked,  and he always promised a good time if I ever ended up going. Which I believe he meant, but as cool and as accepting as he was, I doubted his friends would share the same sentiment. Fact is Allen was one of the few who went out of his way to make High-school a little more tolerable.

Allen Shafer today

Allen Shafer today

We also had a Gym class together. I can’t remember which class it was, (advanced P.E) or regular (P.E)  but I appreciated him being there. Because whenever we played any kind of sport and someone on my team would give me hell because I messed up, missed a shot, or struck out. He would always jump to my defense, calling out all my good plays, or the times I managed to steal the ball from the other team, or prevented the other team from scoring, then he would rattle off all the times the person giving me hell screwed up, or missed a shot. Which really kind made me admire the guy, because he would get in heated arguments with the same guys he played with, and the people who were his friends, defending me.  In all honestly I never seen, or heard of anyone ever doing anything like it before, he owed me nothing, he barely knew me, but to me it just felt like he had my back. Which was cool.

But the one thing I’ll never forget, is how during a game of flag football (which often turned to tackle when you’re a teenager) He made me feel like a hero.  I was on his team. We were tied, with one just enough time for one play and it was our ball. I was expecting for the rest of the game to go as these normally went, which was for me to never get the ball or have a chance to score. Which I was perfectly okay with, because I didn’t want to get blamed for being the reason my team lost. But low and behold, during the huddle, Allen turns to me and says,

“Alright Cooper, during this play I want you to run as far and fast as you can, but count to Ten, one thousand, then get ready because I’m going to pass you the ball.”

Needless to say my team was less than enthused about his plan, but he told everyone to shut-up and to trust him and have faith in me. Then just as we broke the huddle, he grabbed me by the shoulder and whispered,

“Don’t be nervous, remember count to ten, turn around and I’m going to pass you the ball. Don’t worry about anything else, you’ll do great, just score us a touchdown and win this for us, I’m counting on you.”

Then it happened, my heart was hammering almost painfully against my ribs as I ran and turned to see the ball spiraling straight toward me, all the while hearing the mocking laugher and the ridicule of my peers and team-mates once I screwed up, or fumbled. But I didn’t. I caught the ball, tucked it into my chest, turned and ran harder than I’ve ever ran in my life, scoring the game winning touch-down!

I never had so many people cheering for me in my life, everyone was giving my high-fives, patting me on the back and for that day and the rest of the week I felt like a hero. All thanks to one guy who treated me and saw me as a human being. I’ll never forget that. He owed me nothing, but I owe him a lot, he made me a gym-class hero plus, it’s always a nice feeling whenever the cool kid in class or school makes you feel like you’re cool too.

So that’s how you stop bullying in my opinion. Don’t ignore it when you see it, don’t join in thinking its just harmless fun and don’t thing it’s cute. Instead Step-up, stand-up and remind the world there’s more of us then they are dragons, giants and trolls and together we make up a dynasty who can slay anything.

 

 

J-Cooper.

Closure

How-to-Forgive

“Sometimes the door closes on a relationship, not because we failed but because something bigger than us says this no longer fits our life. So, lock the door, shed a tear, turn around and look for the new door that’s opened. It’s a sign that you’re no longer that person you were, it’s time to change into who you are. It’s going to be okay.” ― Lee Goff

First my humble apologies for neglecting my blog for so long, I’ve been trying to finish my book “Losers” and have been juggling work, the gym, a social life, and for awhile a relationship with a truly spectacular girl, who in the end, became too afraid of her feelings, so she pushed me away. That hurt and what hurt more was the asshole I tried being the last time I saw her, because I wanted her angry at me and I wanted her to make me angry with her. Because, I had fallen head over heels in love with her and having that suddenly taken away from me, hurt me more than I dared to admit. Just made me empty and hollowed out, that feeling by the way sucks. It’s the stay in bed all day and try to sleep, or drink your life away just so that you could go a little while without feeling. I just didn’t want to feel that way anymore. But I eventually told her I was only acting like a jerk because I thought it’d be easier, and maybe give me a little closure. While in truth I’m fairly certain love just makes us crazy. So I blew it. But in my defense, I guess I was also a bit frustrated, because we went from being great, and perfect and suddenly, one day it was over. We went from her telling me that she missed me everyday, to nothing, it took less than a day to go from her telling me how she couldn’t wait to see me, how great she thought I was, and how she always wanted to look pretty for me, to “I don’t want to do this anymore” Maybe she got scared, maybe she was hurt badly in the past, or maybe, she just moved on, I don’t know, I don’t know because she never told me. And I don’t think talking about it was something she could do. I don’t blame her, we’ve all been there. I still miss her though and think of her every day, her smile reminded me of the sunrise and feeling her next to me was the closest to heaven I’ll ever be.

I was still limping along the road of broken heart recovery, when I on a whim checked that folder marked “other” on FB and when I did I saw a message from my mother. Four in fact, from January, the first simply said HI, a few days later she said “Hey Josh, we can text if you want” Which made me think maybe tbis was her reaching out,  wantingto make amends and maybe just talk to me without making any waves with her husband which I could understand. Divorce always sucks and is never very easy.

But then her third message a few days later irritated me a bit as it said, “I can’t believe you don’t want to talk to your own mother!” Yup, that one sounded more like her.

The fourth message she sent me, really bothered me, because she said, “Hey, I just wanted to say I love you and miss you!!!!”
Now, if it hadn’t been seven years since we last spoke, that might have been acceptable, it may have been okay. So I apologized for not seeing her message and explained that not all messages come through if you’re not friend’s with them on facebook and explained it was just chance that I happened to even see it at all. I told her if she wanted to talk, I’ll be okay with that, but not to expect it ever become more than a text message. I press send. Then I sat back and thought about it as I stared at that message, her telling me she loved and missed me.

So I wrote her again. I told her she wasn’t allowed to tell me she loved or missed me, because it had been too long, seven years, and not so much an apology. I told her that she put a price tag on me, and that price tag was 300 bucks, the money she had accused me of stealing. Which prompted her and my step father to steal my 1,200 dollar laptop, with threats of selling it, or outright smashing it if I tried getting it back and I told her how much that hurt. I told her, if she loved me, she would have messaged me, called, texted, or send me a letter when my grandmother passed away, knowing how close her and always were, but I got nothing. I told her how I didn’t hear from her when I went through my cancer scare, or when I found out that I just had a hernia and needed surgery, or when I needed to go back for surgery two short years later. I told her about my car accident and how I  still hadn’t heard so much a whisper from her.

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I told her just how much she had hurt me, how she took away my younger brothers and broke the budding relationship I was developing with my older brother and how much they had all meant to me. I told her everything I wanted and needed to say, how all my life I never been arrested, or been trouble with school, or the law, yet she always made me feel like some sort of failure, a delinquent, a criminal, the blacksheep and the trouble maker. While my older brother, had been suspended, expelled, gotten into trouble with the law and how she always knew about it. I told her how I always struggled to just stay out of trouble, keep my nose clean and to live up to this impossible standard she set before me. How up until that Christmas 7 years ago, she was still accusing me of things I did when I was 7 and 8 years old, using everything I ever did wrong when I was just a child to judge me in the present. How with her, I was always guilty until proven innocent, which wasn’t very often. It’s hard to convince someone you’re telling the truth, or innocent, when they keep bringing up how you lied when you were eight, because you didn’t want to get a beating. I told her how most of the things I confessed to, I did so because I had no choice, how she wouldn’t stop beating me, or grounding me, until I confessed.

Then I told her, if she was serious about talking, just talking, I’ll be okay with that. But it’d be a long, difficult road for her to ever gain my trust, but not impossible. I told her I forgave her and had forgiven her a long time ago, but just because I can forgive, it doesn’t mean I can so easily forget.
Then I told her, the things in my life she’s missed out on, my promotion at work, my charity work, about my writings. I told her about my book, told her how I went back to school and graduated with 4.0 average, how I became a notary and how I’m liking it. I told her, I was doing okay.

I don’t know what I expected….but I had hoped she’d show some remorse, I had hoped for an apology and that she would take the time to read everything I wrote and let the words really sink in. I had hoped she’d respond with a simple “Hey, I got your message, I’m still reading them, but I wanted to thank you for letting me speak to you.” Or you know, something along those lines or just something other than what she actually said.

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I’ll I’ll spare you the details, but it turns out she lied. She wasn’t contacting me because she missed me, or just to tell me she loved me. She was contacting me because word had spread about this here blog, and she didn’t like what I revealed. She didn’t like the truth. It’s almost kind of funny, she loves her own image and pride more than she does connecting with me. But it’s okay though, I spoke my peace, told her how she hurt me, let me down, disappointed me, and I told her all was forgiven, but not forgotten. And I wished I would have said, how she runs from the truth, because of how much she fears what’d it’ll mean. But I feel good, I said my peace, I said what needed to be said and I told her all was forgiven, but I’ll never be her son again and I feel okay, I feel alright, in fact I kinda feel like a weight has finally been lifted, so life is pretty good. I didn’t get what I wanted, or what I had hoped for, but I did get some closure.

-Josh

Saving me from…me.

“I didn’t want to wake up. I was having a much better time asleep. And that’s really sad. It was almost like a reverse nightmare, like when you wake up from a nightmare you’re so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare.”

― Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind of a Funny Story

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Have you ever just felt like you don’t know what’s going on anymore? Like you don’t care about anything anymore, like you’ve lost your motivations to do just about anything and you’re confused about your feelings and you can’t explain how you feel. You have that feeling of emptiness and the feeling that no one is there for you. That feeling that no one understands you anymore. And it seems like there’s nothing to look forward to anymore?
Yeah I get those feelings too.

I recently suffered a bit of a breakdown, where everything just suddenly got to me. Normally I can maintain a pretty good hold on my depression, almost to the point where I half convince myself that I’m cured. However recently, I found myself on a downward spiral. Unable to pick myself up, feeling lost, broken, betrayed and like a burden on my friends and family. Added with the special topping of stress at work, bills, getting in a car wreck on 10/02/14 which really kind a ruined my weekend. Then of course there’s that hurt, those missing pieces in my heart in the form of my mother as I wonder why she did all the things she’s done. I won’t lie, I don’t miss many of my mom’s family, but I do miss my brothers, even my older brother, in fact I miss them every day.

 

So I fell and it was out of desperation that I reached out via facebook asking for prayers, for support. Because in truth, I was a hair’s breadth away from taking my own life, to me, living just felt too painful. I felt like I was trapped in a burning building, with the flames slowly encroaching on me, making it unbearable, and driving me ever closer to that moment where I was honestly thinking that my best option was to jump, because at least then it’d be over.
It took me awhile to read over all the messages and comments people had sent me, offering me their shoulders to cry on and a friendly ear to listen to whatever it was weighing on my soul so heavily. IT helped. Talking with my dad helped a bit more. Going to church and being prayed for by the entire congregation as they all took turns embracing me helped even more. But I’m still trying to build myself back up, so I’m hoping that writing and telling you about it will help. Because truth is life can be a little hard sometimes.large
Truth is, sorrow, despair, loneliness, suicide, are all words we don’t mention in public. These feelings we keep firmly locked away, we dare not discuss. …Though their currents run through us all, in varying ebbs and flows throughout the course of one’s life. Just as hope, passion, happiness and love all run together as well. I believe it doesn’t make us weaker to admit these lulls. As someone once said,
“Acceptance is the first step towards happiness.” Once you’ve leapt off that metaphorical
bridge, when you’ve reached the darkest depths of your inner ocean, just remember to keep kicking for the light at the surface and that’s what I’m trying to do. But sometimes we don’t’ have to jump at all; we just need to learn how to swim.

So if you want to know what depression is like, it’s like feeling like something inside of you if missing, or broken, you feel alone. My chest feels tighter and constricts, like a huge weight is pressing down oppressively on me, making it harder and harder for me to breathe. It’s like I’m trying to swim and keep my head above water while an anchor is tired to my feet and I just can’t catch my breath and I’m slowly losing strength. I don’t feel real, I don’t feel like I matter, that I’m not really living, like I’m just going through the motions.

I hate depression.
I hate those pity parties people throw whenever they have a dry spell, or go through a breakup, or experience one minor hiccup in an otherwise blessed life and then go on facebook, or twitter, or lamenting to their friends how “They’re so depressed.” When they’re not, they’re really not and it always comes off as “Hey look at me! Give me attention, I’m a little sad,” And this sucks for those of us who are really struggling, which causes people to tell us to nut up, man up, shut up and get over it. I admit, some people do want to throw a pity party for themselves, while the rest of us…we’re barely holding on and just want to crumble at someone’s feet as curl into a ball and just cry.

The pity parties make it harder for those of us who are really suffering to speak out. Because we fear those pity parties, we’re afraid you’ll think we’re just attention starved and we’ll get the same frustrated and annoyed responses those people sometimes get. So I kept my mouth shut, my head down, and I kept doing my best to just limp along. Sometimes, we withdraw and pull away from others, because we’re so consumed with the struggle, which often leads to suicidal thoughts or tendencies, which build and build, often leaving it to our friends and loved ones to pull us kicking and screaming back out into the light.

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I hate when people joke about depression or suicide, it’s not really something to be taken lightly or to joke about and makes it harder to notice those who are crying out for help, the ones who need it the most.
Yeah having your heart broken sucks, but it’s hardly as debilitating as constantly thinking, or wanting you life to end, because you just feel miserable and alone. It’s more like you’ve forgotten your smile somewhere and no matter what you do, you just can’t find it, so you wear a false one and tell everyone you’re fine, when you’re really not.
Many of my long time readers and friends may remember when I spoke about trying to take my own life. But I survived and I half convinced myself that I survived for a reason, there had to be reason didn’t there? Doesn’t there have to be a reason? And in a strange way these questions I ask myself help keep me going. Maybe I’ll write something world changing that’ll spark that positive change we so desperately need into today’s world. Because I’ve always been a survivor and it helps to sometimes think that there is a plan for me, that I wasn’t this monumental, cosmic accident my mother and my depression lead me to believe. But still, it doesn’t make living any easier. I struggle and strain against the ores every day, searching for a reason to smile, looking for that connection, to feel loved and accepted. I do this every day and it does help whenever I’m in a relationship and find little texts on my phone letting me know she was thinking about me, or just to say hello.
So this is my voice and there may be many like it, but this one is mine and these are my words, and this time it’s for the mothers and daughters, the fathers, sons and friend and the sons of sons. We all have our own private battles we’re raging against, currents we’re struggling with, and loss we’re trying to come to terms with. Believe me, we’re trying to heal, but the healing leaves scars, scars on our hearts, minds and souls, wounds you’ll never see and we’re always too terrified to show.
The bullies and those like them have spent their life telling me I was and am a failure.
So time and again I wrapped my heart in a cast and I sign it, “They were wrong! Because they had to be wrong,”

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My name is Joshua Cooper. I suffer from depression. It’s an ongoing process until I find peace. There are days when I think I’ll be okay, that everything will be alright, when I busy myself with my writing, or reading to help pass the time, when I’m surrounded by loving friends and family, when we’re all together and having fun. I find the secret to staying alive is staying busy. Going to the gym and doing my best to stay healthy, going on long runs to help clear my head. Having faith also helps and gives me someone to talk to for when it all feels to be crashing down around me. But still what works best is having good friends and family around, having good times, sharing in the laughter, the celebration and love of those closest to us. You see, love, laughter and good company are all enemies of depression.
One of the things I hate the most about depression, is how eventually most everybody at one point or another says, “I’ve had bad things happen to me too, get over it.”
Get over it.
Seriously, get over it? Like I somehow could just let go of all that pain, the fear, the rejection, the doubt, and just forget about it. Because believe me, if it were that easy, I would. I would open my hands and just let go. There is no just getting over it and we need something more than some advice you read one time off the back of a cereal box. What we need is to not feel alone, to be validated and have someone just hug us, to hold and say “Yeah, that sucks, I’m so sorry, but I still love and care about you.”
I hate when people think the thought of letting go and forgetting hadn’t occurred to me before, or realize I’ve been fighting tooth and nail just keep my heads above water. You just can’t compare your life to mine and say, “get over it,” or “stop it,” like the cure for depression can be found in the contents of a first aid kit, because trust me, I’ve looked, it’s not there.
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I hate when others feel the need to compare their lives to mine and attempt to tell me how they were depressed, or sometimes get depressed and tell you how they pushed on, like it’s somehow meant to make me feel better. You can’t compare one life to another, you will never know the injustices I or anyone else has suffered, every situation is different, every battle personal, we are not legion, we are one. I am one, I am an individual, and my pain is real, not made up and not in my head. It’s mine, there’s so much I didn’t tell, so much I’ve never told. Things I struggle to tell people, because what happened to me feels unbelievable and I still hurt because of it. This loss, this pain, can’t be compartmentalized or filed away and when I sit down and tell you these things you’ll only ever be the outsider looking in. It’s like breaking a bone and having someone who’s never had a broken bone in their life telling you to just breathe and telling you it can’t hurt as badly as you’re making it out to be and comparing it to the time when they stubbed their toe. It’s not all relative, it’s not trying to recover from a broken heart, which I admit, that alone cuts deep and becomes a soul hurt. But having your heartbroken is more like a beautiful sadness that inspires poetry, growth, music and teaches us compassion. Everyone suffers from broken heart at least once and it should make you feel more alive because there was something in this life that actually made you feel this hurt.
For me, my depression began when I was still just a kid, it was shortly after my parents got a divorce and it didn’t take long for the hurt to begin. My mom would always go on and on, telling me that my dad didn’t really love or even want me, that he was just trying to win my affection so when I grew of age, I would choose to live with him instead of with her. All so that he could get out child support, and then he would always tell me the same thing about her. As a child, it wore on me, and in the end, it was my mother who was proven wrong, as it it was my father’s words which rang true, which still hurt. (To my dad’s credit, he did stop telling me these things about my mother when I told him how it was tearing me apart and explained she was always saying the same about him)
Worse I grew up with buckteeth, greasy, messy hair, warts, failing eyesight and a bad speech impediment. So school was bad enough and almost every day I would get teased and made fun of. But worse was coming home and having my older brother teasing me even more about my teeth, my speech and the warts on my left hand while mom would sit and laugh, while forbidding me to ever say anything in return, daring me to get upset. I would always try to ignore him at first, but he would never stop and I would eventually feel like a stick of TNT lit from both ends, so I would explode. I would say every hurtful thing that came to my lips, in attempt to show him just how much words could hurt. Of course I would always get in trouble, beaten and then grounded. I hated growing up in that house.
I hated family gatherings too, because like clockwork they too would always find something to tease me over, usually it was my speech, other times it would be looks, or how my eye would sometimes twitch whenever I ate, unless I really focused and concentrated on not doing it, (The result of one of my numerous beatings I received, sometimes by the hot wheels racetrack which forever altered my Christmas list, making me ask for more Nerf Toys) but some members of my family made my life a living hell with all their teasing. Of course whenever I would get visibly hurt, or upset, they would say that old stupid rhyme about sticks and stones, as if a broken bone would hurt more than names I was being called, unaware that I would be called them all, all the time, every day. . At home, at school, around and with them.

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So I grew up believing that no one would ever fall in love with me, that I’d be alone forever, and would never feel like the sun was something someone had built for me in a tool shed. An ingrown life it seems is something that even the best surgeons can’t cutaway. Of course it never mattered how mad or upset I would get, they would all just laugh and tell me how I was being too sensitive, that it was all out of good fun, that they were only teasing. But there’s a fine line between harmless teasing and being just toxic and making me ganged up on.
One of the worst feelings in the world is that of everyone ganging up on you, watching you, laughing at you and feeling like you’re on your own. My own family made me feel like a broken branch grafted on a different family tree and would often wonder why I was struggling with depression and why so often I never felt like I belonged.
So I withdrew, I spoke less and less. I disappeared into books, my toys and video games and words, creating my own stories, because there, no one could make fun of me and I couldn’t see everyone smirking as they all sat and stared, trying to make me say, or do something they could all laugh at. I was eight years old, and I felt like a joke. But back then, I never knew what depression was, or that was something I had, but that’s when it started to fester and grow, when I started praying for death.
I would often wonder if anyone really loved or cared about me, since they would all treat me so poorly and always tell me how they loved me. . How can you believe in love when those who are always claiming to love you are always tearing you down and making you feel worthless, like you’re less than nothing and that your feelings don’t matter?
I hated my life, I hated my bad eyesight, the nose they mocked and ridiculed, I hated all the words I couldn’t say, wondering why no one could just let it go and leave me be, to let me be and let my words be just words and not another opportunity to make me practice and repeat until I got the pronunciation right. Which would be fine one on one, or in private, but having everyone crowd around you mocking you as you try and fail is a bit stress inducing. I mean didn’t they see I was struggling, spending years in speech therapy and spending hours and hours practicing how to roll my Rs and curl my tongue. It wasn’t my fault my mouth garbled all the words I was trying to say.

Public school, taught me that kids could be cruel. I’m not really sure about what grade I was in when the school halls became a battleground, where I found myself outnumbered day after retched day. practicing being invisible, giving no clues I was ever there, becoming like a ghost who roamed the school halls with my head down and doing my best to just shrink away and not be seen, staying inside for recess, because outside was worse. All I wanted was to fit in and to be accepted, to make everyone my friend, but only a few accepted.

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No one understood I was juggling loneliness and depression while walking a tightrope with a noose around my neck, trying to dodge every cruel jibe and School soon became a game of just trying to get out alive….
For those of you who don’t know what it’s like living with depression, let me just say it’s like having this demon, this thing on your back that’s always there whispering things like,
“No one really likes you,”
“You’ll be alone and lonely forever,”
“Why are you even wasting your time talking to this girl, you know she’ll never like you,”
“You’re ugly,”
“You’re dumb,”

“You’re weak!”
“Everyone’s laughing at you,”
Sometimes it’s soft, and almost like a whisper in the back of your mind, and sometimes it shouting and screaming,
“You’ll always be weak and never accomplish anything, so why bother?”
“Hey listen, you’re a burden on everyone around you, you should just kill yourself.”
“Do you know no one will care if you die?”
“Your own mother didn’t even love you, so why would anyone else?”
“You’re just a big joke and everyone is making fun of you behind your back, you’d be better off dead.”
“You’re a loser, you’re stupid, and you’re nothing.” These are all the things that go through the head of someone with depression.

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But I fight it and you have to fight it too, you have to believe that things will get better. Because depression….it’s a lie and that’s all it does, it lies to you and it will try its damnedest to make you feel like it’s the truth.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is this, I’m still here, fighting the good fight, for these memories and others like them stem from giving away my todays and having no tomorrows. I love fully, forgive completely, speak softly, I’m slow to anger and above all else, I’m myself. Sometimes it does get hard for me, the bills, friendships, relationships, loneliness, the loss, pain, betrayal’s disappointments and the despair. With the worse knowing that most of my friends or family will never understand how desperate I am to have someone say, I love you and support you just the way you are, because you’re wonderful just the way you are. Most people don’t understand that I can’t remember anyone ever saying that to me. I can be so demanding and difficult for my friends because sometimes I just want to crumble and fall apart before them. Wanting them to love and want to be around me, even though I am no fun, lying in bed, feeling broken and alone, not moving.

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My flags are traffic lights, and at night it glows red, amber and green, and I’ve seen them everywhere. So I guess in that sense, the road really is my home. And I’ve got story after story of what it’s like to miss a home-cooked meal, of what it’s like to wake up and feel that absence in your life.
Some days collapse on me like the night. I can tell I haven’t slept when a light peaks through the blinds and finds me with my eyes wide open, hoping I can take all these poems and stories I printed on post-it notes, fold them into tiny boats then launch them towards the shores past your defenses, taking root in your sea of your emotions, and to colonize in the chambers of your heart.
Because the days are getting better.
It helps to talk about it. To get it out, it’s like a pressure release but inside you.
I’m still looking for that person, whose kisses make me feel like I’m home and who’s there for me even when the days get bad and who’ll give me the sun that lives in their smile. I’m a hopeful, wistful, depressed, romantic, geeky, but athletic insomniac, that’s optimistic about tomorrow, looking for whatever reason to smile, even if it means I have to walk another mile. So listen to me when I say, you’re not alone, and remember it pays to talk about it and it’s okay to cry.

You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”-Robin Williams

I’ve always been very candid abrobin-williams7878out my bouts with depression, which I believe is something that never really goes away, at least not completely. For me, it has always been an ongoing battle, where like everything else there are good days, bad days, then the really bad days and the even worse days, which are the ones you have to really look out for. Because when you’ve battled depression and suicidal thoughts as much as I have, you become all too aware just how easy one can off themselves. I can’t tell you how many times I thought about it, or been tempted.

I don’t take any medication for my depression, simply because I don’t like the person it makes me, and it just feels like my head is a fog and I find myself becoming less imaginative more restless and lethargic, numb.

I battle my depression by staying active, working out helps a lot; it’s hard to think about killing yourself when you’re feeling sore and tired along with that natural high that comes with a good workout. Having good friends to lean on or to share a few good laughs with also helps, but you have to be sure that they’re the right friends, not the ones who want you around just when it’s convenient, or for what you can do for them, but the ones who just want to hang out for the pleasure of your company.  Family can help too, but most of all I just find solace and peace in keeping myself busy, because it’s only when my mind has a chance to wonder do those dark thoughts come creeping in. So I read, I write, I play video games, or if it’s nice I go hiking or out for a run and sometimes I just dust off my old bike, and then go out for a spin. As you may or may not know, it’s the quiet moments, when you’re alone and with nothing to do but think that causes problems. I’m a little self-critical, I think too much and over analyze, which I’m sure may one day be the death of me, but I’m working on it, I’m a work in progress and this is my progress report.   

But what happens when I have a particular rough day, one that leaves me feeling beat up, abused, left out and alone?  What happens when each day becomes worse than the last and it becomes increasingly harder to pick myself back up from the spot where I lay? My method is simple; I just close my eyes and whisper,

“You just have to make it until the day after next, because the day after next will be better.” Then I convince myself that it has to get better and I’ll be honest sometimes it does. But it also helps to remind myself of all the things I have to do that no one else can, even if there’s a chance that no one else will care. Such as finishing my book, and telling the stories of all the characters who have taken up residence up there inside my head, living in the pool of imagination, needing me to breathe life into them by telling their stories through a collection of words, demanding I share their stories with as many people as possible and with the world. Because if I don’t, I know I’ll look up and see all of them gathered around me on my death bed, with some of them sobbing, with some pacing, all asking me the same thing.

“Why didn’t you give us life? We came to you and you let us die and now we’ll be forgotten without ever having lived, why couldn’t you give a chance to live and breathe? We came to you and no one else, we trusted you with our stories, our lives and with our dreams.”
I remind myself I can’t disappoint my characters.
Having faith also helps when it comes to battling depression. Even if you don’t believe in anything, that’s cool (I don’t judge) but it does help, even when it doesn’t. There’s something about talking to God, praying, or seeking communion that I found comforting. For me, the church and a pastor was the first place I could think of going to seek counseling, and that too helped. Then sometimes the only thing that keeps me holding on when all I want to do is let go, is my faith and the fear that I would condemn myself to an eternity in hell. Yet even still there had been times when I thought that God owed me one after everything I had to endure. Losing a family to lies and greed, growing up in a broken home, being forsaken by very own brother that I was just beginning to get to know and who was becoming my best friend and someone I could confide in.

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I hate it when people compare their lives to mine, especially when they’ve always got to go home to two loving parents and compare having a bad day to a broken life. In truth, no one really knows your battles but you, same with how no one knows what it was like but me. But honestly I don’t really like talking about it, but I know I should and probably need to, so open my mouth and begin to speak. So I try not to judge when someone begins telling me about their problems, or struggles, I just do my best to sit there and listen, sometimes lending a comforting hug, and maybe just say,

“I can relate,” So that they don’t feel so alone and I hear them out, letting them talk, sometimes it helps just having someone there to listen and not judge their pain or suffering, or compare it to my own. For each battle is a little different from someone else’s. Each struggle is personal, and we deal with it in our little ways.

Never tell a person with depression to just get over it.

If you really want to help, just be there for them. That’s all it really takes really. Make them feel loved and appreciated and whatever you do, don’t try and force them to talk about it, it’s never easy. It always makes us feel awkward and uncomfortable, like we’re trying to get yours or someone else’s pity, or we think you’re sitting there judging us. It’s always hard to put into words, or to properly articulate what it is we’re going through, what’s on our minds and how difficult the fight is.

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So when we do talk and open up about what it is, don’t trivialize what we’re been through and tell us to get over it, like the contents of a first-aid kid somehow holds the cure for depression. Because it’s hard enough just talking about it and an ingrown life isn’t something surgeons can just cut away with a scalpel and a knife.

Just being there for us is enough and what we really need are reasons to smile and to laugh until it hurts, we don’t need some inspirational quote you’ve read from the back of a cereal box one Sunday morning, and we don’t need to quote passages from the bible, or verses to us. All that ever does is infuriate and frustrate us, more so that you think a few deep or clever words would somehow be a magical string of words that would forever bring us out of our depression and despair that we’ve spent most of our lives fighting. So believe me when I say, it’s not that easy to make go away and if it were that simple we would have found the cure long before you came along, no offense. Sometimes all we really need is a friend, a hug, or something as little as companionship, just being around is usually enough. You don’t have to be clever, or preachy, just be thoughtful.

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If you’re in a relationship and your significant other is struggling, just remind them how much you love and appreciate them. Leave them little love notes, make them dinner, or buy them something meaningful, flowers, chocolates, whatever it is they like, or hobby they’re into. Because it’s the little things we remember and it’s up to you to be the light at the end of the tunnel and it’s you that has to be the one to remember to always shine bright. Because sometimes, we just need to be reminded to remember and it falls to you to make them remember. Love is really all you need.

Robin Williams was a beloved actor and comedian, one my childhood heroes and I never dreamt of him having this struggle with depression, which had driven him to take his own life on August 11th 2014. Which also prompted me into writing this particular entry, so maybe we’ll be able to avoid this kind of tragedy from happening again and to just raise some general awareness on the subject at hand, since many of us struggle and fight this disease privately. Like Robin Williams who once made the world laugh and just listening to or watching his stand-up had pulled me through many a dark day. I honestly feel for him and relate with his struggle that he ended up losing in the end. The problem is that suicide isn’t really all that selfish,(now hear me out before you ready your torches and pitchforks) When someone gives up, they just opt out. They grow tired and weary of feeling like a burden, or like a joke, as though everyone is laughing at us, as opposed to laughing with us. We feel alone and lost, a lot of times we don’t to talk about it, because we feel like we’ll just be a bother. It’s nobody’s fault, you just have to understand how scared we are to talk about it, how weak it makes us feel. So we tend to shutout the rest of the world because we don’t want to be that burden, or to be perceived as if we’re crying out for attention, like all those on twitter or facebook who often moan and whine about being depressed because maybe they’re going through a breakup, or quite literally just want attention.
The real tragedy in suicide, is when it happens, these people will never know how many people loved and cared for them, for you. You matter and people do care…People do love you even if it’s hard to see, or even feel. Depression is the real enemy, it likes to lie to us and has the tendency to blind us to that fact and more often than not it convinces us that we’re unloved, uncared for, forgotten children of God’s grace. Depression wins by convincing us that we’re burdens when we’re not. Even I, after all this time, knowing this, still struggle with this one little fact.GkOeeLU

But every set back, disappointment and heartbreak has the tendency of pushing me slightly closer to the edge or back to where I was. So sometimes I feel myself struggling at the oars to fight and push my darkness my back. But it’s still there even when things are going well, however the better things are going the quieter that little voice in the back of my head becomes and it gets easier to push it back. So I keep trying to pick up the broken pieces of myself and like Humpty Dumpty I attempt to put myself back together again. It’s a long, arduous task and I’ve grown to except that some pieces of myself will never fit, or have gotten lost, or stolen during a very long and unforgiving life. This is because, I still wonder why my mother never loved or accepted me, and I find myself missing the three brothers I never get to see again, none of which will ever see or understand the truth. I never got to see my younger brothers grow up, or to be the older brother I always wanted to be, but I was around them enough to love them with all my heart. I hate the fact I didn’t spend more time with them when I had the chance, I really dug being an older brother.

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Being single doesn’t help much either and after a while seeing and hearing about all these happy couples being together tends to sometime wear on my soul, leaving me wonder if I’ll ever find that one person who makes me feel like the sun was something she made for me in a toolshed.

So at nights, when I can’t sleep and I’m alone with my thoughts, I find myself walking a tightrope, wondering what it’s all for and why it is I’m still here.

I don’t own a gun, because sometimes the fight and the struggle becomes too hard even for someone like me, who’s aware of what it is I’m suffering from. It’s the days when I’m beaten down, or when a sad song strikes a particular cord with me, or I watch a warming and touching movie about family like in the movie, “Impossible” knowing I’d never know that feeling of a warm loving family unless I meet someone and start one of my own. Then there are times when I find myself looking through old photographs, or when old memories just hit me out of the blue, like a knockout punch at the beginning of the first round.

It scares me knowing if I had a gun and what I would do with it on of these bad days. The temptation of a quick and relatively pain free way out would be too much of a temptation for me to use. So I stay away from the variables that may bring me to my end sooner than expected and I remind myself that I’ve always been a survivor and how I may be that one person in a million who somehow survives, but with serious traumatic injury which would only add to more complications and struggle to my little life.

So yeah, sometimes it’s easier to stay silent then speak the truth. But there are three things that can’t remain long hidden, the sun, the moon and the truth. And the truth was created for the people who want to be a better person. Our strong faith and love will us down the right path.images

Sorrow, despair, loneliness, suicide, these are the words we don’t mention in public. These feelings we keep firmly locked away, we dare not discuss, though their currents run through all of us in varying ebbs and flows throughout the course of life. Just as hope, passion, happiness and love all run together as well. I believe it doesn’t make us weaker to admit these lulls or frailties as someone once said, “Acceptance is the first step toward happiness.”  Don’t fight the flow, but don’t let it drag you under and hold you down either.

A young man sitting alone by the water

Health, Fitness and fandom!

 

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My younger cousin got married, and this is his wedding photo

Before I get started let me please apologize for being so late on turning out this blog. It’s been a few weeks late, but I’ve been a bit swamped with this wild and crazy thing called life, but I have been writing more, nearing the completion of my manuscript “Losers” with just two chapters two go before I start the dreaded rewrite and editing phase.
But I started this journey of taking my personal fitness seriously a little more than a month ago, I wasn’t sure how much progress I would see, using the products by Nutrilite but thanks to Rhodiola, I have I’ve been more focused in my workouts, with more drive to really push and challenge myself. So even though it’s only been a little over a month, I have had some immediate improvement and I’m looking forward to trimming down, by adding more lean muscle to body mass.IMG_0835
So today, for my personal fitness test for 6/20/14, results were. (I do each exercise for one minute, with a minute to rest in-between each workout)
New results 7/20/14
Switch Kicks: 94 110

Power Jacks: 56 62

Power Knees: 94 101

Power Jumps: 40 50

Globe Jumps: 9 11
Suicide Jumps: 16 19

Push up Jacks: 30 35

Low Plank Oblique’s: 45 55
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Dumbbell chest press 65 lbs up from 55
Shoulder press 70 lbs before was 40
Pull-ups-50 was 30/
T-bar Row-120 was 70 lbs.
Dumbbell curls -50 lbs was 45
Leg squat 310 was 285 lbs
So one of the reasons I started pushing myself harder in the gym, taking my diet and workouts more seriously is so that I could get into superhero shape for Fandom Fest! Which was amazing and I had a spectacular time and recommend everyone to cosplay as their favorite character at least once, because well, it’s really a pretty amazing experience. Kids look up to you and can’t help but smile believing that you are that actual super hero.
But I have learned a great deal from my last adventure to Louisville for Fandomfest, which was taking a couple of friends and getting a room at the Galt House. Which is one of the nicest places I’ve stayed while traveling and it was in short walking distance to the Louisville Convention Center.
Although, going online I’ve read and heard a lot of complaints from other attendees as well as Venders. But personally, I had a great time. I was even a little sad when it was all over and found myself wishing it went on longer. Plus I did end up spending a lot of money and probably would have spent more if more Venders were actually at their booths, or let people to actually look inside and around their booths (Because some just sat in a chair blocking passage into their booths and didn’t seem too interested in moving or getting up.) But I realized I should have brought more money and next year I’ll try to be better prepared. Because my friends and I spent a lot of money while we were down there, and made sure to spread the wealth by buying from several different venders.
Sometimes I think people just like being angry and complaining even when they have nothing to complain about.

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On the downside, I did meet Anthony Mackie who was a bit of a tool. I mean the guy couldn’t have looked more and gave off the impression that he was annoyed for just having to be there. I don’t know if it was because there was barely anyone in line to meet him, or what, (however he was a late addition)
IMG_0884Although on the upside, I did meet Sam Huntington, Sam Witwer and Meaghan Rath of ”Being Human” and let me just say, they were awesome! All three of them were very nice, very down to earth and hilarious. They made my weekend and all of them seemed very excited to be there, to meet the fans and I mean really meet. I think Sam Huntington and I talked for a good twenty minutes before I realized I was holding up the line, so I shook his hand and quickly skedaddled before a lynch mob could form behind me. But Sam Huntington was great, and played in some of my favorite movies, “Fan Boys” Detroit Rock City,” Etc.
Sam Witwer was also very cool and down to earth, asking everyone if they were having a good time. And he was really relatable, easy going, funny and down to earth. I know it sounds like I having a bit of a man crush on the guy, but hey, I’m a fan of his as well, and loved all the “Star-wars-The force unleashed” Video games. Plus he seemed genuinely interested in everyone and really seemed to care about what people thought of the con. Also, on a side note the guy knows his material; he corrected a buddy of mine and some of his Star-Wars knowledge and some of the star-wars items he bought while at the con. Then of course he wanted to know what all we’ve seen and done so far and when he saw our bags asked if he could see what we had bought. The man is literally one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. He had no problems in stopping for pictures or just walking around the convention, talking to fans and venders alike.

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Meaghan Rath, is absolutely adorable and even more gorgeous in person, with a bubbly, fun loving personality, almost just like her character on Being Human. Which was very pleasant to see and unfortunately I didn’t talk very long to her, partially because I got all giddy and nervous, which made it difficult to form complete and coherent sentences. But the cast was also anxious about our photo opts, And Huntington had asked if I got the chance to show him our photo when I picked it up, but unfortunately by the time my photo was ready, I missed him. So I tweeted the guy and he tweeted back and even followed me on twitter!

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Cosplay
I have finally embraced my cosplaying nature, and even if dressing up for a convention may not be your thing, I highly suggest you give it a try, rent a costume and go to one of these conventions. It is awesome and incredibly cool. Not only does it make everyone excited to see you, its cool having everyone you meet wanting to get their picture taken with you. Which is an awesome high all on its own and it also serves as a great icebreaker. So if your usually shy like myself, it becomes much easier to approach and talk to random strangers when you’re dressed as a superhero and well, people love superheroes. Plus, in a strange way, it really does make you feel all super. But dressing up is really cool for the kids and seeing how it just makes their day when they see you. I even had one six year old, ask me out to dinner with him and his family, and then offered to share his ice-cream with me after I politely declined.
On the reverse side of that however, I did get groped, fondled and more or less glomped by several drunk women and one in particular who jumped into my arms while I was walking around downtown, throwing her legs around me, as she kissed and nibbled my ear, telling me how much she loved Captain America, while I literally was at a loss and all I could think to say was,
“My…aren’t you friendly?”

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Not going to lie, made my night.

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All in all, I had a blast and it was one of the best weekends of my life. I can’t wait FandomFest 2015 and can’t believe I’ve waited so long to go to one of these conventions. Yes, I did spend a lot of money, and even though I brought my computer I wasn’t productive at all, in fact I don’t think I ever took it out of my bag, I was just having too much fun. Which I really think everyone needs to remember, that these conventions are just that, fun, opportunities to come out of your shell and just be as nerdy, or as geeky as you want.

Something imaginary….

“A daily dose of daydreaming heals the heart, soothes the soul, and strengthens the imagination”-Richelle E. Goodrich

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We used to play ninjas, army men, crime fighters and superheroes and I always stood by your side through better or worse. I had your back, but you always knew that.
When you felt alone, we’d talk a bit. You always had fun stories to share, and I’d listen, hoping I could offer some sound advice. And when you were bored, we play and sometimes you’ll pretend to be me and I’d pretend I was you.

When times were bleak, you’d turn to me to cheer you up, and sometimes I failed you. And it would always hurt and leave me feeling I had somehow let you down. It was worse during those times you cried yourself to sleep and I would watch over you, wishing I could stop it when you were getting beat, which left me feeling helpless, like a phantom limb unable to shield you from the endless abuse.

You brought me into this world and gave me purpose, to keep you happy, safe, and entertained, distracted you from the cruel and mundane, keeping you from going completely insane.
But you started getting older, into girls with cooties (which we both always knew was bogus, but you always hid it well), into fast cars, video games, and going to parties with pals- I had your back, telling you to kiss the girl, or when to hold her hand. I would scare off the monsters that lurked in the dark, shield you whenever you were afraid of falling asleep. And even though the monsters stopped coming, you were still afraid.

I couldn’t fight these new fears.

You feared what was in your future, you were afraid of the unknown and more importantly you feared growing up. Same as me, but I always knew you’d make it through. You and I were martial art champions, seasoned warriors and veterans of countless wars. We were heroes’ kid, just you and me and I always knew how strong you really were.

But as you got older, I started feeling older too. I felt dusty, my shine had gone dull. But you were bright and knew the world in your own way now.
You were going make it without me, but I could live with that.

I waved goodbye at your graduation, but by then you had stopped being able to see me. I’m okay though, you and I had a good run. I’ll miss you little buddy and I know you’ll miss me too, because you named me and I can feel you thinking about me from time to time, and I know you’ve been writing about me, which makes me proud that you still remember. So kid, even though you can’t see me like you used to, I’ll be with you whenever you sit down, with pen in hand and begin writing down those memories, turning them into stories.

Sincerely me.
Your imaginary friend,
Shadow.

“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.”
― Robert Fulghum,
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Faith In mothers

Faith in mothers.

~Losing family obliges us to find our family. Not always the family that is our blood, but the family that can become our blood. Should we have the wisdom to open our door to this new family we will find that the wishes we had for the father, who once guided us, for the brother, who once inspired us… The only thing left to say will be:  “‘I wish I had seen this, or I wish I had done that, or I wish…”‘ Most of you are too young to know what your wishes will be. But when I read these words…words of hope, dreams…I realize that the one wish that was granted to me, so late in life was the gift of friendship.
~ Finding Forester

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I hate mother’s day.

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My Grandma

I know I shouldn’t, I try really hard not to. But it’s not a thing I can help, so I do my best to distract myself and not to think about it. So I focus instead on the one woman in my life who was more of a mother to me than my own. No one had asked her to do it, but she was an amazing mother to me, one she didn’t have to be. She believed in me more than anyone else and probably knew me best of all. She was my biggest fan, my greatest supporter and I regret for not doing any of this sooner so that she could share in my blog’s popularity and of course all of you who follow, or have subscribed to my blog and to all of you out there reading this right now.

She would have been overjoyed, she would laughed and cried, and told me how each one of you are special, blessed, she may even insist I write each one of my subscribers/followers a personal thank you letter, she would tell everyone she came across about my writings here and the amazing people who read it. (I mean let’s face it, you are pretty awesome for following me so long or even at all)

She would have gotten on me for not finishing my novel, insisting I hurry up and finish it so that all of you could have a chance to read and experience my creativity and the uniqueness of my stories. She definitely wouldn’t be happy with me putting my book on the back burner while I finished up the last of my classes for school and would have insisted I find time for both.
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Not a day goes by that I don’t miss her, my grandmother, is always in my thoughts and I’d never forget her…She was the strongest person I ever knew, the kind of person who would always tell you exactly how it was without sugarcoating a thing, which would usually be for your own good. She took no crap from anyone, and was always the first to stand up for me. If it weren’t for her I doubt I’d even be here today. Because I’m pretty sure if it wasn’t for her I would have jumped off a bridge, or bought a gun to blow my brains out a long time ago. She was my rock, my best friend and confidant. She was one of those people who would sit there and listen, actually listen as you told her whatever it was on your mind, or whatever was bugging you. She was the most amazing kind of person and I loved her dearly.

I think she would have been moved to tears to see some of the friendships I forged, the people I’ve met and the support all of you have given me. I hate mother’s day, because I miss her, so very much and would give anything to have her back here again. But I’m confident I’ll see her again, waiting for me at the end of the road, standing near the pearly gates, jumping up and down, laughing and looking as she had back when I was just a kid….Whereas my actual mother was never really there for me, she never tried to get to know me and we never just talked about anything. Because she never saw me as her son, instead when she looked at me, she would see my father, their failed marriage, the complications that lead to her C-section and the stretch marks I left behind. I don’t think she ever saw me as her son, or the fact that I was just as much hers as I was my father.

Two of three best cousins anyone can ask for. Nick And Derek.

Two of three best cousins anyone can ask for. Nick And Derek.

So I hate mother’s day, because it reminds me of how I scoured every catalogue, the internet, various stores and malls in search of the perfect mother’s day gift, hoping every year it would win me her love, her acceptance, so that she’d finally see and know me. But she never did, no matter if I made, drew, wrote, or bought her something nice, the end result was always the same. And I hate the family I had, hate having it taken away, and hate not seeing my younger brothers grow up, hate not spending time with them and giving them some good brotherly advice on life, girls and dating. And every mother’s day I can’t help but think about each and every one of them.

But I had an amazing mother in my grandmother, who treasured everything I ever gotten her and it wasn’t until I was cleaning out some of her old stuff and stumbled upon a drawer filled with everything I ever gave her, every picture I ever drew, every story I had written, she had kept them all. Then I discovered her journal, and how nearly every entry was about me, and how great she thought I was. Then I stop and look around, and I see the family the Lord has given me, my younger cousins, Derek and Timmy, my cousin Nick, my best friends, Matt, Stephen and Hannah, even Matt’s wife who feels like a sister to me, then his three beautiful children who have grown to calling me Uncle Josh, making me feel more like family. But all of them have been great inspirations, and supporters of me, members of my extended family, a family that I love and cherish more than the world. So I guess, mother’s day isn’t so bad after all.

And Timmy, the third and quite possibly the strongest of us.

And Timmy, the third and quite possibly the strongest of us.

~Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, create, or paint can manage to escape the madness within themselves.
-J Cooper.

“Be happy now, without reason – or you never will be at all.”
― Dan Millman

Our lights can leave scars upon the surface of the sun So let no one say we'll be undone by time's passing For the memories we are amassing will stand as testament That somehow we bend minds around the concept that we see others within ourselves. That self-knowledge can be found on bookshelves So who we are has no bearing on how we appear Look directly into every mirror Realize our reflection is the first sentence to a story And our story begins here.

Our lights can leave scars upon the surface of the sun. So let no one say we’ll be undone by time’s passing, for the memories we are amassing will stand as testament
That somehow we bend minds around the concept that we see others within ourselves.
That self-knowledge can be found on bookshelves. So who we are has no bearing on how we appear. Look directly into every mirror. Realize our reflection is the first sentence to a story
And our story begins here.

 

We are here and our stories are being written now, so don’t be discouraged when things fall apart and don’t go your way, sometimes life just takes a little while to come together. So don’t end your story prematurely because happiness seems so far off, like a distant memory that feels more like an illusion that isn’t there, or as far out of reach as we are from touching the nearest star. Trust me; I know it’s hard; I’ve been single now for about a year, having a hell of a time to find that one for me. But I’m not letting my failures get me down, because it took a year of being on my own to decide and to finally realize what it is I want and need. I spent a lifetime chasing after love, romanticizing it, putting every girl I chased up on a pedestal, believing they could never do any wrong. I would rush every relationships as if it were a race and wanted nothing more than to be the first to cross that finishing line.Just to find out that the girl had only meant to be out on a stroll and I would find myself standing alone at what I perceived to be the finishing line.

I longed so desperately for love, I would fall quickly and easily, even when I barely knew the person I was falling for, or become so blinded by my infatuations I would always fail to see all the many reasons we were wrong for each other and I would never see it until it was too late, because one, or both of us would have already grown emotionally invested with the other, which would always made breaking up all that much harder, because I would still like them as a person, while she would be head over heals in love with me, or vice versa.

So what do I want? Well, the same thing I think we all essentially want. I want that best friend, who’s also my lover, someone who makes me feel alone even when we’re together. To be perfectly content sitting in a room without talking, content with knowing that she is there. To be reading, while she’s watching tv, drawing, or writing. Someone who I catch staring at me sometimes, and hear her say,
“God, I love you.”

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Sometimes we need some time alone in order grow.

If I’ve learned anything from my past relationships its this, you can’t rush love. You can’t make it happen just because you want it too. Much like a flower, it needs time to grow and it’ll never happen with you hovering and over watering it, trying to will it grow. Because love is something that you both choose and something that just happens and it happens in its own time. So I know what it’s like, to see the finish line and wanting to break into a dead sprint until you’ve reached your destination, but life is a stroll and this how God does things, to teach us and to give us time to grow as human beings, to discover ourselves and what it is we want, need.

Take my ex-girlfriend (In case any of you may be wondering, I did tell her what I wanted to write about and asked for her permission, she’s kinda awesome for agreeing to it) for example who since we had broken up, had become a good and trusted friend. But it took a while for us to realize we made better friends then we did lovers.

I first met Abby on face-book through a mutual friend and at the time she had no clear pictures of herself online, so I was already living dangerously in that regard. But we talked and stalked each other’s facebook, for a long time before deciding that we should meet in person by going to a haunted house.

And I dug her; I dug her as soon as I laid eyes on her. To me she represented (at the time) my perfect woman, she was short, athletic, bold, feisty and a red haired goddess. (I always had a bit of an weakness when it comes to redheads and short girls, so she was two for two) Naturally I found her to be absolutely drop dead gorgeous and the fact she wasn’t a man, didn’t have a mustache, a beard, or weigh as much as my car, I was at the same time relieved. But the best thing about her was that she dug me too, in fact her first words to me were,

Our first date, how was I not suppose to fall in love with her.

Our first date, how was I not suppose to fall in love with her.

“Your pictures do you no justice; you’re much better looking in person.” And for someone who’s always been a little self-conscious of his appearance, (thanks to every girl who turned me down in High School) this made me feel like I was on top of the world. (You see ladies; it’s a huge turn on when you help us out with making the first move, because the best kind of guy will always be a little shy) Better yet, she could barely keep her eyes off me and throughout the night I saw her stealing repeated glances in my direction, which would make my smile widen every time. (Which yeah could have been bad since she was the one driving but at the same time it always feels good to feel attracted to.)

As the night progressed we found ourselves clicking and there were no awkward silences between us, with every lull in conversation leading to us simply enjoying the other’s company. She was fun, goofy, smart, coy, honest and flirtatious. (which only caused my heart to swell all the more with the feelings I already felt for her)

Some part of me could sensed that I was as different for her as she was to me. Because before then I never met anyone so bold, who said whatever she felt without holding anything back. But what I sensed about her is hard to explain, I don’t know if it’s just me being a writer, or me being intuitive, or something else entirely, but I sensed in her a kindred spirit, I knew she had been hurt numerous times before, used, lied too, objectified, betrayed and broken.

So by the end of the night, when neither one of us wanted to part ways just yet, I suggested we go to a park near my house, where we played on the swings and the jungle gm like children, laughing all the while as we rejoiced and danced beneath a sea of stars, forgetting our matching scars, and it was then, as I was helping her up from the slide, that I looked into her eyes and saw a purity, a joy and the girl who she thought she lost. There was an innocence about her then, her inner child finally being allowed to come out and play. At the same time I understood this was the first time she ever truly let go, and relished in the moment as it was.

Later I learn she had a bit of a sordid past. She had a bit of a history that she wasn’t too proud of. Many of us has made mistakes, and had done things when we were younger that we’re not so proud of later on after we’ve grown a little bit older and wiser. I know this, because she insisted on telling me everything before we started dating out of fear I would discover her past and would leave her prematurely, without letting the person she was now shine through, thus breaking her heart. But I come from a place where I believe the past is in the past, while the present is now. We all make mistakes, missteps and do or have done things we’ve later grown to regret, it’s a part of life. No one really knows what dark corners, or avenues our lives may lead us, but what’s important is we find our way out. Also, as a Christian, I believe it’s hypocritical to judge someone for their past, since after all, Jesus Christ had died for our sins and not one of us today can say we live without sin, which is why we pray and ask for forgiveness. (Besides, I don’t think couples should hold one’s past against them. There’s nothing you or they can do about it. Besides if you can’t get over a person’s past, I believe you really need to ask why you’re involved with the person that are with.) Because you’re not the same person you were two years ago, and you weren’t even the person you are now then you were two days ago. Because we’re all changing, every day we learn something new and have experiences that change us forever. (Myself I used to by a child of hate, I was brought up to hate and despise homosexuality. I was prejudice, using words such as gay and fag with negative connotations to them. But I later grew to see that people are just people, I trained myself to stop using those words of bigotry and hatred, apologizing for my previous behavior. But I was young, stupid, naive, and grew up in a house where I was told I needed to hate these groups of people. But I changed and grew to accept and love everyone I meet. Greeting them as friends.)

Abby and me rejoicing in our love for the our favorite Holiday.

Abby and me rejoicing in our love for the our favorite Holiday.

But I digress and with Abby and regardless of her many attempts to test me and push me away out of fear I would hurt inevitably hurt her, we eventually began dating “officially” And for a while our relationship was perfect, but every new relationship is typically great and smooth sailing as you’re still getting to know each other. Consumed with the idea that the other is perfect, and wanting to impress them by showing them only the best version of yourself. So if you’re having problems at the beginning of a relationship, you should probably bail out while you can.

For me it took about four months for the cracks to begin to show. When we first met, she didn’t like me spending money on her, but as time progressed, she began demanding I spend more and more of my money on her, eventually demanding I take her to a restaurants that were hundred dollars a plate, which was the point where I had to finally put my foot down and tell her I couldn’t afford that kind of lifestyle. Plus, the relationship became less about us and more about her, I was suddenly expected to take her out all the time, pay for all the dinners, entertainment, as well as buying her new clothes, movies, etc. Which again lead to more conflict as I began standing my ground and say no to all frivolous spending and explain that she was making me feel more like I was her own personal piggy bank than a boyfriend, and I was sinking more and more into debt. Which I was.

The longer I stayed in the relationship, the more I saw how different and our values were so vastly apart from each others. But still I clung to this image I had of her when we first met, this sweet, funny, clever and sexy girl, who had never been appreciated or treated like a person. I felt like I was fighting a losing battle to this other person who I never knew was there. Yet I had faith that there was this better person beneath it all. Nowadays I’m happy to report she had proved me right, but back then I had blinded myself to all the signs telling me she wasn’t the for me, I was too busy putting her up on a pedestal, giving her excuses and overlooking everything I didn’t like about her, giving myself excuses for her behavior. Even though being with her was making me more and more miserable.

One of our major issues was my faith, and she was somewhere in-between being spiritual/agnostic and atheism, she believed my faith was a joke, a crutch. And this was accompanied with her wanting us to be swingers,and to have threesomes, (Yes with another girl, her and me) But both issues were something I couldn’t get behind, which lead to more arguing, and her believing my faith had emotionally and sexually stunted me to the point where I couldn’t see how meaningful the experience could be for the both of us. . (Call me a romantic….or an idiot if you want, but I’ve always been a one woman guy and I can’t share these intimacies with more than one person, despite knowing that most guys would kill to have the opportunity, but it’s just something I can’t see myself going through with, my heart rally’s against the very thought, telling me it’s wrong.)
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But this story isn’t all about me, or how bad she was back then, (And trust me it wasn’t all her fault) this is a story about how God works. So if that makes you upset, I apologize, it was never my intention to preach at anyone. But I wanted to take a moment to point out something. Despite how wrong we were for each-other, or how unhappy she was making me, I still clung to this relationship as though it was a life line, and letting go meant only certain death. I made myself think and believe I loved her, when in truth every day it felt like I was falling more out of love with her. But it wasn’t all her fault, she had suffered from bi-polar disorder, as well as depression. And I should have stood my ground earlier and not let things get out of hand as they did. I should have sat her down and had a calm and rational conversation with her about our relationship and our needs and what we wanted. Maybe we would have worked things out, or maybe parted more amicably and wouldn’t have exploded in as many shouting matches, and would have resulted in less hurt feelings.

You see, many people jump into relationships and like many of us do begin to run, and race to that ultimate goal of marriage before we even know if that person is right for us or not. Maybe, that person is just a stepping stone, a guiding light, taking you one step closer to the person you’re suppose to be with. You see, this is what I believe, I believe it’s all a journey and it teaches us and we carry something with us out of every failed relationship, which helps to shape and mold us into better people. Sometimes we need be schooled and hurt in love, so that when it really does come for real, we can appreciate it even more, because we’ve learned from past mistakes and grew as individuals. Which is probably why I remained good friends and have managed to maintain friendships with many of my Exes. Of course, don’t try to savage a friendship right away, we all need time to heal and recover. For me this usually takes about six moths.

And if you can rekindle or even start a friendship it’s amazing, I’ve witnessed this incredible change in Abby, who was once selfish, arrogant, greedy, a gold digger and incredibly vain, (to the extent whenever I was driving she had to keep my vanity mirror down so she could keep checking herself out) And had grown addicted to her computer, phone and facebook, to the extent she couldn’t have a conversation with you without posting about it, or looking at her phone.

Abby and her boyfriend Evan, I haven't met him yet, but they look like an absolutely couple. I couldn't be happier for her.

Abby and her boyfriend Evan,
I haven’t met him yet,
but they look like an absolutely
couple. I couldn’t be happier for her.

But now, this girl who I never expected to find meaning, or God, has found just that. She’s been saved, and regularly attends church, she went from someone who only thought about herself, to this amazing girl who now goes out of her way to help someone in need. It’s like this shadow has been lifted from her eyes and a weight from her shoulders and I can tell you, she’s finally free, she’s happy and a joy to be around. She’s even met a good Christian Guy and now dreams and prays for the day where he proposes to her and they get married. (Back when I was with her, she was opposed to marriage with every fiber of her being)
And I’m extremely happy for her and proud, as well as blessed for having witness her incredible transformation, for being able to call her my friend. I never expecting to see God work in such a way. Which makes me sit back and with a smile as I think back on the day when we first met in what feels like so very long ago and having the honor of being the witness to it all.

We never could get it to work her and I, and back then, it felt like I was walking through a life sucking mine field of psychological barbwire, day after day,until there was nothing left of me but a dried up human husk of the person I used to be.

But we’ve all done it, got involved with someone we shouldn’t who was just all wrong for us and stayed too long. Even worse is when we stay in horrible, life draining, enjoyment killing relationships for the worse reasons, and even worse excuses.
being miserable in relationships we know are going nowhere. Some stay out of habit, or fear that they might have to go out of it alone for awhile. I’ve done it too, I’ve ignored, or excused all the red flags and signs telling me I should really reconsider the relationship I was in.

But either out of fear, or some perverse sense of loyalty we stay, and blindly trudge ever forward, no matter how bad or trying the relationship gets. It doesn’t matter how many times that person drags you down, leaving you feeling frayed, as you cling ever tighter these bad relationships, that only drag us further down into this sea of regret, all the while believing this other person is our life preserver.

The worse part of it is this; it’s us who cling and hold on so tightly. When all we have to do is let go. It took me awhile to let go of Abby, fighting the urge to call or text her just to see how she was doing, to hear her voice. But I knew we both needed time apart, time to grow and learn. So I know it’s hard, but I think sometimes we all need to stop making excuses and just walk away. Maybe you’re right for each other, but you’re not right for each other right now, maybe you’re just meant to be friends, or simply serve as a lesson in the school of life. I always tell my friends if they’re unhappy in their relationship they should take a step back, take a break, or break up. Life is too short to waste time being unhappy with someone who’s just wrong for you, or who just drags you down. Yeah it’s going to be hard, yeah they’ll be tears, begging for another chance and promises of change. But none of it will ever be enough unless the both of you take some time apart and grow.

I began writing this after a long conversation I had with a friend, whom I asked if she was really in love with this person, or if she was in love with the idea of them, the idea of love and the prospect of a wedding? these are questions we all have to ask ourselves at some point in our lives.

Look at Abby and myself, once upon a time we were head over heels in love, and we were that annoying lovey-dovey couple who could never take our lives off each other and couldn’t stop flirting and touching, making everyone think we’d end up married. But we kinda fell apart, I couldn’t be the guy she wanted, and she couldn’t be the girl I wanted. Because we both wanted and needed something else, something more. If we would have stayed together, we probably would have ended up killing each-other, or just making each-other miserable for the rest of our lives.

But thankfully, we’ve both changed and because of that, she’s became an awesome person, an amazing friend and I wouldn’t trade the memories, good or bad for the world. Because she taught me a lot without ever realizing it. She taught me that I should really get to know someone before getting into a relationship with them and she taught me that I should and how to stand my ground, how to say no, as well as how to have confidence.

You see, they say people change, but they never say how much, how much have you changed during the course of your life?

Sometimes we get lonely, and desperate for love, we look for it in all the wrong places. We make poor choices and relationship mistakes, because we’re trying to run, instead of taking the time to walk with that person and getting to know them, letting the love we feel flow through us naturally and grow on its own time.

Sometimes we get lonely, and desperate for love, we look for it in all the wrong places. We make poor choices and relationship mistakes, because we’re trying to run, instead of taking the time to walk with that person and getting to know them, letting the love we feel flow through us naturally and grow on its own time.