Tuesday, July 8, 2014

‘Have you ever stopped to ask yourself “How much is enough?”’

Tuesday, June 16, 2014

Since the inception of this blog, I have mentioned several times that I can easily become agitated with the choices that people make in their lives. The agitation is heightened by the fact that I do not have the ability to make any substantial choices in my own life. Acknowledging this is important, yet I constantly struggle when it comes to reining in my frustrations. In general, I find myself carefully controlling what I say in response to things that people do with their lives. It’s surprisingly challenging.

Recently an acquaintance of mine has been making poor choices. He mirrors so many of the things that I have done that I cannot help but to worry. Intrinsically we are entirely different people and even though our needs, wants and desires vary… the footings are very similar. Both of us crave acceptance but for me, I have been able to manage this particular demon. This acquaintance has not however and I get the distinct impression that his desire for acceptance is considerably stronger than mine ever was.

I do not have the type of relationship with him, at least not one that is established enough for me to be able to dole out constructive criticism. I am beginning to realize that closeness almost doesn’t matter either though. That in mind, I feel I am better off remaining silent.

Somehow, I have become a person who is disappointed in so many things that people are and – are not – doing in their lives. I cannot help but to wonder if this is how my mom felt as she was watching me slide down to the bottom of existence. I listen intently to what people close to me are going through and then I compartmentalize it. I remind myself that I should remain focused on my own life rather than living vicariously through theirs. Then I realize that I don’t actually have a life. Instead, I live through their experiences – good and bad – because it is a distraction from my own personal hell. Sometimes the line of their lives and what I call ‘my life’ can get a bit blurry.

A dear friend has helped me tremendously to be able to separate those lines. I have learned to control my emotional response however, I have not been as successful in controlling the emotions inside me. I am growing forever anxious because I feel that time is moving too quickly outside of this place. 

Simultaneously, my life within these walls is falling more and more behind.

By nature, I am a ‘go getter’: a man full of drive and ambition. If something needs to be done then I set forth and do it. I have never been a procrastinator or someone others would deem as lazy. If you know someone who is like this, then you understand that it is practically impossible for me to ever be “content”. It is unfortunate, but very true.

I doubt that anything will ever be “enough” for me, but I need to know when to accept things: the things that I already have, the things that I have accomplished and believe that it is good enough. When I think about the people in my life, I want to tell them to get up off their asses and do something with their lives. I want them to take advantage of the life that they do have. Obviously this comes from a perspective of not having much of a life but there are people who are struggling with their own complacency issues and dreaming instead of doing. They need to wake up, move on in life and try to find a sense of purpose and some version of happiness in their lives.

Saying all these things to these people, even the acquaintance I first mentioned is pointless. I cannot live their lives for them or force their hands to take advantage of the opportunities that they are seemingly content in ignoring. Life continues on and I suppose that for some of them, they have their own interpretation of “enough”. If they didn’t, well then they would surely do something to change their situations.  Perhaps that type of response only pertains to the people like me? Perhaps they really are okay and are making the best choices for themselves? Perhaps it’s I who will never have enough?

I know that at the end of the day, I will never find my happiness through others and that I can’t even chase it.

But I have to ask myself….

“How much is enough?”

‘Transsexuals and Convicts’

Monday, June 16, 2014

“How do you explain human sexuality or sexual identification to gang members, skinheads and Mexican Mafia members?” I can tell you from first hand experience that it is not as difficult as you might think.

If you are one of the millions of people binge watching the Netflix show ‘Orange is the New Black’ then you should be familiar with an actress by the name of Laverne Cox. She was interviewed by Katie Couric this past Friday and so began a conversation I never thought would happen.

The guys in my dormitory began asking me if she was in fact a man and what did I know about her. It was as if because I was a gay man, that I should automatically know everything about her. I asked them if they thought the LGTB community had a secret society in which we all know one another. They laughed and responded that, no, they did not think that. Still though, they pressed on.
I did my best to explain to them that Laverne Cox would not have ever identified herself as a gay man. They were incredibly confused. I digressed and began a human sexual identity psychology class.

I painted the image that if they were born, just as they were, but inside believed that they were supposed to be a girl – that it would be like being trapped in a body that wasn’t theirs. I asked them how they would feel if people told them that they had to be with other men and that being with a woman was wrong. It was clearly a light bulb moment for them. All of a sudden they began to understand that Laverne Cox would not be a gay man or simply gay because inside she always identified herself as female. I explained that it is not about genitalia, or even the physicality if it, but rather, the mind and the soul of the person.

A few of the guys commented on how pretty Laverne Cox was ‘for a man’. I corrected them and said that she is beautiful for a woman. They were silent for a moment and then began referring to Laverne Cox as “her” and “she”. I couldn’t help but to smile inside.

-      Lesson Complete

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Life Lessons

Recently, my friend Joey sent to me a list of the lessons that he has learned in life. It inspired me to do likewise. For comparison, both lists are here for your review.

What are your life's lessons?

1.   There are many times in life that it is better to simply be quiet
2.   One should never put all their eggs in one basket
3.   Never drink and drive
4.   Just because you have committed a crime should not mean that you are a criminal
5.   Guilt is worse than any disease or virus
6.   Sometimes violence is indeed necessary
7.   Always respect cultures other than your own
8.   Remember that there are ears everywhere
9.   People intrinsically fear that which they do not understand
10.Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to look at yourself
11.It’s only a mistake if you make it twice
12.People are human beings, not colors
13.Ignorance does not always equate to bliss
14.Stupidity is an epidemic
15.College degrees are becoming less of a requirement
16.Younger, newer employees are not necessarily better than those vested with experience
17.Life is full of disappointments. Do not dwell on them
18.There is always someone worse off than you
19.Everyone’s shit stinks
20.Embrace your mind. If you lose it, you may never find it. You don’t know what it looks like
21.Everyone uses one another for something. Accept it
22.The very idea of perfection is boring
23.Happiness is incredibly difficult to achieve
24.Being a leader is harder than being a follower
25.Authentic people will never agree with everything you say
26.True friend can be more important than family
27.Assumption and speculation can be very dangerous
28.Laughter really is amazing medicine
29.It’s completely acceptable for an animal to be your friend
30.It’s not the clothing, but how you wear them – is overrated
31.Looking good and feeling good are both a matter of opinion
32.Do not give flowers as a sign of love. Eventually they will die
33.Sometimes, death is a great escape
34.There is nothing like the relationship between a mother and her son
35.It is painful to watch the people who you love make the wrong decisions
36.The American Justice System needs a complete renovation
37.Always pay attention. It could mean the difference between life and death
38.Most excuses are derived from laziness
39.Too many people do not take advantage of their lives
40.Goals are good
41.It’s healthy to embrace your flaws
42.Things that are ‘too good to be true’, typically are
43.Change is hard for most people
44.Gay is the new Black
45.Independence is freeing
46.Conformity is unjust
47.You can only understand what people are going through if you have experienced it yourself
48.War is what happens when people feel that they are out of options
49.If you back a dog into a corner, it will bite
50.Fear is often a manifestation of something we are unaware of
51.Coffee is so damned good
52.Diets are a joke designed for over-consumerism
53.Physical exercise is important
54.Healthy People can die young
55.A man would rather lose all of his appendages so long as he can keep his penis
56.Women can just as easily rule the world
57.The middle class is nonexistent
58.Congressmen make more money than the law should allow
59.The law is always subject to interpretation
60.Nothing on television reflects prison authentically
61.Compliments come in all different ways
62.Music is good for the soul
63.If a man insists in drinking ‘girlie drinks’, he should be man enough to drink them
64.Homosexuals no longer have to segregate
65.Being “green” requires a lot more upfront money that most people do not have
66.Technology is enabling the unemployment rate
67.Expectations usually end in disappointment
68.We all lie
69.No matter where you are, TIME is just as short… respect it
70.Do not complain if you have no intention to do anything about it
71.Try not to use public restrooms
72.Never get so distracted that you forget to enjoy life
73.Work to live, not the other way around
74.You will be judged by others. Pay no attention
75.Denial really is a disease
76.Too often, people do not say what they mean
77.Semantics have become a regular form of communication
78.Full disclosure is not always best
79.Stem cell research can save lives
80.The age of retirees is increasing. Start planning now
81.I could die tomorrow
82.People who smoke cigarettes do so because they enjoy smoking, not because they have a will to die. Let them smoke.
83.More people than you would expect are lonely
84.Politics and religion should remain private
85.The right to choose is too often seen as a bad thing
86.Arizona is not a good state
87.Food is art
88.Ignorance can be fixed, but stupid is for life
89.Transgenders are people too
90.Everyone should watch the movie “The Hours” at least once
91.We all wear masks for different reasons
92.“I trust you”, is one of the biggest statements a person can make
93.Human contact is more important that you might think
94.Sometimes good people do bad things

1.   You cannot expect respect from others, you must earn it
2.   Flossing is far more important than I thought it would ever be
3.   Your family loves you despite all of the crap you put them through. Respect that love
4.   Define the things you are most passionate about in life and pursue them with vigor
5.   Try to only give your opinion or advice when it is asked for
6.   If you fail at something repeatedly, it is highly probable that you will never excel at it
7.   Lying to yourself is the greatest form of deceit
8.   When planning anything, plan for the worse-case-scenario and be prepared for that
9.   You can smile with your eyes
10.Do not worship false idols
11.If at all possible, do not sit in the middle seat on an airplane
12.Naps are one of your greatest and simplest indulgences.
13.Fuck the Jones’. Just because they have something  you don’t  - doesn’t mean should want it or need it
14.Regardless of your flaws, you are unique and special
15.Never reveal secrets when you are drunk
16.Pay your bills on time
17.It is okay to cry
18.Mistakes will happen. Learn from them or you will repeat them
19.Your perception of others is your own truth. You can alter that perception if you choose to.
20.There is no real need in changing your underwear and socks every single day
21.Your pets love you unconditionally. Return that favor
22.Don’t start smoking… it is a habit that you may not be able to break easily
23.Hire others to do work that is beyond your skill level
24.If you have nice things – use them. Do not let them collect dust because they are ‘too nice’.
25.Regardless how attentive medical professionals may appear to be – remember you are still just ‘work’ to them. Do not confuse their commitment with compassion.
26.Invest in quality shoes and take very good care of them
27.Never argue with stupid people. It is a waste of your time
28.Laughter will take the sting out of any tragedy. There is humor to be found in everything
29.Develop a method for remembering people’s names
30.It is not possible to know all things or be ‘right’ all the time
31.Helping the elderly, in any way, is paying it forward. One day you will be in their shoes
32.When hiking in the woods – do not wander too far off the path or you may get lost
33.More often than not, those who you desire physically, will not desire you in return
34.Women will fake an orgasm to achieve a relationship. Men will do just the opposite
35.Change, even change for the better, is never simple or easy
36.Everyone has homosexual desires of varying degree. Homophobia comes from the fear of that awareness
37.Don’t complain about being hung-over.  No one cares
38.Invest in memories, not objects
39.Pamper yourself periodically
40.Keep an eye out for bad drivers on the road. They are everywhere
41.If you find yourself being racist or bigoted, stop and ask yourself:  WHY?
42.Make a list before you go shopping, and stick to the list
43.Be very careful in whom you trust
44.Always add 15-30 minutes to your travel time for any event where prompt arrival is expected
45.When hosting an event – especially a dinner, just assume your guests will arrive late.
46.Spell check everything – 3 times
47.People die. As painful as it is, you must soldier on and keep their memories alive within you
48.Financial security is scalable. You can always adjust to your means
49.Do not expect fairness from others
50.Weeds don’t pull themselves. The longer you wait to pull them, the harder it becomes
51.Sex without intimacy is meaningless – but still fun just the same.
52.You will always lose umbrellas, sunglasses and combs. Do not spend foolishly on these objects
53.The only person you absolutely must impress, is yourself
54.Always make sure there is a ‘back up’ roll of toilet paper in the bathroom
55.If you are confused or do not understand something, admit it and ask for help
56.Be slow to judge others. Often times, your first impressions may prove to be wrong
57.Knowledge is power
58.Your attitude affects how you will be perceived by others.  Try to remain positive.
59.Whenever possible, exercise your freedom of choice
60.Don’t stick the QTip too far into your ear
61.If you encounter a handicapped person, they will usually respect honest curiosity more than abject denial
62.Do not be ashamed of the things that arouse you sexually
63.Travel often and to interesting places. It serves to always make you appreciate your ‘home’
64.There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. (Sometimes - ‘less is more’)
65.Remember the expiration of your driver’s license and car registration
66.When educating someone, wrap the lesson into a ‘story’ they will relate to
67.If you waste time, do it wisely
68.You can teach an old dog new tricks
69.Nothing is ever as easy, or as hard as you perceive it to be
70.If you take the time to find the positive, you can endure any struggle
71.Go to the bathroom before you depart on long road trips
72.When people lie to you, they will rarely look you straight in the eye
73.Arrive at the airport at least two hours before your flight departs
74.If you have to choose between two evils, select the one you are least afraid of
75.Do not let your mind trick you into thinking that you don’t like something before you’ve tried it
76.As you age – your body will begin to fail in various ways. Roll with it.
77.Hang onto your friends tightly and respect those bonds. They know who you really are
78.Try to learn something new every single day
79.Clean out your refrigerator thoroughly at least once a month
80.Watching baseball will take your mind off just about everything
81.Never expect that your sexual fantasies will – or should – come true
82.If you are patient, you will have less stress in your life. Relax
83.Create a mechanism for saving money. Rainy days come often in life.
84.Give yourself flowers
85.Sometimes honesty is not the best policy. If you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all
86. Don’t wait for special occasions to share your love with friends and family
87. Never convince yourself that someone is better than you. Everyone has flaws
88.If you have a reason to suspect something is ‘too good to be true’, then it probably is
89.Forgive and forget. As hard as this is to do, it will lighten your heart and allow you to remain happy
90.Don’t drive drunk – ever
91.Your dream job is just that. If you actually had that job, it would be “work” and no longer as desirable
92.Invest in your cultural knowledge of literature, art and music.
93.Do not allow yourself to be entertained by violence
94.Start up your snow-blower every month. It keeps it running better when you need it most
95.Exercise sucks, but the benefits are immeasurable. Try to remain active in your life
96.Stand up for yourself. You are your best and often, only advocate
97.When someone flatters you unexpectedly, there is usually an ulterior motive
98.If you are uncomfortable in a situation, remove yourself
99.Never let the gas tank run all the way to E
100.            Don’t be upset over things that are beyond your control to change. Remember the Serenity Prayer…