Archive for the ‘Learning’ Category

If you look out into emptiness, your world will become empty. If you look at the blessings, your life will be blessed.

I was reading some uplifting comments a few friends made about one of my recent drawings on Facebook. Despite everything I couldn’t help but smile, and feel good about myself. I started to reflect on how much my life has changed since I reactivated my Facebook account. It didn’t take long to reach the conclusion that this decision literally saved my life. It’s not actually FB that did the saving; it’s the angels I discovered within and the miracles they performed who deserve the credit. I would not be where I am today if it were not for some very special people on Facebook, because I am not sure their feelings on this matter I will not use any names, but I do hope if you are reading this you know this is dedicated to you.

I was trying to cope with a major crisis, directly caused by the only tangible person in my support system. The only friend I had to lean on lives in Arizona, which made regular communication difficult.  I felt completely isolated and alone. Prior to reactivating my FB account I took a huge leap of social faith, and started opening up to some people at work. Words cannot even describe how awkward and scary this was for me, hell half the time after a conversation I felt like I had just run an emotional mile. I would sit back just praying I didn’t ramble on, and make a complete fool out of myself. If it were not for my newly formed friendships at work, I would have never rediscovered my value and self-worth as a person. They showed me, that with a strong support group I could get through this crisis. They encouraged me to reactivate my FB account to see if I could continue to build on this newly formed foundation. I want to say thank you, for taking the time to listen, and for being nonjudgmental when I couldn’t hold it together anymore and just sobbed.

To be honest I wasn’t expecting anything to happen once I reactivated my account. I was never the social butterfly, so I was confident there would be no parade welcoming me back into the world. I decided I was going to approach FB the same way I approach my writing…with honesty. I started posting about my chaotic life and how I was doing. I included links to my blog, and posted pictures of my drawings. This terrified me! I was showing the real me, not the fool who wears masks just to be accepted. I was symbolically streaking naked across the FB landscape exposing myself for all to see.

I never imagined the outcome would be discovering I had friends that care about me. Even though I have not spoken to or seen them in ages, they made it clear they were here for me. I cannot describe this unfamiliar feeling, and how difficult it is for me to believe I am not alone. Between work, and now FB I have been more social in the last month than I have been in fifteen years.

I don’t think people ever truly realize the impact they have on others. Everyone I have had the honor and privilege of communicating with has made a tremendous impact on my life. During one conversation I learned there are actually woman out there who love comics as much as I do, and in another I had an amazing therapeutic conversation with a complete stranger who happened to be a Christian. What made it beautiful is we were on completely different belief spectrum’s, yet clicked. These are just two examples; I get excited and look forward to every future conversations.

Everyday I have certain things that I say over and over again to try and stay positive and one of them is this “The part of you that thrives is the part you feed the most.” I owe so much to those who take the time to comment on my art. I don’t think they realize the impact their words have on me, let alone the added impact of who these words are coming from. Sometimes the person making the comment means more than and enhances the comment itself.

Last Thursday I can honestly say, I experienced true hopelessness. I sincerely could not tell you the last time I was in so much emotional pain. I had given up, and I was searching for viable reasons for why I shouldn’t. I know I said I wasn’t going to mention names, but if it were not for Shawn Johnson I honestly don’t think I would be here today. All of this pain and hopelessness that was eating away at me; he took that shit away and replaced it with hope. There is no way I can repay you; besides letting you know you have a brother for life.

I don’t believe in miracles or angels, but I am at an impasse trying to find the proper definition to explain these two concepts. I don’t know any other way to describe what has happened since I have opened myself up to friends at work and those on FB besides anything less than a miracle. The only word or concept I can think of to call those of you who are here for me, even in the smallest of ways; are angels.

Thank you.

I have been receiving valued advice on how I should be careful what I write considering everything that is going on. I cannot even keep track, of how many times in the past this same advice has been given to me. I wasn’t able to follow it then, and I can’t follow it now. I have never understood the point of writing poetry or music just for the sake of it. Art in any form is meant to be personal and hold personal meaning, this is how art manifests itself into a ting of beauty. I won’t write unless the very essence of who I am, and how I feel can bleed out into my words, if I do anything less than this I am rejecting my true self. Being rejected by others is horrible enough, but if you reject who you really are you will spend the rest of your life living amongst the chameleons and the fools who hide behind masks and perceived social norms.

I have lived my entire life as a chameleon, and played the fool behind the mask. I had difficulty socializing with my peers, so I had to figure out who I needed to be in order for them to accept me. Living my entire life in this manner, can I honestly say I know who I REALLY am? The person I feel I am is the person I have been told I am over and over again. This only reinforces my chameleon colors, and motivates me to build better masks. I cannot stand the reflection of the man of clay you shaped to feel worthless. I know those who are saying these are victim statements, which just by saying such a thing does not validate the individuals real feelings.

The only time I have ever felt safe and free enough to be the real me is when I write. It is therapeutic to write books and post honesty in its purist form for the world to see. The thought of altering the only real honesty and relationship I have in my life, because of the fear of my soon to be ex-wife using my words against me, is just reinforcing the very self-hatred I am trying to overcome. If a judge were to decide that my children shouldn’t be with me because of who I really am, than I obviously have no business being a parent. I do not fear this will be the outcome.

I consider anything I write to be confessional in nature. I am always honest and true to myself regardless of any criticisms or judgments I may receive. I have paid a regrettable price for things I have written in the past. I haven’t spoken to my father in over four years for many reasons, but a recurring reason was a poem I wrote in one of my books. This in of itself sucks, but I feel the outcome was inevitable regardless. My biggest regret is the hurt, pain, and rift I created in regards to a family reunion. I felt hurt and rejected by my family for showing the real me, but in reality it was how I reacted to those feelings instead of thinking like a logical adult I acted like a child. This only made the situation worse and resulted in hurting the ones who were actually supporting me. Although it has taken some time it is one of those valuable life lessons I have learned about taking real ownership for my actions without the use of the word “but”.

The only true negative about such pure honesty is knowing I will be single for the remainder of my years.

What We Learn From Failed Relationships

Posted: May 27, 2014 in Absolute Truth, Abuse, Anxiety, Arguments, Blog, Blogging, Change, Childhood, Children, Coping, Crisis, Culture, Dating, Debates, Depression, Diary, Dilemma, Divorce, Dreams, Emotional Abuse, Ethics, Evil, Faith, Family, Fatherhood, Fear, Forgiveness, Freedom, Fun, Greed, Grief, Growing up in abusive homes, Health, Humor, Inside My Mind, Journal, Kids, Learning, Lies and broken promises, Life, Lists, Living Your Dream, Logic, Love, Lust, Marriage, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Misc, miscellaneous, Moral Theories, Morals, Motivation, Mourning, NA, Opinion, Pain, Parent, Parenting, Personal, Philosophy, Poems, Poetry, Published Author, Quotes, Random, Random Thoughts, Rants, Rejection, Relationship Issues, Relationships, Sadness, Self-esteem, Self-Help, Self-image, Social Anxiety, Social Debates, Society, Sorrow, Spirituality, Stress, Suffering, The Invention of Lying, The Philosophy of Lyrics, The Philosophy of Quotes, Things That Give Me Anxiety, Thoughts, Top Ten Lists, Uncategorized, Unity, Verbal Abuse, Writing
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I would first like to start off by thanking all of my readers and subscribers. I learned today; I have readers from 61 different countries. I think that’s pretty bad ass. I am aware that my readership grew from the topics of philosophy, theology, and madness. So bear with me as I stray a bit from those topics. Today I would like to release that which has been permeating in my mind. I would like ponder for a moment the importance of learning from our mistakes in a failed relationship. Through all of this I am trying to maintain a positive attitude and outlook. So here we go.

The one thing I can say with out a doubt is I am far from sainthood. I have made my more than my fair share of mistakes, and bad decisions which played a role in the overall destruction of my marriage. I am ashamed and consumed with intense guilt because of this. This combined with my wife’s lies, and infidelity has allowed me to see the light. I am sure I could write a 200 page paper on this topic, but I will try to keep this short and sweet.

There are 10 main things I have learned in my failed marriage. Now mind you there are far more than 10, but as I said this is not a 200 page dissertation on my failed marriage. I will do my best to not place blame, because it doesn’t do anyone any good. Some things on this list will undoubtedly overlap, even though this is the case I feel each one deserves to be mentioned. Without further ado here is my list of 10 things I learned from my failed marriage.

  1. Never Lie: I did a lot of research after I found out about what my wife did. I learned that in humans our first response when we know we have done something wrong, that will ultimately lead to a negative outcome our immediate response is to lie. We do this for two reasons one we want to avoid conflict, and two we don’t want to get in trouble. Since I am a proponent of the tabula rasa theory (mind being born as a blank slate.) I feel this is a trait we learn as children, which carries over into adulthood. Lying to your partner no matter how small is a terrible idea. We can overcome this childish trait, by knowing our partner as well as ourselves, focus on understanding and know that mistakes are actually learning opportunities.
  2. Never Cheat: I think this one doesn’t need further explanation. It’s a painful and shitty thing to do to those we love. Even if (insert some attractive famous person) wanted to be with you, nothing is worth hurting the one you love.
  3. Trust: it should go without saying that if the two things listed above are followed then trust shouldn’t be an issue. Unfortunately we all carry the baggage of past hurt, what we need to realize is who ever we are with now is not the person who caused us hurt in the past. I would imagine it would be a good idea to be open and honest about these past hurts. A relationship that is not built on trust is like trying to build a house of cards on a windy day, neither of these two examples will be successful. The perfect advice one can give in fostering trust in a relationship is this; if you would not say or do something if your partner was there with you, then you definitely shouldn’t do it.
  4. Accept and Love Each Other For All Their Good Qualities, As Well As Their Flaws: let’s admit it people, no one is perfect, and those who claim to be are probably the most screwed up of them all. Initially I am sure that we all fall in love with our mates good qualities. During the “courting” or “honeymoon” phase of a relationship, it is kind of like interviewing for a job, you really are not being completely honest your just trying to get the “job.” As the relationship progresses and begins to become serious is usually when we start to notice each others flaws. The important thing is that we learn to love that person regardless of their flaws. In fact I believe our flaws can become the most exciting part of a relationship. When you love the good qualities along with the flaws you know you have found true love; when everything seems to fit like a glove.
  5. Never Put Your Partner Down and Break Their Will: this topic has a lot to do with item number four. There are just two things I would like to add. The first is from an article by John Gottman, PhD in an article titled “4 Signs of A Troubled Marriage” Here is the link.http://affiliatedpsychologicalservices.com/4-signs-of-a-troubled-marriage/ Gottman talks about “The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse” which are clear signs you are headed for a divorce. The first two he brings up is “Criticism” and “Contempt.” If anyone out there grew up in an abusive home where as a child you were faced with these two horsemen, having to deal with such things in a marriage is a key ingredient in a divorce. If you tell someone something negative about them enough times, with the right amount of nastiness it is only natural the other party will believe what they are being told, and inevitable this is who they will see when they look into the mirror. I don’t think people are aware of how serious the long term damage can be. My second point comes from a line from the song “Weight of The World” by Blue October. “Don’t bother changing things that won’t give into changing.” It is one thing to help your partner grow and become the best person they can be, but in the process don’t try to change who they are inside. If you are hell bent on trying to force someone to change, there is always medication. If this is your goal please take to heart one of my quotes “Medication is to fix the people we don’t like.” If you feel you need to medicate your partner, it’s time to call it quits.
  6. Freedom: As your relationship grows, it is imperative that you do not take away your partners freedom. When I say freedom I am not referring to allowing your partner to go out all the time neglecting the relationship, and engaging in behaviors which fall into the first three categories I listed. When I say freedom, I say that it is clearly healthy to share and be with each other, but it is also healthy to have a respectful life outside of the relationship. I have made this deadly mistake in one of my relationships, and I have now been on the receiving end of how damaging smothering and isolating your partner can be. If your relationship is built on a strong foundation of trust and respect this should be something you encourage each other to do. I have always admired the relationship between my best friend of 26 years and his lovely wife. I will not mention names, but I truly hope one day I can figure out whatever their secret is, and apply it to my future relationships. I am going to encourage them to write a book.
  7. Support Their Dreams: There is nothing more precious and sacred than some ones hopes and dreams. For some our dreams appear to us when we are young, others do not fully realize their dreams until they discover who they are. When I was young I had the normal boyhood dreams to become a professional football or baseball player, unfortunately like normal boys those dreams were not meant to be. Beyond those two options, I really didn’t have anything else that drove or inspired me, until the 5th grade. Long story short I ended up doing many writing assignments and I remember my teacher signing my year book, saying she could one day see something I have written being published. I was not a very well behaved child, so positive reinforcement from the teachers I tormented was rare, but from that moment my dream changed. I wanted to become a professional writer. As I grew older I held onto this dream, and wrote in private. I never thought anything I would write would be read let alone published. Again long story short one of my poetry books was published, I started this blog, wrote two children’s books, and two other poetry books. Needless to say this was the greatest I had ever felt about myself, because I accomplished something I never thought I could… my dream. I did not receive support from my partner, and in fact was highly put down and discouraged from continuing to write, until finally I had no option but to stop writing. The details behind this are not important at this moment.
  8. Open & Honest Communication: You would think this is a no brainier, but for my marriage and I would imagine many others this proved to be too challenging to overcome and sowed the seeds to our divorce. I feel if you have all seven of these things listed above then number eight would be a given, but if you take out one or two of the above it makes communication a challenge. I avoided and ran away from open and honest communication. I could make a laundry list for why, but this is already becoming too long of a post. Mainly I was afraid to honestly look in the mirror, I was scared I was going to receive an unhealthy dose of items four and five. Regardless of those reasons it is on me for failing in this aspect of our marriage. I need to take ownership for this, and like everything listed learn to not make the same mistakes. It is very difficult and challenging for me to be social, and communicate even with those closest to me. I know this is something I need to work on, but what always ends up playing over and over in my mind is the Pink Floyd lyrics from the song “The Final Cut” which I will add at the end.
  9. Be A Selfless Lover: This is actually one area where I have and feel the most accomplished. I felt I needed to add this, because in my experience men in general put their intimacy needs, or the final “outcome” before their partners. I will not go into detail in case my mom is reading this, but as men our primary focus and goal when it comes to being intimate is placing our partners needs before ourselves. Any man can do his business and be on his way, but this is a man who has failed. When it comes to intimacy your only goal and desire should be the feelings and ultimate “outcome” of your partners needs. Everything else should be secondary.
  10. Find Your Genuine Light: Tomorrow I am going to post a quick poem describing the meaning behind this comment. I do not believe in soul mates. I do not believe there is only one true love for everyone. I believe for everyone, there exists many individuals who could be considered your genuine light. I believe they are rare, but they are out there. My advice is if you feel you are holding your genuine light, don’t let them slip away because you cannot be certain another one will come around to light up your life.

 

“And if I show you my dark side
Will you still hold me tonight?
And if I open my heart to you
And show you my weak side
What would you do?
Would you sell your story to Rolling Stone?
Would you take the children away
And leave me alone?
And smile in reassurance
As you whisper down the phone?
Would you send me packing?
Or would you take me home?”

Pink Floyd

These lyrics describe perfectly why it is so difficult for me to open up to people, which hinders my ability to effectively communicate.

One of my greatest regrets in life is not taking school seriously. There was so much knowledge I missed out on, and I kick myself to this day. I was never really into school when I was younger. I was always in trouble getting detention, suspensions, and expulsions. My high school experience was limited to one class in which I lasted around twenty minutes before I just walked out on the class. Needless to say I was expelled within a month or two. When I was a teenager my priority was trouble and drugs. I honestly thought at that age I would become a career drug dealer, so I felt little need to learn anything.

I did not leave this life style or frame of mind until I reached my early twenties. Once my mind finally cleared from all the substances I had been feverishly consuming everyday for the last ten years, I finally realized that I needed an education to further myself in life. When I enrolled into college I was excited to begin learning for the first time in my life. When classes finally started, I was hit with a dose of reality as to how ill prepared I was for this experience. I had no idea how to properly study, and I lacked the basics of early learning. Despite these setbacks I managed to get A’s and B’s in all my classes, I was in heaven learning things for the first time. I ended up falling two semesters short of getting my B.A. in Philosophy.

I have noticed over the years since I left school there are many things I know very little about. This lack of knowledge has been a jumping off point for many of my insecurities. It wasn’t until around four months ago I decided to start a “learning list.” I decided I was going to start a list of everything I wanted to know more about. I carried this folded up notebook paper in my back pocket, and if I came across anything I didn’t know, or something I wanted to know more about I wrote it down on my piece of paper. The plan was to make sure I was setting aside sometime everyday to pick something off my list and learn as much as I could on the topic.

Time went by, and the only thing I had managed to do with this list is add things to it. I was having trouble finding the free time to dedicate to learning all these things I wanted to learn. It wasn’t until I decided to only write in this blog three times a week, I was able to find and dedicate my time to this project. I am happy to say that I have been able to finally cross some things off this list. I am overjoyed with this new found time.

When I started this I was just reading as much information as I could find on the topic. I realized I was not retaining all of this new found knowledge. I was discouraged because I was spending free time on something aimed at improving my intelligence, but I was unable to retain everything. I pondered this conundrum for a while and came up with the idea for weekly “learning books.” I decided that along with reading the material on a subject, I would also transfer key information into a word document. At the end of every week I would print a new volume of the learning book. My goal is to not only add new stuff every week, but to also go back and read past volumes. I feel that if I record all this into a booklet, and go back and read it over and over then the information will stick.

I am thirty-one years old and I desire to know so much more than I already do. I have always wanted to further my knowledge on an array of subjects. I feel this idea and structure will be a perfect tool in furthering my independent education. I am sure I will be using this new found knowledge to write some new posts. Perhaps I could create a new ongoing series called “The Learning Corner” or something like that. Whatever happens I know right now I feel very proud of myself. I would recommend this model to anyone interested in learning new things. It seems to be working for me.