Those Damn Teenage Years

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In a recent conversation with my soon to be fourteen year old son, I was reminded of my youth, the choices I was forced to make, and how rough it really is being that age. I like to think I’m taking a different approach to parenting than the approach my parents took with me, I was raised in a wrath of God house by two very devout Catholics with closet human tendencies. Of course, my wife and my style differs from many parents as I’m told. I also get told I’m doing it wrong, the parents are the boss. Before you assume way to much here, I’m not the “friend” parent type. I am the type of parent who has instilled justifiable fear into his children, after all they live in my house, sleep in my house, and scary shit happens when you least expect it. Anyway, I’ve tried very hard to not raise quitters in a society where quitting has become the norm. I believe in self esteem because without it you have little control of your inward or outward emotions. But, we all get to the point where we start asking when is enough going to be enough, when will the madness end, and why can’t this be easier.

We all have given up at some point. All of us at a certain point have stopped believing that we’ll be able to make it. Some of us have done it often, some just very few times, but all of us know how it feels.The  sad fact is that most of us give up far too soon.My son explained to me that he was thinking the other day, why does he actually give up? What are his most common reasons and are there any ways to get around those reasons for giving up?

He thinks discouragement is the biggest reason for quitting and failure. No matter what you have decided to do, as soon as you share it with people there will be at least few who will tell you that YOU Can’t Do it and come up with different reasons about why it can’t be done. At that point you may decide to give up the idea even before giving it a try.  Instead of thinking about giving up think about how are you going to prove all those people wrong.  In fact proving those who doubt me wrong has been pretty good motivation for me so far, I have spent a lifetime trying to stay on top of my game. As well, if you don’t believe in yourself you will always be tempted to give up because you won’t believe in your success. The self-doubt will be keeping you from pushing forward.

I somehow thought that I was not strong enough to make my dreams come true, but then there was a shift in mindset which sort of set me free. And it was one simple realization. The realization that none of the people who have succeeded are better than me. They worked harder, they were persistent and they believed in their dreams, but they were not actually better, just approached life differently, as most of us do. These days there are so many distractions… Social media, TV series, and different smart phone notifications not letting you focus on the important things. If you don’t keep focus on your goal you will end up with insufficient results and that will discourage you even further. But, as I discussed with my son, social media didn’t exist when I was growing up, none of this shit did. My social media was friends and family. My internet was called “the outdoors”, I earned my allowance by being a part of the family unit team. Unlike today, parents give their children money to just leave them alone. As it is, in our house we are pretty tight, we do allot together on a very regular basis. On top of it all we have dinner together, every night, without fail. Also, no television is on, no cell phones are allowed at the table, and we talk or play games while we eat, there is fun and laughter, and it is also a time to gather to discuss more serious matters, if any.

That reminds me of yet another reason we, as humans, give up, we give up when we don’t get the immediate results. We all want things to happen fast and it is hard to realize that there are things that actually takes time. One can not have instant on and instant off like the flick of a light switch each and every time. Some things, to include pets and people, are more challenging, they take more time, things like trust and value in a person have to be developed and earned, which takes time. There is no such thing as overnight success so we have to keep in mind that it takes time and to be prepared not to give up.

When I am starting something new I am on fire. I am full of enthusiasm and I am motivated. But with the time things may start cooling off and at some point the self-motivation may not be enough to keep me moving. That is when I may think about giving up, that is when I need to go back to beginning and try to recall the big why. Why did I start that project in first place and what was initially motivating me? That brings me back on track most of the time. But still we need motivation, we still need the allure that there is a prize waiting for us at the end. No matter what kind of life you had, you are used to your own personal comfort zone and that brings you great comfort. Now when you have initiated changes you entered the stage of uncertainty and struggle, which by no means is comfortable. What makes me not giving up in those cases is the thought that once I get where I wanna be my new comfort zone will be a much better one. But, what I’ve learned over the years cannot be taught, it has to be experienced. This is my son’s struggle know, the learning curve, stepping out of the comfort zone, finding new experiences doing new things or with new people. Plus, he is at the beautiful age where he has really realized he really likes boobs. One more thing we have in common.

Anything worth achieving is hard. Yes the easiest option is to just give up, but then, will it be easy living with the regret that you gave up midway? On the other hand I would not say that giving up is something terrible and wrong. Sometimes you may end up having too many things on your plate and that may make you overwhelmed. Sometimes you may need to give up certain things because they may not be a priority at that point. I find myself looking at the details in my own life on a regular basis, there is never room for bullshit, it is always the first into the fuckbucket. What is important that you don’t give up your dreams and the things you want really bad. Don’t give up your passion and never give up on life. I understand living with a person like me is challenging, being a sarcastic jackass is a fine art and we all don’t appreciate fine art. We all have given up at some point. All of us at a certain point have stopped believing that we’ll be able to make it. Some of us have done it often, some just very few times, but all of us know how it feels. The  sad fact is that most of us give up far too soon.

Where does all this leave the conversation I was having with my son? Well, he was never actually clear as to what he was thinking about quitting. And, I’m not altogether sure we were even talking about the same thing. Later, while talking with my wife I was informed that a girl he knew in school, friends but not inner circle friends, had committed suicide last week. There was no clear reason why, she left no note, gave the parents no inkling that she was distressed, same with her two sisters, teachers, and friends. Except for one person, who came forward to “confess” to her parents that he knew why. You see, they were boyfriend and girlfriend. She wanted an exclusive relationship (at 14) and he wanted to play the field. She took it had, it killed her self esteem and self worth, and according to him, as she told him, she didn’t feel she was worth the effort of having his love if he was not willing to commit to her. Granted, this is the opinion of a 14 year old boy, and this story was also posted up on Facebook, so I don’t really know if it actually ever happened. But, after going back to my son to talk, he said that I did answer his question of “why people quit” without even knowing that was what I was doing. We talked more, we talked about the cruelty of emotions, especially in a teenager. But suicide is not an easy subject, simply because there isn’t an actual answer to give. The only person who knows is dead.

I don’t know if this makes me angry or sad. I do know that I have been in my sons shoes before, knowing a person who has had her self esteem crushed on a daily basis for “fun” by others. But, that is another topic altogether, since bullying seems to have become so evermore popular these days, or its just more in the public eye these days. As a parent I try to teach my children to hope for the best and prepare for the worst because the two survive together hand in hand. One may think they are just words, but others take those words to heart. As uncomfortable as I was talking with my son about suicide and how I personally believe it should never be the answer for anyone, I was also proud of my son for wanting to sit and talk to me about life, emotions, feelings, relationships, and family with me. It takes courage to begin a conversation with your father when you don’t know what the outcome will be. Both of us feeling a little bummed, we invited the rest of the family to go out for ice cream. Ice cream? Yes, the one thing on the planet stronger than any drug, stronger than and alcohol, stronger than any words, stronger than any bond, it is a time of peace for a troubled mind or a troubled soul. Its a time to take a break from the crap life offers and just enjoy a bite of ice cream.

Yes, I know, ice cream doesn’t solve all problems, but it does give the opportunity to step away from them, not to quit them, but to take a break from them. Everyone needs a break, we all take breaks or celebrate in our own ways. In the end I learned from my son that I should keep my past close so it can be accessed and shared. I never knew my life, in general, would be an education tool for the youth in my family. But then again, we do learn most of what we know from our parents and family. Having children has been the best challenge I never quit. Try something new, get in your child’s head today, give them a nice tight hug, a big smile, and a peck on the cheek. When they ask why just tell them it is because you were thinking about them. It scares the crap out of them. I know from experience that life isn’t easy. It wasn’t designed to be easy. We don’t evolve within ourselves if we are not constantly challenged. Don’t let life discourage you, leave that to the people around you, you know, the people who don’t want you to succeed because they don’t care about succeeding. Until we “meet” again, remember to eat it everyday!

Taking Time To Breathe & Step Back

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Some months ago I was contacted by a twenty one year old young lady who asked if I had any suggestions in a direction to proceed if she was attempting to locate her biological family. She had read a few posts here on this blog about my own personal journey and how my personal search took place. She mentioned to me that I stated more than once that I would pass on my methods, recommendations, and free agencies that are available to the general public. We communicated much through email, then texting, and eventually over the phone. Then, out of the blue, everything just stopped cold, all communication between us ended, and we fell out of communication. I did wonder what happened, but I left it alone since I figured there was good reasons.

Until yesterday, the day when I got a fantastically wonderful and surprising email from her. She wanted to update me on what had been happening with her search. Before I get into the results I think, after I received her blessings, I need to tell her story. She has a story not unlike many, she found out she was adopted purely by accident, and it turned her entire world upside down as she had no idea to ever think she was adopted. I will begin her story from the point she found out at the age of nineteen.

She was on her way home from college to spend time over the holiday break with her mother who had become very ill over the prior year. Unfortunately, during her visit her mother passed away. After the funeral she tasked herself with clearing her mother’s house of personal belongings so the home could be put on the market. She had made arrangements for everything to be placed into storage after she had taken the time to box it all up neatly. She wasn’t really sure what to do with anything, so she figured storing it all would give her time to sort through her emotions first. After a few days of packing up the rest of the house it was time to start in her mother’s bedroom, a place specifically left until the end because she figured it would be the hardest for her. After countless hours in the room, folding clothes neatly, wrapping the breakables, and taking down pictures from the wall, she entered the closet to get it over with. Midway through the closet she sees a small metal box on the shelf above and when she gets it down she sees it is locked. She remembered there was a small key in her mother’s jewelry box and after digging it out she gave it a turn, and to her surprise it opened the lock. Now, she has never seen this box before so she was pretty excited. In the box there was a single legal sized envelope inside, nothing else, just the envelope. She struggled with the decision to open the envelope, as much as she wanted to open it she really understood the importance or secrecy, because, as it is, the sealed envelope was in a locked metal box on the top shelf in the closet under years stuff which secluded it nicely.

She set the box to the side, envelope remaining inside unopened, as she finished her task of packing. It has been an emotional so far since she found boxes upon boxes of memoirs of her entire life, she remembered most of the captured glimpses of time, so the emotions were grand and somewhat severe. That night she prepared a pallet to sleep on in the middle of all the boxes in the living room and decided it was time to get some rest. As she layed there she could see the metal box resting atop other packed boxes. Still wondering about the contents she sits the box in front of her on the floor. She opened the box. She again sees the envelope. But this time she opens it up, she removed the contents and placed them on the floor beside her, and now it is time to review the paperwork which much be very important information. The first letter was from an attorney, addressed to her parents. It was a message to inform them that their wait is finally over because a newborn girl was immediately available for their review and potential adoption. Enclosed was a picture of the newborn, she recognized the picture, why wouldn’t she, it was a picture of her. Needless to say she reviews all the documents, trying to process them mentally, and trying to find the sanity in the madness.

The following morning she started googling information, names, agencies, and in the crazy mix of it all landed right here on this very blog. She chooses to not leave any public comments on any of the posts she found dealing with my own adoption story. Instead, I get an email asking, and I will quote, “are you for real in your offer to exchange information about being adopted”? She said quite a bit more, asked a few more relevant questions, and then closed out the email. I replied to her, answering her questions and reassured her that I will share whatever I know. Soon enough, we exchanged 20 plus emails which evolved into texting which evolved into actual telephone conversations, there were even two occasions we did the Skype thing so I could physically show her a few online processes. As I mentioned earlier, our communication stopped abruptly, and I have been left wondering about her and her situation.

I got an email yesterday, it was from her, and she explained that she had some luck in her search but thinks she will put it all to rest because she was heading down a road she didn’t want to travel. She did, however, locate her biological grandfather, who was a disabled Marine veteran who now lives in a VA sponsored retirement home. To make a long, wonderful story short, he is her only surviving blood relative. I was asked not to share anymore than that, so I know it seems as if the story has taken a bad turn, but I assure y’all that after talking with her last night that just the opposite is true. This story isn’t actually over, there’s more, but I was asked to follow up with her in a few months when she goes on summer break, where, if I choose to do so (her words) I can write more in detail about her personal journey. I agreed.

I lead a super simple life, I like it this way, and I am very pleased that somewhere in the midst of all the different crap here that at least one person found something that happened to me personally to be useful or beneficial in some way. I just wrote about my life knowing that sometimes, not always, shit happens that you just have to deal with, being adopted is one of those times, one of those things, that a person can either roll with or fight, its all about your own perspective in life.

Do “You” Think Animals Have A Face?

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I use the word “you” as a practical way of asking the question because “we” really doesn’t apply in this particular case. Before we begin, eventhough many of you will become offended, it isn’t my actual intent when opening this subject up for a real discussion. I’m not looking to sway any opinions as everyone has their own opinions for their own reasons. I write about this topic today because it has become somewhat of a sore spot with me because of some emails and comments I have received over the last week. Seems people have dug and found newer reasons to give me grief for the way I live my life personally. Through out this post I want y’all to keep referring to the picture at the top of the post. Yes, I understand that only about 2%-3% of the visitors to this blog actually read what has been written, I have learned to accept that fact. Even fewer comment which is why I often refer to my blog as monologuing instead of interactive. With that being said I should probably begin to say what I want to say.

Do “you” think animals have a face was the title to this post because I am curious as to what makes a person say that animals have a face. As you might be able to tell, I don’t think that way. Many times I have looked for the written word of any animal who thinks it has a face or an account where an animal was documented stating it had a face. You know I will always come up very empty handed, no matter what. Having a face is a human thing, we humans tell ourselves and other humans we have a face and maybe even what it looks like here and there. I personally know people who associate animals with having faces and I have asked them why as well. Some people have conditioned themselves into this association for one reason or many reasons. No, I do not try to understand the reasons why and one could say I am real closed minded on the subject. I find it a very bizarre behavior when people refer to animals as having a face.

So, where am I going with this post? Well, I have been getting a borage of comments/emails about how wrong I am for hunting and how wrong I am for being a gun owner. Two opinions I respect and appreciate but also disagree with as well. My reasons are neither your business nor your concern. I don’t need to justify nor defend hunting or owning guns and I will not. I do with my life what I do with my life. I’m not here to have an argument with anyone. I will pass on free advice which can be applied to almost anything in life. If you don’t like it then don’t do it, don’t be around it, and don’t have it in your personal life. But, back to thinking animals have faces and how I am an evil bastard for killing them, cooking them, and consuming then. Since that is what has been said. I won’t be sorry that I am a meat eater, I won’t be sorry I own guns, and I won’t be sorry for hunting. Most of all I will not be sorry if you are offended because of any of it. When I hunt it is to put food on the table and not for a trophy. People who know me in person know this fact and some people who visit here insert their assumptions based on their feelings but not what has been written.

People have faces. Plants and animals do not have faces. I am an omnivore, I enjoy eating bother plants and animals. I refer y’all to the picture at the top now, is it a picture of a human, an animal, or a plant. Since I am the only one who 100% knows then you have to 100% rely on what I know. If you choose not to rely on my words then you will guess and assume you know the answer. My point is simple, y’all want to associate known human elements into to what should be rational thoughts, but pieces of the puzzle are missing. What to do? Indeed. Just remember something for me, guilt doesn’t work because I have nothing to feel guilty about, except for the raspberry filled pastry I had for breakfast, since it is in the forbidden list and off limits to a diabetic like me. I guess my goal is to die happy and not pissed at the world because everyone has a different opinion.

When ten people nicely ask about the picture I will reveal to y’all the truth and the answer.

So, I Was Arrested One Night

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But before I get into my arrest let me begin by telling you what led up to it. When I was pulling up in my driveway two months ago I got out of my car to get the mail out of the mail box when I noticed across the street the young couple living there having an argument in front of their house. There was some pushing and shoving, there was yelling and cussing, and just like that it was over. I watched the front of their house as I drove up my drive to park. Nothing. I was just thinking to myself if I needed to call the police department but since I couldn’t see or hear anything I let it pass. About an hour later, just as darkness was settling in behind the trees, I was taking the trash out to the cans and I heard them yelling again. I jumped on my ATV and headed back down the end of my driveway to see what was going on. By the time I got down there it was over once again.

Later in the night my wife were sitting out on the front porch talking when we heard glass breaking and then moments later a horrible scream. I told my wife to call the police right now and I took my ATV down to see what had happened. As I crossed the street leaving my driveway I could see a body laying off to the side of their driveway. As I got closer I could see it was the young lady and her body was twisted in an odd fashion. I get off the ATV in a panic of sorts to see if she is alive. Alive, yes, but really bloody. After I quickly surveyed my surroundings I determined the husband must still be in the house. She was trying to talk but the blood in her mouth made only gurgling noises. She had been pushed out of the second story sliding glass doors before falling off of the deck, landing in the grass. Her face was bloody, I tried to wipe it off to see where the blood was coming from but it kept pouring out just in front of her right ear. She was on top of her right leg and the way it sat I knew it was broken. When I straightened her legs out it was obvious it was broke as there was a sharp bone protruding through her pants. All I could do at this point was take off my shirt and hold it over her open leg wound in hopes to slow the bleeding.

I could hear the sirens in the close distance. I saw my wife at the end of the driveway directing them in. The police car was first, then an ambulance, and then the fire truck. The police officer asked what happened, he asked who I was, and what did I know. He walked me about 10 feet away from Sarah as the paramedics took over. Out of the blue her husband comes charging out yelling at the police officer that he wanted me arrested for trespassing. This instantly enraged me I suppose because I took two step and started pounding him in the head with every ounce of strength I had in me. In a matter of seconds he and I were both a bloody mess, not my blood, just his, as he never had a chance to swing back. For an instant I wanted him in the same pain he put his wife in, I wanted him to suffer, and it felt good pounding him under a full rush of adrenalin.

When we were separated we were both placed in handcuffs and sat in two separate cars. An investigator opened my door about ten minutes later to inform me that I was being arrested because the husband was pressing charges. I was removed from the car in a kind manner, patted down, read my rights, and placed back in the car. I watched the ambulance leave and figured it was now time to go. The door opened again so a medic could check out my injuries because of the blood. As suspected, I had none except a dislocated middle finger on my right hand. He gave me a shirt to wear that my wife had given to him and told me I would have a moment to tell her goodbye. She approached me with sad eyes and told me it would be okay and that she understands. The police officer placed me back in the car, closed the door, and away we went. After booking me they checked my injury and then secured me in a holding cell by my self.

A couple of hours later I was greeted at my cell by an officer who told me that I had an appointment with the judge. In the courtroom I was not asked to speak, the judge read the charges, and set the bail. My wife was in the room with us, she was waiting on the bail information, and then she left out of one door and I was led out another door headed back to the holding cell. A couple more hours passed and the officer came back to the cell and announced that I was being released because my wife had paid the bail. He told me that after we did some final paperwork that I would be released and free to go with my wife. Then we left, we headed home, and when we got there all I wanted to do was have a hot shower. That may have been the longest, hottest shower I have ever had in my entire life. As I was sitting on the edge of the bed with my face in hands hunched over, my wife climbed across the bed, kissed me on the back of the neck and told me that what I did she understands and stands behind me. I was neither comforted or alarmed by her statement, I felt guilty because that Sarah got hurt so badly.

A few days later my wife noticed that Sarah was home. I wanted to go talk to her but my wife said it might be better not to. Later that afternoon I get a call from the courthouse to inform me of my case dismissal hearing which was the following day. When I went to the hearing it was exactly that, proceeding had been started and completed for a complete dismal of all of the charges filed against me, to include battery and trespassing. Within a week we saw that her husband was now home. I was sad again because I know this cycle all to well.

Why hang the laundry up here? I thought it might help me work through all of my own emotions before I head to my second therapy session this afternoon. Did it help? I don’t know yet. Maybe I will never know.