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!

Father Of The Year Nominations Accepted

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A few months ago I set out on a quest to find myself a life-size Chucky doll. I needed it for so many reasons that I won’t begin to count them out. One can’t go wrong with a life-size Chucky doll. For those of y’all not familiar with the Chucky character or the Chucky movies then I highly recommend that at some time in the very near future y’all look it up or most of this won’t make much sense. But, thinking about it, that would be pretty much par for the course since I usually don’t make much sense. Anyway, I set my mind to it and my search began. Unfortunately, due to the popularity of the Chucky character, these dolls aren’t very easy to find and even harder to pry out of the hands of someone who owns one. But, as you can see I did get my hands on one. I happily offer it in to my collection of bizarre shit I own. But why did I want one y’all are asking? A fair question with a complicated answer since one Chucky doll is the solution to many things, so let’s explore.

All three of my children, my son JB @ 12 y/o, my daughter CD @ 17 y/o, and my oldest daughter LW @ 23, have different tastes in movies and what they like in life. But, all of them share a common factor, in each their own way they like the “horror genre” of things offered in life. Take for example my son first, he won’t watch horror or scary movies, but he absolutely has a blast in haunted houses. My 17 y/o daughter watches all the horror and scary movies, yet she won’t put a pinky into a haunted house. My 23 y/o is just like me, she loves all horror and scary movies and in turn loaves haunted houses, in fact this time a year she puts her love to work for her and works part-time in her local haunted house. So, she gets to act it all out and get paid for having fun. As for me, I like it all, I’m the biggest kid they have ever met. In past years I go all out for Halloween @ my house. Everything is decorated to the hilt. Been here before? Then you have seen past posts and pictures. unfortunately with my foot surgery and recovery I chose to skip decorating this year which has been very disappointing. Worst of all I did not do my neighborhood haunted forest and house. I have had people express their disappointment and concern and tell me they don’t know what they will do now. I offered to let them come drink margaritas with me and my wife while we watch the bonfire burn. As you can see, I’m more than just a little bummed. Beware next year tho because I will be back with a vengeance.

Lets get back to Chucky. Yes, I own all the Chucky movies. Why? I collect horror movies. Over the years my 17 y/o has really shown an utter dislike for Chucky so we always poke fun at her. So, I hatched a plan one warm summer night that I was going to scare the shit out of CD with a life-size Chucky. My idea was and remained very simple. Anyone every seen The Godfather? Picture the scene with the horse head in the bed and then use your imagination. Last night, after CD was fast asleep, Chucky and I entered her room, I rolled her covers back, Chucky found a place on her pillow just inches from her face, then, like a good daddy, I covered both of them back up. She is a restless sleeper, she moves around allot, so I knew the two of them would meet up sooner or later in the dark of night. After about an hour of laying in bed watching television, I heard it. You can’t fake a real life blood curdling scream at decibels that were in a range that were close to piercing my ear drums. It kinda startled me to tell the truth. I didn’t budge, I waited for her to come to me, and soon enough she came. Her face was that of someone who saw their own ghost, pissed, scared, and very emotional. I got her. She came in and hugged me with her head in my chest, she was still choked up, snotty nosed, and teary eyed. I almost felt bad, but I didn’t fall for it. I went with her to room to see how Chucky faired, her was still fast asleep. I was ordered to get IT out of her bed immediately and to take it outside and set it on fire. I did get it out, I forced her to take a picture with Chucky (not shown here today) first, she fought it but I got my picture, she has an older sister who needs to see it. Then Chucky and I went to my room, I put him in the closet, and I got back into bed to finish watching Duck Dynasty (don’t judge me). And that is how I scared the shit out of my 17 y/o daughter. Two more kids and a wife to go. Each one of those will be different tactics I already have scheming.

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The pictures used here today were taken by me. There were no pictures of my family because I like to keep their identity concealed. The person in the bottom picture is yours truly. Chucky is a trademarked name, product, and franchise, so please do not use the pictures for your own purposes. I hope y’all enjoyed my little story. Stay tuned because there will be more I’m sure of it.