Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Crying for Tolerance

I recently saw a post on Facebook that bothered me a little. I have seen many posts similar to this one, and it seems that with every passing day the issue only gets worse. Blame and insults are thrown from both sides, a verbal war is taking place trying to get each side to understand their own point of view. The only problem is that no one is willing to give any ground. Each has their own beliefs and way of thinking, that is 100% ok. What is not ok, is the fact that neither side is willing to allow the other to have or develop their own beliefs, and that is the problem I am having.

So, just to make sure we are clear here, I am talking about the topic of Gay Marriage. I’m not here to debate or try to prove either side right or wrong. What I hope to accomplish is to shed some light onto this battle of words and cry for tolerance. The post that I saw and which has caused me to finally write this article is of the following effect:

Why does one person’s religion and belief have to have any effect on you? And further more, Why are you trying to force your beliefs on others who don’t have the same?

Here’s the problem I have with this point. First off, I believe that everyone is entitled to believe whatever religion they wish. Or none at all if that is what they so desire. I don’t care if you’re Buddhist, Islam, Christian, Jewish, Atheist, Agnostic. It doesn’t matter to me, you are allowed to believe whatever pleases you. And I claim that same privilege. I have the right to believe in the religion of my choice, and have my own ideas, thoughts, practices, job, points of view, whatever it may be. The way I choose to think and live my life is just that, MY CHOICE. Additionally, I have every right in the world to express those beliefs, whatever they may be. So, why are you angry at me for trying to express them?

You want me to support you in what you believe? Fine. You ask that I accept you for who you are and how you live your life? Ok. I am perfectly willing to accept both of those premises. But, you have to be willing to afford me the same requests and respect that you are demanding for yourself.

So, just a little background to further express my point. Everyone who even remotely attempts to follow the news has heard the stories. States have implemented laws prohibiting gay marriage. California, Utah and Idaho seem to have gotten the most coverage since this whole debate began. Other states have chosen to allow gay marriage. Massachusetts and others. (To be honest I really haven’t kept track of which ones have allowed it simply because they don’t draw as much media attention as the ones who don’t.) In two of the three states that put restrictions on gay marriage, at least as far as I know, the people voted on whether or not to legalize the matter at hand. Let me emphasize that, THE PEOPLE VOTED!

Now this is what you call a direct democracy. The people have a direct say in what laws are implemented. This only occurs within the states themselves. The country as a whole, yes gets to choose its leaders, but those leaders decide what becomes law and what doesn’t. This is known as a Republic democracy. The United States is a Republic. The states, while having to abide within the laws of the country as a whole, are also free to implement their own laws and statutes as long as they do not counter act the laws of the country. 

Ok, so, here’s the problem. the US legislature has not actually said whether or not gay marriage is legal or not. There have been no laws passed, or even any bills presented, that I am aware of, that have said people of the same gender are able to get a little piece of paper saying they are married. The US has left it up to the individual states to determine that matter.

So, states get to choose whether or not to allow gay marriage. Great. I am in line with that premise. As I understand it, when a new state law is proposed, generally a vote is given to the people of that state to decide whether the law is actually put in place. So, if the people choose to allow gay marriage, every one is perfectly happy? Who made that assumption? I am sure that there are plenty of people who voted against the law, but the majority ruled in favor of allowing it. That makes it law, and even if you don’t agree with the law, you accept it, because the voice of the people asked for it. 

Now let’s take the opposite. The people within a state vote on whether or not to allow gay marriage. The votes come in, and a majority of the people have clearly stated that they don’t want it. It is voted that gay marriage will not be allowed within the state. So, did everyone want that? Of course not. Most of the people did, but not everyone. If we follow the practice taken in the previous paragraph, it would make sense that those who are not happy with the decision would just accept it and continue on with their lives, right? NOPE! 

Instead, they appeal the decision. They take it through the courts demanding that the law be overturned. They keep going until they get their way. Now, you tell me. Who is forcing their beliefs on whom? The way I see it, if the people voted to make it legal or not, whichever way the majority voted, those who pose a view opposite to that chosen by the people should also be willing to accept the majority vote, even if it isn’t the one you wanted.

Throughout the history of the United States, many laws have been presented, voted on and passed that have in some way or another infringed upon the rights of a certain group of people. The first major law made, and is actually an amendment to the Constitution, is that of slavery. Back in the early to mid 1800s, there were two groups of people. Those in favor of slavery, and those against it. One group said it was perfectly acceptable for someone to own another person. The other found it horrid and morally wrong. Scriptural references were used on both sides in an attempt to convince the other that they are wrong or right. 

Those for slavery were crying that their rights were being taken away. That if the other side didn’t want to practice slavery, that was their choice, but the other side should allow them the same choice to practice slavery or not. And, if a law be passed against it, it should be the choice of the state.

Eventually the US outlawed slavery, civil war ensued, one side won and one side lost. The side that lost was forced to accept the new law, despite the fact that the losers didn’t agree with it. Simply put, one group of people was forced by another to accept a way of life.

Since then, the fight has continued to increase rights of certain people when others didn’t want to allow it. When voting rights were given to black men, and then to women, their was one side that wanted it, and another that didn’t. In the end one side was forced to accept something that went against what they believed. This is how a democracy works. The people vote, and whichever side wins, the other has to accept it.

Another great example of this is the issue of polygamy as practiced by the early Mormon Church. During the 1860s various laws were passed that prohibited the practice of a man or woman from having multiple spouses. While these laws were passed, they weren’t enforced right from the get go. A lot of this had to do with the fact that Utah was on the other side of the country. The Federal Government had other things to worry about at the time and didn’t see the purpose of wasting resources in enforcing something that didn’t have a direct impact on the Country as a whole. This created quite a bit of controversy and animosity between the Mormons and the Rest of the United States. There were hearings that took place to try and determine the validity of the laws and whether or not they were constitutional. The Mormon Church argued that such laws were in direct violation of the First Amendment. The United States Supreme Court ended up ruling that the First Amendment only applied to people’s beliefs. Therefore, the US Government couldn’t restrict what a person believed, but they had every right to determine how a person, or religion, is allowed to practice said belief. The practice of polygamy within the Mormon church ended shortly after, in the 1890s. 

I realize that these examples are briefly explained and lacking in concrete examples, but this is the exact same situation. And it has been played out time and time again. A group of people believe that something is wrong and they do what they can to change it. Sometimes it works out the way they want, sometimes it doesn’t. That’s the way the system works. Yet we continue to go back and forth on the same issues over and over again. We seek to implement laws and regulations that fit what we believe to be right. And if someone seeks that path, they must be willing to accept either outcome, if that is what the the majority of the people believe. I also believe that their are perfectly viable compromises that could be presented and be perfectly acceptable by both sides. But this is neither the time nor place for those. Perhaps later. For now, let us realize that this isn’t a matter of which side is right or wrong (or as I like to think of it, which side is morally superior). It is merely a matter of if we are willing to accept the decision of the masses, whether it aligns to our beliefs (or way of life) or not.

I would like to add a little more concerning directly with the definition of the word, tolerance:

Tolerance - 
(noun) a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; Freedom from bigotry.

I would like to make note of some of the key words in this definition. Fair, objective, permissive. No where in that definition does it say to agree with or to accept the other person’s side as correct, but to be reasonable and courteous towards them. We will not agree on everything. Even people with similar views will disagree on a topic from time to time. Who cares? We all see things from a different vantage point. Let us keep those differences and accept them in others. 

One last thought I would like to share with you, one of my favorite quotes:

He who has never offended anyone, has never stood for anything. - Anonymous

Who Am I?

While pondering on a question my psychologist posed to me during our last session, I have made multiple attempts to try and answer it. At least, to myself. I have racked my brain, for an answer to this questions, trying to determine why it is so important, as well as find an elegant manner in which to explain it. The question that has been on my mind for the past month is the following: 

“Why do you define yourself based on your relationships?”

We have talked a lot about how to work on my social anxiety. Their are many aspects of my character and personality type that really don’t make sense. For example, how I am perfectly capable of standing up in front of a class of thirty plus kids and teach them about History or Spanish without thinking twice about if what I say or do will come across as weird, creepy, or unintelligible. I could even get in front of a Football stadium filled with tens of thousands of people and speak for an hour on any topic with out even an ounce of nervousness coursing through my body.

Yet, when it comes to having to interact socially with people, make new friends, or even ask out a girl, it suddenly becomes life or death. Everything I say or do is suddenly being analyzed by everyone. One slip up and my world could shatter and collapse in on itself. One tiny mistake and I will be an outcast forever. It may seem extreme (believe me, it sounds ridiculous just writing about it) yet that is exactly how I see things.

Another part I have been trying to come with terms with, is why people will say how much they enjoy doing things with me such as talking, watching movies, going hiking, whatever it may be; and yet, unless I put forth all the effort to make any plans, organize an activity down to the last detail, we rarely see each other. Even after sending the invites, there’s usually only about 2 people out of ten who will actually show up, or even respond. I get tired of making all the effort and eventually just lose touch with the person.

It is something that has never made sense. And having a logical mindset as I do, when something doesn’t make sense, I have to try and make sense of it. I have yet to do this. Time and time again I have had people enter my life,we become quick friends, have wicked awesome adventures, and then quickly lose touch with other.

So, why does this matter so much to me? Why is it that I could honestly have a bunch of acquaintances as friends, yet choose not to? Why do I try so hard to maintain a relationship, or even make or force one to happen, when the other person is hardly interested at all? To be honest, I have no idea.

Growing up I was always taught the age old golden rule of “do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” This makes sense to me, and is something I have strived for throughout my life. By no means am I a master of it, but I try. I will quickly drop whatever I am doing to help out a friend, or even a stranger. I try to be nice to everyone I meet, I try to not leave people out, and work hard at making sure everyone feels included in whatever activity I am participating in. It is difficult, especially when you try to offer your assistance, and nine times out of ten, are turned down completely. This becomes even more difficult when you are introverted, and don’t often say a whole lot.

That may be another part of the issue. I hate small talk. I wish I could just skip right to the main course, the cream of the crop. Discuss what ever I or the other person are passionate about. I find it much more fulfilling than the simple “talk about the weather” conversations. To add to that, if I don’t have anything to say, I don’t say anything. I am perfectly comfortable sitting in complete silence, but others aren’t, and it seems to bother them.

So, again, why do I define myself by my relationships? Why does it matter so much? I honestly believe that the way we show who we are is by how we treat others, and by how they treat us in return. This is why I struggle so much with this problem. I have always been taught, and truly believe, that if you are nice to someone, and make them feel like you actually want them around, they would respond in kind. Yet this rarely happens. I have a few close friends, two best friends I grew up with and hardly see, yet we still talk every now and then. When I go home to visit we always get together and make time for each other. But when it comes to people that I live close to, it seems as though being my friend just never fits into their schedule.

How does this make me define myself? How do I take their lack of effort to be friends, to include me in their social circles, or to even send me a text once in a while asking me how I am doing, or to respond to mine and make somewhat of an effort to talk to me, rather than just answering questions? 

It makes me feel like I’m worthless. It makes me feel like they don’t actually enjoy having me around. It makes me feel left out and forgotten. It makes me feel invisible. And frankly, I am tired of it all. I’m tired of trying, of putting forth effort and getting none back. It is exhausting and I feel like I have reached my breaking point. It makes me rethink any type of new relationship, friend, coworker, significant other, whatever it may be. Why try over and over again, when they all end the same? 

So, again, who am I? I am the guy that tries his best. I am the guy that will always help out whenever the need arises. I am the guy who will work harder than the rest to achieve his dreams. I am the guy who tries his hardest to do what he knows to be right, even if he is the only one. I am the guy who will be everyone’s friend, whether or not they want to be mine. I am that guy, and will always be that guy, and I have no reason to change. I may never know why people forget about me, but I will never forget about them. I will always put my all into every type of relationship I make with others, or at least put forth my best effort to give my all. That is who I am. So, now I ask, “who are you?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

It’s Good to Finally Be Happy

I have been debating when, how and if I should write this post. I’ve wanted to for a while, even maybe start a string of posts explaining my journey through this tough time of my life. I also know there have been endless articles and blog posts written on the topic. Each one from a different persons perspective, explaining that it’s okay, it’s not your fault, you’ll get through it, etc. But that is not what I want this post to be about. Yes, it will contain pieces of the afore mentioned elements, but I want this to be something more. (And to be completely honest, I am scared to write this post)

A little background to get us started. actually, no, I am diving write into the meat of the subject at hand. No need to beat around the bush giving you my back story, how I got to where I am today, that is not what I want to accomplish. So, here it goes.

I have depression. This may not come as that big of a shock, maybe it does. To me it was. It is something I have been struggling with for a long time, and it didn't want to call it depression, but until recently I felt like I could manage it. I felt alone and sad a lot of the time, but I always put on a happy face (or, at least tried to). Then within the last six months, it got worse. I felt sadder and more alone every day, I struggled to control the pain I felt, to put on that happy face, and being around people, no matter how much I wanted to be happy, it just wasn’t possible. I thought maybe it was just a passing thing, that some how I would be able to get it under control, but I couldn’t. It kept getting worse, and it started affecting my ability to focus on work, friends, or anything else really. That is when I realized I needed help.

I had been talking with a few people, trying to come up with ways to improve my situation, but it didn’t seem to be helping. I had three weeks in a row where I had complete breakdowns, crying for almost no apparent reason, trying to keep back the tears so know one would know the hurt that was inside, and most of all, afraid of everyone thinking that I wasn’t up to par with everyone else. Finally when it got to the point that I was afraid to go to work for fear of breaking down in front of my students, and some much needed encouragement from my mom, I decided it was time to do something more.

I had set an appointment with a psychologist. I wanted to talk through this problem. I thought that maybe that was all I needed, but it was a couple weeks before I would be able to see anyone, so I went to a regular physician. I was very hesitant to take this step. I didn’t want to admit that it was something I couldn’t control by myself, but I knew I needed to do something. So, I went and talked to my doctor. He prescribed for me some anti-depressants. This was the last thing I wanted. I hate medication as it is. Swallowing pills isn’t exactly my favorite thing in the world, let alone the thought of having to do it for quite possibly the rest of my life. But I needed to do something, so I went for it and took the plunge. 

The doctor said it could take a few weeks to notice any difference, luckily it didn’t. It was strange at first. I got all jittery, I would fidget, much like I used to a few years ago. Sitting still was difficult unless I was busy doing something. But, you know what? I didn’t feel as sad. I’m not saying it was all gone, but I was able to start to focus more and more on work. I was able to deal with things, and process them. (Before it was like everything just weighed down on me. Sat in my mind taking up space I needed for everything else.) I still wasn’t quite to where I wanted to be, but it was a definite improvement.

I also started going to therapy. This was another scary option. I don’t exactly like talking about my feelings, let alone to a complete stranger. However, I needed someone with a fresh perspective. Someone that understood better how the mind works and help me to work through these problems. So I started going. While I haven’t been going for that long, it is amazing how much it has helped. being able to see things from a different perspective, take a different approach to certain things that gave me anxiety. It was actually very liberating. I still have a long ways to go, but I know I will make it. 

The last thing that happened, was that I talked again with my doctor, and increased the dosage of my medication. while the first amount was helping, I noticed that in the mornings when I work up, I felt the worst. After taking my happy pills I would feel better, but I felt like I could still improve. So I started taking a little more. It took about a week, but things have improved a lot.

For the first time in I don’t know how long, I am happy. I can actually smile for real. It doesn’t feel like I am putting on a mask, trying to fool everyone. Yes I still have my problems and issues to work through. It is a work in progress, and it will be something that I will have to continually work on throughout my life, but, that is okay. I am excited to progress and improve every day and eventually reach my goal.

Okay, so you got the backstory, at least a really watered down version. Now to what I actually wanted to say. One of the biggest things I have learned from this experience, is that it is okay to ask for help. I enjoy being independent, and I have always prided myself as being strong enough to take on anything. I thought I could do it all on my own. But I can’t, no one can. Sometimes we need a little extra help to make it through those tough times. The amount of help is different for everyone. Not everyone needs medication, or therapy. But if you do, DO NOT be afraid to take that step. It never hurts to take that step. It is not a weakness to ask for help, no one will, or should, look down on you for requiring a little assistance from time to time. We are only able to handle so much on our own.

One more thing I want to say, is that we must try our hardest to help others. When we have overcome our own struggles, or even while we are working through them, we need to lift the burdens of others in whatever way we can. We must learn to both offer and accept help. That is how we overcome. As an individual we can accomplish a lot, but as a team, group, family, whatever you want to call it, we can achieve the impossible. We will reach the end of our journey, and we will make it to where we want to be. But first we have to ask for that help, and we have to extend our own arms to help others. We can overcome, and we will achieve victory.

thank-you for reading, and please share with your friends.

If you've made it this far, here's a great video for you:

And here's another (same song, but with the wonderfully delightful minions):

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Power of Time

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about what time really is. I have always seen it as this abstract, very subjective, concept developed by man to try to measure the passing of his life. It has its benefits for being able to plan out our lives, set goals and enjoy time with others, but what is it really? Is it the passing of hours, minutes and seconds? Everyone perceives time so differently. For one person time may seem to pass very quickly, while for another, it appears to pass ever so slowly. It appears to many that when we are waiting for something to happen, time crawls at a pace slower than a snail climbing a 100 foot cliff. But then, when we are finally enjoying some much needed free time, it seems to fly by quicker than you could say, "Bob's your uncle."

All this perception can be very confusing, and most of the time I talk to people about this subject we all come to the same conclusion, generally speaking, we have no idea what to do with our time. We try to find ways to occupy time by completing tasks, whether we actually deem them important or not. But, there is a way we can use time to tell what is truly important to someone.

There is an old phrase that is often thrown around when talking about business, "time is money." This is used to state who it important that people use their wisely and efficiently in order to be able to achieve the maximum result. If you waste time, then you are not going to obtain the same amount of success as someone who uses their time efficiently and is able to progress more quickly than he who sits idly by waiting for the task to complete itself. 

It was this particular phrase that I was pondering some time ago, when I had a thought. It wasn't anything really profound, but it is something that I have come to believe is a vital part of life. The thought I had was, "time is not money, time is love." Now, some of you may be thinking, "Hey, that's the name of a song!" And you would be right, however, this thought I had came completely on its own. I had never heard the song until someone mentioned it during a conversation we were having. Once I had this thought, I began thinking of all the ways we as people show what we truly love and care about simply by the amount of time we dedicate to something or someone.

I interact with a lot of people on a daily basis. Usually it is the same groups of people with a few changes here and there, but still, it is a lot of people. Being a teacher, I interact with with over 100 students every day. I talk with them, teach them, hear conversations about their activities outside of school. There are also the people in my apartment complex, my roommates, co-workers, friends, acquaintances, church members, etc. Through much of this interaction I observe a lot of signals that relate whether or not they feel they use the time they have wisely, from their perspective.

If they are working on a project they feel is important and worthwhile, they will dedicate more time to it. If it is something they are truly passionate about they spend the most time on it. However, if it is a project, task, goal that they think is minuscule, unimportant and a complete waste of time, they are not going to dedicate what time they have on it, or very little in accomplishing the goal if it is something that has to be done.

A student is not going to devote a lot of time to an assignment they feel is irrelevant and unimportant to their lives. I have seen this first hand. I have a few students who do little work when given time in class to work on a project or worksheet. I even have one particular student who doesn't do anything in class. She is constantly telling me that she doesn't see the purpose of what we are doing. She doesn't understand how the things she is learning are going to help her in the long one and has no desire to even make an effort in the class. It is very frustrating, and I have tried multiple ways to help her to see and comprehend why we are learning the things we are in the manner in which we are learning them, but since she sees it as unimportant, she isn't going to do the work. 

Much like we dedicate time to the things (goals, careers, projects, etc.) that we find important and worthwhile, we also dedicate time to the people that we hold close in our lives. When there is a person that we like and want to be around, we are going to make as much time available for that person as we possibly can. This can be done in a number of ways. We plan outings with the person, invite them to activities we are participating in, and offer help. If there is someone we don't want to be around, then we find ways to fill our time so that we can avoid them. I have done this myself more often than I would care to admit. Someone invites me to go do something, such as grab a bite to eat, see a movie or just to hang out. I don't particularly have any interest in spending time with the person, I don't see the point of the interaction when the relation is going to be short lived anyway, so I usually try to fond some excuse to get out of it.

The more I think about these types of interactions, the more I realize that I often spend my time poorly. Sure, I try to seek out relationships that are worth the time, as I’m sure everyone does, but all too often it seems that we waste so much time pursuing things, and people, that just aren’t worth it. We think we want something, that we need it. We get this overwhelming urge that it will bring us the happiness, sense of accomplishment, whatever it may be, that we have been looking for. And then, after all the time and effort poured into it, we realize that it was worthless all along. It has no intrinsic value. We are disappointed, devastated almost. Why do we do these things to ourselves?

The biggest problem I see with these situations, is that we often overlook what is right in front of us. We don’t realize that there has been someone else right there the whole time, endlessly dedicating their time to us. We are so farsighted by what we think is going to make us happy, we look beyond what is so easily at reach, and all to often, of the most value. I think we need to reevaluate how we spend our time. Prioritize what is most important, and who is most important to us. And most of all, we need to pay attention to who his spending their time on us. Who is willing to help, to give, to dedicate their time. For those willing to give us of their time, are really giving us of their love. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sick and Tired

This has been long in the making. I have been thinking of exactly how to put this, how to express the thoughts that have been lingering in my head. How to write what I have been feeling for so long without sound like a complete  and total loser who is just complaining. How to make it not  sound like I am screaming for attention in a desperate attempt to seek pity from people. That is not what I want to do. I am not looking for people to reply with words of encouragement trying to boost my ego from a far. All I hope to do with what I am going to write is to help others to understand my point of view and maybe, just maybe, motivate people to action, because in my mind, it is the taking action that is the most important part. Words will only travel so far and it seems that words is all people care about. I want to see people take action, I want to see people strive a little more to change the lives of those around them and try just a little harder to make someone a little more happy. So, without further ado, here we go:

I am sick and tired. Sick and tired of people who are quick to proclaim the greatness of someone, and then never make an effort to reach out to them. I am constantly told how nice, how awesome, how ridiculously generous and amazing I am. I am sick of people telling me that they enjoy being around me on the rare occasion they have found to hang out with me and then not call me up again for six months. I am sick and tired of people not returning my phone calls, people who can't take two seconds to respond to a text or a Facebook message when I try to plan a get together or some other fun activity. I am sick and tired of people saying, "hey, we need to hang out soon," and then expect me to put in all the effort of making plans and finding the time that best fits their schedule to make this "hang out" possible. 

Now don't get me wrong. I understand people are busy, heck I am too. I have things going on, I have to plan out my days and weeks, and constantly adjust my schedule and  re-prioritize my to do list in order to ensure that I fit the most important things in. I am a person who is almost constantly on the go, realize that you are not the only one with a busy life and learn to compromise here and there. Make sure that you are putting forth the effort as well to make things happen. Work hard to keep in touch with old friends and work even harder to include the new ones as well. It's a joint effort, joint means more than one person has to do the work.

I am sick and tired of trying to make new friends. I am sick and tired of putting in the effort to get to know someone when 99% of the time I will never talk to the person again. I am sick and tired of moving to a new area excited to see new faces and enjoy the company of a different group of friends only to come to realize that there is no more room for anyone else. Seriously? You can't include one more person into your circle of friends? You can't share your good times with just one other person, maybe two and take the time to get know them? Is it really that hard to expand your social circle, your close tight knit group of friends around a new face? Mostly, I am sick and tired of feeling more included by a bunch of high schoolers than I do by my own "friends." (No offense to those high schoolers, I like you, I really do. And I enjoy working with you guys, but it's nice to hang out with people my own age once in a while)

I mean this has really happened to me. I moved to a new town, and new ward, and different group of friends. I wanted to meet new people. I was excited to get to know others, share ideas, enjoy their company, typical group activities. I was very busy during this time trying to graduate and ensure I had everything ready to enter the "real world." I made time to try to get to know people when I could. You know what happened? I would be at a social event, introduce my self to some one new, get to know them a little bit and it seemed that they were enjoying the conversation. Then, no more than five minutes later, they would just walk away and rejoin their group. It felt like a huge slap in the face. It was almost as if they were saying either, sorry there's no more room at the inn, or, hey you seem great, but I really don't care. You're just not good enough to enter my friend circle. I also really do have "friends" who will randomly get in touch with me saying how they miss hanging out and suggest we get together soon, but then it never goes beyond there. Not unless I spend the next month and a half trying to plan something and get it to work with their crazy, busy schedule. It just gets exhausting after a while.

I am sick and tired of it all. I am sick and tired of roommates. I am sick and tired of having to clean up after full grown men who still want to act like boys. I am sick of tired of people without the common decency to try and clean up after themselves. I am sick and tired of doing everyone else's dishes. I am sick and tired of picking up your food crusted plates, your cups with dried soda in them, your bowls of cereal with two day old milk in it. I am sick of cleaning up the couch cushions, the shoes you leave wherever you feel like. I am sick and tired of having to reorganize your textbooks and laptops, of having to move them every time I or a guest want to sit on the couch. I am sick and tired of turning off the TV, of turning off the blu-ray player. I am sick and tired of having to put away the movie you just watched. I am sick and tired of picking up old pizza boxes, I am sick and tired of throwing out month old milk that was forgotten, milk that has since curdled and bloated the carton so much that one false move and you'll be trying to get the smell out of everything for the next 50 years. I am sick and tired of being your maid.

Usually I get one of two excuses with this one. "Well, I'm just so tired when I get home I just want to relax." Or, "No one else does it, so why should I?" Really? I'm sorry your life is consumed with work and school and a social life. I am sorry you had to leave the comforts of home where you only cleaned up if your parents pestered you for two hours before you even thought of doing what you asked. I am sorry that it is so difficult  and time consuming to simply rinse off a plate and place it in the magic box that cleans it for you. You're in a rush and don't have time? I get it, sometimes I run behind as well. I'm okay with the occasional bowl left in the sink because you had to eat in a hurry and then get to class. But seriously? You're going to leave everything you used to cook and eat dinner in the sink for a whole week without giving it a second thought? You have so little time that you just don't realize that other people want to use the same pot and in order to do so they clean it, use it, and then clean it again so it's ready for the next person. Are you really that self-centered? Did your parents not teach you to think of others? I'm pretty sure they did. And all the stuff in the living room? Come on. Is it really that hard to take everything into your room? Don't just drop it on the floor when you come in. Go to your room first and then set it down. Others use that same space. As I like to call it, it is the community area. I like to entertain guests once in a while, but often don't because it means either I have to clean everything, or I get to be completely embarrassed by my trashy roommates and there three day old messes. It really does get tiring after six years and its pretty disgusting as well. The only cleaning up I want to do after someone, is after my one year old who just barely learned how to walk, or after a big family get together at Thanksgiving. Because they are worth cleaning up after. You, lazy bum, are not. 

I'm sick and tired of being single. I am sick and tired of girls who complain about not finding anyone, then when I offer, they would rather sit and cry and eat ice cream. I am sick and tired of no one taking an interest in me and my "awesome" self. I am sick and tired of trying to get to know someone, of planning dates, of spending money on someone, who can't even be bothered to give me the time of day. I am sick and tired of meeting an amazing girl who has a good head on her shoulders only to find out what she wants is a six foot three football player who is going to be a heart surgeon and will make loads of money. I am sick and tired of girls swooning over the guy who plays the guitar and knows how to throw a frisbee, but those are his only talents. I am sick and tired of taking out girls who see us being nothing more than friends. I am also sick and tired of people commenting how they married their best friend, and how they want to marry their best friend or some other combination that includes marriage and best friends. I am also sick and tired of people saying they have the perfect person for me and want to set me up, and then never do.

Come one ladies, I cook, I dance, I speak three languages (two of which are Romance languages). I work out, I learned what it truly means to be chivalrous. I hear these are traits a women looks for in a guy. I guess I missed the memo about having to look like Adam Levine or the guy on the cover of the latest issue of GQ. Just take the time to get to know me. I don't think that's asking a lot. You might be surprised. As far as the best friend thing goes, if we're such good friends, why aren't we married? We're too good of friends? That just doesn't make sense to me. If anyone can explain this one to me, please do. As for the being set up, if you are going to do it, do it. Don't place a chocolate cake in front of me and then tell me I can't eat it. That's just mean.

Lastly, I am sick and tired of being a person's after thought. I am sick and tired of people only being my friend when they need something. I am sick and tired. I am sick and tired of people saying they'll do something and then it never gets done. I am sick and tired of people just saying words and then not backing them up with the action. 

I have people who seriously only call or text me when they need help with something. Half the time they don't even contact me directly. It's some plea written on the wall of Facebook that I respond to. It is no fun to have someone come to your apartment, ask for your roommate, invite them to an activity, and then as they are leaving feel like they need to invite you as well since you heard the whole conversation anyway. "Oh, and I guess you can come too, if you want." Not exactly the most friendly of phrases. And it really sounds like you want me there anyway. Thanks for the bone. As for the helping, I really don't mind it. I enjoy helping people out. I help out completely random strangers all the time. I don't expect anything from it. More often than not I turn down any form of compensation offered. I don't do it to receive anything, I don't expect anything in return for my services. I do it because I genuinely want to help. What gets my gears going, is when people say what a good friend I am for helping, and then I don't hear, see or have any form of contact with them until the next time they need something. Yeah, we're super greeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaat friends. Let me tell you. As for not pulling through on your end of the deal. If you can't do it, tell me. Don't string me along and leave me waiting a year for something that I needed done right then. Who does that? More people than you would think. I work hard to do the things I tell people I'll do. I may need a simple reminder every now and then, but I do it when it needs to be done. You should as well.

So there you have it. Hopefully you see where I am coming from. Again, my purpose is not to come across as bitter or sad or lonely. I just want people to realize that it really isn't what you say or how you say it. It is what you do. This concept has been taught since the beginning of time. Actions really speak louder than words. And in action practically blows out your eardrums more than standing right next to a giant fog horn on an ocean liner. I don't expect much to change from this, all that I ask is that we all put forth a little more effort and try to think of the other person just little bit more than we already do.

Again, I don't need any reassurances, I don't want comments that fail to boost my spirits in a half-hearted attempt to make me feel like there are people who really do care and know exactly how I feel. I know that those people are out their. All I want is for people to be more aware. I want them to be more aware of those that feel this way. I want them to be more aware of how they interact with others and try a little bit harder and be more active in their relationships with those around them. That's all I want, and that's all I need.

I also want to thank those who take the time to do these things. Those who try to make a difference in the lives of others, and those who realize life is more about the other person, than it is about us. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Now's the Time...

Lately people have been telling me a phrase that is really starting to get on my nerves. I'm not exactly sure why that is, and to some extent the context in which it is used makes some sense, but for the most part I find it bothersome. Allow me to share a few examples with you and attempt to explain my reasoning for this irritation.

First: I have been seriously considering grad school. Having recently graduated and with the lack of full time work, I figure it would be a great opportunity to continue with my schooling, since it's something I plan on doing anyway, not to mention, I found a few schools that would be great for the area of study I would like to pursue. I have talked about this with a few people and almost all of them approach this from the same angle. Now is the time to consider more schooling. With my current situation in life it would be a wonderful opportunity and the best time to pursue a master's degree. 

Second: Being in the military (even if it only be the reserves) I have been considering deploying. I figure it would be a great way to earn some extra cash, see a part of the world I probably wouldn't visit otherwise, and experience something not many people get to experience in their lifetime. The main reason I would like to fulfill a deployment is to earn some extra cash that would be great for paying of student loans. Once again when discussing the matter with friends and family, the same phrase often arises during the course of the conversation, "Now is the time to do something like that if you want to." There are other situations as well in which this phrase comes up (such as traveling and such), but those are the two most common.

I suppose I should also give details as to why "now is the time." It seems that at every use of the phrase, everyone is pointing directly to the fact that I am still single. I hear the sentence and it is almost as if there are certain things that no longer become an option once I decide to get married and begin a family. Maybe I am missing something here, but isn't being married supposed to make life better. The way I see it, being married would only make these experiences more worthwhile and fulfilling. 

Now, I can understand that being on a deployment would be difficult with a family. Being apart for three to six months without being able to see each other aside from the occasional video chat and random phone calls can be difficult. But, the way I see it, I would rather have someone back home that I absolutely care about and know is there supporting me and whom I get to come home to when all is said and done. I see that as a better option than being there with nothing or no one to come home to.

As for grad school. Again, I see it as a much better situation if I have someone who is supporting me through that time. Sure it can be stressful, and require lots of time. It may even put an extra strain on finances, but isn't that part of the whole growing experience as a couple. Working through those tough time together. The way I see it, it just provides extra opportunity to grow closer to my wife and get to know each other that much more. Again, I believe it would be a much better experience for  me being married compared to the alternative. 

Overall, I think the main reason why this phrase tends to bug me every time it is said is probably because it seems that once I am married I will no longer have access to certain opportunities that I have being single. The way I see it, I would have even more options added to the ones I have now. Not to mention, there are things that would much rather experience while married than I would being single. Take traveling for example: 

I have gotten to do quite a bit of traveling during my single years and I have enjoyed it. However, most of that traveling has been by myself. Even if that traveling has been with others, such as this cruise I went on last summer, I don't see those people anymore so I have no one with whom to reminisce. I would have much rather have experienced those thing with some one I am close to. What would be even better is if it was someone who I got to spend the rest of my time with and look back on those experiences with joy and excitement. Doesn't that sound so much better than experiencing life on your own. I have been doing the single thing for 27 years. While it has been a great experience so far, and I have gotten to do some truly wonderful things, I would much rather move on with my life and experience the future with some one else and remember it for lifetimes to come.

The way I see it, marriage is not limiting (which unfortunately it seems many see it that way) but it is unlimited. The options are endless when it comes to sharing life with someone else and makes life infinitely more enjoyable. So I pose the question: Why limit my experiences to that of the single life when I can open up more with that of the married life?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Show of Interest (The Girl)

Here is the girl's perspective from my friend Brittany of how she would show a guy she is interested along with some insight on a guy should show that he is interested. Enjoy. Also, if you like this and want to read more by Brittany, you can check out her blog here:

How do I show a guy I'm interested..?  Well, I know this answer can vary from girl to girl but for me I think that I give off a natural glow or "spark" even.  Like if there's the instant attraction/interest when I meet a guy you can see if my eyes.  With that said, that kind of attraction rarely happens to me (those are definitely my favorite kind though).  But a more general response to that question is I'll pay attention to what he's saying, give eye contact and smile.  Again, that's more of when I first meet a guy.  But then once the "game" starts after we part ways I'll try my very best to not text him.  Because ultimately I would rather him text me first because if he texts me it means I was on his mind without having to do anything which shows some level of interest.  But sometimes I'm not very patient and I don't mind being forward so I'll spend about 10 minutes coming up with a sly way of contacting him so it looks more like it was necessary rather than because I wanted to.  Yeah, I definitely over think things and make it a tad more complicated that it could be but again, I want him to be a man about it and initiate anything that leads to us being more than friends.  From that point on when it comes to him talking to me or showing interest I'll reciprocate by being flirty back or just keep the conversation going.  That may not be the answer a guy would want to hear from me since it could just look like I'm being nice by talking to him but the guys I'm not interested in that show interest in me and initiate conversations and stuff, I generally don't respond to.  If there's some level of friendship there I'll respond but keep it vague and try to kill the conversation.  I'm horrible at rejecting guys (gotten better but still working on it) and really, most those guys just send me a message on Facebook and that's just lame anyways.  And for the few guys that ask for my number over Facebook and I'm not interested, I don't give it to them.  So yeah, to summarize: a guy will know I'm interested in him by the fact that I'm responsive to him in person and not.  He should be worried if I'm not responding or I'm vague when I do.  Sorry dudes!  Now, if we're on our first date and a guy is wondering about my interest level my response to that is again, I'll be responsive to him, eye contact, pay attention to him, etc. He should be worried if I'm looking around or asking him to repeat part of the conversation.  And when it comes to the physical attraction I try to keep my hands to myself in general (because I HATE initiating holding hands, first kiss, etc. And I know that from experience, I tested it once).  But with that said, I would try to be playful and touch his arm or shoulder to show I'm interested and to show it's okay to touch me.

When it come to guys showing interest in me, again back to what I mentioned before.  By him initiating conversations and things with me, it shows that I crossed his mind and he thought of me naturally.  And then when it comes to seeing each other by him asking me out on a date compared to asking me to "hang out" makes it more clear.  I'm a literal person and if you ask me to hang out I'm expecting to meet a guy somewhere, pay my way and be "neutral" towards him.  And by that I mean I won't be as flirty as I would be if it was intitally called a "date".  And for a date I would expect him to pick me up, open my door and pay for me.  Again, it just makes things more clear and shows the intention of things and what to expect.  Because if a guy asks to "hang out" it tells me that he's not interested in being more than friends and if he isn't willing to take me on a real date then he's not my type.  But when we're on a date and things are vibing well, I prefer him to be playful and somewhat sassy.  That's how I am when I flirt and it's fun to have playful banter when getting to know someone.  It shows they can let their guard down and just go with the flow.  And then the next thing is for him to touch my arm or shoulders sporadically.  Some physical contact is nice and then at some point holding my hand is a great way of showing he's interested.  Then from there it's whatever flows.  Over the next few dates and as things progress on their own it will be because of that initial mutual interest.  I also think it's important to be consistent.  If a guy shows interest but pulls back it can get confusing and almost not worth my time.  Games are fun in the very beginning but once there's been a few consecutive dates and there's been the first kiss I'm not a fan of a guy showing less interest in me and being a player about it.  Doesn't mean he has to be my boyfriend at that point, but just stay consistent with where we're at and only move forward - not back.