I Am

I am brilliant

I am kind

I am considerate

I am loyal

I am a giver

I am talented

I am patient

I am compassionate

I am empathetic

I am loyal

I am fierce

I am confident

I am bold

I am a survivor

I am inquisitive

 

I am bashful

I am unsettled

I am fearful

I am angry

I am possessive

 I am lacking in knowledge

I am stubborn

I am sensitive

I am foolish

I am conflicted

I am introspective

I am vengeful

I am in pain

I am blind

I am human

When Pain Makes You A Monster

Have you ever found yourself in so much emotional pain that you stepped outside of your character; that you became a person you didn’t recognize? Ever had that feeling for a few fleeting moments that your entire world was falling apart?  And the intensity of anger caused by deception, betrayal and or rejection was so strong, that you found yourself in your most primitive state of mind; as if you were a barbarian who doesn’t understand reason or language, only the most tender and unashamed reactionary flailing towards both survival and hopelessness simultaneously?

Have you had that inward confrontation after writing something in a state of desperateness angst, having to decide whether to hit ‘send’, (email or social media) whether to dial a phone number, whether to drive to the certain place, approach the door, knock on that door, knowing that there are no scenarios in which this will result in something positive, let alone beautiful. Logically you are fully aware.  But in the moment you DON”T CARE!

Have you ever been there?

I have.

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As a matter of fact, more of us have been there than care to admit.  It’s not uncommon at all.  I’ll get to that later.  What I want to address is what to do about it in the aftermath of such a traumatic experience.  Unaddressed, the affects of this trauma can linger and hide dormant. You may think it’s not there.  But in reality it’s ready to be unleashed in a moment’s notice.  After the meltdown in addition to the residual anger, you may feel guilty or foolish over the way you behaved.  You may sense some feelings of hopelessness.  This is because in that state of rage, consequences are not seriously considered.

“What if I do something to cause me to go to jail? What if I hurt someone or I am the one seriously injured or worse?  I don’t care.  The only thing that matters is that I deal with this thing that is killing my soul!  Whatever the consequences are, I will live with them!”

This is what hopelessness does.

Whether you quenched the thirst of the blood you wanted in the heat of your desire, or you walked away before the most damage could be done, here are some suggestions to deal with the aftermath of this emotional and psychological trauma.

1. Acknowledge And Own It: Something happened and whether it’s ultimately justifiable or not, you went to a dangerously dark place. You are wounded and the residue of the damage probably isn’t going away quickly.

2. Be Good To Yourself: There is nothing wrong with you.  The only differences between temporary or permanent insanity for any persons are brain chemistry balance and/or a special set of circumstances.  It’s a blessing to have any sanity at all on a regular day. No matter how calm and logical we are as people, sweet and beautifully innocent, (HA!) the fact of the matter is, if we are pushed far enough into a corner and all other key ingredients are present, we can change in an instant to become our worse selves. The most dangerous mental state to be in is when we feel we have nothing to lose. When that happens, life altering worst case scenarios are but a moment away.

3. Be Thankful: If you aren’t in jail, and haven’t hurt anyone then you survived having to deal with the legal ramifications of the situation.  You can start the process of healing and start to recognize and understand your own potential towards internal fragility.

4. Compartmentalize Your Steps: People say, “One day at a time.  Soon after the trauma, the sting can linger causing the day to seem eternal.  You may have to take things in groups of 10-15 minutes. If that is the case, then accept it.

5. All yourself to properly grieve: You can’t push the grief aside. Trying to mask or cover the pain is like trying to push a rubber ball under a pool of water. You can hold it there but for so long. Eventually it’s going to rise back up.  For each time it comes back it’s going to eat at you a little more as anger and resentment increase. It increases because we want the person to acknowledge or pay for their sins against us. Each time that ball rises, it breaks the surface of your heartstrings reopening the wounds afresh.  Allow yourself the grace of experiencing the grief process without allowing it to overtake you.  When you sense it coming over you, tell yourself you will allow for a few minutes or hours to experience grief, then at the appointed time, direct you energies to something else until it’s time to grieve again.

6. Get Help: Doesn’t matter if you talk to a trusted friend, or seek the help of a professional therapist.  You need an outlet and someone to give you a loving and affirming word. When you are by yourself, you may get into some meditations practices to began to train your mind on radical acceptance, self peace, self love and forgiveness. You may have to forgive someone, yourself or both.  There are some wonderful meditations on YouTube for differing challenges.  Check them out.  Try some of these ideas, all or more if necessary.

7. Decide What The End Game Is: Where do you want to end up when it’s all said and done.  What does the best case scenario look like? What will healing look like?  What will it take? How are we going to get closure? Are the questions of why important? Do you seek answers from the party who hurt you?  Truth is, unfortunately we may or may not get the answers we seek from the other person.  Still we must manage to survive.

8. Exercise Humility, Grace, and Forgiveness: We are all human. No matter how great of a path we have walked, we have all hurt people, disappointed loved ones, and behaved in ways that are at best regrettable.  Seek to forgive the person who hurt you. Forgiveness is not excusing or even justifying the behavior that hurt.  It’s simply recognizing that the other person is a person.  He/she is not perfect nor in reality worse than we are.  For we too have in times past been the torturer. What determines the people we are or who we turn out to be?  Do we have a conscious or are we sociopaths? Do we care about causing damage to others or are we out for destruction?  Are we redeemable and should we get a second or a 99th chance at life and happiness? If we can see the person who hurt us as simply human, we free ourselves from self-righteousness. We can legitimately have done some things or most everything right, and still be wronged!  We are legitimate people even when we are hurt.  We have a right to ask for and even demand answers, regardless of whether we get those answers or not.  But that does not allow us the privilege to become self-righteous using our pain as a pedestal to stand on. We should seek to gain the search for peace and contentment for our own sake.  And if anything, perhaps our experience will push us even harder to be the quality people we seek when seeking to share our lives with another. Beloved, oh how I wish you grace, peace and eventually joy as you walk through this journey.  May you be healed.  And may you find the love you truly desire.

She (Great Intimacy, Great Risk, Great Love)

Great Intimacy, Great Risk, Great Love;
One thing about receiving true love that I have found to be true is that we cannot experience it unless our hearts are truly and totally open to receiving it. This is generally a difficult thing to do because we naturally tend to self protect. Well, actually we don’t start out self protecting. If we are blessed to have loving relationships from the beginning at birth, certainly this infant is not shy at all about any form of self expression. The infant isn’t scared to be open about it’s needs and desires.  It’s only after rejection do we begin to put up defenses.
As we get older and experience life, disappointment, or betrayal we tend to develop as a survival tool the ability to open little cracks here and there of ourselves.  We learn what we are comfortable with exposing and during that process especially early on we stand ready with the proverbial STOP button when something doesn’t feel right about it.  Some things may hurt a little or piss us off. But the button kicks into gear with phrases like, “I knew this was going to happen.” This just adds another chink to the heart armor and take that suit to the next encounter.
Well, it is only when I take off my suit of armor do I receive this gift.  I must open myself up, my heart, my conscious.  And I leave nothing in the way of protection or survival.  I must trust her with my heart.  As life goes on I’ll learn how this looks as we experience new adventures giving us opportunities to develop character within our relationship.  I want the best intimacy that God/The Universe has to offer.  And though we are fully grown adults, full of love and experience… experience that I expect us to use in wisdom to help us grow; still I must give her all of me so that she can give me her wonderful unconditional love and acceptance.  That she can embrace me in all of my glory, and all of my shortcomings.  To know that I am never judged, but I am always loved to the bitter end. This kind of love inspires me to be better and reach all of my potential. 
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When I played sports. I was very competitive. And there were times when coaches or teammates were really forward in correcting something I did or didn’t do. Depending on how I felt about the coach or the teammate, revealed how I took that criticism.  If you had credibility in my life, then you can really get on me and I’ll receive it.  But even more so… is after that criticism, argument or fight I am the type of person that the more faith you express in me the more I am apt to accomplish even more than I thought I could on my own.  I am a person who loves to encourage by nature. And when the right people encouraged me, I go above and beyond because of my natural bent towards loyalty.  I believe in loyalty so much!  I’m happy to prove that confidence in me will be rewarded, not disappointed.  
So in relating this to such a precious friendship, relationship, bond, commitment promises, and covenant, she is to be my ultimate teammate, partner, life coach, intimate soulmate.  She has the credibility to teach, correct, adding input to my life, my character, my manhood.  She can challenge me in love and help make me to be all the man I need to be.  In turn, because my heart is open, because I trust her with me knowing that she will never leave, forsake or betray me, my only response is to take heed to her intelligence and insight, and work my ass off to earn her praise. Then as she praises me even unexpectedly, when I least expect it, I am humbled and blessed, thankful as I waddle in her love.  For you see she has my heart in her hands.  She is in charge of it.  She will keep it safe.  And I love her for taking on this heart of mine.  

Ok Middle Class White Male, Let’s Talk About It Then

To My White Middle Class Friends and Acquaintances: This one is all about you.  Let me start with some words spoken by the outgoing President.  These quotes are from his last speech.

If every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hardworking white middle class and an undeserving minority, then workers of all shades are going to be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves.

For blacks and other minority groups, it means tying our own very real struggles for justice to the challenges that a lot of people in this country face — not only the refugee, or the immigrant, or the rural poor, or the transgender American, but also the middle-aged white guy who, from the outside, may seem like he’s got advantages, but has seen his world upended by economic and cultural and technological change. We have to pay attention, and listen.

I’ve heard the dialogue for the last several years:

White males in this country feel left out.  The ‘left’ only care about their liberal sensibilities which include minorities and immigrants.  Since 2008 we have been neglected and our interest are no longer prioritized.  This is why I voted for Donald Trump. I may not agree with everything he says.  But he cares about the needs of me and my family. 

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I have found these sentiments both alarming and insulting.  There are a plethora of reasons that I won’t get into as this is not about me.  Against my first thought I recently picked up and read a book called, “Hillbilly Elegy,” A Memoir of A Family and Culture In Crisis, written by J.D. Vance.  The book focused on what would seem to be the idea Trump voter.  Vance grew up in Rust Belt towns in Kentucky and Ohio.  They are the epitome of  America’s white working class America.  I was hesitant to give it the time of day initially.  I knew that Vance was going to attempt to explain a group of people who have some ideas about people who look like me that I wouldn’t find amusing.  But I kept hearing it wasn’t that simple. With that I scooped it up.

I found the book to be riveting.  I found parts of his family to be a little crazy.  I also found some of them to be endearing if not equally tragic.  Even with some ratchet behaviors that could rival any family’s, they had their principles, values and specific codes they lived by.  They are perfectly understandable codes.  I was able to understand more than I previously figured.  But that didn’t exactly allow me to understand why and what it was that promoted this mindset that they were being mistreated or disenfranchised in whole or in part because they were Caucasian.  I didn’t understand what was so attractive about a man like Donald Trump to them.  What was he telling them that endorsed these ideas of victimization and more importantly what did they believe Trump would actually offer them?

I tried to get these answers previously before the election.  But I couldn’t get a straight answer.  I got soundbites and talking points about the opposite candidate.  But I never got anything concrete that I could believe or take seriously.  I don’t even believe the people telling me these things believed them either.  But nevertheless, I write this today asking for understanding.  I ask this in all sincerity.  What is it that white males are going that’s different than what I’m dealing with?  How are your needs been neglected what are you afraid of someone else getting that you won’t because you happen to be a White male?

There is but one condition.  While it’s not mandatory to agree, the conversation must be 100% intellectually honest.  There is no reason to waste one another’s time.

You talk, I’ll listen, then we shall see if there is a an opportunity for more dialogue.  I am seriously and honestly wanting to get this.

But we’re not where we need to be. And all of us have more work to do.  If every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hardworking white middle class and an undeserving minority, then workers of all shades are going to be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves. – President Barack Obama

 

 

On Officiating and Relations…

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Here are a few little tidbits about officials, officiating, communication and common sense:

  • As an official, when a team is getting the breaks beat off of them, it’s good judgement to let the coach whine a bit.  There are even times when he/she should be able to get away with a little more than usual.  It ain’t personal.  We should get that!
  • I expect that a coach will lobby for his players.  There is a way to keep an open dialogue and lobby for an official to see things the coaches way in certain situations.  On the other hand, when a coach is constantly debating every play, (Foul!  Traveling!  Moving Screen) that coach will be tuned out.   At some point the coach may have a legitimate point, but by the time that happens their credibility is spent.
  • Good officials respect dialogue, but we don’t respect intellectual dishonesty.  This too will get a coach tuned out.  Don’t argue against what you know to be obviously true.
  • Officials who are too prideful to admit a mistake suck!  Other officials hate working with them as much as coaches hate seeing them on the floor of their games.
  • Officials who don’t listen to other officials who try to help them suck!  And their performance will will never improve.
  • Like players and coaches, no matter how hard we try,  there are nights when we just don’t have it. We are going to suck, and we know when we sucked!

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  • Not that we are there for the compliments, but a coach that can compliment a good call or acknowledge a diligent official working hard at his craft is wise.
  • The less a coach complains, the more credibility he/she has when they do express displeasure.
  • Officials who love the craft of officiating and doing a great job on behalf of the players rock!
  • Coaches and administrators whose motivation are educating their players through team building sports and competition rock!
  • Sometimes conflict is good, healthy and necessary.
  • Some officials hold grudges.
  • Some coaches hold grudges.
  • Respect should be a given.  Only earned respect is maintained.
  • There are coaches and officials who are doing what they do for all the wrong reasons.
  • Officials, coaches and players are human.
  • There is way more to being an excellent official than some officials and most fans would ever understand.
  • I learn something new and see things I’ve never seen before often while officiating.
  • Officiating and coaching are both fun and honorable jobs to have.

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Megyn Kelly, Not Buying This Act

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Minding my own business but ole Megyn Kelly just keeps on coming with her book tour.  Great!  It’s America after all.  But I just can’t buy her shtick!

Don’t get me wrong… I’ve learned to challenge myself by reading what I may not agree with.  I was very reticent to read JD Vance’s, “Hillbilly Elegy, A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis.”  Initially I had no desire to read about the hillbillies who live in the small towns of Northern Kentucky and Southern Ohio.  I didn’t care about the way they think nor the reasons they think them.  After hearing how well the book was written and seeing JD on television talking about it, I sucked it up and took it on.  I was very happy that I did.  JD’s piece is brilliant and I hope to interview him one day.   The same can’t be said for the Fox News host.

You see though I would would never bother watching her show, being the nuanced brother that I am, I was Team Megyn when she stepped to The Donald during the debates hosted by Fox News.  I thought her question about his statements regarding women were heartfelt and sincere.  When Trump clapped back at her on Twitter, his tool of choice for midnight saber rattlings and insecure bullying tactics, I had her back as well.  I didn’t expect that as a reporter she would get into a war of words with him.  But I did expect her to stand her ground on her principles, ethics and integrity.

Instead she waffled.  One one hand she wanted to have the empathy of her audience, the image of being a strong female journalist, and yet still access with a willingness to interview Trump again without an apology; thus helping the Trump brand in his bid to seek election.  Kelly wants that 20 million from Fox and I don’t blame her for that. If she wants to be the female Bill O’Reilly more power to her!  She’s not a good interviewer either.  But neither is O’Reilly.  My point is don’t play the fences.  Fox News is nothing more than entertainment mean to generate ratings and revenue.  So are all the other cable news and mainstream news stations. Journalism as I knew it growing up is dead!  It’s pure show business. I’m empathetic to the path women (even white women) have to walk to prosper in her field.  But she can’t be Sara Palin and still expect Erin Brockovich respect.  This is why I’m not interested in reading her book.  If it’s anything like her life in this business, it’s shallow and inauthentic.

Thanksgiving, Traditions, Native Americans and Evolved Self Definitions

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It’s that time of year again.  The heaviest travel day in the United States.  The time when family and friends gather to feast, mingle, catch up, argue and watch a little football. Since the expansion of social media, it’s also the time where we are reminded of the horrific tragedy that befell our original citizens, the Native Americans.  The memes are have been prepared with care, ready to remind America of just one of it’s original sins.

I get it.  As a matter of fact, I endorse the expressions of truth regarding the historically accurate facts of our nations history and hypocrisies.  Those that know me, know that I do that just about everyday.

But there is another side to this as well.  As a people, especially people who have been the abused, the tortured, the terrorized and murdered, those who have been placed in the under caste status; Those of us who have survived in spite of the fact that we are still in a battle for our lives; With our ingenuity and ability to adapt on the run, we have managed to turn what was originally a negative into our own divine positive.

I remember as a boy in school hearing that story about the pilgrims and the settlers.  I remember drawing turkeys by tracing the body and head around my spread apart hand.  Like every  other school kid, that part about the small pox blankets and slaughters were left out.  But you know what, growing up at MY house, we never talked about that crap anyway.  For my parents, grandparents, aunts and elders, it was about the fellowship around a meal that took several hours of hard work and dedication to perfect.  (Or at least try to perfect)

Listen, as a people, even as we come into new knowledge, we should also embrace our abilities to make lemonade out of lemons, sugar out of sh#!  And you know what, there is no need for us to apologize for it. One of my biggest realizations in life is that two things can be true at the exact same time.  Yes Thanksgiving as is being told to us traditionally is a farce.  One could compare it to the Nazi’s telling a false narrative of how they collaborated with Jews in Europe.  We should know that history.  Equally true, is that like many other things in life, we as a people have created our own narratives and definitions thereby turning a tragedy upon its head and making our empowering choices work for us.

I’m a social and political warrior.  Many of you are.  Even in war time, troops get leave, rest.  In order to fight the long game and not die of exhaustion, you must come away.  Traditions are neither good nor bad. They are the product of who and what we decide to make them to be.  Though I am mindful to thankful everyday, there is something good about much of our activities stopping, folk taking the time to slow down, be present and enjoy a few moments where we are all focusing on the same things.  I can do that and still fight for and stand with Standing Rock.

Bless You All~