What Makes You Happy?

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What Makes You Happy

 

I haven’t written in a long time, part of me felt like it was maybe because I’ve been doing better. I haven’t been feeling as depressed. My life had seemingly come together, even if just the slightest. I always told myself that when hockey ended, I was going to become an author, a literary wizard; I was going to write every day now that I had a bit more time. Well, hockey’s been over for about six weeks, and I am just starting to write at 10:56PM Easter Sunday.

Sure, I’ve been busy with things in the meantime, but if anyone knows me, busy, is not an excuse. If you want something bad enough, you’ll find the means to do it. Busy doesn’t exist in my world. It’s not because I don’t ever do anything, in fact, that’s probably quite the opposite. I probably have more going on than most folk. Actually, I could almost guarantee that. I just don’t feel the need to let everyone know how I preoccupied I am. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way. It makes me sick when people say they are too busy.

Why? I remember years ago, my sister tried to chat with me through Facebook, through simple Internet chat… and, I recall looking at the messages, the message read something along the lines of hey, call me when you got some time, want to know how college is going. I looked at it, thought, meh; I’ll call her later… I am busy. I never called her. And, I don’t know if I ever talked to her again. She committed suicide a couple of months after, and I’ve never been too busy since.   So when people tell me, they are too busy. It doesn’t sit well. At all.

So, to say that I haven’t been writing, because I have been doing well, or because I have been doing poorly… I don’t even know the answer. Sometimes life has a tendency to just happen, and just leave me trapped in the motions that I just can’t comprehend the appropriate emotions, and feelings.

I know that writing provides me with the single most joyous experiences of my life. So, you would think it’s easier to do so. But… for some reason, it’s been getting more difficult, and for the first time, I feel like my writing is actually good. In the past, all I did was write about how I felt. That’s it. There was no scientific method to it; there was no English specialty behind it. Simply, just how I felt. I have such a difficult time re-reading my pieces, for a variety of reasons… mainly because I feel such a huge disconnect with the person who wrote that very piece, but also because… I think it’s shit. I looked earlier, and I have posted 47 entries to GAB. This being 48. I can honestly say that 1 was of quality, Your Move Chief. So, as much gratification as writing brings me… I don’t know if it’s from the actual writing, or the feedback. As pathetic as this may be, I seek so much approval, and accreditation, from… whomever, predominantly from my mom, and from my fiancé…. It’s pathetic, if I don’t hear anything within a day or so, I am texting those two asking what they thought… It drives me crazy that I do this. But… I do. And, I can probably recap every single compliment, or piece of positive feedback I have received from my blog. There is truly nothing, and I mean NOTHING more gratifying than when I hear about people who have read my blog, and find comfort from reading. Whether, I know them or not. I spend so much time wanting to write, then I spend such little time actually writing, and I conclude with spending even more time looking for approval on my writing. From, my family… my fiancé… my best friends… my friends… strangers… When, I receive this, it’s pure happiness. Joy. Elation. You know that feeling where you just can’t wipe that smile off your face. This is the only time I’ll feel it. So you’d think I’d write more, with this being the case. But, truth is… I think I have become a bit scared. My unrelenting life standards have once again trapped me with failure. Where, I need simple accolades. However, that’s slowed down significantly. I don’t know if it’s because my writing has gotten stale, or the content has. Or maybe, I am just without the random viewers from Europe. Or, perhaps, the people who have already graciously patted my back don’t feel like they need to tell me good job every single fucking time. Though they shouldn’t. However, I feel like, unless I get that… I am failing. I want to know what every single person thinks of my writing, even if they think it’s complete crap. I just want to know… because; I think it is too, I can’t even find myself appreciative, and satisfied with my own work.

So, in getting to the point of this entry… the great folks at Mind Your Mind proposed the question, what makes you happy? I thought about it for a long, long time. There are so many things that I enjoy, so many. But, to label them as something that makes me completely happy would likely be false. I think at any point, doing makes me happy. Regardless, of what it is that I am doing. I think sometimes you can find temporary joy in that, and I do. But, I tried to really think of something that makes me truly happy. True joy. I almost couldn’t think of anything, till I thought about writing, then I thought about all of the positive feedback I have received over the two years, and the people I have been able to help, if even just to help them temporarily. This has brought me pure joy, and continues to do so. It’s the only thing that allows me to feel self-pride, and self worth. Regardless, of the success I have at work, or in coaching sports, or my daily life even. I always seem to be stuck wanting more, and eventually get a place where good just isn’t good enough. But, with writing, that’s different. Even, if I receive two notes about my latest post, to me it was a success, and it provides that feeling. That feeling where I can’t stop but smiling, even if it’s a random stranger at an arena that says, “hey, you’re the guy that writes that mental health blog” … Yes, I guess so. These are the things that keep me ticking, and continue to remind me just what it is to feel joy, and to feel good.

You just hope that somehow you can find a way to enjoy, accept and appreciate your own bravery and work. Sometimes there is just far too much pressure on writing purely for the audience, and hoping to help them find joy, and hope. I need to find my own first.

Rest easy, and rest happily Max. I hope you can still find some time to read my blog, and I hope that you’ve found true joy.   I know you and Jen are hanging out as we speak. Listening to music, watching over us, and laughing at us.

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God, Help us – Amanda Todd Aftermath

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It’s been a few weeks now since the Amanda Todd tragedy dawned upon us, some of you may have read my previous blog entry that I dedicated to Amanda and discussed the issue of high school, and bullying. From the article, I received tremendous support, which was great. But, on Facebook, and twitter, I have seen a lot of things that really puzzled me, and actually, were quite bothersome and disheartening for me.

As it is usually, people began playing the blame game, and as always, we, blame the victim. Did Amanda Todd think that her story would become that globally recognized? Probably not. Can you blame her for it? I don’t think so. Are there people dying in Iraq? Sure. Are there people dying in Africa from starvation? Sure. But, does that justify the actions of those that bullied Amanda Todd? Certainly not.

I applaud her for her courage, and bravery that took place in her story, the video, which, I have to be honest, I have not watched. I have read all the articles, the tweets, and the news clippings. But, I fear the video would just be far too emotionally strangling for me. So, I have left it. One day I will watch it. Take whatever you wish from that. But, moving on. I applaud her, I truly do. Its unfortunate it got to the point that her life was lost because of some senseless cowards, but, she’s made those senseless cowards accountable, at least, I hope.
Though, some of which I am sure have been laden with guilt ever since, some of which I am sure have carried on there gutless ways. And, these are the ones shrugging there shoulders at this tragedy pointing to Africa, or anywhere else they can, trying there best to justify it. It’s not justifiable. It just isn’t.

Sure, she showed herself naked online, or sent pictures, or had underage sex. Go to a high school and you will certainly find more girls that have then haven’t. Go to a university and do the same sample. Grab a random sample of 200 females from wherever, and do the same. Do you think she is the only one who has done this? Probably not. Is she going to be the last? Probably not. Does this justify her death, and make it “Meh, whatever” “she was not a contribution to society”… No. Now, this is not a shot against women, at all. It’s 2012 and the teenage psyche. Sure, she made a mistake, but that mistake does not give countless cowards permission to attack her physically, and verbally. Fuck, looking back at my high school, I can think of a handful of girls who did nothing less than what has been said Amanda Todd did. So what. Did that give the right for myself, or anyone else to attack them. By no means. Did it make them any less of a human being, no. I am friends with lots of them today, and the ones I am not friends with anymore, we have probably just lost touch more than anything else. But, I can not remember them being physically, and verbally attacked because they gave a couple different dudes a blowjob throughout high school, or sent pictures of there tits to someone, or behaved in a way that we feel gives us the right to label girls as “sluts” They are people. Teenage kids.

Anyway, before I go off the deep end there, again, I really applaud her, and am even more devastated that she is gone, but she did leave a mark on the world, and that’s maybe all she wanted, and hoped for after a bit of some peace, happiness and some solace. Sometimes, that is all anyone really wants. A little solace to go with there day. But, with Facebook, text messaging, twitter… Good luck.

I have read a few articles of ministers, and “high ranked” people, or whatever they are called, looking into the school systems to try and further prevent bullying, and even if nothing is ever done, or a plan is constructed, but never committed too, I think the fact that they are talking about it, and it has made headway, is an instant success, maybe it will change the tune of one asshole. Which, in turn, might save one life, or at the very least, prolong another. This is a positive, Thank you Amanda – It’s shitty that its taken the life of a young girl for this to happen, and for some people to maybe get there shit together… and then there are still some others…

The thing that really bothered me was the negativity, the “who-cares” “enough already”, things could be worse attitude that came along with her passing. The facebook statuses, the tweets, like I mentioned earlier, people shrugging this off for a far more massed death experience. But, I look at the results of this tragedy and the outcome that has come from the result of mass media… And, I think it’s been mostly positive, and awesome. I don’t get why people can blame Amanda for the media blowup that happened, why they continued to attack her. A) She’s dead. B) This is mainly why she is dead. Yet, Lets attack her and say big fucking deal. One girl is dead. Who Cares. Yep. One girl is dead that shouldn’t be. One daughter is lost, that should be preparing for school in the morning. The stupid fucking little memes that read BRB – Going for a bleach martini – YOLO. This isn’t funny, as much as it is proving to us what is wrong, is us, and the world. It’s sickening. Amanda Todd was someones friend, daughter, grand daughter, sister maybe. Yet, we continued to attack her verbally after she had already committed suicide, leaving no solace and peace to the family. And isn’t that all we ever want sometimes? Talk about being spineless.

I feel terrible for her family, but I insist they be proud of the strength and courage that there daughter displayed. I know a lot of people don’t quite understand suicide, and I didn’t either until… maybe even just a few months ago. But, It’s real. It’s not just a cop-out. Its far more complex than that. I look at when I lost my sister, and there was no mass media frenzy that transpired from it. I don’t even know if Twitter really existed then, and this wasn’t long ago. But, it was kind of like the entire world stopped for my family and I for awhile. Everything just froze. I remember driving to the church for her funeral vividly, and passing by some people on the streets in Saanich, BC – One of the most beautiful places I have ever been too – And I’d just lean against the window with chin in my palm, wondering how in the hell that guy is out watering his grass, or how that family is walking there dog, or how that kid is filling up his Nissan with gas. I just couldn’t understand how people were doing anything. What is wrong with these robots. It’s like I expected it to be completely empty outside, and for the world to have stopped and allowed for us to grieve. That’s what it felt like for me. I can still remember it now, and its the weirdest feeling driving down the road, and you are seriously wondering why the fuck someone is walking there dog, and you’re almost mad about them doing it, like they’re not allowed. Thats how it was. Imagine getting up in the morning, and you look out your window, and you are absolutely appalled that your neighbour is walking his dog before he heads into work for the day. This is exactly what is was like. Like, the dog shouldn’t have to piss or shit till I say he can do so. It’s not realistic, but I thought it was. In saying this, I can’t imagine having to deal with the media – social media outrage that transpired following Amanda Todds death. Its the most difficult thing in the world to lose a family member, and as difficult as it was to lose my sister, I can not imagine losing my own child. I applaud my mother on her grace, strength, and serenity that she exerts today. Though, I may never tell her, She is truly an inspiration. For me, and for everyone, I think. The fact that she is able to stand on her own two feet sometimes even still today, amazes me.

Thus, again, I can’t imagine the pain that Amanda Todds family feels, and the horrific things that continued to be displayed on the internet, from spineless cowards who may truly never understand, anything. This is when I think people truly forgot that Amanda Todd wasn’t just a high school brat who sent pictures of herself nude, she wasn’t just a girl that did things other people may “disapprove of” … That’s just it. She was a just a young girl. A daughter. Just like the rest of you who continued to pick on her, even after she died. Imagine if this was your daughter, your sister. Would the fact the she had sex with someone at 14 change the way you reacted, would you love her any less, would the world continue for you then? Would it make everything forgettable? God, No. It wouldn’t. But, because it happened to some girl we don’t know. It makes it okay to disregard her family, and continually attack her, and blame her. Blame her, the victim, as we always do, because we are senseless, spineless little cowards.

God Bless Amanda Todd, and everyone else who has been a victim.

And…God, Please help the rest of us.

– Blair

This One is for Amanda Todd & The Rest of Us

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I recently came across a tweet on my timeline that led me to the story of Amanda Todd.  And, what a horrible story it was.  One that completely frustrated me, and, more than anything left me astounded and disappointed in all of us.  It’s clear that we just don’t get it. We don’t.  And, I use the word “we” because, I really do believe we all have a part in this one way or another, as both victims of bullying, and being the bully.  I am sure we have been told some place or another “We’re all in this one together” Cause, we are.  If we want anything to change for the better. We need to buy in. We need to buy into “good”. Buy into being good people.  And, having read this Amanda Todd story about this high school teen who was continually harassed by her peers both verbally and physically, and pushed her to ultimately taking her own life.  I am left to believe that we haven’t bought in, and we are not prepared to go into this battle together.  At all.

High school is one of the weirdest, most difficult stage of our lives, I think.  There are so many different cliques around, the jocks, the skids, the preps, the farmers, the scensters…  I could go on and on.  Throughout high school, most peoples biggest concern is fitting in. Not there grades, not there family, not there extra-curricular activity. It’s fitting in. Being noticed by that person, that clique.  This is the problem, we are so consumed by the opinions and impressions of our peers that we end up backing ourselves into a corner, and, the result is unfortunately people like Amanda Todd.  Its high school, people are going to like you, they aren’t.  Hell, you’ll probably have a new best friend each and every grade you start and pass.  When you’re 16 and so consumed about what your classmates think of you, and fitting in.  Its impossible to find that necessary time for focusing on yourself.  You can’t see next month, you can’t see next year.  You can’t even imagine life after high school.  So how the hell do you expect to survive the damn thing! This isn’t it.

The beauty about high school, though, is its temporary.  A very small fraction of your life, hopefully only 3 years of hopefully decades more. These 3 years should not have the power shape us as individuals, they should not detain us from dreaming, and certainly should not detain us from trying to achieve our dreams.  But, since we are so young, vulnerable and naive in high school.  These 3 years does shape our lives, they do retain us from our dreams, and becoming who we want and dream to become.  And we do this to each other.  Bullying.

I don’t get it.  I never have really quite understood it. Don’t get me wrong, I will not sit here and say I have never picked on someone in my life.  Because, that would be a blatant lie. I think we could all say that we have probably been there, and I think this is a real problem, and something I am certainly not proud of.  But, I will say that it was fairly limited, and I certainly knew where the yellow light was.  Fortunately, because who knew what kind of damage I was causing. At the time, not me. And, if any of those kids are reading this, I am extremely apologetic and wish all the best.  Continuing though,  on the flip side, I have been a victim all the same, and have taken some wicked sucker punches in the gym locker room as a result, and countless other phone calls and threats at 4 am.  Unfortunately, we have all been there.

Now having gone through high school, and enjoying some of the best and worst times of my life.  I would not wish it upon my worst enemy to pull a Billy Madison and go back. Unless Veronica Vaughan joins me!  Haha. No, still no thanks.

It’s a vicious place. People are nasty. And high school is a feeding pit for these people.  But, I don’t understand why people go to these depths to bully someone, someone who is just like them.  A young, impressionable high school student. Who probably, goes home and has the same issues to deal with.  So why do we pick on these people to the point where they are in tears, and even though, we may not know, trying to commit suicide.  Instead of working together, and getting through those 3 years.  Why do we do our best to try and eliminate our peers. Bullying does absolutely no one any good.  As the person bullying, you don’t feel any better, you may feel like a big hero belittling someone in front of your friends while they laugh.  But, the second they leave, you probably feel like a zero.  And they do too.  But, this comes back to being young, and impressionable.  If our friends laugh, we will likely continue on our ways.  And shameful some people’s ways have become harassing someone into there very own grave.

These people who have picked on Amanda Todd, and people who have done this elsewhere, because I am sure Amanda isn’t the high school student to commit suicide, and she likely won’t be the last.  But, these very same people likely have as much or more problems than the rest of us, and need our help too. These people need us to stand up to them.  And, I really hope that each and everyone of them enjoy a sleepless night of sleep tonight, because, yes. I do blame you.  Fortunately, although in my mind you have committed a real crime, although no one above me legally see’s it that way.  It isn’t too late.  It’s time to grow a fucking pair of balls and be a real man, or woman.  Be a good person, turn the dial.  It’s way harder to be a good person, and a leader than it is to follow the norms of a bully, and you have all of your years ahead of you.

Please.

Be that person who stands up in the hallways, the streets, the rink, work or wherever, be that person to stand up to bullying.  It is way harder to do that then it is to “join the fun”  Because, you never know.  You could be saving someone’s lives.  Had someone in the group of classless hero’s simply said hey, look, that’s enough, or apologized to her, or even just talked to her!  Or, even a passer-by put and end to it.  Maybe Amanda Todd is gone to bed for another day of school in the AM, and I am not ear high in anger writing this blog.  Maybe.  Maybe that’s all it would take.  Now, hindsight, I bet it would have been easier for one of those kids to just put an end to it versus the guilt and shame I hope he/she feels the rest of there life.

So, long story short.  Why can’t we be good people.  Try a little harder and be that person that stops this bullshit in the hallways, the rink, wherever else.  I know that being in high school, you may suffer from a little tunnel vision, and its impossible to see 3 years out of the gate, and its difficult to imagine, and comprehend.  I Understand that, but just know that;

good people become professional athletes

good people become top of there university class

good people become CEO’s of companies

good people have families

good people are successful, and happy with there lives

Good people are role models.

These hero’s at school that harass others, those are the ones that live in mom’s basement till there… Who knows how old.  There the ones that live with more insecurities than you can count, and end up trying to live vicariously through those whom are good.  It shouldn’t ever have to be like this, cause we could use more professional athletes, CEO’s, role models than we can basement dwellers…

RIP Amanda Todd & everyone else who has lost there lives to senseless bullying.

To the bullies;  Good for you, feel good.

– Blair