McDavid is an Oiler, and it’s good. Get over it.

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Settle down.  McDavid is going to be an Oiler.  Get over it.

I get it, the Oilers don’t deserve him. They’ve been so bad, and such a mess for so many years, and they’ve just been handed a get out of jail free card.  All of it, their own doing.  They’ve had four #1 overall picks in six years.  I get it.  They don’t deserve to have Connor, I agree with you.

But… Let’s rewind a few months here.  You want to talk about McDavid going somewhere deserving.  Well, Outside of Edmonton… the greater possibilities were Buffalo, Arizona, Toronto.  Can you really tell me those teams are “worthy” of the kid, equally or more-so than Edmonton?  Not a chance.

Buffalo traded both of their starting goalies, for no reason other than they were keeping them in hockey games.  They had fans show up to their games, and celebrate when they were scored against.  They did everything they possibly could to secure the highest percentage.  If my memory serves me correctly, I recall an interview with Connor in the fall, and he’d been asked about his thoughts on teams tanking for him… his response, those are the teams he wouldn’t want to play for.  No kidding.  So… We can cross Buffalo off that list of teams deserving.  Not to mention they have ultra-douchebag Evander on their team.   The Jets didnt wan’t Kane anywhere near their pool of rich prospects coming… So why would we want McDavid with that guy?

Then we get to the landscapes of the city… Yea… Ok,  Edmonton is far from Carolina, or Scottsdale. I get that… I’m from there.  It ain’t the prettiest, or warmest place I’ve been either.  But… something about that city, helluva lot character.  I rip on Edmonton lots, being from the area.  But, I have a lot of pride in coming from there.  When people ask, ya I live in Calgary but I’m from Edmonton.  It’s a shithole, I know… but there’s something about that shithole.  But… Tell me Buffalo is more of an attractive city than Edmonton?   No…. it’s not.

Arizona, well… my first few comments on them are same as they were above.  Did all they could to secure that extra few percent, and had their own fans, the very few of them celebrate defeat.  If I recall, Maloney even made some stupid comment “tanking” and attempting to justify it.  Aside from the obvious tanking down the stretch, or down the last forty games.  Do we really want a potential player of Crosby calibre to end up in Arizona?  Come on…  The teams a disaster, no one goes to games, I’m not sure they even have a fan base…  I’m sure McDavid would fill a few seats.  But, the team is equally as much of a mess as the oilers are off the ice, just for different reasons.  So… McDavid helps keep a team in Phoenix relevant for another few years.  No… Cut your losses, and move to Seattle.  Also… They are the most boring team in the league.  They have the worst uniforms in sports.  They don’t even deserve to exist in the Arizona, so how the hell do they deserve a saviour?

Toronto…  I’m not even going to bother justifying why this train wreck is not worthy of the second coming of “the kid”

Carolina… I want to watch McDavid.  Other then when Carolina plays Toronto on Saturday.  When was the last time you watched the Hurricanes?

Fact is… None of these teams deserve 97.  That’s why they are in this position, and that highlights the flaws of the NHL Lottery System.  Tanking, and total incompetence is rewarded.  Which, is why a few months ago, I wrote why the NHL needed to change their lottery system, and despite being an Oiler fan with a massive… ahhh ummm…  for the next few years, I still think this system needs to be altered.  But, if we are going to sit here and try to justify which teams deserve Connor McDavid, and which don’t…  Fact is, the teams that “deserve” him are all playing hockey right now.  Detroit deserves him.  They’re made the playoffs how many straight decades?  They develop players like no other team, and draft as good as anyone in sports.  They deserve McDavid. But guess what…  They are ineligible, playing in the playoffs.  So… No team has a chance at him, that would “deserve” him, so don’t tell me there are other lottery teams that are more or less deserving of this player than any other team.


But… Here’s some things to consider before the envious hockey fan snaps again about how McDavid is going to be destroyed, and the Oilers don’t deserve even a pinecone, let alone a generational player.

  1. Rewind to when AZ and Buff started tanking… what did the Oilers do?  The complete opposite.  If you actually watched them, majority of those games… Looked like they were doing all they could to get the hell out of the double digit percentile.  They put in some real good efforts down the stretch.  Just ask the Flame, and Canuck fans.  Remember the day they helped you clinch by beating LA?  Those two are now beating the wheels off each other in what’s been a great series.  Some thanks to Oil. Would have been real easy for them fold the tents, like in years past, and like the Sabres & Yotes.  Bet you the Boston Bruins wished Edmonton was playing Pittsburgh last week, instead of Buffalo.
  2. The Fans.  Come on.  There has not been a more dedicated, loyal, passionate and true fan base that has stuck with their team throughout so many years of complete crap.  If nothing else, the fans deserve the kid. For the most part, Oil fans get it. They aren’t ignorant, and delusional like Canucks fan. They don’t pretend to be some kind of thug warrior like the Van crowd does.  They exist a helluva lot more than Phx… and, well, Buffalo fans taped a Coyote logo of the Sabre logo of their own jersey… so… you tell me.  They aren’t seasonal fans.  They almost foolishly are optimistic and excited for every season.   Didn’t matter who the Oil played, what the weather was, how bad they were doing… People still went to games, and supported them.   If they weren’t at the games, they were at pubs watching them, or at home.  Guaranteed.  Cause I was one of them.  Knowing the Flames will thump the Oilers, it will be a complete snoozer… but I couldn’t wait to watch anyway.
  3. Crosby is in the east, OV is in the east, Stamkos is in the east.  Why not have him in the West?
  4. The team is young, and potential remains through the ceiling…  I keep reading how McDavid’s career is going to be ruined now that he’s an Oiler. Sure, some of the development of their young players has seemingly stalled, or is painfully slow. But… can someone please tell me, which Oiler has had their young career ruined?  Is it any of the three that are off playing for Team Canada right now?  If you watched any of the last 25 games, surely Yakupov is a new player with a real coach, and is on the right track.  So I sure wouldn’t say he’s been ruined… and what Ryan Murray doing anyways?  Can’t be Marincin… I mean wasn’t he playing at the Olympics not long ago? Klefbom?  Again… If you watched last 25 games.  The goalies? Ok…. You might have a case… but don’t believe any of their goalies really had much of a career prior to?   Give your head a shake if you’re the Munson saying his career is already ruined, or is going to be ruined because he’s an Oiler.  I can’t think of one player that the Oilers have completely ruined, so to say McDavid is next in line. You’re an idiot. Plain & Simple.
  5. Monahan, Bennett, Gaudreau vs. McDavid, Nuge, Eberle… Come on!
  6. Canada.  We always hope for these Canadian teams to get into playoffs, we were all so happy to see 5 of 7 get in… well, McDavid going to Buffalo, or Arizona certainly doesn’t help our odds.
  7. They need him more.  I think the Sabres, and Yotes will still find their way and be competitive teams again.  I don’t know if the Oilers would have.  Now we have a bit of hope.  So if they don’t “deserve” him… they damn well need him.
  8. As an Oiler fan… I truly believe this will shape the team up. I think his arrival is going to give a new sense of life to these players, it’s going to make them work a little bit harder. They are going to be better for it. Remember, great players make other players better. That’s the difference from a good player, and a great player.   To say, that guys like Hall, Yak are going to pissed off that McDavid is going to come in and steal their thunder. No. These guys are hockey players,  not selfish prima donna NBA players. I bet you the only people more excited than the rest of “Oiler Nation” … is the Oilers.
  9. Finally, unless you are a psychologist… you can’t tell me how devastated, frustrated, or upset Connor was in his interviews knowing he was an Oiler.  The kids extremely mature, very well spoken and composed.  What were you expecting?  Him to jump around like a baboon? No.  His reaction I can assure you would have been no different if he was an Oiler, Sabre…etc.

So… Connor is an Oiler dumb luck. No need to hate on the 18 year old kid.   Wish him well, and hope the Oilers can get straight with his arrival.  Better for the game.

Get over it.

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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.

Your Move, Chief

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Maybe this is too late.  Maybe this isn’t even relevant anymore.  But, last week we lost one of the finest individuals to grace this planet.  No, not just because he was a phenomenal actor, but because he battled for so long, to bring everyone else joy and laughter despite his own misery, and emptiness, despite his own mental obstruction. He was gifted, courageous, and beyond brave.

Upon hearing the news of Robin passing away, I was upbeat, driving home from engagement photos, and on the radio, as DJ whoever began playing his next techno beat, and the beats of this terrible song faded in, DJ whoever let us know that an icon had passed. But, that was all. Into the techno trance the song went. Instantly, I felt sick. I loved Robin Williams. First thing that came to my mind, was… Is this guy talking about the same Robin Williams that played Mrs. Doubtfire? Like… Patch Adams – Robin Williams? Surely, He’d have done more than just say “oh hey by the way folks before we get to this song…” But, after searching my mind for a few minutes for another Robin Williams, I came to the unfortunate conclusion. Yes. It was… Patch Adams. Typically though, as part of my own constant fight with mental illness, I feel nothing. That’s my usual reaction. Nothing. Emptiness. Even amongst the most tragic events. I don’t usually feel an overwhelming amount of sadness, or despair. I don’t…. usually feel anything. Empty. I try too, but I can’t for anymore than a moment.  But, I felt sad. Abnormally sad, I just had a bad feeling.  I felt connected.  Moments later, I got home… and I think I had already convinced myself I knew how Mr. Williams had passed. I turned on the TV, and it was confirmed. Suicide. My heart sunk, and my stomach twisted immediately. I don’t know how I knew. It just hit me close to home, right away. I just knew.  I felt it.

As sad as it were for me to learn about the news of Mr. Williams, I am not on a personal level with Mr. Williams, therefore, I couldn’t allow myself to be overtaken by the news. I can’t try and feel the same pain that his family and friends feel, I don’t want too. I’ve felt that. But, the hardest part for me in moving on from this one quickly, and not allowing myself to feel anything more than a few moments of sadness was… the rest of us.

I’m not one to follow along to celebrities’ personal troubles. I always believe they are humans alike the rest of us, they just happen to be good at their jobs, and the rest of us care way too much about what they’re doing, and put them under these encapsulated microscopes, and we wait for them to struggle, we wait for bad things to happen to them, and we pounce, we have opinions, comments, we have all the answers to the lives of these robots. As if that’s what they are.

As par for the course, when a celebrity struggles, fights, battles anything. It becomes a global issue for a mere 72 hours. Whether it’s racism, poverty, drugs, crime, physical health, and… Mental health. It’s unfortunate that all of the problems that plague our society are only really discussed at the “trending” level, when one of these robots we hold on a mile-high pedestal is identified with of these issues. Though, I notice this often, I am easily able to just shut off twitter, facebook, TV, radio…etc, and I don’t need to really associate myself with the opinons, and views of “us”… But, this time, I associated myself too close to the matter, and let it get to me.  It was too close to home.

Shortly after learning about the passing of Robin Williams, I posted this…

Devastated by the news of Robin Williams. Too close to home for me. An unfortunate reminder that we can all be victim to mental illnesses. No matter how rich, or how famous, we’re all just human. #RIP Robin Williams.

The response was tremendous, reassuring, almost like people understood this time.  I’ve been talking about mental illness through my social media feeds for a few years now, and I do it without any hesitation now, but I still often am thinking about what other people might be thinking when I do write the stuff.  But, Maybe, just hopefully we’ve had this discussion enough times that we have finally figured it out. We have finally learned that mental illness is real. It is real, it is happening, and it is happening to any kind of person, regardless of pedestal, fame, fortune and power. It does not discriminate, in any way, shape or form. And, Robin Williams is a sad, and unfortunate reminder of this. After posting this, and seeing the responses, I felt better, I felt like maybe we are actually making progress towards accepting mental illnesses, and accepting those who fight this as… normal.

A few days had come and gone, and for whatever reason, I just stayed off of social media. It’s almost as if I knew I was being naïve, and it was too good to be true, so I was avoiding what I was afraid I’d see, and what I knew I’d see.  We have not made any progress. Then, all in the same day, I was no longer able to avoid reality, and avoid society.

Around the same time, my mom had sent me a note that had passed along to her from one of my blogs readers, and she then mentioned to me one of these internet trolls had wrote something absurd about depression, mental illness and suicide being a choice. I just couldn’t fathom it.  Really? Someone could say that?  Really?  I didn’t even really respond, because I didn’t allow myself to believe it. My mom mentioned that she had tried to make this ignoramus aware of their own idiocy.   I remember then, debating with myself. Do I want to read what that troll wrote, and join my mom in letting her know my opinions too, or just leave it because it’ll drive me crazy, and ruin my day.  I went with the latter, but then I opened up my facebook page, and couldn’t believe the comments I saw. Albeit, from an individual that I, and many others hold in quite low esteem, but there behold comments like

“I am sick of the media responses about Robin Williams, he made a choice”

And then equally sized morons commenting

“He had all the fame, fortune, money he could imagine, how could he be sad”

“This isn’t the real Robin Williams we know “

“He made a choice, lets quit talking about him, and talk about the real Robin Williams we know!”

… Are you fucking kidding me? Are you seriously that stupid, and that ignorant? I immediately, had completely lost my faith, once again in our people. Again, the host of these comments, and this discussion is not someone I would trust to tell me the difference between grass and snow, but still, all the more reason he shouldn’t be commenting on these types of issues. I skimmed through the comments at the time, and those four I just typed stick out in my mind like a sore thumb, an engrained image. Nauseating,

  • What choice did he make? To live with an illness that he tried to tolerate, manage and fight for so long that it ultimately became intolerable?
  • Right, So famous people aren’t susceptible to mental illness, just all the other illnesses, they can’t be depressed, or have bi-polar disorder. Not Robin. Not Kurt. Not Wade Belak? Rick Rypien? Derek Boogard?
  • This is the one that really gets me. Who is the Robin Williams that we all know? Is it Patch Adams? Mrs. Doubtfire? Is it Sean Maguire? Those are the Robin Williams we’ve seen, that’s the Robin Williams we’ve come to know. Him in his professional life. Not his personal life. We don’t know the real Robin Williams, this is part of the problem.
  • Again, the problem. Let’s never quit talking about him, his legacy, or his demise. Maybe that will stop the next one.

You haven’t the faintest idea what you’re talking about

It amazes me that people can be so ignorant, and so oblivious to these things. These people that are writing these comments, are the exact reason that people like myself, or people like my sister, or Robin, or Kurt Cobain couldn’t feel like they had the power, or strength to talk about their mental illness. These are the people that make the rest of us feel trapped, feel powerless. These are the people contributing to the stigma that perceives mental illness as negative and shameful, something that isn’t real, something made up. The reason these illnesses get so intolerable that, suicide becomes the only thing left, are these people.  It doesn’t take many of them to eliminate any chance of a platform allowing us to comfortably talk about mental health issues.  If only Robin Williams, or Jen could talk about their fight without any fear or repercussion like these internet trolls, maybe they wouldn’t have felt so entrapped, felt so isolated, so scared, they wouldn’t have felt their illness was so intolerable, and then they’d still be hear making both of us laugh today.   But, instead we attack Robin Williams daughter Zelda on twitter, because we can. Because, we can hide behind our keyboards under our fictional internet name,  and our poor grammar, because it allows us a platform to say the cruelest of things without any worry of repercussion. it’s easy, and nothing will come of it. This is where we put our energy, instead of constructively talking about how we can make mental illness an acceptable illness, like anything else… and understand it is not a choice.

No one chooses to struggle with depression. I don’t remember a morning in my life where I decided I wanted to be depressed, I don’t remember a morning in my life where I thought about my afternoon, and thought, ya, around 2:00 after I have lunch, I’ll try kill myself, because I feel sad today.  This isn’t how it works. It’s not a choice, and it’s not just a shitty day where things aren’t going right, so you decide to mop around at home. It’s not just a crappy week at work.

It’s feeling absolutely nothing, feeling empty, it’s not feeling sad, it’s not feeling happy, it’s not feeling real. It’s failure, it’s feeling complete failure regardless of accomplishments, it’s anxiety, it’s denial, it’s worrying, it’s fear, it’s feeling minute, it’s irrelevance. It’s not a choice. It’s “you’re always afraid to take the first step, because all you see is every negative thing ten miles down the road” It’s real.

 

It’s not a choice

&

 

It’s not your fault

Rest in Peace Robin Williams.  Say hi to Jen for me.

John Galts Speech

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It’s been months since I’ve wrote something in this blog outside of a minor entry several weeks back ripping into the few evil hockey parents.  I think about it every day, but I just can’t bring myself to write anything.  I can’t find it.  This week, I’ve had a few people reach out to me telling me to get back to writing, that it helps them.  One person told me they dreamt about my writing, and asked if I could start again soon.  Another asked me when the next piece was coming.  Another person asked to meet with me about my experiences fighting with my life.  I had another friend tell me I need to start writing again, to save my life, and to help save his.  I have all these amazing people around me that look forward to reading goneawayboys, and that thoroughly seem to enjoy my writing, and are always applauding me for it…  Yet, I have a hard time believing in it myself, and finding that quality and that safety to it.  I just write.  It’s amazing, and humbling to know that some people find great value in reading this blog, and for those of you, I am very sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you through this blog.  I just needed some time to piece myself back together the last little while after nearly losing it.  Thank you, as always for your overwhelming support.

In the past I’ve said that I often will only write when I feel down, amidst a lull, when I need a boost.  On the flip side, I didn’t feel the need to write when things were going well.  That’s what I used to believe, anyways.  I’m coming to the realization that, that is just complete and utter bullshit.  I don’t write because I don’t want to do anything, except keep to my withdrawn self.  I don’t write because I feel like I don’t have the mental wherewithal to put anything of magnitude together. I feel tired. Weak. Exhausted. Scared. Withdrawn. Empty. Lost.  I don’t write because… because I am feeling depressed.

Why? Why am I depressed? Well, I don’t know that answer as much as I would like too.  Simple question, right? … I think I often lack the things that should create, and attribute to personal happiness.  Or maybe I haven’t made the choice to find happiness yet? I don’t know what happiness really means? Or, maybe it’s because my family has a history of mental disorders? Or, it’s just the hamster wheel running dangerously low on serotonin for the last fucking decade or so!  Simple Question… Yes, but complicated answer that I just haven’t quite figured out yet, and I don’t know that I ever will… If it were easy, I’d be able to solve this problem, because trust me when I feel like this, I don’t want too….  But, I feel like I sometimes have no control of it, I can only try to contain.

I’ve made myself believe that I only write when I need a lift, when things are going to shit.  That’s false.  I write when I am feeling better, when I have that drive, that energy, I write when I feel like I can help make a difference in not only myself, but maybe someone else.  I write when I give a shit about someone other than my own self, and their own demons.  I write when I feel like a human being.  I write when I feel.

I can’t write when I can’t seem to find myself outside of the fucking pits, when I don’t care about really anything, or anyone’s feelings other than my own, and I hardly care about my own.  I just succumb to my depression.  It’s like being back into a corner, with someone you know you can fight with a little bit of effort, but you just can’t find it in yourself… you back into the corner, and your stuck.  Out of batteries.  Out of juice. On empty.  It’s almost impossible to get out, or so it seems at times, at the worst of times.  I can’t write and be honest with you, when I am not honest with myself.  When I asked myself if I knew what things attributed to my happiness really were, to be frank… I have no idea what they are.  I drew a blank.   This blog, writing, having people read it, the reaction, the comments, the feedback, hell, the fucking pats on the back.  That’s happiness for me.  That’s it. That truly is it. Making a difference. The one thing.

“Happiness is a state of non-contradictory joy—a joy without penalty or guilt, a joy that does not clash with any of your values and does not work for your own destruction, not the joy of escaping from your mind, but of using your mind’s fullest power, not the joy of faking reality, but of achieving values that are real, not the joy of a drunkard, but of a producer. Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seeks nothing but rational values and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions”

 Writing in goneawayboys and posting it publicly is that joy without penalty, the achievement; it’s what happiness really is for me.  The scary part is…  The only thing that truly defines happiness for me right now is…Writing… What…  Really…

When I am feeling at my worst, I become very elusive with others, and especially to myself.  I can’t find, or come to terms with what creates happiness for myself.  I know that it is writing, but when I am feeling empty, and disengaged, I can’t find that… even though I know, if I just get off the couch and turn on some music, read something, I’ll feel inspired and I’ll write something, and in turn, I find happiness.  Even if for a moment.  When you suffer from depression, you learn to take as many moments of happiness as you absolutely can.  Because, not often can I find them.

My best friend wrote to me in an email earlier this week something I have been replaying over and over in my head… Happiness is a Choice… At first I read it, and thought, ok, Well, I cho-cho-choose to be happy! … And it was as if I waited for some animated vortex to appear in the middle of the hallway and throw me a bag with happiness inside… When that didn’t happen, I waited for the genie to pop out of my Booster Juice and graciously grant me 3 wishes.  After waiting several long hours, I realized neither of these things were going to happen, and I went to bed disagreeing with Mother.  Happiness is not a choice.  It’s subjective.  It’s fake.  I woke up, still pondering that same comment, then that led to me questioning myself of what happiness really is, what does it really mean.  In school, in all those life management, and leadership classes we were always asked what success meant, and everyone had a different answer.  But, no one ever asked the question.  What IS happiness?  By definition, it’s the quality, or state of being happy.  Ok. Great. So what does that mean, how I do just be happy.  It sounds so simple. Why can’t I find it? Why can’t we find it all the time? What am I missing here? Happy by definition is the feeling of satisfaction, pleasure and contentment.  Sounds easy, but a feeling? Is a feeling permanent? Or, is this just a temporary relief from all things negative? I want to make the choice to be happy starting now ending when I die.  Not just for the next 20 minutes.  But, what creates this feeling… Money? Family?  Friends? Materialistic things? Fancy cars? Fancy jewelry? Mansion? Strength?  Self-image? It is what your friends have? Is it what Hollywood has? Is it whatever doesn’t kill us? Is it gratitude? Is it a fucking Choice?

Intrigued by this “Happiness is a Choice” … I dug a little bit further into what happiness really means outside of these wildly simplistic and vague definitions the internet has explained to me.  I read the “John Galts Speech” an excerpt from Ayn Rands “Shrugged Atlas” (Ok, I read most of it… It’s 43 pages in size 12 font)  Ayn Rand, Or John Galt the fictional character describes happiness as coming down to the choice of being either a rational man, or an irrational man.

“Happiness is a state of non-contradictory joy—a joy without penalty or guilt, a joy that does not clash with any of your values and does not work for your own destruction, not the joy of escaping from your mind, but of using your mind’s fullest power… Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seeks nothing but rational values and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions”

“The emotional state of all those irrationalists cannot be properly designated as happiness or even as pleasure: it is merely a moment’s relief from their chronic state of terror… But neither life nor happiness can be achieved by the pursuit of irrational whims. Just as man is free to attempt to survive in any random manner, but will perish unless he lives as his nature requires, so he is free to seek his happiness in any mindless fraud, but the torture of frustration is all he will find, unless he seeks the happiness proper to man. The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.”

I often find myself looking for a time machine; I want to fast-forward my life 10 years. I said the same thing when I was 14, and I’ll bet I’ll say the same damn thing when I’m 34, and 44.  I have a very hard time finding my own acceptance, and contentment. Galts Speech depicts happiness perfectly for me, it’s not about materials, and it’s not about money.  I’m frequently thinking if I just had more money, if I just had more materials, more muscles and supermodel physiques, I could finally be happy.  I’ve convinced myself I need to be wildly successful to have my family members be proud of me, for me to accept myself, and to otherwise simply avoid being a failure.  If I could accomplish this… I would achieve my personal expectations, but these expectations are completely irrational and I know that… But, I make the choice to believe they are rational because well, it happened to that guy. You shouldn’t need cars, a big house, and fame or widespread success to achieve happiness.  It doesn’t help the people that have all those things either; they always want something more, something is always missing, something irrational.  Thus, when you are unable to achieve these irrational goals, and expectations as soon as you believe you should… It’s a temporary relief of terror, and the torture of frustration pursues.   Often times, that is all I can find.  I dwell on myself constantly, beating myself up about why I am not doing better for myself.  I’m 24 years old.  I have pretty well anything you could ever ask for, but always for me it is never enough.  It’s a trap.  I always want more.  I got a good job, I want a better one now.  I have a nice truck. I want a nicer car now. My family says they are proud of me. But, I can never believe them because I am not proud of myself.  I’ll never know if Jen is proud of me. I’ll never ever know that. Ever. Yet, I feel like I need to know that to be happy.  I’ll never know.   It’s unrealistic, It’s irrational. It’s mindless fraud and torture.  This is why I fight find consistent happiness.  I struggle to create rational goals for myself, goals that are attainable that result in joy, joy without penalty or guilt.   Writing in goneawayboys is often the one rational goal that I have for myself that I am able to achieve multiple times.  I am able to use my mind to the fullest of power, not escape from my mind for temporary relief.

This is happiness.  In order to find constant happiness for myself, I need to become more honest and rational to my self.  Going back to the very beginning of this post where I used to tell myself I’d only write when I felt like shit.  No.  I don’t write when I feel like shit because I can’t.  Otherwise, I’ll continue to be an irrational man, and be tortured by frustration, and destruction.

Mom was right; Happiness is a choice.  

“Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seeks nothing but rational values and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions”

A Nasty, Nasty Lesson From Mother Nature.

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Honey! I’m Home!!!

Damn, that fucking feels good to say.

For those of you that missed it…  I guess, well, I don’t know where to start with you.  But, I hope your summers have been less dramatic & eventful than ours have been.

June 19th… I was sitting in my chair I always lounge in, Amanda on the couch & we were watching some TV show.  Meanwhile, Calgary was under complete torrential downpour like nothing I have ever seen.  While scanning twitter, and the news stations, I continued to read about this massive storm we were being hit with. Unconcerned as always having lived in Calgary long enough to know it’s summer and this is our every day. Storm warning. Storm warning.  I can remember reading a tweet from someone to CTV Weather Man – Paul Dunphy that said something along the lines of “Are we going to be okay in Calgary?”  Well…  My arrogant self had a blast with this one!  I think I replied something slightly abrasive along the lines of OMG NO! ANOTHER SUPERSTORM I THINK WE ARE COMPLETELY DOOMED! BOOM!…

… I thought I was being sarcastic at the time, and she was being a tad overzealous about another storm.

Well, fast-forward about 12 hours. At work I see on Twitter suddenly my community of Discovery Ridge is to be immediately evacuated.  Umm. Pardon?  No one really saw of what was about to come…coming. Evidently.  And it didn’t sink into to me immediately what was going on either.  I called my girlfriend who was at home, and she was completely blindsided by this as well. “I just took Kona out, it’s dry, we’re fine, it’s sunny here” … I’m more confused now! So, I got up from my desk at work and oddly somewhat boasted about us being evacuated, thought, hey cool maybe I get to go home early this Thursday.  Still, completely ignorant to what was truly about to occur.

So, I sauntered out of the office a few conversations later, headed home and sent a few sarcastic snaps to my friends about being evacuated. Chalk about reason for mother nature to completely fuck me. You’d think maybe this was the end of my ignorance?

Nope.  

Got home, and it was weird. There was a mile long line of cars heading into our community, but as I was already 20 minutes past evacuation time, I thought I was above all the other people racing home to get their shit and prepare for the Armageddon that I went right to the lights in the straight lane, turned on the left light, and vroom off I went.  See ya Lexus. Down the hill in Discovery Ridge, people were walking their dogs, laughing, stopping to chat with friends, others were in a complete fucking frenzy to get stuff jammed into their Mercedes.  I was still pretty cool.  I saw nothing to fret about.  Despite ravishing flood warnings.  However, As many Calgarians can likely attest too… This became a “Boy Who Cried Wolf” story. Every day nearly, every summer is “severe thunderstorm warning” “tornado watch” … etc. And, of course it’s never more then a storm.  Why should this be any different?  Other than I guess all surrounding communities had already been flooded, and this happened 8 years previous.  But… Nonetheless.  Parked the F150 underground. Take the elevator up. Come home. Turn on the TV. Make a few more jokes about this evacuation, and then declare that I’m content until I am told by someone “official” at our door we have to go.  As if the radio, social media and disgruntled megaphone warnings weren’t enough. Well, a pizza, a beer or 2, and a couple cycles of sportscenter later… My life completely changed.  Forever.

“YOU HAVE 5 MINUTES TO GET YOUR STUFF AND GET OUT OF HERE NOW! THE PARKADES ARE ALREADY FLOODING, THE PARKADE ACROSS IS ALREADY FLOODED 8 FEET”

Ummm… Fuck. I haven’t even really packed anything.  Shit.

Thankfully, Amanda as always was completely ready to go for this and had everything including the animals set up for instant departure. Not me. I had 5 minutes.  Fortunately, I am guy so it was ok. I made it down the stairs in time.  Got into my truck. And poof. Yep. The manhole cover had just popped off and water started coming in.

We made it out.  And I couldn’t believe the scene.  Water. Mud. Muddy Water. People. People Crying. Mobs of People. Cameras. Phones. Screaming. Ambulance. Police. Semi’s. Industrial Trucks. Security. Firemen. Vehicles. Water. Mud. Muddy Water… Devastation.

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… What is happening?  I had to park, get out and try and take in what was happening.  Guards were blocking the flooded parkade so people didn’t try going in. And you could just hear the water roaring, and I mean roaring. Combined with people screaming, and people crying. It was really incomprehensible what was happening.  I never want to hear those sounds again.

It took my about a half an hour to actually get out of Discovery Ridge.  If anyone has ever been fortunate enough to make it into Discovery Ridge, consider yourself a lucky one. It’s one of the most beautiful residential communities in the world. I can guarantee. Rarely do you ever see more then 5-6 cars moving at once. You see more bikes, more kids, families walking, and more dogs. It’s a very small, very active community. Well, There may have been 500 vehicles in Discovery Ridge when I finally left. People leaving and just parking along the street watching from the top of the hill. People from nearby coming in just to see what all the fuss is about. It was unbelievable.  And still. Some people remained calm. Some in small groups, laughing, almost normal.  Others looked afraid. Others completely hysterical. Others, like myself looked empty. Stund. Dumbfounded. 

We decided to drive back home to Vegreville and spend the weekend with family as we were told minimum 72 hours.  I didn’t think it’d be much more then this if even 72 hours. I can remember saying to a few buddies, ah yea 72 I think is just worst case.  Again. My arrogance. Strike 6? I drove the entire way home to Veg. 400-Ish KMs. Stayed with my Mom & Brother.  And still, it hadn’t really hit me what was going on.  By this point numerous communities were evacuated and the flood had ravished further, and devastated more.  I started to see the clippings on the news, and I grew sick. Nauseous. It was the feeling you get in your stomach when you’re just completely hung-over, and/or completely starving.  I almost threw up numerous times.  But, alike my normal self. I try to put up this stoic guard to show that I am doing fine.

…. I went to bed. Cried. I was scared. I didn’t know what the hell was going to happen. It didn’t seem real. I mean, a flood? Can this much damage happen from a flood? We’re on the fourth floor? We should be home soon right?

… I’m fine.

Fast-forward a few days. I stayed at one of my best friend’s parents place in Edmonton with his brother.  They were just completely awesome about taking me in. Just like my mom and brother were back home.  Fed me a great meal, gave me a great big bed to sleep in.  I’ve probably stayed over at the Cote’s house 2,000 times though growing up.  So this was nothing out of the norm for them other than the circumstances. (Thank you Kelly, Dean & Tarin) … Brett… Starbucks next time.

Nonetheless.  Sunday morning I woke up and saw that the community of Discovery Ridge had been restored of power & water.  Woooohoooo!! Off I went home. 8am. Going home! I knew this wouldn’t be so bad. 

I got home… I was wrong.  The parkades were still completely flooded. Garbage everywhere. The smell. Ugh. Can’t even explain.

A few days went by. My mom’s boyfriend (still ew) came with his vac trucks and started sucking out water at 11:30 on the Sunday night and he then his team must have went 40+ hours on their own helping us get back home. It was amazing. No one told him to come and do this. No one even really came and thanked him, or spoke to him from a condo management level.  The residents of Wedgewoods were phenomenal. Filled him up with cases and cases of beer, more and more food. It was pretty cool to see. But, nothing from our supposed leaders.  Beforehand, I tried to register him as a volunteer and no one would reply, or get back to me. Understandable that they were likely completely swamped with other areas.  But, our condo building kind of became lost in the shuffle for a few days.  Thankfully Alan and his team came out to do what they did.  And, still they’ve received no recognition.  All the updates from the alderman, condo board, and property managers say it was the group they hired to remove the water.  No. It wasn’t. But, anyway. Thank you Alan & RVI Vac Trucks.

A few days turned into a few more days and we still had no place to really go, and no answers. We snuck a few nights into our condo anyway. Despite no water nor power. We just had nowhere to go. Hotels were completely booked. Finally we got into one. They had ONE room left for ONE night. The disability room. Almost felt bad taking it… But, we had no choice.  Then, finally a friend of mine and his dad were beyond gracious enough to let us stay at their condo for the time he was gone on holidays till we left on our own.  10 days or so.  Man, oh Man was this heroic move in our journey from someone. So we hauled all our stuff down 4 stories and moved up another 4 into another condo for the next 10+ days. Started over buying groceries, as we had to completely scratch our fridge contents.

So many things happened over those next 10 days.  We had finally felt somewhat stable again.  I became angry & resentful towards Calgary and those trying to help. The mayor. The alderman. The workers. The property management. The condo board. I felt like we were completely forgotten about. We got very scarce updates. We had few questions answered. And, when I did challenge them on facebook where we were directed too… My comments, though never abrasive, foul or anything of the like were deleted, without answer. I was blocked.  This just further enraged me.  But, after being told at a high rise meeting couple weeks later it would be minimum 2 months till we got home.  I gave it up.  There was no point wasting my time & energy anymore trying to blame someone. It wasn’t anyone’s fault that this was happening. Could some people have communicated a little bit better? Probably. But such is life. It didn’t make sense for me to waste 2 months of energy trying to criticize those who were of higher power.

I left it alone. I accepted it. It was an amazing feeling actually. Typically, I am just unable to let things slide and accept it for what it is. But this I did. And, I was fine with it.  The 2 weeks prior I felt probably every emotion possible.  From arrogance too complete anger too just sadness, disappointment and frustration. Exhaustion.

After I finally accepted what was happening for what it was and there was little I was going to do to fix anything.  I was happy. I could go about my day. Still to this day… I wonder why I can’t just do this with my fucking self all the time and the things going on inside my damn head.  But anyway.

It was so nice to have a place to stay. A place to wake up in the same bed, brush your teeth with real tap water instead of a co-op bottle, and then turn the lights on.  You really take these things for granted in your own home.  Bottle water to brush your teeth and the flashlight app to find your way is no way to live.  It was just amazing having a stable place to rest our heads for the week and a bit till we left on our own holidays.  Thank you so much Hayduk family.

After staying there for a couple weeks.  Amanda & I were off on our own holidays.  Perfect timing. Just as the third week of our displacement started. We were gone to Abbotsford-Victoria-Seattle-Vancouver-Penticton for 10 days. What an absolutely amazing trip.  As this blog is already some kind of length. I’ll save this recap for another day. But, what a trip and what timing.

A couple days in, We were in Victoria.  I was saying goodnight to my grandma and had an email come in from our property management company stating we had gained conditional acceptance to our place.  Though, it was as most reports very vague. Very vague. In a couple days, more emails came and we were told we had a place to go home with water/power and air quality was restored despite no parkades & no elevators for some time.  Fine with me.

We could go home when we got home. What a relief. It was almost too good to be true, and I didn’t believe it. I mean, I had accepted 2 months. In my mind we were 2 months. Minimum. And I had accepted that.  And, parts of me think. In my own world. I just needed to do that. I needed to accept it for what it was. And then in a couple weeks. We were back. A nasty lesson from Mother Nature & her friends. But one I have forever learned.

By the time our holidays were done. We returned home on the 31st day of having no home. 31 days. 13 beds during our time being displaced (plus a bit of holidays ya ya) and when we got home I immediately moved everything in my truck back up the stairs. It was a horrible workout to have at 11:30 pm.  We were home. Amanda turned on the breakers, and we flicked on the lights and boom. We were back.  Her & I celebrated like we had just won the Stanley Cup in Overtime.  And, let me tell you.  It was easily one of the single most joyous moments of my entire life.  We had home. We were back. 31 days. & I was finally able to sleep in my own bed.

You really take for granted your own home.  I know now that I did. Just the little things. The smell. The comfort. Then, when it’s all ripped away from you.  It hurts. I’ll never be able to explain to you what it’s like to lose your sense of home unless you’ve truly experienced it.  But, it was hard.

I always laugh at these cheesy adages… But, now having been homeless for 31 days and unsure of any return time for much of it.

Home truly is where the heart is.

In 31 days of being flooded and being displaced. I learned so much more about myself. I think I grew up ten-fold in just those 31 days. Another traumatic life experience for me to learn some more from!                                                      I’m good for a while I think

But actually… I learned to accept things. This whole flood started with me being completely arrogant on the eve of. Making fun of people, till the joke was really on us.  In between I felt every single emotion one could possibly feel, and in only a couple long weeks.  Above all, I learned to accept things. Life isn’t always going to be the way I want it. I can’t control everything, especially the stuff around me that is out of my control.  My depression, I can try and control it.  Sometimes I think I do. Sometimes I think I have accepted that I may suffer from these things in my head forever.  But, other times.  I don’t think I have accepted that and I completely break down.  But this though is different.  The feeling of just accepting what was for what is was amazing.  The change for me emotionally that occurred after that, was unbelievable. It’s almost weird, funny maybe looking back at that single moment when I just said… You know what? 2 months. Fuck it. What am I going to do? I need to waste more time and energy on being there for my family, and finding options for us. Not trying to blame the aldermen. It changed me. It changed my entire experience. It’s the first time I have ever truly accepted something like that.

It was a nasty, nasty lesson to learn from Mother Nature. Though, one I needed.  Maybe in my own world, and my individual perspective, it’s her joke on me now after I called her bluff every time she stormed on us before and never quite took the lady serious.

Now Please.

On behalf of my city, the surrounding towns and myself. 

I’d like to call a truce. 

Please… No More. 

In Closing:

As terrible as my 31 days were, and my story in Discovery Ridge along with the experiences we went through and will continue to go through as we restore normalcy around here.  Still we live in a construction site, and need to sign in/sign out every time we go. 1500+ people have no parking so in a tiny community like so you can just imagine that problem.  Plus, no elevators makes things challenging and exhausting at times, especially on grocery day. 

However, the flood was much, much worse in others areas and affected so many more people. People lost family members. People completely lost their homes, their vehicles, and belongings.  We consider ourselves lucky at the end of the day.

 

If you haven’t already, or would like too, please donate anything you can to the Red Cross Flood Relief.  Trust me.  It will go a long way.

 

Thanks!

 http://www.redcross.ca/donate/donate-online/donate-to-the-alberta-floods