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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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.

The Significance of Music & My Hall of Fame List

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After writing a rather difficult entry tonight “Praying for Newtown & Mankind”  I thought I’d go in a different direction to cap off a rather good night.  I’ve wanted to put together a blog entry on the value music has on me.  But, I just have never really got around too it, for a multitude of reasons.  A) I’ve meant to write about it, but I go in 14 different directions. B) I am in the midst of a struggling 2014-15 season with the Edmonton Oilers in NHL 13.  Major Stanley Cup hangover.  I guess it even happens in video games.  Damnit.  But, before I get going on my frustrations with there, and it begins with my goaltending.  Pathetic.  Haha.  Ok, Music.

Music is, and always has been something that has been of significant sentimental value to me.  I don’t go anywhere often without listening too it.  Work, Working out, driving, gaming, even writing in this blog!  It often is inspiring and gets me in that mood so i can become an absolute wordsmith (kidding)  I have been fortunate enough as well, to have been raised around good music.  While, I may not have known it then.  I certainly appreciate the hockey road trips too and from Cold Lake, Lloydminster, Spruce Grove or wherever the hell else we were going where my mom would blast what I thought to be shit at the time.  Elton John, Alanis, The Hip, Paul Simon, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan… even Matthew Good, though I always liked him when I was younger, I could never admit that I liked music Mudder liked.  Now, much of the music I listen too now, is much of the same I had to listen too then.  Thankfully, her music tastes wore onto me.  Music is something that I am so passionate about, that I simply can not handle shitty music.  There is no quicker trigger to me being more fucking miserable then having to hear a shitty song.  Basically anything by Pitbull, or any other song where you only need to hear half of it while it comes on the radio station at the mall…  And while it is muffled and quiet, you still know every word next time the song comes on the radio…1 hour later.  Too me, good music is not that.  This is why when Amanda and I drive anywhere, I drive.  For the simple reason that, I can control the music.  No one else.  No one dare messes with my stereo controls!  It’s a bad habit, and selfish habit.  But, I get so easily annoyed, and frustrated when someone is playing horrible music around me.  I am sorry, but a song about the DJ pumping you up at the club… That isn’t music.  It’s a bunch of shitty noise.  Good music is well-written, it’s clever, it’s resonating, plus it sounds good.    Music that you need to listen too a few times to maybe understand what it means.  Music that is just well put together, as a whole.  Thats good music.  Something that sounds good, and lyrics that keep you involved, and every time you listen to the song, you pick up on something else, or it triggers something for you.  These are the songs that mom and my sister used to play when I was 11, 12 years old and I hated them because they maybe didn’t sound cool back then, or because the artist wore purple glasses with star lenses.   Now, I appreciate that.  Thankfully I grew up.  A little bit.

Another reason for my extreme passion in song, is just the sentimental value it holds.  It was something that was a huge part of my sister’s life.  She loved music.  She was always playing it.  and while, I was younger, I would pretty well listen to whatever it was she listened too, because I thought it was cool & hip.  She just had such a wide-range of taste in music.  Taught me too really open up my tastes in music, which I never could in the past. I used to be a 1-2 genre kind of person.  Now, if you were to ask me what I like, I would ask you first what kind of mood do you want me to answer for, because it changes.  I can be listening to Garth Brooks one morning, too anything by Maynard Keenan by the afternoon, and then 2pac in the evening.  I never used too be able to do this, I would never open up too it.  I think it’s something that my sister really taught me, and I sincerely appreciate.

Music is something that is extremely important too me, it is at times inspiring, sentimental and therapeutic for me.  But, if you ever want too see my lose my shit.  As I said, Turn on Amp 90.3, or any station of the like.  I will instantly turn from the happiest fellow, to the worst.   This truly is the only thing that can, and will make me the grumpiest man on the planet at the push of the seek button.  I think a lot of people could vouch for this.  I just turn miserable, grouchy and gutless.  What can I say.  I hate shitty noise, and that’s what it is!  While, there is “bad music” that I do like.  And, I recognize that it is bad, but I don’t mind it.  It’s typically short term.  Ie.  Nickelback, Drake, the odd techno-house-dubstep…. whatever it is called music.  I do like some of that stuff, but it’s more of “in-the-moment” thing, and it certainly doesn’t hold any sentimental value for me.

So, in conclusion.  I thought I would create a list of some of my favorite all time songs.  These are some MY all time favorite songs.  I don’t give a rats ass if you like them or not, or where they are on your list.  Because, we are not the same.  These songs qualify  for my list, because they are songs I heard many moons ago, and I still listen too them regularly today.  This too me, is how you qualify a “favorite song”  Favorite songs take time.  A song that came out this summer, has not been out long enough to qualify as a favorite.  If I still listen to it in 4 years… Then, we call it.  It’s like getting into the Hockey Hall of Fame.  Dirt Road Anthem is certainly waiting!  Additionally, they are songs that just mean something too me.  Whether, its a lyric, or a sound that brings a special moment too mind.  And, most of these songs…  Are songs I was introduced too by mostly my mom and sister.  (Sorry Dad… but, I just don’t care much for AC/DC & Jerky Boys) Although, Garth certainly came from you!  Thanks old man.  And maybe Kickstart my Heart. Which, makes the hall.

In no particular order.

  1. Drinking in LA – Bran Van 3000
  2. Yellow Ledbetter – Pearl Jam
  3. Round Here – Counting Crows
  4. Wild Horses – Rolling Stones
  5. Outside – Aaron Lewis
  6. Hello Time Bomb – Matthew Good Band
  7. Kickstart My Heart – Motley Crue
  8. Smells like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
  9. Ironic – Alanis Morrisette
  10. Suburbia – Matthew Good Band
  11. Nautical Disaster – The Tragically Hip
  12. Tiny Dancer – Elton John
  13. Bennie & the Jets – Elton John
  14. Bobcaygeon – The Tragically Hip
  15. The Dance – Garth Brooks
  16. Rodeo – Garth Brooks
  17. Silver Jet – The Tragically Hip
  18. Fiddlers Green – The Tragically Hip
  19. Judith – A Perfect Circle
  20. You Oughta Know – Alanis Morrisette
  21. The Fall of Man – Matthew Good Band
  22. Champions of Nothing – Matthew Good
  23. ….  Just add basically any Matthew Good song to this list.  I will just say that instead of adding them.
  24. Jesus Christ – Brand New
  25. Everything You Want – Vertical Horizon
  26. If You’ll be my Bodyguard – Paul Simon
  27. Inside Out – Eve 6
  28. Suburbia – Matthew Good Band (Had to acknowledge this song – Was one of Jens favs)
  29. First TIme – Finger Eleven
  30. Hey Jealously – Gin Blossoms
  31. Unwell – Matchbox 20
  32. Lightning Crashes – Live
  33. Fast Car – Tracy Chapman
  34. 46 & 2 – Tool
  35. And, about 35 more Tragically Hip songs!

That’s my elongated list of my favorite songs.  You might not like some of the listed songs, and may argue, but, thats why it is my list, and your opinion is completely irrelevant.  However, by definition of “good music” I am confident, not a single song listed could be argued.  Sooo. Pound sand.

Thank you too my mom, my sister and my dad for bringing me up around good sounds!

….  Brody, I will teach you soon!