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.

Early Loser Moment of 2013

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Further & Further into the Unknown

Flight Recorder from Viking 7

Well, Happy New Year to all.  So far 2013 has been rocking.  I have seen already crossed path with more celebrities then I have in any years previous…combined.  That been cool.  Maybe it is some kind of foreshadowing sign of my coming fame! I also enjoyed a few dark chocolate chunk cookies from Cookies By George.  Pretty Cool.  Anyone remember the first thing they ate in 2012? No. Probably not.  I don’t.  Hope everyone enjoyed a safe, and happy new year and concluded the holiday season with smiles, friends & families.

As I sit here on this Air Canada Airbus – En route to Hawaii for my annual vacation, and to start off this new calendar year.  Tough, I know.  I already told you. It’s been rocking!  As I was, I sit here, and first of all, I am absolutely freezing to death, and am puzzled as to why there can’t be even the slightest little bit of heat coming from this plane. I also sit here, thoroughly annoyed of the person who continually rifles off his “I need help right this second” beeper/light.  Whatever it is.  I have never in my life rang it, as I have always been patient, and trusting enough that the flight attendants will make there rounds in due time, and I will get whatever it is I need.  Though, maybe I should ring and get a blanket.  Nah, I don’t want to inconvenience anyone.  I’ll freeze. Some other people though. Clearly not. K seriously. The same guy has since rang it 5 times in the time it took me to type those few lines. I am starting to think it might just be an annoying child…  In a grown ups body.  I feel sorry for these flight attendants, I certainly could not deal with those people.  Actually, I could.  Here is how.  First, I would scan the situation, see if there is any need for first aid.  Hopefully there isn’t.  Then I would continually walk by the impatient prick, but in the opposite aisle (yes, big plane) and then, I would just continually antagonize the impatient murphy till he gave it a rest.  Kind of like my belief on crying babies.  Lock them in a room, and let em’ cry themselves to sleep.  Don’t worry. I am not a parent. Nor have any plans to ever become one. This is just how I deal with my brothers, Brody & Kyle.  13 & 21 respectively.  Still. Lock the babies in a room, they’ll cry themselves to sleep.   Haha.  Kidding bro’s!  Kind of.  Also, as I sit here on this plane.  I truly think I have the best seat on the entire air bus. Well, second.  Whoever the third person in the seat next to Dallas Green, and Leah Miller…  They might be the luckiest.  But, in terms of space.  I am right in the middle of the machine, and have a pair of seats to myself, with the window.  Across the small aisle is 3 seats, and only one person is in that! I debated whether or not she had the best seat, because she has 3 seats to herself, but then I looked out the window and saw the plane wing, and decided when we are landing in Maui, I will have the best seats as I check out the views.  She will… uhh, check me out while I check out the views.  Boom.   But yes, if you are still wondering about what I just briefly mentioned.  Dallas Green is about 25 rows ahead of me with his lovely looking wife, Leah.  Of course they flew fancy class, Which is cool. If I could, I would.  This is a long flight.  Fortunately, I got seats to my self.  But, seeing those 2 on this plane… Makes me wonder, Surely they have enough money between the two of them they are able to fly on there own, privately to Maui. Or, surely they have friends who can hook them up… Etc.  So, I am slightly puzzled as too why they choose charter.  I know nothing about flying private, so I don’t want to create much of an argument.  So, I will settle for the answer that I presume is the truth, they are flying charter, cause they just want to be normal.  Good for them. Good humble, Canadian kids.  Why can’t the rest be like the best.  Oh, also on this flight.  Mr. Mayor; Naheed Nenshi.  Not sure where he is sitting.  But, the man is somewhere on here. Just a plane of celebrities.  Dallas Green, Leah Miller, Naheed Nenshi……. Me; The Kid.

It was actually quite funny, I am about a big a fan of airports, as I am the Calgary Flames.  I absolutely hate airports. (And, the flames) Few things in life can stress me out like that of an airport.  And, I am not entirely sure why.  I have never really had any scares.  I am always organized, though in my own unique way.  I am always on time and prepared, and I have been on about 200 airplanes, so I know and understand the process.  But, still, it get’s to me.  Going through security, going through customs.  Holy piss.  What a stresser.  Once I get through customs, and security, which almost never do I beep; I am completely relieved.  Feel completely lighter, and relaxed. Then the vacation is on.  The reason I never am excited for vacations, is because I haven’t gone through security yet. Once I get through.  Party On Wayne!!!  Haha.  So, yes. I am walking to my gate, I always go there first just to see where I am going, so I am prepared, then I typically, enjoy a beer, a sandwich, or whatever, Starbucks.  This time, I walk into my boarding room, and I see Mr. Mayor Naheed Nenshi.  I know very, very little about him, and politics in general.  Other than he used to be a professor at MRU, while I was student, and of course, he is the Mayor of the city I live in, which, in itself, should be enough to make me have some interest in it.  But, no.  Though, Of any political figure, I do quite like Nenshi.  He has gone with the times, and is very social, personable, and I love how he utilizes social media.  I do appreciate that.  Being personable is a lost quality for people in positions of power.  However, Nenshi has stuck with it, and is always interacting with us Calgarians.  To me, that’s top notch, and he’ll continue to get my votes.  Any-who.  I was so excited that I saw the Mayor, even though, I have seen him around Calgary a few other times, including the Malcolm Gladwell show.  He’s probably the most famous person I have seen just chilling, other than maybe seeing the rock band P.O.D at LAX 10 years ago.  But, instead of going to talk to the man, and say hi.  I, a victim of this generation, decide to tweet him!  “Hey, @nenshi, have a good flight! I see you in the boarding room, got time for a beer?”  Yes. Creepy, I know.  I tweeted this, while he was maybe 15 seats away from me.  Haha.  Thinking I wouldn’t get a reply, within moments I have a reply.  “No beer for me, but please come and say hi!”  Oh shit.  Now what.  That was unexpected.  A logical person, would have, went and introduced themselves, and said hello.  But, then between thinking, I don’t really want to be that guy, and what would we talk about, I got all flustered and took a different seat.  A bigger, more luxurious seat, and began trying to collect myself.  Well, here comes the fucking knuckled! Sweet Bell Peppers.  Amidst, trying to collect my shit, and stop acting like a 11 year old girl who just saw Justin Bieber. I am buried nose deep into my phone, as per usual, and then, oh man, you know when you just feel someone looking at you,  Yea, I did.  So, I look up, and sweet crocodile rock, It’s fucking Dallas Green & his wife Leah Miller.  I am pretty sure, we made extremely awkward eye contact.  As I can guarantee as I saw them, I burnt a hole staring through them.  So, my loser moment of the year…took… all of 15 hours to happen.  Good one kid.  So, As I am trying to collect myself from being star struck by the Calgary Mayor, one of my favourite musicians; Dallas Green walks by.  Wow, the guy is beeping his “Help me” light again, constantly.  STOP IT. Anyways. I am a huge Dallas Green fan, I love City & Colour, right from his first album. I also enjoyed his band, or former now I suppose; Alexisonfire.  Especially their later stuff, where he had a much bigger hand in the vocals.  My sister was also a fan of Dallas Green, which adds sentimental value for me.  Also, I can remember when Leah Miller was a MM VJ, and I was just in love with her.  So, seeing these two, was pretty cool.  I never knew really if I would ever be a star-struck kind of person, cause I have never really had to find out.  Like I said, I haven’t seen many famous people, and the ones I have seen, I couldn’t care all that much about.  Until, now seeing someone that I do truly appreciate. Yep. I was starstruck.  I think I texted & tweeted everyone I knew, while, I stared at the two of them for ohh, I dunno, the next hour? Haha. Many times, I had to tell myself, deep breaths, they are only people bud. All the while, amongst this, I completely forgot about the mayor, who I was trying to collect myself so I could introduce myself.  I was fixated on the Greens. But then too, I wouldn’t talk to them, again, not wanting to be “that guy”.  Meanwhile, though, I tweeted something about having just seen him, and mentioned @cityandcolour, and then my girlfriend tweeted me, mentioning both him and I.  And, while I was still completely staring at them, He was on his phone quite a bit, and I wonder if he saw those string of tweets… And, thought, What the fuck. Haha.  The poor guy. Sorry. Awkward. So, yes.  Apparently I do get star struck, or at least did that time.  It completely threw me off guard! Not fair.  Oh, and then I instantly changed my iPod “Now Playing” playlist to that of City & Colour.  Haha. Loooooooosssser.

I will most likely get off this plane as fast as I possibly can, and will try and find a spot next to them at baggage claim, and again, not say a word, but just blatantly stare at them.

As I mentioned, Definitely my loser moment of 2013 already.  I don’t think I could surpass this in the next 300 & some days, even if I tried.  Maybe at some point in the next 4.5 hours of this flight, I will go up there and ask him if he wants the bag of peanuts I got.  I don’t know, maybe they don’t get those snacks in first class, and all the guy wants is a normal dudes baggy of salted airplane peanuts.  (I think I just surpassed my loser moment already)

I don’t even remember Jan 1/2012.  Jan 1/2013 has already been an absolutely hilarious, fun day.  Though it is only 7pm. Or, wait. No. I am somewhere in the air, so I have no clue of the time. But, lets hope today really is a sign of things to come for the new calendar year.

Happy New Year everyone, I hope the new year does bring you everything, or almost everything that you wish, and pray for, and most of all, I hope it brings you health, happiness and laughter.   Because, I know the entire world could use just a little bit more of each.

Thanks for reading goneawayboys

– Check me out on Twitter for a lighter, sharper, wittier, comical, arguing me! @BlairLystang