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.

Please… Have a Very, Very Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays – From… The Rest of Us.

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Today…  My heart feels a little heavier, my stomach feels a little more knotted, and today I’ll battle and push just a little harder. 

Today, used to be the day I waited 364 other days for, I’d lose sleep week’s in advance anxiously awaiting today.  I’d stay up late and shake the presents trying to guess what I got for Christmas; I’d stay up late just to try and hang with the adults, trying to be cool, as if they were the barometer of “cool” Today, I’d try do all I could to exhaust myself so tomorrow would come faster. Part of it, I am sure, and I hope is simply growing up, and the fact that I am not 11, or 12 anymore.  But, the other part of it…  Well, life has his own rhyme and reason, I just haven’t quite figure out what it is, just yet.

Today is Wednesday, December 25, 2013.  That is all.  I no longer anxiously await waking up today, I no longer rip down the stairs, I no longer subtly make as much noise as I can so my mom, and Jen get their asses out of bed so we can all be together, and open gifts.  NoToday, I woke up at 8:23 am, rolled over, threw on jeans, a hoody and took out the dogs, then I made a coffee, heavily laced with Baileys as if it were going to knock me back out.  It didn’t, so I proceeded to watch TSN.  No need to subtly make as much noise as I can to wake the household anymore.  It didn’t matter.  Today, I woke up and it was Wednesday, December 25, 2013.  That was all.  I did nothing different than I did on Wednesday December 18th, or 11th, and I certainly won’t do much different on Tuesday, December 31stToday, is just Wednesday.

Still, Today, fortunately I was able to spend all of today with the one’s I love, the one’s I go to sleep with at night, and the one’s I am lucky to wake up beside every morning.  Amanda, Kona and our seasonal dog; Krimson. I wake up next to this trio every day, and I consider being one of the luckiest, today was no different just because of what today is supposed to be.    I was still fortunate enough to have so many great friends and family who sent their best to me today, and wished me a Merry Christmas, knowingly, or unknowingly of today’s difficulty, the salutations were much appreciated.  I was still fortunate enough to partake in the tradition of Christmas Day gifts, as Amanda and I exchanged gifts, hugs, and kisses, and it was special.

But today, our family remains split, and divided, we continue running, and hurting.  In Edmonton, In Calgary, In Victoria, In Vegreville, In Mayerthorpe you will find us.  We try our absolute damnedest to avoid today, to get around it, to ignore that today is Christmas Day.  We try so hard to run from it, we convince ourselves it’s just Wednesday, December 25, 2013, or at the very least we do a damn good job of pretending.  You eventually become so numb to it all, that faking it is no longer really faking it.  It becomes real.  We try so hard to run from it, that we separate ourselves, and we draw further from each other, further from each other, and further from ourselves.

There was no real effort on anyone’s behalf to get everyone together, and celebrate in a unified place today.  I tried to justify 300 KMs as an excuse to why I couldn’t be with everyone. Before we moved to Mahogany it would take me a day and a half just to accumulate 300 KMs.  But, today I couldn’t do it just to be with family.  Deep down, I think I know I want to just try and replace this sorrow, and misery with a bit of normalcy, as much as we can, or at least as much as we ever will.  The only way to probably do that is to be in one place, with everyone and relish Christmas Day, to just fucking do it.  Even if we are forever without one, we are always going to be, but are we going to run forever? … Probably.

I do not mean to drag you down today if you are reading this in-between whatever it is you do on days like today, I do not mean to search for sympathy, and it certainly is not my intention to in any way steal Christmas spirits from you if you are reading.  Merely,  I am once again writing what I am completely incapable of speaking, and sharing verbally, to those who matter most.  Though we likely are all feeling the exact same In Edmonton, In Calgary, In Victoria, In Vegreville and in Mayerthorpe, but we leave the elephant to dance in the room.

Though, if there is anything I can do… though, this may be cheesy, is I will tell you this, and hell do I ever mean it…. Just enjoy today.  Celebrate, and be merry today, for what today is, and for what today is meant to be; Christmas Day.  Do not take today, and the moments that come with it for granted, not for a single second.  Enjoy it all. Soak it all in.

Stop for a second, look around and appreciate what’s around you, even if it is the in-laws, and cousins of their cousins.  Wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, even if you just did, and even if it’s the forty-second time you’ve said “Merry Christmas” today. Mean it more than the last.  Look around again, and tell them you love them, say thank you, and be sincere.

Hold your friends and family a little tighter when you hug them, laugh a little louder today, smile for a little bit longer today, even if it is black socks you just unwrapped out of that gigantic box that you thought for sure was a PS4.  Don’t miss the point.  The point is celebration, the point is togetherness, and the point is family.  For one day, today will just be another day of the week for you, though I hope not for many, many decades, the fact is life can be unruly, cruel, and even more life is unknowing, it can change, it can change instantly, and drastically when you least expect it, and when you’re least prepared.  So let today be very merry, and please, for sake of us who cannot share the same merriness and cheer anymore.   For those of us who are just amidst their 51st Wednesday of the year, Please, and damnit do I mean it when I say this…  Please, Enjoy the living hell out of today. Don’t let it just be Wednesday, December 25, 2013.

Let it be Christmas…  Even if all you got was reindeer pyjamas and black socks.  One day those might be all you have left from today.

God Bless you, Thank you so much for reading. 

Merry Christmas, and please have one hell of a holiday. 

Blair

Crazy to want this, even for a while.

 

Starting Over – My First Christmas

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Starting Over – My First Christmas

A lot has gone since we last spoke on this blog, Amanda and I moved out of Discovery Ridge early in December and into a brand new house in Mahogany.  We’ve been here a few weeks now, and are slowly beginning to get settled in, we have a few more boxes of I don’t even know what left to sort through, but we’ll get there.  The home is beautiful, I couldn’t be happier with it.  We have a lot of work to do in the spring with the yard, a deck and a fence but I am looking forward to all of that.  One of my favorite things about the new house is the office space/2nd spare bedroom upstairs, it’s the one space in the home I am allowed full control of, and I love it!  For those who have read this blog in the past, you know that writing for me is sort of like a ritual, I need music, I need dim lights, I need incense, I need a lot of stars to align to be creative. In a one-bedroom condo, it was difficult to do all of that without being a nuance to someone else.  Now, with the extra space, I am able to get away and do my writing pow-wow more often.  It sounds stupid, but the new home has been much more conducive to my writing.      …I hope I just used that word properly; “conducive” has become my favorite word lately.  My mom will let me know if I used that incorrectly I am sure, haha.

I hope everyone is prepared, and excited for the holidays coming up in a couple of days.  I am a little bit of everything, excited, scared, nervous, sad, the whole works… once again.  Springtime, leading up to the anniversary of Jen’s passing, and December are usually the hardest times of the year for myself, and my family.  This will be our sixth Christmas, and New Year’s without her, and it will be my first real Christmas without Jen.  Scratch that.  Now that I write it out.  I’m petrified.  The year Jen passed away, my mom, Brody and I set out to Cuba last minute, I believe we left Christmas day.  It was the best thing we could have done, cause I didn’t have to see Christmas really at all.  We flew home on New Years day.  Again, it was great cause I didn’t have to see traditional new years back at home.  Years since I’ve been in Hawaii, with Amanda and her family, and last year with both of ours.   That was also great, because you were completely distracted from the holidays here at home.  If we flew out on Xmas day, Terrific, I missed it all again.  If we didn’t, well, it wasn’t as bad cause you were usually so busy preparing for a 2-week trip to Hawaii that you didn’t really notice it as much.  And, in Hawaii, sure we still celebrated Christmas, we had dinner, exchanged gifts, said Merry Christmas.  But we did so in our shorts and flip flops, in 28 degree weather, at a Hawaiian pub.  It wasn’t real.  The people around were doing the same thing, nothing really changed.  It was wake up, coffee, newspaper, breakfast, and beach and then onto some activity, everyone did the same thing there, you never really saw Christmas, so to me it wasn’t really Christmas, it didn’t feel like it at all, new years the same thing.  I was able to avoid it, year after year, and I truly felt as I woke up on January 3rd, or 4th, after the dust had settled, I felt like I had won.  I beat the holidays.  The 3-4 weeks before the holidays, just like the 3-4 weeks before May 7th, you work yourself up so much wondering what it’s going to be like, that you almost psyche yourself out, and that becomes the most difficult part.  When it’s over, and you’re still breathing, you’re still alive… you feel like you’ve won, like you just beat someone in a battle that took nearly a month.  You came out on top.  Christmas and New Years has always been the same thing, Usually around Jan. 3, Jan 4 once it’s all done, I don’t feel like I have to hide from the holidays anymore, I realize that I survived, and maybe, just maybe it wasn’t all that bad.  I feel completely victorious, as you would after winning an exhausting battle, even though the battle is with yourself.

Amanda always calls me the Grinch, jokingly because I am so anti-holidays.  The truth is, I do hate them.  Absolutely.  You would too.  You would hate any time of the year that is as difficult for me as the Christmas holidays, and the spring.  We used to always spend every Christmas together, whether in Victoria, or Vegreville.  Our families would be together, and it was awesome.  Christmas was always one of the few times a year I would be able to see my sister when she lived in Victoria.  I looked forward to Christmas so much.  I can remember our last Christmas break together vividly.  We were going to Joey’s in Sherwood Park for dinner, my mom, my brother, Jen, Abbey and myself.  We were meeting my aunt and uncle for dinner.  I can remember the entire drive to Sherwood Park, I remember the conversations, I remember what everyone was wearing, I remember the weather, I even remember the damn road conditions, I remember bits and pieces of the dinner conversation.  I remember exactly where we sat in Joey’s.  The exact table, and I remember where everyone sat.  What I don’t remember, was really ever saying Happy Holidays to anyone, or saying goodbye to my sister.  I had no idea that would be our last Christmas, I had no idea that would be the last time I would ever have the opportunity to hug my sister.  I had no idea.  It was.  I’ll never go to that Joey’s again.

This is why I hate the holidays.  I’m afraid of them, I want to skip them all together, if not at the very least completely avoid them.  As I mentioned before, I’ve done a bang up job of doing the latter.  But, this year… There is no escaping.  I am here.  I am stuck, I have nowhere to go, I have nothing to distract myself.  I am going to have to finally face the holidays, and it’s already been a struggle.  I can tell since the beginning of December, I’ve just started to become a bit more stand-offish, I’ve been distant, I’ve been tired, not really motivated.  Just feel like you’re in a complete slump.  And it’s not really helping a whole lot at home when we have a tall task of moving going on.  There have been days where I’ve just come home, and I’ve been completely content sitting on the couch with the hockey game on, and doing nothing, saying nothing.  I’m just completely lost in myself, the hockey game is on, but I’m not even watching it.  I want too.  And, I want to help unpack, or organize things, but I just for whatever reason.  I can’t.  A serious case of the holidays blue’s, if you will… I guess.

A few times I’ve drove to work, or to hockey, or to wherever, and I can see Christmas tree’s in the windows of homes, or families building snowmen, or Christmas decorations.  Usually, I’d think that this should make a person happy, excited, or at the least feel good.  For me, it’s as difficult as can be.  Right away I have flashbacks to our Christmas’ together, whether it’s dinner at Joey’s, or we’re all sitting around the tree in Victoria.  Then, I think ahead to what will happen in a week when I am still here, and It’s Christmas, how the hell is that going to go.  Probably not well.  Then, I begin to psyche myself out all over again.

This is why I hate Christmas, Amanda is right.  It’s not because I just don’t like it, it’s because it’s an extremely devastating time of year.  It’s just… hard.

I’ve been thinking for the last month, what the hell am I going to do when the clock strikes 12, and its December 25th.  Now what.  I thought, well, I’ll go somewhere; I’ll go for a drive.  Nope, I can’t do that, because I’ll see it.  I’ll see Christmas, I’ll see families enjoying it, as they damn well should, I just can’t anymore.   I thought, maybe I’ll just hang out, and just write all day, and watch movies, but then I thought nope, I can’t do that cause I’ll put myself right back into that slumping feeling where I am incapable of doing anything else.  I thought, well, I’ll just sleep, I’ll just play xBox, I’ll go skate at the outdoor rink… I have no fucking idea.  I have no idea what I am going to do.  I thought maybe, I’d drive to Vegreville for the day, and just spend the day with my family there… But, nope, that’s far away.  Really, I just tried to avoid Christmas with the family because of 350 Kms?  … This is how far I am starting to go to try and avoid the whole thing.  I don’t want to leave Amanda at home by herself all day on Xmas day, and I certainly don’t think I want the hoopla of Christmas.

I don’t want to take Christmas away from anyone else.  I believe it’s something every family should celebrate if you can, like I said, it was my favorite time of the year. I’ve just lost that now, and I try myself to keep it all to myself without effecting those around me, in my “Grinch” ways.  Like, Amanda for instance.  She loves Christmas, and I want her too.  She want’s to do the gifts, and the decorations, and everything else, which I great but I just don’t.   But, I keep it to myself.

So this year, Christmas for us will be on Boxing day.  We are going to celebrate it, just a day late.  I laughed at that kind of, thought that’s Jen’s way of compromising with me.  Telling me, Kid, you gotta go through this, but I’ll throw you a bone.  Do it on boxing day, not Christmas day.  Have Christmas Day at your own pace.  I don’t know if it’s her compromising with me, or having a laugh, but either way… I am hoping it helps.

On Boxing Day, my mom, niece, and my mom’s boyfriend Alan will come over for dinner, gifts, and… Christmas.  As too will my good friend Geoff, who has been through it all with me from day one of this year never ending grieving process.  I have to admit, In a weird way,  I am kind of looking forward to it.  I am looking forward to Jan 3 more than anything else, and the days to come after.  This entire blog, I shared with my counsellor, told her why Christmas is so difficult.  She mentioned that maybe this is one of the last steps in my grieving process, and the last barricade of an extremely challenging year.   Christmas was always such a special time for me, then I lost that, then I avoided every one of them.  Now this year, I have nowhere to go, but I’ve had all the years in-between to grieve, and to prepare.  I can’t hide from Christmas forever, so maybe this year, is the year I go through it, and I become victorious on Jan 3 when it’s all over, and from there it’s uphill, Christmas is the last thing I need to conquer.

Maybe I am just being too much of an optimist these days… but this year has not really been conducive to my life.

Bring it on holidays, I guess.

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Wow.  What a couple of days.  I don’t even know where to begin, other than once again I am truly disappointed in mankind, and our society.  After, yet, another devastating, senseless tragedy.   Yet, another.  That’s sickening.  28 people dead in a small USA town, and we say yet again.  Brutal.  But, true.

First, I would like to pass along my utmost best for all of the victims, and their families, friends, and neighbors.  I can not imagine the unbelievable grief you are going through right now, I just can’t imagine.  There are no words to really alleviate any of the pain you are feeling either.  But know, I do, and will continue to pray for you, and pray for mankind.  Because, it clearly is in dire need.

Since this tragedy has occurred, it has left me feeling in absolute shock, disbelief and more than anything left me just confused and disappointed.  Those of you that know me well enough, know that the lone soft-spot in my heart is for young children.  I hate seeing them hurt.  Even if it is as trivial as them crying it breaks my heart.  Even in movies, and TV shows, if the youngster is being hurt, or something bad is happening.  Instantly I am devastated.  This is part of the problem with Criminal Minds.  I don’t know why they can’t leave the damn kids alone.  I can’t put a finger on why I am like this. I just am. Maybe its because growing up, my brother was a youngster, as he is 10 years my junior.  And, I couldn’t then, and still can not imagine anything bad happening to him. Even now that he is 13.  Same with my niece Abbey.  And, any other young child.  Maybe it’s because they are just so harmless, carefree and defenseless. Nothing bad SHOULD ever happen to them.  Especially at the hands of an adult.  It’s sickening that stuff ever does happen.  This is why I think this mass shooting has left me more upset, and disappointed than any of the previous.  And, after the other shootings, I felt the same way.  Just sickened, confused, frustrated and upset. But, this one.  How someone could be capable too hurt so many young children. I just can’t understand it.  I have tried to put my finger on it the last few days, and I just can’t.  I can’t understand why anyone would shoot up a high school, a movie theatre, a temple, a mall, a coffee shop, a university.  These are all places where we should feel safe, and free.  Not where we need to worry about our fucking safety, or lives for that matter.  But that is changing, and changing quickly.  After trying to understand these recent events, I simply just could not.  Gun control, yes.  I agree something needs to be done.  But, is it simply just gun control.  I don’t think so.  If Obama constructs, and passes some kind of law restricting gun control..  Would these tragedies come to a complete halt?  Hmm.  While, I think that this would drastically help, and I think it needs to be done ASAP.  No. I don’t think it would bring these events to a halt.  These gunman are absolutely deranged, and gone from reality.  They’re going to find ways to acquire weapons to enable them to do these things.  Whether they steal them, or build other means of destruction; bombs.  Or whatever else have you.

One common thing about these mass-gunmen is they are, obviously as I said, completely gone, and deranged.  But, they are incredibly smart people.  At least the reports on Lanza have suggested that, and well, thanks too CNN and ABC, we each could write a 10 page biography on James Holmes.  The kid was pretty bright.  Which, makes this all the scarier.  These guys will find ways.  Adam Lanza was a 20 year old kid.  Now, IMO, without knowing the complete laws and politics of gun control in the USA.  A 20 year old kid simply should not be able to purchase a weapon.  Period. Especially the weapons that Lanza had. What the hell does a 20 year old kid need those kind of weapons for? For hunting dinner? No. For killing people, and mass destruction.  Hmm. Probably.  But, He didn’t purchase these weapons legally, on his own like previous gunmen have.  They were his MOTHERS! Now why in the hell does a single mother living in a house of 4,000 square feet with one child, why the hell does she have these weapons!  To hunt, and find dinner.  Probably not.  She already lives in a massive home, I can’t imagine a wealthy, divorcee is out in the woods daily hunting meals.  But, to protect herself from other potential crazed gunmen.  Probably.  This is completely wrong in itself.  I don’t know if this is the reason she had all these weapons, and I am certainly not blaming her for this.  It is by no means, her fault.  She too was a victim, But, that is just how americans are.  They, themselves have guns, to protect themselves from other people who have guns.  Just don’t have the fucking things in the first place!  I am 23 years old.  I live in a city of >1,000,000 in a rather affluent community, and I would be completely ignorant to think that people don’t shoot other people in my city, or in Canada, because it happens.  Often. But,  Do we have guns?  No. Hell, I have never even in my life shot a damn gun!  Have we done just fine, and lived our lives safely to this point.  You bet.  Have we ever felt the need for a gun. Nope.  Have we had encounters where someone may be trying to break into our house.  Yep.  Have I thought, damn, if only I had a gun! Nope. I didn’t.  Actually, It didn’t even cross my mind.  I do not hunt, and I do not live in fear.  Thus, I do not need a weapon.  Americans.  They either hunt, and have a gun.  Or, they live in fear, and have a gun.  And, to be honest.  How can you blame them for living in fear after all these tragic events have occurred. But,  they are doing it themselves.  And, when the crazed gunman is unable to purchase guns from Wal-Mart, 7-11, or wherever the fuck they get them.  Hey, I’ll take them from my mom.  What. The. Fuck.  Gun Control.  Is it the single solution.  I don’t think it’s the only one.  But, it’s a big player.  And needs to change.  Now.  And, while the NRA nerds will raise their rifles and say guns didn’t kill those children, guns didn’t kill those people in the movie theatre.  They’re clearly gone too.  What did then.  Did the gun grow legs and walk into Sandy Hook.  No.  But, did a crazed, deranged individual know that if he were in control of that rifle, then he could walk into wherever he pleased and kill people.  Yep.  For some reason, no body has gone into these mass killings, and decided to kill people with a knife or a bow & arrow, hell, even his fists.  No.  They’ve done it with guns, Why, because guns fucking kill people!   Wake the fuck up America.  And, I don’t think I am the only canadian who has lived his life this freely without access to a weapon.  I actually don’t know anyone who owns one.  Exception, my old man because he is an avid hunter.  I just don’t get why some of these americans don’t think guns is at all a problem.

I was on twitter I came across an arguement between a few americans after looking through the NRA timeline.  This moron suggested that the teachers should have been armed with guns so they could have killed Lanza, as soon as he walked in with a weapon.  This makes me sick on so many levels.  Again, we blame the victims, and the heros.  Those teachers, and children were heros.

Now, let me rephrase this, and paint a visual in your mind.  This moron thinks that a grade 1 teacher, who teaches in a classroom, likely full of encouraging, cheerful posters, childrens drawings, paintings everywhere, she should be armed with a gun. Say, in her desk. Just in case.  A grade ONE teacher, should be armed with a gun. Just incase a crazed man enters.  A grade ONE teacher. Are you kidding me.  Talk about teaching children in a safe environment.  “Mommy, Mrs. Smith has a gun in her bottom drawer, she says it is just in the event that bad guys come, we’re safe”  No.  This is safe?  How the hell does a 6 year old feel safe in a class like this. How the hell does a parent feel safe sending their child to a class where her teacher is armed!   I don’t think so.  Not too mention, both Holmes and Lanza came equipped full of combat apparel and vests.  Which, is another question in itself.  How does 20 some year old kids get there hands on this kind of gear.  What the hell do they need it for?  Obviously they’re not going to Iraq.  You can be armed all you want.  There are still going to be lives that will be lost.  Teachers being armed, is a disgusting thought, and surely not the answer.  I just couldn’t imagine being a parent, sending my child to class, where there is a glock at arms reach in a drawer.  Fuck me.  Talk about feeling safe.   Actually, you know. Yes, Lets talk about feeling safe.  I already mentioned the different locations recent shootings have occurred.  I think in America, safety may becoming nothing more than a simple illusion.  It doesn’t seem to exist anywhere.  I can remember after the Aurora shooting, I thought how bizarre it was too shoot up a theatre, and then wondering what is it going to take for America going to step up there gun control laws. Not imagining it was even possible, I thought,  Is it going to take a mass shooting at children’s school.  Well..  Fuck.  Now what America.  There it is.  And, again, confirming my thoughts that safety has become nothing but an illusion.  If we can’t drop our 6 year old son/daughter off at grade school.  Where the hell can we drop them off.  Sickening.

But, as I said while, I think gun control is a major player in this issue, I don’t believe it is the only issue.  I think mental health is another. particularly education of, and the rehabilitation of.  Clearly, in order to shoot anyone, I think you need to be completely mentally, and psychologically out of touch.  Let alone to pull off a mass shooting.  I can’t even fathom that.  These individuals are all the same.  They are incredibly brilliant, and incredibly deranged.  After each shooting you read the reports of the suspect, and comments from people who knew them, and you generally hear the exact same thing.  “He was a quiet kid, typically a loner, kept to himself” “He was incredibly bright, but quiet, didn’t fit in with others, bit of an outcast” “There was always something a little bit different, he kept to himself, seemed a bit strange”  Ok.  So we have some common themes here.  Quiet. Smart. Outcast. Different.  Is that now to say that anyone who has these 4 traits is a potential mass killer.  No.  but we all hear the same things.  These kids are similar.  I don’t have any idea what it is that pushes them over that edge and makes them so deranged that they are able to construct a plan and commit to a mass killing.  I have no idea.  I have no answer for that.  I can’t even imagine it.  So, I am not going to pretend like I have an answer on how to spot these kids out of the crowd, or how to deal with them.  Because I have no fucking idea.  Personally, I have mental health issues too. Hell, 25% of us do.  Does that mean 25% of us are capable of pulling off such a horrific event.  Absolutely not.  But, a select few obviously are.  I don’t know any of these kids. I never did.  I don’t know any kids, or people either that I could suspect of doing something like this.  I don’t have any idea what it looks like.   I have no idea.  And, I most certainly am not trying to justify the actions of these people, and writing it off as another kid who was completely insane.  No.  I do believe that these people have all consciously made the decision to do what they have done.  Whatever conscious is for them.   And, absolutely nothing about it, is right.   I don’t think that Holmes, Klebold, Harris, Lanza and the rest of them, decided on the eve of, they were going to wake up and devastate a nation, the world with another tragic, mass shooting.  These are years in the making, at least I would imagine.  My question is, how did no one seen any of it? There had to have been signs.  Is it because we are just completely uneducated, that we don’t know what it looks like, or we don’t know what to do.  If we are better educated about the severity of mental illnesses, maybe these kids receive proper treatment, or are put into some sort of “home” if you will to seek help, and make them… better, I guess.  Or at least bring him closer to reality?  Possibly preventing them from ever being that far gone.   I don’t know.  But, I think as a whole, we need to put more focus on the education of mental health.  It is not a shame to suffer from it, maybe someone did see some signs coming from these crazed individuals years ago, but they didn’t want to say anything because it was their brother, sister, cousin, friend, son or even daughter, and they were embarrassed.  Now, neither am I saying that these events could have maybe then been preventable, because I have no idea.  I can’t speak to that effect.  If I had the answer, trust me, I would do all that I could to ensure that these events never happened, or never would happen again.  But, unfortunately, I do not know, and with the way this world is, I am not that confident either.  But, in going back.  I just think that we can all do a better job within the realms of mental illness.  Be more educated. As I have said in the past, be more educated, and aware.  Then maybe, when we come across a 12 year old boy who has demonstrated signs of a potential mental illness, we can act appropriately, and deal with him/her, instead of turning the other way, and allowing him to fall deeper and deeper into a mental burden to the point, of, who knows.

And finally, I think the third thing that is a contributing factor, is the media.  I was thoroughly disgusted in how the media dealt with this event.  Interviewing the children was first and foremost on the my disgust list.  A grown 40-some year old man working for ABC, is in the home of a 7 year old girl who was there that day, and survived.  And he is asking her to replay the events that just occurred hours ago so we at home can have a better visual of what happened?  This made me absolutely fucking sick.  I don’t care if the parents agreed to it.  These parents are in as much complete shock as anyone else.  I can’t imagine they were in the proper frame of mind to make this decision.  Which, I am sure the media knew.  These people are completely vulnerable.  These families didn’t need Chris Cuomo in there home interviewing there daughter.  They need the comfort and support of families, and friends.  Not fucking CNN cameras and their reporter.  I really think that CNN, CBS, ABC and the rest of the media vultures, truly ought to be ashamed of themselves, and know, you are part of the problem.  Not the solution.

In closing.  This has been a extremely difficult piece to write, if I offended anyone, I certainly did not mean too.  Unless you are one of those NRA morons.  But,  As I said, this tragedy resonated with me more than any of the previous did.  And, thats not to say that the other’s didn’t either.  They did.  All of them. They’re all senseless, tragic and devastating.  I am not blaming gun control for this latest shooting, I am not blaming mental illness on this either, nor am I blaming the media.  I think that all of this plus more is contributing to the problem, but I certainly do not think one of these three things is the answer to a solution any more or less than the other.  It is complicated.  But, it is our job to figure out how we can make this stop. And make this stop instantly.  Safety should be real.  It should not be an illusion as it is becoming.

– I’ll leave you with a quote from Morgan Freeman that further discusses the impact the media has on these shootings.  Whether this was actually from Freeman or not, has yet to be confirmed. But whoever it was.  They’re right.

“You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here’s why.

It’s because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you kn
ow the name of a single victim of Columbine? Distur

bed people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he’ll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.

CNN’s article says that if the body count “holds up”, this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer’s face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer’s identity? None that I’ve seen yet. Because they don’t sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you’ve just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.

You can help by forgetting you ever read this man’s name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem.”

I am praying for you Newtown.  

Rest in Peace & God Bless

Charlotte Bacon

Daniel Barden

Olivia Engel

Josephine Gay

Ana Marquez-Greene

Dylan Hockley

Madeleine Hsu

Catherine Hubbard

Chase Kowalski

Jesse Lewis

James Mattioli

Grace McDonnell

Emilie Parker

Jack Pinto

Noah Pozner

Caroline Previdi

Jessica Rekos

Avielle Richman

Benjamin Wheeler

Allison N Wyatt

Rachel Davino

Dawn Hochsprung

Anne Marie Murphy

Lauren Rousseau

Mary Sherlach

Victoria Soto

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