Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I believe the sky is . . .

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What we believe, on an individual level, is something deeply personal and helps define who we are. It's very hard to define ourselves without our beliefs. The neat thing is that beliefs vary from person to person, helping to make us unique. We believe certain things because of our experiences.

For example, what color do you believe the sky is?

One group will instantly say -- duh! It's blue. Go walk outside and look at it! It's blue. And they'd be right. The sky is indeed blue.

Another group will say, the sky is clear. It appears blue because of particles in the atmosphere reflect the blue light, thus giving the appearance that the sky is blue. But it's not, it's really colorless. And they'd be right.

Yet another group will say that the sky is a kalidescope of color. It's blue on clear days, and black on clear nights. It's pink, yellow, orange, and purple at sunrise and sunset. Shades of gray on ominous weather days. And yes, they'd too be right.

How about another group? They'd say they don't know, because they're color blind. They'd go around and ask a bunch of their friends and family this question. They'd try out what each person said and study reactions of others, and of themselves. Experience what it meant to have the sky be whatever color they believed, and ultimately settle on an answer. Whatever they settled on, would be right.

For fun, one more group would just look at you and tell you there is no sky. They'd be right as well.

The point is, on an individual level, we really don't care what other people think about the sky. It's their choice. Their own life experiences will lead them to the answer that's appropriate for them, and works for them. As American's especially, we should understand this journey, this freedom to discover and experience, and allow them to choose what color they believe the sky is.

So, let everyone choose the color of the sky. They don't have to pick the color you did, or the explanation that you did. Let them choose . . . free of bias. If someone asks you what color the sky is, feel free to educate. But, for the love of God, don't let your beliefs get in the way of someone picking the color for themselves. It's not your choice, or your belief. It's theirs. Be respectful, accepting, and if you don't like their choice, then let them be. It's a big ass sky, and there's plenty of room for more than one color.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Why Write?

“Why Write?”
How do you purge the demon from your soul?
The one that makes you cringe at the sight –
It tears at your heart, encompasses your life,
It’s the one that everyday you must fight.
I’ve hidden every memory, under lock and key.
Trying to pretend that it never happened to me.
But then when I least expected to think –
back came everything, taking me to the brink.
I’ve stuffed everything I could down my throat,
trying to bury it deep, deep down in my soul.
But the only thing that this accomplished was simple,
I have more than my cheeks with “cute” little dimples.
I’ve sliced my own skin, watcing it bleed.
Watching the crimson run, he did not take heed.
Instead of that foul demon from me departed,
I’m left with several hundred healed scars.
I’ve taken so many pills, one’s own head would spin
altering mood, altering feeling, altering all that is within.
I’ve discussed what happened, I hit every step ~
All I have to show is my very full medicine cabinet.
How do you purge the demon from your soul?
The one that makes you cringe at the sight –
I haven’t really been able to figure this one out,
So, in the end, all I know to do is write . . .

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hey Dubya! I'm Talking to YOU!!

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I turn on the news last night because I can’t sleep. I start to hear the psycho babble of “Christians” declaring how “secular” America is, and how we don’t want God in our lives and in or schools. The degradation of American society is by the “Liberal Secularists” who are forcing their beliefs down our throats. (Hmmmm . . . need to find the remote so I can change the channel.) And before I can hit the clicker, the old crusty Pee-Paw on CNN suddently blurts out “The decline in the belief in God and the breakdown of traditional American values is due in large part to prevalence of homosexuality in our culture.”

Are you for real with this shit?? REALLY?? The “prevalence” of homosexuality in our culture is the reason people don’t believe in God? What God are you referring to? Has the thought ever crossed their minds that America isn’t rejecting God at all, but rather THEIR INTERPRETATION of God?? Their version of God kinda overlooks the 10 commandments, of which the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faiths build their faiths around. Some examples . . . WELL . . .

How about #3, you know, the one where you’re not supposed to use the Lord’s name in vain?? How many conservatives exclaim “God Damnit!” for no reason??

And there’s #4 . . . keeping the Sabbath Holy. Know anyone that works on their faith’s Sabbath?? I do . . .

Then there’s #7 Adultery is bad, #8 Don’t Steal, #9 Don’t lie . . . hmmmmmmm . . . getting the picture here??

There are whole chapters about the 10 commandments. There’s tons and tons and tons of books about how these 10 commandments have shaped our moral structures, our belief systems, and our lives for that matter. These 10 commandments are the foundation of every major monotheistic religion in the world. Even though are entire belief system and structure is founded on these 10 laws, it’s okay to break them if you feel bad later.

But don’t be Gay. Because THAT would be the reason America is turning away from God. Not because those of us beating our bibles and screaming at the top of our lungs are breaking these basic laws that line the foundation of our faiths. It’s the Gay people . . .


Let me break this down for ya in two simple points . . . cause obviously rational thought might give him a heart attack . . . and the “Christian” Right for that matter . . .

Point #1 ~ All love flows from God. Therefore, all love is Divine. DEAL WITH IT!

Point #2 ~ Just because you don’t understand it does not mean it’s evil.

Damn that pissed me off . . .

Monday, November 5, 2007

Being Real

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So, I woke up this morning and read the poem I posted, "My Icy Heart" . . . and it kind of disturbed me. It read like a suicide note almost. Usually when I get tired, I tap into some raw emotion, but that raw emotion scared me a bit. I felt it important ot explain this a little . . . (Jeff, is this too real??)

I was talking with my friend at work, and he began asking if I was happy. I am, on the surface. He knows that . . . and worries about me. He really is a kind soul . . . but he kept digging. He brought up how he knows I am lonely, and want to be with someone. He knows I spend a lot of time alone, and he wants me to get out more. Well, that immediately upset me, and got me a bit emotional. Something I never do at work . . . he realized he pushed too much, and was truly sorry. The point is, he's right. In part of my life, I'm miserable. Absolutely, 100%, miserable.

Everyone I know, for the most part, is with someone. My good friends Darin & David, basically all of my online friends, most everyone at work . . . damn . . . everyone. Here I sit in the middle of Kansas, alone. Yes, I have friends I can call, that I can go over to visit, chat with online, whatever. I love each and everyone of them dearly, and wouldn't trade them for the world. However, I want to love someone. I want to share with them parts of my soul that I've never given to anyone else. I want to be in love.

Everyone then challenges to go out, meet people. And here lies the problem . . . while I'm a vibrant personality around those I know, I'm a wall flower around strangers. I hate to be in a crowd of people . . . I get nervous, almost overly anxious when I am. I have huge trust issues, I always think people I don't really know are talking about me or hate me, etc. Yes, it's paranoia at it's worst, but it's me. I put up some pretty big walls, and no one has ever been able to break through all of them.

It's almost a self preservation mode . . . if no one gets all the way in, I won't get hurt. I won't be judged, and I won't get rejected. I know I'm not what we would call "hot" by any stretch of the imagination (please, no 'yes you are' replies . . . I'm being real here!). That's not what I'm looking for in a man, and don't want him to look for it either. I want someone that is inspired by my thoughts, my writing, my mind. I want to be stimulated intellectually and emotionally first. I want to debate, discuss, share, and just fall asleep in his arms.

Finally, I hate sex. I know why, and I'll tell you since we're being real . . . sex was forced upon me at age 6. Those memories are very much ingrained into my head. The feeling of dirty, ashamed, confusion, guilt . . . my innocence was gone. When I experience it now, it still surfaces. It still is there. I haven't been able to shake that yet. How will someone understand that? It's such an integral part of a healthy, romantic relationship and yet I hate it. It's such a conundrum . . . I have a man's mind and a man's desires, yet right after I hate the fact that I did it.

Who wants to help sort through all this? There are so many others that don't present these issues . . . and truth be told I'm too scared to offer the chance.

I tell people that my biggest fear is of being alone. However, that's not true. My biggest fear is that I'll open myself up, and be rejected. I choose to be alone so I don't have to be rejected.

This is what has made "My Icy Heart."

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My heart bleeds
My eyes burn
My body shivers
I am alone
My tears cascade
My cries echo
My empty arms
I am alone
My yearning continues
My hope diminishes
My desire dwindles
I am alone
My breathe escapes
My memory fades
My frigid skin
I die alone

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

512 Miles South

512 Miles ~ That's the distance from my home here in Kansas to my Dad's House SW of Ft. Worth.

It's about an 8 hr drive . . . mainly due to traffic and construction. I had a lot of time on the trip to think. What would it be like after so long seeing my Dad? Is it going to be awkward? Is anyone going to be angry or mad at me? What if it goes badly? Why am I doing this? Is this the right thing? As you can see, a lot of questions circled my mind. Truth be told, I was nervous. Very, very nervous.

So, after the long trip, I pull up to the home. And there, on the front porch, was my Dad and his wife. Waving and smiling. I pull up, turn the car off. And open the door . . . here it goes . . . and I'm greeted by the biggest hug. Instant relief. Any doubts in my mind were immediately gone. As convenience would have it, the first evening was just us, a bowl of chili, lots of pictures, and smiles. It was nice to visit and hear what life has been like for them, and share mine.

The second day was a jaunt to Hurst to have lunch with my uncle, and then over to the Stockyards in north Ft. Worth for some souveniers for The Double D's for watching the pooch. Saturday, we took a day trip to Austin to visit my brother John, and Sunday was Cowboys game and goodbyes. Inbetween, I got to see all my brothers, my niece and nephew, my sister-in-law, a golf course in progress, and just absorb it all.

There's a lot I'm not saying, because it's just for us. But know this, it was such a positive event for us all. After 10 years apart, we had a great time together, and have planned another visit after the holidays. When I get a chance, I'll post some pics on flickr for ya . . .

I miss them all already. I'll be home again soon, Daddy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Long Journey Home

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Wow! I could start this blog with all kinds of cliche's . . . like "Every journey begins with the first step" or the ever popular "Why is it guy's don't ask for directions?" . . . but I won't do that. Besides, I did ask for directions, and that's just how I am. So, let's jump in . . .

On Thursday, I'll be embarking on a trip that is over 500 miles and 10 years in the making. I'm taking off to visit my Dad. I haven't seen him, that I recall, since I graduated high school. Our relationship was tense and strained ever since I entered my teen years. He never did anything to hurt me, or harm me, or really push me away. I was just angry at what was going on in my life, I was confused about who I was, and I struggled with my moods. My mind was in a drink mixer, and all that came out was hate. For some reason, the only adult in my life that didn't hurt me or take advantage of me had to take the brunt of all my anger. I know why, but it wasn't anything he did.

Moving to Kansas gave me a chance to piece together my life and put some order to my universe, if you will. It hasn't all been a joy, but it was the best decision I could have made. I was able to finally move past the abuse by my step-father, accept who I was as a person, and look back and see what relationships needed mending.

The obvious place to start was with my Dad. He's been there, finding out about me from my brother Jim, waiting for me to come around. Then, my step-mom Lisa, knowing both my father and me, intervened. She sent me an email just wanting to let me know they cared. It was the push I needed. Emails have been exchanged, phone conversations took place, and now I'm going to visit.

I'm going on a journey Home, to a place where I've never been. A place that I know has always been there for me, I was just so scared to go. For those wondering the "oh Joe, does he know?" Well, he does, and doesn't care. He loves and accepts me for me. He doesn't want to push me away, he just wants to be a part of my life, and get to know the man I've become. Not much will be said between us, but much will be felt. I know he loves me, I've always known.

Daddy, I'm coming Home.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Take 2 of the red . . . no wait 3 of the blue . . . ah hell, do whatevah!

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This might be a TMI blog, but oh well . . . I guess I just don't fear it anymore. Or am ashamed by it . . .

So, why all the filler recently . . . what happened to the humor and insight (my, don't I think highly of myself!)? Well, I've been preoccupied with my mind. I know that probably sounds bizarre to some, but to me I think of it often. I have to question what's going on, how I feel, what's really behind the feeling - it's a vigilant stance I have to take every single day. Why is that? Well, it's simple . . . the chemistry in my brain is hosed up -- big time! Things don't necessarily click up there like they are supposed to on a regular basis, and I have to know when things need a bit of help.

See, after my last hospital stay (yes, it was a mental hospital - and no I didn't try to commit suicide) I promised myself to learn more about my diagnosis, and myself really. I am diagnosed with three issues - and yes they might seem trendy diagnosises (what is the plural for diagnosis??), but for me they really are there. Until I had these and got help, my life was spiraling down hill. I am bipolar (rapid cycling) - which means I hit really big highs and then crash pretty dang hard fairly quickly. Most people's highs last for at least a month, and lows the same. Mine tend to go week to week and even day by day when it gets really bad. I have PTSD (abuse related) - certain smells, sounds, or images trigger really strong responses in my mind to the point of experiencing the emotions, feelings, or angst associated with it. And finally, I have ADHD. I know, who doesn't. But for me, it hits pretty hard. I can be having a conversation and in the middle, change gears and not be able to recall what was going on before. I'm hell in a meeting because I struggle to follow. It's pretty frustrating sometimes.

Anyway, after my last stay, a couple things happened that shot my confidence in the psychiatry community. First - my doctor had a stroke. It was back to finding a new doctor and starting all over again. While in the hospital the doctor's joked that all of my particular doctor's patients ALL took the same stuff at the same dosages. That shot my confidence in what I was doing. Then, after my discharge, I got hooked up with a new doctor that changed ALL my meds and kept doing it. The final straw was when I got a bill from him. I asked repeatedly if he accepted my insurance, and he said yes over and over. Well, he didn't. So, I hit the point where I said fuck it all. I stopped taking everything . . . all of it. That was well over a year ago. I went back this weekend and listed all the medication I have in my medicine cabinet that I took over the past year, and it's quite a list. I had Concerta (in 3 dosage sizes - for ADHD), Lamictal (in 2 dosages - mood stabilizer), Wellbutrin XL (2 dosages - antidepressant), Remeron (antidepressant), Cymbalta (antidepressant), Abilify (3 dosages - antipsychotic - for PTSD), Ambien (for when I couldn't sleep ~ can't imagine why), and Atavan (for when I couldn't calm down - for PTSD). Yes, in a span from August 2006 to January 2007 I was taking a combination of the above pills. In January, I just stopped. I was tired of feeling numb, and the side effects sucked major ass!

For most of the year, I haven't really had any issues, and I dealt with some big stuff. Now, however, I'm falling again. I'm falling into that abyss that I don't want to go to. I hate it, and I don't want to take umpteen million pills, but I have to take care of myself. I need to find someone that will listen, and care. Find someone that won't have a prescription filled out before I even sit down. I don't want to do this, but I know I must. I have to take care of my mental health. I can't sleep regularly, I'm irritable all the time, I have begun to isolate, things that used to interest me don't anymore, and I had some thoughts that I haven't had in over a year creep into my head. I'm scared to death to walk down this road again, but I'm even more afraid of what will happen if I don't.

So, I'm going to try and make an appointment sometime for this week or next. I'll keep ya posted. So, this is what's going on in JJ's world right now. It sux, but we all have our struggles. It's what makes us who we are.

Take care . . . Hugz!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Navigating the Marsh

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The cool night air awakens my sight,
Ahead of me, more than just a fight
The moonlight above illuminates below
The pale, dark hues dance and begin to show.
There they are, hiding beneath the mist
Their unholy gazes, I must resist
They snarl their lips, drool oozing forth
Carefully I trek, I have been forewarned.
Knee deep in the muck, above I try to stay
Wanting to avoid the conflict, away from the fray.
But the marsh swallows me whole, I can’t get out ~
I reach for something, a hand to bring me about.
I find myself staring, squarely on my level
The dark, gleaming eyes - possessed by the devil.
The fear seizes my breathe, I begin to choke.
I can’t get away, my hope has been broke.
Looking above for the light to rescue me
All I can find is a dark veil, they won’t let me be.
What are these creatures, who are these beings?
Why must I succomb, why do these demons cling?
Their knife like talons, tearing at my heart,
A prize they desire, take it away and tear it apart.
If I value my life, I must fight my way free
If only there was light, I can not see.
Without warning, the veil dissipates
The demons recoil, for the light they hate.
Revealing their true desires, their true identity ~
I suddenly realize their distinct frailty.
So away foul trolls, demons, and fallen saints ~
I do not fear, my heart, my soul ~ your prey I ain’t.
I continue my odyessey, my hope is renewed.
For I am armed with the truth by the light of the moon

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Lil' Card Game

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I shuffled the cards in my hand. I hate it when they’re not organized. He’s trying to read my mind, I know he is. I continue to organize my hand, trying to figure out what the next strategic move should be.

“Are you gonna go?” he politely asks.

“I will, give me a minute. I’m trying to make a decision and figure out what I want to do.”

“Your making this more complicated than it needs to be.” He calmly states while playing with his white beard. He adjusts his robes and takes a sip from his cup. “You always make things more complicated than they need to be.”

I confess, “I know. I guess it’s a trait of mine.” I set my cards down and look at him straight in the eyes. “Why is that? Why do I always have to complicate things? Make things more than what they really are?”

“Why don’t you tell me.” He says while peering over the top of his glasses.

“Great!” I think. Here I was thinking I was invited up for a lovely game of cards, and it’s turning into a chance to analyze my behavior. I hate it when he does this. I shift in my chair. Although it quite comfortable, I suddenly am no longer able to relax and enjoy it. “I don’t know.” I shift my feet, look off to the left, and hope that he doesn’t continue to probe this suddenly uncomfortable situation. I really hate it when he explores my psyche . . . I just wanted to play a game!

“Yes, I think you do.” He states as a Father wanting his young child to admit why he did something.

“Because, well . . . I guess it’s because we always tend to make things more complicated than what they are. We were supposed to just love one another and follow the 10 commandments, and now there’s volumes and volumes of rules and restrictions. They were put in place by councils of men trying to exercise a form of control over another group. We always have a tendency to judge and the need to be right -- so much so that we’ll even kill for it. I don’t know why we do it, but we do. What this has to do with my card game I’ll never figure out.”

“Simple,” he smiles gently, takes another sip, smoothes out his robes, and adjusts his glasses. “You are trying so hard to make the right call, judge what my motivation is, that you are getting lost. You’re so tied up in trying to make the right decision, that you are not enjoying what you are doing. This game was meant to be enjoyed, to leisurely pass time. It’s not to guess what's right, what’s in my hand, and what will happen. Just play the game with joy, play the game with zest, and play the game with love. When hosting a game such as this, treat your guests well. And as a guest, be generous to your host. The rest will take care of itself.”

I pick up my cards and fan them out again. Suddenly, I’m much more rested. I take a drink and then wryly state “You’re not just talking about cards. Are you?” After a long but comfortable pause, I ask “Do you have a Queen?” I giggle.

God smiles. There’s a flash in his eye. And he says “Go fish.”

Saturday, September 1, 2007

"Message for you sir!"

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5 pts to whomever guesses the movie I quoted first.

One of the joys of getting to bounce between working days (yuck!) and nights (yea!) is that your sleep pattern becomes a bit, shall we say, distorted. Well . . . today my brain wanted to wake up about 6am (booo!) and didn't want to go back to bed. To Ragan's delight, we took a short walk (side note -- it was low 60's this morning!! Beautiful!!!) and then came back in. I do what I always do when I can't sleep, I begin to fiddle around on the computer.

So, I get on my messenger, just in case anyone else for some unknown reason to man is up and coherent this early on a Saturday morning, and then check a few updates. Read Nillas recent posting (too cute btw ~ and loved Wayne's comment) and Lucky's telling a very intriguing (and I'll wager naughty) story in 2 parts. Thom & Dave are taking a little vacay ~ and Ike & Rob & Garry & Scott are all moving. As I'm perusing, I begin to stumble across pages that peek my interests from their friends, so I send invites. I bring mail back from the evil mailbox and it hits me. I don't get jack in this damn thing except bills & junk. BJ's are supposed to be stimulating and exciting ~ this one's not fittin' the bill.

Here are the 5 things I got in junk mail over the past week.

1. Addressed to "Mrs. Currin or Occupant" ~ Come join us at Curves . . . Um, there is no Mrs. Currin here (I don't do drag!) and if all I am is Occupant to you, then you get no business. Am I being stereotyped?? Besides, I don't want to go to an all women's gym. No motivation there . . .

2. You have been selected to receive a special, once in a lifetime opportunity, to get Playboy at a special, unprecdented price . . . No thanks Heff. I'm really not into your . . . um . . . political and entertainment magazine as the mailer indicated. I don't read Playboy for the articles, or pictures. Now send me a good deal on Unzipped . . . we might be talkin'

3. Thank you for voting me into your state legislature. I'm Annie Tietze blah blah blah . . . Did anyone else think of those tse tse flies in Africa when you read her name?? I did! I didn't vote for her, because I didn't know her. I didn't know any candidate running in my district, so I didn't vote for it. What a vain bitch to think everyone in her district voted for her. I looked it up and she won only 54% of the vote.

4. Addressed to "The Currin Family" ~ Come enroll now at Kimball Academy . . . If I was paying for a private education, AND knowing how much that costs, I'd be PISSED that my money was being wasted in a generic mailer to everyone. I know for a fact that I have ZERO rug rats runnin' around, so got the wrong household on that too. (Shudders at the thought)

5. 47 credit card/refinance/loan offers. I'm pretty sure I don't need any of them. It'd be one thing to get these offers from the company I currently use for such things, but I don't. I get them from all kinds of companies.

I actually didn't pick up my mail out of protest for a solid 2 weeks, and got a nasty gram post noted to my front door from the postmaster . . . . heh heh heh . . .

Now it appears the junkmail fairy has moved into cyberspace . . .

Ding (love that sound from Messenger) new mail icon and subj is Ginger want to be your myspace friend. OMG really!!! Ginger spice wants to be my friend!!! I love . . . WRONG! Yeah, I'll make my way over there and delete that in a minute. I'm reading Wolfy's blog right now.

Ding -- Sexy Suzy wants to be your myspace friend. Ummm, right. 2 things there Sweetie-kins . . . I don't know a "Sexy Suzy" and if you and got some hair on your chest . . . I ain't even remotely interested. Okay?? Guess that's 2 deletes in a bit. Checkin' out Moose's blog at the moment . . .

Ding -- Natalie wants to be your myspace friend. Ding -- Tina wants to be your myspace friend. Ding -- Lisa wants to be your myspace friend. Ding -- some other random ho wants to be your myspace friend.

I'm tired of it! Junk mail in cyberspace pisses me off almost as much as junk mail in real space! The only reason I don't get tired of it in cyberspace as much is because my mail account filters out ALOT of spam. (Thank you at&t Yahoo!) I usually empty my SPAM folder in my email account once a week, and I emptied out 1237 messages today from that folder. WOW!

Gonna go check my email now . . . got a ding from a real person sending a real message. I still get excited when I see that . . . Hugz!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Why Yesterday was a Personal Milestone

Thom is ever so observant. I discussed in my previous post about how yesterday marked a personal milestone, and yet really didn't explain why. I thought I had in previous posts, but looking back thru them, I really didn't. So, here is a bit of an explanation on why yesterday was a personal milestone.

Your mind is an interesting, and often complicated thing. People often go thru their lives and don't really take the time to consider, or are even aware, of how powerful the mind is. Some of us experience it's power, and it's very intimidating. Almost humbling . . . and this is how I learned to respect it.

No big secret, I'm a survivor of childhood abuse. Won't go into the gory details, but it happened from the time I was 6 until I was 12. Funny thing is, the memories surrounding the event used to not be there. My mind buried them, deep deep deep. I know while it would happen, I would just shut down. The way I learned to cope and live thru it was to supress it and not ever be able to recall it. The interesting part was that I couldn't really remember anything from my childhood around that age. It was just kind of a fog. Come to find out this is a very common coping technique.

Well, the thing with supressed memories is that eventually, your mind recognizes that you are old enough to process them, and they suddenly reappear. In my case ~ vividly. So much so that my body would actually experience them with me . . . from the heart racing to the very detailed and I won't explain here. My mind decided at about 27, I was old enough. One day while at work, as I put it, my mind exploded. Come to find out that this is known as PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

So, after all these years, I begin to remember my childhood. And lucky me, it gets to be this! Stating that I didn't handle it so well would be an understatement. I don't think anyone would actually handle this well though, so I handled it the best I could. These memories drove me to seek out help, in the form of a psychiatrist. Well, actually the fact that one of my friends found me in my house using a knife to cut small cuts up and down my arm drove me, literally, he drove me. (not a suicide attempt, i'll touch on this a bit later)

So ~ we go thru some testing and lots of talking and we come up with this ~ the PTSD diagnosis and the diagnosis of depression. He's not so sure that the depression isn't something else, but we go with it for now. I begin therapy and taking medication. The memories start out way too much, way too fast ~ and that triggers nightmares. It gets to the point that I sleep with nightlights.

Shortly after all this, I get offered an opportunity to leave Texas. While I'm not all that keen on having to find new dr's and such, I'm rip snortin' ready to get the hell away from my family. I wanted a chance to get away from everyone trying to pull me in 100 different directions and have the chance to just focus on me, and sortin' this whole mess out. So I take it . . . and that's how I end up in Topeka, KS.

I get really tied up in all the commotion about starting up a new facility and living in a new town, meeting lots of new people, and I stop taking my meds (b/c I ran out) and don't find a new doctor. So, my little cutting habit intensifies. I had been doing this for about 2 years, but I went into overdrive. It's not an attempt to commit suicide or even a cry for help (as some people think). It's different for everyone that does this, but for me it was a way to have my world make sense. I would start having a memory, and the emotion would start. Then the body responses. Then the adrenaline would hit. The only way I found to stop it was to cut myself. It was kind of like shocking my system into having to suddenly take care of me and therefore, the memory loop would just stop and go away. I could understand that physical pain and take care of myself ~ where I couldn't understand the previous mental pain at all. It just made sense to me. I always pretty much just fell asleep afterwards, I think because at that point my mind was overloaded and just shut down.

Well ~ after a few months of this, I knew it wasn't right again. So I went and got a new dr, and she in turn hooked me up with a new therapist, and we started again. Couple of changes though . . . remember when I mentioned that my 1st doctor wasn't so sure about the depression diagnosis?? Seems that he was seeing me bounce between my super highs and drastic lows. (Gave new dr. permission to look at old dr's files . . . good idea.) New dr adjusts diagnosis to bipolar. This was probably the first huge step in recovery, because the meds changed and I started to feel better. Way better . . . and I began to learn what bipolar was and am able to identify it now in myself and deal with it. This was a huge relief.

So, continuing with my therapy (she specialized in those that suffered severe trauma) I was able to process the memories, emotions, and such safely. I was headed down a path of recovery. But, with all things, there were relapses. Rome wasn't built in a day. So, I'd hit a rough spot, take a few steps back, and get frustrated. But I learned that this was normal, and then I was able to forgive myself for, and slowly trod ahead.

My last relapse happened 8/1/2006. I was at work and the memory loop started. This hadn't happened since I lived in Texas. I didn't know what triggered it, but I couldn't stop it. I just knew I wasn't good, and I wouldn't deal with this well. I just knew it. I instantly had the urge to cut myself, and I didn't want to do it anymore. Looking back, this was probably the first time I didn't give in to my impulses, and the ensuing crash makes sense. I was determined to handle this the right way, and not revert back to my old behaviors. So, I checked into a hospital. Three days later I checked out, and by the end of the month, I was out of the partial hospitalization program (where you spent all day at the hospital, but got to go home and sleep in your own bed) and back to work.

So, cut to today . . . I've been able to accept who I am, and have really started to become happy with who I am. It's the first time I can really remember being able to say that. I'm completely off medication, and have handled some pretty tough issues medication free. I readily identify my triggers and am able to appropriately take care of myself. Most importantly, I know I don't have to do this alone and know who to call (both personally as well as professionally) to get the help I need. My success in this journey isn't measured in no symptoms or no triggers, that's unrealistic and impossible really. It's measured in my ability to handle it in a healthy and constructive way. I've been able to do that now for 1 full year.

Today is the first day of year 2 . . .

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Joe Joe's very own Goblet of Fire

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So, there are so many reasons that I love where I work. One of them is the time we spend working on becoming better leaders not just for the people that work for us, but for each of my peers as well. We are expected to always strive to be the best leaders we can be. You don't know how awesome it is to work for a major corporation that puts one of it's footholds in treating people with dignity and respect. In all honesty, it's why I still work there after 8 years (among other things).

So, today, we were having what's called a "developmental learning group." This is a group of execs that are discussing their opportunities (i.e. like for me, listening to others - I tend to interrupt, staying focused, being comfortable without knowing everything) and your strenghts (i.e. building teams people want to be on, connecting my team to the business as a whole, rebuilding struggling teams). {Go with me here, I'm gettin' to the point!}

We were doing an exercise where we pass a cup full of random questions around the group, you draw one, and answer it. It has questions ranging from "What's your most embarrassing moment at work?" to "If you could meet someone famous, who would it be and why?". So, the cup comes to me and I draw -- "What makes you most uncomfortable at work?" I know this answer immediately, but I don't want to share it. I don't want to tell anyone what makes me most uncomfortable . . . because it's also deeply personal. Even now, I'm still so protective of who I really am. I know this is because of two things, the fear of rejection and the fear of ridicule. Silly I know, but very true.

Being the cut up I am, everyone is expecting a smart ass comment or something dripping with sarcasm, and instead I take a deep breathe and really tell them -- "I am most uncomfortable at work telling people about my personal life. I only let people in so far, and then I try to divert attention. I need to work on this, and I know it. I need to let people know that if I don't want to share it, then I don't. Not just change the subject."

The room kinda went really quiet. Everyone looked at me for that uncomfortable minute, and I saw a few people nodding. It's true, I don't open up at work. I don't talk about who I am and what interests me outside of work. I'm very scared of sharing ~ mostly again because I'm afraid of the response I might get. We'll see how this new road opens up ~ because if I'm uncomfortable doing it, then I am growing.

Somehow, I feel the game of 20 questions is about to start . . .

Sunday, August 19, 2007

An Open Letter to My Brothers

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Below is a posting on my MySpace page (see blog roll). I'm not going to switch or anything crazy, buy my 3 brothers are all myspacers. So, I got a page to start keeping in touch with them. I have really been untying those emotional knots that I tied so long ago, and am to the point to ask for forgiveness to those I hurt, starting with them. I miss them . . .

I sat down tonight with a retrospective look on things. I’ve been doing it a lot lately. As you probably know (or maybe not) I came out. Accepting myself was hard, very hard. For the longest time I didn’t like myself, so I didn’t want anyone else to like me either. Sounds stupid, but the logic was that if no one liked me, then I wouldn’t have to either. Problem was – not a really good way to live, or experience life for that matter. So, here I am, 3:30 in the morning, in Topeka, KS, thinking about you 3 (And yes, I’m sober! I sometimes just can’t sleep.)

First to John & Jeff, I have to say, I’m ashamed to say I don’t know y’all very well. It’s something I’m not proud of by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it’s safe to say I regret the fact that I allowed my anger and selfishness to affect our relationship. I am very ashamed and embarrassed to admit that I ignored you for so long. To be who you are today – to reach out to me after how I treated you for so many years – truly humbles me. I’m not deserving now, but hopefully one day I can be.

To Jim, why on Earth do you put up with me? The twists and turns that have been our tumultuous relationship have been a bit much. I wouldn’t blame you if you never spoke to me again. But you do. You’ve dealt with all my crap, all my anger, all my negativity for so long . . . and you still are there for me.

So, guys, I’m sorry. More than you’ll ever know, I am sorry. If I ever hurt you or someone that you love, I’m sorry. I want to make it up, make it all go away, but I can’t. All I can do is let you know that if you’ll let me, I’d like to try to be the brother I should have been so long ago.

I want to listen to what’s going on in your lives. I want to know the struggles you face. I want to learn what you enjoy doing, and what you absolutely despise. I want to get to know you. But most of all, I want you to know that I love you.

Who knows why we do the things we do, or why we make the choices we make. I can only ask that you forgive me for mine.

I’ll end with this – I was thinking of y’all and Dad and this idea popped into my head. I know it’s been awhile, but thank you for waiting for me to figure things out.

Running from me, running from truth, running to cry.
Anger inside, burning throughout my soul
Hatred at the world, no one can console.
From beneath my heart, the coolness grabs a hold –
Push everything away, no one gets close.
Why are you still there?
Running from love, running from hope, running to hide.
No one knows the prison in which I reside –
No one experiences that trauma that I resist –
No one understands my pain, no one recognizes –
No one gets to know, no one gets to reply –
Really, why are you still there?
Running from feeling, running from home, running to fly.
From the world, I withdrew – deep into my prison
Without contact, myself, I did not have to envision.
Who I became – it appeared to be a contradiction.
The desires I had – conflicted with my conviction.
No really, why are you still there?
Running from acknowledging, running from peace, running to disappear.
I would melt away into this vast land – I retreat
I would exist alone – from life retire
I would hide in shame – angry and resolute
I would ignore all – only to be with my regret
Unbelievably, you are still here . . .

Take care – jj:)

Monday, August 13, 2007

I'm going to use and age old technique . . . Deflection

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I have shown UNBELIEVABLE restraint on not posting or commenting on this picture. But I'm going to deflect now . . . and blame Thom (see his Ewww . . . posting) for letting this dark evil side of my personality out. (For those taking notes -- this is the ancient art of deflection. Trying to divert attention to someone else so they forget what you did.)

So, being from the country (and I ought to spell that kuntree based on where I'm from) anytime I go to a major city, I love it. Being the avid people watcher, having my attention diverted at any given moment, and having no control over my mouth in certain social situations, I'm pretty much gonna see and comment on anything I see. So, while snapping pictures of random people I work with playing in a fountain in downtown Kansas City, Ms. Hot Mess walks up.

I can't control myself. I'm not as good at self control as Thom. My mouth is moving drawing attention to this situation before that filter kicks in and stops me from sharing what I'm seeing. I really should see a specialist about it . . . it can be quite embarrassing . . .

This is how the scene plays out --

"Smile everyone!" goes the camera facing the fountain

"Oh, you want in the picture. Okay go ahead get in there." goes the camera facing the fountain

"Ok, now I want ----- oh no she is not -- oh hell no --" goes the camera facing to the left of the fountain, I'm still facing forward -- goes the camera facing the fountain taking a random picture so it appears I haven't really noticed her.

My coworker Alison (who knows my lack of tact and that I'm usually funny) begins to dart around and exclaim "What Joe?? What??"

"I'll show you in a minute . . . act casual"

I did. I couldn't pass up the moment to actually take this picture and share it. Yes, it's a train wreck, and yes, it's highly inappropriate. And it is also a bit sad . . . my heart goes out to her in that she feels this is her only option in life. But in the end it's also comedic (tragic, but still comedic). It was really funny . . . and I did black out the face so only the person actually wearing the outfit and working that street corner (or her pimp) will know for sure . . .

Oh, and Darin . . . yes I did actually post this!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Open . . . a poem for Gracie

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Ever have one of those friends that is very concerned about how others perceive them? Not in a clingy way, but just wanting to know your opinion about things? Gracie is one of my friends. She's sweet, intelligent, fiercely witty, and pretty. She just broke off a 2 year relationship that was heading for the alter, and has quickly gotten involved with someone else. I know, I know, the first thought is REBOUND . . . but my challenge to that is -- so what?!

Who cares if she's rebounding . . . because she just might find that she's absolutely crazy about him. He's VERY smitten with her, and treats her like a princess. She worries that she is like another person we know and tease about her relationship. I tell her not to worry, and just enjoy what she has. If it ends, well, we'll be there to pick her up. I just want her to enjoy the chance she has to be loved by someone.

Open your eyes to this chance of yours
to celebrate one of life’s lil’ adventures.
For someone to give themselves to you,
so completely, so utterly selfless and true,
My dear, don’t run away, but towards life.
My sweet, sweet friend, open your eyes.
Open your arms to the emotion and passion
enjoy all of it’s worth, even if it’s not lasting.
Maybe it’s too intense; maybe it’s too sudden,
so what if it’s too serious, so what if it’s abrupt?
Submit to your desires, to his charms,
My sweet, sweet friend, open your arms.
Open your mind to all the possibilities
that the path you’re on is leading you swiftly.
We’ll catch you if you trip, hold you if you fall.
Your fears, your hesitation, abandon them all.
Allow yourself to become intertwined,
My sweet, sweet friend, open your mind.
Open your heart to what is yet to be
to the happiness, to the pain, to the experience
No one said it would be perfect, or kind –
but without the risk, alone you would pine.
Love is asking you to play your part,
so my sweet, sweet friend, open your heart.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

National Random Weird People Day

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Wow, sometimes it's better if you just stay in your bed and pull the cover over your heads! I mean, people were just bizarre today! Here's how the day started . . . I awoke and worked on a really cool project for work. I'll talk about that in another blog. Then, I called Jani and we made plans to go to lunch.

So far so good . . . no big whoop. We go to Panera Bread (love it!) and the guy at the register is a little flighty, but no big deal. He has to chase me down because he gave me the wrong credit card receipt (gave me his for his register), but other than that all was good. Jani and I were spottin' the hotties (there was a whole soccer team of men aged 25 to 30 there . . . man they have some nice butts!).

I'm in need of supplies for the project I'm working on, so we go to Hobby Lobby. I'm looking for stencils and fabric paint. We are in the fabric section and can't find anything. So, we ask a nice looking lady where the fabric paint is. Without even making eye contact, she just kind of shouts out "It's in Wearable Art." Hmmmmm . . . now that's odd. I've never heard of wearable ART, and we have a HUGE Hobby Lobby, so I have no idea where that is. I must have missed the "You Are Here" map located at the front door, so I kindly ask her where that is. She sighs real big and says in the middle back of the store. Hmmmm . . . must be a bad day, no big deal. We find what we need and then head out to check out.

While in line, our friend Gracie texts us from work, wanting Sonic drinks. Sounds good to us too, so we ask for the drink order and then boogie to Sonic. We get to the drive thru, having just paid over $10 for 5 rather large drinks (side note -- try the Apple Cherry Slush . . . OMG!) and the young girl starts trying to just hand these drinks to me. Now, I don't know about your cars, but mine isn't designed to hold 5 44 oz containers. So, I ask her if she has a drink carrier. She looks at me like I just spoke to her in Mandarin and slams the window. Then, about 5 mintues later, she opens the window back up and almost drops the drink carrier trying to hand it to me. Hmmmmmm . . . must be having a bad day, oh well.

So, Jani and I deliver the yummy beverages to Gracie and her colleagues at work, and then we head back to the main shopping area to finish up. No major issues at either store we went too, as we just purchased a few navy t-shirts (related to the project for work) and some toothpaste. Things seem uneventful, and we head back to Jani's to watch TV, me work on my project, and to wait for Gracie to get off of work.

We visit for awhile, and then Gracie is tired and has to leave (she works Sat, Sun & Mon days now -- still adjusting from the night schedule she was on) to get some sleep. Now, she had brought Selwyn over (her pup) to play with Jani's pup. As she was leaving, Jani's neighbor was leaving -- and Selwyn ran into this guy's front door. Now, Selwyn was on a leash, and barely stepped in the house, but he made some rude comments to her. However, it wasn't about Selwyn, but Jani's dog Romeo and how mean he is. Romeo is NOT mean (he's the little white furball I'm cuddling with in the pic in my profile). And why make an unwarranted stab at someone you don't even know. Okay, now we're starting to feel that some people are just bitchy today.

Around 10 pm I realize the stencils I got from Hobby Lobby don't have numbers in them. BIG problem. And being the impatient must have instant gratification person I am, we head to the only place open that carries them . . . Wally World (I just cringe at the thought. The store is soooo dirty!) WOW the crazies were out in full force, and we couldn't believe it. First, as we're walking down an aisle looking for the crafts section of the store, this man neither Jani or I recognize stops us and says "Hey guys!" Now, we work in a rather large facility, so we wonder if we know him from work. But we really don't. I try to play it off by just saying hi, but my brain wasn't working and my facial expression shows I have no freaking clue who this random person is that just stopped us. He was the guy that took my money @ Panera Bread! How bizarre!!! I've never been stopped by someone like that, and he totally acted like he knew us! Weird . . . starting to wish I was back home.

Then, we find the stencils and while there in that aisle, there's a guy with a huge push broom cleaning. Now, that's something you RARELY see at a Wal-Mart, so I am mildly impressed. However, that feeling quickly disappated when he just stopped sweeping and walked off, leaving a rather large pile of dirl right next to us. WTF??? Why would you do that?? Customers don't want to see that in a place where they might purchase food!!

Now, on our way out, we see the most bizarre thing ever! I'm so mad that I didn't use my phone and take a picture. But there is a 40+ year old woman wearing the same outfit Britney Spears wore in her very first video. And kids . . . she didn't need to be wearing that . . . at ALL! It was really distrubing to see . . . we basically ran for the register to check out and get the hell outta there.

So, we go back to Jani's to finish my project and watch movies (I brought over Finding Nemo, Beauty & the Beast, and The Lion King . . . all favs). Jani begins working on her photo albums and me on the project, while the movies play in the background. About 1 ish, my cell rings. No one EVER calls me that late so I immediately run for my phone. I'm worried b/c it's a ring tone that is set for just general calls. I answer it and someone yells back "Hey Joe! Where you at??" I have NO idea who's on the line . . . none. I ask who it is and they basically set the phone down for a sec and then hang up. Bizarre . . . well, I'm a bit concerned that a random person has my number, so Jani offers to call to see who it is. OMG it's someone that works for me . . . and they were out on the town! They drunk dialed me!!!! Hilarious!!!! I love the people that work for me, they are sooo much fun -- so we laugh and I send a funny text back.

Bottom line . . . today was full of random people and events. Two words . . BE -- ZAR! Hugz!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Best $7

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Okay, so I'm going to stereo type myself here for a minute. I'm by no means a fem guy . . . but I do have a good idea for color, fashion, and the like. So, I encouraged one of my gals to take advantage of her straight girl gay man relationship this weekend. One of my girl pals shared with me that her family was criticizing her makeup choices. She felt very self conscious. Well, I asked . . . who was harping on it? She said primarily her brother. I asked if he was gay, and she said no. I looked straight at her and said that he was telling you what he likes to see on a woman, not what was good for her. She thought for a moment, and agreed that I was right. He does tend to like tan women who make themselves up.

Now ~ this woman has a beautiful, classic look about her. She has long, dark brown hair (almost black), fair skin, dark eyes (very mysterious) . . . basically, she has a lot to work with already. We looked through some pictures, and well, let's just say her family is a bit make-up happy. The women in her pictures tended to paint it on. And they did the number one no-no with makeup -- they tried to match clothing!!!! Ugh!!! I told her that in all reality -- her family had no clue.

So . . . with spending a total of $7, her self confidence is back where it belongs and she feels beautiful. She was making excellent choices for pretty much everything -- following the appropriate guidelines of wearing it to accent your skin tones and features, NOT her clothing. The only aspect she was unsure of was eye shadow. So, I gave her a quick lesson . . . with her features we didn't want to draw attention away from her eyes themselves by using too much color, but rather just brighten them with an iridescent look. (Think shimmer, not body glitter!) So, we found the perfect combination. It had a very nice smoky color (for her eye lids only) and an iridescent top color, and when we went out last night, well, she looked good.

The cool thing about this story and how it went down was that the eye shadow looked good on her, but that's not why she looked hot. Self confidence and being comfortable in who you are is hot, sexy even. She exuded that -- she felt better about herself and about how she looked because we (another girl pal of mine) reinforced her belief on how she looked and that she didn't need to change anything about herself. It worked ~ and was able to hook a guy she'd been interested in. I'm such a fan of building people up and not tearing them down.

The best $7 she had spent in a long time.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Just Venting

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Whew . . . what a week it was for me. I know everyone goes down this journey at one point or another, and I'm on it now. The following is a bit personal, and a bit drama, but it's what I'm dealing with. Just lettin' ya know in case you want to skip on by. I'm using this blog as a journal, and sometimes it's raw, honest, and emotion laden. This is probably one of those times.

As stated in a previous blog, I came out to my mother the other day. For most, this is a big step in accepting themselves and being happy with who they are. For me, it's also very treacherous. My mother is still married to the man that sexually abused me while I was growing up. Without going into too many details, I've dealt with a majority of those issues. I have worked to process the anger and pain, and am moving past that.

Part of my healing was accepting that even though he did this to me, and even though my mother knew the eventual truth, she still chose to stay with him. That is her choice. I have to respect that. My choice, however, is that I don't want him in my life, at all. I don't want to communicate with him, talk with him, nothing. For obvious reasons, it's a really powerful trigger to memories that I don't want to revisit anymore.

Not only have I struggled with my sexuality, I also struggled with putting the past in perspective. So, while coming out to my mother, I reiterate that to her. I just let her know that I understand that he is part of your life, but that I need her to respect my boundaries and not bring him into my life. I don't want to talk to him, about him, or communicate with him. I'm fine not going to the family gatherings since he'll be there. It's okay. I'll survive.

Problem is she still forces the issue. She tries to tell me how sorry he is and how he wants forgiveness, etc. I have forgiven him, I just don't want him as part of my life. He did something to me that was so destructive and so hurtful, that cut me to my core. I'm not asking her to relate or understand, just to respect the boundary and understand I need that to continue to heal.

Well the latest issue is that she forwarded an email to me from him. I didn't need to see it. It says nothing I haven't already heard from him or been told. He's sorry, he wants forgiveness, he wants to be part of my life. I don't want him as part of my life!!! I don't want the man that did those things to me to be around me anymore!!! Is that unreasonable??? Should I be made to feel guilty because of that???


Any comments are appreciated, and if you read this, thanks for listening. I know it'll get better but things are still emotionally raw right now.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Hula Hoops

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Well . . . I got some advice from some friends, and that was to follow my own advice.

My advice that I was giving was telling a friend not to worry how other people would react because you can't control their reactions. You can only control how you react. I call this the Hula Hoop Principle. Imagine a hula hoop around you. You control everything in the hula hoop, but not outside of it. You can influence outside of your hula hoop, but not conrol it. So don't worry about what's outside of it. Control what's inside of your hula hoop, and you'll be much happier. (It works great for us admitted conrol freaks!)

She was engaged and broke it off with her finace'. They had grown apart (they don't even live in the same state) and it was just over. About a month later, she now has a new boyfriend she is crazy about. Which is kudos for her! However, she is worried about what people will think/feel about her. She doesn't want to be judged. I told her that she controls how she lets them know about her new boyfriend. She can't control how they react to it, and to not worry about it. Only worry about what she can control. I reminded her that she knows she made the right call for both her and her finace' by ending the relationship. I also told her that he would date others as well. Someone always is first in finding the new person, and in this case it was her. She smiled and agreed that I was right (why wouldn't I be?) and that she felt better. Yeah me! I'm an awesome friend, helped someone with an issue, and am filling quite chipper with myself.

I'm out to my friends and some people at work, but no to my family. I haven't come out to my family for a mulitude of reasons, but mainly because I was worried about how they would react. I didn't want to deal with it. So, I avoided it. I'm not ashamed of who I am. I'm tired of pretending to be what my family wants me to be, and am no longer going to compromise my happiness to do so. I feel that a lot of gay men and women reach this point. Some of us are just in the remedial course . . . :) Well, I'm at that point. So, I was really worried about how the whole situation was going to unfold and what was going to happen, and my friend from the above paragraph was being my concerned ear. She smiled ever so slightly and said to me without batting and eye, "Follow your own advice."

"What?" I asked. "I have no idea what you are talking about."

Again, a smile. "Where's your hula hoop?"

Shut the damn door! She's right. Nothing else I can say. So I did it. I'm out. Looks like I found my hula hoop.

Hugz! :)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Creation Museum: Field Trip Anyone?

So, I don't really get what all the hub-bub is about. The Creation Museum opened today in Kentucky. For those that don't know, it's a museum that has exhibits based on the theory of creation and contradicts what's been taught in many educational systems.

I read several articles today about it, and one thing that really disappointed me was how the "journalists" presented their arguments. Let me quickly dissect it for you. Believe it or not there are three sides to this:

1. You have the Creation side. This is commonly called the "religious" or "fanatic" side of the debate. The major point of creation is that God created all things, and the entire Universe is 6,000 yrs old. They believe that evolution doesn't exist and that man indeed could have co-existed with dinosaurs. In fact, the explanation given for the extinction of dinosaurs is that Noah didn't let them on the arc (I read that in an article).

2. You have the Evolution side. This is commonly called the "Darwinist" or "secularists" side of the debate. They believe in the theory of evolution and that all life started millions of years ago and slowly evolved to what it is now. It's the side of the argument usually taught in public schools.

3. You have the Intelligent Design side. This is the "moderate" or "pacifist" side of the debate. Basically, it's a blending of the two arguments. It's an acknowledgment by someone trying to make sense of the scientific side of the origins of life (evolution) while reconciling their religious beliefs (creation).

What's frustrating is that everything I read today wasn't so much as an argument for why what the particular "journalist" believed in as much as a ton of inflammatory and derogatory remarks about those that believe the other sides. Most of the "journalists" failed to even mention why the opening of the museum was such a hot button issue and instead used their allotted space to just degrade anyone that didn't believe their point of view.

A proper journalist (notice the lack of quotes) would have first discussed the opening of the museum and what issues it addressed or stirred up. Then, if this was an editorial or commentary piece, would have gone on to present how the facts in their argument hold up and why the opening of such a museum is wonderful/horrible. Key phrase is FACTS. They wouldn't have resorted to calling those that believe in creationism as "right wing dumb heads that believe any bible babble" or those that believe in evolution as "godless evil secularists that want to remove religion from all facets of society." They would have merely presented their arguments on merit and allowed the reader to make a decision.

Finally, I'll weigh in on the topic. What are the origins of life? Who knows . . . and more importantly who cares? The problem with all of the theories of life is that they are just that -- THEORIES. Theories are nothing more than using data, analyzing it, and creating an educated guess on how something moved from point A to point B. Then you test your theory. The problem with the theories surrounding the origins of life is that they can't be re-created. Life already happened however many years ago. You believe in what you believe based on a combination of observations and faith, and to that extent that's the best we can do.

You could "test" these theories but to no avail. We could take an empty container and ensure it is void of anything - light, oxygen, elements, you name it. Then just pray for God to create life in it. But, it's not going to happen. We could take the same container, and add oxygen, pure water, and light and watch it. But life will not spring forth from that either.

I say, instead of worrying about where we came from or how it happened, lets just look at where we're headed. All of the money and energy spent in proving how it all started isn't gonna mean a hill a beans if we don't head the right way now.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Guest Blog by Thom ~ Perception

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Wow, have I hit some neat milestones recently on 360. I crossed the 5000 hits mark this month, and now my 100th blog. I was browsing through some comments when I realized, Thom has left the 100th AND 200th comment on my blog. I just had to ask him to do a guest blog. It just seemed appropriate . . . and he did . . . so, please enjoy Thom's Perception . . .

When Joe asked me write a guest blog I was thrilled. I have hosted several guest blogs and I have enjoyed all of them – but I have never been asked. Then the reality hit that I actually had to write something… OK, no worries, I am seldom at a loss for something to say.

I remember how I fist came across Joe. It was a page comment on my friend John A’s page. I saw the picture of Joe holding the baby (I still love that picture) and thought, “Hmmm… a CD” (cute daddy). I went on to his page and I read a couple of blogs. OK, cute and intelligent… nice combination. I commented on a couple of blogs and Joe quickly wrote back with some very nice notes. Cute, intelligent, and sweet – the trifecta… invitations were exchanged and accepted, and we have become friends; and Joe is a friend I am very happy to have.

But it was that initial perception that started the process… and it was wrong. He’s not a daddy, he’s an uncle. Is that a big deal? Of course not, but it was the perception that started the process. Am I a whore for a cute daddy? Of course not – I just play one on 360… um, but I digress…

I remember when I first came across David on 360. (For those of you who don’t know me, David is my partner) There was a picture he had posted at the time (and now it’s MINE, I tell you, MINE, MINE, MINE!) and I thought:


Well, it wasn’t so much a thought as it was a stirring deep within. That started a dialog as well, but I discovered that there was an amazing person beyond (make that above and beyond) the photo. Initial perception wrong – reality far better.

That’s the positive side. It doesn’t always turn out so well. The virtual world is an amazing cornucopia of great people and nut jobs. I have experienced, as have we all, connecting with the less savory side of humanity and it is because I allowed my perception to filter what I wanted to see. I tend to be very trusting and have been a bit na├»ve at times (I’m feeling much better now), but that’s the risk one takes when reaching out.

So what’s the lesson here? Should you not trust what you see? Should you be cautious and closed? Should you be open to everyone and hope for the best?

How the heck should I know? I’m just a figment of your perception in a virtual world.

As far as the whole “Perception is Reality” thing is concerned… yeah, perception is reality, only if you have no imagination. Now stop staring at your computer and have a life!

~ Thom