Tag Archives: grin and bear it

Because There is No Alternative

Things have been going extraordinarily well, as of late. I’m employed at a fantastic company that I love, with awesome coworkers, good pay, and a real chance at learning and growing. I’m grateful for such an opportunity. My home life is also going pretty well. My lovely oldest younger sister is on a mission for our church and is currently in Utah for training before being sent off to Washington State. It’s super cool. I’m very proud of her. My brother is doing really well for himself, working for a pest control company. What was the first thing he bought? A ton of video games and an epic computer for gaming. My youngest sister is in the grip of mid-high school life, so it’s about as good as it could be for her (rough, but manageable). My parents are happy and my dad might even be able to get off insulin in a year. I might have an opportunity to move out sooner rather than later, and I’m starting up a tiny local business-thing to help me make some extra money. (Don’t worry. It’s not drugs. Yet.) Life is simple and good right now.

So then, why am I feeling so craptastic?

The long answer: I’m halfway into a relationship I don’t know will work, my self-image is crumbling, my health is in decline, I’m still nowhere near to releasing my first film, I’m tired most of the time, I get anxious about the dumbest things, yadda yadda.

The short answer: I’m not perfect.

I know, I know. You can’t be perfect. You can’t expect yourself (or be expected by others) to perform flawlessly and shoot to the top of the ladder at your job, relationship, or whatever else is in your life. You just can’t. To do so causes stress, and for a man who is 24 and has to live at home, that’s a pretty normal. I know, intellectually, that I’m imperfect and that I’m not supposed to be perfect. That said, I know I’m not at my best, that my potential is untapped, that I am nowhere near where I would like to be. It’s rough.

I want to be traveling the world. I want to be making movies. I want to be changing lives. I want to be helping people. I want to be independent. I want, I want, I want, but I don’t have. I’m failing to live up to my own expectations. So I came up with a couple solutions. The first is pretty obvious:

Lower your expectations of yourself.

This tends to be the go-to when I asked for advice on the matter. “You can’t be perfect,” and “you shouldn’t try to do too much,” were common responses. “You need to set lower standards,” was also popular. This might work for you, because your standards might be ridiculous. You might think that you have to raise those four kids, balance a check book, and end world hunger all before 8 in the morning. It’s admirable that you want to do all these things, but it might be a little foolish to try to do it all alone. Which brings me to my second solution:

Try harder.

Maybe your expectations and standards are within reach. You’d probably know better than I would. I personally don’t think my standards are that implausible. I want to live in my own apartment/condo/house, travel to a new place every month (even if it’s just to another city), and make enough money to support myself. It shouldn’t be that hard, yet for some reason it is. In fact, in my experience, this is basically impossible. Why? Because I’m not trying hard enough. I haven’t ever been able to completely focus or devote myself to any one thing – goal or otherwise – without assistance. Or rather, I haven’t forced myself to do so. When the going gets tough, the Tay got going. But that needs to change if I want to reach my goals.

To sum up, there are several roads you can take. You can change your standards, change your course in life, change how hard you work; whatever the case may be. You have the power. And I have the power. Believe.

That not good enough for you? The whole “just be positive” speech doesn’t carry as much thunder once you’ve heard it a dozen times. Allow me to present you with another fact:

Do what you need to do to reach your goal. Do it because there is no alternative. There just isn’t. I got home from a walk in the park a few minutes ago and my dad proceeded to lecture me about my eating habits (which are pretty bad). I’m now officially 70 pounds over my personal weight limit. I have plans to live forever and the gunk in my veins is going to clog up my heart before I get the chance to discover the cure for death. I have to be healthy. It’s no longer an option of “Well, I want abs to looks sexy.” Now it’s “I need to be healthy, or I’m going to die at 30.” There is no alternative. I have no other options.

Neither do you.

You want your life to change? You want to reach your goal? You want to be something more than you are today? Do you want to do something but just can’t find the motivation? Then remember the title of this post. Because you have to do it. You have to. THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE. There’s no backup. There’s no checkpoint. There’s no restart. There’s this. This is it. Do not waste what life and time you have. You have to try. You have to do. Because there is no alternative. Humans have proven their resilience time and time again. It’s proof that you can persevere and do it too. It will be hard. It will seem impossible. But you have to. You have no other choice.

Don’t give up! Don’t give in! And always remember to DREAM BIG!

How to Feel Grateful, Even When You’re Not.

Over the first few months of the year, I’ve been mentally falling apart. That’s what tends to happen when you have no plan, no idea where you’re going, and under 60 days to decide all of that. Stress and anxiety destroyed me and I reverted to a version of myself that I neither like, nor am happy I ever had. But in this last week, I was brought back to joy by techniques I learned a few years ago. It’s funny how going back to the basics is so important. I suppose that’s why they teach you those first.

I’m going to list a few steps I’ve taken to correct my behavior and my attitude. Hopefully, if you find yourself in a spot of bother, these things will work for you.

Step 1: Stop

Stop whatever it is you’re doing. Really stop. If you’re doing homework, put the pencil down. If you’re driving, pull over. If you’re eating, swallow first and then stop. If you’ve been sitting, stand. If you’ve been standing, sit. I want you to literally stop whatever it is you’re doing for 17 seconds. It may help to put on a piece of uplifting music.

Step 2: Examination

Are you stopped for 17 seconds? Good! Now the un-fun part starts. Look at yourself. Look at what you’re doing. Look at your mood, your behavior, your mannerisms. Look at your posture, look at your facial expression, look at breathing. If you are not happy, if you are not in a good state of mind, then these things will be wrong. I guarantee that these things will look and feel the way you do, emotionally. You feel angry, you’ll look (your version of) angry. You feel sad, you’ll look (your version of) sad. I say your version because sometimes people hide their feelings from others. This also hides feelings from themselves, disconnecting the feel-er to their own emotional state. Stop all of this, and close your eyes.

Step 3: Let Go

LET IT GOLET IT GO! CAN’T HOLD IT BACK ANYMORE! There is joy inside of you. It’s there. Don’t think that you’re a joyless creature. Within the human mind, we are capable of all things. With that in mind, let go of all the crap that you are carrying right now. Let go of the anger, the sadness, the stress. This is one of the hardest things to do, but don’t stop.

Step 4: Say Thank You!

You wouldn’t believe how powerful this is. You don’t necessarily have to feel gratitude yet. Just having let go of the crap from the previous step, and choosing to allow yourself to feel gratitude, even if it’s not there, opens you up. Say “Thank you”. Who are you thanking? Well, you can thank God, thank the Universe, Spirit, Fairy Godmother, your parents, your friends, your family, your significant other, or yourself. What are you saying thank you for? It doesn’t matter. Just say thank you and mean it. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Start off by saying this twenty times and you’ll start to feel an energy shift. If you feel nothing, go back to step 3 and try again. Repeat these steps until you feel genuine gratitude.

Step 5: Write everything down

You’re now feeling gratitude, or starting to feel gratitude. Keep chanting Thank You! Grab a pen (not a pencil) and some paper. Get specific with your thanking and write it all down. “I am so grateful that I can write this down.” “Thank you for letting me change my attitude.” “I’m so grateful that I am free from my own self-afflictions.” List EVERYTHING you feel in a positive connotation. Instead of saying “I’m so grateful that I don’t have to deal with a crappy coworker anymore” write “I’m so grateful that my job has a better work environment.” This is critical. Gratitude doesn’t work if you’re snarky or sarcastic about it. You must focus on pure, positive reinforcement. You will be astounded at the difference it makes.

Step 6: Smile

As you do these steps, remember to smile genuinely. Physically adjusting yourself to allow that happiness into your life will make it easier for you to feel gratitude. Fix your posture, smile, breath deeper, be deliberate in your mannerisms. When you breathe, breathe in joy. When you stand or sit up straight, imagine your spirit becoming aligned with the universe as your spine does with your body. When you smile, every ounce of pain is shredded before your eyes. You will begin to feel a powerful shift in your body. Tilt your head towards the sky in awe, or towards the ground in reverence. Feel.

Remember that attitude is a choice. Whether you’re going to have a good day or a bad day is entirely up to you, not the circumstances you’re in. I know you have it in you to be powerful creators of your own lives, of your own destinies. Be strong, be brave. Be unafraid to challenge your old habits and stand up for your happiness. Be grateful. Be wise. And follow your feet. They know where to go. Trust yourself and your inner joy. I have so much more to say, but I want you to go right now and try this out. Try it out and comment on how it made you feel. Comment. Like. Share.

You guys are amazing and I cannot thank you enough for your time and your attention. It’s incredible. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Remember, if you’re going to dream, dream BIG!

I’m Awesome. You’re Awesome.

Here’s something I’ve learned over the years: I am nothing like the rest of the world. I am weird. I am odd. I am different than everyone else.

Here’s something else I’ve learned: You are nothing like the rest of the world. You are weird. You are odd. You are different than everyone else.

In a way, this makes us similar. Each of us have our own struggles and if we start comparing one struggle to another, we’re just breeding envy and other such nonsense. Anxiety, depression, bad home life, no job, loss of a loved one, disease, hunger; the list goes on and on. We are all subject to these torments.

So what?

Okay, so occasionally we succumb to our faults and we have really crappy days. I can list many-a-time when I’ve wanted to throw my hands in the air, laugh hysterically, and march out the door while singing “I QUIT!” in the most flamboyant of ways possible. There are days where I hide in my bed and pray that I am going to be okay. You know what the worst thing is you can say to someone who is in that state of mind? “It’s going to be okay.” I dunno about you, but that never helped me. That just made me go “well, crap. Now I have to make everything okay.” Someone said something else to me this morning that hit me so profoundly. Maybe I’m a narcissist, but it worked.

“Hey, you are awesome.”

It came out of the blue. There was no warning or prerequisite. (He doesn’t read this blog either) It stuck me so profoundly and so quickly that I responded immediately: “Not to sound arrogant, or ungrateful, but I know. You’re right. I am awesome. Thank you for reminding me.” I am so grateful this person said that to me. Because you know what? I am awesome. I am awesome. No one ever told me that in High School. I’ve been out of high school for 5 years and in those years I’ve come to understand the truth that this person randomly told me. I am awesome. And If I can be awesome, so can you.

I’m a man with enough faults to cause an earthquake, and yet I’m awesome. You’re awesome too. You have to believe that. You are awesome. So what if you’re lazy? So what if you’re sick? So what if you’re poor? So what?! You’re awesome! And that’s a great thing. Now go and use your awesomeness! Rise to the challenge and make a difference in this world! You’re awesome. And you always will be.

Remember, if you’re going to dream, dream BIG!

I made this in High School.
“If we could see the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life enough sorrow and suffering to disarm all hostility.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow… I made this in High School.

Dear Yak in the Crack (AKA, Rant of the Year)

To Whom It May Concern (and it should concern you),

I am a lowly man, poor of wallet and of nourishment. Nevertheless, I am blessed with opportunity to live in a country where I have the freedom to choose where I spend my last* 7 dollars for the week. For whatever reason, I chose to dine with you. Perhaps it was because you are across the street from my current residence, or perhaps it because my options are limited at this late our. Whatever the reason was, it is no longer relevant. I suppose I could have been more conservative with my ordering of cheese-slathered food, but not wanting to look like a pansy in front of my friend, I decided to order some of your cheesiest, spiciest food. Because #YOLO. Your meal also came with fries, a drink, and two tacos.

One bite of your cheesy, spicy burger-esque garbage ball and I knew that I was going to throw up if I continued, so I ate the fries instead. After finishing those I moved on to the tacos. Let me clarify something: what you served me was hardly a taco. Strips of lettuce, hot sauce, some yellowish liquid-abomination I can only assume was supposed to be artificial cheese, and some “meat” slapped between the folds of a thin crystal grease disk does not count as a taco. That meat felt and tasted like sand, dirt, and meat seasonings. Not that I could really tell over the abundant neon mucus flowing from within the bowls of this soggy, yet crunchy vagina you call a taco shell. The smell should have clued me in, but with the thought of all those starving, ebola-infected children in Africa, I reasoned that gorging on this repurposed poop was the honorable and American thing to do. #MURICA

It was after my second taco that I began to realize something was horribly wrong. My insides were already plotting revolution. After all, food only takes seven seconds to hit the stomach from the time it slides forcibly down my gullet. When I was pulling up to my home, I knew I had mere seconds before the inner walls of my stomach were torn open to reveal the Spanish Inquisition. I got to my piddly diddly department and “released the kraken“, as it were.

I accept that this is entirely my fault, as I am the one who willingly consumed your painted mush and bowel-destroying doom dish. That being said, I feel the FDA should shut down the branch of your establishment that pretends it knows the difference between Mexican Food and the grim beneath a dumpster that can be sprayed brown and be called beans. I will not return to your eatery until such a time when you no longer have these dangerous bioterrorist weapons on your menu.

Thank you kindly for your reading of this letter.

May your “tacos” burn in hell.

Sincerely,

The Man You Just Poisoned


*My friend actually paid for the meal (bless his heart), I just wanted them to feel even worse.

So Far, So Good

New Years Eve was spent party-hoping, dating, and eating dozens of appetizers and heaps of snack food. Lighting tiny fireworks, seeing old high school friends, and making out with attractive people may or may not have also been involved. Midnight came around with cheers and celebrations. It was a great night.

On New Years Day, two very big things happened. First, I hung out with an old friend, Steve. Last time he saw me, I was jobless, car-less, and wore the same old crappy t-shirts from high school. Three years later, I’m employed, driving my own car (crappy though it is), and wearing fancy clothes (faux leather jacket included). It was great to see him again. We spent the evening driving and laughing and trying food from various places. It was jolly. Even though my car nearly failed to get me home (alternator died at the last possible second), it was a great evening and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

And then I came home…

For those of you who don’t know, my home life is pretty standard. I’m the first of four children (two boys and two girls). My parents are still together and both are working (one from home and one out of home). I pay rent (occasionally). I pay for my own phone, gas, and food (when I can afford to do so). I work a part-time minimum wage retail job and have been for over a year now. My life was lacking the flair I’ve been craving for a while now. I want to travel, I want to make YouTube videos. I want to make movies, write books, and be creative in general. And I want to get paid doing it. I want to follow my heart, live the dream, etc. etc. etc. I want to be financially independent, have my very own place, a better car, and money! Not because I want to live in the lap of luxury or because I want fame and fortune to knock on my door, but because I’m tired of leaning on the support of others to get things done. I’m working on destroying my ego, so your patience is appreciated. Anyway, all of these things were swirling in my head that night when Dad decides to sit me down.

“You have until March 1st to find a new place to live,” he said. This isn’t the first time this has happened either. When I was 19 it was either go serve a mission for my church, or move out. I moved out. More on that later. After living in two places, courtesy of very dear friends, I realized I was too poor, too stupid, and too insane to do this whole “adult” thing. I wound up back home where my family and I rekindled our relationship and repaired the damage done. News Years Day, 2015, however, was a very different conversation. I had been dreaming of having my own place for a long time now and I had complained about it (but never actually done anything about it).

My dad and I are wired almost the same way. He said “I know that when things get comfortable, we get complacent. And you can’t afford to be complacent anymore.” Spoken like the Mouth of Truth itself. The words didn’t impact me in any special way that night. I had been thinking the same thing for weeks. I wasn’t angry, I wasn’t hurt, I wasn’t annoyed. I was excited. I need motivation to do things; to do anything. And it’s true, I was complacent. Comfortable. I wanted this. I wanted to be out of my parents safety net. I wanted to be free.

Free. What a word. We can do a word examination on that later. But right now, I feel it. I feel free. I could pack up and go anywhere. I could leave the city, the state, the country. I could travel the world or settle in the slums. I am no longer bound by the rules of someone else’s house. I can move out! Guys and gals, I can move out! I have never been so excited to move before. I hate moving. But considering almost all of my stuff is already packed, it wouldn’t be that hard.

I need another job (or a replacement) to help cover the costs of living on my own. I need to remember my passions and not let myself get swallowed up by the struggle of establishing myself as an individual in society. It’s my first real step into adulthood and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and I know this year is going to be full of milestones. I’m going to change my world and I am so excited that I get to share it with you. Stay tuned for updates as I job hunt, home hunt, and man hunt. Wink wink.

What are some things on your plate this year? What does the foreseeable future hold? Comment, follow, subscribe, yadda yadda!

I love you all. Remember: if you’re going to dream, dream BIG!

PS. Listen to Steve’s music! It’s pretty swell!