A Mother’s Day Post

Hi, everybody.

And of course, Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms reading this post. You are very much appreciated in this world, even if you have a son like me who sometimes doesn’t show it the best.

But today isn’t about me. Mother’s Day is about my Ma. And always a good reminder that I do need to be a better son each and every day.

My mother is something special. I bitch and moan on here but her story is much more difficult than mine.

She lost her son, had a massive brain aneurysm, and had to deal with a drug addict son (me) for a long while.

But she never faltered. My Ma is the strongest person I know. I talk about my Pops on here a lot, but my Ma is the most resilient individual to ever grace this planet. I really believe that. She is… such a pure individual who gives and shows love to each and every single person she comes across.

I love my Ma. She doesn’t see these posts, but I plan on putting these words into action. Showing gratitude. It’s important we do that as sons and daughters — it’s one of the only ways we can ever “payback” our parents and/or parental figures.

Happy Mother’s Day, Ma. I love you. Maybe you’ll read this one day.

Get out there and hug your Ma and/or mother figure in your life. Show that gratitude.

I wish you the best. Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.

Hell of a Day

Hi, everybody.

I have to make this quick. Also, I can’t really look at the screen while I type. I’m actually in the middle of a meeting. This meeting is from 9 AM – 5 PM over the next two weeks, so I’ll give myself a break for a quick blog today. Don’t feel too bad about it.

Let’s talk about yesterday real quick. Hell of a day. Did I tell you lot that I got my female boxer matched up? I think I did yesterday. I might fight on the same card. Who really knows right now.

Also, my dogs busted their heads through my living room windows during a meeting with my VP of Sales at this company. Super awesome. Glass everywhere. Dogs were fine. I freaked out. Yelled. Felt guilt after my dogs looked scared. Apologized. Gave treats. Retreated.

Then I reached out with anger but my support system (Pops) noticed I was reaching out with frustration and stress. He let me go to the gym to get some boxing in while he came over and fixed up my patch job. He told me he’ll have the windows fixed my Saturday. The man is a miracle worker. I’d be lost without him, honestly – well, for the most part. At least with household chores.

I really do need to start paying more attention to this “Boot Camp” (orientation) for work. I’m glad I took the chance to write to you lot. Have a fantastic day. OH! And if you’re graduating soon, congratulations!

I wish you well. Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.

House in Order

Hi, everybody.

If you’ve kept with me over these past nine or so months I’ve been blogging, you probably noticed my life has been an utter mess for… well, over nine months. Well, it’s starting to come together. Wanna know how I know? Things are slowing down for me. The work isn’t slowing down, but my worries and insecurities have shed from me. It’s a good feeling to have.

How did I get to this point? Shit, I don’t know. I think it was just perseverance and putting the right people around me at the right times. Or it was just simply life playing itself out. I try not to think about it too much. I’m just happy I made progress.

So what sparked this blog topic? My office is put together! New desk, my favorite bookcase, my grandma’s old plant stand, a hanging plant in the window, my mini basketball hoop (yeah so what if I’m almost 30), and a yoga mat + roller. I’m very happy in this room. I’m very happy in this house. You could say… my house is in order.

I’m sorry for that. That was so lame. But I got nothing else for you today. That’s where I’m leaving it. I’ll be better next time, maybe.

I wish you well. Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.

A Quick Change

Hi, everybody.

Anxiety is a son of a bitch. If you read my last post, you know I’m on vacation and not having the bestest of times. Yes, I know bestest isn’t a word. Let’s stay on task.

I was having a shitty time. Still wish I was home enjoying my routine, but I’m OK now.

This brings us back to multiple posts when I mentioned inevitable change. Here it is. Right now. And it happened quickly.

You can always count on change even when you feel like you can’t count on yourself. But you can always count on yourself, too. Don’t forget that. I almost do every day. But guess what happens? Change.

I wish you well. Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.

Off To Florida! Routine Threatened?

Hi, everybody!

Tomorrow I head to Florida. Family trip. Pretty pumped, don’t get to do this too often. Won’t have my computer but I’ll try to post from my phone if I think about it.

And yes, I promise, I am pretty pumped. Am I a bit worried? Not really, but kind of. I’m leaving my routine for a week, which is going to be a bit odd. Now, my routine does shift throughout the week, but the meat of it stays the same. This next week, everything will change. I’ll be around my parents often, which is always a challenge for me. It’s nothing to do with them. It’s everything to do with me. I need to stay aware of that while I’m gone.

But I always tell you lot we can’t spend our time worrying. We can’t focus on just the negatives. We can’t. We’ll go mad. We’ll have to start a blog just to keep our head above water… oh, wait.

The positives? Plenty. You want to know what I can’t wait to do? Jump rope in beautiful weather with water around me. Run in the sand. Shadow box in the sand. Try new training exercises with natural resistance.

“BUT IT’S A VACATION!”

Exactly. That means I can do what I want with my own time (which should really happen all the time, not just vacation). Right now, what makes me happiest is training myself both physically and mentally. I plan to continue to do that while I’m on vacation. Looks like the meat of the routine isn’t threatened whatsoever.

It took writing to understand that. Ain’t that beautiful? I had a question to start with and through writing, I was able to figure out an answer. Fuck, I love this shit. It’s amazing what we can do ourselves even when we’re worried, scared, in fear. Trust yourself.

I wish you well. Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.

Presence Over Presents

Might be trying too hard with the titles over here, who knows.

Hi, everybody! What are we discussing this Christmas Eve? PRESENTS. Or presence, I guess. The pros of presence. Or maybe the cons of presents. We’ll see where this thing goes. Oh. I’m going to be a bit of a Grinch, too. Ope, we might’ve figured out which direction this thing is going already.

Each year leads up to this time. A time of the year supposedly filled with happiness, joy, not a care in the world. Well, I (& I believe most of you) call bullshit. This time of the year is so damn stressful–& not for any reason that’s worth a damn. Earlier someone mentioned their family member passed & another one of their family members purchased the same gift for… well, I’m confusing myself already. Anyway, someone got another person the same gift. It was a HUGE deal. Almost ruined Christmas.

WHAT?!

Why do we care so much about what we give others & what we get from others? What the hell are we even doing anymore? We don’t care about being with one another. We care if we get the PS5 or if we get some new socks. The difference between those two can be life or death.

Christmas isn’t a celebration of you. It’s not a celebration of any of us. I’m not a believer (sorry, my believer readers), but I’m pretty sure it’s a celebration of Jesus. How about we STOP with the presents & just be present?

End rant. Merry Christmas!

I wish you well. Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.

Don’t Have Much To Do, Figured I’d Write To You

Hi, everybody!

As we hit the holiday season, work slows down. Life slows down a bit. My Pops is now quarantined due to possible COVID exposure, so we’re just one … happy family living with each other 24/7. Should be a fun experiment.

Oh, that reminds me, I need a new damn house or a rental. Really, anything. I’ll take anything right now. I miss my independence, not having to pay attention to how loud I’m being, & just overall having a bit more freedom. I can’t thank my parents enough for allowing me to stay at their place while I look for a new home.

So, slow days. What do you lot do on slow days? I’m thinking of doing some data-mining for work (thrilling), reading a book, & I really need to check if a soccer match is on today. Also, I have my second & third job to attend to later this afternoon. Someone’s a boxing coach again! Can ya guess who it is?

On slow days, I find it best mentally to not stress yourself out with the amount of time you have on your hands. Do what you want to do. Maybe set a couple goals for the day, but if you’re struggling mentally, don’t ram your head into a brick wall if you don’t get everything done. There’s always another slow day coming your way.

I wish you well. Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.

Story Time #1 – One Lives for Two

Hi, everybody!

I’ve been thinking, & I think it’s about time you lot get to know me a bit more. No, not my name, location, etc., but some moments in my life I believe impacted me in a certain way (neither all good or all bad).

So, with that said, we’ll call these installments “Story Time” – I can’t think of anything better right now. One of my many English professors told me multiple times to just “throw up on the page” when writing, so here it goes: My mantra explained.

The way I recall this event may be slightly different than how it actually happened. My Pops is the only family member that knows about this blog, so he may pick out some errors if he decides to read this. But hey, we can’t change our memories. This story takes place when I was four, almost five. My brother nine, & my mother & father in their late 30’s – early 40’s. I’m actually sitting on the couch in the same home this all happened. Eery, really. I don’t enjoy it much here.

I really get off track quickly, don’t I?

Anyway, about that mantra I’m supposed to explain. It’s “One lives for two”, & it’s for my late brother.

Flashback to 96′, it was a blindingly sunny day in the backyard, early summertime. Kids running, laughing, screaming, & of course, playing every single sport known to mankind. I remember my parents served pizza that day, but I couldn’t eat it. Stupid gluten. I was really mad about that. Next thing I remember is my brother collapsing in the backyard. Again, I could be misremembering, but I do remember a frenzy. Things I couldn’t understand. Things happening so fast. No more laughing. Only screaming, running, & crying. No one knew what to do.

My parents took control. One gave CPR, the other called for help. Neighbors booked it up the street to alert the cop on our block. His wife said he was too busy sleeping to come help. What a guy, right? Fuck that guy. He ended up divorced, go figure.

I stayed the night away from my brother. I stayed at a neighbor’s house. I don’t remember a single thing we did. All I remember is sitting on my bed the next day, parents slouched in front of me letting me know Nick wasn’t coming home.

Last Wednesday, my parents & I took a small tree to his gravestone. After my parents stepped away as we were leaving, I took a step back towards him. “You’re an asshole for leaving me here alone,” I said, laughing & crying. I hope he got a good laugh out of that.

I wish you well. Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.

Reflections: Flying Home

I’m sitting in a Burger King right now. Checked in for my flight, head home here in just an hour or so.

What has this trip meant to me?

I originally embarked on this trip filled with zero expectations. I think I managed that. I never set anything in stone on things I had to get done, places I had to see, or people I had to meet. I did a good job on that.

However, I don’t know why I feel like I didn’t do enough this trip. It could have something to do with my crippling depression & constant need for naps throughout the trip to pass some time. But when I think about those naps, they managed to get me through some really tough mental moments.

I leave Maine knowing I saw what I could see. I ventured out as much as I could. I did give it my all. Now I head home without an ounce of knowledge on what to do next, & that’s a scary thought.

My parents will be there for me. My dogs will be there for me.

What did I learn about myself this trip? I still have a knack for meeting strangers and befriending them. That’s good to know. Maybe when I get back home it’ll be time to head back out to bars, to head back out & just talk with people. Maybe I’ll make some new friends. Maybe I’ll rekindle friendships with those that I’ve put aside recently due to my mental state.

This was a positive trip. I maybe cried a bit more than I’d care to admit, but I did something I didn’t think was possible for me. Hell, I thought I might drive off a cliff when I was heading up & down Cadillac Mountain, I was that poor off. But I didn’t. I’m still here. Fighting. Living somewhat, but mostly fighting.

I can’t wait to see my dogs. I can’t wait to be in my own bed. I am excited for what’s next. I’m proud to feel that way.

I wish you well. Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.

Pops

This post is dedicated to my father. He’s one of the very few people with knowledge of this blog, so he’ll most likely read it. I hope he does. He deserves to read what makes him such a… perfect Pops.

Pops hasn’t had it easy. Everything I’ve been through, he’s been through + the other things that I’ve put him through. I really don’t know how he does it. Let me explain.

Pops had quite a few misfortunate events occur in his adult life (understatement of the century). I’m sure he had plenty as a kid, but I haven’t asked much. I probably should one day. Throughout adulthood, though, he hasn’t had it easy. His first-born son passed away at the age of nine. He tells me of times after my brother passed, times where he couldn’t sleep. Where he’d wake up after intense nightmares about the loss of his son. Where his anxiety spiked through the roof & he’d pace. I can’t even imagine how tough things were for him during that time.

His wife, my mother, suffered a brain aneurysm in her early 40’s, only about seven or so years after they lost their son. This changed mostly everything about my mother, outside of her knack for always giving unconditional love. Pops stayed at the hospital almost every night when my mother was in the ICU & as she recovered. I believe it was three to four months before my mother was released from the hospital. I think he was there almost every day, & slept on a cot next to her almost every night. Praying for her. Being there for her. Showing unconditional love through each tear & each breath. Again, I can’t even imagine.

Yes, I was going through this stuff, too, but I was young. I didn’t fully understand the magnitude of these traumatic events, but my Pops wasn’t as lucky. In fact, I don’t know if he’s ever had an ounce of luck in his life, but the man just keeps going. Again, I can’t even imagine.

After all of this, you’d expect things to get easier. They didn’t. My mother had to learn how to walk again, how to talk again, how to really do anything again. Who was there through it all? Who showed up each time she needed help, love, or both? My Pops.

It didn’t stop there. His mother & my grandmother, started to suffer from dementia, & he was once again the person in charge. How did he handle it? Well, just like he’s handled everything in life. Through love, patience, & most importantly for him, faith. His faith is something that I can’t quite grasp, but boy am I happy he has it. During this time he was also struggling with me, an early 20’s kid causing needless trouble & couldn’t save a penny if he glued it to his forehead. What did he do in that situation? He helped. He didn’t have to, but he did. Concurrently, he was losing his job. Think about that for a second: He was losing his job but still put my mother & me in front of himself, along with somehow managing the loss of his own mother. How he handled everything with the prospect of losing his job, the only income my family had, is beyond me. Again, I can’t imagine.

When his sister passed, who was in charge of handling the funeral, who had to drive 17 or so hours to & from our state to her state a few times? Pops did. Were there capable people down where my aunt lived that could’ve handled the situation? Probably, but Pops is Pops. He lives to help. He lives to impact others in a positive way. He lives the way everyone should live. That Golden Rule you hear about? He’s perfected it.

I struggled hard today. Very hard. What happened next? I bet you can guess.

Pops dropped everything he was doing at work & drove to my house, where we talked for hours about everything from my problems, to solutions, to leadership. We really covered a lot of ground, but I didn’t even notice what was going on. Why? Because Pops was being Pops. Loving, caring, & always listening. I can’t tell you lot how much that means to me. I wouldn’t still be here today without my Pops in my corner. My mother wouldn’t be here if my Pops wasn’t in her corner. Who knows how many other people he’s impacted this way, but I bet it’s not exclusive to us. The man is a machine of kindness and compassion.

You know what I think about sometimes? How quickly I would run away from these situations. I’ve talked to countless people about it. He’s been through so much. So much shit tossed not just in his general direction, but directly at his face. However, nothing stops him from being Pops. Why? Faith. Again, I want to have that, but I can’t imagine.

This is off the cuff. I felt the need to write about him right as he walked out the door to drive the hour or so back to his house. He’s coming over tomorrow morning to help me get the house ready to sell. Can you believe that? He just spent five or so hours listening to me cry, listening to me complain about everything in life, & listening to me cuss at almost every pause in my sentences. Yet he’s still coming back tomorrow. Is Pops even real? Now that I’m typing this, I’m starting to think he’s an alien or some type of robot – maybe he is that machine made of kindness & compassion. I just can’t imagine how he does all of this for the people in his life.

I’m a very lucky son. Yes, my Pops & I have had our fair share of butting heads (one time we put a hole through the hallway wall when I was kid, but that was my fault – most everything we butted heads on was my fault… go figure). However, no matter what I’ve done in my life, & I’ve done some terrible shit, he’s always been in my corner. Always. Just like he’s always been in my mother’s corner & just like he was always in his mother’s corner.

If there’s one person that deserves some type of “legacy”, some type of statue or some shit, it’s my Pops. Not some random president or the first man on Mars (I know that person doesn’t exist yet). That shit doesn’t compare to what he’s done in his life. It truly doesn’t. He’s the most amazing man I’ve met & I’m somehow lucky enough to be his son. He’s talked me off the edge more times than I can count. He’s put in countless hours with my mother & me to make sure we’re doing well. I can’t remember the last time either of us asked him if he’s doing well. Maybe it’s time to return the favor. Actually, it definitely is.

For those of you without father figures that are reading this post, don’t get too down. Just because he’s my Pops doesn’t mean you don’t have someone like this in your life. They don’t have to be your dad. They just have to care about you unconditionally. My Pops does that. He’s done that my whole life & seemingly since the day he met my mother. I wouldn’t know prior to that, but maybe I’ll ask tomorrow morning.

Anyway, I hope he gets a chance to read this. I don’t do a good enough job telling him these type of things. They just never seem to come out – maybe because he always puts me in front of himself. He’s just that selfless.

Anthony de Mello, a Jesuit priest & author I bring up quite often, says that all men are selfish. Anthony, I respectfully disagree. My Pops is completely selfless & there’s no way anyone could prove otherwise.

Again, I want to stress to you that you have someone in your life like this, too. My Pops isn’t one in a million. I know that. You need to know that. Start to look around you, see who’s really there, see who’s been there for you no matter what. Once you find that person, never take them for granted. They could, & most likely will, save your life.

I wish you well (especially you, Pops). Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.

Also, I love you, Pops. Thank you for everything. I mean it.