The grass isn’t greener……

 Well since my last post so much has happened.  I could write for days, but I will spare you the great details.  Last time I was on here  I was moving.   That seems like so long ago. I left the comfort of what I had known for so long for the unknown of small town missouri.  It certainly came with it’s challenges and an extra 9 miles of driving each way.  I continued in my same job and for the most part still loved it.  I got to teach and train people. I got to pass on the lessons of not only health and personal training, but the value of an education. I got to see first hand how you could  change someone’s life with the knowledge you had spent a lifetime discovering.  That didn’t last though.  From working for free in some parts of my job, to not being allowed to expand my roll in others my time was beginning to fade even if I didn’t want it to.  I never wanted to leave. I wanted to be able to grow and help them to grow with me, but when you’re paid by the state that doesn’t always happen.   As my time there seemed to be at its end, I thought of what else I  might be able to do.  I applied and applied and applied to countless jobs.  I begged  just for a chance to prove my worth in the field I had gotten my education in and spent 5 years in.  But the  ”Dear Mary” letters  continued to pour in. Sometimes  unexpectedly after  forgetting I had even applied. I wrote a poem about my struggles. Here it is:

Help Wanted: A poem by TK

This looking for  a  job  thing  is a giant  pain in the *ss 
I miss  the days of drinking beer, and always skipping class 
Waking  up around noon or so, and  heading to the rec 
Sweating out the night before, or what did you expect 
I’ve put in so  many  resumes, and filled  out  so many apps 
I keep getting these Dear John letters, filled with all  sorts of crap 
Thank you  for your submission, we  wish you the best  of luck 
We notice  that you’re qualified, but really don’t give a f*ck 
You’re not what we’re looking for, you won’t be moving on 
If something changes we’ll let you know, but the conclusion is foregone 
Does my experience mean nothing? And what about my Degree? 
You realize it’s a  Master’s right? Should I have just gotten a  GED? 
Should I kneel down and  pray tonight, and just hope for the best 
Or will my prayer be a cover letter that lays in a  pile with the rest? 
Should  I  go make my own  youtube video,  just  like Gagnam Style 
Do I hold up a  copy of my resume  and  hope that it  goes  viral? 
I  could pick up an acoustic guitar, and strum a chord or three 
I’ll look right in the  camera and  say, “PLEASE  JUST  HIRE  ME” 
My stress level is way up, my sleep hours way down 
My once constant  smile is now a constant frown 
Ready to get out of  this race, and win the lottery  
But until that day comes  around, “PLEASE  JUST HIRE  ME” 

After the humor wore off I decided to try my hand at finance. I got a job with Quantum Financial in Carbondale.  It was a small company but  an opportunity none the less.  I quickly learned that I was surrounded by one  of the most intelligent financial minds I had ever been  around. His ability to not only see a bigger picture in an person’s financial life, but  to also grow their fortune in a much more secure and advantageous way than any other financial person  out there was astounding. I was intrigued .  I was excited.  I was driven.   Then reality hit me.    They say that loneliness can be a killer of all things good.  Well they aren’t lying.  Just when I thought  I had life by the balls a tragedy struck and life reminded me that I had no control over anything.  I struggled  with confusion. I struggled with pain.   I struggled to fight back  tears and see the  positives that  could be.   I learned of  so much hurt, so many different ways.   I took all of them to heart, and tried to hide the  pain from everyone around me and myself.  When the dust settled and things  returned  to once was, I thought if I could just do this or that, then things would change,  Life would get  better. It would all make sense.  I was wrong.   Again tragedy struck….and loneliness  set in, and  pain of the truth has  set in ….On top of that I’m lost. I’m lost of who I am, what I want,  where I want to be. I’m running in circles trying to find the happiness I know is there but scared shitless to grab it.  The  unknown has always terrified  me, and  now more than ever.  I have  so many skills and  talents. Why can’t I use them for financial gain? Tony Calabrese used to tell  me.    Do something with your  Art.  He also used  to say whatever you do in life, do  it with passion.   What if  my passion is on the other  side. And  what if the  only way to make the grass greener  is to  paint it with  my own brush.    Where does  that leave me? I  don’t  know. Confused.

Living Write

Well, it’s been another month between now and my last post. I would like to  say that I’m shocked, but in reality, I know I’m not. I have’t had much to write about, and very little to say, even though around me it seems so much has happened.  

I  moved recently.  I know for some  that  might  not be such a monumental occasion, but for me  it  was. I had been in that building complex for so long. It seemed like one of the larger  portions of my life. A neck and neck race between my days in colonial east, and my years in undergrad.

I moved there in 2006. My Sister and her boyfriend at the time were living in a small apartment with an empty room.   I had recently moved back from Florida which I remember  saying at one point I would stay in forever. A guy by the name of Adam Vaughan bet  me a case of beer I would not. He was  right, I was definitely wrong. I still owe him that beer. 

None the less my  time in Florida  didn’t last. Between the New Year’s home  alone, the Birthday at the bar by myself, the constant driving, the $700 rent  payment, or the just being so far  from home, I  knew when I  got to Georgia, that Florida wasn’t home. Thanks to a cut in budget I was allowed  to move home and  collect unemployment. Unless I win the powerball tonight, that might have been my luckiest  moment.

When I moved home, I began living with my parents again. That’s the adult version of being sent to the principal’s office, or  being given a time out.  As  George Costanza once  said. There’s nothing that says I’m failing like moving back in with your parents. So, rather than stay in Fairfield and explore the amazing nightlife scene there, I would often go down to Carterville and stay with my buddy.  

One night, in a drunken whiskey induced fit of  rage, transpired through the jack assery of an individual, I let my temper  get the best  of me. Rather than kindly  walking away when he continued to drunkenly lean on me  at  the bar after being asked not to, I did what any male jack ass with no sense would do. I  stood up started shouting  like an asshole, and preceded  to  throw his fat ass into the tables behind  me and excused myself out the back door.  I felt I was doing the bouncers a favor.    Subsequently he busted his head open and marched himself up to the police station to file charges.  

Months later, I was all wired out on way too much of a pre-workout supplement, and was driving through the small  town of Fairfield waiting for it to “kick in.” Anyone that’s ever taken a pre-workout supplement knows what I’m talking about.   I however wasn’t wearing my  seatbelt and drove  right by a cop.   He pulled out and pulled me over. The next thing I knew I  was  handcuffed and having the trooper call my  father to  inform him of my predicament.   

As if by some  dumbass god surprise, I was informed that I was up for 2  felonies,  Nothing says “Welcome to McDonald’s,  may I take your order?” like a  felony record. I quickly scrambled to  find  suitable representation, to  the tune of $3000.  So that brought my dumbass total to  4000, and not even close  to done.  Because of my constant  court appearances, I decided to  go back to  school. However, I had no where  to  live, and no idea what to go back for.

As I said prior, my sister  and her bf had  a  nice little quaint apartment in a complex called colonial east.  It was  small, but away from all  the madness  that is Carbondale.  I moved in and after being informed falsely that I wouldn’t be able to   go back for my Bachelor’s in PE, I  decided  to  apply to graduate school.   A  half court shot to  say  the  least, but hey, no chance of it going in if you don’t shoot.

By some miracle  I  was approved  in less  than 8 hours. A very strenuous selection process.  While at first I was  undeclared  because  of my stellar GPA in undergrad, I eventually graduated with high marks and a Master’s in Kinesiology.

The next question was what to do. Where do I  go? Where do I live? What  job do I get. Well turns out I  would move a building over and start the 5 years at  4A.

3 Roommates,  a few bad relationship decisions, a  lot of booze with friends, a  few dance parties and  a  lot of rent money later, and  I am officially out.  I will probably never forget  Colonial east, and the journey that it took me down in my life. I  will never forget how  excited I was  about the free  cable and no towing, and more than anything, I’ll  never forget the memories I made  there, that have  made  me who I am.

They say that life  must be lived  moving forward, but that doesn’t mean  looking back is  such a  bad thing.   I believe that our past shapes our present and helps us make the decisions that mold our future. I know that apartment taught me many things, I  just wish it wouldn’t have eaten my fucking keys.  ha  ha 

(I would  like to note  that I’m  in no  way proud of my actions that night in the bar, nor do I think fighting in  public or period is  cool in  anyway.  It happened and I learned a  very valuable lesson because of it.)

The Beauty of Life is an ugly reality

It’s been about a month or more since my last posting.  Life has swept me up, and given me a writers block and life block that I can’t really explain, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.  

I was on such a run before that time.  I was writing this blog with every intention of being consistent, and gaining more followers for my company through “content marketing” which I learned about through a Google search.  While my blogs were all truly from the heart and the mind of an analytical me, after a while I ran out of ideas because in a way I still wasn’t writing the truth. The truth of the matter is there is much more to life.

Recently as I have scrolled through Facebook, past the food someone is  eating pictures, past concert pictures, questions of why they’re alive after a night of drinking updates, I stumbled upon a growing trend.  That trend has been death.  Such a morbid thing to pick up I’m sure, but it’s hard to not notice. One day it was a very fit individual in the prime of his life passing from a car accident, next was a father of a little girl passing from another car accident, an unexplained death of a dear friend’s father, and finally a motorcycle wreck that took the life a very adored individual and changed the life of his girlfriend forever. 

Often we try not to think about death.  We’re told in Church not to try and understand it, that it’s God’s plan, or these individuals were needed more by God than by us.   I simply call that bullshit.  I don’t buy it, and mostly because there’s absolutely no evidence of that being true.  What is true however is that these deaths are horribly unfair, and that dying young for anyone that leads a life not riddled with horrific behavior criminally and morally is unimaginably unsettling.   I used to think about my own death. I used to know who I wanted there, what I wanted said in my eulogy, and what song I wanted played throughout my funeral that would give a lasting impression of who I was on earth. That song was Ripple by the Grateful Dead by the way.  Then as life went on and life changed, I changed with it.  I learned how valuable life was, how short of time we had on this earth, and how tomorrow wasn’t promised to any of us whether we were the best people in the world, or the worst.  I began to value life, and understand how lucky I was to wake up every morning with the opportunity to have a good day or a bad day.  No matter what sort of day it was, I had the chance to make my own path for that day and because of the uncertainty of tomorrow that I should just enjoy it.

This has rang more true in the last few weeks than ever before.  I hear people talk about hating life, I hear individuals talk about the struggles of life and getting through each day, and I myself am guilty of some of those very sins.  But as I read the anger, sadness, confusion, and sorrow of so many as they mourn the deaths of close friends, relatives, and companions, I think to myself “are you fuc#ing kidding me.”  Breath the air, listen to the birds, talk to people, do something outside, enjoy the day.   Don’t be sad because you have an enormous amount of homework, a job that stresses you out, or because your house isn’t as big as your neighbors, because any one of those individuals that past away recently would love another day filled with struggles.  

Life is beautiful, and reality often rears its ugly head when life seems the most beautiful.   So soak it up while you can, and enjoy the ride.   If you see one of those individuals that has lost so much lately, give them a hug, be a friend, be a brother, or a sister.  Give them a shoulder to cry on, an ear to vent to, or just a presence that gives them strength and comfort in their darkest days.  Tomorrow may not come for some, so enjoy today, simply because you can.

Happy Tuesday Everyone

randomly beautiful, beautifully random

Well, it’s been quite a while since I wrote and posted anything.   The last time was probably the poem I wrote when the bombs devastated Boston, and since then my life and the world around me just hasn’t seemed “beautiful.”  It’s amazing how the world around you can ultimately have an impact on how you view yourself when the mirror is in front of you.  The stresses of life put a damper on our faces.  The tears that life can bring increase our crows feet when we cry.  The muscles it takes to frown slump the skin around our mouths, and the stress of sleepless nights puts dark circles and bags under our eyes that only the stresses of life can bring.  I have always looked for the good in the world.  I have always wanted to believe that those that surround me also protect me as their family, their friend, and often times as more.  When that protection is broken your guard goes up and the stress of the unknown begins to ware on you.  Boston taught us a lot in a very short time.  That age doesn’t discriminate from evil.  That a face in the crowd that seems so normal, can be so far from it.  

Four people died from this horrible tragedy, hundreds were injured, and the security we all were starting to regain was lost once again.  Security is such a crazy feeling. It gives us warmth, it helps us to believe in the love that surrounds us, and helps us to move about in our normal daily lives without fear of pain.  When we have this security, our life is beautiful, but when we don’t our minds race, and terror ensues.  Maybe those times of terror happen for no good reason, and bring nothing positive. However at the same time, maybe those times of terror teach us something. Like what’s important, who’s important, how short life can be, and how much you can lose in such a quick moment that can never be regained.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, sometimes that comes from the mirror, and sometimes that beauty is in your arms or in our hearts and minds.  Where ever it appears, in whatever form, we must cherish it, and understand that as fast as it appeared it can disappear. Have a beautiful day, and a beautiful life.

No beauty today, just sorrow, and anger

The world as we know it, has changed once again.
We cling to our loved ones, family and friends.
So many questions, and the answers too few
Wanting to doubt the horror, but knowing the truth.
The fears from 9/11 quickly seep back in our souls.
How could someone be so vicious, so cruel, so cold? 
The blast shook the streets of Boston, and our sense of security
and made us relive a past, we never hoped to see.
Pray for the victims, and ask for justice from above
I’m tired of all the fighting, I’d rather feel the love
Of a world filled with peace my friends, not one filled with war
It seems the way we’ve been doing things is just a revolving door.
Once again that door has opened, and we will stand our ground
and let those responsible know they will be found.
But when will the next plane crash, or another bomb explode
as they’ve instilled the biggest fear we have, that of the unknown
Forget what I said about peace, blow em all to hell
Then put their severed head on a stick and ring the liberty bell
Drop one big A-Bomb, and make a parking lot
and send them a lasting message, that won’t be soon forgot.
We’re the home of the brave, and the land of the free
United are our States, and United are We!!!

"The Beauty Within"

I have often heard the terms: “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” and that “beauty is only skin deep.”   Both are very powerful messages when you think about them.   We spend so much time worrying about how we look.  We spend money on facial washes, facial creams, eye treatments, botox, make up, hair cuts, hair products, tanning, and the money we spend on clothes.  We create this outer shell to the world as if we were all turtles, and often hide what’s inside the shell. What’s inside the shell is who we really are.  Our personality, our beliefs, and our morals.  We can’t show these characteristics to strangers, only those that know us see these.  The question I raise though is: “Do these change over time?”  Are we always the same person, or do we evolve.  Like the evolution of man from a fish, to a monkey, to a caveman, to what we are now.  Do our personalities, and our inner turtle change and evolve the same way?  We don’t invest the same amount of money on these characteristics, but maybe we should.

I grew up in a very small town.  A town that when I was a kid had 6000 people in it, and has gone down to about 5500.  You knew almost everyone, and there was always a strong possibility that you were related to them some how.   You were raised to go to church, to believe that “GOD” created the world in 7 days, and you didn’t stray from that idea. You believed that homosexuality was wrong, and because of your social surroundings were fearful of the african american population, and considered NWA to be the portrait of all African Americans.  Gossip was the spoken language in this town, and anything you wanted to know about the town was spoken in the local coffee shops, or written and posted on the Press window to read as you drove by.  I didn’t find any of this odd when I was a kid.  I just assumed this was right, this was who I was. A strong republican, believing in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, that homosexuals were gonna destroy the world one version of YMCA at a time, and that Dough Boy from Boyz n The Hood and Martin Luther King Jr were the only type of African Americans in the World.  

Then I went to college.  For a lot of individuals in my home community, this statement simply means signing up for courses at the local community college.  For me, I was going to Carbondale. A vast array of social circles, mixed in a blender with vodka, and academia.  I learned a lot in my almost 10 years there.  I learned that Ice Cube wasn’t the only black man out there, I learned that my high school sweet heart wasn’t the only woman in the world, and I learned that homosexuals are people just like me, and are often much better people than their straight counter parts.  I evolved, I learned, I understood, I empathized, and when it came to the things I used to believe, I just didn’t anymore. There was too much evidence to the contrary.  

When I graduated I had a degree in “Liberal Arts.” To those that don’t know, that is what I call the “Get Out Diploma,” or the “Not Gonna Get Job Degree.”  I was well rounded with my courses in marketing, physical education, poetry, analytical writing, art, as well as the other courses that made up my hodge podge of a transcript.  I had learned from watching queer eye for the straight guy that heterosexual men have quite a lot to gain and learn from the homo sexual community. Most notably how to match their belt and their shoes.  I learned that that my small town, small minded way of thinking was a hindrance upon my evolution.  When I moved to Florida and returned my exposure to other cultures was yet another stepping stone into my evolution from what I once was.  I was learning so much, from so many, and becoming what I considered to be a better person.  Long gone were my old beliefs and thoughts about the world and those that I shared it with.  Then something happened.

In 2005, I was standing in my Uncle’s office as my little cousin was playing on the computer I heard an answer from a question that I will never forget.  I said, Chris, what is that on the computer.  He replied to me; that’s “MYSPACE.” What’s Myspace I asked? That answer forever changed the world.  Myspace was a social media site. You could show people who you were, connect with old friends, find new friends and stay in contact both through email, and pictures/videos.  The world had just gotten smaller right when it was getting bigger.  As myspace faded into the sunset, facebook exploded on to the scene. What was once only a sight for individuals in college had now been opened up to the world.  Everyone has a facebook.  We all use it for the same purposes of myspace, but without the 3 hour window loading that hindered myspace.

As facebook has evolved and given us unlimited access to the world ,one thing it truly did was make what was once my small town even smaller.  It gave a platform to small minded individuals. It gave a microphone to gossip without forcing the individuals to ever leave their living rooms.  It stopped the evolution of society in it’s tracks as it simultaneously opened up more of the world to us.  I often see individuals that are in their 30’s, 40’s, and even 50’s having drama, or problems, or gossiping about the events of their lives.  I see them blocking people, deleting individuals for a post that was written or read in their news feed. I even see physical fights brew from what began on facebook.   It’s mind boggling to me that a world that has become so open and big can still get smaller in some parts of the world. If you’re still having “drama,” at your age, then maybe it’s you.  Evolve in your thinking, evolve in your beliefs.  A difference of opinion should be welcomed, as a debate brings learning to the surface. The world is much larger than 5500, and we are no longer in high school. As the debate for gay marriage, gun control, immigration and other political talking points heats up, remember that he who lets facebook anger him, let’s facebook win.  The beauty of information is the beauty to understand.  Our opinions aren’t forced to change with everyone in our news feed, and they shouldn’t have to.  But if they bring anger, beautifying your inner shell might need to be your next step.