Friday, December 24, 2010

The Dark Side of Christmas

This is to the lonely hearts. This is to the struggle and pain. This is not to the joy often associated with Christmas, but to the hatred that is also there, hidden ever so silently.
This time of year is often a joyous one for all. It's filled with friend and family, gifts and praise, food and laughter. It's my favorite holiday, but also my most hated. Don't get me wrong, I've never had a bad Christmas. On the contrary, this time of year is always wonderful to me and I'm truly blessed.
I hate it because I know it's not that way for everybody. There's always that lingering thought in the back of my mind that there are people out there who are all alone for the holiday. They have no tree, no gifts, no family, no food - nothing. Whether it be the homeless or just those down on their luck, this holiday brings not only the greatest happiness to some, but also the greatest sadness for others.
So this post is to you. It's not much, and I know most hurting people won't read it, but here it is. There is hope, and there is help. It always gets better. Keep your head up, and your heart as well.

May you feel peace tonight. May you feel loved. May you know that you are not alone and that when all feels lost, there is hope.

This is to you.

"If you feel like crap tonight, please know you're not alone. If you wish your life looked different, please know you're not alone. If you feel abandoned and haunted, please know you're not alone. If you feel overwhelmed by questions and pain, please know you're not alone."
- To Write Love On Her Arms

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

People Watching

Proper people watching is an art. In complete honesty, it's extremely difficult to master and most of us have no idea what it's all about. People tend to ask, "what's the point in that?" What they don't realize is it's not just about watching people. That's creepy as hell. It's about observing them and learning a little about them, ourselves, and life all at the same time. There's so much that can be gained from taking the time to open our eyes and observe. The more we do it, the more we'll realize the world isn't quite as put together as it seems. Amidst all the every day chaos, the hustle and bustle, and the ever-common "go, go, go" attitude, there's something hiding that most people miss.
The next time you're out and about, take a second to really look around and observe the world as it moves around you. Push the "pause" button on your own life for just a few minutes, and pick out random people to observe. Take special note of their demeanor and their facial expressions. Do they avoid certain objects or people? Do they look sad? Or mad? Happy? Excited?
Take what you see and try to put yourself in their shoes. Try to imagine what they've been through. Maybe that person you're watching has just been to hell and back. Perhaps a family member died, or they are going through some serious financial woes. Or worse than that, maybe they are dying. Or maybe it's the exact opposite. What if they've just won the lottery, or sealed up a new job, or just had their first child. As you watch the people and imagine their lives, take a deep look at your own life. You'll probably find yourself not only watching these people, but judging them at the same time.
It's a pity, really. To believe that we are so much better than someone that we are allowed to judge them based on one or two brief interactions, or even on appearance alone. The fact is, you're no better or worse than anyone else. But then why is it so necessary for us to hierarchically determine who is above who? It's so easy to look at a homeless person and the CEO of a large corporation and automatically think that the CEO is an all around better person. I'm sure we're all guilty of doing this at one point or another. What we don't realize is that CEO is currently engaged in an affair with his secretary while his wife of fifteen years waits lovingly for him to come home. Adversely, the homeless gentlemen recently lost his wife of twenty years to leukemia and has done everything imaginable to provide for his two young children, yet still couldn't acquire enough funds to make necessary payments.
You're not a "bad" person if you judge. "Bad" is just another label, and it has sadly become natural for us to use those in day-to-day life. Good, bad, hot, ugly, nice, mean, creepy, bitchy, scary - they're all just shallow labels. Beneath that outer label there is always a genuine, caring soul waiting to be released.
I am making it my goal and new years resolution to see past those labels and the outer appearance. I want to see people for who they really are. I want to spread the hope and love that I have been so graciously given throughout my 20 years on this earth.
I'm asking and suggesting you do the same. 2011 should be the year of stigma shattering acceptance. Who's with me?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

War.

Competition creates a lack of interest.
Try as you might, it's just not the same.

These battles, this war;
What’s the purpose of it all?

Recognition. Identity.
The possibility of victory – of a future.

Winning is solitary.
Winning is solitary.

Will this journey be justified?
Will regret replace your feelings?

You struggle, contest, and fight.
Oh, this game is getting so old.

Questions.

My mind is entangled with thoughts – overwhelming, overanalyzed, and overstrained.
How can one person cause this much unrest?

Questions.
Unanswered questions that linger with traces of worry and discontent.
I fear I will make a wrong decision.
I fear I will regret.

But still I understand that life is nothing without these choices.

Insecurities drain my psyche,
While hope fuels my heart.
This war will not end soon.

There is no time for doubt.
There is no time for apprehension.

Will it be worth it?
Hell, I don’t know. I’ve never known.

But has that ever stopped me before?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The "I" in Life.

Three years ago I really didn’t know who I was. If asked, I couldn’t have told you any dreams or aspirations of mine, because I simply didn’t have any. My life was running stagnant and I was in no rush to change it.

Pushing through those same three years though has changed my entire mindset – and then some. I still don’t quite have myself as figured out as I’d like, but I’m coming around. One bite-sized piece after another I am discovering myself, and who I want to ultimately be.

Anybody who has paid even the smallest ounce of attention to me recently will undoubtedly tell you that I have changed. Personality-wise, priority-wise, style-wise – everything has morphed from the person I was even just one year ago.

Truthfully I believe all of this change, though sometimes overwhelming, is for the better. I finally know what I want to do school and career-wise. Ironically enough though, it was right under my nose for the longest time – I was just too blind to see what was staring me in the face (which happens more often than I’d like).

Life is funny that way. We generally spend the first 20+ years of it learning, growing, and trying to figure out what high school counselors so lovingly call our “hopes, dreams, and future aspirations.” Subsequently, the next 30-60 years (or less if you’re lucky) are spent trying to live out those same “hopes, dreams, and future aspirations” as best as humanly possible. Then hopefully by that time we have the means to retire and make up for 60+ years of lost relaxation and fun (unfortunately most of us will be so worn down by those first 60 or so years that making up for the lost time will be all but slow going, and that’s putting it lightly).

This description of life just doesn’t sit well with me. It never has, which is why I am bound and determined to make my life something different. To me, life is about constant discovery – about finding yourself in the everyday events. Very rarely will anyone be the same person today that they were 5, 10, or 20 years ago, and it’s up to each one of us to evaluate and find who we are in the present. Life doesn’t have to be monotonous or a constant routine. The only reason it ever ends up that way is because we let it. More often than not, we let life live us instead of us living life.

I want to write a book someday – a book about love and hate, about God, about life and my stories of how I discovered myself. I fear it will be long into the future before I am able to even begin writing it, due only to the fact that it will be a long time before I really discover myself enough to fill the pages of a book. Only time will tell though.

I have other thoughts (and people) churning in my heart that need to be written about, but that will have to be saved for another time because it’s a completely different subject. Not to mention it’s 1:50 in the morning and frankly, I need sleep.

Goodnight.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Spirit of the Season.

When I was younger, one of my favorite things about Christmas was the lights they would put up going down the main drag here in Yakima. I would go anywhere and do anything that involved going down that street at night, just to see the trees, stars, and snowflakes that accented the light posts and street sign ever so subtly. It would bring me such joy.

These past few Christmases have been weird ones for me. I used to get so unbelievably excited after Thanksgiving. I would count down the days one by one, until that long-awaited morning finally came. I would have so much trouble getting to sleep the night before, then would get up unbearably early. I'd sneak out of my room, look at all the presents that "magically" appeared under the tree, then sneak back into my room to wait for my parents to wake up (which, might I add, would take FOREVER).

Christmas has always been one of my favorite times of the year. Not for the gifts, or the food, or any of that. It's for the simpler things. The decorations, the music (when not in a retail setting), the friends and family, the love.

Still, I don't find myself quite as excited this year. I think it's mostly because this will be the first Christmas without our whole family here. It just doesn't feel right. Change is a part of life, but that doesn't mean it has to be easy to adapt to.

I have been quite excited lately, but for another reason completely. It's not even a very good reason, but it's not like that's ever stopped me before.

I've felt the urge to write lately. Here's what came of it this time:
--------------------------------

My mind is consumed with thoughts.
Memories, dreams, and hopes.
Past, present, and future.
What does it all mean?

Interests have dwindled,
Hobbies taken a back seat
To the everyday rituals and routines,
The tedious tasks of life.

This glimmer of change:
something new,
something different,
It's exciting, really.

Nothing is guaranteed or set in stone.
All that keeps me going is hope.

Oh God,
Dear God,
I hope this is worth it.

The mindless games.
The back-and-forth.
Everything.

It's juvenile, yet invigorating.
But who's to blame?

What will come of it?
Who knows.

Whatever it is, I'll be right here.
Open arms,
Open thoughts,
Open heart.
-----------------------------------

Merry Christmas everyone.
Make the most of it. :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

It's times like these...

Thanksgiving is a wonderful day. This year especially, I keep finding more and more things to be thankful for. I've always been very grateful for the life I've been given, but it's days like this, where the ultimate focus of the day is thankfulness, that really help me realize just how blessed I am.

To the outside observer, my life has been all but pretty these past three years; from my mom having cancer, to my dad having cancer, to financial woes, to my brother joining the Army, and just everything else that has gone on. Needless to say, it's been a rough ride.

Regardless of all that though, these recent years have completely changed my outlook on life. I find so much more value in everything and everyone than ever before.

So, as a toast to this wonderful holiday, here is a somewhat short list of who and what I'm most thankful for this year. Some things are funnier than others, but I really am thankful for all of it.

(Note - I named a few individual friends, only because they have made big differences in my life. If you're not listed individually, DO NOT be offended. I appreciate you all so very much :) )

---------------------

God
My Mom
My Dad
My Brother and Monique
My Immediate, Extended, and Distant Family
Austin Segura
Bradley Cater
Anders Erickson
ALL of my Friends
Fire Team Bravo Bravo (Jesse, Libby, and Josue)
My Home
My Job
My Coworkers
My Drums ;)
The Segura Family
The Morrill Family
Photography
Marty and Stephanie Davis
Music
Art
My Camera
Donald Miller
My Clothes
Food
Pathros Gabriyal
My Computer
The Erickson Family
Yakima
Terrace Heights Assembly of God
The Foster Family
The Beecher Family
My Bed
My Bible
My Phone
My Pets
Love
Hope
Compassion
Faith
To Write Love on Her Arms
My Alarm Clock
My Car
My Beanie
Education
Freedom (or something like it)
Rich and Chyrstel Mayer
Mr Cunnington ("Baldy")
NOT living in Georgia :P
Abstraction
Our Earth
MLIA
FML
Facebook
MySpace (-ish)
Twitter (-ish)
YouTube
Blogger
My Bank
Woot!
Musician'sFriend.com
JesusFreakHideout.com
Creation Festival
Bob Lenz
Books
Reading
Gatorade
Trust
My Church Family
My Abilities and Talents
Grace
Pretty Pictures
My Television
Movies
My Pillow

My Life.

YOU. For reading this, and for the smile or two you hopefully had whilst doing so. :)

-----------------------------------

I always love reflecting and looking back at how much I've changed from one year to the next. I am very excited for this next year and finding out what it has in store for me.

Thanks again for reading, and have a Happy Thanksgiving. :)