Facets of You—Part 3

In my last offering I talked about your ‘why’ and how it is everything. Now before I can continue with what I promise will be a story of successes and happiness, I must take one more trip down a dark avenue of my life. This is not something that I am particularly proud of, or something that I even wanted to get in to, but this is a story of truth. The fact is, in order for this to be a true story of what we have been through, I must confess what I have done to create the world I live in as well and how my ‘why’ plays a role in all parts of my life.

In 2009, just after the loss I described to you in the first part of this story I did everything in my power to keep moving. It was a pain that I did not deal with until well after the birth of our youngest daughter, and my drinking was out of control. I had an unlimited access to alcohol, so it was not uncommon for me to start my day, every day with at least a few drinks which I would follow up with more and more beer or booze until it was time to go back to the office where I would pull it together enough to go home.

I followed this formula for suppressing my feelings until one day it just didn’t work anymore, and it was at that moment that I made a decision that would affect my entire life. I decided to take some prescription pain killers that a coworker had given me, which normally would not be a big deal I mean, I had taken them before (dental surgery, ECT) but this situation was different. You see, the pain that I was trying to numb had a much deeper source, and the solution that I found in each pill was a numbing bliss that made everything I was feeling simply vanish. But just like before, soon this temporary fix would not be enough.

I started with a couple (along with my beer for breakfast, of course) which lead to a few more hours later, and so on. The strange thing about opiates, is that after a very short time not only does the desired effect become harder and harder to get, but they make it much harder to reach the desired effect from alcohol as well. So I found not only that I was drinking a lot more, but I was using more and more pills as well. I never thought that what I was doing was going to hurt anyone but myself, but I was wrong.

The whole time I was in this vicious cycle of use and abuse, I kept it to myself. I never included my wife or my friends (aside from those I got the drugs from) in any of my abuses, and I went as far as lying about the whole thing for far too long. I told myself each morning that today would be the day that I came clean about the whole thing, but like so many moments in life fear got in the way. I was afraid that I would lose everything I loved if I admitted that I had a problem and at the same time, in order to admit that you have a problem you must see it as one, which at the time I did not.

It was not until I ran out of pills, and withdraw symptoms started that I realized that I had a problem, but again I was too afraid to tell anyone about it, so I tried other means of kicking the habit. Methadone worked well for a while, and though its effects were not as strong as the other pills I had used, the detox from it was far worse. I did not have many options, so I figured that it would have to work. I used it once a day in small diluted amounts for about a week, and I thought I was finally finished with this dark moment in my life, but then the thing I feared most happened: I was caught.

I committed the worst act of betrayal that a husband could commit to his wife in my lies, and she was furious with me for it. I was sure that my marriage would be over because of what I had done, but I underestimated how amazing my wife really was. Instead of leaving me, she stood beside me and helped me throw off this terrible addiction and in the process deal with everything that drew me into it in the first place, and for the first time in my life I felt that I could be myself. Not only that I could in fact, but I was obligated to be the best version of myself that I could be, and I have never looked back.

The reason why we do the things we do has to be the most honest part of us. We cannot pretend that we are taking some action for the right reason when deep down we know that it is not. You can do whatever you want of course, but I promise if you want true happiness find the ‘why’ that lights your fire within. My ‘why’ is my family, without which I would not be the person I am today. Success is not measured in 1’s and 0’s in a bank account. Success is measured in the smiling faces you see when you walk through the door. There was a time in my life when I did not see that, I was too hung up on forgetting the past. Sometimes it takes a hardcore wake up call to see that what you have before you is not only worth living for, but is worth everything and more.

The Art of Procrastination

In honor of the fact that I have three different story lines going for the next part of my story, and that I am not sure which I want to share first, I want to talk a little bit about procrastination. I am the king of it. In fact I can think of at least 100 reasons on a Saturday morning why it is a better idea to watch Dr. Who in my underwear than get up and do anything from yard work to pouring out my soul to you, dear reader. Some days we just need that. Some days it is better to do nothing than anything else (at least for our sanity) but is it helpful for your end goal?

When I look at a monumental undertaking (which is usually how I roll—biting off way more than I can chew) a lot of the time all I see is all of the work I have in front of me. There are no pieces to the project, just the giant project itself. So at that first glance the best solution is usually to do anything else and give it a try again later, you know when I am more focused and whatnot. The only problem is that I am never more focused in this state of mind. It’s a vicious cycle, and completely counterproductive to getting anything at all done because you see I am good at applying this logic to just about anything except what I want to do at the moment (which is usually not productive at all).

So what the hell do I do about it? Well, there are a few tricks that get me through this process most of which are psychological games that I play to fool the chimp-like part of my brain into thinking things are a lot easier than they actually are. The truth is, most things we do that matter at all to our end goals are not difficult, they only appear that way if we look at them from a top down, big picture perspective. Big projects never work that way. They are often times small tasks that make up the larger idea which get lumped together, by me into a giant impossible task.

Step 1: Focus

Put down the Xbox controller and focus on something other than Grand Theft Auto V. That video game you are so addicted to (maybe not the previously mentioned, but you know what I mean) is not going anywhere, so taking a little time away from it is not going to kill your progress in something that is not going to have any real payoff.

Step 2: Compartmentalize

Breakdown that crazy big task you have made for yourself into smaller ones. Trick yourself into believing it is really just a few small things to do, and you know what? It actually is. All big jobs are just a bunch of smaller ones lumped together, with the end result acting as the glue that holds them together. Changing your perspective of the thing will be the solvent that breaks those bonds and creates a manageable series of steps to making your goals attainable.

Step 3: Prioritize

Now that you have a more clear view of what needs to be done, figure out what must be done first. Imagine that you have a bucket full of balls of different colors. Some are red, some yellow, and some green. The red balls are the jobs that cannot wait, so get that shit done. If you have time for other smaller tasks (yellow balls) then get them done as well, but don’t beat yourself up if you do not.

Step 4: Reasonable Expectations

If you are anything like me, you give yourself a bunch of work to complete, and then become a defeatist when only a portion of it gets completed. I suggest instead, set yourself small goals and celebrate the victories as they arrive and not just the one victory, which is the ultimate completion of the thing itself.

Step 5: Enjoy the Process

Even though this list is, for me, a reminder of how to get through the labor of what I love to do. It is not a job, but a joy so I try to remind myself to love the process of becoming what it is. If you have passion about what you are doing, it will never be work. Celebrate every milestone as it is passed, and success will be yours.

Don’t give up on what you believe in. As a man much smarter than me once said, “Be here next year.” Have the courage to do whatever it is you want to do if it is what you believe in, and what you want more than anything. Always remember your reason why. Your ‘why’ is the thing that will keep you going long after the initial feelings have passed you by. Your ‘why’ is everything.

Facets of You—Part 2

If you are just joining us, please check out part one of this story https://cmkline.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/facets-of-you-part-1/

When I finally decided that I was going back to college, it was kind of a pain in the ass to get all of the information that was required to do so. I had been a business major previously, and during all of the loss that my family had experienced in recent years, the online university that I attended was less than sympathetic of our situation. After jumping through all of the necessary hoops to get the necessary documents for financial aid, I paid in advance for the semester ahead which would be reimbursed by my grants. There was only one problem—since I had been a student previously (nearly a graduate) in another field, I could not receive any aid. Through the appeals process, we were forced to relive all of the sadness and loss that brought us to this point. The school required all of the documents that chronicled the events that almost cost me my wife.

It was not until the last week of the semester that I was informed that I would not be eligible for aid that semester, but there was still hope. Due to legislation passed that year, the maximum credit hours allotted for a degree had been raised, and I would be granted funds to complete my degree. This was a monumental day for us, it meant that we would be able to survive the next two years and the future would be bright.

It has been years since I was a student, but I always loved the act of going to class. I chose healthcare as my career path, and set out on the journey to become a registered nurse. Yeah, me and everyone else I talked to. As it turned out, this was the most popular program at the college I attended, and getting in was extremely difficult, but I am a smart guy so I gave it a go anyway.

After my last experience with college and work combined, this was a breeze! I spent my time taking care of my children during the day when I was not at school, and studying in the evening and when I could spend time in the library on campus. I was truly on the fast track to the American dream. It was not difficult for me to excel in school, and all of the subject matter was fascinating to me. This all seemed less like working toward a job than it actually was. It was more like working toward a real life.

By the time I finished my third semester, I was eligible for the certificate program that I desired, and without haste I applied for it. Something else was happening by this time. I made very little money from student loans and grants, and my unemployment insurance had run out. We were effectively drowning in our bills just trying to survive. The stress about losing all we had was maddening, and I did not want to be the cause of that for me or my wife, so as opportunities come, they must be seized.

I came upon another sales job for an even larger company than the one I left originally. The benefits seemed great, and I was convinced that the situation would be different than the previous, so after an extensive hiring process I was given the job and I happily took it. All roads seemed to point to success at this place. The staff was supportive, and the products were easily sold to retail; it was not what I had set out for but it would work.

For months, I was trained in their way of doing things, and sent all over the state for meetings and training events. I saw my family very little, which was a big problem but I was making money so I couldn’t complain. Everyone seemed to think I was doing a good job except for one—my direct supervisor. I figured I could win her over eventually but she had different plans. Any small incident that came up was a big deal for her, and due to a paperwork issue (not work related oddly enough) the final nail in my coffin was placed. Now, I am not insinuating that she was completely responsible for my losing this job, it was my fault after all that my personal paperwork was not properly handled, but when the chance arrived to get me out of the seat I was in, she did not hesitate to do all she could.

This was the first time I had ever been asked to resign from a job, and it was devastating. My confidence broken, I went home and tried to pick up the pieces of my professional life and start again. But almost as serendipity would have it, I received in the mail that day the acceptance letter from the program I had applied to earlier that year. It was a light at the end of a very dark tunnel and I was happy to accept.

Upon accepting this invitation I realized something that to this day I could not undo. I could no longer afford to be a full time student without a full time job and this program was an intensive two years of school. Those that I spoke to about it assured me there would be no way I could both be a student and work unless I didn’t require sleep. It was like a bomb had been dropped inside my heart. I was more broken by this realization than I had been in a long time.

Now I sit as the cusp of two different degrees, unable to do anything about it, unemployed again and no prospect of hope for my future. This is not what I signed up for. I have always done what I was told to do, and despite my efforts I could not seem to acclimate to the “real world” as I had heard it called so many times before. It was a dark time for us, and it stayed that way for some time.

For a while, I spent my time reading and pretending things would be alright as they were. That somehow the perfect job would fall into my lap and everything would be okay. I learned about the mystery traditions of the east, esoteric schools of thought, and the principles of oneness that govern the universe. These are fascinating subjects, but aside from my writing they did not help my situation. It was all just a means of distracting me from the real issue—we were drowning in our bills and I could do nothing about it. Car payments, house payments, all of it piling up and me without a job.

I took work wherever I could find it. I tried my hand at selling cars, but after all that I had been through I was simply no good at it. I did not have the confidence that I needed to work that way, so I moved on to the only industry that I could find work in.

Low paying labor jobs are pretty easy to get. All you need is an ability to work hard and do it all day. Well, I had both of those things, and after a few of these jobs in different industries, I found a job driving a septic truck. This was nowhere near my dream job, but it paid the bills and they left me alone, so I stuck it out all the while trying to find my place in the world. Now I know what you are thinking, “isn’t it gross?” Oddly enough, not really; television has done a good job of making it seem that way, but if you are careful it is pretty sanitary, and like I said I am left alone for the most part so for now I cannot complain.

I continue down this road, working long hours for less than desirable pay dreaming of the day when I do not have to play the money game any longer. You see, it is a game. We pay to go to school, so that we can get a job to pay for school, then fifteen years or so down the road we are so indoctrinated into this way of life that we think it is the only way. Well, as luck would have it I think that the system is beatable, and being that I am somewhat of a dreamer I have to at least try. The solution to my problem came in the most unlikely of ways—a part time business. The following is the story of whether or not this will work…

Facets of You—Part 1

In the past few months, I have gone to great links to build a back story on the things that matter to me, and the things that I think about most often, but as the title of this blog mentions these things for anyone should only be a small facet of you. We all get so hung up on trying to earn a living that often we forget that there is an entire life to live out there. You are in fact, not what you do. You are so much more than that. I want to be more than my job, and that is what this is really about. I have spent the greater part of the last three years trying to find the way to detach from this mindset, which is what inspired my writing this for you today; to share with you what brought me to this place.

By January of 2004, I was a successful sales representative for a large corporation, and I had my entire life mapped out for me. I knew what I would be doing next year, and the year after that, and so on. I made a comfortable living, so despite my dissatisfaction with my job, it was difficult for me to do anything about it. The only other options for me at the time were more jobs doing exactly the same things for some other company. So I kept going, generally unhappy but successful nonetheless. In the summer of 2009 however, I would soon realize that I had no idea what unhappiness even was.

My wife and I wanted very much to have another child, and after another failed attempt we finally succeeded at our dream. This pregnancy was a difficult one for my wife and despite bed rest and much care being taken to protect my wife and our unborn child, by the sixth month we underwent something that still today is hard to think about.

On March 13 2009, after an exceedingly long day at work I arrived at home to find my wife on the bed, which was not unusual due to the circumstances, but she kept telling me that something was wrong. She complained about pains, and a small amount of bleeding, so without delay we checked into the hospital late that evening. We both had ourselves convinced that the pain my wife was experiencing was some easily explainable Braxton-Hicks contractions or something like that. I held her hand, and we waited through the sleepless night for word from the doctor, all the while our sweet nurse telling us that we should sleep and not to worry. We waited through yet another day in that hospital room, much the same as the sleepless night before, so by Sunday I was thoroughly worn out, and my wife convinced me to go home for a shower and something to eat.

I took her advice exhausted from the night before, and headed out the emergency room doors. I had not been gone 20 minutes when I received a call that would change my entire life. The nurse who was taking care of my love (who by this time had become rather close to us) called me. She told me to come back right away, and that was all. I knew what this meant, so I drove as fast as I could and arrived moments too late. We had lost our baby, and I was not there when my wife needed me the most.

For a long time, I did not forgive myself for that. I did everything I could do to ignore the fact that this tragedy ate a hole inside me. I used any substance that I could to numb the pain, and for a moment that worked enough that I could keep working and pretend that I was alright. This went on for another year, and after another year, a better doctor, and another pregnancy, my wife gave birth to our miracle, Nova Lloryanne. I should have been happy, and I was, but there was still such a hole in my heart that I could not be filled.

I continued doing my job (which took upwards of 12 hours a day) and coming home just in time to put my children to bed. I had no relationship with my family, a drinking problem, and what seemed like nothing I could do about it. Then, in the summer of 2010 I found what I thought would be my solution. I was offered a job as Director of Marketing for a new up and coming resort.

So many promises were made to me, and the offer seemed so sweet that I could not help but take it. The resort had not been built yet, but I was assured that I would have plenty to do while construction was underway, and as a naive young man I saw a way out of a job I hated, so I took it. It was what seemed to be the job I had been waiting for. I worked less than before, and even though I was paid less than the agreed upon amount by quite a bit, I was happy.

I worked tirelessly on this project, all the while operating as a manager for the existing riverside bar and restaurant. I coordinated events, secured advertisement, wrote the newsletter, and planned for the months that I would be working from home all the while making sure the bar and kitchen were working properly.

During our last event before demolition, I knew something was up. The owner was avoiding me and since most of the staff was going to be laid off after that day, it was not long before I realized that I had been deceived and would be laid off as well. I was not mistaken, and for the next year and a half I was unemployed.

For the first time since my teens, I was without a means to support myself. This would have been bearable had I been a single man (unemployment insurance covered my day to day after all) but with a family to support I had to quickly reevaluate my position in life. After consulting with my wife and family, we decided that this would be a good time to finish my education. I was so excited about the future, and despite all that we had been through I was hopeful for things to come—that is, until registration day arrived…

What I learned from Punk Rock

Skit Kids

Youth is a precious gift. I mean, have you ever tried to get puke drunk and slam dance with your friends at a show in your 30’s? That is a catastrophe in the making, my advice:  don’t do it.

It turns out; a punk is actually a baby elephant. I didn’t learn that one from punk. That is courtesy of Google. The lessons of punk run much deeper than that.

For starters, years of cocaine and heroin make it difficult to sing and play guitar at the same time. Just ask Tim.

I look terrible in skin tight bondage pants.

Don’t be afraid of being different, be proud of the kind of freak you are. Stand up for what you believe, no matter who stands in your way, or who might disapprove. Punk rock is disapproval of the way things are.

Use the word fuck as much as possible. It is perhaps the most adaptable fucking word in the English language.

Don’t judge. Everyone has their own battle to fight.

The most punk thing you can do in a world full if lies is speak the truth. Be so honest that your very being is an act of rebellion.

Be loud. It is the only way to be heard. Don’t worry about offending people; they will be offended no matter what, so if they don’t like who you are, fuck ’em.

Hate is not the opposite of love, it is apathy. Love of any kind, especially passionate love is the key to happiness, and being happy in a world that wants you to be scared and compliant is very punk rock.

Animals are living things, and even if you plan to eat them, they still deserve respect. To consume an animal is the most intimate relationship you can have with anything–a fact most have forgotten.

“Fight war, not wars.  Destroy power, not people.”  Crass

“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”  Rob Chaos

“All I know is that I don’t know nothing.”  Jesse Michaels

Don’t be a poser. Be what you are no matter what that is. Give zero fucks, just live your life. Be a better person than you were yesterday.


Image courtesy of flavorwire.com by Judy Berman

Things That Do Not Matter

    The only time I watch the news these days is when I am looking for a reason to get bummed out. Either that, or during the rare occasion when I want to know what is happening in the lives of any given Hollywood A-lister. I do not require such help or information most of the time, nor do I need any assistance finding reasons for hiding in the corner of my house wearing a foil hat clutching my assault rifle.

    The definition of a conspiracy is a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful. There is plenty of real conspiracy going on; this is a point that no one can argue. From the NSA monitoring all of the world’s communication, to the corrupt political system, with major corporations profiting and benefitting from each and every politician that they lobby to get into office, right down to companies like Halliburton profiting off the wars and carnage happening all over the planet. Don’t even get me started about Monsanto…

   These things are real. There is no question that they are; deeds so nefarious and dark that can be proven without any theorists making any rash conclusions. The state of the world is undeniably fucked up. There is no need to project additional conspiracy upon the situation. Instead, I would like to talk about the things that do not matter and why.

    9/11 was a terrible event and a turning point in the way we behave as a global civilization. It was a tragic event in which thousands of innocent people lost their lives. Some believe that it was a dark government conspiracy to perpetuate a never ending war, to strip the people of their constitutional rights, and elicit fear in the hearts and minds of the world. Was it a conspiracy? It does not matter. What matters is that it happened, and the powerful became more so, and we lost freedoms. There is no need to waste our energy on something that has already happened.

    Is there a New World Order/Illuminati conspiracy to create a totalitarian world police state? Probably, but again it does not matter. What does matter is that the world elite have a firm grasp on the freedom of the people of the world, the resources of the world, and the direction that the world travels in. We do not need to waste our time wondering who is trying to take over the world, what should be focused on is that a group of powerful elite are doing just that.

    Bombings, assignations, coups, economic collapses, central banks, and the like are all realities we face. Their origins are not, nor have ever been the issue. The issue is that these things happen, have happened, and will continue to happen if we allow them to do so.

    When the POTUS declares that using chemical weapons is a “red line” that Syrian rebels cannot cross without American involvement in their conflict, one could deduce that this is giving a signal to those who could benefit from American involvement in Syrian affairs to do just that in order to achieve the desired outcome. Does this make the list of conspiracy theories? I would say no—it seems pretty obvious to me, but that is how my mind works. What I am getting at is that the reason why things happen (after the fact) is irrelevant to the outcome of the situation. If things go as planned for the power elite, it is of little consequence if they planned it that way or not. There is simply no need to speculate.