Friday, September 7, 2012

“The best things in life are unexpected - because there were no expectations.”

I often times think that I can't live up to people's standards for me.

In one of those moments tonight, I almost uncontrollably asked myself, "Where do these expectations come from." I instantly knew the answer. It's me. I set the expectations for myself that are so high that it is unreal for me to accomplish them. So many cliche statements come to mind. It has always been impossible for me to grasp that people could like me for me. I try so hard to perform well to give people something to like. I also feel that if I want to make a difference in the world I have to work harder, be better, love bigger, and shine brighter. I project on to others who I want to be rather than who I really am and it almost always leaves them disappointed in me. I wonder if I just allowed myself to be, to surrender, to strive to be my best without worry of what onlookers might think, people may have less to be disappointed in.


16, I join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I start off being the most hard core Mormon you could ever ask for on the surface. Inside I was a gay boy who desperately wanted to have a family like I saw on TV. I had real honest faith in the church, but had significant struggles I felt I had to hide. If I had to chose between being friends with a perfect Mormon, or a Mormon who is fighting to understand himself and his dream, I will pick the imperfect one every time. At least that kid is real.

Work, in almost every job I have ever had, I work 70-90 hours per week on a salary being paid for 40 of those hours. Ask anyone and this is not sustainable. When I do this at the beginning of a job, I get a lot more done than the average person. I set the bar of expectations so high, that average or even above average isn't good enough. After around 6-8 months of this, I run out of steam and start performing at average, and then shortly after that, below average. On a scale where 5 is truly average, an employer can handle an employee going from a 6 to a 5, what they can't candle though is going from a 9 to a 4 in a month. A better path might be coming in trying to be the best 5 I can be in 40 hours a week. My greatest skills are in problem solving and ideas. I think that if people had an average employee with above average attributes, they would be grateful.

Friends, I try to be the best friend anyone could ever ask for to everyone. I quickly let people down when that pattern follows the rest.

I think for me, the first step to overcoming a problem is knowing it, befriending it, recognizing the value in it, and then if it were a seemingly never ending dark tunnel, make the long journey through it, being better for experiencing it, and stepping into the light with it behind me. Right now, I am just starting to look this soon to be friend in the eye. It has only been a creepy acquaintance lurking in the corner. Hopefully action will follow and I can be more free in who I am.

*Sometimes my posts seems sad and depressing. Please don't read a post if you are getting that feel ever. Do know that all in all, I am the happiest I have ever been. Even in my dark moments I find myself surrounded by great people and amazing circumstances. My mind truly is my greatest ally and enemy. It goes places so quick and so strong that feel my self losing control. In these moments, I choose to write so that all of that energy has a place to go. I choose to post these crazy thoughts on a blog for all to read to allow people to really know me, who I am, and why I act the way I do.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

My Political Thoughts...

I have been uber frustrated with so many of my friends building their political ideals on bashing the opposing party. It comes in the form of personal attacks towards candidate's personal lives, crude humor, attack on the rights of others rather that expressing protection of one's own values and beliefs. It makes me want to hide until sometime in January next year. I want people to be vocal in politics, but I want them to be loud about what is important to them (why animal life is important, rather than how bad people are that eat animals, why it is important that marriage be kept between a man and a woman, rather than why gays are bad or don't deserve rights, why is it more important to see how much a presidential candidate made per year rather than knowing what he stands for and what he would do as president).

My mantra in life is based on Gandhi's quote, "You must be the change you want to see in the world." I guess I need to do what I want others to do and express what I believe in and why...

1. I believe in small government. I want to live in a world where I can make my own choices, I can suffer natural consequences for my actions, where the taxes I pay go to helping out people in efficient ways and they also pay for my share of the public services I use. Currently, the average cost to educate a child is around $10,000 per student. In a class of 30 students, that is $300,000 a year. A teacher for that class is making about 10% of that. From a business perspective, this seem extremely inefficient and I would prefer to see government funded private schools that were given 1/2 the amount per student and allow companies to walk away with a profit while saving billions of dollars per year. This is one example of many, but the way I understand it, we can be more efficient. The more money we eliminate in government spending, the more money in our pockets. We then can choose to donate to nonprofits that we are passionate about and see the work we love move forward.

2. People working builds a better country. We worry about our current debt problem, as we should, but so many people feel the answer is found in raising taxes for the rich or middle class. I think if everyone in this country that was able, was working, we could decrease the amount we pay out in government benefits, increase tax revenue from people who would then be gainfully employed, and increase the general moral of millions who feel like they are a part of society again. I work with people with intellectual disabilities. Many of them can work, but are discriminated against because of misconceptions that come with their disability. If these guys were given more of a chance to support themselves, we would save millions of dollars more. I also feel that any welfare programs should come with a service or work requirement. If the government is giving money to people who are well deserving, which I know there are many, allow them to give back to schools, churches, or other meaningful groups so they are always motivated by work (when they are able) and so they always feel like they contribute.

How do we get more people jobs in this country? Lets support domestic businesses, small, medium, and large. Let us also support the American Dream, that we can all own a home, be 100% debt free, and have a family that we can comfortably support without associating success with shame.

3. Marriage Equality. I say this humbly and respectfully with love towards all my friends who have different views because of their faith, but it is what I passionately believe. I want the option to be able to fall in love, marry the person of my dreams, and maybe even have kids. I want to live in a world where my kids can go to school and feel normal because they also have 2 parents who love them, that are married, that just happen to be gay.

4. I believe that the power of the individual is always greater than the power of government or regulations. I often will see friends holding up their victim card about how crappy their job is, or how much their rent is. Employers can only treat us as poorly as we allow them to. Landlords can only charge as much as we are willing to pay. Every time we sacrifice something important from our life for another, we give our power to them. If we all were to stand united, we as employees, consumers, and human beings, can influence the world around us. Heck, go watch Newsies if you don't believe me.

5. Anti Abortion, Pro Choice. So, I can't say I like abortion at all. I have friends who have made this choice and it led to tons of heart ache. I am not sure of the moral side of things, but I do know I don't want life to have to stop. I know that adoption often leads to attachment disorders that screw people up and it also causes tons of pain for mothers giving up their child. I also struggle with parents raising children out of obligation when they are not ready rather than out of love. I would love to see people be a little more careful and just wait. I know that life happens and this isn't always able to happen, so that is why I am Pro Choice. Let the mother and father if he is involved make the choice that works for them and they will have to live with for better or worse. It is too hard and complicated for me to get involved with something that will never happen to me, so I will not judge, but rather love and support those with this difficult decision.

6. Right to Bear Arms. I think people should be able to have guns. I want background checks attached to them and for lots of safeguards. Bad people will always be able to find weapons. The more good people that have weapons the safer the world, in my opinion. This is a huge responsibility that should come with tons of training and safety, but so is owning a car. I think if citizens have the right to own guns, it helps prevent government from controlling people but the threat of greater force. People should peacefully control government. I know this sounds a little right wing crazy, but chat with me about it sometime, it makes sense to me. And for the record, I do not own a functioning gun and have never shot one.

7. Foreign Policy. I really don't know the answer here. I think if we get involved in another country's drama we need to make sure there is a clear need for help from people who can not defend themselves (like the jews in the holocaust), we then need to make sure these people want our help, and then when we have helped, we need to step back as quickly as we can in a way that their country can still be successful. I hope we would never occupy a country for oil or personal gain.

8. Energy Independence. I would like to see government offer huge cash rewards to companies who roll out clean energy products that are cost neutral to consumers. I think this would help jump start a market that is free from products that destroy our environment. How great would it be if there were solar electric cars that were the same price as cars that used gas. We would all hop on board.

Okay, please don't destroy me ideas here. I am sure there are some here for people to agree with and disagree with. I am very much not a republican or democrat because I agree too much with things on each side.

I would love for you to leave comments not to argue my ideas, but to share your views and how you got there. This is how I learn and grow.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

30 Things to do by the Time I'm 30

I am stealing this from a friend. She has had miracles open up for her as she put down her goals in writing, so I thought I would get in on the action. I turn 30 on November 17th, 2013, so I have just over a year to get all these things done.

Improve Credit
Lose 40 pounds
Live on my own
Find a spiritual gathering that I grove with
Make 3 new friends
Work with a doctor to deal on all medical issues
Try being a vegetarian for 30 days
Go To New York
Obtain a side job working with kids
Finish Freshmen Year of College
Write at least one business plan and curriculum for self
Budget properly for at least 3 months
Work out daily for 3 plus months after I have lost 25+ pounds
Take a dance class
Take a drama class
Obtain Season Tickets to Hale Center Theater
Go Camping
Eat Somewhere New
Fix or eliminate all toxic relationship
Practice Daily "Me" Time for 60 days in a row
No eating out for 30 days in a row
Donate 10% of income to charity
Go to Six Flags
Get first Massage
If I don't have a business by age 30, sign up for the peace corp
Find a new favorite book
Buy a Honda Civic
Express to my mom how she makes me feel
Make someone smile everyday for a year
Find 3 people who I can share my dreams with

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tunnels in Life

I feel like since my last blog post I have seen the light at the end of the tunnel. And then after that I think I even exited the tunnel and enjoyed being in the sunlight. Somedays outside of the tunnel of darkness, I have cloudy days that don't seem as bright, and I am sure that on my journey through life I will encounter other lightless tunnels that seem forever dark. Sometimes I think the answer to surviving in light or dark is honesty with self. I can pretend like the dark tunnel is bright and cheery all day, but that won't change anything. Understanding my situation for what it is will allow me to face it head on and walk through it.

Sometimes I like to play this game called if you really knew me....

If you really knew me, you would know...

Recently I attempted to return to the Mormon Church. It was filled with highs and lows, but in this moment, it is not the right place for me. It did remind me that miracles abound on this earth and sometimes it is as simple as asking.

You would also know that I have recently had almost constant fear of being along. I fear this so greatly in my life that I spend too much time looking for evidence of it happening, than enjoying the moments I am not alone.

You would know...I recently have started reconnecting with old friends and it has been incredible. I have been blessed with truly some of God's most amazing and beautiful people in my life. It is hard for me to feel much malice for those who despise me, because even the magnitude of the least of those around me is so grand.

Knowing me means knowing that I am anywhere from a little crazy to a lot of it depending on the day. I believe that the harder you live and love, the high the highs and lows are. I think my body wanted to avoid the extremes that I feel through my adventures and shut down for a while. I believe it is now time to wake up and be.

Speaking of my body, you would know that I am nurturing it and loving it in a way that I have not before. I went and had a full physical, dental exam, root canal, teeth whitening, diet (no soda for the last month and down about 10 pounds), and am trying craniosacral therapy.

I don't love this about me, but I am constantly seeking praise from others. This is less about being better than others and more about not being worse than others. I still struggle with so much self hatred and someday need to learn to love myself.

Tonight I fall asleep feeling like life is back on track. I am not sure what tomorrow will bring, but I welcome it and hope to live present, in the moment, aware, and true to who I am.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Walking on Egg Shells

So...I love when people care about me enough to be honest with me.

I get that I have depression. I get that sometimes I even get my feelings hurt...for a little while. I also get that I debate issues more than I should. Because of these basic truths, I think people are often afraid of how I might respond if they do share. This leads to relationships that have participants walking around on egg shells.

In my mind many things can and sometimes do happen.

Best case scenario is that I take that information as a gift, thank the giver of the gift for their truth and honesty, and move on a better person taking the information that was of value through my life.

Worst case scenario is that I am offended and hurt. These feelings are temporary and go away. There has never been a person who wanted to be friends with me that I have turned away (that I know of?).

It could also go down where someone gives me feedback and I hear and decide that it is not accurate and I will not apply it my life. That doesn't mean that I will never take criticism from that person, just simply in that moment, I choose to feel like I know me and my behavior better in that moment than someone who is not me. I may be wrong. I may have missed a chance for growth, or I might just be right. At the end of the day, feedback is simply a gift and like Christmas time, some gifts may be really groovy like a heartfelt card or a nintendo wii, or they also might be a homemade sweater from Aunt Erda that is 2 sizes to small and not really my style.

I think about little things that people have shared with me that have helped me. One friend questioned my often foggy glasses. I don't notice the foggy as part of my vision disorder, but I wash my glasses far more often now (maybe not enough, but more). This was great feedback, but I wonder how many people have wondered the same thing, maybe even judged me for it, but were not willing to say a word.

Another example would be a boss who encouraged me to be less gossipy (I am guilty of "venting" my frustrations too often and to too many people) and more direct with those who I work around. Every time I say anything slightly negative about someone I work with, I now ask myself, "do they know I feel this way", "What can I do to make this better" rather than finding other to take my cause or join me in a battle of hearts at war.

I ask myself and you, the reader, "What stops you from being honest with the ones you love"?

I ask the people in my life who love me or call me friend to love me enough to be honest with me. I am my own person and will make my own choices, but will move through this process more effectively with your help.

Monday, July 2, 2012

It's been almost a year...

I thought it was time to start writing again...So much on my mind...

If you have read my blog before, you should know I ramble. Sometimes it can be humorous, sometimes inspirational, and sometimes just blah and possibly depressing. Tonight I fear it might come across as depressing so I invite you to stop reading now if you are feeling peppy and maybe cruise my blog for some past post that shows my more shiny side.

If you do keep reading, I welcome you into my world, and hope this gives you a chance to really know me.

Spirituality - Lately I have felt a little or maybe a lot disconnected from my universe. It seems to me that much of my passion and excitement has fled from my being and I feel like I am often times an empty shell waiting to be filled with anything. I feel like my relationship with God is far to far away and that for the first time in my life I might be content living a mediocre life of simple existence. Describing this forces me to reflect on so many versions of me and how they each saw the world so differently.

13 year old Chris who spent his summer working with 5 year olds that would all shout in unison, "Chris is here" with big smiles on their faces. That 13 year old boy knew he made a difference and was bound to make the world a better place for anyone who felt alone, or scared, or maybe just someone who needed a little help learning to tie their shoe.

16 year old Chris who fasted and prayed and felt God's direct love shining down from heaven. This young man forged a life for himself. He served everyone he could. He worked around the clock to accomplish his goals. He loved deep and shared it the best he could. He started new programs to help kids in need. He created mini assemblies with his friends and shared them with his peers with out fear. He knew we was changing the world, but knew that he could make an even larger impact.

23 year old Chris who gathered a group of phenomenal people to start a treatment program for teens using methods of love and joy rather than fear and discipline. He saw God's power to heal and to bring happiness and he wanted to share it with everyone he met. Even when this program crashed and burned, he picked himself up, and went to to continue to serve in other ways.

I am sad to look in the mirror at 28 year old Chris who is afraid and disconnected. How did he become so broken?

Relationships - I find that I have hidden most of my friend's posts on Facebook so that I do not see their status updates. I do this because I miss them so much that my heart is too heavy to be reminded of their absence in my life.

With the 400+ people on my Facebook account, I marvel at how amazing almost every single one of these people are, yet in my darkest moment, I am afraid to call out to any one for help. It is so lonely in my world. I think that if I was actively improving the world in even small ways, I would suffer the lack of connections in my life for the greater good, but where I feel so stagnant, I sit puzzled wondering why I cannot have grass on either side of the fence even if it might seem greener on the other side.

My heart always seems to be at war with others. My mind will make up stories to ensure no one gets to close. I simply want to be someone that people can just enjoy being around. Instead, I unwillingly choose to take safer roles such as therapist or teacher, sometimes I try to even be savior in their life all complicating that which should be simple and leaving me alone with my blog at night.

Dreams - When I get really brave, I allow myself to dream of what I would like to do with my life. It is brave because although I am a pretty great dreamer, I am an even greater dream crusher.

I dream of creating a program for teenaged family members of people with disabilities and mental illness. I would lead them in having fun, coming together, and creating a personal vision for their life rather than feeling condemned to a life of care taking. My mind then comes in to overpower my heart and says that I am not fun, I don't have energy, and people would not join with me in this type of celebration. I am convinced that I would fail as quickly as I would begin. Of course with this mindset, I have already failed.

I also dream of dancing and dating and having a family, but self image issues abound and I again fail before I begin.

Right now, I just dream of being a dreamer who is fearless.

"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world".
Harriet Tubman

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Big Fish in a Small Tank

If anyone has spent much time taking care of fish, you most likely know that fish can only grow so big in a tank that is too small for them. If you put them in a bigger tank sometimes they will double in size almost instantly.

Utah has been home for me for the last 9 years. Most of my friends are here and it is where I feel safe and comfortable. It was a tank large enough for me to grow into the person that I am today. I am so grateful for everything and everyone here, but I feel like I need a new tank to grow in. I feel like I live in a place that is black and white. You are either on one side of the fence or the other. I love the LDS Church and the influence it has had in my life, but in Utah, the church is so prevalent in so many things that it is hard for me to move for forward and grow outside of that. For me, I the world is more than black and white. I believe the world is a rainbow of colors, one blending into the next and together making one of the most beautiful images that nature has to offer.

I remember one of my teachers in high school, Marcia Kern. She is Jewish and so softly, and so kindly, helped me to experience who she was and helped me to see diversity. She supported me in everything I did, including being baptized into the LDS church, but because of her, I was able to see more of the world without feeling like I had to change who I was. But even though I didn't have to change, I did indeed become a different person. I was more open, more loving, and more open to the love of others who I might have otherwise kept at a distance because of my lack of understanding. I have had similar experiences in Texas with preachers, Northern California with very liberal individuals, Baltimore being the only white kid in an all African American apartment complex. I want to be around people who open my heart and push me to love bigger and better and I feel like that can't happen here.

I have learned in my life that if I don't give myself permission to live big, it doesn't happen. So my dream is to get into a bigger tank. To travel the world. I want to grow into the type of person who changes the world and be the child God created me to be.

So what does this mean today. One of my goals is to do the trainings I love in more places. Hopefully by this time next year I will be doing something along those line, but not looking to move anytime soon. Just want to expand my tank.