A letter mailed a bit too late.

 

Dear who the hell ever,

Most of the human race fears loss, some more than most, some not at all, but most of us are affected by it. The last thing anyone wants, is for a person whom they care about deeply to look at them with disgust and disappointment. Unfortunately, this will happen no matter how much you fear it, run from it, ignore it or how much you plan to avoid it. The truth is that you can’t engineer happiness, and there is no way to gain the mythical perfect love. Love is, and will always be, imperfect, fighting this will only lead to more frustration and unhappiness. 

It is okay to admit that the euphoric picture of perfection is a complete falsehood. Why be perfect anyway? If you are searching for a quick fix to a relationship or a family bond, get over it, it must run its natural course. Even the greatest of manipulators will one day face the rejection of those around them, and while we are all unique in our own way, not one of us are special enough to avoid reality. 

All relationships that you encounter will have a public and private view. That’s a no shit dumb ass, right? Right! Or, maybe not a no shit? Raise your hand if you ever ignored the bullshit to tell yourself everything was okay. As much as I advocate for equality, justice and peace, as much as I scream about fighting against bigots and hate mongers, I realize that I can’t stand people sometimes. I am sure many of you have felt that way, and if you’re saying not me, you’re probably lying to yourself. 

So, when that disgust and disappointment is directed at you by those you love, what do you do? Tell them to shove their daggers of feelings up their own ass? Cower and cry in a crumpled ball and wish it didn’t hurt so badly? Maybe, apologize? Return the favor? Give up, or maybe all the above? All of these I can say I have done, and I am sure you have done all or a few of these as well. Really, the only thing that really works is talking about it. How it works out after that depends on the interaction, personalities and bond of those involved. 

We have all heard it said before “people don’t change” but we all have to realize that is our crutch, our cop-out when things have changed for us, and it is insensitive to think otherwise. We all change. Change is why people grow apart. Change is why people stay together. Without the things about you changing, you wouldn’t notice anything is different. We just have to admit it to ourselves, and not drag on an increasingly hurtful situation. Once you do that, well, isn’t it easier to walk away or forgive. Ha, yeah right, if that was the case the world would run much smoother and shit would get done. 

So, at what point do we just throw our hands in the air and say fuck it all? Seriously, the resentment, the negativity, is it worth it? I like to think it is. Life isn’t going to give you your perfect life, even the most powerful and rich find shit to be pissed off about. Hell, we all find shit to be pissed about for no reason. I swear, sometimes the relationships I have are like I’m trying to run windows on an ATARI, no compute it do not, err….! It’s like Blip, Blip, Blip—Blooooooom….. and then I’m like ?WTF?, what in the hell just happened? 

As, we bash our heads upon this wall, we just need to keep telling ourselves that people are assholes sometimes, and give the person a chance. It’s the assholes that are assholes all the time and are assholes on purpose, that need to be disposed of, but you figured that out didn’t you. Always on the pulse of the Peoples hearts, my good reader, yes you are!

Anyway, what the hell was I saying? Oh, yes. So, in the end I say speak your mind, tell the truth, and don’t take shit if there’s an asshole in your life. But, don’t take my word for it, look in the mirror and your own circle of connections and decide for yourself.

Ever yours,

Warren Curtis 

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The bleeding heart and the hateful mind: Just stop and think.

Lake Erie, Buffalo NYThere are so many things that one can attach themselves to that will drive them into an emotional frenzy or even an unwanted/uncharacteristic reaction. We are all guilty of it in some way. We define who we are by these beliefs, and by default, we knowingly and even unknowingly define ourselves in this matter to other people. We seek acceptance even when we tell ourselves we are defying or denouncing collectivism. If we took just a moment, to utilize the internet for just 1 hour or walk into a library history section and look up the numerous anti-[add issue here] movements throughout our recorded history. We would see, quite plainly really, that the need to be involved in something and to feel connected to a bigger purpose is hardwired into our very being.

Discussing our point helps to solidify our own ideologies and helps others see our point of view. If done in a proper and respectful manner it can also help build critical thinking and self-esteem. This not only helps to foster a civilized discussion but it will also allow for others to feel comfortable joining in. But what happens if you do so without accepting new information?

It is a disservice to yourself and those you are debating/discussing issues with to refuse to accept new information.  It is one thing to have a disagreement when it comes to philosophical arguments and belief but it is another to disregard evidence that proves otherwise. Yet, we all do it. We are all guilty. Our political leaders, religious leaders, business leaders and social leaders are, maybe even more so, guilty in this regard. It is easier for us to live the word of what we think is right rather than accept we may be wrong.

Let me take a step back here and give a little background. I grew up in a low-income family. I learned hard and fast the life that came with drugs, no rules and no cares. Although, I never did any hard drugs that landed me into junky status I did, however, lose doors of opportunity. I once believed that our education system was a tool of control by those in power, and that there was no reason to learn half of the stuff that was given to us in class. This attitude, lead me to the achievement of a GED instead of a proper high school diploma. I was wrong. I was dumb, and I regret it. I learned from it and I went to college and then later in life went back again.

Education is power for those who have none. I used to constantly look at highly educated people as aloof and stuck up. I told myself that they weren’t as smart as they thought themselves to be. I told myself that street smarts and the hard life taught you more but I have changed my thoughts on this. I do still believe that a hard life and street smarts will teach you lessons a book cannot, but I also know it can make you jaded and closed to new information. The opposite of the spectrum is true as well. Proper education and wealth alone doesn’t necessarily make you soft and blind to the plight of those in poverty, nor does it mean that they automatically think they are better than you.

When I accepted I was wrong, the hardest thing to change was the comfort I felt when falling back into these false perceptions and logical fallacies. It takes a long time to grow. Failures are bound to come. Relapses into your old thought patterns are bound to resurface, and along the way, you will defend your stance even at the expense of looking like a dumb ass. My point is, education gives you the edge in understanding the larger picture. It gives you the tools to weed out the information created purposely to steal your thoughts from reality. Basically, it is easier to control those who are under-educated than those who are not. But, one of the greatest thing about education is that you needn’t just settle for institutional learning, although it is still very important, you can choose to learn on your own.

We fear the things that make us feel inferior because we want to be better than what we currently are. Once you realize that it is fear driving you to feel this way, you free yourself to be more open and receptive to others. Opening yourself to change is the only way to truly grow. Resistance to this type of change is just a form of selfishness and childishness.

The global connections made possible by the internet and the vast data banks it wields, provide this wealth of information. Since, it is so readily available to us now, we all can self educate more than ever before. There is, of course, a plethora of disinformation as well, but that is nothing new. Every medium of information has had its share of disinformation. Yet, we can arm ourselves against this as well. We must commit to respectful discourse, continued everyday learning, study of differing ideals and arguments, but most of all we must know the differences from opinion and studied works and start celebrating intelligence rather than degrading it to make ourselves feel better. Lastly, for those who are highly educated and do look down on others because you have that power behind you, shame, shame on you for not listening to, and learning fully from, the teachings that gave you that power.

Warren Daniels LogoA side note: I know that there are exceptions to every rule and that there are those who will not change, but the majority of us will. I know that, regardless of the sociopaths who are overly selfish and think they know everything, and the bleeding hearts, conservatives and religious sects that refuse to let logic see any light of day, we will continue to move forward to a better and more globally aware society.

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It’s a life long battle: Depression is a motherf****er!

Warren Daniels LogoTime will always take from us the things we hold most dear. We either leave them behind or we are left behind, either way it is inevitable. Of course, for most of us, this isn’t a huge epiphany stunning us into a life changing realization. Yet, knowing this doesn’t change the fact, that we are left with a chapter of our story that will be forever closed. Most people can deal with these changes with healthy and natural coping methods; some of us have a harder time doing so.

I have had to fight depression for pretty much my entire life. I have lost and been broken by more than just a few relationships because of it. The hard truth that I have had to cope with is that no matter how good of a person you are, and no matter how much you share your kindness, if you are plagued by depression those you care about will distance themselves. This isn’t because they don’t care nor is it that you are broken in some way. The fact is it is hard to understand someone battling depression.

If I take a look at how my life has progressed, I see there are a number of things that I could have changed if I wasn’t plagued by this issue. I know that everyone has regrets but I am talking about something more than just regret, I am speaking of the inability to function because of being mentally debilitated. I know there are mental disorders that are far worse and create a barrier from our world and theirs, but that doesn’t make helping someone with a depressive mind any less important.

Depression1For those dealing with this, it is important to try to understand yourself but, and I know this is hard for people like us, don’t be a defeatist. Making it harder on ourselves just feeds the monster. Work every day to try to beat it, because the rate of suicide for those who fight this disorder is a heavy concern that weighs on all of us. Oh, and don’t ignore it either, because it doesn’t discriminate nor does it choose a specific social class. Like most mental disorders, any one of us can be forced to live with the realities of depression.

If you are reading this and you have asked yourself more than once “I have all I need, why am I sad?” than I can relate. I too, have so much in my life that should keep me from ever being down, but I still find myself with chest crushing sadness far more often than not. To explain a little bit, I am one of those people who are constantly looking inward to understand who I am and why I think a certain way. I have realized, the problem is not in the amount of love, things or people in my life, I have that and more, the problem is me. Now, I don’t mean that I am a problem where I need to be discarded and thrown away. I mean that I am the biggest reason I am the way I am. Yet, I know that no matter what I do and how happy I get, I will always have this cloud hanging over me. But, this does not mean that there is nothing to be done that will make life easier to bare. There may be no cure but there is hope.

Aside from my years of teenage angst, I don’t look to drugs as a coping method, although, I know many people like myself do, both legally and illegally. I do have to admit, however, that as I write this I am enjoying a bottle of Blue. But, I have always been able to say no because the one thing that escaped me, that unfortunately did not escape my father, was an addictive personality. Although, I used to think that I was addicted to the sadness, or maybe that’s just remnants of Billy Corgan singing in my head, anyway, I was wrong, being down all the time just fDepression2****ing sucks. Seriously, no matter how romantic you make it, who the hell could be in love with their sadness and still be sane.

Honestly, being able to say no has kept me strong in times when I would have been lost. It’s such a simple thing. Isn’t it? Being able to say no, and fight off the demons. Yet, it is so hard, for so many, for so many reasons. Sadly, so many of us fall and give in because it’s just easier than dealing with the pain, but you can say no to the depression. What you shouldn’t do, is feel bad if you do break down and it takes hold of you because it isn’t your fault.

I am not going to say that medications aren’t the answer, because, while they may not be for me, some of us are so drastically changed by this fight that without them giving up and wasting away, cutting or even suicide, may seem the only other answers left. Though, this may not be true, it is how we feel and it’s something that even those of us with better control over our depressive sides, deal with constantly. Each one of these physical manifestations is the embodiment of the suffering from within that can never be fully explained through words.

I have and still do feel it, the deep well of emptiness that crushes you from within. A heavy weight, that in almost all cases, is brought upon by small insignificant issues, but is a sadness that is both unexplainable and confusing to those on the outside as much as ourselves. It also gives the false impression that we are self-centered and self-absorbed. When in truth, we are screaming to be free from it and just want to live normally.

Depression3For those of you that can relate, I want you to know there is hope. I said no to suicide, although, I vainly attempted it. I said no to cutting even though I dabbled in it. My weakness came in giving up. I gave up on life much like my father did, but not altogether. Start saying no to your weaknesses. It is the hardest thing in the world to do and you will fail more than you will succeed, but never stop growing and trying to defeat the beast. I told myself for a long time that there was nothing wrong. That I was okay and when I reached my goals, I would be good, but in doing that, I ignored the good things that were around me. I ignored the life that I was supposed to be living. Then I realized something, denial loves addiction, denial loves our sadness, and much like admitting you’re an addict, knowing who you are and admitting that you are more than just sad, is the first step to dealing with it. I don’t have a plan for you or a 10 step process to be happier. I just have my experience and my own battles, and I can tell you that the times when happiness does come, it is well worth the battle.

Well I have to cut this short, so, for those of you that don’t understand fully, I hope this helps you understand, at least just a little bit, the thoughts of those you know who are fighting this demon. It is your support that helps us make it to another day.

 

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Women and Men ARE from the same planet!

Ian Gattie Photography
Ian Gattie Photography

How many times have you been on the internet, clicked over to your favorite news site and seen bloggers and so-called specialists going on and on about the ways to fix your relationship, or even better than that, the “10 things to keep your relationship steamy” tirades? In my forever humble opinion, these articles are a bunch of meaningless words and I call bullshit on every stinking one of them. Oh sure, these articles may have some validity in theory and that may even make you go back to your significant other and say “Hey, this article had some really good points!” Then afterward you will smile and you or she/he will say “What a great idea! We should try this.” But the way I see it, tomorrow that article will be so far from your mind, it will never have existed in the first place. Of course, I am by no means a relationship “expert” with degrees and published articles to tickle my ego, but I have had my share of encounters with the opposite sex, been divorced, remarried blah, blah, blah, so let me ramble on. Fun Yay!

In our thought processes, wants and needs (both mental and physical) and our sex drives as well, women and men are not very different. I guess, if you want to be a brat about it, you can argue that our physical beings are built differently, but I say that is where the difference ends. Take sex for example, women love sex just as much as men do. Unfortunately for them, the culture of this world and our country would have you think that this is not the case, so in turn, women have become pretty good at hiding or controlling those urges. On the other hand, men, through patriarchal based societies, have been given the excuse that a constant sex drive is for men alone and that women are more reserved in nature. Yet, I argue that regardless of physical differences and the cultural implications, our mental thought processes are the same.

Ian Gattie Photography
Ian Gattie Photography

With the now common acceptance, of a woman’s ability to hold positions in traditional male roles within business and public office, as well as, securing independence in the 21st century and dismantling previous barriers carried by their male counterparts in the home, we see the similarities between the sexes are becoming more apparent. These assumptive differences, based mostly from physical appearance and physical structure, that have been forced upon us generation after generation, are the blockades that have held us back; and as these shortcomings of understanding fall away, we see that our basic needs are pretty much the same. These similarities make it both easy and difficult to co-exist in a relationship and that is why understanding that quick fixes and “Tricks to make your love life better” are just fabricated poppycock and will do nothing for a long-term and mature relationship.

Here is my simple breakdown. Don’t be an asshole. If you are an asshole, apologize for it and try not to be the same type of asshole twice (we all can be one from time to time, no need to deny it). Don’t marry someone you know you can’t stand to be around. Don’t stay together just for the kids because you will screw them up and damn it, you need happiness as well. Sex is sex and if she doesn’t give it up, there is always porn. Basically, be a good person and think about how your actions are going to affect your significant other, because your actions will always have a reaction. Isn’t it best to strive for as many positive reactions as possible? Out of all the dumb relationship articles I have read, it comes down to the aforementioned breakdown and the simplicity of this one philosophy: If you truly love someone and you want to make it work, no gimmick or dating article is going to help you. Compromise, Respect, communication and letting go of your selfishness, as much as possible, will give you a better chance at happiness than anything else. Lastly, from my thoughts and fingers to your eyes and mind, I give you these things as the basic needs for a stable, long-lasting and positive relationship.

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