Friday, June 8, 2018

I Was Not Strong Enough Today

Over the past few months we’ve seen the news report on celebrity suicides. Last year we lost some cool people and this year we’ve already lost more than a few and while everyone likes a good joke every now and again – even the dark ones – there is a time and place for everything. It seems the advent of Facebook, Twitter, and a host of other social media sites have played a large part in expediting the loss of some exceptionally important things.

Among these things are tact, empathy, and compassion.

 Today, everyone seems to know everything or if they don’t, Google is a click away. Yet, we still seem to have too many with access to an abundance of information who don’t know jack shit. Some of my FB contacts have, over the last several months dropped memes, articles, and posts about these same celebrity suicides which are calloused and without any semblance of compassion or empathy. Now, I understand you may think I’m being a bit dramatic, or a sensitive little snowflake, but a quick search of the hashtag #toosoon will show you exactly what I am talking about.

 Like I said, everyone likes a good joke and dark humor is like food – not everyone gets it. I’m not talking specifically about that, because let’s face it; we like to laugh when someone smacks their elbow on the counter.  I get it and I am not trying to shout from my hypocritical soap box that you’re all evil and going to burn simply because you posted a fucked-up meme. I’m guilty of it too.

 However, when I said we have lost somethings along the way and that social media platforms have expedited the process, I meant, “We have lost some extremely important things.” Important things that are an integral part of our humanity, which allow us to cohabitate and have enjoyable and meaningful interactions with each other. Things that allow us to remain objective while at the same time empathize with either side.

 Tact is synonymous with both class and manners, because if you were taught manners – and you use them – you have class. And if you have class, then you know what to say or do, and when you should or should not in a given situation. #toosoon is the antithesis of tact.

Empathy is the acute ability to relate to an individual person’s experience whether it be strife or joy. To empathize is to understand their situation in a meaningful and sincere way.

Compassion is the ability to show mercy to an individual in an unmerciful situation. To feel sorrow for them whether they deserve sorrow or not. It can be erroneously equated to pity, but it is not.

If you look deeply and answer honestly, you will see and be able to admit that we have, in large part, lost or discarded these things. Maybe it’s the #YOLO generation rubbing off on us or maybe it’s the quasi-anonymity and false safety that social media provides, or maybe, we are all just really fucked in the head and are too afraid to admit it, but we’ve lost them, and we should probably start trying to get them back.

 Though, I do understand there are and always will be certain elements of society, the small portion of individuals who, as a rule, lack most basic emotional traits of humanity and don’t care one way or the other. This is the #cakeandeatittoo crowd, the semi and full-blown sociopaths, the puppy killers, the users and abusers, the takers, the gold diggers, the liars, the cheaters, the thieves, and those selfish, self-centered narcissistic assholes of society.

I’m not talking about them. I could, but it would mostly be a waste of time because they will never understand anything other than what they want to understand. They will never care about anything outside of what they want. Their emotional arsenal is so limited it is quite possible they will never be able to understand any of it, no matter how hard they try.

That’s all the mention they get. Fuck em.

Instead, I am talking to everyone else. Everyone who is a bit jaded, cynical, tired, and all those people who feel like a horse that life rode hard and put away wet. Everyone who tried and gave up or are about to.

 Reading and hearing about suicides always bothers me, but this latest one hit me a bit harder for some reason. I didn’t know him, and I only watched a handful of his shows, so it’s not like I had a connection to him personally or to his TV persona. I don’t know what it is, I can’t point to one single thing and say, “Ah-Ha!” Got it. Maybe it’s the direction my life is heading right now, maybe it’s the lack of sleep, maybe it’s the sun or the position of the moon – I don’t know.

I can’t put my finger on it, but all I can say is,
“It feels like a suicide day. It’s felt like a suicide week and the last year has felt like a suicide year.”

It just feels - heavy. 

I can’t be the only one. I hope I’m not the only one.

But, it doesn’t matter what the reason is, and it doesn’t matter if I knew them or not, part of me feels the lack of their passing. The sadness which accompanies all death except those most deserving. I want to know why they finally stopped fighting. What was it that became so overwhelming? Why did they decide to say, “Fuck it. I’m through with money.”

I’d like to know. Because…

 Some would not, and some don’t care, and that’s fine because even if they were told they would never understand.

They lack empathy and compassion.

They would never understand what it’s like to think about eating a bullet. They would never understand where the sudden desire to wander off into nowhere comes from. They’d never understand how hard you have to fight to push the image of your car going off a bridge out of your head. Or of your body swinging from the rafters. Or worrying about who will find you and how you can avoid traumatizing them as much as possible. They’d never understand what it’s like to feel so completely alone in a room full of people. They’d never understand how much you dwell on things that may not even be real. Because everything is as real as everything is in every single moment. They’d never understand how easy it is to be so far from the people you love when they are so close. They’d never understand what it is to feel like your life has gone to shit, even when it hasn’t. Like you have no control, even though everything is fine. Like you fail at everything, even when you really don’t. Like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, even though it isn’t. Like you are the biggest piece of shit, but your kids think you are a god. When everyday you are at your worst, but your husband or wife loves you anyway. Like you don’t deserve them. Like you don’t deserve any of it at all. 

Or how easy it would be to just. Stop. Just stop fighting. Stop trying. Stop suffering. No more worry, no more sleepless nights, headaches, stress, doubt, tears, anger, insecurities, failures, fear. No more fights. No more pain. It could be so easy…

But then…then you start thinking about those you will leave behind. What will happen to them? What will your friends think and say? What will the funeral be like? Will there even be a funeral? What will happen to your husband or wife, to your kids? And that. That right there is how you are able to find the strength to pick it up one more time. It’s heavy, but you can do it because you have every single day before this day. 

 Like I said, they’ll never understand the difference between saying, 
“I will be strong today.” when you wake up in the morning.
And having the last thing you say before you finally drift off to sleep be, “I was strong today.”

Compassion is what drives us to empathize with the plights of another person. It allows us the opportunity, no, the desire, to insert ourselves into their situation and their emotions to try and truly understand what they are going through in the hope that we can help. Even if we only help for one minute or one day. That minute or that day may be the most important of all.

I think we, as a collective, need to pick those things back up. And we need to do it sooner rather than later.

Because the other part of me, that part, is terrified.

If these guys, who had all manner of convenience and vice to distract them, if these guys finally stopped fighting…

Then, what chance do you and I have?

·         45,000 suicides per year in America
·         On average, there are 123 suicides per day.
·         Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America
·         Suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34,
o   The fourth leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 35 and 54.
·         Men die by suicide 3.53x more often than women.
o   The suicide rate among males remained nearly four times higher (21.3 per 100,000 in 2016) than among females (6.0 per 100,000 in 2016).
·         The rate of suicide is highest in middle age — white men in particular
o   White males accounted for 7 of 10 suicides in 2016.
·         There were more than twice as many suicides (44,965) in the United States as there were homicides (19,362).

If you are in crisis, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to anyone. All calls are confidential. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Listen up! 100 Important and Amazingly Simple Steps with Things to Know and Learn to have a Successful Marriage before, during and after Dating that Special Someone.

Titles are important, and that one says it all.

 I have read dozens of paper and electronic magazine articles, blogs, Op-Ed's of trusted and dubious sources, and listened to countless hours of audio speeches and presentations regarding dating, marriage and life in general. This is in addition to being an eight-year combat veteran in the most hellish war that we men, will ever be subjected to - Marriage.

 You do not need to read, watch, and listen to everything that I have endured throughout the years to grasp the very basic and simple concepts - rules - that I will cover here. You just need to read this one simple blog and commit these golden truths to memory while clinging to them as the gospel itself.

Rules and Things:

1.      Happy wives make happy lives.
a.       Never, EVER forget this or think it does not apply to you.
                                                               i.      Ever.

The do your laundry, wash you dishes, cook your food and sleep next to you. If we are pissed, we can just go to the garage for a few hours…or days. No big deal. If she is pissed, we are more likely to wear one-size-too-small pink shirts while sitting at the doctors with a missing eyebrow for those stomach pains that are probably derived from eating our lunch yogurt with the dirty butter knife she packed.

2.      She will shop and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.
a.       Let her. Unless she is bankrupting your finances, let her shop for all those soft and shiny things she likes. 

This accomplishes two things: 1) Reinforces number one. 2) Allows you to buy what you want, if you successfully manage to hoard enough cash over several months, without any complaints from her.

Tip: If you keep cash in your wallet and she asks, "Babe, do you have any cash?" say no.
Just. Say. No.

 Now, you might be asking me (yourself), "Why should I lie?" Because she will inevitably find a way to spend the exact amount of cash you have in your wallet. It could be one dollar or seven hundred, it does not matter, they always find a way!

3.      It is her day.
a.       Regardless of what the actual day is or what you are celebrating.

It does not matter where you are, where you are going or why you went. She will make it all about her. If it is your birthday and you want to go to a sporting goods store and she wants to go to Whole Foods for some flowers and Gelato, you had better damned well get her some Pansies and Mocha Chocolate Blast Fudge. After all, Sports Chalet is open tomorrow and you did not need that awesome-life-saving-tool today right? Aww, thanks babe, you are the best!

4.      Bed Allocation.
a.       It's her bed, not yours and she needs "all this space".

You need to understand that 3/4 of the bed is reserved for her, and 1/4 is reserved for children, if any. On any given night you absolutely must accept and become accustomed to sleeping on a portion no larger than 1/4 of the total width and no smaller than the couch - or floor - but leave the pillows if leaving the bed. Of course, she will come to your unnaturally contorted body in the morning and say, "Aww babe, why did you sleep on the couch/floor/litter box? You should have just woke me up or told me to move."

 And you laugh, secretly, while rubbing the sleep out of your remaining eye with the amputated stump of your left hand…

5.      It is perfectly acceptable for her to put her iceberg hands and feet on your warm and toasty body.
a.       Take whatever intimacy you can get and when you can get it, regardless of the actual intent behind it.

However, don't you dare even think about trying to put a cold hand on her stomach, back or butt or even trying to snuggle close to her for warmth.

 Doing so will only reward you with the reactionary consequence appropriate to your attempts to slaughter her children in front of her, during "that week of the month."

6.      It is your fault.
a.       It always has been and always will be.

Get over it and stop arguing. The sooner you accept this one simple fact, the sooner you can move back to reinforcing point number one, thus ensuring you live a long and happy life.

It does not matter if she totaled the car while you were building houses for the poor and sick in Bolivia. If you had bought her the luxury model instead of the mid-grade, or if you had been in the country to have lunch with her instead of off on some stupid mission to save the elves, it never would have happened.


7.      You are wrong.
a.       Always have been, always will be.

See also points 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, & 15.

8.      You do not need to sleep.
a.       It's a simple fact of life that men can operate just as effectively on 3 hours of sleep as we can on 8 hours of sleep.

Think Navy Seals.

 If she went to bed at 8pm and you went to bed at 11pm, after putting the kid(s) to bed, she will expect you to get up with them in the middle of the night.

 If you do not, be prepared for her to "accidently" punch you in the face, throat, or stomach when she violently throws the covers off to get out of bed. Such "apologies" as, "Well if you had got up, this wouldn't have happened." are pretty standard and to be expected.

See also points 1, 4, 6 & 7.

9.      Bathroom Allocation.
a.       She needs all of it when getting ready for the day. Do not attempt to encroach on this space.

You should always ask if she is done in the bathroom before you shower. Expect that even if she says yes, she will find some reason to enter and occupy it during "your time."

 Expect and accept that you may very well be standing in the hallway, soaking wet, without a towel, during the middle of winter in a house with a broken furnace more often than not.

 And don't you dare spray that cologne while I am in here! In fact, go outside and do it. See, that's perfect babe, thanks, love you!

10.  Your plans vs. her plans.
a.       Our plans will always be stupid, hot, smelly or "OMG, you are sooooooo boring," when compared to hers.

I think enough has been said on this. See also points 1, 3, & 7.

11.  Be honest, but only answer one time.
a.       There is nothing wrong with saying you like the blue one better, however, you must become aware of her attempts to draw you into her indecisive state of mind and refrain from this.

"Babe, do you like the blue ones or the purple ones better?"
"The blue ones."

You should have left or be leaving the room at this point.

12.  Say yes to both.
a.       If you are a "young & uneducated" husband or were not able to exit the room in time.

"Babe, do you like the blue ones or the purple ones better?"
"Babe! Seriously."
"They both look great."

When she turns to look in the mirror, leave. Leave as fast as you can. Or….

"Babe, do you like the blue ones or the purple ones better?"
"The blue ones."
"Really? What about now?"
"The purple ones."
"Babe! Seriously."
"What?" - Your face should be completely devoid of any emotion, inflection, or signs of life. None at all.

Eventually she will come to accept your first answer, stop asking or you will learn to escape before the interrogation really begins.

 Do not stuff food in your mouth or take a drink and think it will get you out of it. Those commercials are stupid, disingenuous and they do not work on the American wife species. She will wait, impatiently, for you to finish chewing and expect an answer.

13.  It really does not matter…
a.       What you say.

If you are in trouble, you are in trouble. If you are wrong, you are wrong. If you are right, you are wrong. If your plans are the most awesome in the history of awesome, they are nothing compared to hers.

It really does not matter who is wrong, right, awesome, or boring. As long as she is happy, you will have an awesome life.

 By the way, she is never wrong, boring or not-awesome - you are.

14.  She does it on purpose.
a.       She knows she can and there is nothing you can do about it without living in misery for the rest of that pathetic existence she saved you from.
b.      Don’t fall for the cutesy way she bats her eyelashes and says, “Whaaaat?” Remember G.I. Joe.

She makes you late - to everything. She hogs the bed - every night. She hogs the bathroom - every day, sometimes twice a day. She bakes all kinds of awesome, sweet, fattening things and forces you to eat the last little bit of whatever is left on her plate.

 She says when you met you looked "sick" because you were so thin. Now she says you look "healthy" with an extra 180 lbs. She does it on purpose. She wants you fat so you cannot run away and she wants to make sure no other woman looks at you with anything other than a disgust level just short of puke in the mouth.

 Yet, you buy her a gym membership because you love her and that is what will make her happy.

Remember #1 - never forget.

 And she makes you pancakes, brownies, blueberry muffins and cream-cheese-filled-pumpkin-rolls.

 Fair trade.

15.  Everything she does is cute, logical or out of necessity of self-preservation.
a.       Everything you do is the exact opposite.

If you accept this fact now, it will save you a little bit of time and a whole lot of stress later in life. What I mean by that is; you will no longer have to ask, "What in the hell were you thinking woman?" while fighting off a cardio-pulmonary embolism. You will already know why she did what she did and honestly, it will not matter if you do not agree with it - because you are wrong; you are always wrong, remember?

 She wants the lid down, presumably so she does not fall in. Seems legit, C.H.U.D. is a very real threat these days - self-preservation.

 She wants all the covers, no problem. She is skinny and soft and you are fat and hairy, thusly you sweat more and do not require the blankets at night - logical.

 She needs the entire bathroom for 2 hours while getting ready for a night out, no problem. She is cute and you are fat, hairy, sweaty, and smelly anyways right?

 I mean, after all, who in their right mind is going to be looking at us?

By now you should have realized that point number one is the most important and is driven and affected by all the others. If you have not, or refuse to accept this point of fact

 Good luck, but don't say I didn't warn you.

 In Liberty,
 Richard Camacho