Frozen

Frozen by Mike Cole

Water to Ice

Ice to Cracks

Breath turned cold

Smiles gone black.

 

Ice to Water

Cracks to Shards

A pale Mist

An empty yard.

 

Liquid to Solid

Solid to Gas

A fleeting moment

Winter will pass.

 

Funds to send Mike to Mars

I love producing content. As I grow as an individual, so does my content. What was once acceptable now isn’t. As such, more time is spent working on each post. I do all edits, research, and content creation. Whether it’s taking photos for a post one day to writing poetry the next, my blog is keeping me busy. Donations are appreciated and are used to invest in creative pursuits whether that be writing classes, art lessons, and anything in-between.

$1.00

 

vulnerability: What remains unseen

“Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. It’s tough to do that when we’re terrified about what people might see or think.” – Brene Brown


This month will either break or make me. In my never ending quest to step outside my comfort zone, this might be my greatest challenge yet. The goal with this series is to one, reduce the stigma around mental health and two, create an opportunity for myself to talk openly. Every week will get a little deeper and like Neo, once I climb down the rabbit hole there’s no clawing my way out. Luckily, I’m an expert communicator nowadays, so people no longer run away in horror when they see me (yay).

How am I qualified?

Some might argue I am not [no one has argued that but it sounds poetic so I’m leaving it in.] Some might say I’ve gone mad, however, nay says I. Why? Because over the last five years I have diligently studied every technique I could find for mental wellness. Hell, I chose my major (Business Management) just so I could learn how to develop meaningful relationships in my life. And I did. I came, I conquered and I destroyed. The unintended consequence of my actions is when I open up now, it’s hard to believe how I possibly could relate. Little known fact is I spent the first two years of College in a counselors office and the year after taking antidepressants. I am imperfect and so is everyone else.

Why Write about this?

The first reason is that I am in a position to. I have spent years developing my writing talent so that I would have a voice and with that voice, the power to speak when others might not.

We as a society run from our emotions. We are scared shitless and we choke on our own pain. This is not unique and our pain begins to manifest into unhealthy behavior and habits. We look at Facebook and begin to loathe our own lives even if they’re going well. We see a Snap and feel as though we’re missing out. We write inspirational posts just for the sake of being noticed, feeling heard, and getting likes. And we are miserable.

We as a society hate vulnerability. And not so much being vulnerable but the risk that we might be misunderstood. Vulnerability itself is beautiful and to be heard? Even more so.  To be vulnerable is to be human, so why have we designed society around developing personas?

For Society to Succeed, Men must be vulnerable.

I could be wrong, however, I’m willing to take this risk; I think society would be better if men knew how to express themselves. And while I can’t speak for women, I think most of you would agree. All too often I see men being real dicks (pun almost not intended). And instead of pointing the finger, I think the real question we should be asking is “why?” My working theory is because men aren’t taught to manage their emotions, those emotions begin to manage them. Early on in life it might not be as noticeable, however, over time the issue compounds. And we as people, have emotions that are stronger than others. When we’re sad we cry and if we can’t cry, we get angry. What are men told from an early age? That we can’t cry! And with anger, comes aggression. Anger is only ever healthy if properly managed. Channeled well, anger becomes passion, determination, and immense focus. Handled improperly? You get men who can’t take no for an answer.  And when this happens, the more we push, the more we are pushed back. While not impossible to break through, it’s easier if men are taught that we are imperfect from the start. That we will have our ups and downs, and it’s not so much about weathering the storm as it is to feel the rain and hear the thunder.

And if you’re curious as to why there is an emphasis on men, here it is. While women are imperfect (just like men), my observation has been that women seem to be better equipped to form support groups and networks that encourage openness. Men, however, do the opposite. Instead of open up, we distract ourselves. We grunt at the T.V. when watching football and we drink beer in a feeble attempt to self medicate. When we are backed into a corner we kick and scream rather than let ourselves be vulnerable; we want to be loved yet we don’t know how.

Why are we afraid?

Next week, I will be talking about my struggle with chronic depression. In most situations, people wouldn’t know how to react. Why? Because it’s not something we’re taught. Instead of a hug, most of the time a reveal such as mine would be met with awkward silence. And worst case? Your friends who you thought you could trust, decide they don’t need the added stress and decide to leave. That is why we don’t talk and feel the need to say “I’m fine” rather than “I’m not ok and that’s ok.”

We fear one day if we reveal who we really are, people will not see beauty but rather destruction. And to an extent, those fears are justified. Emotions are messy and if not handled properly, they can cause more harm than they can ever do good. And that is why we need to practice. To tell others how we really feel rather than how we want them to think we feel. If we don’t allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we risk losing everything that makes life worth living.

How does this feel?

The simple act of writing without limits feels wonderful. Yes, I have my filters, however, they’ve been refined to the point where I can weave stories with the snap of my finger. Instead of watching my story unfold, I can tell how my story will unfold. I am in full control. That’s the thing. We create our own reality, for better or worse. For me, it’s been the drive to be better and that started with a blog post five years ago. It was an act as simple as sharing my love of poetry over on IGN. I chuckle now, but it was a big deal at the time.

What does it mean to be Vulnerable?

This is a question I have found myself asking. This article has taken months of planning and reflection. And unlike most, I’ve been dreading hitting publish. There always seems to be more to refine, more left to write, and words that simply don’t sound right. The closer I get to finishing, the further away I feel. And I think that encompasses vulnerability best. It’s not so much the act of sharing as it is the fear that my words will be ill received. We can plan for all the possibilities in the world, however we won’t know until we choose to speak up. These articles are not what I would call “safe”. If I’m wrong, the greater the fall and the fear that there will be no one to extend a hand when I hit the bottom. However, these fears are ill-founded. The best moments of my life have been when I’ve chosen to allow myself to be vulnerable. I thought I would lose everything, however, it was in these moments that I could grow and allow myself to feel. As difficult as it is, would you rather be able to say in the end “I’m glad I said” or “I never got the chance to say”…


Thanks for reading! This was an extremely difficult article to write. Next week is the tipping point for this month. The content will delve into my mind and the vulnerability discussed in this article will be ever present. Be prepared and while the topics in the next few weeks will be handled with grace as always, they might make some uncomfortable. Feel free to discuss in the comments; I read each and every comment and always love hearing from you!

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Finding my zen

So, I’ve been fumbling around for the past month figuring out what my next post is going to be. I’ve started numerous drafts and while a lot of them are great ideas, they’re not quite ready. I want to be creative with my blog and try new topics, but I’m not willing to sacrifice quality simply to try a new idea. So this post? This will be more a reflection and a beautiful arrangement of word vomit with a focus on taking it slow and enjoying life.


I’ve been back in the US for about 3 months now and I have to say, I definitely miss being in Germany. In Germany I could sit back, relax, and make my own schedule. Germany  I could be myself and figure out specifically who that person was (and where I wanted to take that person). I was happy. Fast forward to now and as I’ve done many times throughout my college career, I’ve pivoted.

Last year was the year I learned professionalism and my satisfaction was focused on the praise I received, of putting in the hours to simply make myself a better person and seeing the payoff. I was in a sense, a robot. Give me a command and I would do the output. The irony doesn’t escape me, as the processes I worked so hard to improve were that of emotional intelligence and communication. I internalized every concept I read and tried my best to practice each piece of advice given. Years prior, I simply let emotions such as anger, fear, sorrow, and shame control my every day. Or in short, every emotion other than happiness. It’s easier to hate than love, easier to seek revenge than forgiveness. So the man you see today is not the man you saw 5 years ago because very few people actually know that man. Everyone has their own story yet at the end of the day we still are the choices we make. I played the victim card for years, focusing on what I couldn’t control rather than what I could. It was always someone else’s fault and however justifiable, it wasn’t healthy. I hated the man I saw in the mirror and it was easier to look away than to talk to him. And then a strange thing happened. One day I started talking to that man. And slowly but surely, I got to know him better. And now? I can smile at that man and have him smile back. It’s a great feeling to say the least.

Where am I now?

I’m taking a step back. It’s been pure chaos since I’ve gotten back and while I can manage, it’s definitely taken it’s toll. All the healthy living techniques in the world couldn’t save me. I came back from Germany and tried to be Atlas. I thought I could tackle the world head on, with my new found sense of purpose and I couldn’t. I crumpled under the weight of my own ambition. So now I meditate, I cook, I run, read, and do everything that I enjoy. I’m not so focused on finding a job as I once was and am simply content with being me. It’s great and while some might call it giving up (topic for another day), I call it a weight being lifted (a shrug if you will). Because at the end of the day, the person who will care about you the most is you, so shouldn’t you enjoy every moment?


So there you have it, a little taste of my life. If you have any stories you want to share, feel free to post in the comments below. Like what you read? Share with your friends! Hope you enjoyed!

Blink: Worth a Read?

So, I read a lot. I’ve been going through about a book every week or two for the past few months. I’ve had a few favorite authors throughout my lifetime: Steinbeck, Hemmingway, Orwell. And now? Malcolm Gladwell, the author of “Blink” He was recommended to me through a professor of mine and I’ve since read “Tipping point”, “Outliers”, and now “Blink”. All three are wonderful books, so with that, let’s get started.

What’s it about?

“Blink” is an adventure book that delves into the unconscious mind. It explains specifically the question of “trusting our gut”. What I like about Malcolm Gladwell is he uses research to illustrate his points. He will go over case over case until his question is clearly illustrated. He’s analytical without being dry. If you’ve ever wondered why you make the decisions you make and have a “hunch” then this book is for you. As you read further into the book, the bigger picture becomes clearer and clearer. My favorite part was when he went over mind reading towards the end of the book. So if you say mind reading is impossible, you might want to give this book a go.

My Recommendation

Read it! It’s such a fun book. Not only is it fun but it’s a thinking man’s (or woman’s) book. Malcolm Gladwell has yet to disappoint. The writing is quality, the humor good, and the interesting subject material aplenty. So go on, give this book a spin and yell at me if you’re disappointed.


Where to Buy?

I literally do all my shopping on amazon (thank you amazon student), so here’s a link: Blink

Comments?

Already read Blink or have questions? Comment below and start a discussion, recommend it or say it’s terrible, whatever you want, just be polite!

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