humility can shove it
March 29, 2010, 4:55 pm
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i’m pretty sure i am arrogant. i try to act humble, but only so people will know how great i am at being humble. moses makes me laugh. because it says in the bible that he was a humble man, the most humble man that ever lived. but my bible teachers told me that he wrote the book that it’s written in. so i’m in good company. i’m practically moses.

i think we have it all backwards. for some reason, everyone looks at arrogant people as if they are strong. we are intimidated by them. one time when i worked at a place that sold music, a man tried to return an opened CD. i told him that was illegal and we couldn’t do it. he proceeded to yell at me, making a big scene and telling me i was a liar. it’s pretty funny to think about now, but at the time i was pretty sure he might kill me. i should have just returned the CD, but his reaction made it all the more fun to deny him his request. i’m a jerk like that. i only reciprocate kindness. i don’t show it to just anyone. but he was wrong, and he scared me in the process of assuring me he was right. when he left, i felt relieved. i felt as if he was a tough guy, and that i should have probably just not messed with him. i had this idea that he was strong. maybe that came from his declaration that he was about to body slam me into the country gospel section, but most of it came from his arrogance. people who are arrogant come across as tough. not always, but most arrogant people scare me, because i am pretty sure they are tougher than i am. but so is my 4 year old daughter, so that’s not saying much. and when i am arrogant, i start to feel pretty tough about myself. like i’m somebody important with power and minions to do my bidding.

and we see humble people as weak. people who keep a hold on their tongue and don’t say much about themselves. if they aren’t talking, they must not be that good. i wish i could use that above story and claim myself as the humble one. but while i was scared of him, i was enjoying holding the power. the ability to deny his request. and so i pasted a smile on my face to mask my fear, making myself just as arrogant as he was. i completely fit that husband/wife stereotype of the husband always thinking they are right about manly things. things like directions. sports. beer. insert manly stereotype here. when my wife asks me about the big game, i can tell her all about it in great detail. mostly, she just wishes she hadn’t asked. when she wants directions, i can tell her the quickest route. my brain practically has a map of regina pasted on it. once in a while, though, i try to transfer my arrogance to things that don’t fit the manly stereotypes. things like parenting. and so i will tell my wife the best way to put our child to sleep. or how to discipline. and most of these times, she tells me i’m wrong. the other times, she just lets me have my victory, even when i am clearly wrong. being humbled is not fun. i’m someone who has to have the last word. and you see those people who don’t feel that need to say the last word, who are content with who they are and to let me walk all over them, and they come across as weak because they don’t fight back. when i try to tell my wife how to do something that she already knows about and is amazing at, and i am terrible at and have no knowledge of, she gently speaks the truth to me and i leave with my tail between my legs. it’s better to be humble than to be humbled. to be humbled makes you weak. but to be humble makes you strong.

the arrogant are weak, and the humble are strong. maybe that’s obvious to you, but i’ve had the opposite illusion for a long time now. it takes more strength to be humble. to not brag about your accomplishments. to not want all eyes on you. to not speak out in anger and self-righteousness. to hold your tongue. that takes strength. to be arrogant is what weak people such as myself do. we can’t control our tongues. we want everyone to see us and how good we are. i guess that’s why i write on here, so i can be assured that something i do matters to someone other than myself. so you will all look at me. the arrogant life stems from insecurity and weakness. i’m thinking about all this because i noticed the other day a sweet comment on one of my posts. (for the record, it is not me who posted it, even though it says Blair) and at first i felt angry, embarrassed, and all those things that i thought would make me feel tough, strong and righteous. arrogant. but then i thought about it, and i laughed. i will leave it there as a reminder to be humble. because when it’s all said and done…i am a pathetic fat-ass. pardon the language. i’m just being humble.


the sweet smoke
March 23, 2010, 9:13 pm
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i’ve always hated smoking. i never really enjoyed it. once i discovered captain black sweets, that story changed. the sweet smoke grabbed a hold of me, and i have struggled to kick the habit ever since. i could do without smelling another cigarette for the rest of my life, but there is something about the sweet smoke that i struggle to let go of. i still remember my first cigarette. i was in grade 8 and desperate to figure out who i was. the classic peer-pressure/trying to fit in story. a group of us walked in the dark cold night to the park down the back alley in front of our school. i remember sitting on the swing and someone handing me my first cigarette. i didn’t know what to do, but i knew what i couldn’t do. i couldn’t say that i didn’t smoke. why…i’m not really sure. it feels like a cop-out (meaningless sidenote: terrible movie i’m told) to say i was scared to say no, but that’s the truth. somewhere inside my puny mid-pubescent body was a baby that wasn’t sure who he was that desired to fit in. so i sucked it back, making myself sick, but doing everything i could to hide it. i was glad the darkness could hide my pale, sickly face. and i hated it, but i loved it. because people looked at me differently. for some reason, people who i thought were cool started paying attention to me in a new way. started asking me to go for cigarettes with them. i like to think of it as a button that was pushed inside my brain. from that moment on, addiction has been a struggle for me. it feels like if nobody would have treated me differently or given me any extra attention, maybe i never would have started smoking. maybe if i had snuck a cigarette by myself down by the river, i would have hated it and been able to say no. but i didn’t, and here i am. the button was pushed and the damage has been done. 13 years later, and i’m still battling the demon that’s haunted me most of my life. the cancer stick. the sweet smoke. while i hated the taste of players light, i craved the satisfaction of knowing i was somehow somebody to someone. and even if it was for the wrong reasons, it felt good. i was never a pack a day smoker, so i’m pretty sure i don’t have cancer. i discovered the sweet smoke in my late teens. at some point, i began going through nearly a pack every couple days, but not anymore. over the past 4 years-ish, my smoking has tapered off to the point where it is nearly non-existent. my wife keeps me in line most of the time. but every once in a while, it creeps back up on me. it puts its claws in my back and something inside of me says that i won’t be alright until i have the sweet smoke. so what’s the point?

why write about an addiction that i have almost kicked but still struggle with? smoking has become so accepted that we rarely think about it. and by “we”, i mean smokers. non-smokers don’t get it, so i’m directing this to the smokers in the hizz-ouse. snoop dogg would be proud. we just smoke and don’t even think about it anymore. we forget the reasons why we started. acceptance. pressure. struggles. rebellion. we forget those reasons, and even if we remember them, we ignore them and go on smoking, giving in to something that is destroying us, that doesn’t even taste good or have a real purpose. we have resigned ourselves to be smokers and leave it at that. i want to challenge any smokers out there to ask yourself why? why did you start? why are you still smoking when you know it will kill you? when you know it will make it harder for you to breathe? when you know that young, impressionable people are watching and will follow in your footsteps? and lets not pretend that young people are the only ones that follow peer pressure. adults follow the people they admire. friends, spouses, girlfriend, boyfriend, family…monkey see, monkey do. that’s how i’m wired. so please don’t take this as judgment. take this as a challenge. why do you smoke? i’m tired of settling for a label that i don’t want. i’m tired of giving all the power to a little stick of tobacco and feeling helpless at the thought of it.

so this is risky for me. by calling out all the smokers to be honest with themselves, i am forced to be honest with myself. why do i smoke? i know i started because i found acceptance. i know part of it lies in addiction to nicotine and whatever other poison is inside. but there is more. i smoke because it’s a crutch. when things get tough, i run to my sweet smoke and try to escape for a few minutes. i’ve been under this illusion for many years now. that having a cigar will calm my nerves, allow me to “breathe easier” (oxymoron if there ever was one) and to deal with hardships that come my way. there are too many times to count where things have gotten difficult, and i’ve ran to the sweet smoke. it’s to the point now where i almost feel thankful when things get tough because it gives me an excuse. i continue to struggle with smoking because it’s an addiction. my excuse is stress relief. but the more i think about it, the more i think that is a load of crap. because it isn’t the magic sweet smoke that makes me feel better. it’s the time spent alone with my thoughts. alone to think things through before i act on my frustrations. the time to think is what makes me feel better. the stress is merely an excuse to feed my addiction. and i’ve believed the lie that i need nicotine to cope  for way too long, now.

so what is your reason? why do you smoke? this is not a judment i’m passing. this is a declaration of my intentions. i’m sick of being a slave to something that is killing me. by stating this publicly, i’m expecting you to hold me accountable. let’s be honest with each other and admit what is killing us. because i’m tired of killing myself slowly.

goodbye, my friend.
March 4, 2010, 4:06 pm
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i don’t do well with grief. i never have. i’m like my father in the sense that when i am talking about something emotional in front of a group of people, i can’t control myself. but when i’m in private, or with a close friend, i have trouble letting my true emotions show. it’s almost as if i want to force it out, but it’s stuck. which isn’t a good combination because that means in order for me to grieve, i have to do so in front of mass amounts of people. there is something about facing others which makes reality hit harder than it would otherwise.

i also don’t do well with reality. i often like to live as if i’m in a movie. i want every word i speak to be perfectly scripted. every sentence to be well written as if it will be marked down in a book someday. every thought that comes through my head to be worthy of a great screenplay. so i live in a fantasy world, pretending that people actually care what i have to say when it’s meaningless and monotonous everyday routines. as if somehow the thoughts in my head as i brush my teeth somehow matter.

hudson quit eating on saturday. he just laid on the floor, with little energy. we took him to the vet, and they could feel something hard inside his intestines. we were sure he had just swallowed something. so we took him home, and waited for it to pass. we took him for walks and runs to help move things along. when it didn’t, we went back to find that the hard mass they had found hadn’t moved at all. surgery was the only option, and they couldn’t tell us whether it was a toy that was stuck or something worse. they couldn’t tell us. there was no way to know. so we had to send him off to surgery unsure of whether we would ever see him again. they prepared us. they said it could be cancer, that it could be a tumor. they told us to say goodbye, just in case. because once he was in surgery, if it was that serious, there was little sense in waking him up and putting him through more pain. but i didn’t believe it could be that serious. he had only been sick for 3 days. he’s not even 5 years old. it couldn’t be cancer. so we said goodbye as if it would be our last. and even though i didn’t believe it would be the last time we saw him, it hit home that it just might be the last time we would pet him. hold him. hug him. kiss his head. and so melissa and i said goodbye the best way we could. with tears and hugs, we sent hudson to surgery. when the phone call came 2 hours later, i was in shock. and i have been since then. it was cancer. it had spread through his intestines and into his lymph nodes, and was taking hold of his body. i can’t believe my friend is gone.

i don’t do well with grief. i don’t do well with reality. so when my good friend, hudson, slipped away from us a couple days ago, i sunk. i’ve hit the metaphorical bottom of the hole i’ve dug myself into. because it’s hard right now to imagine feeling lower than this. it’s hard to deal with grief and reality all at once when i’m so used to running away from both. people might say he’s just a dog. and if you say that to my face, i will quite literally punch you in the mouth. but he’s more than that. he’s my friend. my protector. my confidant. i could talk to hudson about anything. yes, that’s crazy. no, i don’t care. but i would often find myself in a struggle for wisdom, and hudson would be by my side offering friendship the way no one else could. and seeing his tail wag at the mere mention of his name, the joy of a pet along his back or a scratch behind his ear, the peace in his breathing as he slept beside us and cuddled on our laps…he was one friend who could always make me feel better. without words, without a solution or answer, and without putting himself first…he was there to hear me. it’s hard to write about your dead dog. because when i think of people doing that, it usually comes across as a cheesy chicken soup for the soul type story. i hate chicken soup for the soul. and anyone who doesn’t have a dog or connect to dogs can’t understand that he was a part of our family. i grieve as if he is a family member. i don’t have words to say right now that can properly honor him. and part of me wants to deal with grief and reality by telling you all the story of hudson, as i’m doing now. and another part of me wants to deal with grief and reality by never talking about him again. because grief and reality have met, and i don’t really know what to say or do anymore. i will cope. and i will move forward with my beautiful family by my side. but a piece of me has died this week. and it feels good to talk about my friend, hudson.