Whats Going On

Well I have finished my first draft of my first assignment last nite.  I just now finished the analysis of the stories I had to read.  They are both due tonight at 11:59.  My first story is the one about my time down in California when I was in the Army.  I was hesitant about doing this piece because it delves into some really personal details I felt needed to be explored.  I wrote about drunken stupers where I could not remember anything, what I consider the my official loss of virginity and explain why I use the term Official.  The road trip I took with sort of friend Sam and the woman I want to get with Angel.

I will be posting this story along with other writing projects I am putting in my portfolio in mid-July.  I do not want to do it now because I don’t want to plagiarize myself and this way I will be forced to take my time to rewrite it as well.

I will be getting out of my house this weekend with my camera to take photos.  I am thinking of starting a survey of the week.  This would be a way for my followers to help keep me on the ball here on my blog.  It would also be a way for me to explore Minnesota to broaden my horizons a bit.  I would look up four different places to go shoot and have you all vote on where you would like to seem my point of view.

By July I should hopefully have my crowdfunding campaign set up for a study abroad trip I was invited to go on.  I have a choice of South Africa or China.  This class is for people going into the Social Sciences, studying diplomacy.  I have never traveled out of the country before except to head up to Vancouver, British Columbia for a weekend.  I was planning on trying to use my scholarship money to take a trip to Australia this past May.  But, as always life likes to kick me in the ballsack and I had to cancel the trip.  I will get to travel to different places around the world though.  This is something I have wanted to do as a kid, though my family could not afford it at the time.  Back then it was Germany I wanted to go to for class.  Now, I that I am in my forties, I want to see the world.

If anyone knows how to set one up a crowdfunding campaign and could help me it would be much appreciated.  I have an idea of what to write and maybe a video for it.  The Issue I have is I have no idea what I could give people as a reward for donating at different levels.  What can a poor man give to those willing to help him achieve a dream?  Please leave a message in the comment if you have any ideas.

Peace be with you my friends.

First Week of Summer Semester

Today is my first day of summer semester at Normandale Community College.  I have one class now, which is Introduction to Creative Writing.  I have another College First Aid and CPR starting in July.  Looking over the syllabus Creative Writing seems like it will be a bit daunting for me.  Time management is something I do need to work on, this class is definitely going to push me to do better.  I will not have this class hurt my GPA, I have yet to get anything less than a B, so far. I will just have to go at this class a bit harder than the others.  This instructor is asking us to open up and push my limits.  This is going to be hard for me, even though on my blog here I am fairly open, I hold myself back.   It has been kind of drilled into me “you have to watch everything you say.  You may offend someone.”  Especially since I want to become a teacher.  So, I never really let loose.

I am always the nice guy, the safe guy.   I do not not want to hurt people’s feelings, therefore I stifle myself.  If I tell a story I don’t want some people getting angry or embarrassed because I share how I remember event.  So, I change their names, of course I do that if I can not remember their names as well, I am horrible with names.

In the first week we have to come up with three options for a creative nonfiction piece.  I was finally able to come up the third this afternoon.   The first one is of my time down at Camp Roberts, California.  This story takes place in the central desert in California, right smack dab in between San Francisco and L.A..  This was basically a coming of age story where I am finding myself, filled with alcohol, sex and an orange Chevy Nova.

The second was about the crazy relationship between me and my ex-wife Liz.  It would go through how we met the issues we had with her family.  The add issue of being a stepfather and dealing with the father of my step daughter.  Also, the good times with the parks we went to and the way we tried to make due in a lower middle class lifestyle.

The third is the is The Morels and Ethics of an Atheist.  This one will be a sort of build off of Me and Religion. This piece explains my personal moral and ethical beliefs and how I came up with them.  This helps my goal show people that Atheists are the same as everyone else we just do not need to believe in a god to be a good person.  Next assignment is due on the 6th.  I should not have a problem getting it done.

Peace Be With You

Normandale TRIO SSS End Of Year Celebration

Tonight was the end of year Celebrations for TRIO SSS at Normandale Community College.  TRIO SSS is for people who are first generation, persons with disabilities and low income students, if you were wondering.  This was our second annual banquet to celebrate the accomplishments of all the awesome people in the program.  We started with dinner and good conversation with our peers.  I just happened to be sitting next to the President of the school Joyce Ester.  She showed us the new motor scooter she had bought, it looked pretty cool, It looked more like a motorcycle than a scooter though.

After dinner the ceremony  started another one of my friends Dee Parker was one of the speakers.  Dee is another really inspirational people who moved up here from New Orleans after Katrina.  We went through the Academic recognitions for the semester.  The categories are as follows:

Roaring Red: 3.0 – 3.49

Roaring Lion: 3.5- 3.99

Lion’s Club: 4.0

I happened to be in the Roaring Lion category for a 3.73 GPA for the semester.  My goal with the VA is to keep a 2.5 or better, My personal goal is to keep a 3.0.  I just keep on surpassing it.  In the fall I was admitted to Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society for 2 year colleges.

The Next Speaker was Ushna Altaf a really funny and crazy Pakistani woman who is full of life and loves to crack jokes with everyone, this was her last semester at Normandale and she will be missed.

Next we had a musical performance of John Lennon’s”Imagine” sung by Sam Dylia.  Even though I have the words to this song memorized, I do not think I could get up and sing it in front of a group of people and he should be commended for  the job he did.

The awards came up directly after the performance, this is where I was filled with shock and amazement. The first three awards were the partner, Champion and Game awards These were given to faculty and staff.  Then we got to the Most Active scholar which was won by Ushna Utaf, her fellow nominees were Yuanyuan Cui and Jackson Code.  The next was the most Persistent Scholar which was won by Jenny Steck.  Her fellow nominees were Chamab Nhel, Dee Parker and Amber Branch.  The Last of the awards was Scholar of the Year won by yours truly JJ ODonnell with my fellow Nominees Amber Branch and Ella Komianvi.  This was a shock to me, I knew I had been nominated for the award but I never thought I would win.  In fact I was actually rooting for Amber or Ella, both of these women are strong, good students and have fought through their share of adversity.  This is not to say I have not; I just thought that one of them should be the winner.  Amber I know the most about she was my peer mentor and is my friend and just a kick ass chick.  Ella I know in passing from when I worked in the diversity center, she was always so cool and very courteous.  She is also the President of the BSA (Black Student Alliance) and participate in numerous other groups and activities.   I was just honored to be nominated.  I was not looking for anything else.

The last performance was by Joe Charley who spoke a riveting poem about being more than just what people see and encouraging people to dive deeper to get to know others of different races and cultures.  It was astounding.

The Keynote Speaker was President Ester who kept her speech short and to the point.  She was also still reeling from the previous speaker.

The closing words were spoken by the Head of Normandale’s chapter of TRIO Frederick MacDonald-Denis, coincidentally he is my advisor till mine gets back from paternity leave, James.

All in All this was a very interesting night for me.  It was a shock to my system I am glad to share some of it with you all.

Peace Be With you all.

Me and Religion

I grew up loosely Catholic.  My parents had me go to my first communion and confession, other than that the only time we went to a church it was for weddings and funerals.  I hated going to church every time I went in one I felt I had done something wrong and they were always so cold.  This was a problem when I was in the Boy Scouts.  If you have been in the scouts you know the laws.  I could follow just about everyone of them except one.

Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, Obedient ( at the time yes, not anymore), Cheerful (I did my best), thrifty, brave and clean were not such a big deal.  The one I had problems with was Reverent.  I got picked on alot when after camp at Tomahawk and did not go to church there.  I left the troop I think it was the fall of 1987.  After that I started looking into other religions the Greek myths, a little Buddhism and cults.   I actually did a paper for myself on the Children Of God cult in South America in the 7th grade.  That was one sick group they allowed for the rape and molestation of children.  I will be honest it this was when I really started to wonder if I believed in a god.  The clincher was when I actually read the Bible for the first time, but that was not until years later.  To this day I still do not know if I actually ever believed in the Christian god or if I was just believing what friends and family wanted to believe.

In 1994 I joined the Army, on my dog tags I had them list my religion as Agnostic.  In Basic training I realized the military was not the life for me.  During the initial dusting my glasses fell off and a drill sergeant, who looked like Sergeant Slaughter, crushed them under his foot as I was doing push-ups.  I had to wait about a week before I could get my “birth control glasses”, these were so named because if you were wearing them you were guaranteed not to get laid.  During the waiting period I could not make things out more than anything more than 30 feet in front of me.  That Sunday morning, which was the only free time we had other than sleep, I went to the Protestant Chapel, I wanted to take comfort from something, I wanted to believe in god at that time.  That was the only time I went to Church in Basic Training.  I did not enter another church until I was in active duty.

This is when I met someone who invited me to their Episcopal Church at Fort Lewis, Washington.  That was an experience to say the least. The Church was off base in what looked like a wooden house painted brown on the outside.  Inside the walls had brown wooden paneling with a pulpit and chairs in two columns and four rows in the front room and a open room on the side.  It seemed like a normal sermon at first then they started speaking in tongues.  They encouraged me to join in and I tried, but I guess i just could not feel the Holy Spirit.  That was so weird to me, I did not understand a single thing going on I just went with it till I got a ride back to the barracks.  This was also about the time I started to realize I was an Atheist, though I stuck with Agnostic because I was worried how others may view me.  I did not enter a church again until my Uncle Butchie’s Funeral in 2001.  I did however read the Bible in between these two church outings.

When I was first starting to read the Bible I saw contradictions within the first two chapters of Genesis, Specifically the order in which the animals and the first man were created.  In Chapter one the animals came first then man, then in chapter two it said that man came first then the animals. Back then this was confusing as hell to me.  Now I understand that the old testament is a bastardization of a multitude of other religions, specifically the Torah of the Jewish faith.  I was able to make it through Genesis just barely with all the who begot who and other stuff.  I eventually made it through it took a long time though.  There is one part in revelations that I used to try and de convert a couple of Mormon Missionaries when they stopped by my dad’s mobile home one day, I was confused on how they were able to justify the book of Mormon when in the Book of Revelations states  in Chapter 22 Verses 18-19 that “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” This did not work but I got to test my knowledge and gave my dad a laugh in the process.  He was in his bedroom when they came over and heard me talking to them for about hour.  He just sat back there watching T.V. and heard me trying to convince them to give up their faith in a polite way.  That was fun.

I remember my uncle because I was homeless living with my ex girlfriend at the time and her parents in their camper, this was also before 9/11 like about a week or so.  A couple of days before I had just gotten off work and sitting in her driveway behind her house and smoking a bowl of some decent pot, I said to myself ” this hit is for you Butchy.” I knew he was not doing well and my cousin b got him some weed so he could eat, his liver was failing and he wanted to eat his favorite food Pizza again before he passed.  The next day after my little salute to my uncle my best friend had taken a message for me that my uncle had died that night.  He had wanted me to be a pallbearer at his funeral, how could I say no to one of my uncle’s dying requests.  So, that weekend I was in the St. Paul Cathedral, I felt awkward as hell going in there even if it was for family, I felt cold shivers down my spine on top of mourning the loss of my uncle.  I made it through though. The next time I would step into a church was when I met my ex wife after chatting with her on line.

We actually met a couple days before that,  Liz (my ex wife) was stuck near me and needed a ride home.  I told her I would help and picked her up and we talked a bit till I got her home.  I agreed to meet her again at her church right down the street from me in Sanford, FL.  I had told her I was “Agnostic and that I normally would not meet at a church”, but I figured I would try the religion thing again.  I went with here a few times when we were dating, I even went as far as almost signing up to the church.  Then I went to the house of the pastor for an introductory meeting.  When I saw this place I could not believe my eyes.  Here this guy is preaching to people who are living modest lives while he and his family were living in a house worth, I would say from $500,000 to $750,000.  This was a beautiful home Beige on the outside with a couple of columns at the front door and a three car garage.  You walk into the house this place had 20 ft vaulted ceilings all 3 kids had their own rooms plus the master.  There was a 10 ft. patio door that you could look out into the backyard, which was not that huge but had a nice view of a pond.  Oh, did I mention this was in I think it was Altamonte Springs, FL in a really nice neighborhood, I guess that goes without saying.  Since then I have not stepped foot in a Christian place of worship.

About 4 years ago I came out as an Atheist to my friends and family on Facebook.  I was tired of hiding who I was for so long.  This stirred up a bit of shit with my mom and her husband Rick, little did they know I had came out to his parents a couple of years before.  They had no problem with it.  Rick unfriended me from Facebook my mom was in denial still thinking I was Agnostic, which I am I do not know if there is a god or not, I just do not believe there is a god.  This does not make me immoral I try to treat people the way I want to be treated do I always do so, No.  Am I perfect, there is no objective perfection, so No.  My Goal in life is to try to help make the world better, not perfect, for future generations.  To help bring peace through understanding of other cultures and religions.  I am not one of those Atheists who say all religions are bad.  Religions are neither bad nor good they are tools to help people.  It is how people use religion that matter.  Some Pray, Some go to Church, most just want to live their lives in peace.  There are those who would and have used religion to subjugate, torture and murder that use religion as a justification for these things.  Most of the people I have met be it Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist have been good people just trying to get by.  Who am I to say what they should or should not believe.  As long as they are not harming anyone who really cares.  Most people in America today hold on to religion as a tradition carried down through there families and will admit they are not sure there is a god or not.  Hell, I met an Evangelical Christian that feel the same way I do about the LGBTQ and Muslim communities.  That they should be able to live their lives the way they want to as long as they are not hurting anyone.  That shocked the shit out of me, I thought we would be battling it out.  He even accepted me which was really cool I thought.

My journey with religion has been long and hard, but it has not ended.  I will be learning more about other religions in the future and hopefully make some friends along the way.  I hope this may help some people understand me better and maybe themselves.  The next time you meet someone who is an Atheist try to remember we are not evil incarnate.  We are people just like you.  We love, we feel pain and we get lonely just like everyone else.  We are each individuals and should be treated as such.

Peace Be with You My Friends, Peace Be with You.

Am I A Racist?

This is one of the hardest posts I have written.  I worry about the backlash being the subject is so divisive, no matter what community you are apart of.  I mean no disrespect I am just trying to understand.

Am I racist?  This is a question I have been asking myself a lot lately.  I recently left a position where I was working because the atmosphere was toxic to me.  You see I despise the word “Nigger” or “Nigga” these are the same word just different accents, not language.  There are certain parts of the country that have a hard time saying er and instead use an A, the opposite is also true. I apologize for writing the word from this point on I will use “N” as a replacement for it as to not make myself vomit from writing it too much. I was at times stuck in a room with a bunch of people who constantly were using this word.  These were people of African American descent.  Does that change the meaning of the word?  In the 2 months I worked there I heard it used in both a friendly way about people they liked, and a derogatory way about people they disliked.

When I was young someone told me that N meant an ignorant person, though it had negative racial overtones.  This is why we do not use the word.  In the past 5 years I have been looking into the issue of race.  With all the unarmed shootings of Black citizens by police I wanted to get the real history of the issue.  I have seen countless documentaries on the subject, did my research project on the Islamic Empire and read through some slave narratives.  I do want to try and understand these issues more so I can be more helpful to the fight for equal rights.  The thing is I do not think I will ever understand the double standard of it is ok for an African American to say it and not a Anglo-saxon white person.

I am an egalitarian this means: I feel everyone should have the same rights as everyone else.  I would would not want a black person saying it anymore than a white person.  So, when I was working there it was a shock to my system every time I heard N, and I heard it a lot.  I am also a person who is for the first Amendment of the constitution.  Yet, in this story I start to try to control people from using this word.  I started off nicely, but as it was continually I was getting more belligerent about it.  To the point where I would start blacking out for a couple of seconds.  This has happened to me before but only when I was extremely drunk or was physically assaulted.  This is where I knew I had to leave that situation.  One I hate being a hypocrite and two I did not want to end up in a fight.  I worried if I heard it enough that I may accidentally use N out of sheer frustration.

During the 2016 election was when I was reading the Slave Narratives of Frederick Douglass and Linda Brent.  It was after the election of Trump that I realized how powerful that word really is.  I was doing homework the day after the March against Trump was happening here in Minneapolis, Minnesota, of which I was a part of, and I hear a pounding at my door.  It was a neighborhood kid I see when I am walking my dog.  The kid is mildly autistic and is normally a real good kid.  I went outside to see what was going on.  I had found out he had done something most white people here in America know not to call a African American.  He called one of them a N.  This caused him to be chased and almost got his ass kicked.  I talked to them all and tried to smooth things over with the group of kids and apologized for what he had said.  Then I shock one of their hands. Then went to his mother and told her the situation, using N as a quote.  I felt so dirty after I said it.

Visions of people getting whipped, tortured and raped flew into my head.  I did not realize the affect N had on me still.  I figured it was most likely caused by all the tension in America.  I did not really give it too much thought.  Then I took the position I had recently just quit.  I loved the job working on diversity calendar, being able to explore ideas that I have.  I just could not deal with being in a room with 10 to 15 people saying N so much, about once every 5 minutes or so.  it got to a point where my heart started racing, ears began to burn, it felt as if all my communication skills were drowned out by that one word.  In the beginning I let it go, but the more it was said the more angry I got.  I am having all these physical reactions to hearing N with the images of people being raped, tortured, and lynched.  I was in a U.S. History, if you know anything about U.S. History, you know it cannot be discussed without the racial element to it.  It was not just in the south either as many of us tend to think it happened in the north to.

Images like these:

Then I would not say the word again, I never had a desire to really say it.  But if you would not want a white person to say then why would a black person saying it.  This is the point I was trying to get across.  It seems like the Daily Show has the same Double standard now.  At least when it comes to President Obama for taking a $400,000 job from an industry he helped to prop up.  If you wouldn’t want a white president to do it then why would you want an African American president to do it.  Did he not run on Change.  Yes, I find both Clinton and Trump repulsive.  I had high hopes for Obama it turns out he is no better than the rest.  That is where I think people have differing opinions.  We expected him to be above the corruption.  Why should we give him a pass when we don’t give the others a pass?

I try to use the same criteria across the board this way I do not give a bias unless the it is based on facts, Like climate change.  I do not like being a hypocrite and if I realize it that I am becoming one I try to change it.  This is what it mean to be intellectually honest with oneself.  Realizing that we are all human and that if we are all works in progress.

If we are not working to be better humans then what are we doing with our lives.

Baggage

These are a few stories I remember from working at the TSA.

Years ago I used to work for the TSA, I was what they called dual certified.  I could work in either the checkpoint or baggage.  I worked at a small airport, during the summer we had both international and domestic fights.  During the winter domestic flights only.  Despite what people say about the TSA the people I worked with were decent people.  There were a couple of bad seeds though.  There was one I remember who always rubbed me the wrong way.  I really don’t remember his name but for here I will call him Stevie, Dude looked just like Steven Segal.  He was an ex-cop from New York now this guy was a head case.  He was one of those had to look tough all the time guys.  We were waiting for a flight to head out in baggage.  He was telling these guys how he planted pot on this guy, because he knew the guy was a dealing though, Stevie could not prove it.  I asked him ” Isn’t that entrapment?”.  Stevie replied “No, because I knew the guy was a dealer.”

One of the flights I love working was Icelandair.  The people are friendly and agreeable. I used to try and say their names, when ticket checking.  They were a fun bunch.  I want to visit their so bad.  Though they did pack a lot of food products in their baggage.  Those bags were heavy.  These thing were filled with Turkeys, hams, fruit, lots of canned or boxed food as well.

I spent about 50% of my time in either area.  The times I like working out front were when I was dealing with people from another country.  Granted many of these people were from the United Kingdom.  I prefered the over crowded passenger check in compared to what you might find is some bags.  When I first started I saw a couple of huge 12 inch double sided dildo, with a ton of gay porn around it.  Oh yeah and they were still lubed up.  Thank goodness for gloves.  Then as I was doing that search was a big teddy bear.  “Damn it why did I have to get this one” I said to myself.

 

Many people may not know this but we got tested every year on our Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).  If we didn’t pass the test 3 times your were let go.  The whole time you are being shadowed to make sure you are doing things correctly.  We were constantly training on the SOP.  We did have training on the x ray machine simulator every month and were tested every year.  I do not know how many times I have seen the same learning modules.  Every 3 months we had to watch a video on Sikhism.  How they are culturally different from the Arab Muslims.  This video went into how they where their hair, and the ceremonial Kirpan (small dagger).  It also explained how it is one of the youngest religions being founded in 1500 ce.

What I am about to tell you turned me off from volunteering so much for overtime.  It was during the Earthquake in Haiti.  The schedule changed we started out with 2 12 hour shifts.  We did that for about 3 days.  Then we went to 3 eight hour shifts. for the next 3 weeks.  The Red Cross was there helping get people set up.

I remember when I heard about the Earthquake in Haiti.  I was in the Middle of getting a tattoo, when he called to let me know that I was going to start that next morning.  I was supposed to be off that weekend.  My ex-wife and her daughter were there with me I was getting a cover up.  I had what was a golden broken heart.  It looked like a yellow broken heart.  I got it after a break up years before.  Since, I was married and happy for a bit I thought I might cover it up.  The pitiful heart was changed into a  beautiful blue rose with my ex-wifes daughters name underneath.  I still have it do I want to change it? No, it is now a reminder to me to take things slow.  Stop rushing everything.

 

Schedule for the Summer

I am writing this out in order for me to keep up on my site.  I have a tendency to do a whole bunch of post in a short amount of time and then flake out.  Not this summer though.  I am going to post on every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday by 11:59.  This will also help keep me on schedule for the fall semester.  I cannot believe I will have my AA in Liberal Arts at the end of this year.  I am also taking two classes this summer Intro to Creative Writing and Adult First Aid and CPR.

Coming up I will be posting projects from my Photography class and my last history paper I did on the four largest race riots of the 1960’s.  I am taking a Creative Writing course this summer.  So, expect me to be practicing on here.  I will also be doing a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a study abroad trip I was invited on next summer.  I chose from China or South Africa I will do a poll to see where my subscribers sit on this issue.  This Friday I am planning to upgrade my site from free to the personal plan.  Another way to get me more active on here as well.  The weekends are set aside for cracking out the camera and working on becoming a better photographer.  I want to make sure I have a diversified skill set.   A jack of all trades, master of none.  I just cannot handle be strapped down to one profession the rest of my life.   The only traveling I will be doing is in the greater Twin Cities area.

The last thing is on August 12 I will be going to the St. Paul Aint’s  game.  This is a minor league baseball team normally called the Saints.  The Freedom from Religion Foundation and Minnesota Atheist’s is sponsoring them for one night.  It is a night dedicated to Atheists, of which I am, watch baseball and make fun of ourselves.  This is to show Minnesota that atheists are just like everyone else, we just don’t believe there is a god of any sort.  We have morals and ethics it is just we set them for ourselves, not a book.

If you have any comments or would to request a location for me to photograph that you would like to see here in the Twin Cities leave a comment below.  I will see what I can do.

Hope

This was written before the presidential primaries.  Now people can see how wrong I was.

was at school today early for class like always.  I see a person I have talked to a few times before.  She is an older African American woman who is sweet as can be.  We were talking about what is going on in the world she is worried about what would happen if Trump or someone like him got into office. I showed her a video of Bernie Sanders Bringing a young Muslim student up on stage gave her a hug and talked about what his family went through during WWII.   It seemed to quell her fears a little.  She said there are still so many other people out there that hate and fear monger.  I told her “There are always going to be people like that out there. We won’t be able to stop that but what we can do is keep those numbers as small as we can.  That way they have no more power.”  She asked me” Do you think we change things?”  I told “Yes, the people turning against each other are the ones getting rich, while the rest of us are struggling.  They are afraid of what will happen if we as a people unite.  They will either have a violent revolution or a peaceful one.  A violent one would not end well for them and they know it. There are a lot more of us than there are of them.  I feel they will opt for the peaceful one.” and I gave her a hug.  We need to them that we are better than they think we are.  To them we are just pawns on a chess board easily sacrificed for their greed and contempt for us.

Now more than ever we must stand together every religion or lack thereof and race.  To let these people know we are not just going to stand by and give in to their fear and hatred.  We are stronger when we stand together.  There can be no freedom without equality.  There can be no peace without freedom.  Let us stand and Yell “NO MORE” to the hate and fear they only divide us.  Say “NO MORE” to putting paper (money) before people. Let us give our children hope for their future, for they are our legacy.  Let the children know we care by letting go of the old ways and start to build a new world they can be proud of.  Keep hope alive and use your voice for that is the most effective weapon we must beat those who seek to divide us.

Peace be with you all

Journal Entry 8

This came from my old wordpress if it seems out of place.

Ok so this is not a requirement for the course I am taking at school, but it is in the book “On Course” for which I am using in my paths to college success class.  I should have started it sooner, but I didn’t want to put more work on myself then I had too.  I am now doing this for myself.  The next entry’s I make are going to be journal suggestions from the book.

In these journals, I am going to try using their guidelines for writing a meaningful journal entries till I find one that I like better.  These are accepting personal responsibility, discover self-motivation, master self-management, employ interdependence, gain self-awareness, adopt lifelong learning, develop emotional intelligence, and believe in my-self.

Take inventory of your personal strengths and weaknesses as revealed in your self-assessment questionnaire.

In your journal, write the eight areas of the self-assessment and record your scores for each.

38   Accepting Personal Responsibility

42   Discovering Self- Motivation

27   Mastering Self- Management

26   Employing interdependence

43   Gaining Self- Awareness

44   Adopting Lifelong Learning

36   Developing Emotional Intelligence

40   Believing in myself

Write about the areas on the self-assessment in which you had your highest scores

These scores were out of 80 points each, so none of my scores were rather high most hovered in the mid to lower point ranges.  I knew I had a lot to work on even before I took the assessment.  My highest scores were in discovering self-motivation, gaining self-awareness, adopting lifelong learning, and believing in myself.  I have been working on believing in myself for years going to therapy off and on for my major depressive disorder It just had not sunk in till started going to CBSST (Cognitive Behavioral Social Skills Training) at the VA.  The next one up would be discovering self-motivation.  This is so true of me my mind races so fast that I hardly have time to write ideas I have down and I do get bored easily.  Gaining self-awareness and lifelong learning are at the top of my list thanks to the internet.  You may be saying how does the internet help create self-awareness; well I don’t just use it for cat videos and viral videos I watch a lot of things that give me pause for thought like the Crash Course series and the multitude of independent news feeds and if I have questions about something I just check their sources or research it on my own if I Want to know about a subject.  Doing this give me insight in to who I truly am as I have lost myself through the madness of life.

Write about your lowest scores

Employing interdependence, mastering self-management, developing emotional intelligence, and accepting personal responsibility these are my lowest scores.  Employing interdependence, I understand why this one is low it is one that most older generational men deal with. We hate to ask for help this is the way we were taught “real men don’t need to ask for help I can do this on my own”.  This is something we are taught just by observing our fathers and other male role models.  The way I am combating this is by going back to school you have no choice in college you need to work with others if you want to survive.  Mastering self-management, I have always had issues with this.  It is no secret among those who know me I am a slob and my time management sucks.  This I am working on through today I was finally able to get some things out of my room and in the shed.  I also reorganized my room for a better study space; doing school work in the kitchen with 2 other guys in my mobile home made it challenging.  I put things on my walls to inspire and keep me on track like a world map with the places I would like to help when I join the Peace Corp and a work schedule for school work.  Developing emotional intelligence this has been a pain for me because I tend to bottle things up till I blow (and not in a good way).  This usually takes the form of a fight and I hate to fight I don’t want to hurt anyone or myself that is one of the reasons I am posting this in a public forum.  I want to be open and not hold in the all my feelings and if I can help anyone else who has these problems I am happy.  I do sometimes cry for no apparent reason I think that is my bodies way of relieving some of the pent-up emotions I still carry and don’t realize it.  Accepting personal responsibility, I have often blamed many things on my passed experiences for why I do or don’t do thing and more often allow other to dictate how they think I should live.  Dealing with this one is hard I have had to remove certain people from my life for now so that I can find myself and do the things I want to do.  Certain people I have allowed to have too much control over me and let them guide to who they think I should be.  I can’t let that happen anymore I realize the more I allow them to have control the more I hate myself.  I feel I am at a pivotal juncture in my life where I need to focus on who I am and who I want to be.  I cannot allow them to have so much influence on me or I may slip

My Depression

I won’t own a gun because they take know effort to harm yourself or someone else.  I suffer from Major Depressive Disorder I have days where it would be very easy for me if I had a gun where I could easily just load the gun and pull that trigger.  Thankfully those thoughts have come in fewer intervals as of late.  Now days I just want to run as far away from everything and everyone.   My mind races with so many thoughts I can hardly concentrate or focus on one thing.  There are days I wish my mom had aborted me just so I wouldn’t have to live this mess up life with no meaning but to work, eat and sleep.  No time to decompress.

People don’t understand the loneliness even when you are surrounded by others.  They cannot comprehend the darkness I feel daily. Sure, I am having a few good days where these things don’t enter my mind as much and they seem to be increasing, but I am always waiting for everything to come crashing down.

I barely leave my home except to go to work or therapy, though I start back to school next week so that should help.  For almost 20 years I have been dealing with this problem; it is a fight.  A fight with my mind but it wares on me.  I hope school will help me with being more social because a lot of them are gone.  Maybe that light I see will get just a bit closer only time will tell.