See the Stage, Hear the Critics

It’s funny, because I just did a podcast about this very subject tonight, as well as a few unexpected things in the process.

I’ve been asked about the backlash of sharing my mental health struggles, and how I deal with those things. I also get asked if I’m ever afraid of how being so open about them could negatively affect my livelihood, and how I would react to that as well. The simplest way to start, is to say that I started to share my story and struggles in hopes that it would save a life. That’s where it all started, and I had the duel purpose of helping me sort out myself.

People don’t like to talk about mental health issues; it’s not something that people can see, usually, and honestly, it’s not something that people who don’t deal with it can understand. Yes, I’m aware that having come out and say that I’ve had a few suicidal episodes, that it has opened Pandora’s Box, and yes I understand that it can, and does bring some harsh judgement with it. Truth be told, I’ve yet to deal with someone who’s actually had something negative to my face about it. Is it because we live in a world with mature adults, full of understanding? No. Could they be afraid to talk to me about it because they think I could go crazy on them? That I can’t answer.

I do notice that there are people in the professional world, who seem to lack a bit of maturity when dealing with a co-worker, like at Wal-Mart, and I remember observing the same when I worked at Kmart, so before anybody thinks that I’m mentioning specific people, I’m not. I also notice that there are few that actually have the courage to say something to somebody’s face. Society doesn’t tend to like one-on-one confrontation. In a way I guess that could be a survivalist way to go about the day, because you never know who’s having that one bad day that could turn into something far worse.

Back to the story at hand; yes, I’m aware that I opened Pandora’s Box, and to be honest I’m glad that I’m open about it. It’s given me such a wheel to start a dialogue with people who are afraid to speak up about their struggles with depression, and the other uncomfortable emotions that can go with that. I know that people tend to focus on the negative, but my story isn’t about where I was, it’s about how I survived. That’s one thing I think people should try to understand about me, I survived.

People have said that they’ve thought about taking their own lives before, and I know that it isn’t uncommon to have that glimmer even for a moment, and not taking that away from anybody struggling with those thoughts, it becomes a different story when it’s been reoccurring since I was seven. I survived, and I’m better than I was. So, I have no shame in the choice to be open about it, and I never will, again.

I had someone confide to me on messenger one time and tell me that it was nice to know that going through those grueling times I came out on top, and it had inspired them to seek the help they needed. There it was, the reward I got for writing about it, and talking openly about it, someone had sought the help they needed. That is exactly the reason I do what I do. People copy and paste on Facebook about doing buddy checks to know who they could talk to, or to show that they are an option. I stopped copying and pasting, and simply replay, that is why I do what I do. Those friends who I respond too already know what the CK Project is about, some of them where there while I was in the bad spots.

This is more than a copy and paste to me. By the time I was a year into my absence of work, seven people that I knew, or knew someone I was associated with had killed themselves. People will never know how bad I felt knowing this, I had distant family members pass this way, people I liked, and I felt worse because I had thought that way. This is why I do what I do, because I saved someone from over dosing on pills, and I was able to help talk them down and get them the help they needed. I felt like Superman. I felt like the figures I had looked up to my entire life, the characters who had helped me build the strong ethic and moral code that I live by. I saved a life that day.

Sure people are critical, and they think that I should keep my “issues” silent, but why would I ever do that when I saved a life? Can the critics honestly say that? Can they say they chose to listen and help someone off the ledge of the building that could have costed someone their very essence in this world? This is why I do what I do. This is a purpose that I honestly feel I was put on this Earth for. I’m here to help and inspire people, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the better part of eight years now. That way when I saved the first person from making a bad decision.

Everything else came along as I grew and evolved, even when I had my break down, all that ever did was make me stronger in the end. It took that period at “rock bottom” to help me develop what I needed to be motivated, and take initiative to find out who I truly was. While I don’t have the powers of a comic book hero, my gift is that I’m wiling to stand up and be brave enough to reach out a hand in friendship and guidance. Being someone who’s gone through hell and come out the other side, has given me a bit of insight and understanding on the struggles in life.

I think it’s human nature to be self destructive, and it takes so much work to get out of that habit. So, I’ll stand here and say it as loud as possible, I’m Chris Keeling, and I’m a survivor of having self hatred and self destructive tendencies. How can I help?

Stuck In A Box

As I sit here, I find that I’m having a feeling of frustration. It’s a bit windy out and the night shift has me pondering all sorts of crazy things. I feel that I need to find a way to better fill some of my time up. I think that I should start brining my scripts to work on while I’m at work, during my down time. That’s after I do get my 10,000 steps in a night at work. I can’t forget that’s part of the reason I decided to take the night shift at work.

As the weather gets better, I know that I will continue to keep the momentum up. I’m not a fan of the cold wind that presents itself to me when I’m doing the work outside of my box. Losing the weight, I really notice the cold now. Yet it’s nice to be on a shift that I’ve gotten to meet and talk to a different set of people than I’ve been used too.

I think part of what’s been driving me crazy is that I get stuck searching the messengers for people to talk to, or the updates between the social medias. I’m finding late at night, Twitter seems to be the more active late at night than any of the other social medias that I follow.

One of the small reliefs that I’m able to enjoy is a mini vacation at the end of the month, where I’ll be able to go to Wonder Con, and geek  out on all the things I’m passionate about.  For a set of five days, I’ll actually be back on a normal schedule, and be able to sleep next to the wife that I’ve slept next too for most of the last eighteen years. Yeah, the night shift has been rough on most of the family because of my absence at night.

The bright side is that I’m counting down my time, and I’m about three-and-a-half-months until I can switch shifts again. Oh, and someone reached out to me on LinkedIn to discuss a possible job offer too me. I hope that this interaction leads to something amazing, because it would be great to have a new opportunity for professional growth, and it would be even cooler if that job was seeking me out.

Sometimes my box at work gets me to thinking a wide variety of things. As I’ve discussed before I’ve had some dark times at work, and then I sometimes get the feeling of loneliness, but I’ll never revert back to those dark times. Those feelings where the worst, and seeing people with those same kinds of feelings made me feel even worse than I had already felt. Seeing people end their own lives actually made me feel guilty, because I had felt that way. I’m not even sure if that was an appropriate response, but that’s how I felt.

Even in those brief moments in time now days, life has gotten better. Hell, this week marked my one-year since I graduated from Los Angles Film School, and it feels so good to have that accomplishment. If it wasn’t for all the events that happened so long ago, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Am I where I want to be? Not completely, but I know that I’m heading in the right direction. After releasing The Reunion(2019), last week, and getting the feedback that I did, I’m on the right path. Positive reactions, and being told that I’ve done a good job, and even got asked about specific aspects of the process, has shown where the talent lies.

The avenue of podcasting has been another topic at hand between me and a several people lately. The comments on that have also been surprisingly positive. I’ve always been one to shine when it came to personality and charisma(not my own words, I promise), and I guess this really shows where the talent lies as well.

I’m blessed to have the support system, and they enjoy putting the work in these projects as well. Some of those in my family seem a bit more eager than others, but it’s beautiful that I can share these passions with them, and watch as everyone grows into something more.

Has anyone else ever felt stuck in a box? How do you deal with the feelings that come with it? Where I work, I actually work in a small building that feels like a box, and getting to talk with customers is probably the best part of the job. No, matter what happens to my future, I’ve been lucky enough to make friends both out of co-workers, and customers, and some of those customers have becomes some of my strongest supporters. Hell, one even hooked me up with a place to film Nash Gray(2017). Customer service has always been my strong point in the professional world, and I think most jobs require some sort of customer service, no matter the industry. So, that’s a tip, learn good communications and customer service skills, because both seem to be lacking in the world today.

This is the director, and that’s a wrap.

Fill In The Blank, I’m An Addict

As I was sitting here, editing the sound on my short, I needed a break, and so I thought that I would blog. The thing about this blog, is that I had been sitting on this idea for a little while. Plus, life has been going pretty damn good for me, so I haven’t had anything on my mind in particular to say, until the other night.

There are times that life brings up “ghosts of the past”. I never did drugs, and I was never an alcoholic, but I’ve gone through some different spouts of addiction in my own right. I’ve seen people deal with other aspects of addiction, and I’ve observed how it’s affected people.

I used to be addicted to food. It was a way I would find comfort in life, and it was something to help me because of boredom. This later one, has tried to creep back in a bit. I’m also addicted to entertainment. That goes anywhere from video games, to movies, and music. I’m also an addict to attention, in particular that of beautiful women.

Food used to be the answer for everything. I mean if you look at society, it would seem that everything is built around this concept of food being at the center of most social gatherings. We have an over eaters anonymous, to help people who can’t stop eating. You go out to relax with co-workers, and it usually ends up at a bar, or a place for dinner. Family gatherings end up with mass amounts of food, and socializing. Any way, you can see where I’m going here. This is easily an addiction that most people don’t seem to realize, but that’s okay. It’s something that with a little thought, can be pondered on, and acted upon accordingly.

I love movies, music, video games. Hell, it all comes down to the fact that I’m addicted to stories. I use them as a way to escape the realities of what life can sometimes be. I can imagine myself to be something greater than I am through these same stories. Part of the issue that comes with this is procrastination. Probably the single worse enemy of any person who should be more productive in life. I found it kind of ironic that as I get into developing, or working on my own projects, the desire to watch or play, becomes far less than it usually is. I like going to the movie theaters because I like the experiences that it provides.

Now, talking about my addiction to attention, is probably the harder one to talk about. I’ve made some really bad choices when it’s come to the attention that I have sought in the past. Being an only child who would get pick on for being a “lesser class” of person on a military base, had given me the bad attention, and I was always wishing that I could fit in. Getting called “fat” and “ugly” are a few words that. stuck with me. They still affect my decisions at times thirty-years later.

My desire of attention has at times been a blessing. I found at a young age that I had the talent to be a performer. While in grade school I was in choir, and then again in high school. I found an even bigger love for acting. I took some classes when I went to the local community college, and I was hooked. This would eventually lead me to wanting to become a director, and the rest is history.

The thing about performing, or speaking in front of people gets me high. It’s an incredible energy that I just can’t get enough of. Part of it was to feed my ego, and there was another part that I loved about making people feel different ways. I’ve always loved to me people laugh, it’s something I still do today. Yet it was even more powerful when I could grab their full attention, and take them on an “emotional rollercoaster ride” with whatever was in my characters intentions.

This is where I found being a writer and a storyteller is an art. The truth is, I want people to feel a mixture of emotions when they see my movies. I want to make people laugh at one moment, and then cry the next. This is where my addiction has taken me. In the end, I just want people to look at the piece, and talk about how it made them feel. I want to know that there was a discovery of something that made them feel a specific way.

The attention from the people I have found attractive, has gotten me in trouble a few times. I see that this part of the addiction is where I can be self destructive. I’ve womanized, I’ve hurt some really good people because of these actions. While I can never take away what I have done. I realize that I can grow from it. I guess this would be the drug that I’ve been addicted to the most. It’s never easy to mention that it had been a problem, and usually when I can’t figure how to deal with what is going on in my life, I find that this has been where I would turn.

I’m not proud that I’ve been this way, but I’ve settled with my problems, and haven’t had to turn this way in a long time. Finding a purpose in life has given me the meaning that I’d been looking for, and self improvement is becoming the new addiction.

Any addiction can be destructive. It can ruin lives, and relationships. I’ve had friends, and family who’ve had addiction as well. It’s always good to find a way to help those who need to get over their addiction. The biggest thing to remember is that the only way to get over any addiction, is that they have to want the help first. I was at  the point where I wanted the change and needed the help, and that is why I’ve been successful with getting over some of my issues. I hope that if somebody needs helps, they can get the help they need.

This is the director, and that’s a wrap.

Push Forth Good Sir

Sunday, the day of rest. Well that’s the way it’s supposed to go, but this weekend it was the day that I pushed myself harder. My trainer Sam asked me if I’ve ever thrown up from working out. The answer was no, however today I pushed myself into a nauseous state. After I was done working out, I had to take a few minutes to myself in the car to gain some type of composure.

So goes my Sunday, I call it the iron church. I find myself going to the gym on Sunday’s more than any other day of the weekend. Our bodies are our temple. I feel that building a better me, means that I have to build a better temple, and what better way to sacrifice by blood, sweat, and hard work. I’ve been working out for almost a year. I’ve been doing the 10,000 steps for over a year now. I’ve gotten better about getting those in. I do have a days that I don’t feel like getting them in, and some days life gets in the way, however most days are filled with 10k plus. My current record stands at twelve days straight of getting in my steps. Since my fortieth birthday, I’ve been attempting to get in forty-days straight for my steps. This is a challenge I know I’ll eventually accomplish.

So I go to the gym today and do some treadmill. It wasn’t really about speed or distance, but I found out that I can do a seven-point-one, and I can keep it up for an amount of time. The biggest problem that I’ve been finding doing treadmill work is that I move, and no matter how tight I’ve tied my sweat pants, they seem to start to fall down.  After that I worked on arms, shoulders, and back a bit. I used heavier weight then I’m used to, and I push through the pain a bit. So, I’ll say that it was for the win today.

I was also rewarded with a non-scale victory today. After I came home and took a shower, I noticed the pants I was wearing were a bit big on me. The size of my pants were a 42×30, and that was the size I was in in 1997. So, without me checking my weight, it’s nice to feel that inches are still coming off. I’ll have to get that weight check in next weekend.

Besides pushing myself harder in my workouts. My circuit workouts, do also push me, by the way. I think people should do that in other parts of their lives. Wither it’s work, or  new experiences, it’s the perfect way to grow as a person. The sad part is that there are  too many people comfortable in what they are already doing.  I feel that people should strive to better themselves. You can always improve on something in your life. Health, wealth, learning. There’s always room for improvement. I’ve had many friends confess that they were scared of change. I’ll admit, that there’s a bit of hypocrisy as I write this. I want to change my station in life, but I haven’t just thrown “caution to the wind”. Though I am trying to get to the point were I will be doing what I want to do, instead of keeping it as a side thing at the moment.

If you’re feeling stuck in life, or bored of the way things seem to be going. I suggest pushing yourself into doing something new. Get out of the comfort zone. You’ll never know what you’re capable of until you do it. Sure, not all of it will be enjoyable, but there are going to be some amazing things that you’ll discover.  I feel that everything in life is about self discovery. That’s how I’m living my life these days. Every day brings something new for me to try.

I hope that you continue to follow my journey in life, as one of those things I’m planning on trying next is writing a motivational speech and see if I can get people to actually come and listen to what I have to say. I think blogging has been a great avenue that’s helped me become a better writer, and helped me sort of some of the issues that I deal with. Remember to catch me on my various other social medias as well. If you want to know, just send me a message and I’ll get back to you on it.  As always, this is the Director, and that’s a wrap.

 

Hey Jealousy, Stop That Negativity

Going through the life changing events in my life has revealed so much about some of the people that I have to deal with throughout my days. While most are decent and very supportive, there are those individuals that bring nothing but hate and discontent wherever they might be. While this is nothing new to me, I do feel that addressing the toxicity of possible jealously brings out of people towards myself, and others.

Some people are never happy, and they bring that negative energy with them wherever they might go. Fortunately, the individual’s that I could be referring to, have come across as cowardly because they’ve not said such things to my face. To be honest, it saddens me, yet maybe it’s for the best that they keep the words said away from me. I know them words to not be true, and I wish those people the best.

I have to wish them the best because I’ve always been able to read people and I see that they don’t feel happiness in their lives. Some of them decide to blame the worst of their situations on others, and not accept that their actions have brought misery on themselves. How hard is it accept that the misery that has been caused was a person’s own doing?

This, ladies and gentlemen is a toxic person. They usually come off self-entitled, and ungrateful. They never want to congratulate anyone for their achievements, and if they do, you can tell it isn’t heartfelt. They expect the world is owed to them and never want to be thankful for what they have.

The things that I do, are for mine and my family. I will say that I’ve been blessed with a fantastic amount of support, and it helps keep me motivated in those times I don’t feel like keeping it up. I’m actually surprised by the amount of positive that has come into my life with the whole journey that my life has been going on for the last several years. Yet, there are those neigh sayers out there still.

As my mom has been in the hospital, there was an amazing amount of support from both friends, and family. As a matter of fact, people who aren’t directly associated with me, have seemed to ask in support of this tough time. If I was a more emotional person, I think I would cry about the beautiful support from my fellow travelers on this earth. It’s truly awesome the concern shown, from co-workers as well.

The wonderful new on that is that my mom was brought home last night. It was a great way to end my fortieth birthday. I got to have my mom come home. I went and spent time with her today, and I know that this is going to be a long road to follow, but I think she will over come, because she’s a fighter, and I know this because she raised this pain in the ass.

Going back to the original point of this post, get rid of the negative, and you’ll be much happier. I know that it isn’t always easy, because sometimes it’s a family member. There’s been a few family members that we’ve had to cut out of our lives. Yet we get blamed for our decisions because of it.

Life is too short to hold on to the bad, and toxic people love to drag people down. They drain people of their time, energy, and sometime finances. I’ve actually had to cut out some longtime friends because they were just too toxic. I’ve also been too forgiving and had let them back into my life a few times, and each of those times ended with the same result. There are some that I’ve remained friends with, but only from a distance because I know what they are, and I’m always ever hopeful that they will finally learn their lessons, and grow to be the better person that I know they can be.

There have been times where some of them had come up to me, and told me that I was right, and they wish that they would have learned sooner. There’s a part of me that sometimes wishes that I would say that I told them so. After all,  I’m not perfect, and I know that I shouldn’t let that bit of pride escape my lips. At least those who have, generally have turned their lives around, but too much has gone on to let them back in with open arms.

Forgiving someone can be hard. It took me many years to forgive my ex-wife for the things that happened. By forgiving her, I in turn ended up forgiving myself, because I had my own faults during our time. We were both young, and didn’t know what the hell we were doing. I had to forgive her as a part of my own personal growth.

That’s the key there, anything you do should help you with your own personal growth. Try and see your own flaws, and get rid of them. If you can’t see them, someone will, and if they care enough they’ll point them out, and help you over come them. My weight loss journey is just another part of my own personal growth. My schooling was another part of my growth. Sometimes the shitty parts take you back, and you don’t think you can go any farther, but that’s just not the case. If you find a way pass the bad times, your growth can go so much farther than you would ever expect, and that’s a beautiful thing.

Keep it positive, and continue to grow. This is the director, and that’s a wrap.

 

When Considering Weight Loss

Being heavy set most of my life, I’ve had a very hard time with self image. I’m fortunate in not having Body Dysmorphic Disorder(adaa.org), however I found insecurity in the way I looked and was ashamed to have any part of my body exposed in public. That pressure got a bit worse as I got older and heavier.

I had let myself get to a point where I was going to eat myself to death, and I didn’t really care. At worst, I hated myself at what I became, and I didn’t feel like I was in the body that I belonged in. Yes, I know that this is things that I’ve gone over before, but I want to give some advice for anyone who wants to loose weight.

There are several ways to loose weight, we’ve seen the commercials for Atkins, Weight Watchers, Hydroxy Cut, and I’m sure questions about which one is the right way to loose the weight, and keep it off? In my experience, there is no one right way. The truth is this: eating right and maintaining an active life style is the only true way to keep healthy.

If you decide to go on pills, or diet drinks, then that would be something that would be apart of the rest of your life. Just like any of the other options, it takes commitment. That’s the key here, commitment.

That’s what the whole weight loss journey is about, commitment. It’s not going to say that you have to be spot on all the time. There are cheat days for a reason. I’m not always spot on. I’ve had moments that I’ve over indulged. The thing to remember is that one cheat day isn’t the end of all the hard work, and the next choice can put you back on track.

Remember, the weight didn’t get put on over night, and it won’t come off over night. So don’t get discouraged. I had the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy, it was the tool that I needed to get me to the point where I could help get myself to lose the weight. It’s not cheating, but this is perhaps one of the most serious choice decisions to make. This can’t be reversed, and the only way to go is to have a full by pass.

So, my success story seems to have inspired you to get the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy? You want to lose 148.1 pounds like I did? So, here is the things you need to learn, and accept before even going for it. First off, you need to strongly consider your relationship with food, and if you’re willing to change that relationship. Thinking that you can’t change, or aren’t willing to change, has to go out the window. If you want to be successful, then you have to be willing to make those changes. If you think that you’ll lose all this weight, then go back to eating like you used too, stop, right, there. This isn’t for you.

Now, if you can accept all of this, that’s good, but there’s more. The surgery is going to change you, and not just the removal of two-thirds of the stomach, but hormones are going to change. There’s probably going to be bouts of depression that will hit. Just remember, that it’s a mental game. Once you can accept this, you can accomplish anything.

As I’ve been doing this journey for almost two years, and thirteen months since I had the surgery there are things that I’m preparing myself for, and you’ll have too as well. The big on is the fact that as a big person, you’re going to have saggy skin. My trainer and friend Sam says that’s the punishment we get for treating our bodies bad. I’ve heard people getting depressed about the the way they look after having the loss of their fat, but feel that disappointed. Some people get the skin removal, and I am strongly considering it. I’ll donate it to burn victims. That way, I can turn my negative into a positive for other people.

If you can handle all of this, and have the willingness to  change. I wish you the best, and hope you reach out and share your own personal journey with me. This is the director, and that’s a wrap.

Third Annual SuperHero Shirt Day

For the last two years, I’ve blogged about the loss of my young friend James Stewart. He was tragically taken from his family and friends at the age of eighteen. The loss of this young man’s life has left a huge void in the many lives he has touched. While I wasn’t close to him, I’m surprised by how much this event impacted my own personal life.

The pain and suffering of a parent’s loss for a child is unfathomable, I can only imagine that it’s a pain that never goes away. Even being told by my friends how their pain hasn’t gotten better, makes me thankful that I haven’t loss my own children, and I hope that I’ll be able to pass on before they do. My love for my friends has never been deeper and I’m the most stanch supporter for these people, and hope that it gets easier to deal with.

Two years has passed, and this was the third get together to honor the memory of James. I noticed the people amassing together has gotten smaller, and people who weren’t directly involved have pushed the subject to the back burners of their minds. Life goes on, right? People have their own lives to live, and most of us are fortunate enough to kiss our children and tuck them in at night. Lucky us….

I’ve had friends and family lose children. Still birth, accidents, etc. How do they continue on when something they’ve dealt with for so long. Can we, the lucky one’s even try to put ourselves in that situation? This is an uncomfortable subject that many would look down and shuffle their feet while it’s being mentioned around them.  So, let’s take a moment of silence, and remember those who’ve gone through hell.

As a man, I look at my children, and see my legacy being continued on. I’m sure there’s a bit of ego in there to see that the lineage will continue on for years, with children coming for many generations. I’m sure that’s the way many people feel… Now, picture that being torn away from you in an instant. Maybe it started with a questionable feeling? Then, at a later time, you get that phone call… your gut already knew what the audible was telling you. Shit, it just got real, and now it’s gone. Life as you knew it just ceased to exist. That’s deep, and as I write this, it just got deeper for me too.

There are many failings that I, as a man, as a father, as a son, have done in my life. Things that I know that I can never express the kind of sorrow that I have for my actions. Things said, things done. I don’t let my past define who I am, unfortunately, we live in a time where every action, every word that has ever been said or done, is being scrutinized. The sins of the past have come to haunt us, even if we’re different people than who we were. I use James Gunn as an example, because Disney let him go as a director for tweets that were made ten plus years ago. Is that where we’ve come from as a society. Offend the few now with things from the past, and it comes to ruin for someone’s career? Life?

I have a glimmer of hope that deep down inside, we are better than that as a society. I’ve always held that hope. That’s why things like racism, and sexism baffle my mind. We’ve should have evolved as a society beyond these thoughts, long ago. I see that we’re slowly getting there, but then there are other parts that end up just as bad. The bullied become the bully. This was try in my youth as well.

After many years of being called names and being treated bad, I had become what I hated. Hell there are memes based on being a hero, but living long enough to be the bad guy. There’s truth in that, and what’s sad is that you don’t always see it coming. You try to rationalize it as doing “just deserts” and you don’t always realize that you’re in the wrong.

I’m a believer in redemption. I’ve over came things to be a better person. Hell the themes in the stories I write generally have some sort of theme, wether major or minor, has to do with redemption. I think people can change for the better, and no matter what experience takes you to that other place. I believe that anyone can be a stronger person for it. Which brings everything back around to the original subject…

The loss of a child can be a rally cry to have things change for the better. A child drowns, that means that there needs to be better safety standards. Toys that are choking hazards, accidents… Something’s gone wrong somewhere and it needs to be answered for. Nobody should have to deal with the loss of their child. Children are the future, and we need to make it better for them.

This is the Director, and let’s try to love ourselves and each other a bit more.

Friday the 13th, Anniversary

So, tomorrow is my seventeenth anniversary with my wife. She’s probably the single reason that I’ve been successful in the things I’ve done so far. She supports, and pushes me to do better, and quite frankly, if I didn’t have that support, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

So, it seems a bit odd that we would get married on a Friday the thirteenth, but I’m not a believer in superstitions, as a matter of fact, they tend to work in my favor more than against me anyway. Seventeen years is a long time. In my generation, it seems uncommon to be together that long, and yet, here we are.

So, for a successful relationship, I’ve got some tips for anybody trying to have a long lasting relationship. First of all is communications: it took me a long time to learn this, as a matter of fact, I think it took both of us to learn this fact. Something that can be coupled with this is honesty. I know that sometimes truth can be a bitter pill to swallow, but it’s better to be honest about everything. Secrets tend to fester into something bigger than it should ever be. I know that sometimes people fuck up, it’s better to say something then let it eat you up inside. They know, somehow they’re smart enough to know when something is wrong.

Something I learned along the way that I wish I would have known in the beginning is don’t rush into anything. The best thing is to enjoy the relationship for what it is before complicating it with something like children, or even marriage can sometimes be too much. Autumn came into our lives fairly quickly, and we had to grow up as a couple quick. Neither one of us has any regrets, but as a reflection, we could have grown as a couple before the complications of pregnancy came in.

Not everything is smooth, and love isn’t perfect. This is truth, in most aspects of life anyway. You’re your own person, with your own opinions, and let’s face it, as an individual, you’re not always going to see “eye to eye” with everybody. Some days,  you’re gonna hate that face of the other person, but if you decide to stick it out, you’ll be able to accomplish so much in your lives together.

There’s an energy that happens when you start a relationship that’s called The New Relationship Energy.  It’s that feeling you get when the relationship is new and exciting. You get tricked into thinking that everything is perfect, and that person is perfect. It would be great if this could last, however that veil will be lifted up at some point, and then that’s when you discover the things your partner does that drives you crazy. Maybe you don’t like the snoring they do when you guys sleep. Maybe you don’t like their bathroom habits. That shit matters, and quite frankly can end up being the deal breaker for some people. I have my faults, and she has her’s, but we look past it to work on being a family.

While we’ve been married seventeen years, we’ve been together almost eighteen. I think part of what makes us work is the fact that we were friends first. I think a solid friendship helps, because essentially your partner’s gonna know you better than your best friend, unless you’re lucky enough to marry your best friend. I’ve found a best friend in Sarah, and I’ve gotten to know her better than my best friend.

When you get into a relationship, you becomes a we, and as a we, you become one. There are habits that you’re eventually going to pick up from your partner, and there’s things that your partner might pick up that will drive you crazy somewhere. That’s something I can only say you’ll have to figure out on your own. However, a word of cation: if you have kids, be of one mind when child rearing, because kids, can sense when there’s a difference of opinion, and they will use it to their advantage.

As a last bit of reflection, I’m lucky that Sarah had experience with raising her brother and sisters, it helped me find a path to being a parent. While I don’t always seem to give my thanks to her online or talk about all the current issues plaguing our relationship, I think that’s in our favor, because people like to cause trouble at times, and again, people have opinions. I know that I have some very different opinions about life choices than some of the people we know and hang out with, but I respect people for what they believe in and I would never force my opinion on them.

So to my wife, happy anniversary! You’ve stuck with my crazy ass so far, and I hope you want to continue for at least a little while longer. This is the Director, and that’s a wrap.

Fireworks in The Air

Aww, the sound of colorful gun powder blowing up in the air! A day that seventeen years ago, fundamentally changed me as a man. The fourth of July is a day of celebration, for many it’s a day to recognize the independence our country got. To me, it’s the day that my oldest child gains another year of life on this earth.

Let me take you back into time, before I really needed to go on the weight loss journey, before I turned into the man that people know today. As a matter of fact let me take you back to the year 2000….

At this point in my life, I was separated from my soon to be annulled significant other. Sure, we’re only married for 6 months, but my experiences with her makes her a significant part of my life. I had been in my new job, at the time for just over a month. We’re seeing more money than ever, but her problem was that I was always gone out of town for work.

A good part of my job was the fact that I got to work with my father. This was a great experience, because I really got to know him, and bound with him with the many hours on the road, going from job to job. It took us from this small town to places like Bakersfield, Ca, which wasn’t really a stretch, but it took us to Seattle, Wa and Denver, Co.  See, this is were the ex was having problems, and needless to say we ended up splitting up after all was said and done.

One of the things that I didn’t completely realize at that time was that I ended up becoming broken in this abusive relationship. It was mostly verbal, and on both sides. When it was all said and done, I was a suffering in a way I couldn’t comprehend.

Sure, we tried to have kids, but the mental games that were played just didn’t help when she had told me that she “miscarried”. At this point, I was just numb to everything that she would use to try and hurt me. This incident happened on my first trip to Seattle. I had gotten a cell phone and was using it too call her. When she laid the news on me, but I didn’t feel anything since this was the umpteenth time that something like this was used to hurt me.

Court wasn’t pleasant, but afterward I had found comfort and safety in the arms of my now wife Sarah. She got with me, helped put my pieces back together, and somehow we ended up creating this wonderful child, who is both my pride and joy, and the pain in my ass. I love her though.

The good thing about Autumn is that she is a smart girl, and she doesn’t go out and make poor choices. The bad thing about Autumn is that she’s a smart girl, and has a time or two called me out on my bullshit. This can be frustrating at times, since she’s seen me at my lowest point as well.

No matter where we are in our complicated relationship of father and daughter, I will always be proud of her being my child, and I’m even more so about the woman she’s becoming and the goals that she’s setting for herself. It’s incredible to see her evolution as a person. Finding her place in this world, watching her “fan girl” over anything Disney. The child that matches me in wit and challenges me to look at my own self.

As she reaches into her seventeenth year, and starts the last leg of her high school years, I’ve been trying to think of what advice I would give her(if she reads this). Remember that you’ve got a good head on your shoulders, trust your instincts. Figure out what you truly want to do with your life. Go with your instincts. I spent too much of my life listening to what other’s thought would be best, and it took me too long to go for what my heart desired.

I love you, yes I know you think I have to say that because I’m your dad, but it’s true. I have you and your brother, and you two are the most important people to me. You’ve filled my life and helped to give it purpose. I’m sorry that I haven’t always been the best dad, there’s no instructions on how to be spot on every time. Know that even in my darkest of times, I’ve always wanted the best for you.

So with that, I wish my kid a happy seventeenth birthday, and will be happy to celebrate it with her. This is the director, and thinking of were the hell did the time go? That’s a wrap.

Unfollowed Success

So, as much as I’ve been talking about my successes and experiences, much like my weight loss journey, or getting my brands started. I’ve shared some other things, like my failures as a man, a husband, a father. I’ve used them as examples of my short comings, and the terms I’ve come too in life. I’m going to use this platform for kind of a rant, or more of a way to find understanding tonight.

Social media, can both be a blessing and a curse. The blessings come in the form that you can connect to long lost friends, and family. You get to share your successes, and good memories that you make. Even too the point as the memories are happening. The access is amazing with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, these platforms can appeal to our vanity, as well as our pride.

There’s the other side of social media though that causes it to be a curse as well. Some people over share their lives, which is fine, but it also opens up for critical critiquing. People secretly judge you behind their screens, without so much as a repercussion for “trolling” people. This is the side that detaches us from human interaction. This is the time when we as a judgmental society, can feel that our opinions are relevant, and we can treat each other like assholes.

I’ve vented about my relationships in the past, I’ve shared my struggles because I didn’t feel that I had anyone to actually talk to. The problem there is why it might feel gratifying, I was never sure who was actually siding with me, or who was just trying to sabotage who I was a person. People can be supportive on your timeline, but secretly sharing the info with other’s who would just assume to see some one fail.

Tonight, I was rebuked on my Facebook page about over sharing. Now, I’m not sure where he was getting all this info from, but he mentioned my wife sharing things as well, and that he was tired of see all the complaints. He even used #keepyourmarriageprivate. Now, people said that he should have private messaged me about it, which I in turn messenger him, and text him to see if everything was okay, because it wasn’t something that I felt sounded quite like him. Yes, he is someone that I know in person, but I was a bit surprised by the words he had put on my page.

I’m not going to sit here and say well, it’s my page and I can put what I want on it. That’s already a given, and like I mentioned about the dark side of social media. That’s exactly one of the problems, it gives people the feeling of entitlement, like their opinion is the only that matters. If that’s the way someone wants to take it, it is their right, but yes, that is something that the medium is there for. It just vexed me that I would get attacked for answering some simple and fun questions. They were innocent enough, after all, it wasn’t like I was trying to open the Arc of the Convenient. It wasn’t like the questions where asking if I voted for Clinton or Trump. I guess my response was interpreted the wrong way.

So, let me talk about what social media has done for me. MySpace gave me the opportunity to reconnect with some of my oldest and dearest friends from my past. People with whom I’ve grown closer too, and have gotten an abundance of support from. I’ve been able to connect with family members that I’ve never been able to meet in person, and learn about some of my heritage. I’ve also learned that I don’t always get along with some of those family members. I’ve also been able to give support to people in various states and countries around the world because of social media.

I’ve also been able to get employment from being connected to social media. Plus I was able to finally find the right schooling for me to get my degree in. I’ve grown relationships, and personally through this technology. It’s helped me grow and get my shit together. I’ve become someone I would never have thought I would be through my work online.

I’m now a businessman, trying to get three separate brands going. I’ve become a guild to those who feel that they need experience to guid them with their weight. Some have gotten help with mental health struggles. This is why I do what I do. I found a place in myself to not be selfish and give unto others. My experience has become a tool. My times of weakness, has now become my strength and I use it to be a beacon for others to find a light shining in the darkness.

While I would usually say that it’s a wrap, I have a message for the nay sayers. I am who I am, and you either like me, or you don’t. I’ve done enough in my life trying to get the approval of others, and for that I’ve lost something of myself to be a people pleaser. Sure, there are things I share with others, and some of it might be controversial, but there is something to remember in that: I’m not here to make everyone happy. I don’t give a God damn if you don’t always approve of what I say. I’m here to help those who feel that they would like it, because I’ve been lost, I’ve been ready to give up. I’ve seen people end their lives, and all I could think of was only if…. Only if I could have been there to tell them that it’s going to be okay. They are liked, even when they feel alone. I’ve thought about those people that I wish I could have reached out too. Just know that there is someone willing to listen. My success is attributed to many people behind the scenes. While it seems like I don’t always give them the props on social media, they know that they’re appreciated. Don’t worry, I got my side handled. Nobody’s going to bring down my success. I’m all aces.