The Words That Never Got Left Behind

In observation of Bully Prevention Month, I’d like to address the elephant in the room; you’re not aloud to continue to live in my head rent free. As a kid, hearing “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” was supposed to be a way of making ourselves feel better about the cruel words that get thrown our way. It’s supposed to show that we won’t be hurt unless it’s by some thing physical.

The sad reality is, that’s the farthest from the truth. While I would like to admit that physical pain is worse, the verbal bullying is the thing that continued to haunt me for so many years. I find that it had become more of a motivator to do better, but is that really the best thing for motivation? Shouldn’t we be motivated more by the positive things than, the things that bring us down? This is why we have so many broken people in the various sectors of society.

Body dysmorphia is something that I’ve seen to run rampant among young ladies especially. The society standards for what is the perfect look for a woman has been plastered across all forms of advertisement. It’s in your face that unhealthy skinny is the standard for women and anorexia is a problem that isn’t talked about enough.

Men aren’t any less targeted either. The underwear models with the chiseled physics and washboard abs are also shown in many places. The one difference is that men with dad bods, are more socially accepted, but are no less pressured to be perfect. Men talking about having self-image issues is considered a bit more taboo. Men are supposed to be viewed as strong both physically and mentally.

The thing that I will personally say about this is that dealing with being obese most of my life, I’ve dealt with the pressures and comments to look more appealing. I joke with my wife that if it wasn’t for chubby chasers, I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere with the ladies, her especially. Though, I do wish that I could have, the muscles and strong looking body, it’s taking work to get there. This is something that I personally want, but I’m not killing myself to get there.

Key reasons, while I workout and try to keep eating well, I still indulge, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m not going to hate myself for slipping a bit here and there. I know once I have the talk about skin removal surgery, that it’s going to take a bit of time to process. I found myself in that similar situation when I decided to get the gastric sleeve almost two-years ago.

Acceptance has been something that I’ve had to battle to come to terms with. I had those bullies running through my head with the words of how ugly, and fat I was. I hated myself because people had put those words into my head. I wasn’t good enough, and yet there was something that I did alright growing up. I did have friends and lovers. I was liked, but even with those realizations, I still had the negative words sticking in my head. I’ve had to learn to over come that.

I’ve embraced positivity, despite the way I’ve been treated during my life. I find that it helps me, because it puts something in the world that not everyone seems to be able to produce themselves. With that I’ve made many connections with some great people. I get more out of being positive, then having that negative mindset.

Unfortunately, not everyone is that way. Some people who get bullied, carry that chip on their shoulders for the rest of their lives. Hell, at one time, I did as well. I hurt some very good people and I’ve regretted it ever since. Those who carry that chip, bring the misery with them in most aspects of life. This isn’t something that’s uncommon in my professional life. I see it everyday, and the effects that it causes. I see it in some friends as they deal with people who bully them.

Now, I’m going to change this up a little, because I know a few of my followers are going to be reading this. I know that things don’t look very good for your current circumstances right now. You’re afraid to lose that, which is valuable to you. Keeping a focused mind is the only way that you will have to succeed. I get that the parties that are bullying you shouldn’t be that way, they are your family after all. Just remember to do your best, and that’s all anybody can ask of you. I’m a text, or a phone call away, and you have shown me the appreciation through our many conversations. You got this, and however things fall, you will grow as a person, and should be able to be better for all of it.

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

This Loneliness IS Killing Me

So, we finished the two seasons of 13 Reasons Why(2017), and as we prepare to start our series on covering the subjects that are addressed in this show, I wanted to come out and say a few things before we get into the research of these issues. Going through some of the subject matter personally, I feel that this show took me to a place that reminded me of those difficult times.

If this is the first time you’ve ever read my blog, I’m about to get more real than I ever have before. My name is Chris Keeling and I’m a survivor. There are things that happen to us everyday that can cause us to choose very different paths then we are facing now, but we can also choose to make it through and get better, stronger then when those experience started.

In 13 Reasons Why(2017) Hannah Baker, a high school student is the subject of bullying, and as a compacted result of various types of bullying, decides to take her own life. Some of the situations that she experiences, I have myself gone through. Some of her experiences, I’ve witnessed with others. I’ve had conversations, and I’ve even seen my own children go through those experiences. I think watching my own children deal with these issues have been the hardest part of it all.

Now remember that I said, I am a survivor. I’ve survived several attempts of suicidal moments in my life. The old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is a bunch of bullshit. I remember being made fun of because I was fat, and being the son of an NCO(Non Commissioned Officer in the military) in a predominantly Officer area brought along other hardships.  I was looked down upon because of the status of parents careers in comparison.

So, let’s talk about where all this seemed to lean towards, isolation, a feeling of not having anywhere to turn. I remember a sense of loneliness at the age of seven, and that’s the first time I decided that I didn’t want to live anymore. I walked out into the boonies, and hoped that a snake would bite me so that I could die. I didn’t feel loved, I didn’t feel liked, I didn’t feel that I was good enough for anything.

Yes, I know my parent’s loved me. I mean shouldn’t all parents love their children? I know it doesn’t always happen, but I know my parents loved me. When you’re in that mindset, something like that doesn’t come across your mind, I know it didn’t come across mine.

In third grade, I saw some sort of phycologist, and my self worth seemed to become less then, and I wanted to die. I don’t remember much from that interaction however I think this was about the second time that I had the urge to want things to end. How crazy is it that I had those feelings twice before I was in double digits?

Maybe I should have been put on some sort of medication by this time. Mental health has always been kind of taboo, and wasn’t always addressed. I really can’t explain why this was something that didn’t get really addressed in my house. I do know that I kept that kind of pain away from my parents. Which isn’t uncommon, my own children haven’t always been open to talking with me about their issues either.

Being excepted, being loved; it’s within these connections that I strived to feel. Being an outsider I always tried “too hard” to fit in with other people’s expectations of what was considered popular, or cool. I wanted to have the “glorious life” of the in crowd, and would often get verbally beaten down for it. The girls that I liked weren’t always the nicest to me, and I would often get rejected and have my heart broken with a cruel word.

Now, if you have been following along for sometime, then you’ve heard about my bicycle accident that I had when I was thirteen. I was reckless, and I don’t think that I ever really paid attention that day. I don’t think I ever paid attention ever, but that day I do know was hard. Again, I think I got a rejection that I took perhaps a bit too hard that day, and was even less in a mindset to care of anything when I got hit by that truck. Head trauma, broken bones, and a coma is what that got me, and I almost died.

Like Hannah Baker, who had her heart broken, and trust betrayed, I know those emotions too well. I think people in general just want to be accepted. Sometimes we feel like we have to hide who we really are to fit in. I often times played down the things I had been into, just so I wouldn’t get made fun of.

When I was about seventeen, I was cruelly broken up with, and I had taken a knife with the intent to stab myself. This was an emotional turmoil that I had fought with for a few weeks. It took a friend who had the scares from actually going through the whole process to yell at me. She made me realize that I needed to get out of my head and actually think about who I was going to affect.

Now, comes the epic work melt down, this is the last time I actually had those thoughts. I was never good at finding a way to get through high pressure situations. I have my reasons for leaving most aspects of my profession out of everything. This is not only a personal choice, but do to the things I do, there’s a sensitivity of discretion that goes with it.

What I can say is that what I do, is an ungrateful job, much like the janitor, or the food server, people are often quick to point out when they feel that you’re too slow, or inconveniencing them. Often times, if the customer doesn’t get their way, they become verbally abusive. End of job description…

Take that, and combine it with a highly stressful home life. We at the time didn’t know how to deal with a high functioning autistic, or even that was what it was. I was feeling beat down. I felt that I was trapped in a situation all around that I couldn’t get out of. I wanted to run away, and soon after I wanted all the pain and suffering to stop. I thought my family would be better without me, because I felt like a failure.

I ended up trying to slowly kill myself with food, that ended up being the way I went. I would sit down and play video games all day because I didn’t want to deal with my mental anguish. Food became my drug, and the more weight I gained, the more I hated myself. The more I hated myself, the more I would take it out on the one’s I loved.

I didn’t know how to deal with these feelings for the longest time. I know that my maternal family has a serious history of mental illness. My mother is heavy set, I think that food has been her drug for dealing with life. My sister, has been put in a mental institution, and my brother suffers from having “dark” thoughts as well. While I’m not saying this to put them on “blast”, I wasn’t raised in this environment.

My father and mother divorced when I was a toddler, and I never got to know anything about that side of the family until the invention of social media. It was my sister who came to establish a relationship with me. I’ve gotten to know that side a little bit, yet I’m still a bit cautious because the way I’ve grown up. I’m here for them if they need me, and I’ve had talks with them at various points when they’ve been in a “bad spot”.

I’ve struggled my whole life to find my place, and while I went through these various spots in my life, and that this is just a little piece of who I am. I am a survivor. I made it this far and I’m not going back, hell I don’t need to anymore because I did go through that before. I know how to handle those thoughts now.

Semicolon: a punctuation mark indicating a pause, typically between to main ideas.

A semicolon is the symbol of suicide survivors, because it represents a continuation instead of stopping. I’m at some point going to get this tattoo as a reminder that I’m better than I was and I continued to strive for something better, even when I thought all hope was lost.

If you are lost and unsure where to go, 13 Reasons Why has provided a set of resources that could be useful https://13reasonswhy.info.

I’m not a professional, I’ve never claimed to be, but I have some experience, and I think that helps. I’ve been there for people who’ve wanted to end things too, and I’ve shown them that they weren’t along. I’m just another person who’s got a dog in this fight too. Everyday I worry that something like this could happen to someone I love, and it’s been a helpless feeling.

My parting words of advice are this: We don’t always know what everyone goes through. Some people go through some rough times in there personal lives, and don’t want to share, because it’s a survival thing, or at least that’s what I believe. If negativity is impacted, it will manifest somewhere else. Abuse at home, sometimes manifests into bullying at school, or work. Be mindful, be kind, because you never know if you’ll make that difference in some’s life where they decide to keep going.

 

 

When The Inspiration Hits

I’m not ashamed to admit that some of the topics I talk about come from things I see or hear around me. As a matter of fact, most of my podcasts end up starting out by conversations found in the groups that I follow. That’s my mode of operation; to pick up on a subject and go for it. Improve has always been one of my favorite things to do, and it seems to have done me well so far.

Being a writer, not only for blogging my experiences, but as a creative person who writes scripts for visual storytelling, I’m always looking to draw inspiration from other mediums. I’m about to do a series of blogs, vlogs, and podcasts addressing a subject that has recently been on my mind.

So, there was recent news that they were going to edit out a scene depicting suicide on a show called 13 Reasons Why(2017). Now this show was something I had put on my watch list to see at some point, but I’ve got so much to watch that this wasn’t even on the radar for me to see in the immediate future, until the news came out. While by the time I got to the scene it had already been edited out, my wife had found an unedited version online for me to see.

First off, I found the scene to actually not be as graphic as I was expecting it too. I’ve actually seen it done a bit more graphic in other movies, however this show is powerful. The subject of teenage life and the trauma that can occur has taken me back to my own days in high school, hell in school generally. It’s taken me back to conversations that I’ve had with former classmates, and even experiences that I’ve had as a parent.

I’m speaking on this as I know that it happens to deal very much with mental health, and physical health, bullying has been a factor in my own weight gain as a youth, and I feel that as apart of what I’ve been doing over the last few years, that this is just another subject to talk about, and maybe help someone get through their own struggles with it.

The fact that I still witness bullying in other areas of life, is actually sad. I figured that we would have been done with this after school, but to see it in various aspects of the adult and professional parts of life makes this topic kind of a hot point for me. We’re actually going to do a bit of research to help with this subject, and I’m feeling that we might take this show, an episode at a time and touch the subjects that each episode goes over.

Again, do to the extreme sensitivity of this subject, we feel that a bit of research, besides personal experiences will help us to justify our subject matter, though I can tell you that I had a tough time with bullying in school, and as I’ve become more self-aware, I see how it has influenced my life.

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