A Shout Out to all the Mothers

I’m friends with a diverse group of people. One of the commonalties amongst my friends are that I have mothers in my life. I’ve seen some of them become first time mothers. I’ve seen some deal with the loss of children, yet they all share the common bond of creating life from within.

Being a parent can be emotionally and mentally draining. Some mother’s have the hardest time during their pregnancies which leaves a physical toll. While I usually don’t blog about this, I have to speak my mind because I don’t think mother’s always feel the appreciation for a job that often times goes thankless. So, without further ado, I dedicate this to my mom, my wife, and all the other ladies who have allowed me into their lives, and get to be called mom.

I’ve seen you post on your social media that you feel like you look like crap, you get no sleep, and you need a break. I see that you feel unattractive because you’ve got stretch marks, and you no longer fit into that size six you were in as a young adult.

I feel your frustration when the kids are screaming and fighting. They throw a tantrum when they don’t get their way, or are rude because of the food you make them. I hear you when you say that you don’t feel like you get any help.

I’m fortunate because I’m a father, and my kids have both parents in the house. I know that it’s not always the case for you, estranged, or single. I don’t say this to brag, or rub it in. I say it because I’ve seen the frustration in the eyes of the person that my children call mother. I’m dad, and I’m the fun one, and I’m the one that the kids seem to respect, and hate to get yelled at by. Again, I’m not bragging, I’m just stating that it seems like I have it easier than you do, and I have an appreciation for the hard work you do.

There have been a few times where I had to pick up the slack because Sarah was sick, and I find that it can be difficult to manage  the house as gracefully as she does. I know that when I was a larger person it would limit the way I maneuver around the house. I’m in awe by the magic of you, a mother being selfless in a place where those little lives depend on you. They don’t recognize it, not yet, but the moment you’re not there, they will.

Being a mother is under appreciated. Your children act out in public, and then you’re being judged about not being a good mother. We have an autistic child who has melt downs, and the judgmental looks on the faces of people who have no idea is there. So, I see and understand the feeling.

Being a mother means that you hold so many different job titles, and non of them pay what they are worth. The payment you get is this: You get to see your children grow up and use what you’ve taught them to become better human beings. You get to see them become adults, and hopefully have their own families. This is the chance for you to become a grandmother and reap the benefits of all that hard work you had done to help these small humans survive.

You don’t feel attractive because of the stretch marks, and you’ve gained the weight that seems forever to get off. I’ve seen those insecurities, and I’ve got to say this to you now-you’re beautiful. Those marks, and that weight shows that you did the most amazing thing that I couldn’t ever begin to imagine. You gave birth, you helped carry life for nine months. You are a Goddess, and no-one can ever take that away from you.

You put your life a risk for a small thing that took everything it needed to survive from your body for those nine months. Sometimes, it might have left a bigger toll on your body than it should have. Hell, I experienced that when my own children were born. Most of that time, my own wife was away from me in a hospital. Most of that time, the stress got too high for me to handle as well, but I was there everyday to support the person that would give me the greatest accomplishments in my life. My appreciation goes much farther as she had gone through great personal risk to have our two children come into this world. For this, my wife will never know how grateful I am for them.

This dedication isn’t just for my own family though, this is for those mothers who have some sort of connection in my life though.

I see the struggles of a young mother raising a child on her own. I know it’s hard because you can’t seem to have any adult time to unwind, and be yourself for a change. However, I do promise you that all that hard work you’re putting in isn’t getting unnoticed. Mark my words that no matter how things happen, one day your child will understand and appreciate the sacrifice that you made. I see it, and I know as frustrating as it is, I see the growth that’s coming from it.

Mother, I see that your teen children go off and treat you like you don’t matter to them. They roll their eyes every time you ask them to do something. They say those words that hurt, “I hate you,” and it gets harder as things like, “you’re ruining my life,” are said. I find that the most ironic part, as the children will never know the meaning of that. As a mother, you have to be selfless. As a mother, the life you had lived before conceiving had been ruined.

That’s not to say that’s such a bad thing, but until that realization comes to them, they’ll never know the truth. They’ll never grasp the appreciation they should. They don’t know that there are nights you’d stay up thinking of them because of their sickness. Hoping that everything would be okay.

So, while you don’t feel that you get the love or appreciation of being a mother, and you might not like the way you look in the mirror. Know that your job is appreciated and it does get recognized. From this father, friend, and son- thank you for all the mothers who’ve selflessly given of yourself. Know that what you might think has made you look less than attractive, is just the thing that should be appreciated so much more about you.

I can only fathom part of the journey as a parent, but the connection of a mother runs that more deeply. To quote Eric Draven from The Crow, “Mother is the name of God, on the lips of children.” I honestly think that’s one of the best lines I’ve ever heard. I also think that it rings true.

Thank you for letting me take this whole blog and dedicate it to you, the women in my life. Sarah, thank you for giving me the two biggest, best gifts that at many times frustrate me. Thank you to my mother, and to my step-mother, as they both have loved me, and help make me into the man I am today.

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

 

 

 

 

Nineteen-Years of Love

Today, September twenty-ninth, 2019 is the nineteenth anniversary of mine and Sarah’s first date. That day we got together and haven’t been apart since then. Usually I would talk about how good it’s been, and how I wouldn’t ever see my life without her. Yet, I think that this should be more about the acceptance that’s had to come over the relationship.

While I do love my wife, there are things that we’ve both had to come to accept about each other, for her it’s about how unorganized I am. For me, it’s how stubborn she can be about doing everything. She’s very OCD’d with house work, and it has to be her way. As these were our problems in the beginning of our relationship, we took several years to figure out that we both sucked at communications. Now, it’s not as bad.

So, we’ve grown as people and as a couple, and I think the biggest challenges have been met head first on many occasions, but the last few years have taken us in a different direction. One was the fact that she had to handle me going through the weight loss surgery and adjusting accordingly with the dietary requirements. It’s always been nice when we could do things as a couple because that’s been something that’s kept us as close as we have been.

Yet, with all these changes and personal growths, this last year has probably been the most challenging. Sarah was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. While the news hit us almost a year ago, it’s taken time to get things figured out. Things that we are still in the process of figuring out and manage. Now we’re waiting for another appointment to happen in November so that we can figure out how to proceed to a specialist for her joints.

That’s one of the bad things about Crohn’s Disease: the fact that it attacks the joints and I have to see her suffer from that. I watch her get frustrated at the fact that her hands don’t always work the way they used to. Then there’s the fact that she’s sits a certain way for the whole time I’ve known her, and I see that it brings on a pain that makes it difficult to move. I hate the fact that I can’t really do much to help her through these times.

This is were I find myself dealing with the fact that I have to be the strong one in the relationship. That I have to be the one that steps up and be the strong one. I know she hates it, but it’s just a fact in life. I don’t always feel that I can be as strong for her as she has been for me, but I do try my best. I guess that self-doubt is the enemy in this situation, as I feel helpless watching her cry and suffer from her Crohn’s.

It’s been a common feeling as I’m not able to make the situation any better, and the side-effects from her medicine isn’t the most pleasant experience for her. I have felt this way with watching my children suffer from depression. I try to reach out, but find that words can’t be said, more than an  I know how you feel, or an it will get better. This is where I feel that I fail as a father, and as a husband. Now I also watch Sarah deal with depression, and until we know how to manage her pain, I’m not sure it ever will get better, and I don’t know how she’s going to deal with it. Hell, I don’t know how I’m going to respond to the way she ends up dealing with it.

I know that this is piled on top of other things like her wanting to grow professionally. Since she doesn’t have a degree, and that my schooling is costing us a bit of money per month, she’s scared to take that leap, and she wants to find something that would be easier for her to do that will help elevate the pain she gets when doing her current job.

In the end, I know that we’ll find a way to manage. I know that we’ll find a way to over come what has been thrown in front of us. It’s just without all the answers, it’s a scary time. Fear of the unknown is rampant in my head right now. I can say that she feels the same way about her situation. Has Crohn’s put a limit on the time table on her life? Will I be a widower before my time? These are things I constantly think about, and I wish I had some sort of solid answer so the I could prepare myself, and the family in what’s to come.

I love my wife, I always have, even when I wasn’t the best person at loving her. I will love her for the rest of my life. With that being said, this is the director, and that’s a wrap.

Reflection on Mortality

If there’s anything that I’ve really given thought to lately, it’s mortality. Over the last week, I’ve known three people to have passed beyond the living. One was an older gentleman, who it wasn’t too surprising, yet knowing him put is passing into my mind. His passing didn’t really bother me, yet the other two, that’s where my thoughts have been affected.

The second person who died was a long time friend, she was killed in a car accident. Yeah, I know that happens, but being someone I knew that carried with me. Now, I just found out that someone else I knew passed. She was around my age as well, and I don’t know the details, but it has gotten me thinking about life, and death.

As I was growing up, I always heard that death happened in threes. Celebrities would tend to die in that particular grouping. I don’t ever recall it happening to people that I knew personally. So, what if death really does come in threes and not just coincidence? What if this is some divine plan of God’s? Is this his way of culling the populace?

I’ve never felt so mortal in my whole life. I mean, even being suicidal, at least I knew that it would happen on my terms. I think those where the terms that I could accept, but now I’m wondering who else could be taken away from my life? Have my life choices given me the extended time that I’ve been looking for, since taking the weight loss journey?

I’ve had times where I’ve feared that depression would take those I do love away from me. My children have been the biggest part of that fear. I love them with all my heart and would be lost without them. At the same time, I’ve seen the devastation of what loosing a child can do to a parent. I’ve seen them lost, confused, and even regretful. I think this is the hardest part to accept. Regret.

Too many times, we as people take for granted the lives that are around us. Too many times I think we tend to stay in our own little worlds…until something is finally taken away. This thought scares me, more than any other that has recently come to mind.

I know that my life’s direction has taken a drastic turn, and that I’m more focused on the things that I’m doing. I try to show people that I do care, and that if needed they have my full support. I know that I’m trying to get my life’s dream going, and I battle with that on a constant basis as well.

Mentally I’m good enough to know that I don’t want to end my life, and I’m more confident than I have ever been. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have my days were I feel fat, insecure, and the biggest part frustrated. That’s the one thing that I’ve been dealing with a lot, frustration.

My wife is sick with Crohn’s Disease, and watching her suffer the pain that she does is frustrating. Knowing that I can’t really do anything to help her deal with it is hard. Wondering if this is the thing that is going to end her life-these are things that I don’t know. All I can do is be the best husband that I can be and show her that I support her no matter what.

It’s not always easy, as I watch her struggle to move. I see that she gets more irritable than she used to, and that gets distributed in different directions. I see that it’s caused her to suffer from depression, and I sometimes wonder if she’s going to be strong enough to get through this. This is her first full-year of having suffered from Crohn’s.

I know that my wife can survive this, she’s the strongest woman that I know. After all, she has stuck with me for close to twenty-years. I’m not the easiest to life with, especially when I’ve gone through my own dark times. She can survive this, it’s just getting everything figured out so that her pain is managed more easily. Maybe this is what makes it that much more aggravating, the time it takes to get everything figured out.

Still going back to the original point is that two people have passed, and they were both younger than me. It really got me thinking to how short our lives can be. I feel better than I did, when I was in high school, and yet everything can be taken away in an instant. Every hug and kiss could go away. Every joyful moment, every breathe. It’s a scary thought, and I hope that we can take better care of ourselves and each other.

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.

Dual Identity

As a child, I would play this game with my friends where I had a twin brother named Kevin. He was the cooler, slightly older brother, by twelve minutes, and he was liked. I’m not saying that I wasn’t liked, but Kevin seemed to give me a safe place as not to get hurt.

I was a sensitive child and was easy to make cry. Not only that, but I was easily pushed around, and I would get beat up, even by the girls. It was looked at as a sign of weakness, and would add on to the humiliation that I had already been enduring. At this time of my life, I was seven and this was the first time I had ever really felt that dreaded sense of loneliness, and the first thoughts of taking my own life.

I can’t remember if it was before this or just some time after that I started to pretend that I had a twin, but he felt like he was the best parts of me, and non of the parts that people seemed to focus on. He never manifested at school though, and living on a military base, there where biases about enlisted children, being one myself, on a base full of officers.

I never realized that classism was one of the first factors of discrimination that I ever faced. Oh and the fact that I was over weight contributed to others forms of bullying(I find writing about this gives me a reflection of things I never realized). Yet, being a target of bullying followed me pretty much my whole life.

When we moved away from Okinawa, Kevin kind of disappeared. I don’t know if it was that I thought that a new place, new beginnings mentality was in place, but I was willing to see where things would progress. On to the Black Hills of South Dakota. I got the nick name Okie, but coming from where I had been, I felt that it was something that I was being made fun of, and I didn’t like it. I was sensitive, and being on the defensive was always something I came up to know.

I had been in Rapid City for about a year when I was rejected by my crush, and being a kid, I was careless on my bike and with that I got into an accident and almost died. I had broken multiple bones, and suffered from severe head trauma. I was in a coma for about three weeks because of it.

Now, this is where things are unclear, because I don’t remember things very well from this time, but I don’t know if I was just being inattentive, or if I had another suicidal thought, but this accident changed me. I became a different person due to the trauma I suffered. My parents basically compared it to going from the “light side” to the “dark side of the force.” All humor aside, I became a far more cynical person. My humor had gotten different, and I reacted differently to things.

Now when someone suffers from a head injury, processing emotions and empathy become more difficult, and can at times be lacking(https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mouse-man/201001/traumatic-brain-injury-leads-problems-emotional-processing). At the time I didn’t understand, but as I’ve recently seen my mom go through the same thing, I’ve been enlightened by this. 

Lacking the emotional reactions, explain quite a  bit as I’ve had troubles when it’s come to my own kids getting hurt at times. I’ve gotten better about it over the years, but now I understand my lack of reaction to these events.

So, I worked hard to get through my injuries, and I had to relearn to do basic things, like going to the bathroom, I also had struggled to learn how to do class work because I would process things slower. I also had to relearn to walk as I broke my pelvis in two spots, and took a chunk out of my femur bone.

I had viewed my life as I was still quite unpopular, and I struggled, because all I had ever done my whole life was wanting to fit in. One summer, a friend suggested that I tell a little lie to help gain confidence, and I basically reinvented “Kevin”, only this time it was my story. I told one little lie and it helped, then I told another, and after a while I got popular, and too be honest, high school at the time felt good to be on top, but I really didn’t like who I became, and how I treated the people who really did care about me the most.

After high school, we moved to California, and I decided that I was going to be who I was and that honesty was the best policy. The funny thing was, that I had become the best of myself, and my alter ego. That’s who I am today, and with the events that have sculpted my life, I’m just getting better every day.

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

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?

Connecting Flights on The Weight Loss Journey

Sometimes, we get wonder what it is that puts us on this earth and wonder what’s our purpose here? For as long as I remember, I’ve always wanted to entertain, and make people happy. As I got older and matured, I was fascinated with the idea of causing different emotions by my performances. There was something that was always intoxicating about the power of influence.

I’ve also always wanted to help people, sometimes that ended up being a fault, because not everyone wants help, and they’d throw it in my face, or take advantage of my good graces. So, I’ve become cautious over the years because of it. The expression of experience is the best teacher is very true, almost unfortunate to a fault at times. I’ve had a lot of lessons taught to me because of this.

Sometimes, these lessons come in unexpected ways, and lessons that I wouldn’t expect happened. I had a time where I felt like I stopped growing and learning, and it caused me to be unsatisfied. In all honesty, I would love for Luckey Bom Films to be the thing that takes me where I want to go in life, but I think the divine plan is to have The CK Project is where I’m truly going to make my mark in this world, which is just as worthy to be an end goal.

This has been an incredible journey so far, and I’ve met some of the most inspiring and beautiful people by taking this journey, by sharing, and supporting others who are trying to be more healthy. I think one of the most interesting things about the weight loss journey is that there are many ways to get there, and there is no one right way to get to the ultimate goal. I think that those who lose the weight without weight loss surgery is awe inspiring. That’s not to take away from those of us who had the surgery because it takes just as much work to lose the weight, the surgery is just the “tool” to help get the jump start on the journey.

Being involved with the weight loss community, especially for those who had the surgery. I’ve had networked with all these people through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and these people inspire me to do better. The voyage has made us a type of family, bonded by the fact that we share similar experiences. For some of us, the weight was gained because of depression, and that’s why we appreciate what the journey has done for us. These beautiful souls still have  doubts that they’ll make it through the process. Hell, I have days that I think I won’t make it, and another commonality I see is that there are times we all view ourselves as the heaviest version of ourselves, and I’ve discovered that is something that doesn’t ever really seem to leave.

I’ve seen some people give up on the journey as they felt that they’ve lost all the weight they will ever, and sometimes that brings part, if not all the weight back for others. As long as people find their happiness, then I’m happy for them because it’s important to be happy. I still remember what it’s like to not be happy with myself, and the rage that came with it. I just know that I’m not ready to stop, until  I get to the ultimate goal.

I think the biggest motivator for me is the fact that I’m in competition with myself. I’m pushed by the numbers that I see, because I feel that in the least, I should be able to hit the bare minimum, and yes, I’ve not had motivation to get even the minimum some days. Having those lazy days is what makes us human, and I’m not ashamed. I remember making excusing as to why I wasn’t doing something, and again there are days that I find myself doing that, but at least it isn’t the end of the world. In that end, I do keep pushing myself to do better, and find ways to grow, even in ways I never expected.

Even if the weight loss journey has established me in a community, it’s even more amazing how much it’s effected the rest of my life. I find losing the weight and having a better self-image, has lead me to being a better parent, and husband. It’s helped me better in my creative endeavors as well. That motivation has shown me what I’m capable of doing, and I want to see how far I can take it.

To those whom I am in communications with in the weight loss journey category, I want to say thank you for the words of encouragement. I’ve enjoyed watching you in your successes and I feel blessed to be able to add to your support system. Nobody should have to go through something like this by themselves. There should be nothing but support and encouragement, because it’s the fertilizer that helps with personal growth. It’s a shame we live in a world where more people want to be “trolls” and tear other people down.

On a final thought: live, love, and speak your truth. Don’t ever falter from who you are, because that’s the bravest thing anyone can do. With that, I’m the Director, and that’s a wrap.

The One-Sixty Point

So, I stepped on the scale the other day to do my weigh-in update, and I was fully clothed and I couldn’t process the number of 271.2 pounds. For a minute I couldn’t think about if I had lost or gained weight. I replaced the batteries because they were low, and took off my shoes to check in again and saw 269.9. I even checked it three more times. Yep, I lost more weight, six pounds as a matter of fact. It was strange that I couldn’t fathom the thought that I had lost that much in such a short amount of time.

Even more craziness is the fact that I haven’t been this weight since we first moved to California in 1997. It’s like I finally shedded off all the stress weight that had haunted me from the last nineteen years. Could this be part of the next part of a new phase for my life? My depression has been under better control than ever before, and life is taking off in unexpected directions.

I’m in a pants size that I hadn’t been in since high school, and that’s even more incredible. I find that funny that as I’ve lost weight, the places that I’ve lost inches and changed shape in areas that I wasn’t quite expecting. I guess that’s why twenty-two years ago, things hung on me different than they do now. Different movements, exercises, it’s crazy. Though I think it’s far different now, because experience has given me a different look at being disciplined  in life, and how my values have changed.

Today things are different because I’ve found the path in life that I wanted to take. I mean I knew at a young age that I wanted to eventually be a father. Yes, it’s not been easy, especially since my eldest child is way too much like me, and we’ve often times butted heads because of it. I never regretted having children, and they are everything to me. I love them, even the one who isn’t my blood, she’s a great kid, even if we struggle with some of her experiences in her early childhood. I’m not sure the want of kids because I was raised an only child, I do wonder if that could be why?

I think the decisions to becoming a filmmaker, and in turn a blogger, and then a podcaster was the focus I needed in order to embrace that which made me, who I was, both good and bad. I’ve added the layers to help become the person I am.

Becoming a director and to tell stories was given because it was a skill that I ended up developing when I was younger and telling stories. It’s the outlet I always needed, as I’ve been involved in various forms of entertainment since I was in grade school. Writing was something that I discovered that I enjoy as well.

Dealing with depression and viewing others experiences, and losses had lead me to blog about my struggles, as a means to help express myself, and always had the hope that others would find some sort of enlightenment from it. I’ll admit that wasn’t the only motivation to blog. The other reason was that I wanted to become a better writer, and apply that to my scripts. So far, I think that it’s come along quite aways. Again, I have no regrets in that decision.

I had the idea of becoming a podcaster for a while. It was always one of those ideas that I had in the back of my mind and we had toyed with it a couple of times before we found a solution that would work for us to present our material. As we go along, we’ll get better and develop better techniques. Again, hosting has been an idea that I wanted to do.

160 pounds down, and it feels that life is just really starting to take off. It motivates me to get more done. Life is getting better, and I’m always glad that people have taken to joining me on this journey. It really gives me a sense of validation, and I have a few who have been more than vocal about the changes they see. The praises are more than humbling, and it drives me to do even better.

I had no real direction, and I had to find a point to start to put my life back together. If you ever feel that way, the first thing I would suggest is take a long hard look at yourself, and ask the question, “why do I feel this way?” It’s not always an easy answer, and sometimes it ends up being a bitter pill to swallow when the answer smacks you in the face, but don’t deny it. It’s easy to be in denial about oneself, I’ve been there a few times, at least. If you can get over the ego, and the pride, you will grow. I think that self improvement is the only way to better themselves. The key to find myself was to invest in myself, and it’s gotten so much better.

With that, this is the director, and that’s a wrap.

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.