Pride.

June is pride month. For the LGBTQ+ community it’s a month where we celebrate how far we have come and continue to strive towards acceptance and equality.

It’s the month when most companies come out with rainbow colored merchandise, adjust their logos to rainbows and just generally show their support. It’s a beautiful time, where I spend too much money on rainbow pins, tumblrs, clothes and rainbow food (because why not!)

This pride month for me is a bit different though… with the stress of work and some other things going on… I seem to be struggling to find my inner rainbow as it were. Over the last few months I seem to be going on a rollercoaster of ups and downs emotionally where I can be fine and happy for short periods of time and then feel drained, exhausted and sad for longer periods. I lost the desire to write… something that I was truly enjoying…My anxiety is on high alert and I feel the desire to eat everything in sight.

Yesterday while reading a blog post about losing yourself to work… made me realize that I really have dived in head first into my new job, leaving everything else to the wayside, if I am honest my work location is probably the least health environment you could imagine… especially if you are not in the right mind set.

I started to think, have I lost who I am? Who am I? Most of my working life I have always thrown myself at my job, to work the hardest I can to grow and learn, but by doing so I think I may have lost part of who I was… I truly believe this is when we turn into that dreaded “grown up” we heard so much about as kids.

When your stress to happiness ratio is sitting about 10 to 1, It’s hard to balance everything out… that’s when you hit the “burnt-out” phase and your body shuts down.

Yes there are so many factors that cause stress-bills, work, yard work, HOA’s, rats and everything else. It’s the moments that everything piles up so much it feels completely overwhelming, that’s when you have to push through… and that’s what I’m dealing with.

June isn’t over, I am trying to find the person I buried under the pile of work, bills and broken things… somewhere under that’s mess is 21 year old, (rainbow clad), laughing and dancing Shane.

Happiness is worth more to your mental stability than anything else, if you can’t be happy leading the life you want, are you really living or just surviving.

Is there a lost and found department for personality sparks?

The quote of the day… Don’t lose the spark that makes you… you!

When you think of your own personality… you are super biased and don’t always see the good… you don’t see the spark that others see in you. But you feel the loss of that spark when it dims or when it disappears. You notice your mentality changes… how you handle things, how you address situations and people. But it’s not until you take a hard look in the mirror that you realize. The spark you lost was what made you the person you are.

Everyone has days that they feel down, exhausted, worn out and hopeless… the spark is what moves you forward, the little voice that says “chin up, keep going”. But after a lot of beating down… that spark isn’t so willing to say chin up… it says “you know it’s ok… let’s just rest for a bit”.

The key to addressing this is actually acknowledging it… accepting that you are worth everything you want, you are worth more. More than what anyone’s opinion says. More than what any company tells you that you are worth.

I don’t know how to find your lost spark… Mine is currently playing hide and seek too. But all I can do is keep telling myself, in one of my subconscious filling cabinets, hiding in a drawer, is my spark.

I just need to find a way to bring him out… whether it’s bribing him with bacon, taking a walk outside… or just cuddling under the covers with my pup.

There’s so many external factors in life that try to kill you spark… people who are just trying to knock you down. We all need to focus on the good… the loved ones who, no matter how down we feel, no matter how isolated we become… they push themselves in and stay with you. We all have those people, those family members, best friends and co workers who give us a bit of love and support throughout the darkness, they shine their spark on you trying to keep you going… in cone of light beams saying “chin up, we got you”.

Don’t give up on me.

Don’t give up on me… that sentence can hold so many different meanings depending on who you are saying it to.Whether it’s a loved one you are worried about losing, a friend you think you are pushing away… but tonight on my way home a song by Andy Grammar with that same title came on Pandora and it hit me…

don’t give up on me… is something we need to say to ourselves, something to remind us that we have to push through what ever crap we are dealing with and keep trying.

There have been so many times in my life where (unknowingly) I have given up on myself, given up on something I was doing just because I lost faith in myself, i was told i wasn’t good enough or talented enough… or smart enough, granted every path I have taken has lead me to where I am and who I am.

But even recently there are times when I have felt so drained… so exhausted that through lack of interest I have given up on myself…. that’s why the song hit me. It showed me the power of the negativity i was giving myself… and reminded me to not give up, because as long as I keep trying, I am not failing. I am learning.

If you step with purpose in the direction you want to go, every movement will take you where you need to be. Just don’t give up.

A self deprecating mindset

The world around us influences our thoughts and actions… but we control how we respond.

The problems we are running into nowadays is that some of us have a self deprecating mindset. We focus on the negative and our weaknesses and insecurities.

The world of social media can poison your thoughts about the world, poison your opinions about yourself and create a feeling of not being good enough.

When you look at the notorious “Instagram influencers” most are what society would consider the “perfect body/face/skin/hair/personality”… if you follow any one of them you see the glorious life they are paid to lead where they travel the world, staying in gorgeous locations most of the time for free. It’s easy to find yourself feeling down.

On average we spend a few hours a day on social media scrolling through these images, we are basically brainwashing ourselves into comparing the lives we lead and how we look verses the influencer cookie cutter. That’s really not healthy… it makes you notice what you perceive as the “imperfections” that don’t make you good enough to “get those followers”.

The thing with social media… it’s a great platform to meet people with similar interests, share photos of your vacation/kids/family/pets/food… but it’s not supposed to be used to compare your lifestyle. It’s not a competition… you create your own image on social media and with that let me tell you… even the influencers have bad days, they get pimples (no matter what product they are advertising).

I wish we didn’t live in a world where we were so focused on comparisons, if you feel beautiful-own it, if you don’t feel beautiful… know that you are beautiful to your family and friends.

You are the only one of you in the world, you are an individual, you are beautiful and you are incredible.

When ever I have too many stressful things going on in my life I find myself falling down a hole of self deprecation… I beat myself down worse than the world around me and it takes more and more time to climb back out.

When you find yourself doing this you need to remember all the great things that people love about you, remember the great things that YOU love about you. Insecurities hold us back from living the life we want to lead… when we should be owning who we are, owning where we are, owning the moment because it’s the only life you get to live.

Stop the self deprecation, love yourself. It goes a long way to changing your world.

Live your life in wander, not worry.

Recently I have sunken into a negative, hopeless, frustrated spiral leading down… I reached the point where I was exhausted all the time, physically, mentally and emotionally… I have slept more everyday and felt less rested.

Lacking energy to do anything more than eat… and make terrible choices whilst eating. It’s a new low for me and I don’t like it. I find myself worrying about work, worrying about home (we have a dead rat somewhere in the attic and as of last night I discovered that there are at least three living rats in the attic/garage).

Every noise I hear during the night wakes me up in a panic, worrying at what point is the rat going to find it’s way into the bedroom. The pest control team came out, they basically said $100 a week to trap for $800 a year to trap and treat and prevent. But I won’t be in this house in a year. At this point… I am not sure what my options really are. As of last night I set traps by myself. I am fed up. I am tired. I am drained.

This is the point like I said where I feel like I am spiraling down.

I find myself talking about things that worry me and my worries seem to be getting larger and larger every day.

I have wonderful supportive friends and family who keep pulling me up out of the pool of worry.

I need to find my sense of wander… I need to look forward into what wanders I will find and explore.

I need to remember that the smell of a rat decomposing isn’t permanent.

To live a selfless life…

I have been thinking about this post since a tragedy happened yesterday at Orlando International Airport and my shift following in. I interacted with many families who were stranded or held up by the repercussions of that incident. Most of whom felt the need to complain about their own loss of time and the inconvenience it caused.

For those of you who don’t know, a TSA agent jumped from a balcony high above the atrium at MCO. A terrible loss of life in a horrendous way. So many people witnessed it… of every age and background. Including some of the agents coworkers. Obviously this is traumatizing for anyone who witnessed it and that’s not OK.

There was one family I spoke with that was impacted with a delayed flight going home. The husband and I spoke briefly but he mentioned how sad he felt for the family of that agent. One person.

Suicide is considered a selfish act by many people… but what those people forget is what could be going through that Individuals mind, what put them in the position they are in where they feel that they have no way out and no one to turn to.

Suicide is a mental illness… but it gets ignored… it’s the elephant in the room that people suffer with and they are afraid to talk about. Afraid of what others will think and afraid of the judgment that follows… when you admit “I have had suicidal thoughts” people automatically think you are being over dramatic of that you are looking for attention.

So here I am today admitting that through my teenage years the thought of suicide crossed my mind. Trying to figure out who I was as a young gay man, on top of the society norms of being a teenager…was terrifying, the fear of not knowing if I would be accepted or loved… what would society think, what would my grandparents think? Would I be disowned? At one point in my life I slightly ashamed to admit, but self harm was the route I took… I am lucky to have a wonderful accepting family, but when you are 13 years old… you don’t know what to think.

I am in no way justifying self harm or suicide… I am telling you that even the people who smile the most have their secrets in their closet. I am 30 years old and am trying to adult the best way I possibly can, I am proud of myself for pushing back the thoughts of “maybe the world is better off with me not in it” and making it to the point in my life I am at. I figured out that I had people who needed me, I had a life I wanted to lead and all the bullshit I was overthinking through my teenage years was not going to be the end of my story.

The world today is so self centered, some people only think about themselves and they don’t think about the things that could have pushed someone over the edge… 13 years in hospitality has taught me that most people are about the I, We, Me… living a selfish life in their bubble…

There is something about selfless acts, when you think of others, when you open your heart and care… that makes you a better human, it makes the world a better place…. and that could bring someone down from a ledge.

If you are someone struggling with the thought of suicide… talk to someone, a loved one or a support line. Please… the world needs you here.

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Live a great story

I recently stumbled upon a brand on Instagram called Live a Great story and the title alone hit me…. so much that i went straight to their website www.liveagreatstory.com, made a purchase and became a little bit more inspired..Their purpose is simple “Share a positive message, spread the flame of inspiration and inspire others #liveagreatstory”. 

How awesome of a message is that??!?!? Remind yourself that every day is another page in your story and that every single moment of your life helps you move onto the next. It really made me think about how often we rush through our days wishing for the weekend, wishing for vacation, wishing for the holidays… when we are really just wishing our life away. We will get to the point where we have been rushing towards the finish line and we will realize that the finish line… isn’t something we should have been running for. Those experiences that we brushed off because we were in such a hurry or those things we were too scared to try…We are all going to reach the same end, why do we feel the need to compete with each other about who can get their first. Life is not a competition, you don’t get a medal for winning.

The best thing you can do with your life is live a great story. Every person you meet is a character in the novel that is your life. Every mile stone is a new chapter and every hurdle you have to jump, whether you fall flat on your face or successfully maneuver it adds something to the person you are. Remember that everything changes constantly but all you can do is keep pushing through.

At the end of the day, when you are old and grey, what you will look back on is those stories, those memories and the people you met. The food you have eaten and the ones you loved. Don’t you want to have some great stories to share? Don’t you want to look back and smile, cry tears of happiness and be able to relive those moments. Maybe everyday won’t be great but if you can find something great in every week, it will make you feel so much happier.

My purchase from their website was for their sticker pack… not because I am going to go around stickering this message across the world. But I want to be able to remind myself every day to live a great story. I plan on sharing the stickers with those who ask about them, or ask what it means.

If I am 100% honest, I feel like Exploring life always and living a great story really go hand in hand. If you can explore everything in life, your story will be truly inspired.