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.

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.

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

Life is not a competition

Life is not a competition, there is no comparison between two people at the same age. Because at 25 years you own a mansion, new car, are married with 5 children and a dog… that doesn’t mean that every person should have those by that age… and who am I kidding in this economy, at 65 that’s not gunna be likely either. But that’s not the point.

I created this blog as a free space where there is no judgement based on age, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender… I don’t care about how much you make per hour, how big your House is, if you drive a new car or if your available balance is longer than your phone number. I care about what’s inside you, your heart, what gets you excited, what lights your spark.

If life is a race then what is the finish line…? I don’t want to run through my life trying to compete against those around me in regards to what counts as a success. Success is different for everyone, happiness is different for everyone and life, believe it or not, is different for everyone. The struggles and climbs we have at any age can be relatable but they are not a comparison by any means. We all have dreams of what we want to accomplish in life and that is great but those dreams and aspirations should be your own and not to keep up with those around you. Surround yourself with people who support you for being you and love you for being you… not how much you make or what you own.

The successes can be something like you paid all your bills on time this month… depending on the person, that might be a HUGE deal. Please don’t ever live your life comparing it to others around you… I beg you… if you find yourself looking at your life and saying “it’s not good enough”, remember that you are the one in control and you don’t have to answer to anyone about what classes as a successful day in your world. Even the people at the top of the financial pyramid have their worries and bad days.

When you have those days that you feel down because of someone else’s opinions of you, put your hand on your heart and feel it beating, that means you are still here, your life is still going and the chapters ahead are still being written…(did that sound too cliché?)

What is stopping you?

What is holding you back from trying something new? Doing something different or making up your own mind about something?

This past week I have started trying many new things, not sharing them with anyone from fear of judgement for the most part. Why do we let what others think control our thoughts and actions? If you think back to being a child… nothing held you back (other than your parents telling you not to do something dangerous). But outside of their supervision, on the play ground you could be anyone you wanted, run as fast as a race car, pretend you were swimming under the sea… the innocence of being a child is talked about a lot from many different aspects… but in my eyes the true glory of my childhood was being fearless, believing that anything was possible the feeling of nothing holding you back.

To some setting up a meditation regime, starting a blog, becoming more self-aware of your body/emotions and time isn’t a terrifying thing. Being able to be open and honest with everyone about your feelings and life isn’t something to hide. But to me… just the idea of writing this blog is scary, the idea of admitting to people I know that i want to explore more of life than what the boundaries i currently have just sounds… unappreciative especially when i look at the great things i have going on… so for now i write sharing with a few that i don’t fear will judge (and of course the wide open internet where people will always judge anonymously).

I always read travel blogs, food blogs and photography blogs and think… well there’s no way that I can possibly do that/go there/create that/capture that… but why not? What is stopping me? Yes i am aware of the (actual) excuses I use (money, time, pets, responsibilities which to a certain degree are justified)… but beyond that there are more layers to those excuses and when I examine them it’s like opening Pandora’s box… all my insecurities come pouring out, because of that.. my pandoras box remains sealed and tucked away behind a thick wall of excuses and a moat filled with responsibilities… and ultimately that is what prevents me from following through with those ideas and dreams I am on some level too scared to pursue.

Scared of the potential failure?

Scared of being disappointed that things won’t be as awesome as they seem?

Scared of letting others down?

Scared of not being good enough?

I don’t need to answer yes or no to any of those questions because to some degree we all share these insecurities… but what truly matters is whats inside…

Will it make you happy?

Is it something you would love to try?

What are the amazing things you could learn?

There will always be that voice telling you “why waste your time?” “you are not good enough”, “There is no point doing that”. But don’t listen to it, what would your 5-year-old self say???? maybe that’s the voice we should listen to, the younger, care free, experimental super hero thats completely fearless.