Die with memories, not dreams.
I saw a little white SUV this afternoon with this slogan stuck on the bumper. It looked like some sweet, little old lady bought the car about a decade ago and drove it on Sundays for several years, then gave it to her oldest granddaughter as a high school graduation gift. Well, it looked like a little white Hyundai that had seen better days but was clearly owned by a person with a general desire to properly own and maintain the vehicle, if not the knowledge. But, I felt that way when I saw it. I was having a bad day. I have too many of those lately, but seeing that silly little bumper sticker cheered me up.
I try to stay away from the saccharine cliches, the motivational posters of cats determinedly clinging to branches, the super-deep superficial platitudes. There is a poster on the wall in my dad’s garage that says Build What You Can, With What You Have, Where You Are. I like it. It’s cheesy and and silly and it’s been said seven hundred billion times, but I like it. I liked that bumper sticker too.
I’ve been really stressed out lately. I’ve been trying to write, trying to be creative, trying to take and edit photos, trying to just not be miserable. It hasn’t been working that well, I’ve been in a funk. It sucks.
I’ve been helping my buddy with his podcast. It’s fun, but when I get home I get upset because I realize I just spent all day working hard on somebody else’s project and I could’ve spent that energy on my own projects. There are some exciting and interesting things on the horizon with his show, but I feel like the amount of work I’m doing and the return I’m getting aren’t congruent. Also, it sucks to be invested in something and have little input on direction.
A former student of mine reached out to me through instagram a couple weeks ago. We had a couple short conversations and it’s been bothering me since. He isn’t doing well. I run into my students fairly often. Most of the time it’s a positive experience, I get to see young men who I knew when they were at their worst and in need, moving forward in life. Most of them are working and starting families, some are in school or the military, they are usually doing better than they were when they were my students. Every once in a while I run in to one who is doing terrible. There was one who lived under the freeway by my house, I would sit and talk to him sometimes, buy him burger king and try to give him good advice. It bothers me to see them struggling so much, our program was built on Cognitive Behavior Therapy, which is a fancy way to say that you control your actions. The main point of our program was to teach responsibility and intentional behavior change. I don’t know what to do in this current situation, he asked for help, there are different ways I could help, but I don’t know how much I should help, I don’t want to enable.
I have been thinking a lot about PRIDE. You know, Gay Pride Month. I’m not sure if that’s the commonly accepted term for it, but that’s what I call it. June is Gay Pride Month. The first time I heard about PRIDE I was sitting outside my house and a friend of mine came over covered in what looked like colorful paint. She had just come from a festival at Indian School Steele Park, a really cool park in central Phoenix. I was a little taken aback by the colors, I don’t really like bright things or loud things, but she looked like she had just had the best time of her life. I’ve heard a lot of people complaining about Gay Pride Month. Those people are almost always the same people who complain about Black History Month and Women’s History Month. They are almost always wearing bright a American flag or some representation of a firearm on their clothes, and they almost always listen to loud music that reminds us to never forget and that these colors don’t run. Why is it okay for them to signal, bright and loud for all to see and hear, but they don’t want to let other people do the same? The thing with these subgroups having a month set aside to recognize them, it’s because for the vast majority of our history these groups have been marginalized. The goal isn’t to segregate or separate, we unfortunately still have to single groups out because we still tend to marginalize them. If you don’t like having to recognize these things, maybe you should work together to get to a point where we don’t marginalize. Just sayin’.
May was a funky month. I had a great time going to see my family and taking some time to live in the moment, but I have been having a hard time since I got back. I appreciate everyone who takes time out of their day to read what I share. I am doing my best to get focused again, and I hope that you’ll all keep coming back. I deeply appreciate your time and attention. See ya’ soon.