Monday, May 30, 2011

The ugly side of humanity...

There is something wrong with me. A serious condition that there is no cure for that I know of. It’s eating me alive, and I am powerless to stop it. While no doctor can ever give me a diagnosis for this, and there is no medicine or treatments that I can have for it, it is just as deadly as any other medical condition. In fact, not only is it a disease, but it’s a sin. Not just any sin however, it’s one of the seven deadly sins. See I have a bad case of jealousy.

Jealousy, envy, resentfulness, all of these words apply to my condition. (And while their definitions might not technically be the same I am going to use the three interchangeably in this post.) See these three things have a grip on my life, and it terrifies me. I have always been a little bit of a jealous person, but it usually only applied to when someone could perform a task better than I could, in which case I would just work harder and use that jealousy as a driving force to better myself. I did that often in school, I took someone being better than me as a slight on myself, and I would get really jealous of someone that was better than me, which is probably one of the reasons I was fairly successful at whatever I wanted to do in school. But not that jealousy is spilling over into other facets of my life, like into relationships with friends. No longer am I only jealous of a person who is able to beat me at something but I am jealous of people that have things I want, I am becoming envious.

My jealousy was not that big of a deal to me honestly; I just thought of it as a competitive spirit and left it alone. However, now that it has morphed itself into envy I am scared of it. I often times find this envy as the driving force behind me doing things. It’s becoming where I do things just to satisfy that envy and not because I want to. It’s turning me into a really bad person, and a terrible friend. For instance, I have this friend who is in a relationship that is going really well for them. I on the other hand am not in a relationship, but I want to be. Instead of being happy for my friend, I am so envious and jealous that I sometimes try to undermine their happiness. I throw sarcastic remarks at them all the time, and threaten our friendship just because they have something going well for them that I don’t. This envy and jealousy is ugly, but my life is beginning to revolve around the ugly side of me.

This past weekend I spent time at the lake with my family. While at the lake I encountered a man that had his own demons that he was fighting. Well actually he wasn’t fighting them anymore, he had succumbed to them. He was an alcoholic. One morning we were cooking breakfast at about 8:00 and we spotted him walking around with a beer in his hand. At 8:00! Later on in the weekend we were all sitting around and we began to talk to him and ask him some questions about his drinking. We asked him when the last time that he stopped drinking was, and he honestly had no idea. So then we asked him what he did when he was at work, and he told us that he drank on the way to work, during his lunch break, and then on the way home from work. Tell me, what kind of a life is that? Without his alcohol he can’t function anymore. His life revolves around the ugly side of him.

For me it’s jealousy. For the man I saw while camping, it is alcoholism. For some its vanity, drug abuse, self confidence issues, or maybe just general hatefulness, but we all have something that wants to grab control of our lives. I have made a conscious decision in the past few days to work on my jealousy issue so that I can make that ugly side of me go dormant and not show itself. I pray that all of you reading this will take the initiative to work on your own problem like I have, and not let it control you like the man I saw while camping. None of us are perfect and none of us ever will be, and honestly that is what makes life beautiful, but there is such a fine in between the beauty of imperfections and the ugliness of that imperfection seizing control of your life. Let’s all work on our problems together, talk to a friend if you need to, but let’s stop them where that are. Let’s make a vow to each other to never let them control us, and then we can all live in the beauty of imperfection rather than on the ugly side of humanity…

Thursday, May 19, 2011

If we want to change the world...

Before we can change the world, we must first change ourselves.

Let’s be honest with each other, we as humans are very reserved by nature. We lie to ourselves, and the world to keep the reservation intact. We pretend to be things that we aren’t. We envision ourselves the way we want to be perceived, not the way we really are. We would rather keep everyone at an arm’s length so we don’t let ourselves become vulnerable. I am probably the worlds worst when it comes to this. My best friends often tell me that they are confused on a regular basis because of the things I do. So this worried me, if my best friends didn’t know me, then who did? Did I even know myself? Had this persona that I put on taken over my life? Was the real me trapped inside myself? More importantly why was I not showing everyone who I really was?

After the last post I had a few people say that it didn’t fit me, well actually it fits me well. The problem was that with the alternative personality that I was showing them it didn’t fit. But if this blog is going to be successful I need to be honest not only with myself, but with others as well. I am going to have to open up and let people into places that I have never wanted anyone. I have to let them inside my true self, where I am most vulnerable, where I can gain the most or lose everything. It’s a risky gamble for me, but it’s one that I have to take.

Here goes nothing. The first thing that people need to know about me is that my sarcasm is real. The sarcasm that I constantly throw around is who I am. That is as “Layton” as it gets. What people don’t know though is that I often feel bad for being so condescending and rude in my sarcasm. Why do I keep it up then you might ask? Well I’ve found that by being sarcastic I can often times make myself feel better, and I can make others laugh. I know its pathetic right? I tear other people down just to get a laugh and some self gratification? But I do. I feel accepted when people are laughing with me, and I feel superior when I can make a sarcastic remark that points out something stupid someone else has said. I suppose it’s a pride thing. So why do I even point this out if it’s me? I mean you can’t change who you are right? Well wrong. I believe that anyone can consciously make the decision to go against nature and rewrite who they are as a person if it’s for the right reasons. I know that I need to change, because it’s not fair to make others feel like they are being chastised for saying things. From now on, I vow to take others feelings into consideration before I go off and make that sarcastic remark.

The next thing that people need to know about me is that even though I act like I don’t, I really believe in this whole love thing. I have fought this feeling more than anything else in my life. I never wanted to be that type of person who was a hopeless romantic and wore their feelings on their sleeves for all to see. So I kept it all bundled up, and I blamed it on a girl who once hurt me. But it wasn’t her fault, truth be known I had hidden it so well she never knew she hurt me. I took the thing that binds so many people together, love, and tried to cast it as far away from me as I possibly could. I knew that if I didn’t keep a very tight rein on it then I would be hurt numerous times. But you know what? I was hurt anyways; the only difference was that I couldn’t share it with anyone. I had told everyone that I didn’t believe in love. I had told people that I would never fall for anyone; it just wasn’t who I was. Actually, I met several fantastic girls, but I was too reserved. I pushed them away because I was afraid I would end up hurt if I kept them close. That left me as little more than an empty shell. I had all of these feelings that I was throwing away and not letting the people who needed to see them know that they were there. Slowly but surely I really was becoming this person who didn’t believe in love, a person who was hard on the inside and wasn’t capable of having any type of meaningful relationship. It led me down a path that I am not at all proud of. So what do I do now? Well hopefully I will once again meet someone that I am interested in, and when that happens I will not be afraid to let them know how I feel. In order to gain the most, I will make myself the most vulnerable. I may end up crushed, but at the same time something beautiful may come from it.

I never wanted to be this honest with anyone. There might be two people in the entire world that knew these things about me. Some may have suspected them, but no one really knew. How could they? I had lied to everyone, including myself. I kept these parts of myself locked way down deep, in the depths of me that I could barely even access. But I couldn’t lie to myself anymore. I had to be truthful with everyone. I encourage everyone to let the truth shine through. Tell your friends things about you that they have never been told before, let someone into your shell. This world needs change. It needs to be reformed, and now our generation is tasked with bringing about that change. But if we want to change the world, then we must first change ourselves. Until next time be truthful, open, and vulnerable. We can truly make this a better world to live in, and make it more enjoyable to look around and say “So this is life?”

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Let's think about this...

So this is life? All of this madness is supposed to be the thing we cherish more than anything? Could the world be anymore crazy right now? I’m not sure anything short of it falling off its axis and colliding headfirst into Mars could make it crazier. But, oh well, I mean this is life. It’s literally what we live for, or at least what we live. I suppose we just adjust to whatever happens, and then hope that we never have to really question what the consequences may be.

For anyone that knows me, you know that I question most things in life. You also know that very rarely do I take what people say and not try to argue the point. Do I always think that people are wrong? Of course not, I just simply like to hear the reasoning behind the way people think. So this is the first installment of my new blog, “So this is Life?”, where I will regularly challenge things taken for granted, and encourage you to think about things and form your own opinions as well.

Recently we all heard the news the Osama Bin Laden (OBL) had been killed, a great day for America right? Well right and wrong. I was truly impressed with the show of Patriotism this news brought out, however the fact that a man lost his life to bring us together was disturbing to me. As Patriots shouldn’t we rejoice everyday that we are alive and in the United States of America? Shouldn’t we be more excited when blood isn’t being spilled than when we engage in firefights that result in not only OBL but also many others being killed? Why do we as Americans only choose to stand together and be united as Patriots when someone is killed? Think about it, how many times have we all come together as a country and truly been on one page and of one mindset other than when someone has been killed? It’s sick in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I am as loyal to this country as the next person, I just don’t think that someone’s life should have to end before we all decide to be united.

Our pledge of allegiance says, “One nation under God, indivisible…,” but that’s not true. In fact that may be one of the more blatant lies I have ever heard. We are probably the most divided country in the entire world. Think about it, we are divided along the lines of ethnicity, gender, income, residency, religion, careers, and even things as trivial as which football or baseball team we cheer for. It makes me think that we should rewrite that line in the pledge to say “One nation under God, divided by all…,” but we know that will never happen. Because to do that would mean that we admit we have a problem, and if there is one thing America will not do it is admit we have a problem. For the most part, I am happy with the way that America functions, yet to be so arrogant and to act like we never make mistakes, is that smart? What type of message does that send to others around the world? Does that sponsor civility, and peace among nations, or does this refusal to admit mistakes spawn ill feelings towards us? I am not saying that America regularly makes mistakes by any means, but when we do, shouldn’t we admit it? It’s something to think about.

I also noticed another trend when all of the news on OBL surfaced, and that was the insane way that people react to other cultures and religions. One of the principles that the United State of America was founded upon was religious freedom. Yet how freely do we let others practice their religion? If we see a group of Muslim men walking around, how often do we automatically assume that they are plotting to blow up something? How often do we assume that all Hispanic people are here illegally? How are African-Americans portrayed? Really, how are most other cultures accepted? Perhaps our lack of acceptance towards cultures makes us uncultured?

We think that Christianity is the only true religion and everyone else is a radical of some kind. But aren’t many of the other religions older than Christianity? I believe so. Therefore people must have had no religion before the coming of Christ, because we as good red blooded Americans know that Christianity is the only true religion. Everything else isn’t real, it’s all a hoax and dangerous. I agree that radical extremist are dangerous, but aren’t radicals in my own religion, Christianity, just as dangerous as a Muslim radical? I think so. It seems funny to me how these things work. During the days of Christ people were persecuted against, and often times even killed for believing in a new religion. Now the new religion is persecuting others, and demanding that they be killed for practicing their beliefs. I guess the cycle has come full circle.

I guess that through the OBL news I have come to a better realization on life. I now see just how narrow minded the citizens of these United States of America can be. I now see how stupid and ignorant these people can be. I now see how I was often wrong in the past. So perhaps I too am a sick person, because it took the death of a person for me to realize these things. A man, regardless of your thoughts on him, had to die before I started challenging the way I had always thought. Now I am challenging myself, and all who read this to not let that happen again. We need to constantly broaden our horizons, think a little deeper, talk a little softer, and be more United. Never again should we wait until someone dies to come together. I hope and pray every single day that we can fix these problems that are staring us in the face, but until then I suppose we will keep living in these United (yet divided) States of America and pretending we aren’t flawed when we know we are. Racism, prejudices, ignorance, all of these things exist, and it makes me ask “So this is Life?” Until next time, let’s not just settle for this being life, but let’s make this life better.