When Tragedy Reveals Heroes, Yet Celebrates Destruction

We love destruction. 

   As sick as it is, we love explosions, knocking down sandcastles, drama… We love the falling apart perhaps even more than the coming together.  And it’s madness.  But we secretly like it anyway because if we didn’t then there would be more heroes being shown on television.  Small acts of bravery and kindness are the most beautiful moments of life, and yet we turn away because it’s easier.

   It’s easier to tear down an idea that it offends you.  It’s harder to stand up for someone who is being abused.  It’s easier to keep drinking on a bad day.  It’s harder to take a step forward and say “I did it.”

Boston showed us that goodness overruled, because we get chances every now and then to prove it.  This was the chance where helpers, in a time of crisis, stepped forward and did their work to serve others.  To save others.  Not because it was expected of them or that they would be celebrated for it.  They saw the need for compassion in a time of suffering, and took it.  Empathy won.

   When people made a conscious effort to run into an explosion instead of away, something greater was revealed than mere instinct.  The irrational part of humanity, the part that allows us to show love and compassion to a person whom we are unfamiliar with, that was what was at work.  It is greater than our fears and better than the evil. 

   Carlos Arrendondo was the man in the cowboy hat rescuing the injured yesterday.  The tragedy yesterday was not the first he had encountered either.  In 2004 Carlos received the devastating news that his son, Alexander, had died in Iraq. Carlos was so stricken with grief that he lit his car on fire with a propane torch and was nearly burnt alive.  He later became an anti-war activist and a Red Cross volunteer.

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In 2011, his other son, Brian, took his own life. 

   He deserves far more recognition than the bomber, yet he does not want to be called a hero for saving lives.  Carlos was at the race to support a runner who was competing on behalf of his fallen son, Alexander.  It was through his previous tragedy that allowed him the chance to save others.  I believe his son would have been proud.

   Please watch the video and send it to your friends.  Make him more famous than the villains.  Carlos Arrendondo has suffered enough, and he deserves our love and support.  Thank you and may you be a hero today in the small ways that count.  Show your humanity and change the world.

Failure and Judgment Intertwined

When we see a beautiful woman, we see our failure.

Whether it is our failure to be “good enough” or failure to woo, it doesn’t really matter.  The point is that when we see one we compare ourselves or mentally slap ourselves for not being charming enough (for whatever ship you sail).  You see the opportunity walking by, what you wish you could be, and you choke.  You will just be good enough, never just right.  The opportunity for a compliment will always slip you by.

You judged yourself too quickly, my friend.  It is not the woman that ever mattered, it was you.  Until you have enough confidence in yourself to start saying “I am good enough,” then that woman will just keep passing you by.

It was just a thought, one suffocating, poisonous thought.  But it kept you pinned to the ground, unable to unzipper your lips.  Traumatized by inner fear, you created your own demons.  The ones that told you no, no, no while you floundered for at least one yes.  And while you were waiting for that person to talk to you, your own demons already won.  When you do nothing, they win.  Waiting will never solve your problems.

You need to act.

You cannot keep telling yourself lies, because eventually you will start to believe them. Telling yourself that you are not good enough is a lie.  The sooner you recognize the sooner you can stop judging yourself and start living your life.

To This Day

Bullying happens at all ages in all places. Work, school, and at home, people are feeling scared and unsafe. We cannot dismiss this as “people suck” or “kids can be cruel,” because we all deserve kindness. Do not let bullying slip by you, because I guarantee if you see it being done it will happen again. Stop bullying.

And know that it gets better.

For What It’s Worth

This is your life so don’t you dare go quietly into the night.

 

I need you to leave your mark for stories to tell, so grandkids can know that you were funny as hell.

 

I need you to listen to yourself, goddammit. 

 

Listen to your soul when it is screaming, and find the place where it is singing. 

 

I need your passion and your grace to leave this world a better place.

 

But most of all, I just need you to know that you are worth all of this, this life that I have painted; for it is as unreal as these words if it is ignored or mistaken. 

 

You need to know that you are worth creation.

You Like that Label, Dont’cha?

When we judge another, we start looking for the answers to define them.

Do you believe in God?
Are you a Democrat or a Republican?
What race are you?
Where have you gone to college?
What do you do for a living?
Are you straight?

We categorize people way before we know them. And at the point where you have formed your judgement, the game is over for both of you.

You will dictate your behaviors around them based off of the neat little labels you have given them.

The person who is not straight? You might assume that they’re hitting on you if they are the same sex. You might even believe that it will be impossible to be friends, so as soon as this thought is formed you begin to distance yourself.

The person who sleeps around? You don’t even bother.

The person who didn’t go to college? They’re lazy, of course. Or stupid. Either way, you will not be associating yourself.

We treat each other like we are less than human, and yet we are so surprised when we get the same treatment in return. The insidious part of this process is that when we are given these labels, we meet their expectations.

You called me a nerd? Hold on, let me go get another book.

You called me a whore? Time for more sex.

You said I’m a right-wing nutjob? I better go get my pistol, wait right there.

We like labels. It makes it easy and sometimes we even want them for ourselves. We want to be known that we are the nerd, the comedian, the star athlete. It makes us feel special.

But what if the way people define us isn’t good enough anymore?

What matters now is how you define yourself. It isn’t good enough to just ignore labels. It isn’t good enough to go along with it.

You are so much more than how others define you. Only you know who you really are. Let others know, too.

The Box Will Kill You

Life just sucksAnd then you die.

I was set out on a narrow path: get straight A’s so you can get into a good college so you can get a good job so you can support your family so you can save up for your children’s college fund so that they can do the same exact thing that you did.  Then you age into an old fart where you can (hopefully) enjoy a decent retirement fund.   Sound familiar?

We are told to be unique, but if we are then we get smacked down for peeking our heads up too far to see beyond the box.  The voice that says “You were stupid for trying” reinforces the fact that you see yourself as average.  You just settle for the box because it’s easy and comfortable.  It’s quite nice, actually.  But nothing that is worth anything was made from nice and easy and comfortable.

Creating something of value is hard, but it is worth it.

You are worth it.

When the unhappiness starts to suffocate you once again and you want to listen to your soul that says “I’m drowning” but you say “we can’t stop now, they promised us,” I want you to do something.  I want you to tell your inner fears to shut up and enjoy the ride. Because the promises will never come, and inaction will never satiate a starving soul.

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