Tag Archives: standup

Don’t Apologize for Your Originality

Regardless if people disagree with your lifestyle, your hobbies, your likes, your dislikes, your character, and even if your personality — don’t you dare apologize for your originality. It doesn’t matter if you’re: a man, a woman, weird, popular, religious, an atheist, white, black, straight, LGBTQ, a hard worker, a lazy individual, short, or tall — you are unique.

Not a single human on this planet has the exact same thumbprint as you. They might be close but they’ll never be exactly like you.

That means you’re incredibly special. Yes, there will be days where you might question yourself and your purpose. You might have to make necessary changes and updates, depending on where you’re at in your life. However, those are usually just external things.

Stop letting the world stick a finger in your face and determine your value. You are a brilliant creation. This is your story and you need to be the only one that continues to write it.

Mothers: The Worlds Forgotten Heroes

On January 30, 2000 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia, Kurt Warner of the St. Louis Rams (now LA Rams) hoisted the Vince Lombardy trophy over his head after winning Super Bowl XXXIV. The State of Missouri was filled with joy and labeled QB Kurt Warner as a hero.

Kurt Warner

Throughout the United States of America, Soldiers from all branches of service return from deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). Medals and promotions were addressed to those that had earned their right to have them pinned upon their chest. Just like Kurt Warner, they were labeled heroes. These are two different scenarios that define two completely different types of heroes. But in the end, they are both viewed as someone we should look up to; heroes.

She does it all…

At the same time in a small, beyond repairable apartment in Boston, a single mother makes dinner for her 5 year old son after working 12 hours and earning only minimum wage. On the inside she is feeling defeated and embarrassed to face her family and friends. But on the outside, the side that her 5 year old son views everyday regardless of the circumstances, she is happy and full of life. She emits an amazing ray of light that says “No matter what we go through, I will be there for you son and you will never go without.” Despite how she feels on the inside, her son doesn’t notice due to her phenomenal level of compensation.

After evaluating all of the astonishing things this mother does for her son, at the end of the day, there is no Vince Lombardy trophy hoisted above her head. There are no medals pinned on her chest for her heroic deeds. There is no standing ovation or even as much as a, “Good job, mom.” No, the only thing this single mother gets is a new day to repeat the same processes.

Our society complains on a daily bases about not getting the recognition that we believe we deserve. Yet, there are so many heroic events happening around us without our knowledge because we are complacent. You as the reader may know this person; at least you should be familiar with them since they have already done so much for you and your siblings. They have a fancy title for her, they call her mom. Does she ring a bell? She should.

Mom is the one that carried you for 9 months when you were incapable of supporting yourself, yet. Mom is the one that helped you grow when dad was too busy or was away at work. Mom is the one that told you it was going to be okay even though she knew deep down inside that it really wasn’t that easy and it would take some time. Does mom ring a bell now?

As an avid sports fanatic I have considered many of my favorite athlete’s heroes. In fact, being a former fan of the St. Louis Rams (now LA Rams) I too labeled Kurt Warner as a hero. But now that I am older and wiser, I now realize I have forgotten the most important person that I have failed to acknowledge: my mother.

Every mother on this planet regardless if they are rich, poor, or even famous are heroes. Yes, there are some mothers that do not deserve such a title but I can assure you, the ones that do outweigh the few that do not. This doesn’t mean we have to present them with trophies and medals because I can assure you, those things do not mean a lot to them. In fact, I am willing to bet it is twice as special when she gets to see you being awarded these things.

So what does this mean? What should you do? Perhaps you should start off with something small like, “Thank you mom. Thank you for being there for me when no one else was there. Thank you for helping me grow-up to be the person that I am today. More importantly, thanks for being my mom.”

The world is full of people like Kurt Warner and honorable Soldiers that deserve to be called heroes. But none of these are more deserving than Mothers: The Worlds Forgotten Heroes. To leave these special and unique individuals out of the equation would simply be a tragedy. On behalf of all sons and daughters of the world, I would like to take this moment to say, “Thank you mothers of the world. You truly are heroes.”

The Real Version of You Doesn’t Require a Filter

With the popularity of social media platforms such as: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn–we are now seeing an epidemic of people using filters to hide their identity. Although fake profiles/accounts are a real issue, that is not the purpose of this blog.

Fake accounts – don’t believe everything you see.

This blog is about the real version of you. For some reason, both women and men feel like they have to create a fake version of themselves, just to satisfy the social media world. What happened? Are they unwritten laws and arbitrary (unachievable) standards that we choose to accept? I hate to be the one to break the news but–this is not healthy and definitely a contributing factor for depression.

Woman filter – Example

Sure, this woman is very attractive but you have to wonder, how many attempts and filters were used to create this finished product? Some additional questions to consider:

  1. What message does this send to other women that are focused on physical fitness? Some women are motivated and inspired, some feel worse about themselves. I love that my wife is serious about fitness [and very beautiful] but that does not define her.
  2. Does this create a false sense of reality? If you wore this outfit and worked out like her, you could look like this…
  3. What if she were more masculine? Would other women and men unfairly judge her based on masculine features? She’s still the same woman that someone loves.

Unfortunately, women are held to standards that are insulting at times and not fair. A woman doesn’t have to look perfect to be accepted by society. If a woman looks masculine or likes things that are labeled guy things–so what? She’s still a woman and is entitled to like whatever she wants. That’s called freedom.

Man filter – Example

Again, this is an attractive man but you have to wonder, how many attempts and filters were used to create this finished product? Some additional questions to consider:

  1. What message is this sending to other men? Are they required to be fit/slim in order to be considered attractive? I work my a** off in the gym and although I want to look fit, I do it mainly for my health. My health is my priority.
  2. Does this create a false sense of reality? If you pick up these tires, you too will look like this…
  3. What if he demonstrated effeminate characteristics? With the double standards put on men, he would probably be insulted, threatened, and labeled. Effeminate men are dehumanized due to the arbitrary standards that society created. Personally, I have some effeminate qualities but they do not define me. Why does it matter?

Just like women, men are held to standards that undermine their character based on made up standards. Things like the man card and man rules are the grade card regardless if men choose to accept those standards or not.

Bottom line: I am certainly not picking on people or calling anyone out. I’m also not targeting the woman and man I used for examples. These are good pictures and they should be proud of the results.

What I am trying to convey is that filters are ruining our society. They are causing us to forget about what’s important: our character. Using filters for certain pictures is important. I would be lying if I said I don’t ever do it. We just have to remember that we can’t use a filter to hide everything about ourselves. In fact, you shouldn’t want to do that because we’re all unique. The fact that you don’t look like Jessica or Paul is a good thing. You have value and your looks and character are an important piece of the puzzle.

You Can Handle It | You Have Value

Life will throw every type of obstacle at you regardless if you’re mentally or physically prepared for it. However, you must understand and believe you are equipped to handle it. Most people quit, fail, and hide because they allow their mind to convince them, You can’t do this.

What you don’t realize: that is your mind regurgitating what you’ve heard, not what you’ve thought or know. The fact is, you are good enough and even if 1,000 people tell you that you’re not, you are still in the driver seat of your life. You bring value and can be an instrument for change.

It is my personal goal to help people understand this. Too many people suffer from depression because they just need someone to remind them, “Hey, I got you. You and your story are important to me.”

Even if this type of blog or message does not resonate with most people–it doesn’t matter because the objectives are still the same:

  • Help people to recognize their value.
  • Remind people they are loved, even on their darkest days.
  • Rejuvenate men, women, and children’s self esteem and self love.
  • Help make change a reality instead of just a wish.

2018 SAAPM 5k Color Run/Walk Event

Yesterday I had the honor of co-hosting our 3rd annual Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month (SAAPM) 5k Color Run/Walk Event at Rickenbacker (Columbus), Ohio. This was a joint operation that involved four branches of services.

Reference my post: SAAPM 2018 for additional information about Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month.

This event was designed to bring awareness to sexual assault survivors, sexual harassment, and prevention/bystander intervention. I want to personally thank the victim advocates, chain of command, volunteers, the participants (100+), and most importantly, my friend and mentor, Captain J. Green (121 ARW SARC).

Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC)

Defintions:

  1. Sexual Assault
  2. Sexual Harassment
  3. Bystander Intervention
Definition provided by RAINN
Definition provided by Google Dictionary
Definition provided by RAINN

This was a significant event for me because it will be my last SAAPM event for the military. Reference my post: Preparing for Life After the Military

Preparing for the 5k registration

I can honestly say, the entire month was a huge success. The In Their Honor event on the 20th was truly unique, we had tons of participation for National Denim Day on the 25th. The culminating event was the 5k Color Run/Walk Event on the 27th of April.

In Their Honor event – 20 April 2018
In Their Honor event – 20 April 2018
National Denim Day – 25 April 2018
5k Color/Walk Run Event – 27 April 2018

Again, I want to thank everyone for this amazing journey and I am positive the 2019 events will be even better.

“We are the force behind the fight to achieve culture change.”

Note: The photo used for the cover is from the 2017 5k Color/Walk Run Event. The official photos have not been published, yet.

For my information about the author, reference my post: About the Author

Your Past is your Advantage

Most of us want to be the person we needed as a child. By doing so, it helps us cope with the things we struggled with during a particular chapter in our life. It doesn’t erase it but does effectively use the pain as an instrument for change.

What you need to remind yourself: If the people in your life would have been what you wanted them to be, you would not be the person you are, today.

“I wish you would have been a better friend/sibling/parent.”

“I needed your help, and you weren’t there for me.”

“Why didn’t you warn me about life’s major obstacles?”

Don’t allow your mind to be your personal prison.

What you need to understand: Your past set you on a course for your present and your future. Meaning, your past is your advantage and you must learn to use it strategically. You can’t change the past but you can certainly write your future.

“History is being read but it’s also being written by people with imagination.”

– Les Brown

“Your absence helped me grow and begin to understand how to operate, independently.”

“Yes, I wish you would have been there to teach me; however, I learned a valuable skill that will set me up for success.”

“By not warning me, I developed situational awareness and now understand how to mitigate risks.”

Pay it forward.

Learning how to strategically use your past to your advantage, will ultimately set you up to win. Instead of running from your past, you must learn to embrace the skills and experience it facilitated.

Your perspective is the key. How you look at things, will always change the game.

Your words can be your prison

Every time you insult yourself, you are affirming those insults, emotions, and reactions. You are developing an agreement with things that will handcuff you and your potential.

“I’m not smart enough.”

“I don’t have what it takes.”

“She/he wouldn’t date someone like me.”

“I only have an Associates Degree.”

Your words can be your prison.

It doesn’t matter what people are telling you because you have what it takes. Your story has value and you are a vital piece to the puzzle.

Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month (SAAPM) – 2018

As a long-time Victim Advocate (VA) and Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC), I cannot begin to express how important this month is to the advocacy community. This is our opportunity to honor survivors and co-survivors of sexual assault, as well as victims of sexual harassment.

This field is extremely challenging due to the ongoing shift in our culture. But no matter what, we will not take our focus off the goal: eradicating sexual assault and sexual harassment. Yes, we realize this is an uphill battle. However, the obstacle is the path.

What are some obstacles?

  1. Misconceptions or lack of education in dealing with consent. No, does not mean yes. Consent is ongoing. A “yes” five minutes ago does not translate to a “yes,” now.
  2. Objectification of women and men, primarily in movies, music, and all social media platforms. (Sex sells…)
  3. Stereotypes, to include ones that jeopardize the welfare of the LGBTQI community.
Equality is incredibly important to me.

I will not lie, the fact that I’m a male Victim Advocate motivates me, daily. It motivates me to keep moving forward, every time I hear:

  • “But you’re a guy, why do you care?”
  • “Men don’t care about this issue.”
  • “All men are the same.”
  • “People will not take you serious.”
Picture taken in 2014

Although I respect people when they ask me these types of questions, I do remind them:

  • I care about people, regardless of their gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, and beliefs. People are people and their story matters to me.
  • Men do in fact, care. So do women. People always have the capacity to love.
  • No, not all men are the same. There are some incredible men and women on this planet. We must not blame an entire gender, based on the negative actions of the bad ones. My mentors are both men and women.
  • “I don’t take you serious,” is an opinion, not your reality. The best way to demonstrate your authenticity is to show people. Talking about what you’re capable and willing to do, is not enough.

At the end of the day, the focus must always be on empowering survivors. The recovery process is a long road and they do not deserve to take that journey without the right resources. I hope you can participate in a SAAPM event. (Color run, In Their Honor, Denim Day, etc.)

SAAPM: https://www.nsvrc.org/blogs/saam/announcing-2018-sexual-assault-awareness-month-theme

Denim Day: http://denimdayinfo.org/about/

ACT – Action Changes Things

When people get cold, they’ll do whatever it takes to warm up. Conversely, when they get hot, they’ll do whatever it takes to cool off.

So why is it when people are:

  • Unhappy
  • Lonely
  • Unemployed
  • Single
  • Facing one of life’s many obstacles

they do nothing to change the circumstance? They know what to do but don’t do what they know. The solution is the same: take action.

Taking action is the only way to move forward. Unfortunately, some people don’t want to move, due to the fear of failure and the fear of success. “What if I can’t handle it?” That fear creates hesitation.

Make a decision and keep moving.

  1. Hesitation kills dreams.
  2. Hesitation eliminates relationships before they have an opportunity to flourish.
  3. Hesitation will keep you stagnant.

Stop thinking about it and just do it. Happiness, success, and fulfilment are only achieved by action. “I don’t know how to do that,” does not equal progress. You don’t have to know, but you do need to start moving.

Similar topic: Take Action | Talking is not Enough