Friday, October 29, 2010

One Year Anniversary

One year ago today I started Up From the Ashes and what a year it has been. I was just looking back at the first post, statement of intent, and the blog has changed from what I meant for it to be, however the central purpose behind the blog has not changed. In the beginning it was about me struggling with my issues and trying to understand what I can do to make my life better. While finding the flaws was a good public exercise, a blog full of I went to class today, I did not procrastinate, would be boring to read and boring to write. Along the way I have tried to share some of the victories, some of the goals and some of the stumbling blocks I have faced.

To day I am going to share some of the accomplishments I have made in the last year. Things have really been coming togather in the last few months I have started writing for the junior college newspaper the Oak Leaf. After a short time here I have progressed to being the Opinion Editor and I help to write editorials, news, opinion and feature articles. Below are links to a number of the articles I have written this semester

Every issue I have a column in which I write about technology and students. The first one listed below is my most recent published column on the necessity of connectivity for most people today. The second story from the column is about online classes and this column earned me an invitation to the District Online Committee, the committee that advises the school on online education.

Necessities in the Information Age

Online Classes Need a Makeover

I am also linking to some of the regular articles that I have written for the paper. The first is a look at the state budget that was passed and how it affects students. The second is a restaurant review I did for the coffee shop across the street from my school.

California Senate Passes Record Late Budget

Review: My Friend Joe's

Also I have been working for We the People, now Gay , I have a column there called Everybody's Business where I interview local gay business owners about their lives and business.

I am working in my desired field, and making progress to bigger and better writing projects. Change is possible, change is necessary and we can be the change we want in our life.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thoughts on the Eve of the Anniversary of the Blog

So tomorrow will mark the 1st anniversary of Up From The Ashes. For tomorrow's post I will be looking at what I have achieved in that time and the changes I have seen in my life. Today I want to take the time to let you know that while I have not reached all the goals I have set for myself in the past year I have seen real and measurable change. No matter what you think about yourself there is room for growth and we are all capable of taking charge of our lives.

We do not need to measure successes by what is on the TV screen and we do not need to be afraid of who we are. We can be the person we are inside and people will like us, we can measure successes by our own happiness and we can live our dreams. But in order to do any of that you have to make the choice to listen to your heart, to know who you are and to know you are worthy of receiving happiness and joy. Most importantly you have to be willing to make changes, not just talk about making them but actually putting plans into action. Once you do this you will succeed. It is only a matter of time. Success comes when we get what we want, failure happens when we stop trying to get what we want.

For those who are scared to start changing I want to be able to offer up role models of those who have made their life into what they wanted it to be. For this reason I am putting out a call for guest posts relating to stories of successes. If you know someone who is a good role model please let them know. If they do not wish to tell their own story but are willing to be interviewed I am willing to do that as well.

We can all change, we can have the life we want and one day we can be the role model for others. For now we live, we learn and we search for happiness.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Putting the Day in Order

A few weeks ago, or maybe less (life has been rushing by pretty fast these last few weeks) I talked about increasing morning productivity by knowing where you left off the night before. While this is a good way to hit the ground running I have been playing with another way to streamline my activities for the day. One thing I have been playing with is what I am calling a goal list.

This list is not a to-do list and it's not a long term set of goals. Instead it is the big picture view of what I want to get done that day. What I am trying to do is come up with goals the night before, then in the morning I can work on the process I need to go through to accomplish these goals. All the goal list does for me is put the day in order; give it a bit of focus so I know where it is I am going and how to plan the best route to get there.

With this goal list and subsequent planning there is no need to fill every moment of every day with activity. The idea is to make sure I am aware of what needs doing and have a plan for getting to all of it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

An Odessy

It has been a long week and it is only Tuesday morning. After spending a near sleepless week on newspaper production and meatloaf production I came home yesterday hoping to get some sleep. However upon arriving home I found my friend and roommate in need of help moving out, not an unexpected development. So we loaded the car and went to find food and drop off the load of tables and bookcase we had thrown in the back of his truck.

Everything went smoothly until we had the truck unloaded and we were on the way home, or more importantly to me, I was on the way to bed. Then the truck ran out of gas. We were about a quarter of a mile from my friend's new place and there was a gas can there so we began the trek back to recover it. A quick text to my boyfriend so he would not worry turned into him coming and driving us to the gas station. Then when we added the gas to the truck it still would not start. Again my boyfriend came to the rescue by calling Triple A. They however did not come to the rescue. We waited an hour and then we left the truck there, dropped my friend off at his new place and then we went to the meeting that I had made my boyfriend late for. I finally made it home a bit before 10 p.m.

What is important for the discussion we have here is this. My friend could have grumbled and blamed the situation. I could have cursed and cussed. My boyfriend could have been impatient and angry about being called out to help. None of this happened. Because we kept focused on solutions rather then what was happening it never turned into a bad time. Instead it was an unplanned time to hang out. We joked, shared stories and two people I care about had a chance to get to know each other a bit better.

Situations will happen we cannot control but we can control our attitude about them.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Point Of No Return

There comes a point in most any project where it costs more to stop then to finish. This is commonly known as the point of no return. When we have put a certain amount of energy into a project we must go on no matter how hard it is, how tired we are or how impossible it seems. This is the point where you will learn who is truly committed to change and who is willing to sacrifice hours, days weeks or years of effort when things get too hard.

The term point of no return originated as a description of the point along a journey where a craft would not have enough fuel or other supplies to return home without refueling. When we set out to change our lives we to0 can reach a point where the change that we have made in our life is too great to back away from. This may mean we are not the same person we where or that we are so close to a milestone in our journey that it would be foolish to stop trying.

Fortunately once we are past this point we usually have enough momentum to carry us through the hardships that come at the end of a project. What is really the key is being able to realize when we are approaching the point of no return. It is then that we must evaluate if the work we are doing is worth the effort it takes, if the changes we are seeing make it worth the work. Here we have to be cold, we can not let our own exhaustion, our own fear or our own longing blind us to the truth. As we approach the point of no return we must decide if we will or will not proceed. If we do not make the choice to quit, then we will have to see the process through to the end.

Once we have changed who we are enough we can never get back to our old life. It will never be good enough for us, for we have seen the sun beyond the clouds. We have fought past the turbulence and begun to learn to live, not to just exist. Live in the sun, live beyond the clouds. Push past the point of no return.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Be Kind

"Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind." Kurt Vonnegut Jr., God Bless you Mr. Rosewater.

As true as it is for the babies in God Bless you Mr. Rosewater Vonnegut's one rule is true for us as well. Be kind to one another. It is easy to be mean, it is easy to be neglectful, and it is easy to be angry. All these ways of treating people come from quick reaction. Being kind should flow the same way, but so often it does not. So often we count the cost of kindness when all we may need to give is a soft word, a gentle touch.

We are all equals here and deserve to be treated as such with the same kindness with which we treat ourselves.

However, kindness is not always gentle. It can be a kindness to share a flaw or illuminate a fault. When this is done from kindness and is not done to hurt then it is done to nurture and open an opportunity to grow. Kindness does not gloss over faults but gives the best, most supportive and heartfelt advice on how to fix them. It gives the strength that is needed to do the work and it brings the beer afterwards.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

This Is It

This is all there is. Worrying that it is not normal, not socially acceptable or not what others have is a waste of time. What we have before us is what we have and what we must work with.

While we should not worry how others feel about our situation, our possessions or our feelings there are questions we should ask ourselves: Does it hurt others? Does it hurt me? Do I want this?

We should seriously consider removing ourselves from any action that causes pain to others directly. If people are causing themselves pain based on our actions, that is a different story. For example, if we are in a relationship with someone and there is another person who is jealous, that is not our fault. They are bringing the pain to themselves.

When we find ourselves hurting because of a situation or because we are doing things we do not want to do, then it is time to change the situation. Just because this is all there is does not mean that there is no way to change it. But when we are told that the way we are living is different or strange or wrong we need to accept that this is what is and that there is no normal. We need to come to grips with that which makes us unique and accept in others that which makes them unique.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

No More Snap Judgements

In the town where I go to school there is a sculpture I do not like. It is a ring of metal sitting on a V of metal with a bent pole of metal leaning against it. From some angles it looks like a falling soda cup and from others a giant metal cause ribbon. It is placed prominently along the main drag in town and I have to look at it every day. Today I learned something that may change my feelings about the sculpture. It is the shadow the sculpture casts that is the art.

As in most things the lesson goes beyond the sculpture and its shadow. It can be easy to jump to snap judgments and write off people, places and events without really knowing what they are about. We should not hate or even dislike out of hand. As a matter of fact it is better to not have any opinion then to have a uniformed opinion. Just because society tells us that we are supposed to have a stance on everything, does not mean we do, or for that matter can. It is ok to say I do not know about that.

When we do make snap judgments we can get ourselves in trouble. We close doors that may have provided excellent opportunities to learn and grow. We also increase the estrangement of people one from another when we put up walls against liking people because of snap judgments.

I challenge you today, take a look at the snap judgments you have made and take the time to get to know people, places and things.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Work With What You Can Control

One of the lessons that I have learned in the last year is to focus on the controllable. In a way it is something I have known for a while but not something I have vocalized before.

It used to be that I was obsessed with finding love. I looked outside myself to other people to find it. I needed their constant reassurance that I was loved, that I was good enough, and that I was worthy of being happy. To get all this I tried to do things that pleased others. I tried to get reactions from the people in my life to show they cared. I was focusing on the uncontrollable, other people. I could provide a stimulus and hope they reacted in the way I wanted them to but I could never be sure they would.

Now what I try to control is myself. By making changes in me, learning to find love inside myself for myself, I am not as dependent on external reassurance of affection. This has led me to being more confident and more worthy of the attention I receive. This change has happened because I am working on the things I can change, being a good student, being a hard worker, beginning to realize my dreams of becoming a writer. All the things, all this hard work on things I can actually affect has changed my life.

The energy I spent all those years trying to make people like me was wasted. I was trying to be the person they wanted me to be or the person that they would give attention to but I was not being myself.

The only actions we can control are our own. The only reactions we can control are our own. Striving to have others behave the way we want them to is wasted effort and wasted energy. Be who you are and you will attract people who will treat you the way you want to be treated. Control yourself so that you act as the person you want to be and you will be that person.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Live A Little

Life Lessons: Everything is better on the Panini grill with butter.

The real lesson here is that sometime we need to make room for excess. If we are constantly trying to limit the things we want, we squander out willpower and deny ourselves the opportunity to revel in all the world has to offer. We need to allow ourselves time to relax and time to enjoy living.

The problem with excess is knowing when it is ok to indulge. Indulgences need to come where they will not detrimentally affect our work of becoming the person we want to be. If we are trying to change our diet we should not be indulging in food, but indulging in something else that excites us. And we cannot indulge constantly for then it loses the power to motivate us, to exite us and to bring the joy that is the advantage of indulgence.

This joy is the reason we need to indulge in moderation. Go ahead, take the chance to do something different, to shake things up and make yourself smile, but don't do it all the time. To have those special times, we need to continue the work of change and keep it the focus of every day. When we allow ourselves to indulge it should be intentional so as not to create guilt. Then it is something we are allowing ourselves because life should be fun, life should exiting and, by indulging sometimes, we can make that happen.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Set Yourself Up for an Easy Start

Every day we wake up and have to face the situation we left behind the night before. But we will get back to this.

One of the lessons I have learned in my endeavors to write fiction is this: stop working at a point where you know what happens next. Yes, it would be easy to finish the paragraph or the scene and feel good about where we have left off. However, when we pick up work again we are staring at a blank. You may know where the story is going, but you do not know what the next scene is. By stopping where you know what happens next you can build momentum, get the creative fires fed and stoked before you hit that next scene. The writing becomes more approachable and less frustrating.

The same idea can be applied to our lives.

By waking up knowing what we are doing next we can create momentum. This can mean laying out your clothes for the day the night before or having a list of goals at hand that we want to focus on. By creating this frozen momentum the night before it becomes easier to keep ourselves on track.

Let's look at an example.

Perhaps one of your goals is to eat healthier. Before going to bed you could gather together in the refrigerator a package containing the ingredients for your breackfast. This way you know what you are having and some of the work is done already. Scrambled eggs and toast is a lot better than a danish at the coffee shop, and it is easy to do if we know that we are doing it from the moment we wake up.

Waking up to the same situation we were in when we went to bed is not a bad thing as long as we take charge of what that situation is. By creating a context of continued improvement we not only keep ourselves moving but we get to save some of our willpower for latter.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Working With Limitations

We all have limitations. We need to accept these limitations and work with them rather than try to work past them.

Before we go farther we do need to clarify. There are actual limitations and then there are false limitations. False limitations are things we think limit us, and they only do so as long as we allow them to. When we confront these false limitations, these limiting beliefs we are able to accomplish much more than we thought we could. These are not the limitations we are talking about.

When we try to work past a limitation we spend energy trying to change that limiting aspect of ourselves. I'm dyslexic, for those who do not know. I could spend hours memorizing words and studying lists of homophones to try and make myself a better writer. This is trying to work past the limitation.

Another option is to just write and then let others see that writing. If I have accepted the limitation and know that it will not be perfect, I can look at the corrections without ego. This too will make me a better writer. This is working with the limitation.

By creating a work flow that allows us to work with whatever problem we face we can minimize the impact of the limitation. In addition working within the limitation builds confidence and reduces the impact it has on our lives. The more I write and receive editorial feedback the better a writer I become.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Showing Appropriate Emotions

Yesterday I talked about how we need to be able to feel our emotions and act on them in appropriate ways. Appropriate actions based on our emotions are those that do not transfer the emotion to others while still allowing us to experience the feelings ourselves. It is hard to sit here and write a list of appropriate actions because each situation is different, however here are some thoughts to keep in mind.

Anger is the emotion where caution comes into play the most. When we are mad it is easy to lash out at others, to say hurtful things all because we hurt inside. It may seem like making others hurt, especially those who hurt us, lessens the pain. However what it does is set up a cycle of hurt. We come up to someone with a grumpy face and make them angry. Then they come back at us and we go back and forth perpetuating the anger. Instead we need to acknowledge that we have been made angry, understand the reason for the anger and address the reason. Sometimes we just need to let it out, but we need to let it out in a way that is not hurtful to others. Yell, scream and rant if you have to, but not in a way that brings others down.

Sadness is tricky as well because sometimes appropriate actions of being sad bring others down. When a friend wishes to hear what your problems are and wants to listen, it is ok to let them take that burden from you. They are choosing to allow you to share your grief, your hurt, your sadness. With time and by allowing your sadness to make them sad they share the burden, thereby making it easier for you to bear.

Like anger and sadness there are appropriate ways to show our happiness. We have to respect others need to experience their own emotions. It is selfish to want everyone to be happy just because we are. When someone is in a place of loss and anger it can make the feelings worse to see over exuberant happiness. This is not to say we should never show our happiness to others, but we should be aware of the impact it can have. When our joy can bring more joy to the lives of others we share, when it breeds resentment we do not.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Allow Yourself to Feel

It is ok to be sad. It is ok to be angry. It is ok to be happy. It is ok to feel our emotions, to express them in appropriate ways and to admit that everything is not perfect all the time. Society may tell us that if we are not happy we are doing something wrong. Well society, I have to tell you it is the other way around. If we are happy every minute of every day then we are not experiencing the full range of what life has to offer. We are not going to the hard places, we are not challenging ourselves.

When we want to grow we have to go to the edge, to the hard places. We have to get frustrated, sad and angry to get where we want to be. Unfortunately when we start to feel these things we often have friends trying to cheer us up, to make us feel better because it is socially unacceptable not to be happy. However the longer we play at being happy when we do not feel it the longer we keep ourselves from truly being happy.

As we work to make the life for ourselves that we want, happiness will more often become the default emotional state, but that can take time. The pursuit of happiness covers a lot of ground and not all of it pretty fields of flowers. Some of the places the chase will lead us are dark and scary, cold and lonely, hot and angry, but that is the ground that we must cover to grow into change and get what we want out of life.

I want you to be happy, but I want you to really be happy. Happiness should not be a suit that sadness puts on to go out in public. To this end, feel what you feel in each moment then move on from there.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Changing Hearts

There has been a lot of talk about bullying in the news and the deaths by suicide that have resulted. Three out of five teens that commit suicide are LGBT so there is a focus on helping this group. However, whether you are gay or geek the pain of bullying is just as bad. As people it is our nature to seek acceptance from others to know that we have a place in the world. When we find ourselves in a place where we cannot get that acceptance because we are different from those around us, we learn that we are not worthy, that we are not good enough and we start to feel that we will never be loved.

This is unacceptable.

Some call for an end to bullying through legislation, increasing the penalties for picking on others. This helps but will never solve the problem. Some say that the government can send a message of support to LGBT teens by repealing DADT or legalizing marriage. That would send a message of acceptance, but it is not the government that bullies people. To stop the bullying we have to change the hearts of those who bully and those who are bullied.

Changing hearts is not easy, but if we can teach compassion and acceptance, if we can remove the fear of the other, if we can stand up and show those around us who struggle that it gets better then we can and we will change hearts and foster tolerance. But to do all of that we have to do something very hard, we have to learn to care about our oppressors. They are not the enemy. They are as much a victim as we are; the difference between them and us is that they ease their pain by putting it on others, by putting it on us. We do not need to bear their pain if we know in our heart that we are good, we are loved, we are proud of who we are. Then we will be strong.

But how do we change hearts? Not with loud words or legislation, but in quiet talks one person to another. We can show we are not different, find common ground and a point of connection. Let the bully see us as human, as people, as someone other than a victim. For those of us who see bullying happening around us, we need to work to change hearts as well. We need to come to the defense of those who need it, to show them they are not alone. We need to ask the bully, "why? why do you do this?" We need to keep asking until they give us answers that make them see where their need to hurt others comes from.

The changes that need to be made are changes in social understanding not in legislation. These changes will spread from one heart to another as we tell our stories, and live our lives to show that we are loved, we are ok and we are strong. I may be different from you and you from the next person, but we are all human, we are all in this together and we as a nation, a people a world could be so much more if we set aside our fear of the other. So I ask you today, don't fear, don't hate. Instead be paient with those you do not understand, be willing to listen and willing to speak and most of all be willing to be yourself.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Finding Opportunities

When things are not going the way we want them to it's easy to get discouraged. We begin to look for excuses for why we cannot get ahead. A common excuse people will use is, 'I have not had the opportunities that others have had.' I know I have told myself this sob story before. When we find ourselves lying in bed moaning about how we haven't had the opportunities to succeed, we are doing it wrong. The people who have opportunities are the ones who go out and make them.

Opportunity does not knock; it does not even come over to your place if you do not invite it. You have to go out make connections, work contacts and be in the know about what is going on in the world. If you do that, if you let your path cross with as many different people as you can then you will make the connections from which opportunities flow. To make this work you have to be confident in what you do, be willing to talk yourself up and volunteer to do things. As people come to learn that you are capable and reliable then you suddenly will have the chance to do the things that only those who have the opportunity get to.

We need to take responsibility for getting the opportunity to do things that we want to do. It will not come to us. This weekend get out there and find opportunities and have fun doing it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wanting What We Want

We can handle stress. We can build confidence. We can get started. We can take the next action. We can do it all but if we don't have a destination in mind from the outset we are at best treading water and at worst scurrying from one shiny thing to another. It comes down to knowing what you want and accepting what you want even if it is not what you want to want.

If you are anything like me there have been times when what we want is not flashy or cool or socially acceptable enough (in our own mind) to be deserving of our desire. The thing we want gets pushed aside and we try to come up with other wants. In trying to satisfy those other wants however we do not find satisfaction or happiness because they are not ours.

If we do not learn to listen to ourselves, to understand and accept what truly interests us, we will not be happy. To do this we need to take some time to shut out the world and listen to ourselves. Not just once in awhile. We need to make a habit of finding quiet time for soul searching. This does not have to be painful. Most soul searching in our society comes when things get rough and there are sleepless nights of introspection. If we take some time every day to learn the territory of the world inside us, these long nights are not so bad. We do not find ourselves washed up on strange shores asking native people deep questions in a foreign language. Instead when things get bad and a night of soul searching begins we can travel well worn paths and come to the doors of those who know us.

Understanding our wants does not just show us where we are going but allows us to be at peace with who we are. This peace is as important to successes, both emotional and external, as confidence.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


As we make the journey from where we are to where we want to be we will inevitably encounter turbulence. This turbulence comes from two sources, internal and external. The external turbulence is the stress that comes from outside us: friends who do not understand, financial pressures, or finding the time we need in our already hectic lives. The internal turbulence comes from stress and worry about whether we are doing the right thing, the feelings of displacement as we move and give things up, or the moments of self doubt when we question if we are doing the right thing.

The internal turbulence is usually the worst at the beginning of the process of change. The questions hit us harder and faster in the beginning: Is this right? Can I do this? Do I deserve to have what I want? These are seas we just have to weather, storms we cannot go around but must go through. As we deal with these emotional storms our conviction in our chosen path grows and our confidence in our own ability increases.

The external turbulence can come from out of the blue pounding our craft and driving us onto reefs with nothing more than a moment's notice. These turbulences we can act against and react too. We can try to sail around them by making new plans and modifying our actions, or if they seem to be small squalls that will pass in time, we can push through.

Whether it is internal or external any turbulence we overcome gives us an opportunity to grow in confidence. To know we can grow gives us assurance we can survive. The one thing we cannot do is hide from the turbulence. If we do not batten down the hatches and take in the sails the storms will drive us far off course or even worse, sink us to the bottom of the sea.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Being Yourself in a World of Temptation

When we start changing our lives we must do it publicly. This may or may not mean announcing the changes we are trying to make, however it does mean living them in front of people. It is easy to have self control when we are not being distracted by peer pressure and advertising. The true test of our willingness to change is when we can act the way we wish to act in moments of anger, in moments of temptation and moments of doubt.

We need to not be ourselves trying to be the person we want to be, but just be that person. When we live our lives trying to be something that we are not we have to constantly keep wasting our will power to change our behaviors. In just being the person we want to be we change our self image, our definition of self and then go into the world and live that new self.

Here is an example: When I went back to school I knew I wanted to be a better student. I could have told myself every day that I needed to go to class, I needed to do the home work every night or I could tell myself I am the kind of person who goes to his classes and does well. In telling myself what to do I would experience resistance, the natural tendency to rebel. When I modified my self image to include being a good student I went to class because that was part of who I was.

This idea of just letting ourselves be who we want to be is not a dismissing of the work it takes to change but instead an internalizing of that change. By changing our belief about who we are the change flows out of us and into our actions as a natural act. When acting the way we want to is our natural way of acting it becomes easier to resist temptation, to live in the world as the person we want to be.

Another example: When I gave up soda it was not the first time I tried. I would tell myself, 'you can't have soda, you can't have soda,' but I would crave it. This last time I no longer denied myself soda but instead began changing my mental image of myself to someone who did not drink soda. As my self-image changed the temptation to drink soda stopped, not because I was strong of will but because it was not natural for me.

We live in the world and we have a limited amount of self control. We need that control to resist the unexpected temptations that life throws at us. If w can change how we see ourselves, how we define ourselves inside our own heads, we can live the changes in our life not by acts of will but by simply being the person we are.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Dealing With Others

We all find ourselves in situations where we have to deal with people who want to bring us down. When this happens we need to have a strategy for getting out of the situation or surviving it with our self image intact. Here are a few ways to do just that. As always not every strategy works in every situation.

  1. Get out: There is nothing wrong or weak about removing yourself from an unpleasant situation. If you do not feel comfortable or capable of dealing with people who are harassing you for whatever reason and you can afford to walk away, do it.
  2. Think socially: Most ridicule we come under is because we are perceived as a social threat, whether that threat is from being better at something then our attacker or because we represent a break from the social norm. We need to realize that they are attacking out of their own discomfort. This may sound counterintuitive, but by working to make our tormenters more comfortable, while not appearing weak we can give them less reason to attack. Finding the common ground with those who would tear us down can turn them from attacker to supporter.
  3. Understand why it hurts: When others come at us with words of derision, the ones that hurt the most are the ones we have told ourselves. We have to be able to know why we hurt when we hear things and address those issues in ourselves. Am I not normal? Am I different? Then we need to figure out how to accept our differences and be proud of them. If we find that we are not comfortable with these things in our lives then we need to figure out how to change them.
  4. Talk to others: Sometimes we can't get away and we are not willing to change and not willing to meet others half way. When this happens we need to reach out to people we can trust and share our pain, not necessarily to get advice or for them to help out. We need to talk because it lets the pain out, out of our head and out of our hearts.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Be Yourself

October is national coming out month a time when advocates try to create a safe environment for closeted gay and lesbians to let the world know who they really are. Coming out is a mixture of coming to grips with who you are and defining cultural norms. While it is true that those norms are not as rigidly enforced as they once where, the recent rash of documented gay teen suicide in reaction to bullying shows that it is still enforced. When the action is made to come out it is in part an affirmation of who you are and taking ownership of that.

Gay or straight, out or closeted this is something we all need to do in our lives. We need to be able to accept who we are and live our lives as that person. When we deny, hide or misrepresent who we are we cannot love ourselves or be loved by others because the person the world sees is not real. We also cannot change ourselves without addressing our shortcomings in light of what we truly want.

We cannot live the life we want if we cannot be honest to ourselves. If we do not stand up and admit our dreams we will live other people's dreams. If we do not stand up and proclaim our passions we will not have passion in our lives. If we do not accept ourselves for the person we are we will spend our lives playing hide and seek but always being the one who hides. It takes courage to stand up to society and say, 'Hey I may not fit in the mold you have for me,' but the truth is none of us fit that mold.