The ‘terror attack’ of 9-11 seared a memory that permanently changed the lives and minds of many. Post-traumatic experiences burn a scar on the mind with both a pain-filled fear and a hate towards the terror inducer. This average mind and that of all in our family were rocked in the same year of 9-11. It was forever branded as ‘3-11’ day by we who were touched by the bullet of a bully. Indeed, it was a family’s worst nightmare on that horrible evening of March 11, 2001. Sixteen years later, I tell the story of the biggest lesson gained and how to be sure to Put an End to Bullying.
Ever take one of those personality tests and think, that is not who I am? Tests are taken between grade school, job interviews, and ‘self-improvement’ conferences supposedly determining your inner make-up. Despite every test indicating I was an ‘introvert’ I opted to ignore the test results. Somehow, for the past thirty+ years, I became An Introvert Living an Extrovert Life.
I love animals, especially dogs. My favorite part of the day is greeting time. Regardless of all other circumstances, they are always happy and excited to see me, it is impossible not to share in their joy. Every morning I look forward to waking them up and opening the door for the morning relief. So much so that I fix my coffee first and get set to go outside with them to watch them excitedly, romp around the yard. Yesterday things were going great on the usual romp, until, they saw something in the woods. I questioned who would appear, a Bad dog or Good dog.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is hiding when there is a crisis or problem. We spend countless hours and dollars trying to convince people how good our product or solution is, and that we care about them. Yet some hide or run from an issue making the situation worse when the wisest maneuver is to SPRINT straight TO PROBLEMS.
Post releasing a deep personal story a day ago I find myself evaluating; from what position did I write that story? Being Martin Luther King Day the thoughts flooded my feelings wondering, how he felt about those who hated him as he lived his life seeking to bring freedom and fairness for all. What did those, even of his own race, with contrasting views say and do? Were they operating from a position of hurt their entire lives? How awful must that have been?
Are you willing to go where no one has ever gone before? Jumping out of planes, climbing mountains, skiing down the deepest slope … are you kidding me? Ever since my first flip on a trampoline in grade school, I found I am NOT the daredevil type. Perhaps you are like this Average Joe; born with anxiety issues that plague 40million of us Americans. The last thing I want to do is something bold, daring, dangerous and certainly not do something that has never been done before. However, on this first day of 2017 I tell why I am ready to step into Uncharted Territory.
Alone. By Myself. I am on my own. Lonely. Words that no one likes to say to themselves. They are ones that bring sadness and discouragement and echo in our mind. We wish to shout out, ‘do not leave me alone, where are you, I need you’. Especially around the holidays, this can a depressing time if feeling lonely. When it comes to sharing the same feeling, we are not alone!
Feeling Under the Holiday Pressure? Pressure handling is a trait some take pride in, have you ever heard yourself say ‘the more stress, the better I perform?’. I like to say ‘that’s me’. The other day I found myself stuck in bed, so filled with anxiety from demands from other people, I just wanted to pull the covers over my head and stay there the rest of the day. I was frozen stiff with stress oozing from every pore. Demands for our time and money are a constant. At what point do we say, ENOUGH!
Sometimes I need to hear things backwards to fully grasp the meaning of words and phrases. While sitting at a ‘four-way stop’, where the traffic was ridiculously long, I complained how dumb it is to make every car stop at an intersection. A thought popped in my head and made me laugh aloud, what greater chaos there would be if the intersection was a four-way GO.
Thanksgiving Day is a great reminder for our need to be thankful for all we have received. It is sad however, that we need a holiday to remind ourselves of what we should be doing, always. Henry Van Dyke quotes:
‘Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.’
The FBI! I dreamed to one day be like my neighbor next door who packed a gun under his suit coat and had a shiny FBI badge in his wallet. I loved taking care of his dog as he was off guarding another important dignitary. One day it was Bob Hope, another Vice President Spiro Agnew. I helped him carry sealed boxes from his black car to the kitchen table for another big case to review. Protecting important people, carrying out justice and helping people to be safe, that was my dream job.
I took his advice and joined the Army to be a Military Policeman as soon as my senior year ended. I did not heed his advice to avoid the justice system though, he said, if you want to change the world, it sure is not going to happen working in the criminal justice system. I did not understand.
I was only six at the time vividly remembering sitting in the crouch position on top of the barn, my brother at the bottom saying, ‘come on jump already, just jump, tuck, and roll!’ Fifty years later I’m laying on the ground being thankful I remembered that dumb idea, but great advice.
We were playing a game of team hide and seek, with the big boys. My brother let me tag along and he found the best hiding place, up on the roof of our friends barn. It was easy climbing up, at least for my brother who hopped on a garbage can (back when they were metal) and scaled up the gutter the last few feet. I too climbed on the rusty can but needed an arm pull to get all the way on the roof. We watched and laughed as everyone ran by looking for us as we watched them like ants scurrying around trying to find us.
It breaks my heart to see misunderstanding and mistrust cause unrest in this strong city I live in. But it is no surprise as Charlotte’s strength and ability to anchor down is under attack from every angle. My belief is the attack is deeper than any of us realize. It provides a heart opening opportunity through these attacks to strengthen not just Charlotte, but the entire nation. It is time for Charlotte to live up to its deeper calling as a city of strength and be the anchor to bring America back together.
Sound Reminders. Carrying around the weight of the world on our shoulders can feel like pulling a thousand train cars behind our tired little engines. Timely sound reminders loosen the load. This Average Joe needs every trick to keeping my mind from becoming overwhelmed, I discovered a new one worth sharing.
Years ago when screen savers were a requirement to prevent damage to your computer screen I would type in
Do you care? What are you going to do about it? The words rang in my ears as a black woman shouted at me and my son and a friend as we were leaving a baseball game and passing through a small but loud and raucous black lives matter protest in Greensboro, NC Thursday night, July 7th. I was shocked. Of course I care, I love all people. I said back to her, ‘YES, I care’. She shouted again, ‘If it were your kids, what would you do? Do you care?’ I said, WE CARE!’ She repeated her lines a bit louder, I replied ‘WE CARE! A bit of fear started to build up as I glanced around and saw people turning their attention to us.
Ignoring imperfections can be very hard for us perfectionists. I pride myself on doing things right and being efficient with every second of the day. That trait creates horror though; when I mess up. My wife was disgusted with me as I packed my travel bag for this business trip to Dallas this week. It took less than a minute total! It takes her days to pack for a vacation; I love to show her up with my tremendous perfect system of packing for travel. I proudly tossed the travel bag back in the closet after filling it with three nights of clothes and certainly everything I would need for my business meetings and even a dip in the pool.
After arriving at the hotel I planned for my upcoming dinner meeting and all others by hanging my shirts and pants in the closet with the sock and undies hung with each shirt that would be needed for each wake up call. I reached through the bag and found the belt, right where it should be, and paired it with the shoes I would set on the dresser ready to go. Blood rushed to my head and a taste of my Italian sub from the Charlotte airport Quiznos popped in my mouth upon the discovery of: ONE BLACK AND ONE BURGUNDY SHOE! How could I screw up like that?
My Father pictured here in this 1942 Navy photo did not talk much about his days in WWII. We know he was a flag man (aka Landing Signal Officer) on an ocean carrier and helped land planes. Normally I don’t think much about what it must have been like for him and the many others that fought to save our country from the mad men in Germany and Japan, but this year it is different. It is different because we have a President running our country who has reached out to Japan regarding the act that ended the war, to a country whose leaders at the time cost the lives of millions of people and many of the 420,000 Americans killed. It has made me ponder my gratitude towards what he and others did, while questioning just what kind of world do we live in.
I cannot imagine what it must have been like for my Father sitting on a boat in the middle of the ocean wondering when and if one of the 7000+ known Kamikaze flights may have made its way to his ship. Reading from the stories written by those who experienced this shocking (read here) fear I am horrified just thinking about it. And to think, the possibility is very high that I wouldn’t be here to write about it today, had he not been fortunate to survive. I am grateful for all he and the many soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
What a great joy to see your son or daughter cross into the threshold of adulthood on high school graduation day. Yet at the same time inside your gut, it is welling up with fear and anxiety as they head off into the vast uncertain universe. Internal questions run amuck wondering if we screwed up as parents, or did we do all we could to help them be Standalone Ready?
Neck Pain Relieved!
Life can be a real pain in the neck. Take a few sports injuries, mountains of stress, take many long driving stints for years, stare down at a computer for hours every day, and bend your neck to hold a phone in place while multi-tasking, and ultimately you look and feel like Quasimodo.
For many years I, like many people, have walked around with constant pain in my back. The neck had become so jammed up that I could not look over my shoulder to see if a car was in the blind spot. Thanks to side view mirrors I could make those heavy traffic lane switches without too much trouble. But at times, the pain had become excruciating to where that is the only direction I could turn my head.
Did you even wonder what would happen if you had no sleep for days? Our cover picture is a drawing my creative son drew when we asked him to depict what his thoughts were, during and after, his brain breaking traumatic experience. For he and all of us, it was an encounter with hell.
In trying to piece together what caused such an escapade I had to do some deep research to not only find out what was going on, but why. His first symptom was near complete memory loss. Can you imagine forgetting every password you have including ‘9999’ to get into your phone? He was also literally seeing fog everywhere, feeling like the walls were melting, imagining that a swat team was on the roof of our house, and hearing voices when no one was in the room, amongst other things. This stunning article provides a pictorial from Science.mic that describes exactly how and why this can happen.