Welcome!

I will be writing blog posts hopefully every week. If I am successful, you will see 52 posts this year! If not, it might be more or less than that. I haven’t really committed to a schedule yet. I know… I know… bad blogger form. If you are interested in receiving email updates or just want to reach out to me, please use the contact form on my contact page. It would be great to hear from you.

If you are unfamiliar with what I am trying to accomplish, please check out the About Me section. I will be adding more content as I feel inspired. I will hopefully have another post this week. I just felt like I should add something here.

Thanks for stopping by!

When Life Hands You Lemons…

It is funny how life changes our expectations and goals. This process, life, is not ever simple or clean. It’s messy, it’s complicated, and it can be grimy. It is always in a state of change, and each day is different from the next. We all have experienced this at some point or another.

I certainly did not think that I would be at the point that I am writing right now, but here I am! My life has gone from one extreme to another, and at points, I have questioned what this means for me in the long run. What do I really want out of life? Who do I want to spend it with? What steps am I willing to take to get to that point? All of these questions and more are on my mind. One of the biggest questions is what do I want to do with my career? My education? My location?

I know that I am writing a lot of questions, and I am not doing a whole of action. One of the biggest things that I am asking myself at the moment is how far do you take action? Where is the point of no return? I know that there are no rewards without risks. But what risks am I willing to take?

The last half a year has found me working on self-discovery and acknowledging things about myself that are difficult at times to accept. I have taken risks, and I have gotten rewards out of this. For example, when I accepted that I may have a different sexuality than what I thought, I felt more myself. I felt more complete. This was a risk, and a well deserved reward. I know that you might not agree with my views on this or who I am, and that is fine. You are entitled to believe the way you do. I am not forcing my beliefs onto you. Please don’t force them on me either.

Brené Brown talks about Whole-hearted living. It is about being authentic and true to yourself. It’s about being brave and courageous, and it’s about digging deep. It’s also about getting up when you have fallen down and keep on working on the things.

That is what I am trying to do with my life. I am trying to be the person that she mentions from a quote from Theodore Roosevelt.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

I am trying to know victory and to dare greatly. I am trying to be myself. I am trying to find purpose and love. I am trying to be myself. It has been one heck of a ride, and maybe I shall tell you in other posts why this is, but for now, I am just being self-reflective.

Until next time…

-Connor

Here a fish, there a fish, catfish.

There are plenty of fish in the sea.… except when you are getting catfished (see link if unfamiliar with the term).

I am not talking about this bloke:

An actual Catfish

I am talking about being catfished, and I recently was catfished. A person that I was talking too was actually someone totally different than who they claimed to be, and boy… was that a shock! It wasn’t your typical catfishing that you see on MTV’s Catfish.

The Facebook profile was real. The pictures were real. The story and who they said they were… were not real. It was incredibly believable as to why they couldn’t add me on Facebook or why we couldn’t talk on the phone. The person went so far as changing HTML code on a website to prove that they were the person that they claimed to be. I would like to think that I am pretty intelligent, but I was pretty dumb. I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. The problem with my story is that the person actually had feelings for me. I had feelings for them as well, but I couldn’t handle being lied to since day one.

Had the person actually told me within a week or a month in to the relationship, I might have been able to forgive them and move on. The thing is that it went on six or seven months where I thought I was talking to the real deal. I want you to know that I am not upset with that person who catfished me. In fact, I am pretty sure that I still have some feeling for them, but I don’t know if I could spend the next year trying to figure out what was true or what wasn’t true.

There were red flags. I have mentioned that we didn’t really talk on the phone. We did once, and while I was surprised by the voice I heard… it was believable. I often listen to the radio and imagine what people look like, and 100% of the time I am wrong. There were other things about not being added on Facebook, but at the same time, if you are not “out” then you may not want to have that privacy breached. We would talk about traveling to a city or planning trips, but when I actually gave a date or suggested something… the other person backed down. The photos were real, but it always seemed odd to me that there was never a selfie that they took. It seemed like it was always someone else taking the photo. Again, I do photography, and I rather be behind the camera instead of in front of it. There were other times where the relationship seemed to good to be true. I guess in some ways it was.

I think one of the main factors on why I fell for it is that I needed someone to talk too. I am in my 30s now, and the driving factor that I have is to start a family and settle down. My biological clock is ticking as well as any potential partners. I also found it extremely satisfying to have someone say that they loved me and be there for me. This person wasn’t always good at the latter, but at times they would.

Some of the people who I have spoken to about this have suggested that I reach out to talk to the person who had their identity stolen. The thing is that I don’t even know where to begin with that. “Hey! I am a dude who thought I was dating you, but it was this other person who knows you and your brother.” Oh, and by the way… the actual person is extremely religious, happily married, and extremely homophobic. In fact, they just welcomed a baby into this world.

Now for the “fake” identity, I spent weeks of my life talking with them. These talks would go from 9 AM to 2 or 3 AM the next day. I was there for them when they were feeling suicidal. There were times where we were intimate in other ways as well. There were feelings between us. There were truths to their personality and who they thought they were, but when they presented those things… I thought they were talking about something completely different. After all this time, I question what was real and what was not.

Now you may be wondering how I handled all of this. I mean it is not every day that someone finds out that the relationship that they were in for six to seven months is a complete fraud. I dusted myself off after the shock and went back to online dating. Apparently, I did not handle it well. On the plus side, I am talking to a couple of people who seem real, and they have expressed interests in actually meeting up… so you know… I can verify who they are.

I hope that I do not fall for something like that in the future, but I can’t really say for one way or another. If you are reading this, hopefully you gain something from my experience. That is all I can hope. I also hope that you do not fall for something like I did.

~Conner

P.S. If you are wondering why I put a picture of a guy fishing as the main image for this blog instead of a catfish… I have a sick sense of humor. I had a person fish me.

Action Required

I have been thinking upon the word urgency. Urgency for those of you who might be unaware of the meaning means “importance requiring swift action.” That’s how I am going to be using the word when discussing it. Just a heads up!

I have gotten several emails stating that we have an urgent need to see growth in the company that I work for, but I wonder what urgency we feel in our personal lives. Someone who has been starving knows the urgency required to get food. For someone who is homeless, they have an urgency to just survive. For someone who requires love in everything that they do, they may feel an urgency to obtain that love. For someone who needs attention throughout the day, they may feel an overwhelming urgency to obtain attention by means any means necessary. I know several adults and children have the latter problem.

It got me thinking though about the urgency that I feel. I am in my early 30s and I have yet to establish a household or a family. There is a sense of urgency there; however, there is also a sense of urgency with accomplishing career goals. I understand that I do not have the mentality of someone who is older than me, but this is where I am at. I study the human condition after all, and I have talked to people who are twice my age about their goals in life, their regrets, their happy moments, and what their families were like.

I talked to someone in their 90s recently about urgency of life. Their urgency is a very different sort of urgency. They have the urgency to die and to move on. They had an urgency for ending and for closure. It was something that they mentioned to me while talking: “I am 90 years old, and I just want to die.” I could understand this even though I didn’t feel like my life was complete. I understood that they had gone through their life and lived it the way that they wanted. Now, they just wanted rest.

When I look at their life span and compare it to my own, my urgencies and needs do not seem all that urgent. They lived three times longer than I have, and they were ready to pass on to what comes next. Full disclaimer: I do not know if there is a “next” but I like to think that there is because it is comforting that maybe there is an afterlife. Maybe, we are reincarnated or maybe we go to meet our Maker. Who knows? I’m not feeling the urgency to find out though.

There are plenty of people out there who feel the urgency to end their life though. I have talked to a lot of them. For what ever reason, they have an urgency for an end. That might mean that they have completed their life or have gone through horrible events, and they just feel like this is it. At one point in time, I wrote an opinion paper in college arguing that those who have chronic terminal conditions should be given the option to end their life with dignity. That I felt should be their prerogative to end their life on their own terms. I feel like if I were suffering from a condition such as that, I would want to have that urgency, and I would want others to feel that urgency as well.

I guess you could say that I have an urgency for growth. I have the urgency to start a family. I have the urgency to work on my career goals. I have the urgency to be with others. I think that is why I write this blog. I have an urgency to express myself. I hope that if you are reading this too, that you have the same urgency. If you do, stick around.

The Truth Is Out There…

If you have ever watched the X-files, you are familiar with that phrase. It is one of the most iconic phrases from the television show. It is also something that I have been thinking about quite a bit this week as I have had to face the truth several times. When I say I had to face the truth, I am talking about my truth. It is one of the more interesting questions that I ask myself sometimes.

What is the truth? I bet that is a question that you do not ask yourself very often, but it is something that everyone believes in. We all believe in truths. But how does one define the truth? Or in another words what is true?

Merriam-Webster defines true as “being in accordance with the actual state of affairs… conformable to an essential reality… fully realized or fulfilled… ideal, essential… being that which is the case rather than what is manifest or assumed… consistent.” It is pretty easy to agree that is the definition of true. That is a truth. There are a couple of ideas on how truth interacts though. There is absolute truth, relative truth, empirical truth, etc.

A lot of my work revolves around the concept of relativism which is the relative truth link that I have attached to the blog up above. Life would be easier if everything was absolute. If life was black and white, I would definitely be without a job. I could possibly give up my job and become a full time photographer. Unfortunately, life is not easy like that.

Once upon a time, I was working a job, and I had gotten information about a person that I was interviewing. They had told me that they had experienced a traumatic event in their life; however, when I spoke with a family member who was familiar with the person that I was interviewing, the family member stated: “That didn’t happen. I would know if it did.” How did I determine the truth? The reality is that I went with the person that I was interviewing.

I decided that the person was telling their “truth.” I had no way of knowing if it was the truth or not. I acted like it was though. I also decided that the family member couldn’t have possibly known what the truth was because that family member was not with this person 24/7/365 days of the year.

There have also been times where I have dealt with people who have fixed delusions. Where their delusions are so ingrained into their reality that it would be cruel to take the delusions away. Alzheimer’s/Dementia patients also have some of the same issues. They do not have short term memory or even access to some of the long term memories that they once had. They live in the past and not the present. Whether that means that they are looking for a car, a family member, or some other thing. They live in a different reality than our own.

Does it make their truth any less valid than say yours or mine? I don’t believe so. They live in their truth and their reality. Some might argue that someone who has delusions or hallucinations shouldn’t be allowed to remain in those hallucinations and delusions. I would agree with you; however, if the delusions or hallucination is fixed, and it cannot be removed… then why remove it? It seems like it would be unfair.

You might be wondering why any of this matters? Why does the truth matter? I believe that the truths we tell ourselves impact our quality of life. If you believe that you are a failure, you will continue to remain a failure. If you believe that your weight will never change, then more than likely your weight will not change. If you believe that you have reached the some of your existence, then you probably have.

We are blinded sometimes by the truths that we tell ourselves. I am guilty of this as well. I sometimes do not see reality as it is. I see the reality that I have made, and the reality that others have made around me. The latter delves into a thing called social contracts which I will not get into, but you may look into it yourself. But our truths guide our actions and what we can believe is possible.

Admittedly, this makes me sound like a very unstable person. There are a whole host of people who will think about medical issues that will impact what is possibility, and they will think that humans cannot fly without aid of a machine or device. This is true. But we do have cases of people who are paralyzed and have a prognosis of never walking again, and they walk. You can see them here, here, and here. Now you may notice that some of these were able to walk with assistance of science, but without believing that things could be different… where would these people be for the truth? You also have things like this.

The point in all of this is that we as humans are infinitely more powerful than what we allow ourselves to be. We tell ourselves a certain truth that we are limited. Is that a correct truth? Sometimes it is a truth that we tell ourselves. It is a relative truth. Does it always have to be this way? I don’t believe so. I think the truth is out there…

Quiet Moments

Quiet moments are not necessarily quiet. They are not necessarily moments where you are alone either. I imagine that may come as a shock to you when reading that, or perhaps you know exactly what I am talking about. I have experienced quiet moments where I am alone, and where I have been with another person. I prefer the latter if truth be told because there is a certain intimacy in the latter. The former has always been kind to me because I am naturally an introvert.

I frequently have quiet moments by myself at campgrounds. I have volunteered over the years at various camps and retreats. I have been everywhere from the Midwest to the Northeast for campgrounds over the years that I have volunteered. Campgrounds are marvelous places to find quiet moments early in the morning or late in the evening usually. It also kind of depends on the campground and what is going on there.

One such place I have been is featured in this blog post. This is a picture that I took early in the morning on such a campground. I had gotten up early so I could watch the sun rise in between the trees. It was one of the most beautiful and moving experiences that I have had. I listened to the birds singing and starting their days. I felt the cool damp air and felt the dew beneath my feet. I took in all the colors of the sunrise, and I was completely alone. It was a magical experience. One that I have not had much of.

There have been quiet moments in unexpected ways with nature as well. In 2017 I was able to visit the Grand Canyon during the off season and right before the main season started. There is not quite an experience like it. There are no words to explain how the Grand Canyon looks other than it is massive and goes for miles. In such a vastness, you can be the only human being within your area. Many people who visit the Grand Canyon experience this. There is also something pleasant about watching the sunset there as well. Even though it was quite noisy, the people hushed when the sun began to set. It was almost as if there was a spiritual experience to it.

As I mentioned earlier quiet moments can happen in other ways as well. I have had the pleasure and sometimes the misfortune to comfort people in distress. One such incident occurred when two of my friends were fighting over a choice that was made by one of them. Words were said, and the one friend stormed off. The other friend who I was visiting sat there in silence. He was visibly upset and crying. I gently put my arm on his back and was with him as he processed what our friend had said. He later on thanked me for helping him in that moment. Again, words were not said, and there was a certain intimacy about it.

These moments happen at the end of life as well. I have watched people slowly pass away into the next life due to the kind of jobs that I have worked. In particular, I have watched hospice patients slowly go on to the next journey of life. There is a usually a quietness about it, and there is an expectation. Many hospice nurses that I have encountered know when someone is about to pass or is starting their journey onwards. These nurses have my respect as that they share quiet moments with their patients and/or their families.

For me, these all represent quiet moments. Maybe you can relate to this, and maybe you cannot. I hope that in some cases you never have to experience quiet moments of death or right before death, but the reality is that you probably will at some point. I hope that you have more moments where you can be by yourself.

The moments by yourself are great moments to practice self-care and deal with the stressors of life. These might be quiet bubble baths, reading a book somewhere quiet, sitting in a park, or anything else that you can find. In most of these cases, they can help melt the stressors of life. I know that when I do find these moments, they help me recharge. I experience life and can take time to appreciate life for all of its mysteries.

Are you being honest with yourself?

Am I being honest with myself? This is a question that I ask myself on a daily basis. I find that it is one of the most important questions that I ask myself. Some days the answer is a “no.” Those are the days that are particularly bad. Then there are the days where the answer is “yes,” and as you can imagine those are pretty good days.

One of the problems that I have with writing and expressing myself is that I am often worrying about what others will say or do with my words. I am often worrying about the reader instead of focusing on my own thoughts and opinions. It is true that great writers are able to connect with their readers in unexpected ways, but let’s be honest here… am I a great writer? The answer is that I am probably not. Am I a good writer? No. Am I just a writer? Yes.

In a lot of ways, that thought process represents my thinking in a lot of avenues of my life. I judge myself harshly and devalue what and who I am. It permeates in every facet of my life. I am constantly putting myself down. In some ways, this constant devaluing and being my own worst critic has made the expectation bar really low. It also has given me this false sense of modesty and humbleness. If I do really well, it’s amazing! And if others recognize this, well… I am just doing my job or task. I am just being me.

Though we go back to the first question that was asked: Am I being honest with myself? I don’t know. I am not even sure that I am being honest with you, the reader. There are a lot of things in my life that have been instilled in me by my family, my friends, my culture, my religion, and my own experiences. In the midst of all that chaos, words, thoughts, and feelings; there is myself, my true self. My true self is often buried by these things, and the true self cannot be expressed.

I recently had a fight with my significant other who is wise beyond my understanding at times. He told me that I am not being true to myself, and that I was mainly pretending. I was being a liar. In a lot of ways, he was right. One of the things that I like about my significant other is that he doesn’t pretend with me about who he is or what he wants. I, on the other hand, wear masks and deny many aspects of my life. I think I do this mainly out of fear.

I am afraid of who I am. I am afraid of how people will react to me when I am showing them my true self. I am afraid to accept myself because that means recognizing things about myself that may be difficult to accept. It means opening myself up to the unknown, and I think that is where I failed. I failed myself, and I failed him.

The truth is that I am a very kind and compassionate person, but there is a part of me that is aggressive and commanding. The latter is something that I am not comfortable with, and I could give you a list of reasons why this is, but ultimately these are just excuses. These excuses mean that I am not being honest with myself. If I cannot be honest with myself, then I cannot be honest with others.

I am reminded of the serenity prayer at this moment.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

If I am going to be honest with myself, then I need to accept the things I cannot change. I am going to have to accept things about myself that I do not like. I am going to have to accept who and what I am. I may have to examine myself critically and take a step back to see exactly what is going on. I will have to listen to myself and how I feel. I will have to make changes in wisdom.

That is if I want to be honest with myself.