Tag Archives: change

Empathy. Blessing or a Curse?

Being an empathetic person has plagued me long before I even knew how to define the word.  As a child, it was easy for me to cry thinking about the misfortune of the world around me.  People used to call me an “old soul” while referring to the sad look I carried in my eyes and the troubled expressions I made growing up.  As long as I can remember, all I’ve ever wanted to do was make the world a better place.  I could never understand war, hunger, or hate.  I could not comprehend human suffering or why we were doing nothing to stop it.  As I grew up however, and learned the politics of the world, it made sense and began to trouble me in a whole new way.

My mother had an awful childhood that I knew about far to early.  I feel like I have always known about the abuse she suffered her whole life.  Her childhood is a nightmarish story of sexual abuse followed by the physical and emotional abuse she endured while being married to my father.  When I look into my mothers eyes I can see that pain, beyond the smile and the laughter and it physically hurts.  I can literally feel that pain deep down in the gut of my soul.  These feelings of empathy have a lot to do with the mama’s boy I am today.  My heart breaks for her.

My father always told me that I was going no where in life because I have always hung out with the underdogs.  To a degree this was very true.  I have always identified with the different, obscure and weird people of the world, I am one.  This is what lead me to the road of addiction, and the ability to not feel my feelings kept me there.

In a relationship, I think I’m pretty selfless.  Who knows what he would say about me, but when it comes to matters of the heart, I feel like I loose all control.  I die inside when I make a mistake because I can feel what I have done to that individual. It hurts and I get upset not only because they are upset at me, but also because I don’t want the person I love to feel the feelings that I know that they are feeling.  Its very hard for me to lash out or say something mean because I will instantly regret it as I watch those words tear into the person I love.  When it comes to an argument, I appear to be a pussy, not contributing to the verbal beatings that are taking place.  The phrase “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is the most ass backwards thing I have ever heard in my life.  Bones repair themselves while words cut deep into your soul and scar your brain forever.

I’m a teacher because I want to change someones life.  I want to make a difference.  I want my empathy to be a good thing while I try to understand and relate to my students when life has them down and they want to quit.  Its beginning to make some sense why I am the way that I am.  We all have strengths and weaknesses, mine just happens to be the same thing.

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Bad boys ain’t no good and good boys ain’t no fun

Of course this is the quote by some unknown (to me) author that dominates as my cover photo on my guilty pleasure known as Facebook.  It reinforces another saying that I live by: “The grass is always greener on the other side”.  This may partially explain my need for perfecting the grass inspired shade of green that I like to keep my hair.  Ironically, I just had to stop writing to take a hair cut, and my client asked me “why green?”, and I used the statement from above as an answer.

There is an AMAZING song by Sara Evans that really hits home for me.  I know I’m not alone, that I live in a world full of dreamers.  There is a huge handful of people in the world that will never feel satisfied.  I don’t think that’s always a bad thing, especially if that drives you to keep perfecting your life and promotes emotional and physical growth.  I’m just as curious about life as I was when I was 16 and knew nothing about the big bad world.  The song is called “I Keep Looking”.


I Keep Looking

By Sara Evans

Back when I was young
Couldn’t wait to grow up
Get away and get out on my own
And looking back now
Ain’t it funny how
I’ve been trying to get back home, yeah

When my low self esteem
Needs a man loving me
And I find me a perfect catch
Then I see my friends
Having wild weekends
Then I don’t want to get quite so attached
Just as soon as I get what I want
I get unsatisfied
Good is good but could be better

I keep looking, I keep looking for
I keep looking for something more
I always wonder what’s on the other side
Of the number two door
I keep looking
Looking for something more

Well, the straight haired girls
They all want curls
And the brunettes want to be blonde
It’s your typical thing
You got ying you want yang
It just goes on and on
They say, hey, it’s only human
To never be satisfied
Well I guess that I’m as human as the next one

Oh, I keep looking
I keep looking for
I keep looking for something more
I always wonder what’s on the other side
Of the number two door
Yeah, I keep looking
Looking for something more

Just as soon as I get what I want
I get unsatisfied
Hey, good is good but could be better

I keep looking
I keep looking for
I keep looking for something more
I always wonder what’s on the other side
Of the number two door
I keep looking
Looking for something more
Oh, looking for something more

© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
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Screens (writing 201 assignment)

Scars and screens trap me,

My mind makes me think the worst. 

You can change all that. 

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Auto Biography Of An Addict Part 6 (We DO Recover!)

July 6th 2015 is my clean date.  On July 6th 2015, I walked into Linden Oaks Outpatient Center to start my partial hospitalization program.  At this point all I remember is that I was beaten, broken and unsure exactly what “dual diagnosis” meant.  I smoked my last bowl at 8AM in the parking lot, with the notion to save half of it for when I got outta my program for the drive home that evening.  Within minutes I was rudely woken up to what exactly dual diagnosis was.  I sat down in a chair, surrounded by a bunch of unfamiliar faces.  To me, it was a great representation of white suburban Chicago.  Immediately I felt out of place.  There were people of all ages, and someone was being discharged.  I wanted to die.  This man was seriously smiling and thanking everyone for all they helped him to achieve.  He was probably around 60, and after sharing his story I quickly realized that dual diagnosis included actually THREE things.  Depression, anxiety, and SUBSTANCE ABUSE.  Were you KIDDING me?? I felt like I just walked into a trap.  A comedy perhaps, and the joke was seriously on me.  The only thing I remember about that first day was this grateful man, (for what? SOBRIETY!?), having to pee in a cup, and something telling me to throw that bowl out the window.  Never a guy to turn down a challenge, I looked at the opportunity in front of me to be just that.  They told me the program was about three weeks and I decided that day to commit to a drug and alcohol free program until I was discharged.  The rooms of Narcotics Anonymous changed all that.

The following daysa were agonizing for me.  I couldn’t sleep because I only knew how to pass out.  I could not eat because I needed to smoke weed to be hungry.  This is how my body worked for 10+ years, and I thought I was going to pass out and die if I couldn’t escape my reality very soon.  The program required that you attend three or more 12 step meetings a week.  On or around day 3, I stumbled into an NA meeting in Downers Grove.  What a mess I must have been when I walked in those doors.  I picked up my white key tag for 0-29 days clean and all of a sudden was surrounded by a bunch of overly ecstatic people that wanted to hug me.  One girl in particular stood out to me because of her personality.  Everyone seemed to know her and she looked so happy!  Sober, clean and happy?? Right then I decided in that room that I wanted to commit to this for life.  I wanted what SHE had.

The 28 days that followed were nothing short of a miracle.  I made friends, I learned about grief, acceptance and letting go.  Living in the present was a daily reminder that needed to be drilled into this stubborn head of mine.  Living in the past causes depression and living in the future produced its best friend, anxiety.  Just for Today, an NA motto became a way of life.  The rooms of NA and the walls that made up my outpatient center gave me tools to survive that I never got to learn as a child.  I felt free to grow up for the first time ever.  My last day at Linden Oaks was amazing.  Not because I was excited to leave, but because I was ready to engage with the world again having all the new tools I picked up in order to be successful not only in keeping my sobriety, but also as becoming a productive human being.

Today I find myself getting ready to start school in a week.  I’ll be going back to the beauty school to get my 600 hours in so I can get my educators license.  I want to be a teacher.  I want to give back to an industry that has given me so much.  Nothing seems out of my reach anymore.  I truly feel like the world is mine, and as long as I keep an open mind and don’t let the anxiety about the future govern my actions, all will be well.  I try to live for the moment, the present moment and make the best of it.  I am so much more productive at work then I have ever been before.  My family and close friends a like have noticed a genuine change in my personality and physically have put on a few extra healthy pounds.  I am open to the possibility that there just might be someone out there for me, as long as I don’t get into my own head, trust myself, and trust the man that I’m with.  Don’t get me wrong, I still have bad days, but they are never as bad as the worst day and I feel free to be me for the first time in my life.  I have faith that this new found freedom will lead me to a type of sanity I once thought was lost long ago.  This is my first time trying to live a life abstinent from all substances.  I’m not going to lie and say I’ll never drink again.  I had a drug problem, not alcohol however I can see how drinking can lead me back to the insane path of life I was living.  All I know is that I won’t be drinking today.  Today is what matters.  Today is all we have.

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