“All I ever wanted was to reach out and touch another human being not just with my hands but with my heart.” ― Tahereh Mafi

Loneliness and aloneness sound similar. In fact, they share the root word “Lone”. Which is defined as “having no companions; solitary or single”.

However, these two concept are very different.

For one, being alone is a physical state. While being lonely is an emotional state.

Being alone is healthy. Don’t confuse voluntary aloneness to isolation. Isolation isn’t healthy and should be avoided. However, having alone time is rewarding, gratifying, and normal. When you are alone you can work on project, hobbies, or do some of your best thinking. Generally, people crave come level of aloneness.

Some need more or less aloneness than other people. Largely, your desired level of aloneness depends if you tend to be more introverted or extroverted. Introverts require less human interaction and therefore flourish when they have alone time. Its their time to recharge.

People use there alone time to make important decisions, unwind, and become more of the person they want to be. Overall, aloneness is something that everyone can relate to. We all need time to our self.

However, loneliness is an emotional state. It can create emotional pain, crippling emotional pain. From time to time everyone feels lonely. Chronic loneliness creates many problems. Some loneliness is so destructive a person may be in a crowded place but feel as if they are the only person on the plant.

People that feel that way are experiencing emotional pain. Some emotional pain can hurt much worse that physical pain. Even more so, emotional pain can translate into physical pain.

We never know the battles that people having going on in their soul. A dangerous place to be, in someone’s soul. And yet its what we all say we want, intimacy on that level.

A simple expression of out reach could lessen that burden for someone. We should be striving to make people feel loved, accepted, and wanted.

We can achieve this one person at a time. Lets make the world a better place.

This in itself is humbling.

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Sorry About It Royals, Lady Gaga’s Nuptials Will Be The Wedding Of The Century

Admittedly, I originally had this type of article in mind for Buzzfeed. However, I could not figure out how to create the article. I was able to type out the body but not upload the pictures.

So the result, a wordpress blog in all of its sassy glory! Here it goes:

Recently, Lady Gaga announced her engagement to Taylor Kinney and Little Monsters’ hearts haven’t stopped swooning. They have been together for a long time and everyone knew this would happen someday. Or at least wished it would.

It got me to thinking what would a Lady Gaga wedding look like? Sure it probably won’t be televised, have millions lining the streets, or a national holiday to commemorate the occasion; Here’s lookin’ at you Obama!

But it will be the wedding of the universe!

Here are the top five ways I know it will be the most fabulous thing on the planet to ever happen:

 

(1) Gaga is marrying the love of her life.

lady-gaga-and-taylor-kinney-at-2014-golden-globes-after-party

In an interview Gaga gushed about Taylor. She used this quote to describe their romance.

“We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness—and call it love—true love.”-Dr. Suess

 

 

 

(2) Her make up is always on point:

lady-gaga-2013-650-430b

 

Lady Gaga is a fashionista and  never fails to look just right for the occasion. Her wedding will be no different.

 

 

 

 

(3) She is stunning in a wedding dress:

lady-gaga-wedding-dress

Thanks to her music videos and iconic fashion we can have a general idea of what Gaga in a wedding dress looks like. I would willing to bet Gaga will wear something from Alexander McQueen. They were great friends until his suicide a few years back. Undoubtedly Gaga will want to honor her late friend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

(4) She will arrive FLAWLESSLY:

Lady-Gaga-arrives-on-horse-DM

Like it or not Gaga knows how to make an entrance. From zip lining onto the stage, to arriving in an egg, or even on this beauty, she knows how to work an entrance! She may walk down the isle of just hover to her groom. Who really knows?

 

 

(5) She is Lady freakin’ Gaga:

Lady-Gaga-

She is fabulous. She is grandeur. She is beautiful. Her wedding will be done on her terms. She may have a huge city closing celebration or a small intimate nuptial with her family and his family. They may tie the knot secretly.

 

One thing is for sure. Whatever happens will be in true Gaga fashion!

 

These are my top five reasons for why Gaga and Taylor will have the wedding of the century. What are yours? Do you agree or disagree? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

As noted this blog is unlike my others. This one is meant satirically. Its fun and intended to further celebrate this pop icons’ engagement.

Congratulations Lady Gaga and Taylor Kinney.

The above pictures are not mine. I take no credit for them. They were found on Google.

“Social work is a band-aid on the festering wounds of society.” -Alexander Chase

The above quote was on a white board we have in our office area. The quotes change everyday, due to a diligent coworker, but not all of them catch my attention the way this one did.

This quote speaks to why I chose Social Work as a profession. I simply want to do good.

It is idealistic. I think most folks who choose this profession are idealistic. Perhaps starry eyed about changing the world.

I seek to leave a better world than I was given. That actually was a principle I was taught at church camp. I never forgot it.

Society has many ills; Homelessness, Addiction, Suicide, Disease, Alcoholism, Poverty, and Loneliness.

Each one devastating in its own right but usually found co-occurring amongst individuals suffering even one of these afflictions.

I have my degree in the Human Services. I have been working with a mental health facility for about four months and I’m in the processing of pursuing an MSW (Masters of Social Work).

You can consider me a novice. I have just gotten my feet wet. I am only beginning what I hope to be a life long career of service to others.

However, I have encountered every above mentioned issue and then some. My first month on the job I had two separate client’s attempt suicide. In month three I found another client emergency housing in about an hour. Currently I am assisting a client without health insurance, and no way to afford health insurance, find treatment for Hepatitis B.

One of the observations I have had is that some of these issues are cyclical:

For instance, a person has anxiety. They are unable to leave their home due to the extreme anxiety. They cannot have a job and struggle to come to their therapy appointments. They cannot work due to the extreme anxiety. Since they cannot work they cannot afford their medications. Since they are unmedicated they have no control over their social anxiety. Therefore they cannot go outside much less pursue a job opportunity.

There are possible solutions. Ideally a strong support system should be put in place to assist the person until he/she can become medicated and taken to therapy to work his/her issues.

Not everyone is so lucky. Not everyone has a support system. Sometimes a person only has himself.

I see more of this than I care for. I see people so starved for attention. I know that I am possibly their only regular contact with another person. Its disheartening.

A person can become so wearied and worn that they become a shell. They are no longer who they once were. I want to give that person the tools they need to rebuild their life.

Everyone in this field has a particular population they prefer to work with. Some folks like to work with children, adults, elderly adults, people who suffer from various disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, veterans, and so on.

I prefer veterans and specifically veterans that suffer from addictions. This stems for my love of country and respect for the Armed Service. These folks give so much and come back with invisible wounds. I want to spend my life serving these amazing folks.

Yes, I am idealist. Yes, I believe I can make a difference. Yet, I know I cannot do it alone. It is a collective effort we all must accept responsibility for.

Some days are tough. Heck, some weeks are tough. But it really is worth it because of the one person you have helped. Often we hear that and question a person’s sincerity by that statement. I’ve felt it though. The bad days can’t compare to the good days. The days I have found housing for folks. The days people have gained insurance and now can seek treatment for their medical problem.

Those are the reasons why I do what I do.

This in itself is humbling.

“You will have bad times, but they will always wake you up to the stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” -Robin Williams

Robin Williams was a rare talent. He wasn’t like his fellow actors in Hollywood. His craft was bigger than life. His public persona was nothing but gracious, happy, and gleeful. His career spanned many decades and consequently affected many generations. Not only do I have favorite childhood memories of Williams’ work but so do my parents. This loss is one felt by millions.

People may think it’s weird but his death affected me. Usually when I hear of an actors untimely death I’m sad for a few minutes and move on. However, I’ve somewhat dwelled on Robin Williams death. Partially because he was truly an iconic actor with amazing range. He starred in some of my favorite childhood movies and played roles in other movies that I appreciate now as an adult.

His public persona was one of utter cheer and happiness. It defies logic that someone with that much love for life can succumb to suicide. It is important to note he suffered from severe depression for a long time.

However, here is the crux of the discussion. We never truly know what a person is struggling with internally. We only see what others will let us see. Sometimes our inner demons can become so strong. They feed off of our fears and regrets and anxieties until it can only end in tragedy. Sometimes the pain becomes so great and the burden so tough that we fool ourselves into thinking we have only one way out. That light at the end of the tunnel becomes less than a flicker. It appears as if it’s been snuffed out and so goes life.

Our job as family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and humans is to make one another feel as if there are alternatives. We have to be someone’s support system. We must make the people in our life feel wanted and loved.

Everyone needs to have someone. Be that person for someone else.

Depression is a serious disorder. It doesn’t discriminate and affects all types of people. Never be afraid to seek help. Talk to a professional. Use the resources available to you so you can be properly equipped to fight depression.

My chosen career path (Social Work) helped me understand many of the issues people face with mental illness. Unfortunately, people who do not understand Mental Illness trivialize those disorders. They are not helping anyone if they are making someone else feel as if their emotions do not matter.

The most I can say on the subject of depression and mental illness is that there is hope. One can find peace and become whole again. There are professionals out there that can help you climb out of the dark abyss you may be sinking in. You just have to talk to someone.

I’ve copied some links below that will take you to mental healthcare provider’s sites. If you feel as if you need help use them to make your first step.

http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/get-help-now Trevor Lifeline (866-488-7386)

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

If you would like some general information regarding suicide prevention check out the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention here:

http://www.afsp.org/

This in itself is humbling.

“I’d rather be partly great than entirely useless.” ― Neal Shusterman

I usually only write when I feel the urge to or when I have a point I would like to get across. I haven’t been writing in the last few days and not for a lack of commentary. 

In fact, I have deeply held opinions on many of the current events happening around the world. 

For instance; the Israel/Hamas conflict, the Ukraine/Russia conflict, and the border crisis in our own country. However, I haven’t actually made my thoughts public. 

I only want to add to the conversation that is already being had. I also want to bring new ideas and thoughts to the table. I do not like the idea of parroting what another article has said. I don’t want to be putting articles out there for the sake of “putting my two cents in” or trying to prove to someone why I think they are wrong. 

I usually only want to highlight facts and show how I draw my conclusions. Of course, I have done that in my head about the above mentioned issues but writing blogs about them will only introduce more negativity in the world. 

I haven’t ruled out writing about them. Currently, I do not feel the need too. There are plenty of article with correct information out there on those issues. One just has to do the research.

However, I did almost write a blog about the “talk” of impeachment of the president. I haven’t because of the above reason. There are plenty of articles discussing why that isn’t actually happening. 

However, there are misconspetions.

There are NO elected members of the GOP (Grand Old Party) calling for the president’s impeachment. I discount goofballs such as Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh whom have called for his impeachment. (They aren’t elected members of the Republican party) The Democrats are wanting the American people to believe there is a call to action to impeach the president but it simply isn’t true. 

I know this to be true because I received an email from President Obama’s people yesterday asking for a donation so they could fight an impending impeachment that doesn’t even exist. 

It was a low point for them. 

That is most likely all I will say on the above issues. Its factual with little to no opinion thrown in. Except Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh being goofballs. 

I am an avid political researcher. I love everything about politics. Its messy but truly important. Every aspect of it effects our daily lives. 

However, I would prefer not to put on the internet my thoughts on the matter when they weren’t asked. I’m always willing to have a thoughtful discussion regarding politics with someone. I like to gauge what people know and believe. I also like to know why the believe the way they do.

Never have a discussion with someone if you do not know the facts or can provide details of the situation. Also, conspiracy theories are ALWAYS going to make you sound stupid.

I started off writing this blog with optimism being the subject I had in mind. I suppose my mind had other thoughts. 

Aside from thinking about the world’s current events, I am excited about my upcoming birthday. Its another year to reflect on my blessings.

That is what sparked my decision to write about optimism. I’m still young enough to believe that the world is my oyster and that anything can happen. Its a terribly exciting feeling.  

In my few years on earth I have learned a few lessons. For some it takes a lifetime for them to learn them. 

I have learned:

1) You can’t control people. You cannot make them do what you want. You can put it out there are see what happens but you can’t make people except it. Begging never looks good on a person. Make your desires known but expect some people to say no.

2) Sometimes that “little voice” in your head needs a beatin’. Going with one’s gut is great. They say you need to trust it. However, if you miss a few good opportunities because of that nagging “little voice” its time it gets a pounding. Make a few out of the ordinary decisions. They could be the best you ever make. Failure is how you learn.

3) Compliment people often. Other’s may wonder if I am insincere when I compliment them. I tend to do it a lot. For me personally, if I compliment you I mean it. I don’t do fake compliments. When you compliment people it makes them feel good. You also look more sociable. But overall you are putting another person’s feelings before your’s.  

I never started out blogging so I could thrash around my opinions and have an outlet to let loose. If I wanted to do that I would stick to pen and paper.

Philosophically speaking, I would rather spread positiveness rather than negativity. That is why most of my blogs are about life advise and being the best you can be. 

By doing this you never know who you can affect. 

This in itself is humbling.

 

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” ― James Baldwin

This morning I read an open letter from a mom to her teenage son. The child was starting high school and she was expressing her concerns about the future problems her child would be facing as an average American teenager. 

Link to article: (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathy-radigan/an-open-letter-to-my-teenage-son-about-drinking_b_5609429.html)
Namely she discussed drinking alcohol and having sex. She described the behaviors she desires her child to adhere to. She set limits. She made it clear she and his father would not tolerate underage drinking and she would not encourage it. She advised she would not let him drink in their presence. 
She did affirm that when he turns twenty one he would be welcomed to sit down and have a beer with she and his father. 
She drew a hard line. She outlined what would happen if he failed to adhere to the expected standard they have set forth. 
However, after she set the framework for how this issue was to be treated , she made it clear that her son could always come to her or his father. She needed him to know if he was out drunk that he should always call her so she can go get him. The mother stated “I would rather us bring you home drunk than you not come home at all”. 
Personally, I loved this article because the parents set the standard and told her child what the repercussions would be if the standard was not met. 
Many of people in the comment section felt as if the mother was being unfair or had an archaic attitude when it comes to drinking. 
I had a couple of thoughts about their comments.
1) The beliefs she teaches her children are her business. She has the right to set a standard for her child and the right to expect her child will follow that standard. 
2) Underage drinking is a crime. To allow your underage child to drink in your presences does much more than just break the “Aiding and abetting underage drinking law”.
Obviously, you are breaking a law by giving your child alcohol. However, you are teaching your child that respect for authority isn’t important. Also, you are acting as your child’s friend. Many parenting problems exist because parents attempt to be buddies with their child. 
My parents taught me and my siblings it wasn’t their job to be my friend but my parents. They told me you aren’t always going to like us, or won’t always agree with and understand why we do the things we do. 
Their job was to teach us boundaries. They taught us respect for authority, others and most importantly ourselves.
Parents have to be the guiding force in their children’s lives. They have to set boundaries and enforce  a sense of right and wrong. They should teach their children to follow the laws. 
The mother in the article felt that it was not in her child’s best interest to drink alcohol. She obviously did not buy into the mantra that teens will be teens. Some people give children a pass. They affirm that they are young and stupid so its a given they will experiment with all sorts of things. 
I simply do not buy it. To put it bluntly, that is a cop out and I don’t like it. When you make the statement “teens will be teens” you are alleviating any and all responsibility they have in the situation. Whether we are discussing sex, alcohol, or other potentially dangerous behavior we have to remember it is a behavior. A choice. The teen can decide whether they participate or not. 
I realize I described a Utopian society. In a perfect world teenagers would be submissive. 
There are a few things that parents can do that would reinforce that behavior in the hopes their child may be the one that says “No” to drinking underage, having sex, or partaking in drugs.
1) Be present in your child’s life. Sounds easy enough but you have to check in with your kid daily. Find out whats going on in their life. Who their friends are and where they are going. 
2) Be an example. Don’t recount your offenses to your children. The only thing they will understand is that dear o’le dad did that stuff and he is here to tell the tale. This won’t make you a hypocrite. It will help your children not make the mistakes you made.
3) Be persistent with disciplining your child. Start from a young age and make it clear that there are consequences for your actions.  
4) Give them input. Let them have a chance to voice their thoughts, opinions, and concerns. Let them have the ability to feel as if they are being heard. You are training them for adulthood. In adulthood you do get to “talk back”. Otherwise you are teaching your child to roll over. Let them logically formulate arguments so they aren’t drones just being told what to do
5) Always have a discussion about why the teenager cannot be involved in the behavior you have deemed undesirable. The one liner “because I said so” is often what can drive a child to be rebellious. If you talk with the teenager and give a reasonable explanation as to why they cannot do something they may respond better. 
Those that know me personally know that I do not have children. Uh-oh! I hope everything you just read hasn’t been just discounted. No, I do not have children. However, if and when I do the above list will reflect my beliefs on parenting. I understand that some of them may change as I grow but they are my current beliefs. 
I truly believe in accountability and responsibility. I believe everyone has to face the consequences for their actions. I believe when a rule has been set it should be followed. Especially those that are not unreasonable.
I fear in our culture we have turned to the belief that rules and regulations are optional. Many folks believe some rules are foolish so they shouldn’t have to follow them.
If that is the case, fine but do not be surprised when you are forced to face consequences.
I cannot understand folks who purposely infringe upon laws and the whine because they face punishment. 
Ultimately, I believe teenagers should respect their parents. It is irrelevant if they do not agree with the rules. Respect your parents and follow them. 
Personally, I did not drink underage. In fact, I have never consumed alcohol. I have no desire to. Believe me I have been asked a million times. When I was under twenty one it was because I was under the legal age to drink. Currently, I just have no desire to. Honestly it freaks people out and I’ve often thought about writing a blog about society and not drinking. Trust me, people react to a non-drinking person as they would a Bigfoot sighting. I still may write that blog.
My parent’s taught me to respect authority. Even if I did not agree with their rules I respected them. Mostly. I understood that they wanted what was best for me and were trying to save me heart ache. What they did for me the most though was teach me to be strong in my convictions. They instilled a strong sense of accountability and responsibility in me. I am glad I listened. 
This in itself is humbling. 
 

“Believe in yourselves. Dream. Try. Do good.” -Mr. Feeny

Millennials heaved a collective sigh of relief tonight. The long awaited spin-off of Boy Meets World premiered on the Disney channel tonight (June 27, 2014). Girl Meets World will chronicle the life of Riley Matthews (Rowan Blanchard) the daughter of Corey Matthews (Ben Savage) and Topanga Matthews (Danielle Fishel). 

This show will most likely breed nostalgia for anyone who grew up in the 1990s. It is beloved by an entire generation. When Disney announced that it was picked up for their network many people were nervous about this. No one knew what to expect. Some people didn’t have any expectations. I fell into the latter category. I was excited for the show but I did not have any expectations. I did not want to get my hopes up. My line of thinking was this could be really good or go oh so very badly. 

I think the pilot episode went very well. If this is a reflection of what the rest of season one is like I feel confident Disney made a wise decision. 

Here is my review of the pilot episode and the four aspects I liked most: (SPOILERS!)

The episode starts off with Riley (Rowan Blanchard) and Maya (Sabrina Carpenter) at the Matthews’ New York apartment in Riley’s bedroom. They are discussing sneaking out of the house to ride the subway. Riley is not allowed to ride the subways by herself. After all is she is only 12. However, Maya pressures her to do it anyway. They attempt to sneak out of her bedroom window and Corey foils their plot. He then gives her advise about the world and how she needs to make it her own. He has experienced the world and now it is her turn. 

This intro shapes the discussion for the first two points I observed while watching the pilot. 

1) The parents are not complete idiots. 

2) It is clear the show is about Riley meeting the world.

Too often when Disney decides to do a show the parent/parents are usually cast as completely helpless buffoons who couldn’t possibly managed without the help of their children. The dribble that is littered on the network now is only evidence to my point and this was a concern for many Millennials. However, tonight we saw that Corey and Topanga were caring and thoughtful to their daughters wants and needs. Riley expressed her concerns about becoming her own person in her world and they provided her with carefully considered advise based off of life experience. 

The second point I noticed while watching the pilot episode was that it is abundantly clear this show is about Riley Matthews. Corey even goes as far to say he has experienced the world and now it is Riley’s turn. Personally, I do not have a problem with this. I think many Millennial would have preferred we immediately found out what happened to all of our beloved characters but we were quickly reminded this show is about Riley and her world. Of course we will learn the fate of our favorite characters in due time. However, this show is about Riley Matthews and her friends. The over all theme of the episode was Riley learning to break away from everyone’s expectations and for her to forge her own path. 

The last two observations are probably my personal favorites. They are what ultimately gave me confidence in this episode and I hope the future of the series. Again, it is still too early to give full judgement on a series that is only one episode in. So I reserve a full opinion until I have seen more but I like what I see so far. 

3) Disney would ruin it. 

4) The show was heartwarming and funny.

I don’t think Millennials can reiterate the overwhelming concern they have/had for this show. Many times Disney misses the mark when it comes to the shows they push on their network. Personally I believe it started in the middle to late 2000s when their TV shows were about children trying to become famous. You didn’t see that with Lizzie McGuire, Even Stevens, That’s So Raven, or other shows in the early 2000s. However, the cast seem to hit the mark. Ben and Danielle’s chemistry has not seemed to have faded at all. Their relationship wasn’t a huge focus in the episode but it was still authentic and believable. Riley is the perfect combination of Topanga and Corey. She is studios and has a drive to be good. Corey’s heart is what separated him from others. He always had a strong sense of what right and wrong was. After all he is as dangerous as lime jello. Riley is a very believable daughter for the Matthews. 

Lastly, the show is heartfelt. There is a moment when Corey is disciplining Maya (Sabrina Carpenter) for setting off the fire sprinklers. She starts a rebellion against homework and in Corey’s words “takes things too far”. Corey and her discuss her home life and we find out that she starts the rebellion because she doesn’t have anyone at home to help her with homework. Later we find that Corey and Riley discuss being friends with Maya. He thinks Riley is the kind of person Maya needs in her life. They both balance each other out. Like Riley says “Maya will get me into trouble and I’ll always be there to get us out”. The friendship that is displayed is authentic. It is easily reminiscent of Corey and Shawn. Cory is quite the kidder. He provides much of the comedic relief. I found myself laughing at some of the jokes. They were not corny or over the top. They were good. 

While watching the pilot episode I did so with an open mind. I realized that this isn’t the same show as Boy Meets World. Its also unfair to expect to fall in love with it from episode one. We did not do that with Boy Meets World. Personally I fell in love with Boy Meets World with the episode where Corey learns about antisemitism. This is the episode where Corey bets his bike with Mr. Feeny. Corey has to have more students than on average pass the test at the end of the week. Its Mr. Feeny’s trick to get him to study. Eric dates a girl with a foreign decent and someone calls her an ugly name. This hits home for  Corey. He takes drastic measures in lecture and calls Shawn’s mother a name based off of her decent. Shawn does well on the test. I’m not sure why I liked this episode so much. Perhaps its because of my desire to treat every single person with equality no matter what but this was my “ah-ha” moment. I cannot wait until new viewers can have that with Girl Meets World. When that happens an entire new generation can grow with the same life lessons the generation before them did. 

There are tons of research on Millennials. Social scientists are attempting to dissect our beliefs and world views. Most likely they wish to know how to better market different things to us. However for many their ideologies were taught or reinforced by Boy Meets World.  If done right, Girl Meets World can do the same for the next generation. Life lessons can be taught. Conversations can be started and wholesome entertainment can be provided.

This in itself is humbling.