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Trying to figure out what is next.

Time is running out for me. I may be off of here for a little while come May, unless I can figure out a way to pay for rent, and have a job that will let me continue to stay where I am living. I am very frustrated right now, and certainly not very courageous. It is a challenge for me to find balance right now. Sleeping is minimized because I cannot shut off my overactive imagination. My thoughts run constantly and keep popping like little kernels of popcorn. I am trying to learn how to eat clean, and reduce my red meat intake. As a heavy man, I do not want to stay this way. I have heard it said that, “if you don’t like something about yourself, change it.” There is a lot I want to change.

One of the first things I have to do to get back on track is set a regular bed time, shut everything off, and try to clear mine enough to sleep. Usually going to sleep is not the problem, it is staying asleep. Lately, car alarms going off at 4am and disturbing my sleep have affected me, as has the Harley Davidson that thrums through the parking lot early in the morning. There are almost always some sort of extraneous noises happening outside my window. I could use a break. As for eating, I need to make a menu and stick to it. I am already cutting myself off of soda pop, and other sugary drinks. And it is more than eating and sleeping. I am totally sick of being tired and depressed, feeling useless or helpless at times. Just because I am unemployed does not mean I cannot be proactive with my time, and energy.

In between not having money for gas, laundry or buying food, and doing my job searches, I can go walking.  Walking somehow releases endorphins and is supposed to make you feel better. I am supposed to walk 10,000 steps per day ( I am at a third of that right now because of sciatic pain,) and I do the best I can. Any day where I do more than the previous day is a good day for walking and cardio exercise. When you deal with chronic pain-that invisible pain that many are quick to judge you on because you look like there is nothing wrong, yet,hurt in every fiber of your being-some days it is next to impossible to move around or get out of bed. Because of this, I try to walk and do my best so that in spite of the pain, I do not lose my mobility.

I am learning that I need to take better care of myself, even though my life feels like it is crumbling before me, and forcing me to wonder if I will survive this ordeal. Lately, I have felt down about things because I feel like life is passing me by, and I do not know how to escape the sand trap I have been ensnared. Right now it is just recognizing what I want to do, where I want to go, and how am I going to get there (regarding my goals). Right now, life seems complicated and I need to minimize or let things go. I am at the point in my life where experiences matter more than things. Simple is more.  Joy is more than temporary happiness.

I want to travel, have a good paying career, and enjoy life a little more. It is one reason I am going to be spending less time on Facebook, and focus more on real life experiences. It is kind of like the realization Bruce Willis’s character has about life in the movie Surrogates. After the loss of his surrogate, Willis’s character is forced to live in the world in his real body, vulnerable and able to be hurt. What happens when we wake up OR see life with new perspective. Pixar’s movie Wall-E is a great commentary for how life in America is becoming or could be. I do not want to end up like the unfit people in those chairs. I am aware now, and I am going to change.

Lately, I have been watching videos-maybe too many. But videos like Fast Food Nation, Forks Over Knives, and other Documentaries about Food have made me reevaluate how and what I eat. I do not want to alarm anyone with these clips, but some of it is graphic. I have been eating meat most of my life. I have had cause to reconsider for health reasons. I still like chicken, turkey, fish, pork, and beef. I do not know if I can commit to becoming vegan, but I could gradually become more of a vegetarian. I already do not eat much meat except for chicken two or three times a week. What I really want to change is the amount of processed food I eat, which is frighteningly a lot. I love potato chips, my love handles can vouch for this habit. I am not going to make excuses for myself. My friend Gabriel has recently told me that if I really want to try and live longer, that I need to change the way I think about life, things, food, relationships, etc. But, the food habit is probably going to be one habit that will require discipline, as well as getting out and walking every day.

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What’s your story?

We all have stories. Our lives are a story where each page is written by the choices that we make. Some of our choices are good, and some not so good. Some stories are shorter than others, and some stories read like an epic fantasy. Some stories are well written and have a good ending. Other stories may not be crafted so well, and are sometimes left unfinished. Some stories are written in madness, and some with passion. Sometimes those stories are just a big mystery. Some stories help others grow, and sometimes they are deeply spiritual or philosophical. Regardless of the story, our own stories, no matter how vast or complex all revolve around our decisions and creativity. In one of my favorite television shows, Doctor Who,  The 11th Doctor shares this thought (actually written by Steven Moffat) “…We’re all stories, in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?” This notion shared by the fictional character The Doctor, has often spoken to me. I revisit the episode on my Blu-ray  often.

There have been other moments either in television or movies that have spoken to me over time. These are things I identify with, and remember. When I have felt lonely, I remember Doctor Who in any of his regenerations. I also think of my namesake, whom I was named after, Captain Kirk. I think of the relationships that Kirk, Bones and Spock had. Other times, it’s the young dreamer, Luke Skywalker wanting to escape to the stars each time he went out to look at the twin suns. Sometimes it was teachable moments with Obi-Wan Kenobi or Yoda,  in the Star Wars movies. Believable characters inspire people in real, everyday moments. Sometimes in fiction their is a hint of truth. As Obi-Wan Kenobi said in a recent episode of Star Wars Rebels to Ezra Bridger, “The Truth is often what we make of it.”

Sometimes, there are other characters that help me through tough moments, either providing a little sarcasm and humor or a swift kick in the pants to get me motivated. Right now, the chapters in my life are pages that I wish I could re-write. There are certainly many pages that do not make sense to me, and there are most definitely very difficult moments to my story, and must remain private for now. Perhaps, as my story has had time to enfold, I might just see moments where a revision might be appropriate. It think the point I want to share is, however you live  your life, do the best in all that you can and make every moment count. You are going to have times when life does not make sense, or you might feel despair. Always know that there is hope. You are the captain of your fate as the famous poem “Invictus” cites. These are just my thoughts. I know that my future is guided by my faith. I just wanted to share some of the things that have been with me on this journey. I know, in spite of my circumstances, the source of my hope and strength is always with me. Though I talked a lot about fiction, my faith in Christ is not, and if you want to know Christ too, please follow the link.

 

Commitments

I went to see my therapist on Thursday as I have been for the last two years. I originally began going to him to help me with coping with grief, and handling the continued stress that I was feeling. In our discussion, he told me that I am afraid of making a commitment, in which I replied, ” I do not like the word commitment, as it is like a promise or a pledge and I will not make one knowing that I may not be able to keep it.” I am not afraid of commitment, because I have been committed to many things through out my life, and in recent moments, too. I was committed to my job I maintained for 3 1/2 years, and when I was a student I was committed to attending class and being on time, doing my best in everything. I have been committed to paying my rent, knowing that it is a priority, and I have been committed to seeing my doctor  regularly in hopes that I would receive the help I need to deal with my grief and stress. This is not the first time he has mentioned commitment to me, and I feel that each time he brings up this word which I dislike so much, it makes me angry. For me, I have been taught  to let my “yes” be yes, and my “no” be no, and if I give my word to do something I keep it. However, I do not like to be emotionally maneuvered or manipulated. I know that I am committed in the things I am doing like looking for a job, because I am not often lazy. I struggle to deal with the rejections and balancing my time, but I am committed to pursuing my goals.

I feel like I am watching my whole world crumble. In some ways I felt that my doctor crossed a boundary with me. I left his office not saying another word because he made me so angry. Maybe I just do not understand the importance of why he is always bringing up the word “commitment” with me?  I told him to drop it. It has seriously made me reconsider whether or not I really need to see a therapist anymore. Usually, one who is going to get help dealing with emotional stress and anxieties, should not feel stressed about having to go to an appointment each week. I want to look forward to seeing my doctor for help, but, lately, I have not wanted to go to my appointments, and have actually dreaded going, and I went anyhow. I am trying to decide if I want to continue going to my doctor or just take a break. For me, I have felt burnt out.  Each week I go to different doctor appointments as well as seeing my therapist. I am thankful to have been receiving the help I have been given. Yet, I do not feel like things are progressing forward. It could just be that I want to move forward without being told something I already know that which I must do. Often, when one makes a commitment, a person is making a pledge to follow through with a decision even at great expense or inconvenience to reach an attainable goal. I felt like he was jabbing me. I know that sometimes I am guilty of being defensive, especially if I have trouble what the other person is trying to communicate with me. My doctor did say I could tell him, “I am not ready to make a commitment,” and he would respect that, but why bother asking me if I am in need of making a commitment? You can make all of the commitments you want, (and without divulging too much of my personal life) without clear opportunities to actively pursue those commitments that lead to success makes things more difficult. I feel like I am doing what I can to pursue my goals.

The depression that I have felt has been a direct result of the disappointments, discouragement, and negative feedback I have received from others during this long and drawn out time of loneliness. I am not looking for pity. I am just struggling, and sometimes I feel a little despondent.  I have felt like giving up on my searches, but I need to find a job, and not let rejection affect me or keep me from finding something that is safe, secure, and having a career that I will be happy doing. I have to learn to filter out the extraneous and diverting thoughts from others voices telling me what I should be doing. I am going to meet my goals. One of the things I have learned is to be patient, be determined, do not give up and expect change in order to see new results. I also have learned to remove that which does not work or produce results that are positive for me. The only way forward is to not look back. I am committed to doing what I must to find a job, and understand that I will have to sacrifice more to reach my goals.

 

Friday Night Music Playlist No. 5

1988 was a good year for music. Much of what I enjoyed listening to stems from the early to late 80s synth-rock or new wave. I have always loved music that is keyboard rich, full of bass lines and wild vocals. Creativity in music has not ceased, but I think musicians today are not as good as some of the bands and vocalists I listened to in peak of my young life. If you had only a handful of bands or vocalists you could listen to today, who would you listen to with your headphones and your feet up, just relaxing? I cannot say that with much of the music that is played today. I think I understand the concept of generational gaps now, and I guess it is why I do not listen to music on the radio as much anymore. In some ways, I am just one of those weird people you take no notice of until you hear the music I play, and then ask what am I listening to (usually on my iPhone). Lately, I have been listening to the likes of Oingo Boingo (if you want to know more click here.) and the music of Danny Elfman. It is like comfort food for the ears.

I am not sure how this entry will pan out. As tired as I am right now, I want to post music that is energetic and fun. I will likely only post a few songs tonight, but they will be songs that are important to me, or songs that I have recently discovered and have come to really enjoy hearing. There is nothing like an energetic beat to help recharge you and get your groove going. Since I have nothing better to do this strange and weird Friday night let’s take a look at some music. Thank you for joining me.

Oingo Boingo was prominent in the 1980s,  Only a Lad was first released in 1980, but I did not hear this album until almost 1985 or 1986, and that is when we still had vinyl LPs and cassettes. I think I bought this on cassette at Music+, just before audio CDs became the norm for listening to music. The song “Only a Lad is probably one of my favorite songs as is “Who Do You Want To Be.” I have my friend Steve Ebert to thank for letting me first listen to Oingo Boingo. He was my camp counselor and cabin mate at the church camp (Thousand Pines Outdoor Christian Camp) we were going to at the time. As we were on the bus going up to Crestline, California, Steve let me hear some songs on his Walkman.

It is funny. Today we listen to most of our music on MP3 devices or iPods or our cell phones.
I made 2 AA batteries stretch back then if I could. And, if the cassette tape wore out or got tangled in my Walkman, I learned quickly how to fix the tape with a pencil or pen, something foreign to most people under 30 years of age today.

Other songs that later quickly became favorites for me wereDead Man’s Party”,” Just Another Day, and “Nothing to Fear (But Fear Itself)“. Although this band of musicians had a unique sound that easily identifiable, and popular, I think Oingo Boingo might have also been a cross between Pop Rock and Ska. I think I can easily say that it is because of Oingo Boingo that I really came to like the later compositions of Danny Elfman. Care to guess which one of his movies he scored is one of my favorites? He composed for Pee Wee Herman’s Big Adventure, but that is not it. He composed The Nightmare Before Christmas, and that is on my list of favorites, too, but not it still. He composed Batman and Batman Returns and Spider-man. He has a signature sound, one I have come to revere almost as much as John Williams of Star Wars notoriety.  I would have to say Batman Returns was my favorite, and there are many memories still linked to this film score.

Oingo Boingo is emphatically worth listening to and buying their music. If I recommend songs or albums, I have or have had many of these albums or songs in my life. I want to say that even though there are links to check out the songs, please consider going to your music store or iTunes to purchase the music. For any of my past blogs where I have shared songs, this goes for them too. Support good music. I give Oingo Boingo a hang ten because two thumbs up is simply not enough.

The Doctor.

The Doctor. By K.McConnell

I’m a Time Lord
In a time machine.
It’s bigger
On the inside.
The universe is my playground,
Want
to go
for a
ride?
Sometimes, she speaks to me,
This big
blue box
I travel along
inside.
She sings and hums
A wonderful melody.
There is no place
We cannot go-
Only when.
Time
is
Often
Fickle.
And, the rub is,
I am almost certain
That I lose my mind.
But,
That is only
After I transform,
And find
I am not the same man
I used to be.
Eleven of me there have been,
I am twelve.
My sonic screwdriver
Gets me through
Most everything (except maybe wood?)
Psychic paper lets me pass.
A companion at my side helps me to remember,
Time is wibbly, wobbly,
And, time is relative
In dimension in space
In this blue box,
This beautiful, beautiful blue box-
I call it the T.A.R.D.I.S..

© 2014 rev.©2017 @kimcconnell

Sue Nimble, a poem.

I first wrote the draft to this in 2013 when I was taking a poetry class at Chaffey College. I have since had time to think and have only made a few revisions. This is the kind of poem that is best read aloud, the way I like them.

Sue Nimble by K. McConnell

Sue Nimble Thimble
Rimble, Dimble, Dimble.
Do you always dance in the street?
Your slender legs
And pretty wavy arms
Woo me away with your glittery charms.

Sue Nimble Thimble
Rimble, Dimble, Dimble.
Do you always read a book
By the old plum tree?
The Fruit is sweet,
And it always makes you think-
Rimble, Dimble, Dink.

Sue Nimble Thimble
Rimble, Dimble, Dee.
Do you always wear out your tennis shoes?

You would too,
If you had just walked
A mile in someone else’s shoes?

©2013, rev.©2017 @kimcconnell

A poem about Iron Chef.

Iron Chef by K. McConnell

Master of your skill
Made of iron
And culinary will
You endure each challenge
With each knife of resourcefulness.
A secret ingredient
Before you is revealed,
There’s not too much time
To cook the meal.
Work quickly.
Work calmly.
Keep your wits about you.
The clock is ticking loudly.
The cameras are in your face.
It’s time to show the judges
You mean business,
That you are the champ
In Kitchen Stadium.
Don’t mess up the soup,
Or make the dessert too sweet.
Serve the main dish
After the clock has stopped.
Give the judges a smile,
It will all be worth it,
When they make you Iron Chef
And you went
The extra mile.

© 2017 @kimcconnell