Tag Archives: Reflection

“The Greatest in the World”

“Last name greatest, first name ever…” but when it comes to living in this country, we rarely, if ever, used to ask – but at what cost?

Unpopular opinion: the United States isn’t the greatest country in the world, nor do we, as citizens have the most freedoms of all the countries in the world. So unless you go by the United States definition of “Great,” we aren’t the “Greatest” we’re just the most powerful, and the most likely to defend our ego and our position as the most powerful, at any cost. That said, why am I coming at my country’s throat today? Easy, because this week another state, South Dakota, has passed a bill banning transgender athletes from participating in school sports. But I’m not upset for the reason most people would assume.

“Let the kids play”

So when it comes to the transgender athletes in sports I have no stake in the game. As a cis gender female myself, I obviously cannot speak on behalf of the trans experience… but neither can cis male legislature! And yet they continue to do so. And personally, I think that’s wrong.

Look, as someone who grew up playing sports, someone who lost a incredibly large part of her identity when she walked away and aged out of sports, and someone who genuinely believes and supports the ideals only taught and learned in organized sports – I can completely understand why lawmakers and coaches and athletes want to continue to compete on a level playing field. But the problem they are addressing isn’t genetic advantage, the problem isn’t what genitalia the participant has. It’s bigotry. And it’s transphobia and they are simply hiding behind false platitudes and the fact that trans people aren’t a represented and they aren’t a part of the conversation.

So Rachel, are you saying you think men should be able to play women’s sports? No. But I’d also argue that most male lax players (for example) wouldn’t want to play women’s lax because it’s a much slower and very different game.

But trans women are… They’re women. So they aren’t men playing women’s sports, they’re women playing women’s sports.

But don’t they have different bone structure that would give them a clear advantage? Maybe? I mean there are women in different countries born with different builds that give them a clear, genetic, advantage – so the issue wouldn’t be bone structure or body type it would be estrogen/testosterone levels, and sports test for that when athletes reach a certain level. I mean there are even cases where women who had too much testosterone were not allowed to compete because of it. Truth is, there are exceptions to every rule. So if your best argument is the age old – men are stronger, faster, etc. than women… then I’d just suggest you open a book, because even if the fastest woman in the world is slower than the fastest man, odds are she is still stronger and faster than quite a few men.

Ok… but what about women who want to play mens sports? If that sport isn’t accessible to them, yes. That’s what title 9 is for. But if you meant to ask, can trans men play mens sports? Yes, let the men who train and qualify for that level of play, play the mens league sports.

So this is just some feminist bs? Not at all. It’s debunking the idea that men and women are trying to cross boundaries when it comes to playing sports, because all this legislation says is that they don’t accept trans men and women are men and women and thus it’s not about sports it’s about transphobia. And at the end of the day it’s not about what we as cis people believe or don’t believe. It’s about respect – and not just for our fellow man. But for the game as well.

Show your work

I am going to say this once and I’m going to say this loud. If you don’t understand someone’s experience, and you haven’t made every attempt to within the bounds of your existence to walk a mile in their shoes — You have no right whatsoever to make decisions on their behalf.

There’s no grand plot to indoctrinate your kids to the queer or trans “agenda” there’s no law that says – if we give them more, we get less. Or if “they” compete, we will lose. And from my perspective, people don’t transition so they can get a leg up, they don’t transition to be olympians – they do it to finally and for the first time in their lives have the world see them in a way they have always seen themselves. And I’m sorry if anyone disagrees with that — but frankly, it’s not about YOU.

RESPECT – the basics

If you don’t have a uterus, you can’t understand the cost of carrying or birthing a child let alone the decision whether or not to terminate.

If you are not trans and have never spoken to someone who is, how can you begin to understand what decisions they might want to make, let lone now incredibly difficult that journey toward becoming their true selves actually was.

Are you religious? Don’t apply your theological interpretations to someone who follows a different faith. And if you don’t believe in God – don’t invalidate someone who does.

Are you straight? Then why do you spend so much time thinking about how wrong it is that someone might be gay, and why assume that their love for another person is different than yours? Or that your faith will condemn them, when they may believe in something entirely different. Stop looking at love from a purely sexual lens because news flash. There’s more to relationships than who and how frequently you sleep with someone. And stop pushing your beliefs at someone who has developed their own.

Understanding nuances

Look, I know that this is a polarizing topic. I know that my opinions are probably unpopular ones. But I’m not being unreasonable by wishing for a world that allows people to freely represent themselves as a genuine part of the conversation.

I’d love to believe that everyone could live and coexist with one another, I’d love to believe that this country wasn’t built on the blood of immigrants and the bones of natives AS WELL AS the backs of people who fought for our freedoms in various capacities. I’d love to believe that we could all simply respect each other and that people could believe in all people being created equal. But I know that’s not true. So I can’t be surprised that this is happening. And why be mad when it’s not happening to me? Well that much is simple. It’s not about me – it’s about keeping those whom it does concern out of the conversation because frankly, no one should decide who gets to be heard and who gets silenced. And if the United States was actually the greatest country in the world. Maybe we’d do a better job at acting like it.

For the Decade

Years, months, days
Hours, minutes, seconds  
 The years have come and gone
 People have done the same
 Become dust to dust
 A bittersweet taste in the air
But what can i say?
What would I give for the rewind button?
 Would I want to live through the teenage wasteland?
 What about the wonder years, decadent daydreaming at my desks? 
The kid has grown up but doesn't want to be lost within the world of man.
 I can not say I got here alone
 Arm and arms locked 
 Men gone and done, hidden in the clock
 I set you down, lay to rest
 For years are to come, it’s for the best.  
Now i sit and watch the clocks, waiting for a regeneration.
The regeneration i have felt before
although this one feels different,
i can feel the butterflies in my gut
i guess things will be new this time.
So before i go,
For the decade I say to you
 Goodbye, farewell, amen
 Good riddance, get out!, good bye
 For the decade I say cheers, but you need to pay the tab.  

I Don’t Think I’m Doing It Right.

You get a moment in time to think about your next action, your next words.

Hear the clock ticking or is that your heart running the Boston Marathon?

For a brief moment you feel as everything stops and all eyes are on you, either in distain or in belief.

Then everything goes black;

Times up! Whats your call?

i feel like when i get in something too deep when i have to be the lead, the person everyone looks to, i always feel like I’m fucking up. i feel that I’m not saying the right words or doing the right things. Even when i have the training and i go over the protocols in my head, i feel as if i fall flat on my face when i try to execute such actions.

I always feel like i’m not doing what i need to right.

i have never felt a time in recent history where i have felt confident in my actions and words and can’t stop the metaphorical train from running off the tracks. Maybe its the pressure getting to me, or the anxiety of letting down people who believe in me, the ones that really make me a better person, or maybe i just don’t want to lose the stable adulting “footing” i have for the first time in my young adult life. i like to think we the people who serve others in leadership roles suffer from the split decisions that stick in our minds and control a tangle like bind on our heart strings. We worry about the decisions we make and the words that make it to our lips because we are young and don’t want to suffer from a mis step that can make us lose our slim, finger tip grasp on what we dreamed we would be in our lives. There will be times where the pressure of making the right call or walking the proverbial line will get to us and we will need a moment here or there to decompress and to process the world and its ways. I can tell you from experience what comes of that can be many things and ways that a human can process things, not to mention that, in my case, there are sleepless nights based solely on a decision or something i said and me trying to get out of my head and into bed.

Thats kinda why this is being written at 1:07 AM on a Thursday morning because i cant sleep quite yet in my own apartment.

The reality is, we will always need to lie in our beds that we make at the end of the day. The thoughts may race through our heads and our heart rates will fly but we need to put it aside as best we can for the next issue, the next big tongue tie. Life’s dogmas and doctrines state that the past is the past but we must either learn from it or remain hurt by it. The best we can do for ourselves is to take a breath, try and talk it out with someone and just gear up for whatever comes our ways next while learning from our experiences. Life is not designed to be a wading pool, life is a fast pace river and we just need to be ready for where the current takes us next.

After all, even if we are not feeling like we are doing our jobs or responsibilities right, we are still trying to do good in this world.

I Hate Being the Nice Guy

It’s all fun and games until you get burnt.

Its not a hard concept to be a nice guy. You do the right thing, try not to let anyone down, and do things for the greater good. A nice guy extends his arm out every time and does what they can to make sure someone can succeed with the rest of the world. There are sometimes when the hand that feeds gets bitten and the nice guy finishes last. In my opinion, i try to get back to the root of why i help people and even when i get burnt in helping someone i still try to come back to my core beliefs.

But what happens when someone gets burnt a little too much?

This is what happens when you’re too much of a nice guy, you get tired of people walking over you. You get annoyed when you’ve done so much for a person and they cant appreciate the things you’ve done; a real “What have you done for me lately?” kinda mindset. You boil over and when you say something you look like the bad guy, the person that gave everything doesn’t get the credit they deserve. It poisons the mind and eats at the soul until you are consumed with the false reality that you were never good in the first place. But thats not true, you’ve just reach a compelling point in your where you are giving up the poison.

i finally reach a point where i realized i cant be the nice guy i have been for a long time. For the first time in a long time i cant play the guy who gives a lot to get a little, who worries about something out of my reach. Its making me lose my mind, and i’m sick and tired of not getting much out of anything. I hate the feeling that people do not see me doing good that i have always strived for and when i step away from my normality of being generous to them, trying to rest, they complain about how i never do anything for them. I give them everything on a silver platter and they complain about the shine.

Its about time i focus on being a nice guy to myself for the long run of things. i don’t want to walk away from helping people entirely but i see that i am not gaining what i thought i would by putting others first, so maybe its time i put the metaphorical book of others needs on the shelf and read a new story. It looks like for a while its gonna be a reflective time for myself to try and be selfish for once in my life and i mean in a good way. Its gonna take time to become adjusted to this new philosophy but hey i got my entire life to figure out myself.

I’m starting at the top of my list with the company i keep. The people i need to stay away from in my case are the ones who ask and really never give anything in return that makes me be a better human in the short life we have. i do not want to put all of myself out to help when they do not defend me in my times of need. But this is no eye . for eye my friends. Its just a simple yet complex action They got to go, it might be awkward at first but i gotta think whats best for me in the end. In the reverse sense i will uncover those who really make me better; at my job, as a person, as a family member, and in the general sense of the term. By stripping away the layers of things that take away from what makes me, me i find the real core of myself. The original layer so to speak.

If you’re in my boat i think you’ll find the first thing on your list may be different from mine and thats ok. To be a selfish person means not to give anything back to hold everything in for yourself. What we are doing is refining what we give and what we get, checking our source of joy and other things that makes us who we are as particular generous, nice people. By doing this we will lose things and people but thats ok, things like this happen naturally but since we are causing the purge so to speak it feels like we are doing it not out of self care but self hate and it looks worse to the people and things we choose to walk away from. They will think the worse of us and remember nothing but the bad even if we help them at their darkest hour. Do not think too much into this and remember that this will change things but you’ll be better on the other side.

Peace & Blessings My Friends

A Gift in Vinyl

As everyone does from time to time, we clean out our attics, closets, and forgotten areas to make room for new things and our places are not over flooded with things we never needed in the first place. Yet we always find things in these places that just cant be let go because they have a little bit of magic of olden days and people we never forget. Maybe its a shirt, a photo, a ring or its a random stuffed animal you haven’t played since you were five.

For me, Its my nana’s vinyl collection.

This past Christmas season, my parents cleaned out our attic which had so many things from my nana’s old home. Since her passing in the bone chill of January 2002 we have had her stuff in a corner of our attic, away from view. We put it away as far as we could for both my dad and myself. The sting was still hurting. Many years had passed and we have slowly dug through the possessions of photos jewelry and other worldly possessions. Since these were new to me yet had a memory for others, slowly and carefully i began to ask my father what they meant and uncovering my family as slowly as they discovered the Pharaoh’s tombs so long ago. I always ask questions about who they were because of how little to no time i had with them, feeling as if they were of mythical stories and legendary tales you would see in novels.

My grandparents were of the Irish immigrants who arrived in the great depression looking for a better life from the Irish troubles of that time. They worked hard and made a good life for myself, a second generation immigrant. I always hear stories of them from my father and some kinda make me say “Ok now i know where i get it from” like my stubbornness is from my grandfather who would sit on hours outside his house in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston blasting his horn if his parking spot was taken by a neighbor, or part of my compassion and caring comes from my nana who even at age 80 plus would never forget to have a plate of my favorite cookies ready for my visit. These stories and now the newly rediscovered vinyl records finally connect me to people i never got the true privilege of meeting.

What the vinyl records mean to me, is everything. Its the glimpse i get into who they are and what they loved in life. These simple vinyls i got to have showcase things i never thought of. With all the music of their home in Donegal Ireland, it seems as if they were home sick yet they felt rewarded with their sacrifice to come here. All the times my grandparents were told “No Irish Need Apply” and found the worst jobs to make the money to find a meal and all the times they saw college degrees and marriages and a grandchild, made it worth something. They embraced Americana and her dreams of success while never forgetting their Irish love and where they came from, something i try to embrace when i think of what they gave up to let me live a successful life. We all have that one person or people in our lives that started from nothing yet we have everything that they never had and it just makes their work all the sweeter.

As i write this post, i have one of their records playing in the background of my one bedroom apartment, getting me misty eyed every other song. I missed them everyday, especially after these 17 years, these records to me seem to be a gift stowed away for safe keeping until i needed them. A gift in time. In a world where we sometimes forget where we come from or who have gone on to the great beyond, this is something to remember them by. These records of Ireland dreams seem to give myself a reinvigorated sense of identity. Not just the Irishman i know i have in my blood, but what being me means. My anger, my patience, my love, my flaws everything comes together because of these simple songs that they played decades ago on a small disc to console them yet remind them of who they were.

Photo by Steven Hylands on Pexels.com

So as i listen to these records i say to my ancestors:

Mo aingeal Tá súil agam go bhfuair tú síocháin.

Oh, What a Year!

As 2018 only has about a few days left and 2019 can now be seen on the horizon, humanity begins a sort of reflection period. We are entering a phase where we look back on the events that shaped 2018 into a year that no one has seen in recent history. We celebrate our success, mourn our losses, and count our blessings as 2018 comes to an end and we skid right into 2019. Now is the time to look back on what we have done during this year and see where our journey in life has taken us so far. I think when we begin to look back, we really start to ask the hard questions to ourselves.

Did i do everything that i wanted this year? What went wrong for me this year? How could i lose contact with him/her? Could i have avoided that heartbreak? Why Was i ever friends with them? Was i a good person? Could  i have done more?

i say we should step back from the questions and be more pensive as 2019 comes around the corner. We should reflect from where we began our journey almost 365 days ago to where we have stopped so to speak for the time being. You have never been so different in your life, why not enjoy the reflection for once? You have created  so many changes and either good or bad, they are what made the 2018 version of you so special

i hear on many occasions people talking about whether they had a good or bad year.  Now, there are good moments of the years where everything is going well and are luck would even make us consider that we won the lottery in life. Then there are the parts of the years where we could not catch our breath, where nothing broke our way and we are down on our luck. i like to think its not a matter of good or bad, more of how we recovered from the valleys to the peaks of the year. These influxes happen, its just a part of life. What happens when we are in the valleys of the year create the greatest peaks in the successes of the year.

What i consider the best part of December is that you get the time to reflect on all these things. You get to enjoy a toast to your successes that have created the best moments. We  are able to take a moment an remember all the bad times, the very bad terrible times we had in the year. We can remember the people we lost to the times and remember why we loved them so much. Each year, you pay a toll to go through the year, you might as well enjoy what you have paid for.

During this time of reflection, i hope you get to enjoy all your successes and learn from your failures. Be happy with your loved ones around you and remember those who have left us. If this was a good year, i hope you ride that wave of success again and if this wasn’t your year just know that every New Years Eve everything gets reset you start fresh like a regeneration. You never know, maybe this is the year everything comes together.

So as we enjoy the few days left of 2018, lets raise our glasses in hope of a happy and healthy 2019. 

I cant wait to see what is in store for us.

A Good Man

A Good Man goes through life with no expectation of rewards or praise for the things they find should be common. They do not want the pomp and circumstance that comes with the deeds they do because its not what they were put on this Earth to do. They were not put on this earth to take medals and prizes, they are here for the people and progress of humanity.  A good man does everything for someone or something else, dedicating his values to the needs and desires of those he serves in what ever way that he finds serves the many. No matter the days, the hours, or service, a good man is always there for his people.

It seems today, i see less and less good men in this world. Too many spotlights pointed on people who don’t need them, too many awards for people who only served themselves. Too much stolen glory that the good men didn’t want, yet deserved, be given to the lackluster members of humanity. These are not good men of whom i write about.

Its not a sin for a good man to take some credit in some instances, its not a sin for a good many to accept some of the glory that comes with life. Its a sin when you don’t attempt to recognize their efforts of being a good man once in a while. Even if its minimal, its something for us to give back to them.

This past weekend, it was veterans day.

flight sky sunset men
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A day where we honor those men, and women, for their service in the armed forces of our land and for our people. This day, is our way of saying thank you.  These good men and women never asked for praise, glory, or medals. They signed up to serve there nation without complaint, without thought, but with all the sacrifice. From the greatest generation, to Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf Wars and everything in between, they didn’t sign up to fight wars, they signed up to protect us from enemies foreign and domestic.

They signed up to be Patriots.

My entire family served, from Dad and all the way up. Navy and Army. Two legendary branches. There was a time even when for Christmas and thanksgiving that there was always one Gill deployed, the holidays weren’t complete. But they were and are good men. My father is a good man. He helps where he can, teaches when he can, and loves no matter what. He never asks for praise, never takes the glory of extra money when he provides for others, and he never asks for anything in return. A good man you see. Although he will never read this, my navy boy dad will be one of my examples of what it means to be a good man in these days where i can not seem to find people like this anymore. I have known great men.

In addition to veterans day, it is also a day of sorrow. Its a day where i remember another good man. Today is a day where a good man got called home.

Now, i don’t say much to outsiders about Brother Oxx simply because remembering hurts too much, it stings the fingertips as i write these words down on digital paper. He was a man who could command a room of testosterone fueled high school boys with a simple look. Not many people earn the respect like that in a lifetime.  He was the one in our darkest hours, both as a community and our personal matters, whom we looked up to and asked for guidance when we could not see ahead of ourselves. He, one of the best men i have ever known. Unfortunately, time waits for no man. No matter how good he or she is.

Br Oxx passed away almost six years ago on November 12th 2012. Not a day goes by without me missing him in some way.

In recent years, i find myself stumbling upon  asking a question that pops in my head.

“Am i a Good Man? “

i always ask myself what makes me good in the eyes of the world, especially with so much to live up to, especially after these great men i have in my life. i sometimes feel as if i can not compare to them and that i don’t measure up. I feel as if i can not contribute to what is already good in this world. Even tho i am told by people that i am kind in a world of hate and i am caring in times where it is overlooked, i feel i do not do enough to be a good man. I know to measuring a mans worth is never a good idea, but i like to know my worth is, so i can see that i am on the right path, the good path, to becoming a better man.

But these men that i have known, who have set an example for myself and all those who come after them, i hope they have an express ticket to heaven, for they have done well in life and deserve so much.

For they, in my eyes, are good men

and in the darkest of times,

good men shall always rise.

You Can’t Help Everyone.

“Everyone is just waiting to be saved.”

I like to think that when someone is struggling, many would jump at the chance to step up and help them out. We feel like a hero, a great savior to the issue. Whenever in the future someone would need you, their first choice is yo without a doubt. This is what you would dream about.

It doesn’t always happen like this

Some will just be to far gone for you to do anything that can make a change noticeable, at least noticeable to you.

You should not feel as if the world is on your shoulders to play doctor, marriage counselor, or adviser to people who are in trouble or are suffering from something or someone. No one is Atlas, you can’t keep the sky from crashing into the world. The weight will push you into the ground, no matter how strong your stance is to hold the world up, and put you into the same position as those you are trying to help. Nullifying the rhyme and reason of your efforts. Its one of the hardest things to do, realizing you cant help everyone, but its a fact of life that needs to be taught. Even to those with the biggest hearts.

I never like letting people down, never have never will. 

What i had to learn the hard way is that you really cant help everyone. It is just too high of a bar to reach. By trying to help everyone you give up so much of yourself that sometimes cant be recognizable. I remember looking into the mirror one morning and i look at a shell of  a man that i once was. My hair was falling out, i looked like i gain 40 years and i wasn’t myself. What was i becoming? i was becoming drained of what i loved to do and it soon didn’t interest me, being the one that reaches out to help, anymore.  I realized that my stance wasn’t strong, my arms began to fault me, and i could hold the weight of the world on my shoulders anymore.  It began to hurt everything.

The realization of not being able to help everyone sucks. There will be times where you will have to be forced to watch your friends suffer. That’s ok, that is what this world is about.  Its what you do after o help them recover. This is not a story of giving up, its a story of how not to give in. Of course you should still reach out to help someone, of course you can play counselor, whats not ok is to go in it alone. You need back up, you need people who will pick you up when your stance fails you and your arms begin to become tired, and someone to help carry parts of the world on your shoulders with you. We get good people in this world who has your back, you might as well help them carry your load. In turn when they need help with their stance, their arms; you’ll be there to help carry part of their world off their shoulders.

Is that not that the best part of being human?