Sunday, August 28, 2011

Moving Day

Tomorrow is August 29th, which is the deadline I set for myself to launch the newly designed site for Home (if I hadn't set the deadline I may have procrastinated all the way into 2012). When I started this blog I had no idea how therapeutic it would become. Even more so, I never expected that anyone would stumble across my humble piece of internet real estate. The support I've received since last October has meant more to me than words can express.

Since today is "moving day" I thought I would go ahead and share the link to my new blog site. I've also included a few ways to make it easy to follow Home (if you'd like, and I sure hope you do).

Thanks for allowing me this outlet. I hope to see you over there.

Click on this link to follow me over to the new Home website.

*Note on using the above blogger link. You will need to use the following link on step Four:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A New Home

It's been a quiet four weeks over here on the blog. Since my last post I've taken some much needed time to reflect, revamp and reconnect. Some pretty interesting situations have developed in my life over the course of the last thirty days. Some good and some not so good. It has left me with plenty to share and much to look forward to.

I've also taken some much needed time to work on my blog. As result, I've come up with a some pretty exciting ideas, new features that I want to try out, and a whole new look. What does this mean for Home? In essence, all of my posts and our conversations will be relocated to a new website. So while all of our "belongings" will be the same, there will be a brand new address complete with new floors, ceilings, and walls. I guess you could say that I'm moving to a new Home.

If all goes well, the new website should be up and running by Monday morning. As soon as it's good to go I'll post the link on this site with information on how to follow me over to the new one. I sincerely hope to see you over there. Until then, perhaps you could visit my new facebook page to receive updates and participate in the blog in a whole new way.

I'm very excited about the new format and I can't wait for you to see it. It definitely feels a lot more like me, and isn't that what a home should truly feel like?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Minimum Requirements

I put in for a promotion at my job, but I won't get it. I know, I know… you don't have to tell me- that sounded very negative. But you have to believe me when I say that I'm a glass half full type of guy, really I am. I'm just telling you what normally happens in these types of situations. Let me try to explain without sounding too whiny (if I do, please forgive me, it's not my intention).

The promotion is for significantly more pay- as in everything I've ever wanted out of my life significant (enough income to support my family, debt paid off, fix some problems with the house- you get the picture). Because of the pay grade, the position requires a Bachelors degree- which I don't have. This is where it goes downhill. The promotion is one level above mine- which would make it my current position's supervisor Because it's been vacant for several months, I have been keeping up with a lot of the responsibilities. Granted, there is much more to the job than what I do to fill in, but the point is that I can do the work. I submitted my name because I believe I can do the job. I know I can.

When the HR department receives my resume, they will find listed under "education" that my one and only accomplishment is that I've obtained my GED. Let's face it, in most cases GED is perceived as a fancy way of saying you dropped out of school. I'm not saying that this is what I believe, and it certainly isn't true of my situation. I just don't feel as if my GED is a good representation of my efforts. I can't very well tell my employer that my GED is the result of hard work. I can't tell them that it wasn't for lack of a desire to learn that I didn't graduate high school or go on to college. I was just never allowed to go to school to begin with. I can't tell them that I am very determined to succeed at everything I do, and that for the first time in my life I truly believe that I can do anything I set my mind to. I can't tell them that I've studied on my own for many years trying to "catch up" and figure things out. I can't tell them that I haven't gone to college yet because my math skills are not up to par with entrance standards, despite my best efforts. If could, I would explain that most of my time has been devoted to working two jobs in an effort to pay off debt that I incurred as a teenager while I was trying to survive. I can't tell them that (unbeknownst to them) when they hired me I hadn't a clue how to turn on a computer, much less use it, that in just in a few short years I have absorbed a lifetime of skills simply by paying attention to my surroundings and watching how others operated them- so much so that now they consider me to be computer savvy. I can't tell them any of this. I can't tell them how bad it feels to work so hard for something only to fall drastically short on paper. When the HR department receives my resume, they will reject it, as they have in the past, based on the fact that I do not meet the minimum requirements.

Again, I know how negative this all sounds. Trust me when I say I consider myself to be a very lucky guy. I know how fortunate I am to be where I am today considering where I began. It's just difficult when you feel like you give so much of yourself, but it doesn't amount to anything good.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Brilliant Solution

Today I read an article that suggests a solution to childhood obesity by removing children from their home and placing them in foster care. I can't begin to say how much this article infuriates me. I realize that the study offers a plan that would promote other avenues to be explored prior to removing the child, but in my opinion this is still unacceptable.

When I was 14, I was taken from my home and placed in foster care- obviously for reasons other than obesity, although I was overweight. During my time in foster care I maintained a stable diet and was significantly more active than while I was at home. Over the course of nine months I managed to lose approximately 80 pounds. At the end of the nine months I was allowed to return home and never returned to state's custody again.

I am now 27, married, and consider myself to be a logical and well adjusted adult. Was I overweight when I entered foster care? Absolutely. Did I manage to lose the extra weight during my time in custody? You betcha'. But the lasting effects the nine months in foster care had on me has been more negative than positive. Sure, I met some good people along the way, but I also encountered a lot of bad people as well. In the years that followed my time in foster care, I frequently had nightmares that people would rip into my home to drag me away- and don't get me started on the labels people place on you. I was written off as a delinquent when I never did anything to be a ward of the state to begin with.

As a result of my experience, I have spent several years trying to come to terms with many things. It all came to a head two years ago when I became suicidal. Thankfully, I made it through that dark time in my life, but the statistics indicate that many do not.

My point is that this type of action would do more harm to otherwise "normal" children than it would do any good. To suggest that obese minors should be taken from their homes is a ridiculous notion- not a solution.


Today is somewhat of a national holiday… one not for jolly fat men or fluffy white rabbits. Rather, it is a day for evil to be conquered and good to prevail. It's a day that many (including myself) acknowledge as an end of an era. I'm not referring to some political agenda, or the war on terrorism, although we could use some good news right now. Instead, I'd like to recognize the efforts of Ms. J. K. Rowling and the world she so perfectly created in "Harry Potter".

There you have it, now you've seen me in all of my geekdom (or is it dorkism?). I couldn't let this day pass without writing something about it, now could I? While the final installment of the Harry Potter saga will most definitely induce celebratory-like reactions in some people (and some eye-rolling I'm sure), the truth of the matter is that it's all fiction folks. It doesn't matter if Harry beats Voldem… he who must not be named, or vice versa. In the end, the credits will roll and we'll all go home- thirty bucks lighter I might add. So what's all the fuss about?

I love a good story. Even more so, I love a good book. In my opinion, the written word is far more powerful than any recorded image, hands down. I can't begin to imagine what my life would be like without this simple joy. Just the other day my brother-in-law, who is fourteen, saw me holding a book and made the comment, "I'm glad I don't like to read". This type of attitude seems to be common among the younger generation and it disheartens me.

Now, I realize reading is akin to having a hobby; some people work on cars, some tend to a garden, others read. What I don't understand is the negative connotation associated with books and literature. I know that most people don't wish to read everything they can get their hands on, but at the same time, I feel as if we shouldn't be able to count the number of books we've read during our lifetime on one hand.

While on the subject of reading I would like to take the opportunity to share some interesting (but disheartening) facts:

  • The U.S. Department of Education reading tests for the last 30 years show boys scoring worse than girls in every age group, every year.
  • Eighth grade boys are 50 percent more likely to be held back than girls.
  • Two-thirds of Special Education Students in high school are boys.
  • Overall college enrollment is higher for girls than boys.

I found the above statistics (along with many more) at website for an organization called "Guys Read". Guys Read is an outreach to try to engage boys in reading. Statistics show that boys do not read as much as girls do. In fact, reading is something that boys associate as a female activity. Now, I must say that I did not receive this memo when I was a young boy, because I loved to read, and still do. However, I can attest to the fact that boys and men alike will absolutely refuse to do something if it is considered "girlish". The Guys Read program is a grassroots movement to get men to engage the boys in their communities to pick up a book and get lost in a story. This program caught my attention because I truly believe that reading saved my life. During my childhood, reading a book was my only connection to the outside world. Because I was not allowed to attend school, reading taught me things that nothing else could have. No matter how bad things got in real life, an immediate escape was only one page-turn away.

The Guys Read program has been successfully implemented in schools and libraries throughout the country. I have only recently begun to work with our local chapter, but I think it is a program worth looking into: Guys Read

To sum it all up, it's my personal belief that reading makes good use of an imagination… and a good imagination is a powerful tool.

In just a few short hours I will watch the final installment of the Harry Potter movies unfold on the big screen (of course I already know how it ends- I've read the book). The story will do little for my reality, except to provide a good solid two hours of escape. Perhaps when I return from Hogwarts I will have visions of my own, and my imagination will be ready to venture into the realms of "what if"… perhaps. I'll just have to wait and see. So until then, to Harry and Ms. Rowling, literacy, and imagination... I raise my glass.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

P.S. I Hate You

Do you ever feel like creating and destroying something all in the same moment? I do. Have you ever blacked out when the feeling to destroy something overtook your entire being to the point you can't remember what you've done? I have. Are you afraid of these emotions? I am.

I'm afraid it means the anger that lives inside my parents also lives inside of me. I'm afraid that whatever went wrong with them has the ability to do so with me. People tell me that I wouldn't hurt a fly. For them, it's almost laughable to even consider the possibility. I wonder how they would feel if they could really see what went on inside my head. If they could only hear my thoughts, or feel the sudden hatred. I wonder if they would laugh then.

It's as if there's a well of emotion buried deep within me, just waiting to be set free. When it does, it has the power to completely take over. I broke a door out of anger once, but I don't remember doing it. Afterwards, Renee found me several streets over in our neighborhood, but I don't recall ever leaving the house. Is this the type of emotion that sent my parents spiraling out of control?

Renee often reminds me how easily I become upset over small things. She has told me that I hold grudges against people who have done nothing wrong. In my eyes it is perfectly acceptable to dislike certain people. I suppose I am a little passionate in my dislike, but I never viewed it as anger. Does this mean that I have anger issues to work through? Obviously I do.

I don't know that I'm ready for an "anger management" type of setting, and I don't want to go back to therapy. I want to do this for my marriage, but I'm not ready to talk about my past on that type of level. I feel that I would only slide back down into a well of depression. I've climbed out of that hole once. I'm not sure if I could do it again. It's hard to tell yourself that your going to poke a sleeping dragon for no reason other than to confront it. I just want to let it sleep.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Of Races, Flat Tires and Rain

Last Monday, on July 4th, I participated in the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta. The Peachtree Road Race is considered the nation's largest 10k, and an Atlanta tradition, so it goes without saying that the energy was literally bouncing off the roads. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my sister Rachel was by my side every step of the way. For this reason, I'm very proud of her. It was not an easy feat. Because of everything my parents did to her, she lives each day in constant pain. I think when something bad happens (like what happened to my sister) those who watch from afar want to see the judicial system hand out a judgement that fully vindicates the victim. Unfortunately, many people who have been abused, like Rachel, go about their lives with a lasting physical reminder of what happened to them, once upon a time. This is a reality that most people would like to forget.
I have watched my sister accomplish many amazing things, but I've also seen where she pushes herself too hard. So much, in fact, she is rendered immobile, her body searing with pain from injuries inflicted years ago. Because of this, I had to make sure to take it slow for her sake. She is a full fledged survivor and does not often let anything get in her way, including her own health.
The first three miles of the race were smooth sailing. The following two miles were for the most part on an incline. These were the hardest for Rachel and we took breaks often. Not because she wanted to, but because I made her. I didn't favor the idea of her ending up like a few of the others we'd passed who'd fainted and were surrounded by medical staff.
By the time we crossed the finish line, it had occurred to me more than once how it was very symbolic to be running a 10k on Independence Day, accomplishing something hard in honor of freedom. It seemed very symbolic of our journey together as brother and sister. Together we had fought to break free and although it hadn't been easy, we'd made it. One year ago, I set a goal for myself that I would run a 10k. Although I don't believe it will be my last, I can now proudly cross it off my bucket list.
Later that day, on our drive over to Atlanta'a Centennial Olympic Park, our back tire blew out on the the rain. Thirty minutes and one spare tire later, we were sitting on the grassy lawn staring up into a rainy sky to view the firework display. So what if our tire blew out? So what if we were soaked and cold? We had the freedom to celebrate together as a family, a freedom that we'd fought hard for. Independence doesn't mean getting everything that you want, it means fighting for all you've got and enjoying the moments together. As long as you remember to do that, no amount of flat tires or rain could ever take it away.