Don’t Let It Happen To You!


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Dear Readers,

I hope this post finds you and your family well, and  in a good place.

The New Year opened with grim news and mass hysteria for immigrants and minorities in America. I can only imagine the panic resonating among the refugees still waiting for their chance to come to America. A distraction was very much welcomed. For the entire month of January, I challenged myself to promote only positive and uplifting messages on social media, especially Facebook. Now, before the wheels start churning, my posts are generally positive; however, when I see instances of social injustices, discrimination in any form, police brutality etc, I will get out my soap box. The posts typically garner a bit of attention and discussion. Anyway, I digress, back to the matter at hand! Today, I want to share with you one of my favorite messages from the challenge. I guess it resonated with me because I’ve dedicated the rest of my life, however long that is, to ensuring it is full, in every way possible.

Take a look again at Anne’s message above. Does it urge you pursue the type of life you want to live, with wild, passionate, and fearless abandon? God, I hope so! I’m fully aware how ridiculously easy it is to get caught up in “doing stuff”; dreams are hard to chase, when we are furiously paddling beneath the surface, to stay above water. The timing isn’t convenient. My friends, it never is. As I have said before, one day, we will wake up, and realize there isn’t enough time to do all the things we wanted to do. Whatever your circumstances, and however this message reaches you, please don’t let this happen to you. Take steps, regardless of how small. Please, try not to get overwhelmed by the obstacles which persists on every step towards the destination. The only way you can fail, is if you fail to try. Focus on the journey instead, and how magical and glorious it can be.

I’m fast approaching my 6th anniversary as a blogger. Chindeepinlife will become a Blook; some of the most well liked, popular, and searched-for posts, will appear in its pages. The Blook is currently in the editing process, and it’s so difficult to choose! Watch this space. I remain grateful for you, my audience, for allowing me this platform, on which I’ve grown, thrived, and hopefully provided you succor in your time of need!

 

Until the next post,

 

Best,

 

Juan

Why We Marched


22march18-superjumboPhoto Credit : Nicole Cainer (NYT)

Two weeks ago yesterday, I was on my way to Manhattan to do some sightseeing. As I boarded the train, I remembered there was a Women’s March in DC, and cities all over the country. I hadn’t taken part in any marches for almost five years. I am ridiculously spontaneous, and thought to myself, “Is the activity I’m about to take part in, more important than what was happening all over the world today”? No! I wasn’t wearing a proper jacket, which would keep me warm outside for hours. The shoes I wore were another story. I would also be flying solo. As is my nature, I threw caution to the wind, and forged ahead anyway!

As the train headed deeper and deeper into Manhattan, it got VERY crowded. Pretty soon, everyone was rubbing elbows. My eyes met and held those of other women, obviously all heading to one central location or another. One of them smile widely at me, I smiled back. No words were needed. It was then I knew I was doing the right thing. I needed to catch another train to the destination I chose, Grand Central Station. The subway was literally crawling at a snail’s pace. To give you an idea, hundreds would move forward and board. Once the train took off, then another throng would do the same thing.  There wasn’t any pushing or shoving.Wash and repeat.

I cannot begin to describe the atmosphere of the city. As I exited Grand Central Station, I was greeted by the sight above. I joined the swarm of men, women, children, the elderly, all together for a common cause. Every few minutes, we would all chant the same things, after which a loud roar would start from the back of the crowd, and make its way to the front. There was literally no place to walk. The march was a crawl; we could only move every few minutes. I won’t forget January 21st, 2017.

The next day, social media was saturated with stories, and videos, of millions sharing their experiences. The march was held on every continent. Imagine that!! I found this rather beautiful and phenomenally written piece below.  The writer encapsulates all my thoughts and feelings on why I marched. I knew some of my more conservative friends were taken aback by my participation.  It’s too bad really. I’ve learned to live my truth. A few have posted about it being a waste of time etc. To them I say, please read the piece below, over and over, until it is fully understood:)

The battle goes on. There is a reason why I feel so content and happy working in Social Services. It’s where I belong. I absolutely LOVE this quote: “Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. The grave will supply plenty of time for silence” Christopher Hitchens.

“Say thank you. Say thank you to the women who gave you a voice. Say thank you to the women who were arrested and imprisoned and beaten and gassed for you to have a voice. Say thank you to the women who refused to back down, to the women who fought tirelessly to give you a voice. Say thank you to the women who put their lives on hold, who –lucky for you — did not have “better things to do” than to march and protest and rally for your voice. So you don’t feel like a “second class citizen.” So you get to feel “equal.”

Thank Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul for your right to vote.

Thank Elizabeth Stanton for your right to work.

Thank Maud Wood Park for your prenatal care and your identity outside of your husband.

Thank Rose Schneiderman for your humane working conditions.

Thank Eleanor Roosevelt and Molly Dewson for your ability to work in politics and affect policy.

Thank Margaret Sanger for your legal birth control.

Thank Carol Downer for your reproductive healthcare rights.

Thank Sarah Muller for your equal education.

Thank Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Shannon Turner, Gloria Steinem, Zelda Kingoff Nordlinger, Rosa Parks, Angela Davis, Malika Saada Saar, Wagatwe Wanjuki, Ida B. Wells, Malala Yousafzai. Thank your mother, your grandmother, your great-grandmother who did not have half of the rights you have now.

You can make your own choices, speak and be heard, vote, work, control your body, defend yourself, defend your family, because of the women who marched. You did nothing to earn those rights. You were born into those rights. You did nothing, but you reap the benefits of women, strong women, women who fought misogyny and pushed through patriarchy and fought for you. And you sit on your pedestal, a pedestal you are fortunate enough to have, and type. A keyboard warrior. A fighter for complacency. An acceptor of what you were given. A denier of facts. Wrapped up in your delusion of equality.

You are not equal. Even if you feel like you are. You still make less than a man for doing the same work. You make less as a CEO, as an athlete, as an actress, as a doctor. You make less in government, in the tech industry, in healthcare.

You still don’t have full rights over your own body. Men are still debating over your uterus. Over your prenatal care. Over your choices.

You still have to pay taxes for your basic sanitary needs.

You still have to carry mace when walking alone at night. You still have to prove to the court why you were drunk on the night you were raped. You still have to justify your behavior when a man forces himself on you.

You still don’t have paid (or even unpaid) maternity leave. You still have to go back to work while your body is broken. While you silently suffer from postpartum depression.

You still have to fight to breastfeed in public. You still have to prove to other women it’s your right to do so. You still offend others with your breasts.

You are still objectified. You are still catcalled. You are still sexualized. You are still told you’re too skinny or you’re too fat. You’re still told you’re too old or too young. You’re applauded when you “age gracefully.” You’re still told men age “better.” You’re still told to dress like a lady. You are still judged on your outfit instead of what’s in your head. What brand bag you have still matters more than your college degree.

You are still being abused by your husband, by your boyfriend. You’re still being murdered by your partners. Being beaten by your soulmate.

You are still worse off if you are a woman of colour, a gay woman, a transgender woman. You are still harassed, belittled, dehumanised.

Your daughters are still told they are beautiful before they are told they are smart. Your daughters are still told to behave even though “boys will be boys.” Your daughters are still told boys pull hair or pinch them because they like them.

You are not equal. Your daughters are not equal. You are still systemically oppressed.

Estonia allows parents to take up to three years of leave, fully paid for the first 435 days. United States has no policy requiring maternity leave.

Singapore’s women feel safe walking alone at night. American women do not.

New Zealand’s women have the smallest gender gap in wages, at 5.6%. United States’ pay gap is 20%.

Iceland has the highest number of women CEOs, at 44%. United States is at 4.0%.

The United States ranks at 45 for women’s equality. Behind Rwanda, Cuba, Philippines, Jamaica.

But I get it. You don’t want to admit it. You don’t want to be a victim. You think feminism is a dirty word. You think it’s not classy to fight for equality. You hate the word pussy. Unless of course you use it to call a man who isn’t up to your standard of manhood. You know the type of man that “allows” “his” woman to do whatever she damn well pleases. I get it. You believe feminists are emotional, irrational, unreasonable. Why aren’t women just satisfied with their lives, right? You get what you get and you don’t get upset, right?

I get it. You want to feel empowered. You don’t want to believe you’re oppressed. Because that would mean you are indeed a “second-class citizen.” You don’t want to feel like one. I get it. But don’t worry. I will walk for you. I will walk for your daughter. And your daughter’s daughter. And maybe you will still believe the world did not change. You will believe you’ve always had the rights you have today. And that’s okay. Because women who actually care and support other women don’t care what you think about them. They care about their future and the future of the women who come after them.

Open your eyes. Open them wide. Because I’m here to tell you, along with millions of other women that you are not equal. Our equality is an illusion. A feel-good sleight of hand. A trick of the mind. I’m sorry to tell you, but you are not equal. And neither are your daughters.

But don’t worry. We will walk for you. We will fight for you. We will stand up for you. And one day you will actually be equal, instead of just feeling like you are.” ~ Dina Leygerman, 2017

 Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

No Man Is Free….


A demonstrator protesting the shooting death of Alton Sterling is detained by law enforcement near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A demonstrator protesting the shooting death of Alton Sterling is detained by law enforcement near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Yesterday, in a city I called home for more than a decade, news outlets showed footage of a black man, lying on his back in the street, hands in the air. He was trying to explain to police, the situation unfolding around him. Police showed up, to investigate reports of a suicidal person with a “gun”, and saw a black Behavioral Therapist with his white autistic patient, who was holding a toy truck. He was out walking with his client. Despite the volatile situation, the therapist can be heard trying to calm his patient, to prevent the situation from becoming even more dangerous.

The autistic man is sitting on the ground, a few inches away from the black man. One cop discharged his firearm, and shot the black man in his leg, multiple times. Coincidentally, the one who “posed” a threat by holding the toy truck / which looked like a “gun” wasn’t harmed. The therapist was then handcuffed, and left bleeding on the sidewalk for more than 20 minutes, before being taken to the hospital. When the victim asked why he was shot, the cop allegedly responded “I don’t know”. Current mantra states; do as you’re told, keep your hands up, obey police orders, and you won’t get shot. The cop and his superior’s excuse? He was aiming for the “armed” autistic man, but missed. Mind you, the cop is a SWAT member. Laughable!

I cannot begin to write about the number of incidents of racial profiling in America. I’ve also watched reports of a few brave cops in NY, who have spoken out about the pressure to make arrests. All in the name of quotas.  It’s not uncommon for them to go into the vulnerable communities, and literally hunt for people to arrest. Cops know they can easily pull over a minority for a license plate infarction etc. It wouldn’t be right for me to write this post, without mentioning that Hispanics are also facing this issue, although, to much lesser extent.

Here are the FACTS: African Americans are 30% more likely to be pulled over than whites. After being pulled over, African Americans and Hispanics are three time more likely to be searched. In 2015, African Americans were shot by police at more than twice the rates of whites. They are also arrested at more than twice the rates of whites. They are 75% more likely to be charged with offenses, and sentences are 10% longer when arrested for the same crime. The list goes on.

In stark contrast, people have shared their experiences, and videos of what is considered white privilege. I’m equally astounded by the restraint showed by law enforcement when arresting a white person, in comparison to people of color. In one incident, a police pulled over a white motorist, and saw he had a shot-gun in his car. Nothing came of it. The police and the motorist, ended up having a long chat. He was sent on his way. No ticket, no arrest, no checking to see if he had a permit to carry his gun.

In the past few weeks, the televised brutal and horrific murder of Alton Sterling and Philande Castile, brought about huge demonstrations, and clashes with police. There have also been instances of multiple police officers getting shot and killed, by men who reportedly got tired of police killing black men. Using violence to fight violence never solves any problems. I also know not every police officer is crooked. There are good men with integrity risking their lives each day, for our safety.

I’m beyond horrified at the state the country is in. Men, women, children have fallen at the hands of police. I started sharing my feelings on Facebook, showing my support to end racism in the police force. I tend to stay away from political posts on social media.  I don’t waste time arguing about religion and politics. There is no need. I’m not sure if it was the culture shock of being absent from the country for more than six years, or being exposed to the graphic images of men dying, but I made my feelings known.

For the most part, some folks have been supportive. Others have stayed silent. Very silent. The same silent types have voiced their opinions on the killings of the police officers. Is one life more important or precious than the other? I can’t tell you how much this worries me. Maybe it shouldn’t. I mentally filed this observation away. If I dwell on it too much, it can develop into unwanted feelings. One uninformed and uneducated person, in another country, with no links or experience to the situation in America, decided she was offended by my status, and took to airing her views. A few have also stated that it isn’t happening in their country, so why protest. I need to take a closer look at my friends list! Obviously, they’re suffering from the #notinmybackyardsyndrome#

Race relations in America is a very emotive issue. Tensions have never been higher. Police have always killed black men. The only difference now, is that cameras are rolling. Anyone who denies that racism exists in America, and especially in the police force, is part of the problem, not the solution. Closet racists perhaps. It’s easy to recognize them, and their thinly disguised racist remarks, “Well, he should comply with orders”, “He had lengthy criminal record”. “Let’s wait for all the facts to come out”..

I’m in NY at this time. I’m not keen on driving (besides public transport isn’t too bad). I simply don’t want to give the police any opportunity to meet their quotas, or become another “driving while black” statistic. Multiple black women have died in police custody. I’m not saying this will happen to me, but the people who died didn’t think it would happen to them either. I’ve never really felt at home/settled in America, if I am honest. The current situation just adds to my growing unease. However, I find myself here now, and I will make the best of it.

I simply want to state here, as I’ve done on social media, that the world is watching. Racism has no place in the police force. It’s time for law enforcement to be held to a higher standard, and stop killing black and other minorities. We need a more thorough vetting and training process for policemen, including rigorous psychological assessments. The most powerful nation in the world, and this is the example we set.

I’ve been encouraged by people peacefully exercising their right to demonstrate against the obvious injustices facing minorities in America. Back in my beloved city of Bristol, crowds marched to show their support. I say thank you. For taking a stand and showing the rest of the world that you won’t stay silent. For doing more than lip service, as minorities are being slaughtered on America’s streets. I too, will find a march in my local area, and take part. If we don’t stand for something, we will fall for anything.

I’m not saying everyone should be out marching, or doing what they can to end racism in any form. I would never ask that of anyone. I often wonder though, if black cops were out systematically killing Caucasians, how would society handle this? Would we just stand by shake our heads, and helplessly mutter:” This isn’t right…Something needs to be done..Blah blah..”. I don’t think so.

MLK’s words ring through now, more than ever: “No man is free, until all men are free everywhere”.

Until the next post,

 

Best,

 

Juan.

#winning#


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Medal Given To Me

With the exception of a few places, I’ve always been commended for a job well done. Sometimes we go from job to job, until we find one that accepts our perfect mix of talents. I find that Welfare to Work is where I have found my niche. Perfect place to go out. Before self employment. I wish to share a recent experience, which has added to a year, shaping up to be one of the best I’ve ever had. A year, where I’ve finally figured out, what I was sent on earth to do.

First, when I lived in the USA, I worked as a Medical Assistant for more than 5 years. I left to study in the UK. I enjoyed that role immensely. Helping people live optimal healthy lives is a rewarding. Patients often expressed gratitude for the smallest allowances. The Christmas gifts were amazing too. Today, more than 5 years later, I stay in regular contact, with people who accompanied me on the incredible journey.

Last month, at the end of our usual monthly office meeting, I was pleased to be recognized as the Gold Medal Performance Quarterly Winner for the programme/department. We have two ongoing Welfare to Work programmes at work. The award recognize that I met and exceeded my targets. I help people overcome barriers to employment; get them back into work, and off benefits. There is great joy in hearing the words:” I found work”.

I have only been at my new role since late July, so to receive the award in September was amazing! To see your name in a company wide email which covers more than 70 offices, was one of the highlights of a year that has gone from bad, to absolutely phenomenal. The next month I received another email inviting me to London to take part in a Gold Performers Highlight meeting. I wasn’t able to attend, but the invitation alone was more than enough.

For years, I moved from job to job, for a myriad of reasons; boredom, lack of opportunity for growth, office politics, you name it. I moved on. I never once regretted my decision. On rare occasions, I would wonder why I was so restless, why I didn’t feel an ounce of guilt for moving on, before giving things a real effort. I left jobs after only a few months. I now know, it was because it felt like work.

I genuinely rejoice in my clients’ success and victories’, regardless of how small. When a client tells me they haven’t had a drink in three weeks, or after 30 years of drinking all day long, they have finally entered rehab, it’s a victory. For some, it could be finally having a CV for the first time in their lives, or learning how to turn on a PC, get off drugs, find any job, even with a criminal record..The list goes on.

I work with people who have incredible struggles. I hear it all day, every day. However, it never gets me down, not one bit. If anything, each day I’m reminded my life isn’t so bad, and more than ever, I want to do all that I can to help them. It’s a rather incredible place to be. After years of thinking I wouldn’t find a place/sector that would catch and hold my interest. I’ve finally arrived. Not a moment too soon.

 

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

June. Thank You.


177555282_640Photo courtesy Vimeo.com

Readers, I hope you are well. Have you ever had a month so wonderful, you’re not likely to forget it, for as long as you live? I hope so! For me, June was it. At first I thought it was a fluke, but when the incredible things just kept coming, I started to believe. The best month, I’ve had in a long time. Truth be told, my long-term memory is pretty good!

I didn’t forget to count my blessings and express gratitude. Just couldn’t. For, in recent times, I’ve been taken out to the watershed and back. I thrive on optimism, and would like to believe, the tide is finally starting to turn for me. I can only hope, June was the beginning of the exciting things I’ve waited for. Weeks later, I was still buzzing from all the wonderful gifts the universe brought my way.

So, what about June, that makes it so fantastic? Well, for starters, as the universe would have it, I made a significant change to an area of my life. From there on out, things just seem to come together. The fixed contract I was working on ended this month, which meant back into job hunting. During my first interview process, I interviewed for two jobs at the same company. I obviously made an impression, because I was given a choice as to which role, I should take! Nothing like this has ever happened to me before.

Professional accolades continued, as I helped to make history. Right before the contract ended, I attended the company’s AGM. My colleague and I were publicly recognized, for the work we’re doing in Bristol. Furthermore, we worked very hard, and no stone unturned, as we wanted to go out on a high.The result? When the numbers were tallied up, our manager found, that in comparison to the same quarter last year, and with more than twice the number of staff, sales increased by more than 50%.

Continuing with the good stuff, thanks to a government programme, I was finally able to sort out my student loans. This has always been a source of worry, one that would prevent me from accomplishing other goals. Imagine my relief! Onto the other dreams then! On the path to financial freedom, I enrolled on a course, that would help me set up and manage my own business. The fee I paid was a small fraction of the regular price. I also found a mobile phone plan for £13 pcm, in comparison to the £50-60 per month, I paid for the past two years. Increase credit offers also came my way.

I received free upgrades on my broadband and TV plan for six months. Discovered, that for me, metered electricity is the way to go. One day, I got a call from the NHS, offering to move my hospital appointment forward by months. A true godsend, as it takes ages to get one. Following on the heels of this, the appointment letter for the scan I needed, came in about two months later. All good things, when you depend on public health services.

I could go on and on! I must say, that I’m so chuffed with my decision to follow through with lookforthegood.  I honestly can’t wait for January 2016, God’s willing of course. I’m so very grateful and humbled. The rest of the year could go awry, but I will I will never forget June.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

STOP


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Stop Waiting For:

Friday. Summer. Until you have enough money. For someone to fall in love with you. For things to happen.The perfect time……..Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for it, and make the most of the moment you are in now.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

#lookforthegood#


#lookforthegood#

I am not one for making New Year’s resolutions. For a host of reasons. I figured, if there are improvements to be made; I can work on them, at any given time, throughout the year. While strolling through the park on New Year’s Day, I decided that 2015, will be the year, I start looking for the good. In people, and more so, in my own life. As often as I can. Every day. There are several projects, which, true to my nature, I am juggling at once. So, I hope I can keep at this, and turn it into a lifelong habit.

I have to remind myself to look for the good in everyone, often. I recognize this will be the most challenging bit of the exercise. Generally, (except for family, friends, and work) I dont look for anything. I mean, how often do we need to? We go about our daily lives, not a thought for the other person. We interact, and move on. Let me hasten to add, my friends and family, would tell you, I don’t automatically look for the bad. However, I know; I need to do a much better job, of seeking out the positive attributes in everyone, especially, when it would be so much easier to see otherwise.

As for the things in my own life; at the end of every day, I write short notes, about the things I experienced, the people who helped, etc, and place them in a jar. The photo above is the actual one I use. I started with white for January. Eventually, I will need to get a much larger, nicer model.

With so many grim images and stories, of terrible things happening in the world, I want to find another way to escape its brutality. One that is often very difficult to accept. The past few years have been rough. I am sure it is for the next person. This exercise, will offer peace and comfort, when I look around, and find dimness.

If I am blessed to be alive next year, I will open it on Jan 1st, and be reminded of all the wonderful things, and people, which made up 2015. It’s been a wonderful exercise, thus far. I find myself looking forward to writing the notes every day. WHY didn’t I do this sooner? I had to resist the temptation, to reread the slips of paper. Even though I just added them. I am sure, at some point I will, as the lure will be too great. It’s a good problem to have, isn’t it? 🙂

I will update you on this project throughout the year. Wish me well.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

No. You Cant.


Following up on my promise at the end of This Post, the need to Let Go of Trying to Change Others is a lesson I’ve learnt these past few years. Why has it taken years? Because some of us need to be taught the same things, over and over. Until we get it. We need to go through cleansing processes. To purify the soul, and open new paths to self fulfilment.The path to this place, has been one of tremendous trial, and sometimes suffering. Heavenly Father brought me to, and through it.

At my age, you would think I have been there. Done it. Got my sticker. Moved on. Not so. You fall into the habit of trying to fix people. Depending on the nature of the relationship, your entire life can easily be consumed with it. You plod on, totally oblivious to the pitfalls and dangers. The result? A bucket load of emotional angst and heartache, of unimaginable proportions. We waste precious time, only to us, in the moment, it isn’t wasted. We con ourselves into thinking, and believing, there is light at the end of the tunnel. In some instances, there is, but not the one you might think of.

Next year, I will be celebrating a huge milestone in my life. As this one slowly draws to a close. I can honestly say, with the utmost conviction, that you and I, cannot change people. We can’t, and we won’t. Sure, we can waste years, even lifetimes, deceiving ourselves into thinking we can. Perhaps,  if we show them more love, change ourselves, sacrifice, work tirelessly, pray harder, and every conceivable act, change will come. While, some progress might be visible, it won’t be the effectual and significant change we hoped for.

“People often change for two reasons: either you’ve learned enough that you want to change, or you’ve been hurt enough that you need to”. – Nishan Panwar. So what to do? Change yourself. Love yourself. Move on. Realise you deserve more. Accept the fact that, we teach people how to treat us. And what you put up with, is what will continue. The only person you can change is yourself, and once you realise this, you will be liberated.

Please know, when people show you who they really are, believe them. While you can’t change people, you must either accept them or let them go. Friends, if you haven’t gotten to this stage in life yet, be patient, you will. It simply means, there are more lessons for you to learn. You will have an epiphany. I promise you, it will be one of the most self actualising moments of your entire life.

Until then, go in love and light. Try your best to enjoy the journey. We only have one.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

I’m Losing It!


I follow Dr Kelly Flanagan’s blog Untangled. Good stuff. Apart from sharing the same career interests, he speaks with frankness. And honesty. I read Marriage Is For Losers with avid interest. Divorcées will recognize past mistakes. Married? Take mental notes. Single? Ponder habits and behaviors. After reading his post twice, I reflected on how we can lose in other situations. And still end up winning. More on that later.

We live in a viciously competitive world. Hundreds compete for the same job. Neighbors are trying desperately to keep up with the Jones’s. Before they refinance. In neighborhoods across America, people spend thousands trying to outshine each other with holiday decorations. Parents are entering toddlers (under 3) in beauty pageants. In the workplace the best and brightest (in most cases) get promoted. Sports injuries escalate during national championship games. Why? No one remembers second place. Or so we are led to believe. We live in a culture with an insatiable appetite for the best and brightest.  Helpless to satisfy this hunger for success, society literally chews up and spits out the weakest among us.

Marriage is for Losers made sense. Too much, TBH. Personally, I want to lose in a marriage. I also want someone who puts my needs first. And vice versa. Think about it. If two people stop caring about winning. And place their spouse/partner’s happiness above their own, can you imagine the outcome? Can you even begin to fathom the level of happiness, fulfillment, and joy the couple will experience? Let’s expand this to other close relationships. And to a lesser extent, to other people, and situations.

Back to losing it. The media is notorious for sensationalizing acts of kindness. Honesty. Pure human decency. Often with good reason. We care less and less about others, and more and more about ourselves. About winning. Being first. We can change this. We can be winners, while losing. How so? Simple acts of kindness when we have nothing to gain. Swallowing our pride. Admitting fault, no matter how painful. Stop caring so much about how we appear to others. Apologize even when we are right. Forgive quickly. Putting another person first. For once. But wait, these are “loser” scenarios! That’s just my point. Losing to win.

Yes, we will lose. Time. Resources. And energies needed improve our own lives. Pride. Or the last vestiges of it. Selfish tendencies and desires. The temptation to look the other way. The need to win all the time. On the flip side, in losing these things, we will gain a lot more. A greater sense of self. Inner peace and fulfillment. The satisfaction of knowing we put someone else first. Often, it’s in the process of losing ourselves, where we find ourselves.

Pay no attention to snickering wet blankets who tease us for “losing all the time”. Heck, we might even be accused of being a “goody two shoes”!When we sacrifice to enable the growth of another, we don’t lose, we win. When we forgive readily and easily. We win. When we stop caring about looking foolish in the presence of others. We don’t lose, we win. When we compete and lose, yet cheer the winners. We win. When you and I rebel against the notion that winning is everything. We don’t lose. We win. That no one remembers second place. We win. In our selfless efforts to make the world a better place. We don’t lose. We win.

I know this post will not resonate with everyone. We’re all on different levels of spiritual growth and maturity. What’s natural for one,is painful for others. Be patient. Take small steps. Sometimes the destination is more important than the journey. Imagine for a minute, how the small corner of our universe would change if we lost more than we gained. But we ended up winning anyway.

Until the next post, what are we ready to lose today?

Best,

Juan

#growingupwithoutafatherwhynow.


I grew up without a father.Yes.There I said it.What a monumental relief.Question is:why now? Why after more than three decades I would choose to reveal something so private. And utterly personal about myself.Why the intense need to keep it a secret to begin with. Millions have shared the same fate. Some incredibly famous.Barack Obama. Halle Berry. Alicia Keys .Mary J Blige. Pierce Brosnan.What makes my story different? Nothing. Actually. It is unique. In my experiences. And the personal struggles I had to overcome. The resulting attitudes and behaviors. No situation affects two people the same.

This information will come as a surprise to many. Especially to those who have known me for an eternity + 1 day. I’ve never talked about my father’s absence in my life.When conversations did center on fathers, I made one of three choices. Changed the subject. Remained quiet. Or removed myself from the group or person. For a long, long time, I was ashamed. To talk about it. I believed I was not good enough. For him to want me. Watch me grow up. Be a part of my life. Ashamed I did not have a father to brag about. While others raved. Ashamed I did not know who he was.

Details surrounding why I never knew him will not be shared in this forum. I have other people’s privacy to consider. People get hurt. My only wish is to finally lay this matter to rest. I don’t want to carry this secret anymore. Let alone guard it like a watchdog. More than anything, I want to discard this inexplicably heavy emotional baggage, I have carried my entire life. I have fought with myself about sharing this. There is rarely a good time to discuss uncomfortable issues. In the end, I realized putting it off any longer would stifle the growth I desperately need.

Opening up become a battle of wills.On one shoulder, the little red guy seductively whispered: “Think of how you will be perceived now. Do you really want to spill these beans? Let sleeping dogs lie. Now everyone will know. Some things should stay private. You are opening yourself to scrutiny. And hushed whispers. Don’t give people weapons to use against you. This changes everything. You know that, don’t you?”. On the other shoulder, stood an angel, jumping up and down vigorously. Arms flapping.He practically shouts: “You will be liberated. You have carried this baggage for decades. It has enslaved you. From place to place. Country to country. Relationship to relationship. Aren’t you tired of dragging it around? The time is now. Deal with this. Get it out. Heal. Move on. You have to do this. For yourself”. Well, the red fella has moved onto greener pastures. Or so he thinks!

Recently, Paul, a friend of mine, shared his personal struggle with depression. It was open. Honest. And raw. Not an easy thing to do. By any means. Yet he found his voice.Undoubtedly, readers were encouraged to look inside. Shortly after reading his post, the wheels started turning. Seeds were sown. They flourished. Took root. And bore fruit. And here I am. So thank you Paul, for setting the example.

The older I get, the more freedom I crave. I want to be unfettered. Unrestrained. To live my best life. Words fail to express the level of relief I feel, by letting this go. To let everyone know what holding onto this burden has done to me. I no longer feel like a fraud.  This blog provided the best medium for me. It’s not as if I could call up my friends and say “Guess what? For as long as you have known me, you don’t know I grew up without a father. I met him for the first time about a year ago”. Writing offers me a better, richer perspective. It’s cathartic. I also can’t shake the feeling something extraordinary is about to happen in my life. Time will tell.

I know by doing this, I am subjecting myself to judgment. Scrutiny. Tongue wagging. Second looks. Hushed whispers. Back tracking. A collection of held breaths releasing “Oohs”. TBH, I am not worried. If you have worn my shoes. You will understand. If only you could taste the salty tears of freedom, which flowed the moment I made the decision to unburden. To finally begin to make peace with the regrets. Over bad decisions. Harsh words. And hurtful actions. To face the world as a newer version of myself.

Future posts will revisit some of my childhood and adolescent experiences. How I dealt with the fact I might never be able to put a face to the name. Our first meeting. The way things are today. And my hope for the future. Some readers will relate to this and later posts. Others will not. Others will follow out of mere curiosity. Hopefully, my reflections on this issue will help someone. We all have dragons to slay. Battles to fight. May each of us dig deeper. Search our souls. And find ways to be happier. To be free of the invisible chains holding us captive. Once. And. For. All.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan