Rebel With a Cause

A journey into personal development

Worry with Change

Today I am feeling worried about the future. I feel like everything should just be okay, and I will be alright as soon as I move out of my living situation. The members of my house, quite literally, hate me. I can’t say that I had no part in this, because I have my own responsibility for the current relationships with my flatmates.

I had forgotten how difficult it is to live with others who don’t hold any respect for you as an individual. I don’t have any ties with my housemates. The closest that I have to a friend in the house is someone who would never consider sticking out his neck for me. He’s clearly not someone who I would call a “real” friend. He acts cool around me, and we can connect in a meaningful manner one on one. However, the moment the group context comes into play, he will immediately “target” me verbally to fit in with the rest of the group.

The bright side of this is that a new chapter in my life is about to begin. I’m moving out of this house in early December. I am enrolled in Moorpark College, and I will be taking on a full course load during January. My family is willing to support me through this, which, I can say, is the most fantastic news that I have heard in the last year. They are buying me a used vehicle in the next week, and they are going to pay rent for an apartment (provided that I have a roommate).

I can’t express to my family how grateful I am to have their support economically. The problem I’ve always had is that whenever we discuss things related to money it becomes for me to connect with them on an emotional level. I miss them.

I’m cautious as well, because it signifies something very important. There is no turning back. I’m leaving my childhood behind me and heading out into the world as an adult. My Mom isn’t going to be around to tell me to do my homework, I won’t be living in a structured environment, and my success is going to be up to me.

I won’t be alone in this journey. I have some of the best support from role models that a person in my time of life could hope for. School will be hard work, but it will be far from a struggle. I won’t have student loans to worry about, I won’t have to support myself through College, and I have the best people to help me. It’s time for me to hit the ground running without hesitation. Good night, everyone.
You will be hearing from me soon.
-Derek

P.S. My last cigarette was 10/14/11(20 days ago!)

I’d hire him

Head held high:

I’m tired, hungry, and my feet hurt. I’m at the bus stop for the orange line which will take me within a half mile of my house.
At 10Am I was going to attend a hike in Calabasas with over 50 people there. I started riding the metro at 8:36 to arrive on time. I got through the first length of the journey and then something went horribly wrong, and the bus that was supposed to take me there didn’t stop there. The next bus didn’t come soon enough for me to arrive on time for the hike! I thought back to my expectation about the day that I had created last night.
Last night as I was falling asleep I told myself “tomorrow” I will have fun. I’m not going to lie, I did a bit of talking to myself at this point. I knew I wasn’t going to let down that expectation so I plotted a new route on my phone and headed off towards west hills expecting a little two-hour hike. I stepped onto the trail and headed up the mountains following wherever my feet took me.
After reaching that point in the picture I decided it was time to go back. So I followed what I thought was a loop back the way I entered from.
As it turns out, the different unlabeled trails are kind of like a corn maze. You could swear you knew exactly where you were going, and then an instant later you realize you really have no idea where you are. Meanwhile I’m running very low on water, my cellphone has “sketchy reception”, and I’m receiving a sunburn despite my SPF 40. My face is obscured by my bright red bandanna, my favorite pair of sunglasses, and my new hat.
I emerged at the nearest path to the street and guess where I showed up: Calabasas.
Things didn’t pan out the way I had planned today. I hadn’t planned on hiking for long distances without water; I hadn’t planned on the bus system being so iffy; and I hadn’t planned on missing the group hike. At the same time I’m not at all dissatisfied and I plan on going for a longer exploration in the same area. I had fun despite the fun being by myself, and fun is all I asked for today.
-Derek

Grief

Today I am going to speak from the heart. I wish I could say that I always spoke from a place of peaceful vulnerability, but to say that would be a lie. 100% authenticity is the goal, and everything else in-between is the journey.

I’m worrying myself. I have my whole future in front of me. All I know is what I generally want to do in life: help people. I’ve always wanted to “be of service”, and empathy has been a strong suite of mine since a young age. I care so much that I can carry around guilt.

My cousin committed suicide six months ago. He was 16 years old and had been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. I still wonder if I could have done more. Sometimes I blame his Mother, his Father, or my family tree. I’ve always done my best to help him when I was around. The last time I saw him I was on a family camping trip. I made sure to include him and to spend as much time with him “one-on-one” as I could. He was a good kid with a sweet soul. He was just born into unfortunate circumstances. I know that blaming my family is just a ruse. I take a lot of blame on myself. If I hadn’t been screwing up my life in such a selfish way then, maybe, I could have visited more. I could have been a role model instead of a cautionary tale. Now I’ll never get that chance.

I’m just grateful for the time that I had with him, and I’m saddened I wasn’t able to attend his funeral(believe me, that was not by choice). Tears rolled down my cheeks and fell onto my keyboard as I wrote this piece. This is the first time that I’ve really processed these emotions of grief.

This is not how I had planned for this post to be written. Sometimes I lose sight of what I’m really writing for. I don’t do it for sympathy, money, or fame. I don’t have any of these and I would be surprised if I ever attained them through this blog. I blog because I want to change the way I view the world so that I can help others change the way they view their’s.

Eternally Yours -
Rebel With a Cause

Unrealistic Expectations

“Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management, which is perhaps the most important ingredient to living a happy, healthy and rewarding life.”
Marilu Henner

Expectations serve their purpose. I expect myself to do the things that I want in this world, to be productive, and to be happy. I expect myself to produce a certain quality of work and if it’s not up to par I rewrite it. These expectations serve a beneficial purpose of holding myself to a high standard.

However, there are a whole other set of expectations. These expectations are very deceptive and seem like legitimate goals. The majority of my unconscious expectations are set to derail me. I will often bite off more than I can chew. Why? I want to fail.

Failure is safe. I’ve had lots of failure in my life and it’s the most “natural” way for my brain to run. For example, take what I said to my teacher on Monday.

“I will finish three of my writing assignments in my “Writing Essays” course, Today.” So what is that? Is that just me setting a goal, or is it me setting an expectation. It feels like a goal. I’m just telling my teacher that I am holding myself to a high standard and that I will work hard… Right?

If only that’s how it would happen. This statement, based on assumptions, turned into a complete blunder. My assumption that each assignment would take four hours was wrong. In fact, my first assignment took up my entire workday! So what did I do? I went home and did my very best to complete it. By the end of the night I made the choice to say, “fuck it”! I started to play video games instead. So, on day one of the week I fail to live up to my expectations, I become disappointed, and I give up. The only assignment that I finished last week was the one that I did on Monday.

This is my pattern academically. I set my expectation to high, I fail to achieve it, and then I give up.

High expectations, more often than not, are disappointing. The world does nothing to disappoint me, the world gives me back exactly what I put in. If I want the best out of this world I need the best of me. So that’s where the growth lies, in changing my expectations in order to allow them versatility. Goal: Complete one assignment per day. Expectations: To do my very best, and to not give up even if I fall behind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Friday

Dearest Friday,

I am so happy with the new-found relationship we have. I remember in the past when I looked forward to you because the weekend comes right after your 24 hour period comes and goes.

Now we’ve mended our relationship. Your association with weekends was all that I saw. Things are different now. I love you and all the joy you bring me on my day before the fun action of the weekend begins.

Derek

A case of the Mondays – A Retrospective

“Don’t worry guys, it’s legit. My face broke my fall.”

Dear Readers, I’m super tired from a long days of school work. Just thought I would leave this here! :D

Last night as I was long boarding home from Trader Joe’s. I had groceries on my back and headphones in my ears. I headed down a street I had not ridden on before. I was trying a new way home. All was going well as I bumbled upon at a slow pace. I look at my phone for a moment, put it away, and then…. BAM. I “eat it” on an unexpected crack that was shrouded in the darkness of the night. I fell down head first, and I used my arm to take the brunt of the force. Sadly the right half of my face also took a little damage leaving my cheek, cheek bone, and ear with a thin layer of “road rash”

So that was the main event that led up to today. As you can Imagine I looked my best.

I am insecure about my lips.


Growth is in every moment

“When your are not growing you are dying”

Dear Readers,

Today I want to talk about growth and the many forms it comes in.

For me every moment I spend living is an opportunity for growth; when I am awake I am growing; when I am dreaming I am growing; when I am doing schoolwork I am growing; and when there is change I grow with it.

This past week much of my focus has been on growing in my academic life. I have finished up a course that has plagued me for some time and I am very proud of it. I got myself a 94% in the class for the first time since the sixth grade. I filled with delight! My hard work had not gone to waste. I am grateful to have a teacher in my life that is very good at what he does.
He knows the nuances of the English language inside and out.  While I could have skated on by with a lower grade and lower effort I chose to work hard and achieve high marks.

I am now in a new living situation which is, to say the least, very interesting. The group is a clique that I am not a part of and I am okay with that. I don’t beg for acceptance or buy my way in with gifts. For example this last week I had dialogue with one of the members of my house that went kind of like this,

“Hey! We should go to subway and get some food!” I said.

“I would man, but I don’t have any money” he said

“Well I would totally buy you some food, but I won’t” I said

While this seems harsh to me at least I know that in the past I would have showered him with things. I would have bought him a ten-dollar meal, a RockStar, and a pack of cigarettes.  All of this would have been a ploy for acceptance. Now I am a different man, I am my own man. I can and do choose to spend time with people whose company I enjoy more than the things they own.

This last week I spent some time socializing and meeting people through several meetup.com groups. Sure it has not gone all peaches and cream, and I have spent time with people who I don’t really mesh with at all. People who are simply not good at holding conversations, or are so old that we don’t connect on any common ground. However I experienced a great success with a hiking group in Griffith park. It was a nice little five-mile night hike and I met interesting people. They were a bit older than me, and despite this I was able to hold a

conversation with them for the whole two hours.

The man, Harold, and I even went out and ate noodles later on! He studied psychology and finance through Berkeley, and looked just like “Harold” from Harold and Kumar go to White Castle (Harold from the movie is on the left). We had read many of the same books, we discussed topics of similar interest, and had both lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. We were positive towards each other’s and genuinely interested in each others lives.

I’ve learned this lesson before on my day in San Francisco and it continuous to flow over to other parts of my life. This is what growth is really about. It’s about being aware during an experience, learning from that experience, and changing your life from that knowledge.

Thanks for stopping by!

I’ve seen better days

Today posed a great many challenges.

My day started out well. I chose to pull myself out of bed early enough to get a jump-start on the day. I paid a visit to one of my best anonymous resources I can say that my visit to her went exceptionally well. I updated her on my progress, we talked about holding boundaries, and other things relevant to my life. She shared with me that ignoring the critics can get you to amazing places. The last thing we discussed were expectations and where they lead for me.

I expect people to be different, environments to transform based upon my actions in them, things to happen on MY schedule. If life does not meet my terms, I throw a temper tantrum.

For example, tomorrow was my move date to a sober living environment. However I ignored the fact I was behind academically, and this put me in a place not right for the sober living. I chose to change my date of departure to the following week. However before this my expectation was to move before the end of the week. What happened when I didn’t get what I expected? My spirits were crushed, I became irritable and angry, and I shifted blame to my environment. But what if I had the expectation of moving to sober living when the time is right for me?

Tomorrow mindfulness of expectations will be especially important. I have to meet with my guidance counselor, attend a job interview, and contact another employer about an opportunity. The situation can go anyway it would like, and as like as I keep my expectations in line, the outcome will always be positive.

-Derek

P.S.

If your just passing on by, I’d love for more email subscribers! You can find it in the upper right corner! Thanks!

My fantastic week: part 1

This last week has been a success story in my life.

I quit smoking cigarettes last week

I became honest with myself!

I flew from Burbank California to my home-county of Marin in Northern California!

I saw my one my best friends! We went to see the movie “Drive”

I explored San Francisco flying totally solo!

I spent a day at the beach with my Mom and Dad! There my Dad and I mastered the kelp whip, with only minor injuries to boot!

I drove up to Donner Lake with my Dad and arrived at our rental cabin

From there him and I hiked two intense hikes on consecutive days! I wore a 50 pound pack!

Right now I’m on a half empty flight from Sacramento to Burbank!

This week has been one of the best I can remember. While it contained great fun; it also contained a fantastic level of insight.
More to come tomorrow!

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