The Light of Day

So, I hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was good!  I spent mine laid out on my den floor with the stomach flu and bronchitis.  Still, it was a good time because I got to catch up on those important hours of sleep!  Still trying to recover though… ANYWAY…

I’m going to get all mushy for this one.  I’m not necessarily a fan of Jimmy Fallon but I saw this video on Facebook the other day about how his mother had passed.  I know that death is an inevitable part of life but these types of things hit pretty close to home for me.

I didn’t have the luxury of having a mom in the house.  Don’t worry.  It wasn’t because she was a drug addict or she had a streak of infidelity and ran off with another man.  I absolutely feel for the kids who get left in the wind on the fundamental premise that their parents didn’t want them.  I can personally vouch that we can be a handful and that you want to strangle us sometimes but that is either here nor there…

My mother died of ovarian cancer when I was a baby.  She didn’t get the chance to see me graduate, my first band concert, senior night during marching season, or any other of my personal highlights.  Some would argue that she was there in spirit but she wasn’t there in the way that I desperately needed her to be.

I don’t even have many memories of her.  Nothing but a vague impression and stories that my old man would tell… which is really the heart of this entry.  Not so much the fact that she is gone but the memories of her.  Or, even the memories of family and friends gone by that we find ourselves longing for in times of trial.  In those things we find life… we find meaning in the struggles, the ups and downs, the bitter sting of defeat and the exaltation of victory.

We search, everyday, for something tangible to make memories stand out and make them special.  Sometimes it’s who we are with, where we are, or even what we are doing.  But, it’s always something tangible… always something on which we can lay or hands.  Otherwise, it’s just an empty gesture that we engage in daily and take for granted.

It isn’t very often that we come face to face with the element that gives life.  It isn’t such a thing that we can buy in a store or find in our friends because we can’t lay hands on what makes one instance much more memorable than any others.  As people, we have the tendency to place value on things which we can place our hands and as a result, we find ourselves lacking something that we can determine as “real.”  Our interests lie in the results and not necessarily the means.

BUT…

There are times when we do come face to face with life and each time is a unique opportunity to make something special… to make memories that bring life back to us instead of it being a monument of days passed like we do now. 

We don’t know with whom, when, or where we may find this elusive thing but all of us know it when we recognize its presence and importance as a companion.

Or, in my personal instance, a storyteller and the path I’ve been been on has been long, tedious, and tiresome.

Occasionally, I’ll get my hand squeezed three times and it’s made it known that I’m in good company and know that I’m in the right place. 

Just like today… 

-Kevin

P.S:  Bumblebee can tell the story much better than I ever could and he actually inspired most of this.  Along with Mr. Fallon and Taylor Swift’s song “New Year’s Day.”

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10.11.2017 – Learning Curve

Here we go!

Shout out to my friend, Keegan F., for giving me one to lead off with for you readers.

Or, economics, government, and English for that matter. For the record, I failed English three times.

To say that I didn’t care was a massive understatement.

I don’t care what they would have said, I was bad.

There is no worst feeling than being told that you’re not wanted.
Some for the better. Some for the worse.

One experience that is unique and challenging, to be certain.


I’ve grown to appreciate these moments more and more.

Contact information is at the bottom of the page!

Peace of Mind

I will rarely express my political views about anything because I find them to be utterly useless in any social arena.  I find it equally useless to talk about social issues because ultimately the discussion breaks down into a left vs. right argument instead of a discussion that yields problem solving techniques and solutions.  But, today will be a little different.

First off, let me say this:  I don’t have all of the answers nor will I attempt to justify or articulate the reasons why for all of these things that are happening in America today.  However, I will say that as a child from a military family, a former athlete, and a man who has had to deal with some consequences of being a minority, I feel that I should speak on some of them.

1) Racism in America:  First off, let me define through a practical application of what racism is.  Racism is the isolation of an ethnic group by either denigrating single or multiple groups by another in an effort to improve the status of another.  For example, Adolf Hitler was a racist.  The KKK, at the time of their establishment, was racist.  You folks get the idea.

Part of the problem is that everyone in the NFL who is kneeling to activate themselves in the face of oppression isn’t helping their cause.  They’re actually being more divisive.  What these men don’t understand is that their objection is cultural and not legislative.  The problem isn’t the senseless killing.  The problem is that the protests are by men who embrace their heritage but don’t condone the negative images that it portrays.  You see these men mimicking the mannerisms and behaviors of their successful peers but don’t pay attention to what brings that success especially with regards to music.  Some of the elements include drugs, guns, violence, and the open resentment of authority.  Now, I understand that some of these people don’t have the luxury of living in an environment that don’t produce a better opportunity at a life where one doesn’t have to worry about things like that.  I totally get that.  But, those things don’t necessarily make you obligated to “be about that action” as Marshawn Lynch would say.  The sad thing is that if one wants a better life for themselves, they would be accused of “selling out.”  You can’t act the part and live the life and not expect to be treated as a degenerative influence.  Now, some of the shootings were bad.  I talked with a Canyon PD officer who shared his thoughts and opinions and I found myself to be in agreement.  His ethnic background is irrelevant as it compares to his objectivity within the situation.  He said that some were bad and some were justified.  I agreed with him.  It doesn’t mean I’m an “Uncle Tom.” It doesn’t mean that I’m an enemy of my race.  It means that I can’t sit here and condone the actions of people just because they refuse to be accountable for their individual actions or choices.  You can’t act a certain way that promotes antagonism and expect to be treated fairly.  Simply put, you get what you give.  If you offer a reason to be mistreated, the odds are you will be.  You can’t stand around and disrespect authority and seek a fair and just response.  Now, I get that this isn’t always the case but in my experience, I get treated much in the same way I treat them.

Finally, if you want to work towards a solution for racism, here’s one:  Work to end it across the board because black people wanting equal and fair treatment for themselves is inherently racist.  Equality isn’t something you can take from someone and add to yourself.  It isn’t a finite resource to be fought over and coveted.  History is replete with examples of people warring over such a thing only for the victor to be given more avenues to further subjugate and marginalize each other.  It’s unfortunate but as a people, we are incapable of demonstrating the necessary ability to not commit acts of ethnic patriotism, for lack of a better way to put it, against one another.
2) Protesting the Anthem:  As a military child, I will always support the American Flag and National Anthem.  This country we live in isn’t perfect but the total disrespect being shown by athletes during the ceremony is contemptible.  Men and women have died so you can sit there and demonstrate your discontent with the social climate.  You can express that all you like; however, there are places in this world where you would be executed for such things.  You have a problem?  Okay, power to you for offering a solution.  But, you’re not offering solutions.  You’re using your profession as a platform for political and social reform.  You’re being paid millions to play a game.  If you want to affect change, do it through affecting policy or the climate in your community.  You won’t do it through your demeanor at work because some people would rather fire you than have to deal with your personal circus in the workplace.  If you ever doubt that, you can ask Kaepernick, Terrell Owens, Greg Hardy, Ray Rice, or any other person who has red flags because of their personal behavior or politics.  Honoring your home, despite its flaws, speaks more about you than complaining about the injustices you do not suffer.  You don’t have to be a patriot.  Just don’t be a divisive influence because it makes your hypocrisy more evident when you protest and do nothing to promote positive changes. 

I get you don’t like the state of affairs.  Nobody is accusing you of being oblivious or ignorant of them.  What you are being accused of is being an idle force.  If you’re protesting, you can also be active in the community and use your voice productively.  If you’re not, you’re merely an inert element in a turbulent situation.  Which sadly translates to being a part of the problem by not being part of the solution.  Sorry athletes, you’re not doing much of anything unless you’re promoting change.  Donating money doesn’t mean you’re doing anything, either.  You gotta be in the field living out the kind of behavior you want others to show.

3) Trump’s Comments:  Oh boy, did he drop a bomb here.  But, his comments are indeed fair and here is why:  If any one of us walked into our workplace and started a movement that was clearly divisive and disruptive to the integrity and quality of the product, we would be fired for it.  Plain and simple.  The hitch here is that the players are ultimately accountable to the fans and the owners have a responsibility to the fans.  The players are entertainers with no podium other than Twitter and Facebook to express themselves.  Trump used his podium, as the elected head of this country, to express his thoughts as to the social climate of the U.S.  Calling them a “son of a bitch” wasn’t wise but he did raise a good point.  They want to agitate an already inflammatory situation without dealing with the consequences.  As a result, they are angry for him expressing his discontent with their actions.  For better or worse, Trump has to bear the consequences of what comes out of his mouth just like we do.  Unfortunately for him, the spotlight is a lot brighter for him than it is for an athlete.

His comment wasn’t racially motivated.  If anything, it was patriotic and in defense of the sacrifices the military makes daily to preserve the American way of life.  Or, at the very least, what we hope it one day can be.  Furthermore, any person who has a problem is welcome to go somewhere else.  There’s nothing saying they can’t go anywhere that is more amenable to their sensibilities.  But, since they would rather stay and voice their issues, it isn’t as big of a problem as they want to lead others to believe.  As evident as it is, keeping quiet just isn’t an acceptable option.  You can ask Dez Bryant about that. 
As always, these are my thoughts and opinions.  I welcome discussion and your thoughts.

Until next time…

Kevin

Dying Words

First things first, to anyone who reads this thing… Effective September 1, I’m going to post twice a week or at least try to for all of you.  So, look for that as I post pointed and not so pointed content in the coming months.  Now that I’ve said that… 
So, lately I’ve had this song stuck in my head.  What it is really isn’t important but the message is.  Seeing as how much we take it all for granted, it really is something that needs to be addressed.

What really spurned it all forward was that I was having a conversation with a woman on a dating site that which we are both subscribed.  She told me a story about how she was mistreated by her exes and that it’s alienated her and all that.  [For the record, I believe that physical abuse any relationship is unacceptable from either party.]  So, I asked her thoughts on the matter.  Before I get into that, I’ll put the cart before the horse.  My response illicit some pretty harsh comments from her.

Granted, I’ll take some heat for this and that’s fine but my point is strictly this:  I asked her whether or not she deserved what she got.  Both good and bad.  That’s when I got the onslaught of comments and insults.  [She didn’t hurt my feelings one bit, by the way.  But, it did go a long way for the sake of this entry.]

Now, a lot of the time we say things, we use them to either hurt or heal someone.  Words like regret, mistake, goodbye, hate, and a multitude of others are used to take shots at others.  We want them to hurt. We want them to fucking suffer!  Conversely, we will use words like joy, blessing, welcomed, and love to bring them healing.  We want them to heal.  We want them to be made whole!

Personally, anyone can say whatever they want to me or about me.  I don’t care an awful lot seeing as it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.  Sticks and stones, right? 


But, I’ll BE DAMNED if people flaunt the word deserve around.  Talk to me like the consequences of your choices in the past entitle something to you now and there may be an incident.  Call me an asshole.  Say I’m a piece of shit.  Hell, run me through a wood chipper for crying out loud.  Do whatever except sit here and tell me that I deserve what I get.  That anyone deserves what they get…  Especially when they think it’s owed to them because they want it.  Hell, I want a blonde haired, blue eyed, and well-endowed Australian woman who has the accent to match.  Doesn’t mean that who I am or what I’ve done merits me one.  It’d be my luck I settle down with a Canadian woman.  As long as she has legs that go up to there, naw’mean fellas???? I digress…

I guess the method to the madness is here is that I’m a firm proponent of the philosophy of “You get what you give.”  Nobody owes anyone anything and that work and effort are rewards and rewarded.  It chaps my ass to see people, men and women alike, who are critical of their situation because they don’t deserve it.  [Now, I’m also a believer that life is indeed fair and that situations regardless of what they may be are a result of many things.  None of which stem from entitlement.]  Consequences aren’t always favorable, but they are definitely a result of what happens.  Not from what we want to happen… 
I want the best for people and I’m willing to go as far as they are to get it.  If they want it bad enough, I’ll support any action that leads to that goal.  But, sitting around waiting for something sounds like a lesson in patience to me.  I hope I’m not the only one, either. 

Now, those are some words to live by. 

-Kevin

Twenty Minutes

When I woke up today, the last thing I honestly wanted to do was reflect on points in my life that had come and gone.  However, I was reminded by an awesome colleague and even better friend of this:
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” -Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NIV)

 

It really resonated with me because of something my driving instructor at Exotics Racing in Las Vegas said to me.  He said that he wouldn’t have been telling me I was doing good things if I hadn’t been.  For a long time, people telling me I had been doing things well just to be nice.  Brandon, my instructor, also said that he had been around way too long to tell people constructive things for the sake of being constructive.  Looking back at it all now, it really makes me wonder just when I had been doing good things or just being told I was doing good things.  However, that is something for another day.

 

What I really wanted to get off my chest is that we seem to only really encourage or impart words of affirmation only when we’re on the journey.  We feel that the need to encourage one another only has punch when we’re about to do something important, risky, or unknown to us.  I can agree that those three instances can be critical when it comes to being encouraging.  However, it is disheartening to see it practically in only those three instances.

“For the most part, we have to work on small things right now.  So, if we’re having to work on small things after six laps, that’s pretty good.  It’s a car you don’t know.  It’s a track you don’t know.  It’s a driving style you don’t know.  After six laps of doing pretty good… getting to where you’re working on small things, I think that’s pretty good, right?” -Brandon, my instructor

Halfway into the experience and to have this spoken to me by an experienced driver was… for lack of a better way to put it, encouraging!  Here I am… no competitive racing skills or experience under my belt and just there for the sake of getting to drive a $120,000 sports car… to be told, by an experienced driver, that is what I would need to work on to progress?  That’s what we all want!  We want to be naturally in a position to have to make subtle adjustments instead of these whopping, life changing ones.  All too often, we take those whopping ones for granted because we don’t necessarily appreciate the journey we took to get there.

As I’ve gotten a little older since then, I’ve learned to really enjoy not abiding in being stationary.  Just because I haven’t left Canyon, USA doesn’t mean that I’m stationary.  There’s always a place to go or a thing to do wherever you are.  Lately, I’ve been exploring my faith and what it means to me.  I’ve been exploring my talent for composition and creativity.  I’ve been lots of places that a car could never take me.  But, for those twenty minutes in that Nissan GT-R, I found that a car could take me places that I wouldn’t have ever considered otherwise: a place that showed that encouragement is a journey all its own and not merely just a stop along whatever path you happen yourself to be.

 

So, as I find myself sitting here reminiscing about the things I have experienced and the things yet to come, I am encouraged.  Because at some point, somewhere down the line, there either has been or will be a Brandon telling me that regardless of what point I exist in, I have done good things and those little things will resolve themselves with understanding and application.  It’s kind of a shame that at first, I didn’t believe him.

 

Now, I do.  Wherever you are, I pray that you’re doing well and that the same drive and passion for racing and instruction serves you in areas of life that extend far beyond the track.

I can still hear “Turn now!  Brake now!  Push through the apex!  Go, go, go!!!!” in my head.  A lot better now because I can appreciate what it means to be encouraged through proper guidance.  Wherever you are, I pray that you’re doing well and that the same drive and passion for racing and instruction continues to serve you in areas of life that extend far beyond the track.

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-Kevin

P.S:  Thanks, JP!  As one racing fan to another, “Boogity!  Boogity!  Boogity!”

 

Postcards to Home

Too often I find myself focused on where I am instead of where I’ve been or even necessarily where I’m going.  I don’t get the reasoning of being fixated on where you can be.  Sure, the aspirations and ambitions of the future are worthy of being heralded but the idea of holding such esteem on something that hasn’t arrived yet honestly baffles me.

If anything about the past few months has been asserted to me it’s that where I’m going is continually evolving and ever has a consistent face.  At times, it’s very dissuading and tumultuous.  Conversely, it’s also very refreshing and provides a sense of renewal and hope for the future.  It’s all of the events in between that shape the path that I am to take.

It’s been a very interesting trip, to say the least.  I’ve made stops in places I care to never visit again as well as been to places that I’d give almost anything to stay in.  As cliche as it all sounds, it feels like I’m on a tour of sorts.  The way I conceptualize my existence to this date has made a shift to be more indicative of this.  However, the need to continue to be “on tour” so to speak never really has driven me like it has.  I’ve always seen the journey to be taxing and I have always felt the need to be home more than I needed to be anywhere but here.  I always believed that home is where the heart is and I’ve also believed it to be stationary.  This is, much to my amazement, definitely not the case.

One of the lessons I’ve learned is that as much as we may or may not travel to the places of the world, we are always on the move.  We move within the boundaries of our own lives and in the boundaries of others.  The irony of it all is that we feel compelled to travel across the world but not within the bellows of our own existence or others.

I’ve taken the most joy in not going to places, wherever those may be but in being allowed inside the walls of new people and experiencing their existence from their point of view.  To me, that’s what my journey has been all about.  I haven’t felt more energized about anything else and as more opportunities arise for me to pursue this, I can honestly say that there is an increasing amount of hope in the future I’ve envisioned for myself.

Furthermore, as I continue to learn to see old places (faces) with new eyes instead of seeing new places with my old ones, my hope is to be allowed into and welcomed all the new towns I stop in along the way.

It’s been pure joy share in the joys, pains, tragedies, triumphs, and all the life moments in the middle in all the “towns” I’ve been welcomed into along the way… and I hope for the same in the 10,000 more I haven’t.

And I’ve never been happier to not be at home.

-Kevin

Captain’s Chair

“I always thought I’d get a shot at this chair one day.”

 

Lately, I’ve been moody.  Not in a happy or sad sense… for the most part, I’ve been a happy person.  A lot of good things have happened to me and I’ve learned to ride the momentum and to cherish everyone and everything that has brightened my life to date.

 

I’ve been moody in the sense that I’ve really begun to liken the journey that I’m on to having a command.  I’ve had to learn how to follow, and yes, being a follower is definitely more of a learning experience than you think it is… and I’ve also had to learn to assume the authority that command entails.  Out of the two, learning to wield authority has definitely been more of the eye opening experiences of the two.  Not to mention, perhaps the most trying and infuriating of the two.  But, perhaps the real skill to master here is knowing when to command and knowing when to let yourself be commanded.

 

A friend of mine said that our personality is the sum of the five people that we most closely associate with.  I believe he’s right.  We’ve let them close to us and influence knows no discrimination.  There is just this part of us that wants so much better than what we already have.  I’m not saying that what we have isn’t necessarily good or bad but if you’re a “Glass is half full” type of person, you could definitely endeavor to “fill your glass,” so to speak.

 

As easy as we make that sound sometimes, I’ve found that it’s become increasingly difficult to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves.  Me personally, I’ve found that I’m a “Glass is half empty” type of person.  It definitely takes a lot of courage to take on such a task of completely flipping this trait of my personality.  But, even more so, the level of risk involved is definitely intimidating.  Rejection is one of the most crippling fears that I possess.  It honestly is.  I don’t take chances unless I wholeheartedly believe that there is no chance of failure.  And if you ever get a chance to speak to me about it, it speaks volumes about the experiences and memories that have defined me as a person… so far.

 

However, being around the people I’ve invested myself in over the last good while has taught me that being rejected is just a part of Life.  It’s going to happen no matter what.  What really hasn’t sunk in, considering the level of success that I’ve experienced first hand with these people, is that it doesn’t stop them from continuing.  I don’t measure success as being financially secure, having a family, or necessarily anything tangible that you could associate with the word.  I consider “success” as having a firm grasp on how one experiences Life.  Yes, I know quite a few of these people and I’m blessed to have them in my life.  No, they always have not enjoyed the level of “success” they now do enjoy.  That’s why I appreciate them as I do.

 

One of the lessons that they’ve taught me that I’ve taken for granted for as long as I’ve known them is about risk.  “Risk is part of the game if you want to sit in that chair.”  Risk really is part of the game.  We do it all the time and don’t give it a second thought until it presents a conflict with our sensibilities.  One of the hardest things that I’ve come to experience about being granted command over anything in my life is knowing when to risk something in favor of something better.  A lot of lessons that I’ve been taught is to be content with what you have being nothing really is promised to you.  It’s hard to overcome that fear because Life also teaches you fear is a very powerful motivator.  We never know if something will succeed or fail until we try but if we’re too consumed by our fear and insecurities to try… it’s an outcome we will deny ourselves or save ourselves from experiencing.  Depending on what side of the glass you’re drinking from…

 

Through all of the experiences that I’ve gone through and all of the people that I’ve had the pleasure and the privilege to associate myself with, I am glad to have been given a chance to command the types of influences I come into contact with.  I may not always get to pick and choose the types of people I come across but I’ve definitely been blessed with some wisdom in knowing that said people pose either a chance to grow more as a person or to regress back into traits that I feel like I’ve grown out of.

 

But, the most important lesson that I feel that I’ve learned is that nobody really is fit to wield any kind of authority over themselves or anyone else for that matter.  It’s just too powerful of a tool for anyone to expect to use responsibly.  However, one of the burdens of command is that there will be times where you may have no choice to exercise influence and authority over someone else.  Letting someone pour their experiences of tragedy and triumph can be a risky thing to do and in the end could do a lot of damage or create a stepping stone in the ascent of who you are to become.

 

And I’ve found that being in the Captain’s chair is less about being in control and more about being groomed into a person that knows they shouldn’t be there but have been blessed by those around them enough to have been given the opportunity to affect success in others.

 

“Perhaps you still will… somehow I doubt that this will be the last ship to carry the name Enterprise.”

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