Give Thanks to the Father’s Who Are There Every Day.

One thing I’ve noticed about being a father is a lot of what you do is often not noticed- at least till much later.  Not many people see the small things, and sometimes they end up seeing the mistakes and area’s where you can improve.

Often it feels like a grinding task that is quite underappreciated. I suppose mother’s feel the same – though people care much more.

That said, Thank You, to all the father’s out there who are working their asses off trying to support their families.  Yes, no one may notice, but us fellow fathers do.

Thank you to all the father’s who devote as much time as they possibly can to their kids and to raising them as best they can.

Thank you for just being there, even when everything seems to conspire against you doing just that – for those of you who are divorced, single, and barely getting any time with your kids via court order. We know you are not a dead beat.

Thank you for the time, resources, encouragement, lessons, and memories you’ve invested  in your son’s and daughters present and future. Other people may not see. There likely won’t be any viral social media posts or noteworthy news articles posted about it.

However, your kids and your inner circle will know.

We work hard and expend all of our energy for the sake and love of our  children, families and close friends.  Perhaps no one will give us the appreciation we really deserve, but the legacy you help build matters far more. Sometimes I feel like all around me can never really see how much I am actually doing, but merely point out what I’m not or simply ignore it.

It’s at these moments when depression is trying to sneak it’s way in that I take a deep breath.  I remember to be thankful for my family, what I’ve been able to do, and the time period I’ve been born into and contemplate on how there’s never been a better time to be alive.

Don’t look toward a hostile culture and society that hates and vivifies you for satisfaction, admiration, or laudable laurels to rest on your head.  You may never be viewed by them as anymore than a sperm donor and a cog to keep working and making money till you drop. Look toward your family, friends, and members of communities who know YOU are, what you going through, all you are putting on the table, and the sacrifices that you make.

You as a father matter.

I’m sure you know the stats about the lives of children without fathers and how they are more prone to everything from crime and depression to having much less of a chance to get a good education and be successful in life.  The consequences for children without fathers in their lives can be severe – if only society really cared about that.

Thank you for all you do to try to give your kids the best lives you can. Keep on at it and slowly remove those from your lives who simply wish to undermine, downplay, and ignore what you do.  Life is short. Spend it with the people you love and your time with those who are worthy of it.

 

Living Up To Your Potential is Uncomfortable

“Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential”. – Winston Churchill

Plenty of motivational words have been blathered about “Living up to your potential.” It’s almost abstract at this point. Perhaps the above quote from the brilliant and witty Winston Churchill may be an exception.

We serfs often get used to a daily routine – one that’s very comfortable. While we bounce between loving and hating it depending on whether we are enjoying life, we don’t want to quite upset that balance.

It’s why we settle for the status quo, both on a very individual scale when we are grinding out our day jobs, and simply want to relax when we get home. Living up to your potential is hard.  That continuous effort…  well, I really want a beer and to Netflix and chill with my wife instead.

Of all of the above, I’m guilty.

I work a job with commission opportunities with a low base hourly rate of 9$ an hour. Often, they are happy that you just show up, because so many people don’t when it comes to call centers.

I’ve lasted over 9 months at my job – which is apparently great when you look at turn over rates for call centers. Still everyday I’m at the edge of quitting and walking off.

Because I have a family to provide for, I can’t do that. However instead of applying to new jobs, I just lay back at home when I get off and relax. It’s easy. I want to unwind.

The next morning, I wake up and curse having to get ready to go back to a job I often hate. I’m my own worst enemy, a glutton for the punishment of a comfortable routine.  I’m my own worst enemy.

That’s me.

I actually like my co-workers and both of the managers I’ve had. I just can’t chance not making commission during checks when my family is desperate for money.

Based on that alone, I should have already gotten another job. But this one is easy. I know the systems, the unwritten rules, what flies and what doesn’t – all of which take a few months to learn. I don’t want to start over and get… uncomfortable. Anxious. Unsure of exactly what the expectations will be.

Clearly, I’m hindering my own potential. I’m comfortable in my job routine while hating and loving it every day.  I know so many other people who are afflicted in this same devious manner. But we are too lazy and “comfortable” to do anything about it.

We bitch about the status quo, but content ourselves in it’s comforts. I talk big and loud, but my stick is very small.

This all comes down to willpower.  An honest thorough self-reflection would indicate that I’m lacking that department, or that I pick and choose.  If it’s easy, I’ll leave that comfort zone, but if it’s hard I’ll certainly stay.  Of course this means that my motivation will be lacking as well.

Quintus Curtius calls this Transformative Mental Change  when he talks about the Foundations Of Motivation and that its needed if you want to make a step in the right direction harnessing that willpower – or at least building it.

“This source of motivation comes from an internal decision that we make.  We consciously decide that we want to improve ourselves.  We consciously decide that we want to begin the process of forward movement.  At some point, we become tired of the old patterns and wish for a change.  We wish to push ourselves into new vistas and regions of exploration.  And before we do this, we make a decision.”

You would think having a family to provide for would give me that mental tazing  and wake me from my lackadaisical slumber, but it hasn’t yet.  That desire to do more – still lacking. Have to buckle up. I wonder if it’s an aspect of maturity that I still have to attain – a level of responsibility that has to be shouldered.

The appreciation isn’t seen right away, but the fruit will be seen in full later.  Perhaps I’m too much a creature of immediate satisfaction, rather then a player of the long game.  Again it’s another part of living up to Potential. You want to be all you can be.

If one really wants it, they will grab it without excuse. In a world where excuses are rewarded, I suspect this is why it takes people a long time to finally leave their comfort zone. Why would they?  If they live off the government dole, there is no incentive.  If they live at home and can still have their girlfriends overnight, why bother striving to better themselves?

Then again, if the system is rigged – getting that dollar too much in the next tax category, it may be a symptom of our society in general where the hardest working end up being the most penalized.  This is not an excuse, but an observation.

This is not a call to be someone else, it’s a call to be the best I can be. We take a lot for granted – specifically our continued and assured situations. We never know if calamity, death, joblessness, the loss of transportation could send us to the streets.   It’s almost as if we are living paycheck to paycheck.

An assured, prosperous, and at the very least – safe – future should be planned.  That planning and needed drive have to be used at some point. Sooner rather than later.

The Sting Of Betrayal

My Own Benedict Arnold Moment

Every man will experience his own “Benedict Arnold” moment. While it might not take place in a revolutionary war to determine the fate of nation being born, it will still leave a blackened stained touch in your memory.

What motivates betrayal? Often it’s money, greed, jealousy, and the desire to attain power. To do that you have to step on people to move up the ladder of power. Certainly, I was stepped on like a scared housewife stomps on an ugly bug while squeaking out a brief, “Eeek!!!!”

My own betrayal  moment caught me off guard.   None of the above seemed like the motivator for the betrayal.  What could the reason have been?  It felt as cold, sharp, and damaging as an Ozark ice storm.  Even now, the though of “WTF, why?” keeps running through my mind.  Often, I prefer for my dirty laundry to stay in the bin, but in this case I will have to reveal my boxers.

I’m a blabber, a conversationalist, and an open book.  Some people love this about me, others loathe it, but few have ever managed to use it against me in a way that cuts deep.

Thing is, I don’t know how much was deliberate and honest-to-god opining on me and how much was cruel intentioned barbs designed to hurt my relationship with my in-laws and my wife. Timing was absolutely horrible as I’m just starting to build a better relationship with my in-laws who weren’t huge on me.

My old boss who I was my absolute unfiltered self around, a man I thought I could trust and actually have “real-talk” with, and someone who I respected – even though he let me go, delivered whatever his own brand of personal vengeance was against me managed to tell the “truth” about me in the worst possible ways.

No grudges did I hold against him when he let me go, in fact I even kept in good contact with him.  However, he indeed held grudges against me which I was unaware of until he told my in-laws about them instead of myself.

Normally, this would be a landmine that would be overcome after one detonation, but he will be in a “life” group with my in-laws for the foreseeable future.  Essentially, I will have someone who can’t be trusted in an environment where trust is supposed to be of the essence.  Circle of trust indeed.

I did somewhat conquer my fear of heights

I’m used to detractors that I barely know,  online critics, and people whose personalities clash with my own and they can all get bent.   Nothing is what I expect from them.  This though felt like I had been cheated on – which I haven’t, it was just that I trusted him that much.  It hurts.

Imagine someone misrepresents your character as much as possible and, sprinkles in a few lies to really get the pot stirred, and plants all sorts of possibilities in your pregnant wife’s head who already is going through raging pregnancy hormones and trust issues from her past.

In this case, her parents were the recipients of Benedict Arnold and the details were passed to her and then she passed them to me.  Chain of information indeed.   My wife wasn’t supposed to be told, and neither was I.

Perhaps my old boss thought what he was saying was true, or my in-laws drew some exaggerated conclusions that were then passed to my wife. That would be a comforting thought.  Honestly, I thought he would always be honest  with any grievances against myself and come talk to me about it.

I actually thought that I was with someone who I didn’t have to filter myself and everything from “locker-room talk” to how men  actually talk on the job site when you work in the trades.   This is what bugs me so much.   That connection I thought I had with someone wasn’t actually there – maybe I forced myself into believing it was, considering I was earnestly looking for a fellow man I could trust in an area where I don’t know anyone.

The Sword Thrusts of Betrayal

Likely it is not the case.    Two lies in particular left me shocked. (1) That he paid me 20$ and hour when he paid me 13$.  (2) That me and the other guy he had hired were going out after we were dropped off from work to the bar and blowing money.    Odd, considering me and this other guy didn’t like each other.

The truth that was manipulated against me in fascinating way too.  Apparently one such truth was how I constantly wanted to go out after work with my boss to the bar and grab a drink.

Absolutely, this was true.   I wanted to bond with my boss as I believed he was someone I could be my genuine self-around. One of the best ways you can do this is to indeed grab a drink and sit down.

In his defense however, he could never really do this as he was trying to be back at home by 6 to be with his family.  I can understand this and perhaps he believes me to be some kind of deviant who would rather be out drinking then helping out his pregnant wife at home – or at least that how it sounded when I was told about it.

Another “truth” was about how I misled him about my skillset, even though I told him what I knew from the start.  Now both me and him were hoping I’d absorb some skills faster, but I alas I did not.   Still, he felt like I lied to him, so my guess is he is doing the same back to me.

One that really got to me was about how I was lazy.  When he first hired me, he was desperate for people just to show up who were trustworthy.  He complained about how people would flake constantly – which they did.  I arranged for him to pick me up in the mornings – which took a toll on him timewise nonetheless – to go the jobsite with him 40+ miles away.

When I was there, I worked in 90+ degree humidity outside on scaffolding.  Now he was generous and bought me and our co-worker lunch everyday as well as provided us with water to keep us hydrated. To be sure he wasn’t a slave driver, and he shouldn’t sound like such.

At several points I did complain about a lack of boards to stand on when we started going four stories up.  I  brought up the idea of safety-harnesses, but he mentioned that it would just get in the way and make us even less safe.

I have no idea if that’s really true or not, but wow right?  Also note that he went up there with us in those precarious positions trying to get work done, so definitely he put himself on the line as well.

Now, I’m not exaggerating how open I was with him.  I even talked about me and my wife’s sex lives – a mistake in hindsight – and how it helped us as a couple.    This was kindly relayed to her parents that all I cared about is sex and apparently how I’m not to be trusted.   In particular, this blew me away.

Wisdom, Resolve, and the Long-Game

A hard lesson to learn from betrayal is that your natural state – open and honest – can be very dangerous to you and your family life.  Even after this, I find the idea of talking less, being more deliberate about the company I am genuine with, and concluding that many more snakes exist in the grass then I admit to be a tough pill to swallow.

Recently, I saw him at my in-laws “Life group” meeting they hold at their house.   Determined for my wife’s sake, I played nice.  It was then that I heard a story involving my old bosses’ wife and some terrible things they had been through.

Wondering whether this had something to do with the backstab held my anger in check.  Because of that, I’m taking the long view.   Honestly, I still desire vengeance or at least some kind of vindication from this betrayal.   You never realize how powerful of a motivator justice can be until you start to strongly desire it.

Given the chance I wonder, would he come clean and apologize to me or pretend it didn’t happen and act as everything was jolly?

What if the chain-of-information provided to me was wrong or someone did indeed exaggerate and elaborate details? Patience is necessary when trying to smoke out what was really said.   I shall indeed play the long-game.

How to Shave and Trim like a Man and Mount That Facial Stubble

The three greatest inventions ever know to man are pretty damn obvious. They include the electric shaver, the urinal, and the internet.   Okay, semantics aside dogs aren’t actually men’s best friend; the electric shaver is.  Two things to consider:

1. You DONT have to be clean-shaven. You can even grow a massive beard.  Even if your job bans facial hair or has strict guidelines about it, there are always ways around. Example: Go to your local mosque, tell the Imam you want to convert to Islam, and bring the proof of your conversion to your work.  They won’t hassle/ try to fire you later as no one wants to get sued for workplace discrimination against Muslims.  Then just go about your business like you did before. 

2. Stubble and heavy stubble is your friend. There are plenty of studies out there to show that women often prefer at least a good/heavy degree of stubble.  Even man-hating site Jezebel agrees with me! Do it.

Do you want to make attaining this degree/length of stubble easy?

Now guys who dove headfirst into their dawning of facial hair- that started at 16 for me – were first enjoyed and enthralled. I remember seeing the hairs growing and feeling almost like I had won the lotto, asserted my dominance, and gotten the girl.

Only two years later, I was getting fed up with razors and the constant irritation covering my face where ever I had shaved. Yes, I used aftershave which is a must if you want to reduce irritation afterwards. I only had slight acne a few years back, but it’s enough to dampen your confidence when you realize that girls prefer a face that doesn’t look it’s been rolled around in Poison Ivy.

It was then that invested in my first electric shaver.  I noticed immediate results.  My face wasn’t getting cut. The irritation was much less, if not non-existent. The shave was much faster and easier.    Of course, I always used aftershave afterwards – never neglect that finish.

As time as gone by, I’ve realized that it is still difficult to get that semi-heavy stubble look I’ve been desiring as of late. I had a full beard that made me look like I was from Iran, (I have ancestors who live in an adjacent country to Iran.) but I decided it was time to try out that stubble look which I could only seem to manage well very rarely with my shaver.   I went out and got another shaver that had guards with three different lengths.

Shaving my full beard down to that semi-heavy stubble was actually made very easy with the guards. I got an easy all around and consistent stubble that was actually very fast.  Results?

My stubble now after getting rid of my “terrorist” beard.

If you are trying to get any kind of stubble look which you can easily maintain every two-three days, I highly suggest getting a cheap electric shaver from Walmart which is good for the getting the real close stuff – your cheek for instance – and a reasonably priced shaver which comes with at least three guard sizes for facial trimming and “sculpting.”

Your facial time is now. Carpe Diem.

My Stubble Length
This stubble. You know you want it.