Vote For My Skull Flower Design on Threadless

I’ve recently started to focus my energy on my art. My dream has always to have a career where I am able to use my creativity. Threadless is a tshirt company where all the tshirts are design by artists from all over the world.

My Skull Flower design which I created for the Tattoo design challenge on Threadless will be up for voting for the next seven days. Help get my design printed by scoring a 5 on my design.

https://www.threadless.com/designs/skull-flower-3

Please give my design a 5 scored. Thanks

Please give my design a 5 score. Thanks

Million Dollar Mama

Connie 236

To some tonight probably wasn’t the best night to watch Million Dollar Baby but to me it was something I had to do. I kind of dreaded today being you know what… Up until the evening I was handling it okay, even with the countless status updates wishing everyone a “Happy Mothers Day.” It wasn’t until I saw a endless stream of all my facebook friends posting pictures of them with with your moms or moms with their children that knocked the wind out of me.

My sleep schedule has been disrupted and I found myself not sleeping last night. Normally I would have crashed at some point but I knew that I couldn’t do that with having a very important meeting tomorrow about a job… So I spent most of the day lounging around in bed watching tv, fading in and out ever so often. My nieces had watched a scary movie and came downstairs to get me to come upstairs to keep them company while my sister was outside.

My nephew came inside and started to watch Million Dollar Baby. I had heard about it but knew very little about it other than it was a boxing movie with Hilary Swank. As sports is really not my thing, neither are sports movies. As I watched I became intrigued for some reason. Here was this girl, as boss called her, that against all odds was willing to do what it took to get her one shot.

She didn’t give up… neither in herself or boss. There was something about her resilience that hit a chord in my heart. I guess in a way I saw my self in Maggie’s eyes. It was then that I realized that no matter how many times I was kicked, knocked down to the ground that I would always get back up…

The odds were stacked against her but that didn’t stop her from breaking free from the mold that imprisoned her. She saw something in herself that no one before had ever seen. She was born into trailer trash but that didn’t mean thats he was trash. She had plenty reason to stay down with how her family treated her but she got back up and kept swinging until she broke through.

The only way she could survive was to fight and I’m not talking the punching she gave in boxing but her will to survive. She wasn’t going to give up without a fight. Each day i’ve hid from the world was another day my naysayers won. The only way I’m going to get through this world is to go out fighting with all my might. It won’t happen hiding in my room.

We all deserve our shot… our one moment in the spotlight. The spotlight is living our dream whatever it may be.

Watching the movie wasn’t easy for me to do being as it reminded me of what my Mom went through the twenty one days in ICU. It was like I was reliving those moments all over again from the bedsores to the sounds of the respirator to the last few breaths. Maggie wanted to go out fighting on her terms to the sounds of other’s cheering her on chanting Mo ChuisleIt was a reminder of that would have been my Mom’s wishes as well.

My Mom also went out fighting on her own terms. I wouldn’t have wanted her last days or years in misery not being able to enjoy the life she lived willed full of love and laughter from her family. It would have killed her more to live a life full of complications and pain. One where she wouldn’t be able to do the things she enjoyed and loved, like playing with her grandbabies. Mom wanted the last memories of her grandbabies to be one of love and happiness.

It wasn’t easy living that day all over again visually. I have certainly re-lived that day over and in over my head but to see it on screen was quite different. I forced myself to endure the torture as there was deep lesson to be learned. It was then that I realized you don’t have to win to be a winner. Even though Maggie lost the title fight she still came out of it a winner. All she wanted was a chance and she got it plus something she didn’t bargain for the family she so desperately needed. When her own family was only interested in their own interests Boss was there right by her side until the end.

I was also reminded of the last few weeks of Mom’s life and how my sister and I surrounded her with love. I know often she questioned many things in her life, including whether she was love. Mom’s life wasn’t easy, she also had to fight for everything. She departed our world for heaven knowing that she was loved deeply and unconditionally… That we saw her for who she really was, just like Boss saw Maggie for the fighter she was.

I always thought the biggest gift my Mom gave me was her love but I know realize it was her determination and willingness to fight. That’s a true sign of a winner. It’s not the number of wins or losses but it’s the willpower to make it to the final round.

So watch out world I’ve got my boxing gloves on and I’m ready for my shot in the ring.

 

The Difference a Year Makes

It’s been a while since I have wrote on my blog. I just passed my one year anniversary of my suicide attempt and I have been reflecting on the last year. While I can’t say that I’m happy I can say that I’m in a better place mentally than I was a year ago. While I still struggle with depression it’s not as extreme and when I do have a flair up the episodes don’t last as long.

Someone asked me what changed things? I must admit I struggled with answering it and I still do. I think the biggest difference is taking an antidepressant, as well as therapy. I’m in the process of trying to find work and as scary as that is I’m ready to have purpose again. You can only hide for so long before you go stir crazy and that’s where I’m currently at.

I think the main reason I struggled answering the question of what changed is that I’m still in the process of changing as I haven’t got to the point where I’m happy. I must admit most of the time I’m miserable. I hide in my room a lot and I know that’s not very healthy. I miss having friends that I regularly see and do fun things with. That’s the struggle with living out in the middle of no where there’s nothing to do or see. It also presents a problem when meeting someone as most people don’t want to drive that far. Also not having a car puts a damper in going the distance.

I’ve learned once you get yourself in a deep hole it takes time to dig out of it. I’m learning to work on my patience and having faith. Having a job will be a huge step to my happiness. They say money doesn’t make you happy but not having any can make you miserable. A job will lead to a car and a car will lead to meeting new people…

I won’t lie that I still occasionally think about you know what… but it’s usually a quick passing thought when I’m feeling rather down. I’ve noticed lately having this coping skill of taking deep breaths when I’m feeling panicky or rather down. It’s been occurring rather naturally without thought. I also feel a stronger presence to my Mama. When I take those deep breaths I feel like she’s there with me.

A long time ago I learned to disconnect to cope with trauma. When you repeat a pattern over and over, year after year it becomes apart of you. Changing that pattern isn’t an easy task as it becomes hard wired in the clockworks of your mind. I’ve failed over and over but I never gave up. I made the conscious choice to reach out for help when I had the pills up to my mouth. I desperately needed help and that was the only way I could connect to it.

When you’ve been disconnected for a long period the harder the impact when you plug yourself back into an outlet. I’ve tried over the past nine years to get plugged back in but every time I would get shocked and run back into seclusion. Living a heart-centered life can get you hurt, especially if you don’t have a solid foundation and a toolbox of coping skills. That’s been my greatest flaw. I have tried to build a life on a flimsy foundation and an empty toolbox.

This weekend I took a leap of faith by entering an art competition called ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I have always been artistic in some form or another. It’s always been my dream to have a career that I can utilize my creativity but I’ve always shied away from pursuing it because I didn’t feel I deserved it.

I put off registering for ArtPrize for days as I was afraid. Afraid of succeeding, afraid of being seen. Being a survivor of sexual abuse there’s a fine line between being seen and not being seen. I think about when I abused I was a happy child full of life and love. I was vulnerable. I catch myself still feeling like I’m that 10 year old boy still. I must remind myself that not only am I an adult now but that was a long time ago. I no longer have to hide because I can defend myself. All these years I’ve been the first to stand up for others but have rarely stood up for myself. I’ve waited a lifetime for others to stand up for me… when it was me that needed to stand up.

Registering for ArtPrize felt like running through the finish line. I’ve forced myself to not only look fear right in the eyes but to also push right through it. Fear is like a ghost. It’s just an illusion and much smaller than it appears. The further you push it away the bigger it becomes until one day that ghost turns into a monster and takes total control of your life. Whenever you try to change a destructive, negative pattern it will alert an internal warning system. That ghost will do whatever it takes to keep control.

So it’s doesn’t surprise me that today has been a rather difficult day. I had the sky is falling moment and my urges were telling to me to abort the mission and run back into hiding. I’ve noticed this determination to not give up. Perseverance to push through the storm. You can only put up with enough misery before you throw your hands up in the air and say that’s enough!!! Well THAT’S ENOUGH!!!

I can have my dreams and live a happy life. I deserve, everyone does. My goal is to live life fueled by my passion and live it through my dreams. I know the pain I’ve endured was not in vain there was purpose for it. I hope to be able to use my art and creativity to inspire and touch those who have been in my shoes. Those who feel lost, down and out…. who feel they’ve been left behind and forgotten.

My biggest challenge will be breaking the pattern that I deserved the pain and the actions that caused it. For too long I believed I was this hideous, unloveable monster. While I can’t say that I don’t see and feel that monster but I’m determined to shed that unwanted skin. I have and will always be a teddy bear. Someone who goes through life with an open heart, not afraid to be a big kid. Sure there are things I need to change in my life and most of it is just shedding away the negativity. There is a lot about me that I don’t need to change and that’s what’s deep within… my heart and soul… Those are gifts, not curses.

I believe the biggest thing that’s changed from last year is that I now I have hope for a better life something I didn’t have before my breakdown. I was drowning in my sorrow, pain and grief. Without hope I had no reason to live as all I could see was darkness. Hope has shined a light back into my life. I must continue to work on letting my own inner light shine.

Light is meant to shine, not hide in a box. Human’s are like flowers as they need sunshine and water to grow, without it they will surely wither away to nothing. I had convinced myself for years that I was a just a weed but now that I’ve brought back water and light into my life I realize that I’m a flower. Now I just need a space to grow and blossom into the rose I was meant to be.

A Man of Steel

I’m not sure where to begin but I’m compelled to write. Since my Mom passed away on September 2012 my life has been turned upside down. My heart was ripped from my chest and a gigantic hole was bore out in the middle of my heart. Then it was transplanted back into my chest gaping, bleeding and raw. I have left a trail of blood ever where I went, which hasn’t been too far because I’ve been hiding in the basement where I live.

Drowning in my own blood, pain and tears I suffered deeply. Alone. With my thoughts, feelings and sorrow. Afraid of the world, afraid of myself. Pissed off, wanting answers. Why? I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stay on this planet as it seemed all it brought me was sorrow. 

I have often questioned my existence, my purpose in life and after my beautiful Mother’s passing that only was amplified by the millionth degree. Questions like why are we put here to suffer? Where do we go after we die? Why did God have to take my Mother at this time in my life. I took it personal like God had a personal vendetta against me… this isn’t something new for me. All my life I have felt like what I have endured on this life was a punishment from up above from being sexually abused to everything else in between.

Much of my life has been in turmoil, constant chaos. I’ve been seperated by the source for way to long. I will be honest that I don’t have the faintest idea what is out there but there is one thing that I do know… that I come from something greater… I wouldn’t have been given such a gift of a wonderful, loving Mother. There was purpose in that. 

There has also been purpose in my suffering as it didn’t kill me. No amount of damage will take me down. I will continue to stand up and keep moving forward. 

You don’t have to look far to see that there are some horrible things to this world. People being hurt, children being abused. Humans hurting other humans. It’s so easy to get lost in it all and go into seclusion. Having a heart in a world when so many have locked it up will bring you pain… It will scar you… It will rip you apart at times. It will cause you to question everything, including yourself. 

The brighter your light is the harder some will try to extinguish to your light. I have always questioned why certain people have hurt me, for too long I took it personally. I internalized their fears, pain and doubt, allowing it all to become a part of me.I now realize these people who hurt me did so because they were scared of me. It wasn’t my fault.

I was meant to do good on this planet, to make a difference. To touch people with my heart and love… to pass on the love my Mother gave me. To reach out to those who hurt like I have. 

If I can endure the sorrow and grief of losing my Mother, I can endure anything. My pain is not a weakness, it is a strength and I am learning to use it as fuel. There comes great power in realizing that you have weathered the great storm still standing.

So I’m going to venture out in the world once again standing strong, knowing that my beautiful Mother is all around me. She is deep within my heart. She is the love that flows through and out of me. I know that she now at peace, surrounded by the most beautiful, loving light. 

So now it’s my turn to take a leap of faith and trust in the universe to take me where I need to go. I’m ready to fly. I’m ready to live once more. I am a man of steel. 

The Meaning Behind Fat

So it’s no lie that I have major body image issues and have for some time. I think that most people who are overweight have endured their fair share of bullying in regards to their size. Whoever came up with the saying “Sticks and Stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you” obviously never was bullied or picked on.

Words are like tiny daggers that chip away at your outer shell into your core. Growing up “fat” I was often ostracized for being heavy. In elementary school there was this one bully who coined the nickname Twinkie for me. Another nickname in High School was Kubiak, who was this bully character from a television show. I hated being called Kubiak as I was nothing like the character. I was more like Mikey from the animated series Recess, who was a lover.

Growing up fat was used as a weapon, much more than an adjective and every time I was called fat it dug away at my self worth to the point where to this day anytime I hear that word it makes me cringe. I equate it as a negative. Even the definition of fat is degrading to me. Fat’s definition is having a large amount of excess flesh.

For those of you don’t know there are those in the gay community who love guys who are bigger, they are called chasers… guy’s who themselves are not obese who like guys that are. I’ve struggled even with that community because many of the chasers I have met just saw me for my body and not my heart. I posted on a social networking site for chubs (what we are called) and chasers that chasers should never use the word fat to describe a big person even if they don’t mean to degrade.

Instantly another bigger guy started to argue with me saying that basically I was wrong and that I shouldn’t post something like that on a site for big guys and the guys that love them. While I still don’t agree with anything he had to say it got me thinking about the word “fat” and the meaning behind it.

The guy argued it’s not the word itself but how it’s used and that I was perpetuating the problem of fat nonacceptance. He stated that he didn’t see the word “fat” as an insult. Which I get that not everyone will see it as an insult because it’s all based on personalities and experience. He further stated that “How can it be an insult if you love yourself the way you are?”

For me it’s about sensitivity and understanding. While using the word “fat may not be hurtful to all but there will be a good amount that associate the use of that word to a negative, so why use it? Sure everyone has to get to a point where words don’t hurt as much but that takes time. If you truly love someone for who they are inside and out, wouldn’t you do whatever possible to not hurt them?

I equated the use of “fat” to calling someone gay a “faggot” or someone who’s intellectually disabled the r word. These are all nicknames that are used to degrade and put down someone. I will admit that there are double meanings for the word fat unlike the “f” and “r” words. Like there’s fat in our diets it’s only when that word is used to describe someone who is overweight, even when it’s used a loving way, that could be hurtful to others.

Now I may be completely wrong and uber sensitive but I always try to be thoughtful of other’s feelings. I believe you still love yourself and not like a certain word. It’s understanding that not everyone is at the point in their life where they’ve healed their wounds from the use of fat and the many other degrading names used to put them down.