Sunday, February 21, 2021

The Urge to Help

 I have been trying to figure out my need to help people. It comes in waves where I feel I need to do something and sometimes do something like knitting scarves and donate them. Then the motivation goes away only to come back again.

 I want to support organizations or people but often the way I would like to help is not an option.  For instance, I want to help a podcast that has provided me entertainment. You can help them by getting a membership to their YouTube channel or donating in their chat when they do a live feed.  I don’t want to do either of those things. I don’t want a membership as I know myself all too well. I get into something for a good six months and then walk away for a bit and then come back around. I don’t want to donate in the chat because everyone can see how much you donate. Neither of those options appeal to me so I bought a shirt. Not exactly how I wanted to show my support but it's better than nothing. 

 I run into this all the time. I want help but in my own way.  I honestly have a code by which I follow, but I have never sat down to write it all out. I want to help but sometimes don’t know how or even why. I think the creative part of me is itching to do something and because of the pandemic, that has been shut down a bit. I want to help the skateboard community even though I don’t skate. It’s something I’m into right now and know a few months from now my focus will be elsewhere. I did donate to The Skatepark Project (formerly the Tony Hawk Foundation) and they surprised me by reaching out. Mind you I had sent a letter about why I felt moved to donate.  If I’m going to donate money, it might be nice for them to know why.  I didn’t expect a response from them but surprisingly I got one.  

There are lots of things I want to do but feel lost, stuck, unsure, defeated…at least I’m thinking about helping so that’s better than nothing.  Part of what drives me is Sean. That friendship, that connection fuels the desire to help too.  He’s not here anymore and doing good things like donating is a way that I can keep honoring him and our friendship.  He gave me back my life and the least I could do is acknowledge it by honoring him in small ways. He's not around to help other people so maybe I can on his behalf…on our behalf.

 Sean showed me kindness and compassion when many others wouldn’t. In my own way I guess I’m trying to pass it forward. For much of my younger years, I thought I was worthless and didn’t want to live. Depression and suicide had a firm grip on me, and I didn’t see the point in living.  It wasn’t until I met Sean that I learned I had something to offer the world.  Sean helped me find a reason to stay.  He helped steer me in a direction that gave me a new beginning, a new life.

Sean was in my life for about a year and he most definitely left a mark.  A mark that has been burning bright since he died 22 years ago. No one has had an impact on my life like Sean. It was certainly life changing and one I’m glad I went through with him.

I'm sure I'll find a project or group to help out. It stands to reason that part of my code is whether or not the cause is something Sean would have approved of if he was still here. A cause that speaks to both of us.

I hope all of you find a cause of your own and that it brings you joy.  Today's video is one I found by accident and it's pretty cool.

Rock On!

~Maynard

If you are interested in homemade scarves, a friend of mine has opened on online store: Handmade scarves by DeeListed on Etsy



Saturday, January 23, 2021

You're The Expert

Recently, I asked myself a question that I have asked myself several times over the years - Am I really depressed? 

Throughout my life I have read articles, watched videos and even talked to someone about my Dysthymia. There is a part of me that questions what is happening to me and at the same time seeks to understand the situation for which I'm in. There is a massive amount of conflicting information out there. It's easy to understand the confusion about what it means to have Dysthymia.

I think most people never want to look at themselves, understand the way they are. I do. I want to understand why my brain makes me think random things, I want to understand what is happening to me and as painful as it is, admit and face my own feelings, my life. A lot of people just don't want to know. I don't blame them as it's a scary place.  Admitting something is wrong is not a great feeling but it can be liberating.

During my recent adventure of asking a question that I have asked many times, I came to the conclusion that a lot of people online who "claim" to be specialists/doctors don't know a thing. Too many others think they are experts and it's clear that none of them know what it's like to live with something like Dysthymia. They just regurgitate stuff over and over, not once thinking maybe some damn list they're reciting from the 1980's may no longer apply.

I had a discussion with someone, a professional, who talks to plenty of people like me. Even he said himself that there are too many people who claim they know but actually known nothing. This person has known me for sometime. They commended me for continuing to understand Dysthymia. Some people don't want to know about the darkness they are forced to co-habitat with but I want to know. I want to understand myself and how I manage to continue to go to work, do craft projects, read books, etc. all the while living with a cloud over my head.  I am resilient as I find ways to keep going. If a previous coping mechanism that used to work no longer does, I am able to find a new one and put it in my survival tool kit.

I read that calling someone like me "high functioning' was incorrect. I have depression and go to work. I'm functioning. I'm able to walk out into the world and do things. My mind is creative and imaginative. I knit and bake, do other creative endeavors and my mind does chew on solving problems especially at work when I'm doing a round of software testing. How is that not high functioning? 

On the spectrum of depression you could say I'm on the low end but I have experienced the other end as well. It's well in my past but I know what depression is like when you are dealing with suicidal thoughts. Been there, done that, don't want to go through it again.  Seven attempts in four years is nothing to be proud of but it goes to show that even though I wanted to give up, on a deeper level I was fighting to stay. That was four year battle that I'm thankful to be 29 years away from and yet my last attempt remains forever fresh in my mind. 

I know that I'm rambling with this post and that's due to my mind rambling.  I'm scattered today and I'm okay with that. I'm not working so my brain is enjoying the weekend in it's own weird way. It's on vacation. 

There are experts who know their fields no doubt, but when it comes to you, you are an expert. Remember that!

Rock on!
~Maynard










Sunday, January 3, 2021

Thankful!

I love to journal write but admittedly, my journal writing has been nearly non-existent in recent months. Dealing with dysthymia sucks but in order to combat the struggle I thought I’d share the things from 2020 that I’m thankful to have experienced or rediscovered. It’s not a comprehensive list by any means but I thought doing a review would put me in a better mindset and maybe it will inspire you to do the same. 

1)      Rediscovering skateboarding and my appreciation for Bob Burnquist, Bucky Lasek, Tony Hawk, Andy Macdonald and so many other skaters I wasn’t familiar with like Elliot Sloan, Kelly Hart, Chris Roberts and many others.

2)      Designing a sacred cabinet, having a friend help me design it with the purpose to have a quiet place to decompress and connect with myself. Some people would call it a home altar, meditation cabinet or a blessing cabinet.

3)      Having spent time with my friend Cathy when possible and being an outlet for her. Listening to her talk about her achievements and struggles with her new business, knowing she is happy and doing something she loves.

4)      That I had the ability to write a 50,000-word novel for NaNoWriMo even when I didn’t have a story outline, no character names and only a potential idea three days before the event started.

5)      That I am resourceful in finding a new way to change my mood and mental state when things went incredibly dark and I was hurting bad.

6)      For The Nine Club, Bucky Lasek’s YouTube channel, and Tony Hawk’s Twitter account to provide me a chuckle when I need it and educational too!

7)      For being a music junkie and rediscovering my music collection and having the ability to listen to all of my 1000+ CDs.

8)      Ability to bake and try new recipes in my slow cooker and discover new favorites. Pork Loin in the slow cooker – YUM!

9)      Having the time to knit 18 scarves and donating them in time for Christmas for kids.

10)   Having great conversations with the sales clerk at the grocery store, exchanging meal ideas and talking about how to deal with seasonal allergies.

11)   Although I’m not a gamer, the ability to play Skyrim when I need to in order to get my frustrations out and kick some ass.

There are many other things but it would take me a while to list them all. It’s a start and like I said I’m thankful for a lot of things. The items above bring a smile to my face and maybe that’s the key to it all in making it through the rough days.  While compiling this list my brain did it’s usual thing and pulled something deeply buried to the forefront.

Enjoy the music selection today folks – the theme song from The Partridge Family TV show. I loved this show growing up and let’s be honest, the song is pretty darn catchy.

 


 

Rock On!

~Maynard

Friday, January 1, 2021

New Year, New Day

 I'm glad 2020 is over and 2021 has arrived. One can only hope this year is better than the last. I hope all of you enjoyed your holidays as best as possible. Mine holidays were quiet. Extremely quiet as I was by myself.  Not one single person in my extended family - aunts, uncles, etc. called me on Christmas. I'm typically the one who calls people but this year I wanted to see if anyone would call me.

I have spent time my week and half off from work trying some new recipes, making food in my slow cooker and then freezing so I have meals ready to go. I'm still working on perfecting making homemade croutons but haven't quite found the right bread to do it with. I thought a baguette would do the trick but not quite.  I did make a nice pork loin in the slow cooker with potatoes. 

For 2021, I'm hoping to find more happy moments. That has always been a struggle for me. Find joy in simple things. I'm not making it a New Year's resolution because those always fail. It is something to do for myself and most definitely find ways to laugh more.

Although this was posted yesterday, I think it's a good way to start the year with a chuckle from Professional Skateboarder, Tony Hawk:



Rock on!
~Maynard



Monday, November 30, 2020

Drifting the Wrong Way on a Pop Tart: The connection between Banana Bread & Bob Burnquist

How our brains work is quite a puzzle at times.  I find it interesting to be standing in my kitchen making banana bread and my brain fires off a memory of a Bob Burnquist skate vert run from 2001. If you're curious about the run Bob laid down which is part of skateboard lore you can see it here.

What banana bread and Bob Burnquist have to do with each other, at first nothing but the brain is an interesting thing. What I do know is that this little memory pop triggered off a chain of events a month or so ago and it's still going.

Let me give you a little history here. At no point in my life have I ever hopped on a skateboard but I find it fun to watch especially Vert and Big Air. I used to watch X-Games and the Dew Tour stuff for years and then simply stopped watching. I have no idea why but I suspect I found other interest and off I went. Bob Burnquist was my favorite skater along with Bucky Lasek. I would cheer for both of them which made for interesting situations as they were often at the top in any given competition. 

Well, the Bob run triggered off a memory about Tony Hawk and the famous 900. I did the logical thing and down the YouTube rabbit hole I went. Tony Hawk Lands FIRST-EVER 900 | World of X Games - YouTube

What I realized with the Tony Hawk video, that the emotions I felt the first time I watched it hadn't left me. I knew how it was going to end and yet, it felt like 1999 all over again. I was happy and so excited. Even cried a little. When I went back to the Bob run, the excitement of the contest, the tricks Bob was laying down, all these emotions came bubbling up and after a while it came to me. The connection between Banana Bread and Bob Burnquist. 

On the surface, there is no relation between the bread and Bob. Prior to the Bob memory kicking up, I guess you could call what happened to me as an episode. COVID has been kicking my ass mentally like it has for a lot people. I'm quite isolated from the outside world and as someone who battles depression daily, it's been extra hard to keep going. About three months ago, things simply got to be too much and I broke. It was 2am when I got up to go to the bathroom and as I climbed back into bed I lost it. I cried for a long time, wanting to talk to someone, wanting to hug a friend and because of COVID and being that it was 2am I couldn't do that. I honestly wondered what was the point of me being here. 

This was the predicament I was in. Our brains chew on stuff whether we realize it or not and my brain, reached back to yank out a Bob Burnquist memory for me. Why?  Because I was looking for comfort, I needed something to give me hope to keep fighting, to not give up. When I was relaxed enough my brain brought the whammy out.  My brain in all of it's wacky goodness gave me Bob Burnquist.  My brain, said here, "Bob makes you happy. You like Bob. Go watch Bob."  That is exactly what I did. I watched Bob Burnquist videos and you know what? I started to feel better. I watched Bob videos, interviews and moved on to Tony Hawk. Discovered a Bones Brigade documentary which I liked, watched the "Search for Animal Chin" which is a classic skateboard movie.  It's a cheesy movie but a young Tony Hawk with his A Flock of Seagulls haircut is worth it.  I moved on to Bucky and found old competition videos and so my life for three months has been skateboarding and other things.

From skateboarding my brain loosened up a memory about BMX and Jamie Bestwick's name came up to the surface right away.  Hello instant smile on my face.  I loved watching Jamie ride, Scotty Cranmer and Daniel Dhers too. My brain was on a roll as freestyle motocross came up and I thought of Nate Adams, Travis Pastrana, Mike Mason and Brian Deegan. 

My brain knew I was hurting and it unloaded memories to counteract the way I was feeling. I was smiling and rediscovering all my favorite athletes all over again. I started consuming skateboarding, BMX and FMX videos. I started watching newer stuff and so there are a whole bunch of guys I'm learning about now.  I'm not diving too deep but just enough to enjoy and appreciate much like I did before. I've caught up with my favorites as some have moved on to other projects. 

If you're wondering about the "drifting the wrong way on a pop tart" it's from a skateboard competition. I'm fairly certain Tony Hawk said it as I remember laughing out loud and rewinding the video to make sure I heard it right. 

If you're struggling mentally, go do something that quiets your brain enough for it to bring a good memory forward.  Turns out your brain is doing it's part to help you cope. 

For me, I'm doing much better. I can't help but smile a little as my mother used to tell me when I was younger that watching skateboarding, BMX or FMX wouldn't help me in life. Boy was she ever wrong!!!!  If you need something to motivate you, something inspirational then enjoy this Danny Way video.

Rock on!
~Maynard