INTRO

Introductions:
My Name is Matthew, and I am a soldier. I have an interesting view that I share from time to time with the folks I encounter as I walk the road. Some of those people have encouraged me to seek out ways to help others or simply share my views or ideas with more people. I will blog on many subjects, from things that piss me off on a daily basis to more important issues such as dealing with chronic depression and the struggles that ensue as a result. I will be taking bits and pieces from emails and rants that I have verbalized as well, so if you see something we have talked about please, smile and nod...Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Ugly

Many things can be ugly. Something beautiful can become ugly rather quickly.
In my limited view, I see things daily that strike me as ugly. Most common is the way we treat each other. Odd how the word "treat" can be used to describe our favorite things such as candy or going out to a movie... then it can be used to describe the horrible manner in which one person abused or neglected a child; an elder, a defenceless pet, or any number of things.
A beautiful person can say some ugly things, and suddenly they seem ugly in our eyes. A painting can be quite beautiful, but if it is used to draw people together for hatred and violence, it can become ugly. Things, seen in one light can be beautiful and attract us, or the opposite. Something can be ugly to our eyes at first, a person perhaps, but once you get to know that person, they may become quite beautiful to you.
The point, I'm driving toward is that we as people should try to understand before we decide if something is ugly or not. Education, will always help us to make a proper assessment. This is just my view though.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

What are you about?

Simple question right?
           One would think that if you were about... Faith for instance, that you go to church often enough to be considered a "regular" there. One might think that if you were about "Morals" that you might be someone with a rather clear definition of your morals and ideals. If you were about money however, one would think that you have a very clear grip on how to earn it, how to spend it properly, and how to save it.

          The reason I ask this question is, because I'm curious what this nation of ours is about? If you take a look at any one person, yourself for instance, and look at your budget. That is the only real way to see what you care about. I believe this because if I care about my car, I will spend money keeping it nice. If I care about food, I will spend money getting the finest produce and so on. If my child is the love of my life, I would do without some comforts like my car or food to ensure that my child has everything he or she needs and maybe even wants.

         So if you look at our Nation's budget you may get confused. I can understand that, we spend money over here, and over there. There are so many different places our money goes that it's confusing because what you think you spend on Cancer research may end up going to provide nutrition to felines suffering with cancer. The point is, you have to look elsewhere.

        Where do you look? If you look at a company, and you study the leader or head of that company, you may find out their morals, ideals, and values. If you are a capitalist, however, the picture changes. You don't really care WHY that person does what they do. You don't care WHO they do it with or even WHAT they do with their time. YOU CARE about how much money they earn or save or produce for YOU. Capitalism is the almighty embodiment of GREED.

        This would suggest that we are a nation of greed then wouldn't it? We are a Capitalist nation...
What if we just care about what's popular? Wait.... I'm not trying to suggest that the presidents of the past were elected simply because of their ability to speak and convince people to LIKE THEM enough to vote for them. Surely the people we freely elected to run this country in the past were chosen for their morals, ideals, or values. Surely a nation such as ours would have taken the time to understand exactly HOW the future or would-be president was living his or her life? Surely we wouldn't vote into power of OUR NATION, OUR HOME the ability to GOVERN OVER US, based on something as trivial as their ability to speak on camera convincingly enough to ... wait... CON ? Us into voting them into power??

          I'm not in any way shape form or fashion bashing any past, present, or future president. For the record, I am simply stating what is so very clear and obvious to me.

         We are a nation who looks at our deficit and CRIES "WHAT HAVE WE DONE TO FIX THIS DEBT ?!" I think to myself, if I needed financial advice.... I'd go to a rich person.....

         I wouldn't care about their morals, ideals, values, or perspective. I would care about WHAT THEY CAN DO FOR ME. At that particular moment of crisis, I need a fix to the situation. NEED. Suddenly I'm in a position to drop off the radar some of my predilections. Suddenly my give a crap about Global Warming evaporates as I watch my balance slowly go further and further into the negatives and I realize that I have to stop this bleeding of money. Suddenly I realize that I MUST do something to fix my situation before I wind up on the street with NOTHING.

       So suddenly I hear today "DONALD TRUMP IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT" I thought, Gosh, he's a smart man. WE NEED A JUNK YARD DOG IN THE RING, not a poodle. WE as a NATION, need a person who is going to bite at the hand that would take our food. We need a person to guard our house from those who would steal our diamonds. We need a representative who is DAMN PROUD to be in a place where people are BEGGING to give him money that he doesn't yet have. This man, actually has people ASKING HIM IF THEY CAN GIVE HIM MONEY. Imagine, if our Country were that prosperous. Then we could afford to give to charity. Then we could afford to help the homeless. As a Nation, if we were that wealthy, and that well ran, we could solve the domestic problems. I'm not saying that Donald Trump is going to sweep down into the White House and solve our nations problems all while balancing a ball on his nose and reciting "Yankee Doodle Dandy". What I am saying is that, if you need a hammer, you grab a hammer. If your Nation is in war, you get a Warrior.

          I feel that we as a nation care too much about how things look or feel to us. I think that as a PERSON, this applies directly to me on an individual level as well. I don't do some things because I'm afraid of how they will be seen. I don't do some things because of my fears of how the things I do might impact those around me. Trust me though, if you enter my house, and attempt to harm my family, you will be shot. I'm not afraid at that moment. I won't care if I'm naked, or if my hair isn't fixed. I won't care if my shirt isn't buttoned. You, get introduced to my pistol, and you stop your effort to harm my family. How far as a Nation must we go before we realize that, it's past the point of being afraid what other nations think of us. They can't think much worse of us than they do now...

That's my two cents, I meant no offense to anyone by writing this, and this is in no way meant to insinuate or harm anyone's feelings or sway opinions toward any one person. This is just the way I feel. These feelings are mine and mine alone.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Clear the Air


Sometimes, people are nasty. Sometimes people are rude, callous, crazy, insensitive, and downright frigging MEAN. Sometimes people are as benevolent as can be.

I don't know you. I don't know what your life has been like or what you have been through. You don't know me either. You don't have a clue who I am or what I am capable of.
Now that we got that out of the way, we can talk.

When I'm rushing to work in the morning, trying to juggle the 3 or 4 things on my mind along with my coffee, oatmeal, and vapor ( I quit smoking evil tobacco stinkers) I may cut someone off on the road. It's not meant to be mean or rude. I'm not TRYING to cause an accident or hurt someones feelings. When I'm in line at the supermarket and I have a basket with three things and I see someone heading for the same line as me with a cart full of groceries, I may rush to get there first. I'm not shy of admitting it. I'm not trying to be rude or nasty.

Although, when I'm thinking about the day that I have had, and how I just want to get home so I can take off my boots and have a hot shower. When I am in the car contemplating my day, and someone cuts me off, sometimes I'm glad I cant be heard outside my vehicle. When I have a cart full of groceries, and a family at home, hungry for food and some (insert nasty name calling here) cuts in front of me with two items OBVIOUSLY in no rush, I want to harm them.

The point in both of these situations is, it depends on where you stand as to weather or not you feel angry or justified in your rage. Some people just never do such things. Most of us are human beings and sometimes we affect others without thinking about it.

Now, for the fix. Follow me here, it gets good.

If you wake up, in the morning or late at night because you have to work the night shift. When you wake up, thank God for the breath in your lungs. Thank God that you can open your eyes, thank God that when you do, you can see. Then, pretend that everyone, EVERY LAST PERSON YOU MEET has just found out that the love of their life is dying and there isn't a thing they can do about it. Pretend, as you drive, that everyone on the road is in some exuberant hurry to get to the hospital to be there for the last moments of that person they love the most life. As you stand in line, at the store, the person in front of you is buying flowers for a casket or a head stone. I'm not fixated on death mind you, that's just the most dramatic example I can think of.

You see, if we treat others as if they are going through some huge trauma, maybe we will think before we speak, cut the car off, jump in line, or shout obscenities. Maybe we will take a moment and be nice to the person who just slammed the door in our face, maybe they were preoccupied and didn't mean it at all. What if you say nothing and simply open the door and walk in unharmed? What does it cost you not to be angry at someone who may or may not realize they just offended you? For that matter, what pain does it bring you to NOT be angry at someone actively harming you? You can stop that person from doing you more harm of course and you should. The point is, why get mad?

I HATE when people act out against others for the sheer joy of it. When someone is a "Bully" in any sense of the word. I hate it, it pisses me off, it makes me angry it makes me see red I want to KILL!!! Wait, aren't I just as bad as that person? Someone is being a bully to me, so I get mad and strike back. Evil begets evil, or so it is written. How about, someone is striking me, why? The person you are being attacked by obviously thinks that they have a reason or right to do so. Why not ask what that is? Why not find out why they are being mean or rude? Why not ask questions before loading bullets? After you have the answer, no, don't load your bullets, after you have your answer, pray for that person, or wish them well. Chances are, they are just as miserable as they are attempting to make you.

"But Matthew, when do we get to load the bullets??"

When someone threatens me, my family, or my home, with lethal or potentially lethal force, I will respond in kind. That is the only time I will. I will use violence only as a last resort to defend my Family and my Home. I will do that because I believe that as a Man, that is my duty, privilege, and obligation.

I wish you all the best.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A better version of me

         I was recently told by someone I care for as a friend. "I just don't know what God wants from me". You all have read my writing before and I hope that I don't come off as arrogant as I feel from time to time so believe me when I say that, what I said next was with the best intentions possible and I was quick to explain.I looked him straight in the eyes and I said "I do, I know EXACTLY what God wants from  you." The soldier looked perplexed and sceptical as I'm sure everyone reading this must be looking at their computer going WTF?! Which for those of you who don't speak Army or Acronym means What The Frak. I said "God wants the same thing from you that he wants from me..."

       I waited for the soldier to ask me, which he did. "Please elaborate on that for me, I'm curious now, you can't just say  THAT and then stop..." I looked at him for a moment, trying to be as serious as I felt at that moment, hoping that I would acquire more than mere amusement. "God wants ME, to wake up every day and be thankful for the air in my lungs. God wants me to see the opportunities before me and not fear my failures from yesterday. God wants me to forgive those who hurt me or make me upset. God wants me to forgive myself for being human and not enough like him to feel comfortable in his presence. God wants me to love others, as if they were him. God wants me to treat others with kindness and respect. God wants me to do, what I know in my heart is the right thing to do no matter who it upsets. God wants me to STAND and not be afraid of anyone or anything because he stands with me. God wants me to remember all that and be thankful for all that and to be proud of the man that I am because he made me the man I am, and if it isn't good enough for someone else, that's their issue, not mine..... I think God just wants me to be the best ME that I can be, EVERY SINGLE DAY. God wants me to push myself to become a better person, every day. God wants me to say thank you more often and be generous more often. God wants me to be angry less and happy more. God wants me to quit trying to figure out what to do in the next ten years and be happy as the moments tick by right now, knowing that I am who I am and I am where I am and it could always be worse. In short, God wants us to be better people... God wants us to TRY to be as much like him as we can, because he created us in his image..."

          I waited as my words sunk in... and I stood patiently waiting for a response. The soldier took a few deep breaths... Then he said "What should I do with the rest of my life? After I get out of the Army?". I took a moment again... "Do what you know in your heart is the right thing to do, and if you aren't certain, ask God to show you a way, and don't be afraid to go when he does". The soldier smiled, then went on his way.

         I sincerely hope that I didn't offend the soldier or anyone reading this. I am in no position to judge or grasp God, or his infinite wisdom and understanding. I'm in no position to interpret God. I just know that, we talk all the time about how Christian we are, and then we judge our fellow men and women as though we had some kind of right to determine their guilt or innocence. We talk about how humble we are, just to inform our fellow man that "I'm not as great as you give me credit for, I give it to God, for making me who I am. Instead of saying "Thank you, you are an awesome person too. God made us both in his image, so I say we are both Beautiful and God doesn't make mistakes." I'm not sure why or who or how, but some where along the way, the Human race forgot what it means to love itself. The Human race decided to be antagonistic toward itself. This has to stop somewhere. We have to come to a point as a species where we realize how precious LIFE is, and what a crime and shame it is to value it so little.

        I am not a Godly man, and I don't pretend to be in any sort of Organized Religion. I've been to church, and I know a bit about a few different faiths. My interpretation of God in this situation comes from within me and how I feel. I didn't read it from the bible or some secret passage way. I didn't quote any references because, to my knowledge, I am the first to say these things out loud or write them down this way. If I have offended anyone with this post I sincerely apologise now. Please understand it is my intention to help people, not hurt them.

           Thanks for reading and following. Thanks to Paula, who I already know ahead of time will have some awesome feedback on this post. Believe it or not, I love hearing your comments. Please leave whatever ones you have. Thanks again, for following and reading. Keep your head up, your character is defined by what you do when no one is watching and by what you do when there is pressure on you and you feel crushed. THAT is when character is developed, defined, and recognized...

Friday, November 7, 2014

Lead

        Being a leader is tough sometimes. The people you lead, if you do it right, don't know the crap you go through to take care of them. They don't understand that when they do something wrong it ruins your day because it makes you look like a failure. They don't understand that you are managing several things at once and one little slip up could ruin your entire day. The people you lead also don't fully understand that anything they do is seen as a reflection of you, good or bad. The people you lead don't understand that they aren't the only person who feels the way they do. The people you lead, don't know how you lead others, if you do it properly.
      
        My style of leading means that I take my people aside and talk to them one on one most often. The reason for this is so that I don't embarrass them in front of peers or people they may one day have to lead. I take my people aside so their peers  don't know if they are getting a repremand or a pat on the back. Sometimes I even take the time to further the rouse by smiling and laughing while saying something like "don't you EVER do this again!" and such.

       The down side of this is that my people think that they are the only ones ever getting into trouble because they never see me repremand the others. Even after I explain this, I still have people who think they are being singled out. I cannot please everyone and I understand it, I cannot make everyone happy and no one likes to be corrected. I can go as far as trying to explain to my people how making mistakes is a natural and normal part of learning. I still find that people get angry and frustrated when they get caught doing the wrong thing and want to blame the leader (me).

        Negative bias is real, and most of this post has been about the things that I don't like about leading people. The truth is, that there have been a few times where I sat back and smiled and thought to myself "GOD I LOVE MY JOB !". When someone you work hard with to succeed finally gets it and does something amazing. Even though they may not name you or say "thank you" to you directly, you know that you helped that person do something great. What really gets to me in a good way is when someone you know you worked hard with is a success story and they come to you in private and say to your face that they thank you for being an outstanding leader. Those same people, when they are doing things right, will accept punishment and correction and thank you for it.

         When I was a younger man, and a soldier still, I was corrected by a leader often enough. One particular time I was being punished for something incredibly stupid I did. The consequences could have been devestating, but the leader saw potential in me and instead of destroying me, chose to take matters into his hands. I was doing push ups for a very long time. At one point, I looked into the eyes of my leader and said "Thank you Sergeant". He got this confused look on his face and said "WHAT?!". I repeated my comment, then went on to say "You could have fed me to the wolves, and I know they wanted me, but you took this yourself and gave me a fighting chance to fix what I had done wrong. Thank you.". The point was made, and I was doing push ups for quite a while longer still. What I took from that experience was that being kind isn't always being NICE. Sometimes what is in the best interest for the people you lead is going to be painful for them and they need to feel that pain in order to move on.

        Being a leader in any capacity requires a degree of responsability uncommon to the average person. You must be prepared to accept the ramifications of your actions and still manage your life day in and day out. You need to also accept that of the people entrusted to you to lead. You must actively push yourself to be the best example to them that you can be lest they believe that it's okay to slip. You must also watch out for them and do the best you can to ensure that every last person you lead has what they need to do the job properly.

        I love my job, and I will continue to do the best I can at it until I no longer do my job. Then I will move on to another job and do that one to the best of my abilities. I will always seek ways to help those still learning and strougling to do the best they can. I will always try to help those who cannot or don't know how to help themselves. That's just the man I am. The Army taught me how to do that, and train people at the same time. I'm fortunate for the lessons I have learned in life and the ones that have taken me to where I am today. I look forward to the challenges of tomorrow and push myself daily to be better than I was yesterday.

I wish you all the best, thank you for reading.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A better me.

      We can all do our best to strive to be the best people we can be. We get frustrated when things don't go our way and we get jaded when we are burnt bad enough time and time again. When someone is mean to us we want to retaliate. We wish we could inflict upon that person the same pain they inflict upon us. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. We all know that just leaves us all blind and toothless. We all know that violence isn't the answer unless it's the absolute last resort. We still want to harm people who harm us or the ones we hold dear.
       
       In my daily efforts to be a better human being, a better man, I am working on something important. I seek to defy the nature of mankind. Mankind is inherantly antagonistic toward itself. We have seen wars and strougle and poverty over the decades. We have seen people treat eachother with complete and total disregard. On a side note, I think that the opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference. I think that to feel hate you still regard the other person, to feel indifferent is the absence of emotion, and that is the opposite of love in my opinion. When we completely disregard others, we don't even show them the courtesy of acknowledging the presence of another person at all. Treating people with malicious intent and being nasty is just something that people do out of spite, or some internal urge to express power when they feel powerless. I believe that this happens when someone isn't secure in their ability or understanding of themselves. I don't need to crush a tin can with my hands to know that I'm powerful. I don't need to insult someone else to know that I'm intelligent.

        I know that I'm insecure, but knowing that allows me to consider myself with regard to my capabilities. I'm capable of doing many things. I can write, cook, sing, and a few other hidden talents which I won't discuss here. I don't need to prove these talents to anyone but when I do use them, I try to use them in a way that enriches others. I cook for other people to share my joy of the art. I write, in this blog as an outlet and a forum for my thoughts. As stated before in another post entirely, I write also because I think that it may help other people. The moment I use my gifts, skills, or attributes to harm other people, I'm disrespecting them and their power. Taking something beautiful and making it ugly is something people have a tendancy to do. Wars have proven this time and time again. We can create just as well as destroy though. People have turned junk, trash, scraps, and other "useless" things into great works of art for a long time now.
  
        I simply can't relate, nor do I want to, to the people out there who mistreat others for the sheer joy of it. I don't understand how being nasty can be good. I can understand how it can help the person subjected to this torment. They can learn how NOT to be, how it feels like when someone treats them like that and maybe never treat another person that way because of that lesson. The person acting that way, however, must be in desperate need of help or attention. I don't judge, I just dont want to be like that or around people like that. We work with them, we see them on the road when we drive from place to place.

        So, I intend to be confident, and do everything in my power to be kind to those around me every day. I resolve to consider everyone's feelings before saying anything or acting any way around people. I resolve to make a conscious effort to treat people with the utmost respect and consideration lest I fall short of my goal. My goal, of course, is to be a better Matthew than I was the day before. If through understanding, and thought, and study I can do that, then I am going to continue to do so. I want to LOVE the world, and I want the world to see me, unafraid. So I intend to thwart the logic of being mean because someone is mean to me. I intend to challenge Eye for an eye. I plan to make every effort to be a better man one day at a time. I want to do this simply because it is the right thing to do....

I wish you all the best of luck and thank you for reading...

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Startle

The sky is falling! The sky is falling! No really, it's raining cats and dogs outside.

Thunderstorms and lightning are beautiful but they can remind us of things that we don't want to remember. Sometimes the thunder and lightning remind me of incoming rounds in the middle of the night. Sometimes I wake and reach for a rifle that isn't there.

If you know someone who jumps when something startles them, or had some kind of trauma in their lives where some things trigger a response from them, I have some ideas that may help you both.

If you are the person who is startled or jumpy from things like thunder, tell the people close to you that those things bother you. You can't expect people to understand if they don't know.

If you are someone close to someone who jumps, or startles. Either be up front and ask or let them explain when they are ready. If you ask, don't be frustrated with the response. Sometimes people don't like to share the past like that. I'm an open book but that's the way I am. Some people like to keep that stuff to themselves because whatever happened to them still has a nasty hold on their emotions.

In any and all situations, communicating is the best answer in my opinion. You can't hurt anything by explaining how you feel or why you feel that way, even if you just don't know. Simply saying "I'm not sure why, but the thunder I hear is making me very nervous". Sometimes we have to swallow some pride, I had to tell my ex Wife "Would you mind terribly if we swapped out driving for a bit, the thunder is messing me up." I felt shame and embarrassment at the time, but she was kind and gentle and switched with me without another word. When I was comfy enough, I told her why and how I felt. She was nice enough to wait for the explanation and listened to my story. She never freaked out or acted like I was some freak of nature or some twisted psychopath.

People that go through trauma are normal people that bad things happen to, that's all. They aren't broken, just scarred. Sometimes those scars heal, other times they stay around a while. Don't stare at the scars, and don't pretend that they aren't there. Be real and honest at all times. If you aren't sure, ask gently. "I saw you jump a seccond ago, did something startle you?". Or simply ask, "is everything allright?" Sooner or later, if someone who is going through that trauma trusts you, they will tell you. They won't tell you if they think you don't want to know. They won't tell you if they think you will freak out.

On the other side of the coin, I have heard some people who claim to be very very touchy about certain things who seem to have no reason at all to be that way. I have known people who claim to be trauma victims, who never were. Some people like the attention. I'm not saying it's wrong or right, I will just say that some people need more attention than others and if that's how they go about getting it, that's on them. Trauma is real, and suffering from it is real too. Reliving a past event or having a startle response from one isn't a joke, and shouldn't be taken lightly. Just understand that you can't ignore it and you can't push someone aside who needs attention. Regardless of what they are going through, if they need attention that bad, there is a reason for it.

I wish you all the best of luck