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.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Wrestling Rages

I would like to talk today about rage. Rage is something we all feel, it can be used to motivate us, it can be used to fuel our desires and push us to do things that we wouldn't otherwise do. Rage can empower us to take risks that we wouldn't otherwise take. One of my favorite bands Blues Traveler has a song where they describe this. "You accept what you would have lost if you stand tall, you might just get it back but you can get it all, so now you know why it's a long way to fall". I love lyrics, sometimes my own words get twisted in my head and it helps to have some music to listen to that can put things into proper perspective. Again, rage can be used here.
We accept the love we believe we deserve. When we are enraged, frustrated beyond words, sometimes we act harshly. We say things we don't mean. We can also act out some of the most powerful and passionate acts when we feel rage. I know that as a man it is in my nature to be in tune with the aggressive side of myself, and when I feel rage it can be used in some very amazing ways. I can move my world around me in an effort to tame the frustrations I feel. I can grip the very fabric of my universe and tear it to shreds when I feel like that. I can cause exquisite pain and rapture all at once. I can cause myself to be in an entirely foreign frame of mind, just to appreciate my reality in another perspective. I demand nothing less of myself. I rage within my sorrow and my pain. I push myself to feel the most astounding pain, just to enjoy the relief when it is removed. Have you ever been in a crying fit, and you clench all your muscles at once, tears barely escape your pinched eyelids. Then you release, and you almost feel like you are floating because the pressure is gone? This is what I am describing.
I can tell you from experience, that we will only endure what we desire to. We can only put up with what we allow ourselves to tolerate. The question, always, is weather or not the intended reward is worth the pain. In most situations in my past I have simply walked away from things that trouble me. ONLY when I hold tight and fight for what I know I should have, do I reap the most wondrous rewards. I fought for 12 years to earn something once. 12 YEARS. When I finally got what I was after, I almost cried. I felt pride and rage, I felt release and joy, I felt the power that comes from defeating a devastating foe. I felt the rage of a conqueror. Then I wept, for there was no more struggle, no more strife to endure or villain to vanquish. I reveled in my own majesty and my own superiority to the task that I had accomplished and I stood tall and proud. Then I felt the intense desire to find another mountain to move. I gathered myself up after a momentary celebration, and pointed myself in the direction of another "impossible" task. I beat that one too. Then, I took a hit. Rage, RAGE against the dying of the light. DO NOT GO DOWN WITHOUT A FIGHT it is said. Challenge those who create rules and standards. Make your own. RAGE with all you are for your own right. Your right to decide not to go down without a sound. SCREAM let there be sound, lest they forget who you are and what you are capable of. DO NOT let them claim you, don't let them shake your unbreakable will. ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE MIGHTY. Feel the power that God gave you to conquer those who would oppose you and refuse to settle for second best. DEFEAT THE DARKNESS WITH YOUR LIGHT, for it is bright and it burns hot, if only you nurture it. RAGE, yes RAGE WITHIN YOURSELF against all that threatens you and your sanity, your safety, your security, your comfort. Do not allow someone else to tell you that things should be some such way. Rules were not made for those who are great enough to ignore them. Bend or break, twist or shatter, be a wrecking ball and demolish the rules and the fabric of the universe. YOU are the only one who can tell you what you can and cannot do. REFUSE to go down easy. STAND and be proud for you are AMAZING. ALLOW YOURSELF TO SHOW IT. Be with pride, yet be humble enough to shed it when the time is right. Be with shame, and sin, for we are fools to deny our inherently fallible nature. However, when you take a hit and you fall, remind yourself that you are mighty and only the mighty recover. Those without the drive are those who are no longer driven. PUSH yourself, stretch your limits, aim high and stand firm in what you believe and what you know to be true. RE DEFINE that which the world would chose to thrust upon you, the chains of reality that weren't meant for you in the first place. FORCE YOURSELF out of your comfort zone and conquer. If you have it in you to do so. If not, please, step aside, I have work to do.
I wish you all the best.


Have you ever had one of those days that makes you think that the sun just can't get any brighter? For those of us with depression, we typically brace for impact at this time. When ever things get going good, it seems that we are about to get hit the hardest. It takes courage and fortitude to raise your head and enjoy the moment regardless of how tragic you may think it's going to get. Don't be afraid to let yourself breathe and just enjoy how beautiful life is at the moment. This was hard for me, for the longest time. I feel that I'm in a place right now where I can actually take my own advice this time.

Out of nowhere, you can surprise yourself and fake being happy long enough to meet someone out there who is trying to be happy too. Who knows, you just might make each other smile. The problem is, if you are so busy being sad and upset, you can't see past your own funk. Maybe all you need is a smile on your face. It's exercise, your face uses way more muscles to smile than to frown.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Well... It's complicated

So, life sometimes throws us curve balls. We do our best to hit them but sometimes we miss. I made a decision, to go to the zoo today. I tried to coax a friend of mine to go with me, but that didn't work so well. It's easy to feel sad and depressed when your friends won't even go hang out with you when you offer to pay. I won't let that ruin my day. I'm taking my camera and I'm going to the zoo damnit.
       I'm pretty sure that I'm going through a break up. I don't want to be in a relationship that causes me constant pain anymore. I don't want to feel like I do. So I'm pretty sure that I'm ending things with my S. O. (Significant Other). The last few days I have been drinking ALLOT and trying to come to terms with how I feel and what to do about it. There just isn't an easy answer at this point. I'm suffering and I know that she is too. There is just no way for me to make her feel better and knowing that only makes me feel worse. It's all very complicated and I won't violate anyone's privacy in a blog. Sufficient to say that I'm fairly certain her and I are both in a TON of pain right now and getting through it is about the only thing I can think of.
         So I'm going to the zoo. I have a black T shirt that says "CHILI HEAD" across it. It makes me laugh because I love spicy food. I figure if I can act goofy and pretend to have a good time I might actually convince myself to relax enough to enjoy the day. Whatever the case, I'm going to the zoo. After that, I may go to eat somewhere nice down in Nashville. By "nice" I mean, maybe Joe's Crab shack or DICK'S Last Resort. Some place I can have a beer and some good food and pretend to enjoy myself even further.
        I have to remind myself to eat. I almost forgot last night. I looked at the food I made, red beans and rice, and my stomach rolled. This morning I made a fruit smoothie, and again, my stomach isn't sure it wants to eat this. I know that I need food. I don't want to eat, I want to drink, but I'm going to the zoo. Bananas and peaches... Good smoothie. So, the time is coming where if I want to get there, I should hop in the car and turn on some good music and start driving.
       One small step at a time, I'm going to the zoo... Wish me luck.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Food, painting, and other outlets

We all know how much outlets mean to someone suffering with depression. The problem is that most of the time, for people with depression, failure makes a situation unpleasant. The only way you can practice or get good at something is to fail, over and over again. If you want to paint, you need to learn, and that means failing. For someone who tries so hard to please other people in order to gain acceptance and feel connected, failure isn't the best thing. Part of the learning process is to fail, and be okay with that. accept that you are learning and getting better, and keep trying. Sense my trip to NOLA and Florida, I have wanted to try cooking some of the food I ate out there. I wanted to try painting and I have always been interested in drawing. SO, yesterday I got everything I need to paint and sketch and go at a slow pace as I want to. Day before yesterday I got everything together to make gumbo from scratch. I worked all day on it and it came out quite tasty. I was very happy with the results. I made every effort to do things exactly the way they tasted in New Orleans. The trick of the whole thing is, the food there is so diverse there really is no "Proper". I can taste Korean cooking, and make it at home and keep the flavors about the same. I can mimic just about anything, I can even add my style to a flavor that I taste. I found some amazing hot sauce while I was out, and added it to some red beans and rice I made last night. BLAMO ! Find something you like and enjoy it. I don't know why cooking is such a release for me. I'm not sure why I feel the intense urge to get in the kitchen and create things. What I do know is that I'm good at it and I enjoy it. I just wish I could express myself in other ways as well. So, I'm going to try my hand at painting and see where that goes. I'm going to try to sketch and draw. I will see where that goes as well. Maybe I will develop skills, maybe I won't maybe it will just be something fun that I do on the side. Maybe it will be something I'm horrible at and I don't do well at all no matter how much I try. The thing is, I have to try. I have to put my effort into it, and work at it or I won't ever know if I can enjoy it. I won't ever know if I can appreciate it, or use it to express myself. There is hope out there for us, those of us who are scared to try new things. There are things that we can do, if we can just get past the initial failures and take small steps forward. We have to accept that we will fail, and let that failure happen, if we want to find out how good we can be. We have to accept that we will fail, and enjoy that failure, let the failure teach us, learn from it, and then we can decide if we want to pursue something. I still cook dishes that aren't all that great. I still cook dishes that taste rather nasty sometimes. The difference is, I have had so many successes that the little failures don't bother me anymore. If I were to start cooking today, having never done anything more than box macaroni and cheese or beans and rice boxes, I would have SO MUCH TO LEARN. Anything is like that, you just have to work at it. Get outside that silly comfort zone. I wish you luck, just remember there is hope.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Fun, what's that?

For me, fun was always something other people had. My ex Wife said I was like her cat, any time I caught myself or someone else caught me having fun I would stop and pretend not to. For me, fun was elusive, why should I have fun? There is so much work to do, there are so many things that are on my to do list. Why should I have fun if I am not perfect, there are too many things to do still. As I type, I have a dragon on my left hand riding my fingers like a mechanical bull, she is very cute but this is distracting so if I go off topic please have mercy. Fun, right. So, I was wandering the streets of New Orleans looking for something that sounded FUN. Not entertaining, entertaining can be a show on TV, but that's not fun. I passed by the New Orleans School of Cooking. If you know me, you know my heart is in the kitchen.
         I did a walk in class for two and a half hours and learned more culture and history than food preparation. Trust me, I know how to cook a stew. I understand that you need to soak beans the night before.What I didn't know, was that the Cajun style of cooking, Creole is all about diversity. The many many cultures that co existed in that little area is just amazing. So is the diversity in the food, the many many styles and presentations. One place you have gumbo on rice, another it's on potato salad. Sometimes they use Okra, sometimes they use Filet. Seafood gumbo or chicken and pork sausage gumbo. Just for gumbo there are fifteen or twenty variations. This was all so fascinating to me and I enjoyed the class very much.
            Yesterday was a wash, no fish at the lake, apparently they dropped the water level and no one was catching anything. So, today I'm making gumbo. I'm making gumbo and I'm relaxing at home with my dragon. I wish you all the best of luck and I urge you to get out of that silly comfort zone. That is when you can start to see what you like and what you don't like. You may even have fun with something you never knew you would enjoy.  Best wishes, Matthew

Sunday, June 15, 2014


I know I haven't written in a while. For that I apologize, this will explain why and give you all something to think about as well.

           When you have personal issues in life you tend to shut other things down that aren't so important. You may stop doing things you enjoy, you may stop feeling things that you normally would, you may even stop taking care of yourself in extreme situations. Doctors look for this, and list them as signs that you are depressed and need help. I have been there obviously. One method for me to recover, was to take a break, a vacation.

            The idea of leaving my apartment and going away on vacation was about as nerve wrecking as going to the dentist for a week at a time. I didn't want to leave my comfy little apartment and certainly didn't want to drive 8 or 9 hours to go to a hotel and be somewhere strange where I don't know anyone. I have no backup and no weapons to defend myself and I have no way of getting home in a hurry if I  get spooked. Such things can make a "normal" person a bit nervous.

            So where do you go? Where do YOU go when you want to relax? Where do you retreat to when you have some time off? Most people go to a place they know or are familiar with. Most people go to a place they feel safe and secure right? What if you have NEVER had that before and you want to get out of your comfort zone and try something new? Where do you go? If you are like me, and I bet some of you are, you go somewhere that scares the hell out of you. You go somewhere that puts you right in the middle of crowds and people. You go somewhere that isn't safe and isn't familiar. You might go somewhere that is full of all the different cultures of the world. I decided to go to New Orleans and visit the French quarter. I have a friend who said that I would enjoy it and there was plenty of history there. The food will be amazing and you will have all the time you need to collect your thoughts and see the different side of things. That's what my friend told me. So, I drove 9 hours south and went to New Orleans.

         I have NEVER been on vacation before on my own. I have been with ex girlfriends, and when I was a kid I did the family trips camping and fishing. I have NEVER gone anywhere alone other than to travel from post to post in the Army. So, after 9 hours on the road I checked in to my hotel and decided to get out and see what I came to see. Bourbon street, here I come! No one warned me that if you are out having fun you need to make sure you don't over do it. I would normally have someone with me to watch me and make sure that I didn't go too far. Sure enough, I went too far. I drank way too much and had way too much fun listening to all the live music and seeing all the strange people walking around. I spent the next few days trying not to drink in a town that makes money selling alcohol and food. I heard plenty of live music and managed to enjoy a few beers without going over board. I can honestly say that I should have known better but was trying to relax and have fun. Some how I confused relax with being irresponsible.

            So after a few days in New Orleans I went to Florida. Pensacola beach, to be precise and there I had fun. There I was able to relax. No, seriously, I can relax. There I sat on the beach in my swim trunks and was so comfy and calm that I fell asleep on the beach and burnt my skin to a beet red. The following day I went to the Harborarium. I suppose you could say it was an aquarium with harbor attractions as well. There were shows and I got to meet a seal and a sea lion. I even got a kiss from a harbor seal.

            I discovered a few things while out on my vacation. I learned some things about me and who I am. I learned some things that can't be written down or explained. I gained the confidence that I can get past this hole in my life. I can move on from the past and be a whole person. I don't have to let my past cripple me and make me something I am not. I am a beautiful person and I can continue to be a beautiful person and no one has to tell me who or what I am. I can be happy knowing that I am just fine the way that I am. These things sound simple and easy to understand but for me saying them was much different than feeling them in my heart and knowing them to be true. There has always been a seed of doubt in my brain about my own worth. There has always been a part of me that thought that I was used baggage and because of my past and my issues I would never be someone worth getting to know or be with. One lady friend of mine a long time ago told me that I would never find the right woman because I was used baggage. Never listen to people who put you down, they aren't worth listening to. It would be different if she had said "you need to get past your past before you can meet the right person". She would have been completely right. She would have had a point worth sharing. She might have made a difference for the better not worse. What she said, was an attack and a judgement against a 19 year old boy who didn't know the world, didn't know the truth, didn't know his own worth, and didn't know how amazing he could become if he just gave himself the chance.

            We are all amazing people, we all have potential. We all have good days and bad and we all have our road to walk. On the road, there will be holes and stumbling blocks. On the road there will be flowers and trees and sunshine and rain. We must do our best to continue to walk the road and move forward while enjoying the things that it has to offer us. Good and bad, we can learn from every experience, which is why I believe we have experiences. We are meant to learn from them and use that knowledge to better ourselves and be a light for others to use when they need it. We are meant to help, each in our own little way, the better of man kind. As organs in the human body, each with it's own purpose we are all part of the human race and we are all connected to one another by that. Some people are like cancer, they just eat away at the whole of humanity. Others are like medicine, they stop the cancer and they fix the damage. Some are like tattoos, they offer color and light and something unexpected. Who ever we are, what ever our purpose in life, we should use what we have to better mankind not tear it down.

            I now have a bearded dragon Aiden, as my pet. She is a cute little cuddly dragon and as I write this post she is napping on my shoulder while we listen to classical Cello music. I am going to go to the lake today so I figured I would write this post and give her some attention before I head out. I encourage you to get outside your comfort zone and expand those boundaries. You will make mistakes, that's normal, but you can learn from them and move on. That's what we are here for anyways. Thanks for reading, I wish you all the best. I will be posting more, so please keep an eye out.

            If you are interested in bearded dragons or want to know more about mine, I am setting up a blog for her at . The Cuddly Cricket Crusher. I hope you enjoy. Please ask whatever questions or comments you have about dragons there. I will try to keep this blog as I have in the past more about getting through depression and the daily stuff that comes up in life. I hope you enjoy.