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.

Friday, November 7, 2014


        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...