Disconnected

I think people are somewhat like a wifi connection. Sometimes there’s a connection and you’re satisfied and everything is running smoothly; other times there’s just no connection and no matter how hard you try and how much you’d wish for that connection to be there; it’s out of your hands. So all you can do is just accept for the moment that you can’t connect and hopefully, in time you’ll find other connections and be able to get your wifi back.

 

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The masks we wear

Whether we realize it or not, we all wear masks, to protect us from the elements, to survive in harsh social environments. We mask our true emotions, our sadness, our hurts, the crippling rejections we face from time to time when we make the mistake of trying to connect with others.

 

Rejection stings like a thousand bees but we never show it, we carry on with fake plastic smiles, so others won’t feel uncomfortable with the pain we carry with us, a heavy knapsack of boulders; weighing us down but we can’t show weakness, so while we lay on the ground in sheer agony, we laugh it off to avoid the judgment of onlookers. No need for help, I’ll help myself. No need for medical attention, just leave me on the ground for a few more days and I’ll somehow manage to crawl back home.

 

Me, I have a mask and I wear it on occasion but most of the time I leave it at home, in a drawer somewhere. I forget my mask and all I can be is myself, I don’t have the luxury of hiding my pain for the benefit of others, what you see is what you get.

 

If life has given me joy, I might crack open a smile, giddy at the prospect of happiness, even if it’s short lived.

 

If negativity invades my space as it oftentimes does, a frown or an eye roll is sure to come. I don’t have a poker face, I can’t hide my emotions as easily as you, although I would like to at times, to be just like you.

 

I feel bitter because I want the happiness you so easily fake, if I had those skills maybe you’d like me more and want to be around me instead of avoiding the black cloud of emptiness that is my existence

 

I don’t know if this is me talking or the illness talking. I speak out of hurt and need to process all of this because the truth is fleeting, when your own mind decides to feed you lies and you believe every line, every damn time.

 

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Building my support network

Lately my social media has really grown, I have added thousands of people to my Facebook, most of them life coaches therapists, other advocates, those in the recovery field and it has been such a blessing to connect with them. I have found it healing being able to share my thoughts and feelings across and get all of these amazing responses, unimaginable 2 years ago, I finally feel like I have a sizable support network and for me that is important and when it comes to support, it makes no difference whether I personally know someone or not. In fact it’s a lot easier to me to talk about mental health or advocacy with those I don’t know personally. I am talking to interesting people and in only a matter of a few weeks, I have really grown as a person. and have never felt more connected/

This week is going to be quite the busy week in regards to advocacy. Today I went on my first Facebook live discussing mental health, I was with another advocate/life coach. The discussion went very even though I was a little nervous, especially sharing my story and being so open about my struggles and past but she listened and I felt like she understood, I was honest and raw in my discussion, which I always am, I don’t usually do on video, so it was nerve wracking. But people seemed to like the broadcast and I got a lot of good feedback from everyone, it was healing, therapeutic even. I talk about mental health, my issues with disabilities, my health issues my brother taking his life and spirtuality. . It can be overwhelming to get this sudden attention, to go from feeling very alone to being connected with all these people who want to talk me, it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around it, I am anxious about all of it but also excited. I have felt rejected for so long, I have trouble understanding why anyone would want to hear me talk. But I feel this is important and I will continue to speak out on mental health and disabilities.

I am also participating in an online anxiety workshop on top of everything else, I am very busy. But this is a time of finding myself, healing and I hope maybe this might lead to a career somehow. I really believe that I have the ability to reach people and help them with my story and experience. I care, I like to listen, I encourage others and I want them to feel less alone, those are valuable skills in that field. I am not working right now and I can’t go back to retail, I want to do something that makes a difference and working retail is soul crushing and it was so difficult and emotionally draining.

And I that leads to one more thing. In talking about the past and my issues with mental health and disabilities, I have mentioned several times how I felt I was treated poorly, in school as a child and in the workplace as an adult. As I was talking live on Facebook and i recounted my issues of disabilities and mental health struggles at work, I felt angry inside. I felt angry how they put me down, made me feel inferior and never took my disabilities into account when my productivity was slow. And when I was telling this story, the other person just listened and for first time I felt like someone was as angry as me about it. Like I knew I had been treated fairly but usually people just brush it off and say ” Everyone hates their job” It was different for me, I felt isolated and helpless, I was dealing with really bad stomach and bladder issues and it was creating emotional distress and all they could do was mock the fact that I wasn’t quick enough, that makes me angry, I was treated unfairly. I realized that part of advocacy is speaking out for those who are in similar situations but are afraid to speak up, much like i was, not too long ago. But instead of letting my anger fester and destroy me, I channel it and use it make a difference, that is what advocacy is all about. In a sense I feel vindicated, all of that pain and anquish lead me to something good, something better and maybe in a way it was worth it.

I feel advocacy is my calling and I will continue to share my story, I will continue to speak out especially when I see injustices in the world. I feel God is working in my life and he is giving me all these opportunities and my life is changing faster than I could have imagined a few weeks ago, I’m really optimistic because I feel people are listening. I feel like this is my turn to shine and make something of myself. So I thank all of those that hurt me because they thought i was weak but they actually made me stronger, I rise above them and prove them all wrong. Thank you everyone who has always supported and listened to me

 

Note- I have been much less active on my blog lately, I apologize,  I have been communicating with a lot of people and dealing with an influx on comments, messages and reactions.  I am going to make more of an effort to blog more because I enjoy it.   And as soon as I can, I will post the link to the broadcast

 

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Why most of my friends are women

I made this quick video about the reason why I relate so much better to women.  It seems that in any social situation; I always gravitate towards females and I feel more comfortable; I can never seem to relate to men.   It’s something I always wondered about; like why is that? I don’t really have a clear answer except that’s just who I am.  I try to be a kind gentle sensitive man who is open about his feelings and women just tend to be more responsive to that.   So I am grateful to all the wonderful women I have befriended in my life.  Here’s the video enjoy.   And feel to subscribe to my Youtube Channel: Revolutionary musings and my Instagram at Davethewriter18.

 

 

What I’m listening to right now

Thanksgiving

Well Thanksgiving is almost here and it’s the season of gratitude.    Oftentimes in my life; I find myself struggling and find myself being anything but grateful; I think like a lot of people I complain a lot when life is difficult and things don’t go my way; I fail to have gratitude on some days; it is something I am working on   I think I for one often focus on the things I don’t have and fail to see the wonderful blessings I have been given; it’s easier to look at the negative than to work on having a more positive outlook.  And I really don’t get envious about material things; sure I’d like a place of own but I realized that having people in my life is more important than material things.  So i find myself wanted what others have in terms of relationships/friendships (life can be lonely), having better health ( those that don’t struggle with anxiety or depression or physical issues ) or those with a higher job status. I compare myself to them a lot and put myself down in my own head. Why can’t I be more like them? Why do I have all these obstacles and am not as successful as they are. And of course it’s worth noting that we are all on different journeys and all have our own strengths and weakness and our own crosses to bear.  We just have to do the best we can with that we’re given and not to compare ourselves to other people because we have no idea what they are struggling with; the things that they don’t tell us.

And since I’ve started writing during Thanksgiving I always take the time to write something about gratitude but not only is it important for myself but others around me; to express how thankful I am for all the wonderful people in my life. I want to say I am so blessed that I finally have a relationship with God; I am growing in my faith and putting my trust in him. I truly believe without God; I would be lost in life and a whole lot unhappier; I’d be directionless; like being on canoe without an oar.   I prayed about getting a new job and out of this difficult situation and now I have a new job; a new lease on life and God came through; on those days when I felt all alone and was so depressed; God was there; asking me to be patient and all I had to do was pray and have faith. God has given me hope and the strength to move forward in difficult times; it took me a long time to reach this point.

And God has also blessed me with friends and family who I love; people who are rooting for me; they are happy for me when things are going well and they are there for me on rough days when I feel sad and hurting. I have friends and family I can turn to when I am struggling and they listen and I am extremely grateful for that; not everyone has that.  I have had people welcome me back home  and let me stay with them when I made it back to DC; I have had people visit me here; it means so much.  I have had people send me cards and letters; sometimes I am overwhelmed at how kind people are; I really care about a lot of you. I know I say it a lot but I am grateful to have friends like you. I am grateful to have the chance to help with the disabled ministry too; it has been a light in my life when I have have dark days.  It is probably to best thing to happen to me in a very long time and I feel it’s a turning point; where I can serve others and get out of self centered thinking; it’s an incredible feeling

I am also extremely  grateful for  my parents; who help me out so much and love me and accept me for who I am.  I can come to them with any problems I have and are there for me. I am blessed to have them in my life and they have always stood by me. They have been my best advocates; at times when no one else believed.  I love my parents so much and God has truly blessed me and I am not sure where I’d be without them.  And besides my parents I have family who i love dearly; while I don’t see them often; I communicative with them and they are really supportive and we all care about each other.  Family is so important to me and to know they care so much; really makes a difference in my.  So again I am blessed with an incredible family.  I said it earlier but not everyone is so lucky to have such a large caring group of people who love them so much.

I just wanted to lastly that I feel my writing is a gift and it gives me a chance to express to my friends and family how much I care about them in a way I couldn’t do it in real.  It’s a gift of expression and sensitivity and it’s brought me closer to people and I am grateful for that.   I am a very lucky person and if I could just keep gratitude in my mind; I might be more positive and just feel better overall.  I also want to thank everyone who reads my writings; comments on my posts, follows my blogs.  Thank you so much; your support is so incredible and I am humbled and grateful for everything.  Have a wonderful thanksgiving.

Dave

The importance of a church family

I am often get frustrated because I would love to attend church every Sunday and take that time to grow with a church community; hear a sermon among other worshipers and be with God in prayer; I think that time is something we should as be entitled to if that is something we wish to do on a Sunday morning.   Sadly I work in retail and it almost impossible to have a Sunday off but luckily today I was free and made it to church service; I sat with the disability ministry and was happy to see them.  It was a great way to start the day.  It’s interesting how the old me would have rather stayed up all Saturday night and slept in; not even giving the idea of going to church a second thought. But here I was excited to finally go to church; something very strange is happening.   But I feel blessed anytime I can spend time with God and others who have faith.

I communicate a lot with my friends who I had grown up with in the church; and to me they are like family; sisters and brothers and parents; I love them a lot and I mention them quite a bit in my blogs.  As I was sitting in that church with my new friends from the disabled ministry; I was at peace; a little anxious about when this new job is going to call me back but I tried to remain focused.  As the service began; there was a small choir of little kids ( all about 4 and 5 years old); really cute kids. One of the kids ran up to a microphone and almost knocked it down; everyone thought that was funny; he was real mischievous and hyper; like I was as a kid;  I looked at those kids and I realized that we as a church family were all children at one point; we grew up together; some of them I knew when I was 4 or 5 years old; just like those kids. We attended Sunday school together, sang in the choir,  were a part of plays, participated in children’s time; went to each other’s houses for dinner. We not only knew them but their parent’s as well and we grew into this close knit church family and it’s amazing when you stop and think about it. I took it for granted as a kid; this protective group and kids and adults. I was in youth group and we went on trips together; we went through tragedies together and we grew to love one another and it was a strong bond up until I graduated high school and sort of moved away from the church.

I just have this gratitude I was able to make it to church today and it was perfect since it is the week of Thanksgiving.  I find it amazing that we are all adults now and many of my friends have families and children of their own; they have moved on and live in different places; met new groups of friends; have careers and yet we still communicate with each other. That friendship and bond didn’t fade over time for some of us.  Ever so often I’ll share those memories with my friends and they agree how important our friendships were; it shaped us.  The love of the church is so important especially when you I ostracized everywhere else. Just to know I had this safe place to go to with people who loved me; gave me comfort.  And that’s what was going through my mind as I was sitting in that church.

I want to end this blog though with another thought.  It is Thanksgiving week and we should keep gratitude on our minds. For those of you who have the privileged of being able going to church every week; I want you to stop for a moment and think about those who may not have the luxury of being part of a church community; maybe they work on Sundays or they live in a country where they can’t practice their religion; or they are in prison or wherever they can’t attend church.  I think a lot of people take for granted the ability to attend church regularly. And when you have miss service after service; I think you have a greater appreciation for the importance of attending church and being with God. I am not trying to point my finger or preach; it’s just something that crossed my mind.  I wish I had gone to church more often when I had the chance. I wish I hadn’t turned my back on God or my church family; but I can’t control the past. I can only take the time to attend church when I can and express my gratitude towards God when I can attend.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving; may God bless you and take care of yourselves.

Dave

 

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Lonely thoughts

Loneliness is not just being alone; but it’s a feeling; a state of mind.  Even  in a room; full of  lively conversation; plenty of opportunities to connect and yet somehow you fall flat and you feel that heavy burden of being lonely;  you can’t shake it; that loneliness.  I feel it late night mostly; the loneliness leaves me alone in my owns thoughts.  It’s always been a part of me; a nagging voice in the depth of my soul; letting me know; I’m man on my own in the middle of the water; with one paddle; spinning directionless in this boat; with no help; completely lost at sea.  I don’t know where that feeling came from and maybe I don’t want to know.  I’ve stopped looking for answers and accepted that it’s a lonely life; whether I’m with people or by myself. How does one change this perpetual state of loneliness?  Anyone got anything? I didn’t think so

 

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I got the job

I am so happy right now.  I have been on the job search for a few weeks now and it has been real stressful; I thought that I’d have to stay at Sears until the very end; which was a depressing scenario.  Anyways today I had my second interview with Costco; I had my first one only yesterday and I felt it went well.  I was really nervous today but I gave myself a pep talk and sent out a little prayer and thought about how supportive my friends were and how God was looking out for me and it calmed me down a bit.  It was a much shorter wait this time around and luckily I was interviewed by one person.  The conversation went really smooth and I felt confident in explaining how I handled certain situations at Sears; he just replied “Great, great” and moved on to the next question.  I asked him what the  job entailed ( like I did yesterday)  Its just bagging and gathering carts but also keeping the front end clean. I told him I was a hard worker and I didn’t like to stand around and do nothing ( which is the truth).  I know this job will be a challenge but I am up for it and willing to work hard and do the very best I can; I know I can do it; because anything worth having is worth working hard for.

I think God is working in my life right now; he is really looking out for me.  I was at a real low point and was depressed for a long time; my mental health has deteriorated and I felt so alone here and was just asking God for a miracle. At first I thought that leaving Sears was such a sudden thing and I felt like it was a bad thing but now I see it as a blessing in disguise; they is a new and much much better opportunity for me and I’m going to run with it.  I know I saw this a lot but God has blessed with me with the most loving friends.  I posted my good news and immediately my phone was just buzzing like crazy with texts and messages and notifications from my social media; my support network is unbelievable; I can’t describe how it feels to have all of these people who care about me so much; some days I can’t wrap my brain around; it really makes a difference in my life. Oh that support includes my blog followers as well. Thank you so much for all of your kind words.  So I am extremely happy right now. I am going try to calm down a bit; I’m  little too hyped right now and I am going to  treat myself and order some Chinese Food.  Today was an incredible day and It wasn’t me; it was God; he’s the one who made this all happen.  Thank you again, friends.  Good things do happen in this world if we’re patient; I truly believe that.

 

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The picture is a little blurry but I was so ecstatic after this interview.  Just such a relieve to finally have a new job!

 

What gets me through rough days

Thanksgiving is coming up and this is the season for gratitude; although I  know when I am in a negative space; it’s easy to be anything but grateful.  I wrote earlier about how I was struggling at work; how I was anxious and felt overwhelmed and I also want to add that I feel antagonized at times; people will try to engage me when it’s clearly obvious that I don’t want to talk to them; it only makes me more anxious and irritable.  Anyways today was another frustrating day; the Christmas music is really grating.   I tried really hard today to focus on the good things in my life that could make me smile and the first thing I thought about was the overwhelming positive responses I get on my blog; beautiful comments that make me feel like my writing makes a difference in people’s lives or that someone can relate to what I’m saying; that I’m not  alone because when I am at work; feeling like I have no value and people are looking at me and treating me as if I am terrible person; I feel completely alone and helpless; it’s just a negative place to be. So thinking about how all my wonderful followers helps me to see that I do matter; I do have talent; I am worth something and I don’t deserve ( no one does) to be treated this way. So I say it a lot but I’ll say it again; I am so so extremely blessed to have you in my online life; we are a community and I really appreciate how supportive people are; it’s heartwarming ( Here I am again; overemotional). If only you know what your responses meant to me on days like this.

I also thinking about my friends and family who I love so much. I get so many positive responses from them as well; they are rooting and praying for me and I also don’t think they realize how much they mean to me; I am blessed to have such caring friends because not everyone has that.  I have friends I can message when I am struggling and they accept me for who I am. I have pretty much told them everything that is going on with me ( the anxiety and being on the spectrum) and they are extremely supportive; I really cherish those friendships. It hurts that they live so far away; otherwise I’d see them in person.  So when I feel mistreated at work; I think of my friends and family and I feel grateful for them.  I know that I am a kind person and I’m gentle ( in the right environment) and a lot of people see that as a weakness and therefore treat you poorly but it’s not reflection on me; it’s reflection on them.

The last thing I think about that makes me feel better is my volunteer work with the disabled ministry; it has been such an incredible experience; I really love working with these young adults and how unbelievably kind they are; and the least judgemental people I have come across; they will be your friends right away.  I love my fellow volunteers, the lady who is the leader; I have really grown to love her; she is very sweet and thinks highly of me; which is not at all how I feel at work. Apparently she has told other people about how much she appreciates me helping and how much I care;  it’s such a welcome relief from being treated like a pariah who can’t do anything right.  It’s just a positive environment since it’s in a church; it isn’t noisy; no one is rushing you; everyone is respectful; no loud abrasive music and I enjoy being there; among the young adults who are a joy to work with.  I also have gotten to know some of the parents of the young adults and various church members; such as a 91 year old woman who adores me ( she gives me a hug every time she sees me) and she brightens my whole week; like having a grandma again.

I think about all those things and realize God is working in my life; he is taking care of me and that this rough patch is temporary.  So yes I am stuck in the noisy, dirty place; on my feet; full of people I don’t like but I can change my mindset; I don’t have to let them control me. They may be able to take away my time and my dignity and  some of my sanity ( lol)  but they can’t take this blog or my writing; they can’t destroy my wonderful friendships; they can’t control my thoughts or feelings;they can’t take away my relationship with God; it gives me the power back; I don’t have to let them have so much control over me.  God has blessed me beyond belief and I will continue to pray and get up and do what I need to do everyday; God will give me the strength to get through this; I believe that with all of my heart.

edit- As I was writing this I got a phone call from Costco and I have a job interview tomorrow. I am so excited and this is another reason why God is working in my life. When I am at my lowest point; he comes through; he listens and I might just get that Christmas miracle; a new job and maybe a positive new chapter in my life. God is good.

 

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