Verbal Seduction....

Lately I've been wanting to update my blog, since I haven't done so since May 2010, which is probably the longest time I've gone without updating it since I began it last year.  I've been struggling with what to write about or maybe just because in retrospect, my life seems to be better than it was a year ago, that I no longer have anything to learn or maybe to pass on to someone who might benefit from my experiences. 

Yet, even now writing here, I find myself able to express things that I often don't usually verbalize.  Whether or not I have a lesson to pass on, doesn't matter. I write here for me and no one else.  

So before I start, I want to preface the changes that my blog will be going through, not as extensive as what I did before though.  The past posts have all focused on things I learned through the past and the events that corresponded as well as how those events tie into stuff I was experiencing in the present.   The tone will more or less focus on that now.   I will try to relay some of the things that I experience and the emotions that come into play and how that's tying into the present and future.  Just go with me here. 

I find myself starting Primary flight training to become an NFO (Naval Flight Officer) down here in Pensacola.  I have just completed API (Aviation PreIndoctrination Training) and that had its own challenges that I had to deal with mentally and physically.  Every single day I find myself looking up to the other training aircraft flying around and in disbelief that I'm actually a part of this culture (or at least becoming part of this).  Me personally, I've definitely had some inner struggles that I've had to battle in order to get to this point.   Struggles with doubt, confidence issues, and overall feeling like at certain times, like I've made a big mistake. 

Naval Aviation is filled with people who are considered to be of "Type A" personalities.  We (yes I said we) like to be the best, all the time, every day.  I, myself, am competitive in most things....if there was a contest with who could sleep the best, I would win.  (Just being honest) Being around people who are just like myself, there is ALWAYS an atmosphere of competition....even unspoken.  When you feel like you're not measuring up or struggling at something that someone else seems to succeed at, you begin to second guess yourself.  This happened mostly over the past few months.  There were days where I'd wake up and not want to go to class, or not go and swim.  There was even a few days when I wanted to quit because I was frustrated, tired, pissed off, and generally feeling like I was the red-headed stepchild.  (No offense to any of my ginger friends).   However, even with those thoughts of doubt, oftentimes I hate to admit it - self pity - and basically pouting too, I sucked it up and kept going.  I made a commitment to myself that I wanted to see the other side or whatever the next goal was....

One step at a time and one day at a time.  I prayed and prayed hard to God to get me through events as fast as possible, which in turn may not have been exactly the way to go about praying for that....but thats another topic.   I chose to keep going because I knew that deep down, if I couldn't make it through this,  I didn't deserve whatever goal lie ahead of me.  I had to search deep inside of myself and re-discover my motivation for being here.  Some of you may say, "why?  It wasn't that bad."  No it wasn't and I agree with you.  But those same feelings of failure I felt one year ago, I allowed to come back and at times, I allowed it to paralyze me.  I made a promise to myself that I'd never be the victim ever again.   It's unreal how much your own mind can become your worst enemy when you need it most.  I countered every single thought with something verbal.  Every time.  Soon enough, I found myself finishing the first "phase" of my training and progressing to my actual flight training.  Even though its not really a big deal in the grand scheme of things, I know that there are many who don't get to make it to this point for one reason or another.   Finishing alone gave me back that confidence and positive moto I need in order to climb the next mountain.  I learned what I need to do if my mind decides to try to get in the way of my current situation.  I also know that there won't be any room or time to allow things to affect me the way they have in the past.  My verbal confidence has to be on the same page as my mental/physical confidence.  This is only the beginning and I know I'm gonna have much more to learn but I don't intend to learn them the same way I have in the past (the hard way).

I wasn't brought here to fail and I also know that God didn't mean for me to come down here just to be sent home either.  Knowing and believing that is the most difficult part though.  I know the things I have yet to go through are going to be even harder and more stressful with each successive step I take upwards, but I don't intend to walk the path of self pity and destruction/depression again.  That road was closed and won't be opening anytime soon.  

There's nothing wrong with wanting to be good at everything or wanting to do well or be #1 (unless you're egotistical and an ass about it), but when you come against an obstacle that seems to be impeding your progress,  keep in mind what crossed to get to that point.  Don't look back, keep looking forward.  Your past is your past for a reason.  Verbally tell your mind to shut up and be positive and focus and keep that moto there.  Sounds stupid and it sounds easy....but I know for me, it happens more often than I care to count.  You've got to believe and every word you say.  If you say one thing, yet doubt it a second loses its impact. 

Until next time.....



Faith Over Fear and the Difference of a Year

One year ago.

One year ago today (24 May) I decided to revamp my blog and start "Inside the Soul of Darkness."  I stepped out of myself today to really take in and wrap my head around the differences of where I was vs. where I am currently.  For me personally, everything I am experiencing right now and where I am is all due to the mercy and love of God.  Now if you don't believe that, that's fine.  But this is my blog and he is my God and very real to me.  It is all because of him that I am where I am today.

One year ago, I had no job (except the small part-time jobs I held to make it by). I often wondered if I'd be able to eat, I lived in constant fear of what would happen financially or physically.  I went through each day just wondering if I'd be able to pay bills or what bills I would have to put off in order to eat.  I suffered from depression and was an emotional wreck. 

One year later, I am gainfully employed by the United States Navy as received a commission as a Naval Officer on 16 April 2010 (HOOYAH!).  I don't wonder if I'll be able to eat (now its just when ha), I don't worry about the future anymore.  That's not only due to the change in my situation, but due to the fact that worrying does nothing but make you age and drive you crazy.  Why worry about things that are out of your control?  Believe and have faith and step forward, for faith is daring the soul to go beyond what the eyes can see.  I don't worry about paychecks and am slowly trying to repair my financial situation.  I have an awesome roof over my bed, even if all my stuff is still in Colorado, I still get 3 hots and a cot.  I've learned to not let my emotions control me in tough situations and have grown mentally tougher, if you will.  That was most definitely a product of OCS, where many, many times you didn't have time to react to a situation or command.  You had to execute and execute correctly the first time.  Emotions do nothing but cause more problems and waste time. 

In the midst of all that turmoil, it seemed like it would never come to an end.  Now I look back at it and everyday I am in complete disbelief at the opportunity that I've been given with my life.  Standing on the Naval base here and realizing that I have been trusted with great responsibility, and I haven't even begun to scratch the surface yet.  Never would I have thought in college that this is the path that my life would take and yet I get up everyday excited as hell to see what I get to learn and/or see.  I know fully well that I am not out of the clear completely yet.  I know the road I am on currently is one that is very difficult and riddled with storms, but I feel more prepared now in my life than I ever have been, to take on any challenge thrown at me......even learning to fly a plane for the world's greatest military and Navy, and being humble about it at the same time.  

Even when it seems completely bleak and you are by yourself, focus not on what your eyes can see, because even they lie to you.  Focus and take that imaginary step into the future.  Dare yourself to walk forward while thinking positively and slamming out the negative.  D0 that and watch your situation begin to turn around and your mood lighten.  This too shall pass and what awaits you after this trial period is over is much better than you can imagine.  

I look forward everyday to what is going to happen next.  Getting into OCS, getting through OCS, earning my commission, and getting down here to Pensacola were challenges in and of themselves.  I know what awaits me is going to be harder than what I encountered one year ago, and anyone reading this has to understand that.  Getting through one storm or one trial is a good thing, but is there to make you stronger for the next one that will come.  

So now, lets see where I end up one year from today.  I invite you to follow with me and keep a journal of your own path.  Whether you're going through or having a great life, start chronicling your life and its memories.  As cliche as it is, you will be surprised at what a difference a year makes. 

Until next time,


The Struggle of Perseverance

First, I've been waiting a VERY long time to write this next post.  Mainly because I've been waiting on some things to fall into place before I wrote it and it had to be the appropriate time in order to deliver it as well.  As we begin to close out 2009 and welcome 2010, I can't help but feel 2010 has to be better than 2009 and 2008 combined.  I remember NYE 2008 being in Chicago and other people echoing the sentiment that 2008 pretty much sucked.  With that, I strolled into 2009 thinking it was going to be different and to be honest, it was, but not in the way that I would've expected. 

As cliche as it sounds, it really is amazing how much of a difference just one year makes.  I'm not going to recap 2009 as most everyone who reads this already knows the hell and crap I went through on a constant, never-ending basis.  However, I can say that I am walking away from 2009 with a greater awareness of myself and what I want out of life.  Also having grown stronger in personal areas such as mental and emotional strength, perseverance, fortitude, and better understanding of my faith in God, etc.  It was a very tough year and the entire journey is something that I hope I never have to go through in that magnitude ever again.  I spent 11 out of 12 months of 2009 in one of the hardest processes that I've ever been through in my life, much tougher than getting into Michigan or Grad School at CU, or any job for that matter.  I've never worked harder in my life just to prove that I have what it takes in order to granted a spot in any job or position.  This taught me that not only with God is anything possible, but that even in your darkest hour and your weakest point, your goals will keep you motivated to do the unimaginable.  I clung to a quote that said "Never give up on something you can't go a day without thinking about."  Truer words have never been said.  When I began my application process to the Navy last February, I never in my wildest dreams pictured myself to be getting ready and training in order to leave for Naval Officer Candidate School in another month with the hope of being able to commission and then make my way through Flight School successfully to become a Naval Pilot.  *Sidebar: On 24 January is when I start OCS and that is the exact day +/- a day that I lost my job last year.*

That still to this day baffles me and how on earth the Navy decided that I had what it took amongst all the stiff competition I had is beyond me.  But I know one thing is for sure.....I'm ready.

My last job left me with a false sense of how things work due to many of the (negative) attitudes that I encountered there.  It left me feeling like nothing.  My application to the Navy gave me something to grab ahold of and chase the entire time.  It was the most ridiculous process ever, but it was worth every minute and second that I poured into it.  After a full year of being unemployed and now (*here is the new news*) as I sit here as one of those FINAL SELECTED officer candidates to attend Officer Candidate School, I have had lots and lots of time to think about what exactly I was applying to do and where I wanted to take my life.  As I said, I've grown alot in the past 11-12 months and I'm ready to take what I've learned and apply to the new path that I'm getting ready to start running down.  My past is exactly that and I'm only looking forward at what is coming. 

So what are these things I've come to learn and grow from?  Here....
a. NOTHING is EVER guaranteed to you.  Nothing.
b. People will smile in your face and stab you in the back at the same time. 
c. If you're not happy with the way your life is going, then change it.
d. Don't expect other people to have sympathy or feel bad for you.
e. Showing emotion in certain situations is good, but other times it shows weakness.  Be mindful of where you choose to wear your heart on your sleeve.
f. The only person who has your best interests at heart is YOU.
g. Sometimes the only thing you have to hold on to is your will to stay with a goal longer than anyone else.
h. Given the chance, most people (usually not friends) will turn their back on you and throw you under the bus if it means that the heat is taken off them.
i. Don't allow others stupidity or worry to throw you off track.
j. Stop worrying about stuff that is out of your control.
k. Whatever you want out of life, go for it.
l. Anything worth having, is worth working (HARD) for....

That's only a sample but you get the picture.  You would think some of these are common sense, but oftentimes its easy to forget and get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, or be swept in by someone with a kind demeanor and nice smile.  Everything I've learned and gone through over the past year is now nothing but a testament to the strength that is inside of me to keep fighting for what I believe and what I want, no matter what the odds are.

I definitely know the journey i'm about to embark upon is not going to be one that is easy at all, but I feel much more prepared for the twists and turns that lie ahead now than if I had never gone through this wilderness journey over the past year.  So I say all that to say this, the struggle of perseverance can be one hell of battle.  As a friend of mine once told me, perseverance doesn't consist of one long journey, but several smaller ones added together.  Sticking with my goal and dream of getting into the Navy has been extremely hard but rewarding and I know it will only get harder, but this was the first step in a new direction.  Anyone can just up and quit or find something else, but I like the idea of challenging myself and mainly to see just how far I can push myself until I break.  There were times when I came deathly close to breaking, but I had to just keep going.  Hour by hour, day by day, week by week, and month by month.  By no means am I all good or out of the woods yet, but as I said, my journey as I begin to look and move forward is made that much easier by the experiences I have now under my belt to fall back upon.  Use your past experiences to make you stronger but don't latch onto them so hard that they cause you to freeze.

You'll only truly know what you're made of and how much you can take until you're taken out of your comfort zone and forced to adapt to something that you're not used to at all.  ONLY UNTIL THAT POINT, will you really know how much you can handle and how much you're willing to just push through. 

We will see how much more I can handle and if I have the cajones to continue to push through these next upcoming months....

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year. 

Until 2010....


Ghosts Appear and Fade Away

Remember as kids when you would sit down in school and draw or write about what you wanted to be when you grew up?  I remember that day very well.... mostly because my dream hasn't changed at all.  It is exactly the same at 25 as it was at age 8.  There is this quote I heard and I agree with half of it.  It says that life is supposed to be about the journey and not just the destination, but I can't help but feel like establishing a/the destination is just as important as the journey.

Everyone has their own goals and dreams for what they would like to accomplish in life, or where they see themselves at or doing at X years old. I know I did this for myself.....I never thought during college that I'd be where I am at 25 or be getting ready to embark upon Naval Officer Candidate School in a month or two either.  Although the ultimate goals for my life remain the same, I've had to take a different approach towards them.  I never understood why people become complacent about their dreams/goals and seemingly just give up on what they ultimately want to be or do.  Now don't get me wrong, there are those who actually have legitimate reasons for having to find a new dream/vision due to life circumstances or others things that come their way that are for the most part unavoidable.  However, I'm addressing the majority of people who just quit and give up.... those with no real reason other than "I got lazy."  Because that is ultimately what it comes down to most times.  You can agree or disagree, but this is my blog and I'm putting things from my perspective whether you agree or not.

I always seem to hear the following when it comes to people giving up on their goals: "It's to hard, I lost interest, Eh, I don't know, its too much work, f*ck that, this is easier, i'm lazy" etc.  Yes, I very well know that everyone has different mindsets and motivations for doing things and not doing things as well, but if you have a dream, doesn't it behoove you to do whatever it takes to get to that dream?  Isn't that half of the satisfaction of knowing that you busted your ass to get to your dream?  Why take the easy way out?  Even if I NEVER make it in the astronaut program, I know i worked my living butt off to do whatever I could do to try to make it happen.  I know that throughout it all, I never gave up and did everything that was in MY CONTROL to make it happen.  Doing everything you can do reach your goals and THEN stopping because you have exhausted every resource, network, contact, route possible is much different than quitting because you didn't have the cajones to finish what you started.

A bit of background on me...ever since I was about 8 years old, I've had the vision of one day being able to work alongside other astronauts in space as a mission specialist or maybe be on a long duration mission to Mars.  I've held onto this dream and protected it with all I had, and even at times, it's been the one primary source of motivation for me.   I've been told, to my face many times, that "I would never graduate from Michigan, never make it in the real world, everything I do will be a failure, I'd never get into Michigan or get a job after it, that I'm nothing but a failure, that my family is nothing but a failure, that I am crazy for trying to do something so "out there", i'm nothing but a dumb (insert N-word)", and you get the picture.  Thats just the verbal resistance, I'm not gonna even get into all the shit that happened during college and in grad school that i guarantee about 95% of you have NO idea even happened.  Anyways, for some reason, people seem shocked and surprised when I tell them that that is what I want to do and that I will do WHATEVER it takes to even have the chance to apply to the astronaut program.  There have been MULTIPLE chances when I could've just given up due to circumstances around me or because of what people were saying to me.   Had I done that, who knows where the hell I'd be, however, I know that I would never forgive myself if I had let it get to me and given up.  It's so easy oftentimes to take the easy way out and just quit when it gets"too hard" and to let all the everyday day-to-day (yes I know thats redundant...I did that on purpose) bullshit get to you and get you off track.  Many times its hard to see the final destination, or the next destination for that matter when you're in a cloud of fog and it seems like nothing is going like it should be at the time.  My short-term goal has been getting into the Navy.  I can now say that I am pretty damn close to fulfilling that goal and heading off to Officer Candidate School here pretty soon.  I am extremely proud of that and has yet again verified to me that nothing is impossible or out of reach.  The road has definitely not been easy and I'm sure any other person who has traveled the same road to gaining a slot as I have over the past 13 months with the Navy would agree.  It has been a mentally, physically, and emotionally demanding and challenging journey up to this very point.  Having to learn to wait for days, weeks, and months on end for one gate to clear only to come up to an even bigger one has been nothing short of irritating, agonizing, frustrating, and exciting all at the same time.  The amount of work on my end that it has taken to just get to my current position and status has been exceedingly HUGE.  I have never done more to get a "job" in my entire life but this whole process has grown me as a person and kept me focused.  Throughout this time, if you've had the chance to read previous posts, I've been bombarded with outside distractions, events, situations, etc. that at any point could've caused me to lose focus and ultimately sacrifice everything that I've worked so hard for up to now.

So going back to the "life is about the journey not a destination" thing.  I really believe that if you have no destination, then your journey is basically pointless.  Its like wandering through a cornfield with no real plan or map or knowing how to get out.  Having a destination (read: goal/dream/vision), no matter how lofty you or anyone thinks they are, is how you set your life's journey apart.  The journey is part of the fun yes, but mostly its the building up part of life.  This journey, I guarantee, will be filled with huge mountains, low valleys, cracks, loose rocks, large obstacles, mooses (is that the plural for moose?), and whatever else decides to blindside you on a tuesday afternoon.  These impossible it seems at the time obstacles will help to build your confidence and your determination in reaching your goal.  Remember that setting the goal is only 1/4 of the battle, however, getting there and going through hell fire, deep water, raining asteroids and nuclear bombs to get to the next plateau is what will really test your fortitude and perseverance.  There are only a handful of people who are willing to work to do what it takes to get through that stuff....unfortunately for many, the first sign of resistance = time to give up and do something else/take the easy way out.   Now please understand I'm not attacking anyone or judging anyone, but if you think that, then maybe its because I'm hitting a bit too close to home.

Don't let the day to day crap storm deter you from what is the most important in your life....whatever it happens to be.  I'm not going to lie, if you choose to suck it up and go down the tough road, its going to suck.  It's going to suck super hard at times, and not in the good way.  There are days when you will hate life and hate everything and everyone around you.  You will feel upset, sad, depressed, and like you are just spinning your wheels along the road of life.  But don't give up.  As cliche as it sounds, my parents have always told me "If it was hard, then everyone would be doing it" and I definitely believe that ANYTHING worth having is worth working for, no matter the cost to myself or otherwise.  I may have my down days, but I am one of the most determined people you will meet.  If you tell me I "can't do it" or "no", be prepared for me to work that much harder to prove you wrong.  I've done it in the past and continue to do it everyday and I don't do it to show people up, but I do it to prove to myself that I have what it takes to continue and move to the next level.  Sometimes our biggest critics and biggest obstacles are ourselves.

As I said, its very easy to lose focus with having to run here and pick up this, drop off that, do this, go do that, work this out, finish this up, get this fixed, slap these around, read this, and whatever else.  I personally put up reminders that I know I'll see everyday that keep my focus/goal in my mind every day.  I put stuff in my phone, on my wall in my room, in my car, in my gym bag, on facebook, and on my laptop.  These help me remember that no matter what happens everyday, that there is an end goal in mind and that I HAVE to keep pushing.  I refuse to let my situations around me dictate my future.....I am in control of what happens and I ultimately am responsible.  I also refuse to be complacent and settle for 2nd or 3rd best or something else just because I was afraid of hard work.

Think about your goals and dreams?  Are you doing EVERYTHING you can to try to get yourself on track towards them, as much as you can?  Or did you quit on yourself and settle for something a bit easier?  If you look at your life, are you happy with where you are and where you are going?  If so, congratulations, you are a minority in this world.  If you're not happy, and you don't like where you are, only YOU can change that. Be proactive and go after what you want and keep going until you reach the next step.  Had I given up at the first bit of resistance, who knows where or what I'd be doing right now, but i for damn sure know I wouldn't be where I am right now.  So this goes one of two ways, focus on the short and long term goals and use those to motivate yourself and do what it takes to make it or stay complacent, accept defeat and apathy, and end up with mediocrity.

I leave you with a quote from my favorite song right now.  It's by Kid Cudi's "Man on the Moon" album.  The song is called "Pursuit of Happiness." I definitely encourage you to go listen to this song if you haven't heard it yet. If you don't know me by now, I connect alot with music and use it as motivation as I oftentimes tie the lyrics to things going on in my own life. The chorus is something that I feel is very true and can help anyone through anything.  So again, look at the lyrics and what they might mean to you if anything. This song will mean something different for everyone and may not mean a damn thing for some, but i really feel like its lyrics hit home a bit....find it on youtube and give it a listen.

"I'm on the pursuit of happiness and I know, everything that shine aint always gonna be gold.  I'll be fine, once I get it.....I'll be good" 

Otherwise until next time....


One Tough Act to Follow......

This post has been a few months in the making, which explains my lack of posting lately. I've got quite a bit to say, so this one is lengthy, but bear with me, as it does have a point.

Sometimes one of the hardest things you have to do is listen to your own advice. I found myself in situations over the past few months that I never imagined happening to me. However, I've learned a lesson from each one and it has made me that much stronger. Each "life event" that follows seems to get harder and harder to climb and takes that much more energy to get through. I'm sure every person has, at one point or another, been through just a shitstorm that only seems to get worse by the day. During this "storm", you continue on trying to make it through; and just when you think you've gotten through the ABSOLUTE worst part of it, a rogue wave blindsides you.

If you would ask me at 20 or 21, while I was in college, how I pictured my life to be going at age 25, I guarantee my life story up to this point would be narrated completely differently than how it is currently. In a nutshell, here's how the past 3 months or so have been going. Colorado cut unemployment benefits early. I lost my apartment and had to put stuff into storage. I barely have any food, or even gas to get to my jobs. I have applied to over 300+ jobs in the area and all over colorado. I am in the process of finding a new home for my Python, whom I'm very attached to at the moment. My 6 month old laptop decided to stop working so that's being fixed. I almost lost my Naval career before it even began due to a small legal situation. My finances and credit are a joke at this point. My car desperately needs things fixed but I can't do anything about it. I can go on and on and on. The magnitude of stuff that has happened can't really be felt via text, but I said all of that to say this. There were days when I would sit there and wonder why my life seems to be going the way its going and why it seems like I'm the only person going through this kind of stuff. The past 3 months have been the hardest so far out of anything, but I'm still here.

It would've been INCREDIBLY easy for me to look at all of that and basically sink into this enormous depressive state and mope around. But i didn't do takes so much energy to feel bad and be sad and what do you get out of it? Nothing. You don't feel any better, you're basically sargeant buzzkill to everyone else around you and it just makes you jealous (*ahem* see my last post on haters/star player) of everyone else around you who either don't understand or have everything going for them. The truth of the matter is, you never know what anyone is going through at the moment or what their struggle is either. It's easy to be like "well you have no idea what its like because I've" *insert long sob story here*. You can either go around crying about your problems or be proactive and do something about them and try to help others around you as well. Someone could be going through the exact same thing you are and they may be watching your every move and you might not ever know. They're watching you because they see how you handle your situations, which may or may not be similar. If you take each problem thrown at you, and you tackle it head on with the right attitude, that can be very uplifting and motivating for someone else. On the other hand if you go around feeling bad and complaining, all you're doing is reaping negative attitudes and pity parties around you.

I had to learn this lesson. I was tired of feeling defeated and so I've been doing whatever I can to keep myself going and motivated and trying to be a living testimony for others who might need encouragement in their own situations. In light of the stuff that has happened, I have realized that next to God and my family, my friends are of the utmost importance to me. Yes, I knew that before, but you never really know who your TRUE friends are until you need them. And I can say that I'm proud to have the friends that I have because, a good bit of my struggle has been overcome just because of them. They know who they are as well. The other thing that keeps me going is something my friend Brownie told me one day. He said, "You know, I'd be more worried about you, if what you're going through wasn't just a speedbump..." What he meant by that was that on August 25th, 2009 at 12:13 pm, I got a call from my recruiter that I was Professionally Recommended to become an Officer Candidate for Pilot, Naval Flight Offiicer, or Surface Warfare Officer. I applied to all 3 and got accepted by all 3 and now all I'm waiting on is my Final Selection, which will also give me my Officer Candidate School report date for my class. Even though waiting sucks and sucks hard, I know that I'm destined for bigger and better things and God has me in a holding pattern until he sees that I'm ready to start the next phase of my life. I know that everything, EVERYTHING, that I've experienced and seen and felt since this runaway train took off in January 2009 is going to prepare me for the next challenge in my life. It will probably be way harder, but looking back on this gives me the strength to know that I am well equipped and capable of overcoming it. And by the way....that next challenge will probaby be OCS in Newport, RI. But as I said, knowing that my life is getting ready to change, keeps me from being complacent and also keeps me going that much harder everyday to make my situation better.

Final point: Shit happens. It does. Over and over and over....and then when you think you're in nice, open, clear, caribbean waters, you find that its still the sesspool of crap that you were in before. But you're in deeper. Awesome. Everyone will go through something or has been through something where it felt like nothing is going right and it continued that way. Your attitude and the decisions you make after it hits the fan, is where you really find out how much fortitude you have and how mature you are to handle what's going on. Those decisions and your attitude will dictate whether you'll be ready for the next challenge that comes or if you are destined to circle the drain until you decide to change direction and fight against it. You're in control of your lives....even when you feel everything has been taken away and there is no possible way to continue, keep fighting. Hold on to your dreams or goals, because sometimes, that will be the one thing keeping you sane. My favorite quote and something I read everyday when I wake up is this:
"Between you and every goal that you wish to achieve, is a series of obstacles. The bigger the gaol, the bigger and more daunting the obstacles. Your decision to be, have, and do something out of the ordinary entails facing difficulties and challenges out of the ordinary as well. Sometimes your greatest asset is simply your ability to stay with it longer than anyone else."

So I'll ask this question and I feel every person should keep this in the back of their mind.
Do you let your situation(s) dictate your attitude?
Or do you let your attitude dictate your situation?

Until next time.

The Star Player

First, I have began to receive some really good feedback from my blog thus far, so thank you to those of you have taken the time to read it and offer comments. Also I'm still playing with fonts, so bear with me.

Today’s post came after I had spoken to a few people about some things that were going on in their lives. Now it wasn’t the content of what they were going through that prompted me to write a new post. It was the “theme” of the advice that I gave to them. That advice centered around being your own #1 fan, or as Katt Williams put it so well, being in tune with your Star Player. You can see him talk about it below.

Now my point in putting that video in is because he touches on a solid point that I believe many of us forget to do from time to time. Many times we get so caught up in trying to be selfless, or wanting to prove to others that we can do something just so we don’t take a hit to our ego or pride. Other times we worry what others might think or say or talk about when we’re not around. And even moreso with that, we sacrifice our own happiness for the sake of others or just to get by with something. So when something doesn’t exactly turn out how we want or we happen upon some harsh unexpected reality, we shut down. Why?

Another thing I’ve learned in my months of being jobless is that it takes an ABSURDLY LARGE amount of effort to sit back and be depressed, feeling bad for yourself, and wishing the world would throw you a pity party; rather than getting up and not allowing the little things (because that’s what they are most of the time) to get us down and bring us into this funk. Let me ask this. When you feel bad or you’re upset about something or “depressed”, do you ever feel better after or during? If you do, then let me know the secret. But otherwise, NO, you feel like absolute crap, so why even put yourself and your mind through something like that? I don’t care how “strong” you are or think you are, everyone at one point or another has felt that way. It may not last long, but surely at some point you’ve felt like less than your normal self.

The key to the above is exactly as Katt said it. Be in tune with your star player. Basically be your #1 fan. When you wake up in the morning, you don’t have to please anyone but yourself. YOU have to be happy and confident with the decisions that you impart upon yourself that day. YOU have to look at yourself in the mirror and smile and be happy with the person who is looking back at you. Too many times we get so wrapped up in how others feel or think about us or say, that that shouldn’t even come close to mattering. When something doesn’t go your way initially, you can give up, throw a temper tantrum, and sulk around or you can turn it around and go back at it 4x as hard. My application to the Navy took an unexpected turn and now I have to wait just a little bit longer to hear if I’ve been accepted to become an Officer. I could’ve easily let that defeat me and just have given up, but then what good does that really do? Now I know that that unexpected turn was a blessing and it was exactly where I needed to be. Even though things with the Navy have been tough and it seemed like a wrench was thrown in plans, I realized that being flexible and adaptable to change is necessary. This is due to me being in tune with my star player and I decided that I was going to do whatever it took to get back in the pipeline.

Just as before, everyone’s situation differs so apply it as you see fit. But being in tune with your star player should be your primary concern from day to day. It sounds like something that should come naturally, but as I said all too often we allow ourselves to be taken off track by other people or things and that causes us to be all messed up. Stop worrying about situations or HATERS. (Haters will be the subject of another post).

Be in tune with YOUR star player. At the end of the day, when there is no one else, the real test will be whether you are able to stand on your own and pick yourself up and keep moving or if you’ll just shrivel up and die. Hopefully you choose the former and not the latter.

Staying in constant tune with your star player will help you get through, climb over, and transcend each obstacle in life. So, I leave you with this, how is your Star Player doing?

Until next time,


Now playing: Black Eyed Peas - Showdown
via FoxyTunes

The levees are breaking...

If there is one thing that has been an ever present factor in my life over the past 6+ months, it has been learning the art of patience and the stress of anxiety. Patience is a dangerous thing......if you don't have it. Praying for patience will only lead to more stressful situations that test your patience and allow it to grow, or at least that's supposed to be the goal. Now, couple that with anxiety over what's to come possibly and you have one giant mega-test of patience coming your way. This test of sorts has caused my life in many ways to be one giant glass case of emotion (+10 points for guessing that movie).

If you had asked me a few months ago what the cause of more anxiety was and which one led me to "try" to be more patient - my unemployment situation or me applying to be in the Navy, I would probably say unemployment. However, seeing as how one started in January and the other in February, the time doesn't really make a difference. At this point though, survey says: NAVY. If anything being unemployed has taught me take on a different perspective in regards to my life; it has shown me exactly how much I missed out on by having tunnel vision, and only being concerned with what was directly in front of me and not with what was in front, behind, and just the awareness of my general surroundings. It's made me appreciate much more and to try and take each experience and learn something from it, no matter how bad or good it turns out to be. From that, my process of applying for a commission as a Naval Officer can be described as "Hurry up and wait." From the actual application, to security clearances, to the Seattle trip, and now waiting to hear if I will be invited to interview in Washington DC on June 16th, has been draining on me to say the least. However, I've actually enjoyed the entire process thus far, which is defininately a change for me. Other than my faith in God (which has also been relentlessly tested and knocked down and built back up over the past 6 months), applying to the Navy has been the one solid process in my life that has allowed me to forget about what's going on around me and focus on the future.

The difference now is that the same tunnel vision I once held isn't there anymore. I'm focusing on what's to come, but also am more cognizant of my surroundings and situations and their affect on me and the future. My dad said it best and this is probably the only time I've heard him swear, but he has always told me, "You can have all the "atta boys" in the world, but all it takes is one 'Oh Shit' to f*ck it all up." Anyways, using that knowledge and consistently moving forward in this application process has proven the resilience of self and has redefined passion. The patience and "the kid waiting to go to Disney World for the first time" anxiety, as I call it, has shown me exactly what I want out of life and what the differences are in doing something because you feel its the right thing to do, and doing or going after something because you TRULY want to do it. Passion and patience kind of go hand in hand almost. More than likely, unless you're a billionaire of some kind or just lucky, you will have to work, sweat, bleed, scratch, claw, and be prepared to work harder than ever for something that you are passionate about. However, just because you do all those things, doesn't mean whatever you're going after will be granted to you immediately by some fairy god-mother. No, if you want something bad enough, you're willing to do whatever it takes to get it (*ahem* legally), even if that means waiting to hear if you've been blessed to receive whatever you're going after.

For me, that's been the hardest part. Not the constant studying of 5+ years of my Michigan Engineering education, not the medical and physical evaluations, not the clearances. Just waiting. I'm kind of in a holding pattern and being in that situation kills me, but I know God has control over all things and that I have to let him have it and be in control and just trust that he will handle it. I can only do the things that will prepare me for what is about to come. So now less than a week out from possibility of my life changing completely, I'm telling you that patience and passion make you stronger. Anxiety will lead to the development and foundation of patience (you have to start somewhere), but passion will round out and refine your patience and ultimately trump anxiety.

So altogether, my situations and my faith have taught me to be anxious for nothing. Being anxious for nothing will build your patience and allow it to develop. Your buildup of patience will allow you to have the confidence to follow your passion. Following your passion will show you where your heart really is and it will complement the patience that was there in the beginning. This cycle will continue to repeat until the ends justify the means. I hope I used that right. Anyways, my patience is a daily work in progress, but I'm following my current passion, so that allows me to be confident in myself and that God is leading me down the right path. This will hit everyone differently, but in the end the lesson is the same. I will take the first part of something that we had to memorize as pledges. "Yesterday is gone forever, tomorrow is yet to be." Forget about what happened in the past. Only YOU have control of whether that will dictate your future. Follow your passion and don't let anxiety over the past or future deviate you from your path, because the one thing that will keep you going on that track, will be patience.

Until next time...


P.S. - Don't EVER EVER pray for patience. Seriously.

Now playing: Linkin Park - In Between
via FoxyTunes

A Re-Introduction of Sorts...

If you're reading this, welcome to the first post of my somewhat new blog. I decided it was time for me to update my blog and I wanted a completely new look, feel, theme, whatever. I am still playing with the layout so things may change some until I am completely happy with what I have, but for now, this works and I'm cool with it. The overall redesign was brought about after a 6 mile run last week and thinking about the things going on in my life and how my life has changed in the past year and over the course of the past 6 months or so. This first post will explain the changes and what I hope readers will get from my blog and its new contents.

My last post was from August 2008 and told of some difficulties I was having at work and other stuff going on in my life at that time. I never had an inkling that my life would basically be turned upside down 5 months later. To bring everyone up to speed, I was laid off towards the end of January 2009. I lost my job on the same day as several thousand other Americans. From that point to this present day, my life has been a constant struggle and seemingly endless uphill battle. Dealing with the financial complexities of unemployment, the emotional battle, the physical and mental games that you go through have been exhausting to say the least. There were days when I would cry because I didn't know where to turn or what was going to happen next. It's a dark place and oftentimes seemed as if no one understood or anyone else was going through the pain and difficulties that I was experiencing. I am sure someone reading this has experienced, maybe to a greater or lesser degree, some of what i described above due to a layoff or other burdening situation. I sympathize with those who have been through this or are maybe still experiencing it as I am currently. But, that is not the point of this post and that will definitely be another post one day.

During the course of my unemployment, I've had the opportunity to do ALOT of thinking. Thinking about my life, where I'm going, how I'm going to readjust my current course so that it will still somehow align with my future goals, etc., but just many hours spent thinking while in Borders, IHOP, my apartment, running, in the gym, or anywhere I could go to clear my head and just think. I realized that my life is changing whether I want it to or not and I am going to have to re-adjust some things or succumb to eventual failure. First, was that I fell back on my religion and God. I started to put him as my priority and giving God control of my life and showing faith instead of fear and doubt. I knew that I was going to have to have start thinking about myself as far as what was best for me; with that came some realizations that will be covered later.

So what does all of this have to do with the change in content and the new blog? Well this was part of the above realization. I wanted to start capturing and "teaching" if you will, things that I've learned not only about myself but about life in general over the course of the past several months. I also want to begin to share my experiences, struggles, and achievements. The beginning of this will mainly focus on what I've learned while being unemployed, but as I move forward, more focus will be put on how to learn from life as it twists, turns, and throws wrenches at you in every way, shape, and form. Experiencing this as a twenty-something has especially been tough and my hope is that maybe someone will learn something or be inspired from my ramblings. Or maybe find that they're not alone and not the only ones getting fisted by life at times. I'm not calling myself a teacher or poet or "deep", I just feel like maybe someone out there can benefit from what I've gone through, am going through, and will go through.

So, the theme/layout of blog I felt fit my new title. With the help of various friends (special thank you to Shilpin Mehta and Julie Smith), I arrived at a title that I felt fit what I wanted my blog to bring across. The title is a play on words. My nickname, thanks to Brandon Goy, has usually been "Darkness" and the title "Inside the Soul of Darkness" is meant to portray my raw thoughts (the mind), emotions (the heart), and beliefs, which all encompass the soul aspect. Darkness itself can take on many definitions and connotations and I felt while I am on the verge of some new life decisions, I am blind as to what is going to happen or where I'm going. Coupled with my subtitle of "A Journey of Discovering and Becoming", my title and this blog are meant to chronicle not only the journey and perspective of "Darkness" but the expedition into and out of the soul and heart of darkness. Do with that what you I said darkness can be defined in many ways, so hopefully that made sense.

Altogether, this is me. This is it. Hopefully now you have an understanding of where I am and why I decided this was necessary. I also hope that you'll keep reading as I attempt to update this. I find that if I put myself on a schedule of doing it weekly or bi-weekly, it won't get done. So I'm going to update this as I have thoughts about certain things, so there's no regimented schedule.

If you've read this long, thank you. I hope my above rambling made sense and you'll keep reading, live vicariously through me, and who knows maybe learn something along the way.

Until next time....


Now playing: The Fray - You Found Me
via FoxyTunes

Where the f*ck have you been???

I know right? It's been quite a while since I've had the chance to write in here. Honestly things have taken off for me (in a good way mostly) and I'm incredibly busy.

I've now been in Colorado for a year and 2 months and that's pretty awesome. It's weird to think how fast time has gone and how old I'm not but how old I still feel....did that make sense?

Anyways, update on some small things:

1. Going into my second semester of Grad School this year and taking a class called "Space Habitat Design". It is being taught by my advisor and favorite professor, David Klaus (, who is an amazing professor. I had him last semester for 'Space Life Sciences' and really enjoyed that class and learned alot.

I am actually enjoying Grad school, which I didn't even think was remotely possible and I am tossing around the idea of continuing on to a Ph.D. But we'll see, it's still early in the game right now.

2. Taking the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam on October 25th, 2008. This is the first step in my pursuit of obtaining a Professional Engineering License. I need to pass with a 70% and I become an Engineer Intern (E.I.). Then I'll have to take the Principles and Practices exam and will have to pass that to get my PE License. Both exams are 8 hours in length......awesome

3. Modeling is going well and I will (hopefully) be in Men's Fitness Magazine around November. I also have some other big projects which I am shooting for, but not allowed to talk about right now.

4. I am an Open Water Scuba Diver now and currently working towards getting my Advanced Open Water Certification. All of this will lead up to me becoming a Master Scuba Diver.

Those are the most major things going on as of right now. I no longer work at the Indoor Windtunnel part time as I have spent my free time studying for class and for this exam. Same with skydiving; even though it kills me to not have jumped in like 10 months, I am taking time off to keep my priorities straight and ace these exams.

As far as's been a hell of a year so far and not in a good way necessarily. I've really seen how people really can be in Corporate America and how some are only out for their own agendas. I've been put through alot of bullshit in the past3-4 months and it was all over shit that wasn't my fault or things that I had control over. I'll have to write a separate post about what's been going on, as its too long here.

Even though there's been bullshit on the job, it's more positive than negative....most of the time. I try to keep an open mind and thank the Lord that I even have a job right now. Hopefully it will get better though. I feel like I may have gained some respect for successfully bring an intern (from Michigan!) and getting him involved in our program and putting him to work and making sure he had an awesome summer, which he did. People doubted me because Neal was basically my age and they felt like I was too young. One thing stays the same though, I don't have time for haters nor do I give them the time of day.

I am still having an awesome time. I went to several awesome concerts this summer (Snoop Dogg, 311, Linkin Park, Chris Cornell) and got to visit some friends in LA and do some other cool shit.

Lastly, one new thing is that I started hanging out with the Pikes up at CU. Since I'm up there in class anyways, I felt that I wanted to try to have some kind of connection here at school. Well I've met a bunch of them and the girls that they hang out with and it's been awesome as I now have a new group of friends/brothers to drink with at school.

I've definitely grown in the year that i've been here and life is constantly a challenge, but I'm still here and that's what matters.

I promise to update this a bit more as the year goes on ha....take it easy...

Oh and I'm hoping to get back for some football games this fall। Right now it seems like it will be the Wisconsin game and OSU game.


Been a while....but much to tell about...

Wow, so its definitely been quite a long time since I've written here. Mainly because I've been insanely busy in a number of areas and so even trying to find time to write in here is tough.

So really quick a number of updates about me:

*Work is going really well but getting very challenging. The spacecraft that I'm working on has now arrived and is going through preliminary testing currently. We start spacecraft integration in about 2 weeks and i'm excited for it. I've grown more comfortable with fast-paced atmosphere at my job and have hit my stride, but I'm still waiting to smack into the next wall, which I believe will inevitably come once I am in the cleanroom working and talking to the satellite.

*I still work part-time at Skyventure Colorado and that's still awesome....most of the time. I have also noticed how stupid and just idiotic our society really turned out to be. I almost amazed sometimes. There will be a post about stupid questions there later.

*In a decision that came much sooner that I anticipated, I started Graduate School at the University of Colorado-Boulder. I am doing one class a semester right now, until i get probably half-way through the program. I am in their Corporate distance learning program, so I can either attend the class on campus (which is all of 7 minutes away from my job) or watch it online via live feed. I am working towards my Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering Sciences with a focus in Bioastronautics. I am currently enrolled in a class called "Space Physiology and Space Life Sciences" and it is really different and interesting in regards to Aerospace matters. I am contemplating a Ph.D in this as well, as the professor of my class was an astronaut candidate finalist in '98 and 2000 and he is someone I want to be my advisor/mentor. So far, grad school is way better than undergrad and I think it will continue that way....hopefully.

*I recently got signed to a new modeling company here in Denver called Shades Model Management. I have my first runway show as a Male Model on Wednesday January 30th, and I'm very excited about it.

As you can see, I have been blessed with several unique and excited opportunities and am enjoying life right now. Even though it may seem like I'm constantly busy, but I actually do still have time to go out and have fun with friends and do all the awesome things that Colorado brings.
I can't believe that I've been here almost 8 months and 10 months out of Michigan. I wake up everyday and it feels almost surreal, but loving every minute of it.

I also love being to go on vacation and leave and buy a plane ticket when I want to. I went to Las Vegas last weekend and it was fucking amazing. I'll post pics of that later.

Until next time...which will be sooner rather than later....