It’s 6:38 pm and it was a brutal day. I left work only to battle Fredericksburg’s worst drivers, cutting everyone off and in a hurry to get nowhere. I’m hungry, tired, and in a crappy mood. Today was one of those days I was on the cusp of a panic attack. I felt the world caving in and there was nothing to do but breathe, and tell myself to keep it together. Something has to give!

Sometimes life goes wrong and there’s not a thing you can do to fix it!

I’ve melted into my bed, brain drained, wondering my next move, and looking to vent my frustrations to anyone that wants to read my cathartic rant.

The older I get, the more I understand how curmudgeons are born. I’m able to read the disappoints of life on their face and I relate better to bitter attitudes and understand why some start life as optimists, then transform into cynics. Watching people crack because of life’s disappointments and pressures has become common, and I now have more empathy for those that wanna check out for good.

Does that type of thinking make me a pessimist? Does it mean I’m miserable and negative?

Meh, I’m not always feeling like this, and I try to stay honest by constantly asking myself tough questions, while life unfolds manically.

Sometimes crazy crap takes a toll though. The world isn’t always kind, things don’t work as planned, people aren’t always trustworthy, sometimes we don’t end up where we dreamed, and I know I’m not the best person I could be, even though I try.

One of the harshest, yet relieving moments in my life was when I heard this phrase…

“Just because you work hard, and do the right things, it’s not guaranteed life will turn out good or that you’ll be successful.”

It’s harsh because I ask myself, what’s the point? Am I doing this for possibly nothing, or worse? But it’s also a relief, because it gives me a chance to breathe and say, phew! I’m not alone and others have gone through this.

The honesty in that is a beautiful warning to prepare for the worst, but keep trying for the best.

At any moment life can crumble because it’s fragile. One poor decision, one wrong turn, one mistake, a lapse in judgment, a situation out of control, or sometimes being in the wrong place, at the wrong time. It doesn’t take much to derail life and sometimes it never gets back on track. Scary! Is there anything we can do about that?

Maybe.

I think we can lighten the load by doing things like I’m doing now. I’m starting to express myself through writing better than I did verbally, which is weird. For 30 years I expressed myself by speaking and I’m far from being a good writer, but it helps me sort things when life’s being a bitch!

Figuring out how to express yourself may be the key to releasing negative energy when life craps it out, and I get not everyone knows how to express themselves, but maybe watching others can be a relief?

I find comfort in watching others.

You may find this odd, but I enjoy watching people express themselves through violence. I’m a huge fan of M.M.A. (mixed martial arts). It fascinates me because many in it are angry, beat the hell out of each other, and allow others to beat the hell out of them, then justify it by saying “it’s a legit sport and we’re trained athletes”. Which is true! BUT it’s also a way to express something. Many of those athletes come from broken places and they’re trying to figure out what’s messed in their life and do it in a violent way. This is how they solve problems within themselves. Many were bullied growing up, some had abusive parents, and others just had no direction. They’re punishing others and themselves. Most aren’t realizing they’re expressing themselves, because if they were fully cognitive, they’d have to be psychopaths not to care that they’re hurting themselves and someone else. They’re caught up in the fun of expressing themselves.

Some express through painting and drawing, others use music, there’s acting, dancing, comedy, film making, poetry, designing…. blah, blah, blah. The ways to express are many, and if you can’t express yourself, maybe watching others can help, but have you tried to express yourself?

If you try to express yourself in some way, life feels more manageable. It’s an excellent band-aid when life cuts you up.

I’m already feeling better since I began writing this. Not much, but my mind is off today’s BS.

I thought for the longest time I needed to be good at something to express myself through anything deemed artistic. When I heard the word “artist”, I assumed that person was gifted with something I didn’t possess, therefore I wasn’t allowed to express anything through that specific artistic vessel.

I was denying myself relief.

Expressing yourself comes in various ways and you may not realize you’re doing it. I’ve been a broadcaster for over three decades, yet it wasn’t until 20 years in that I accepted I was an entertainer and that there’s an art to broadcasting. I was on autopilot for the first 2 decades and just having fun. The idea that I was expressing myself never crossed my mind.

When I look back, I see my best moments on air were moments when bigger things happened in my life. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but never when life was stagnant.

Another example is when I refinish furniture. It’s a hobby I picked up a few years ago after ending a relationship. I always wanted to try but didn’t allow myself the opportunity because I didn’t know how, but I needed to keep my mind off her, so I decided to learn. I purchased a used coffee table for $25, some power tools, watched YouTube videos, and refinished it. To this day, it’s one my favorite refinished pieces.

A year later, after going through another hard time, I found a matching end table in the trash and refinished it to match the coffee table. It’s also one of my favorites.

Is it a coincidence I was going through hard times in my life and then they became my favorites? Those hard times were the inspiration that created motivation. Two things needed to create art. It’s also not a coincidence that it made me feel better.

So as I type these words of self-expression, maybe it’ll help when figuring out what to do when life gets tough. Try expressing yourself in a way you haven’t before.

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