Is It Worth Being a Conformist?

When did we start to conform?

I’ve been trying to rally local foster parents to bring change to the foster program, but the response is usually, “It is what it is.” “There are laws in place for a reason.” “It’ll never change.” (All this despite a poll I did where basically everyone polled was unhappy with the system.)

Are we not civilians of a free and democratic country? When did we just get so complacent that we forgot that we can enact change (even small changes) in our surroundings? When did we go from authority-challenging kids to hands-in-the-pockets-heads-down yes-people?

I’ll tell you when it was for me.

When I took on a mortgage and had kids.

Those aren’t bad things. I don’t regret them. But I regret conforming.

As a teenage I used to often cry in private because one of my biggest fears was being just another face in the crowd. Oh, the thought of that seriously kept me up at night. I didn’t want to be One of Them.

And now I am.

I put on my slacks, hug my wife and kids goodbye, and drive to work each day. My music selection is as chipper as can be because I know I will be spending the next 8+ hours conforming, submitting, and dare I say it? selling out. Making people happy whom, quite frankly, I don’t give a crap about.

Working hard to please men and women who get paid higher salaries and complain that they’re bored all day at work.

Why?

Because I need to pay the mortgage and make sure my kids have Juicy Juice in the fridge.

So my question is this. We’ve got to do what we do at work to pay the bills. That’s fine. But once you clock out, are you still conforming?  Or are you figuring out each day how to live a little? How to have fun? To be spontaneous?

Make sure, when you clock out for the weekend at the end of today, you also mentally clock out. Once you get back in your car, you don’t belong to anyone anymore. The rules you follow are not rules at all (be good, stay quiet, blend in).

Do something this weekend to challenge yourself, to push yourself. Even if it’s embarrassing.

Clock out and un-conform.

 

 

How My View of the Horror Genre Has Changed

517n7y7xjulI used to be adamantly against anything that fell into the horror genre. Unless it was something by M. Night Shyamalan. Because M. Night movies are to horror shunners as Will Smith’s albums are to white guys who don’t listen to rap.

Then I started watching The Walking Dead. And obviously, like everyone else in the Western world, I was hooked.

I always thought the gratuitous blood and gore would get in the way of the storytelling, and sometimes it does a little bit, but the show proved to me that horror can work as mainstream. Why? Because, to quote Adelle Hitchens from my teen book, These Great Affects, “It’s the blood and guts with a little bit of heart.”

It’s those lovable, admiral characters  that draws me in.

hershel_the_walking_dead_season_4_episode_1_by_twdimagenshd-d732k1c

I just finished reading the monster of all monster books, It. It’s the first Stephen King book I didn’t hate (well, I liked Under the Dome, too). I had no idea it was so widely received.

Everywhere I walk I have a book in my hand, especially at work. While everyone is hunched over their cell phones, I’m hunched over my latest book in the elevator.

This is the only book I’ve read where I was consistently stopped and told how good the book I’m reading is.  (It was awkward when I was reading the weird and unnecessary scene with the kids in the sewer in the dark and someone says, “What part are you at?” … “Um…the kids are playing?”)

paavpdqsbtggtmn4smxsBut other than that, the book was spectacular, and I almost even teared up in a couple of spots. The book had violence and creepy stuff, but the heart and soul of the story was the love these seven protagonists shared with each other. I’m just really hyped up about the remake now!

Even before my  evolving love of horror set in (actually, it’s still a reluctant like to tell the truth), I always loved the darker movies. I love Pixar because their movies are generally darker than their competitors.

The darker the story is, the brighter and more exultant the ultimate victory is at the end. The harder the battle, the darker the foe, the more loss that’s suffered, only makes the survivors that much stronger, which serves as a more triumphant, feel-good ending.

Our world is so dark and gloomy anyway, and it’s rare we see evil defeated. I think that’s maybe some of the subconscious point of the horror genre. To shed a little light on a dark and disturbing world, and the satisfaction we feel when evil is trumped (no political pun intended…seriously.)

So please! Share your favorite horror stories that you’d like recommend to me.

What My Three Favorite Movies Have in Common

Pixar and Disney movies aside, I have three ultimate favorite movies that I can’t ever get enough of and they all have one thing in common.

Aside from the fact that they’re all based on true stories and were nominated for best picture (one won), there’s an underlying theme that drives stubborn dreamers like me back to them time and time again.

My three favorite movies of all time are The King’s Speech, Frost/Nixon, and Moneyball. 

One is about the ascent to royalty, one is about the descent from power, and the other is about a guy who just wants to make a good living doing what he believes he’s good at. On the surface they can’t be any different from one another.

But a closer look will reveal that they are each about men facing the impossible. They are about men stubborn (and stupid?) enough to go after what they believe is best for themselves, their family, and their people, even though their treks defy all logic and even saneness.

Let’s look at The King’s Speech. King George VI had two things going against him: His name (reminiscent of Washington’s own Mad King George), and his tongue. He stuttered like a madman. He couldn’t get through a speech to save his life. He didn’t want the throne. He didn’t want the responsibility because he didn’t think he could handle it with his impediment. But when his lovesick brother abdicated, King George was left with no option but to learn to overcome his lifelong problem and take the crown.the-kings-speech

In Frost/Nixon, we find ourselves in the wake of Nixon’s resignation. But a British entertainer and talk show host, David Frost, is the only man crazy enough to elicit a confession from the crook’s mouth. He lays not only his reputation, but his money and career on the line to bring the darkness to light.

frost_nixon

And finally, Moneyball. You don’t have to be a sports fan to appreciate this brilliant movie about baseball, numbers, and ultimate risk. Billy Beane, the GM for the Oakland A’s, is determined to bring his team up the ranks from their rock-bottom status, just not the way his co-managers would prefer. His method is nontraditional, unproven, and unfounded. He lays everything on the line to test out his theory of selecting the best hitters, despite how they play in the outfield.

moneyball

Something about ultimate risk just makes sense to me, it calls to me. The way I see it is, if you have it all on the line, failing is literally not an option. I’d recommend you check these three movies out. They’re perfectly acted, they’re funny, and above all inspiring in a non-Hallmark way. Nothing about these stories is sappy or cute. They’re about real men storming the ups and downs of their lives and careers, not satisfied with the status quo. Willing to pioneer innovation in their fields.

Maybe one day I’ll get the guts to be like these guys. Because of their tenacity, bravado, and just plain awesomeness, we saw the business of baseball do a complete 360, we got a confession out of a crooked ex-president, and quite possibly the new world was saved by the steadfastness of a king with a twisted tongue.

What would your impression on the world be if you dropped all pretense and caution? What are your favorite movies and are they because they inspire you to be a better person?

Why Our Playground-Parenting Would Likely Tick You Off

90-degree-spiral-tube-slideOur oldest kids are about to turn two and three. With the weather being on its last stitch of niceness here in Louisville, Sarabeth and I decided to take them for one last hurrah at one of our neighborhood playgrounds.

Our oldest, Kat, is extremely agile and surprisingly skilled. Like, more coordinated than I was at seven. She’s also courageous and is a risk-taker.

Sometimes it’s hard to watch her climb to the top of the big kids’ skyscraper playground and keeping up with the toughest of them, but I’m not going to stop her. It’s my job as a parent to encourage growth and challenge – not hold her back.

At this particular playground we were at this last weekend, Kat got the whacky idea to climb on top – not inside of it, but up on top of the tube. So we let her, much to the chagrin of a couple of other parents whose older kids quickly followed suit.

I stood next to Kat as she attempted it the first time. She got a quarter of the way up, paused, said “no,” and I helped her down. The next time she tried it, she got a little further. I rooted her on the whole time while Sarabeth watched approvingly.

Why do we allow our kids to be such dangerous, risk-taking, rebel-rousing rule-breakers?

A couple of reasons: First off, there’s no rule that says she can’t climb on top of the tube slide. We were proud of her for thinking outside the box and discovering not only a new way to have fun, but to push herself.

Another reason: She was not hurting anybody. Sure, she inspired other kids to throw off their shoes and scurry up the top side of the tube slide, but you should have seen their exultant faces when they reached the top (even while their parents were yelling at them to climb down – I wanted to ask them why).

Also, what’s up with our obsession of obeying rules? I’ve been giving this a lot of thought lately. I’m coming closer and closer to the opinion that our obsession to conform is actually what’s killing us inside. More on this in a later post. Much more.

But back to my daughter climbing up the top of the tube slide. I was teaching my youngest to hang on to the zip slide all by himself (successfully), when I heard Sarabeth call me. She pointed to the highest point of the playground, and there, on just her third attempt, my daughter sat high and proud.

My little girl on top of her own personal Everest. All because she found a better and slightly more challenging way to play. She refused to conform. And I encourage that in almost every way.

A Little Birthday Treat for Everyone

When it’s your birthday, you’re expected to bring cupcakes to work with you (I always thought it should be the other way around, but whatever). However, I try to play by the rules. So, consider this portion of chapter 1 of my book These Great Affects like a tray of cupcakes. Enjoy and pick up your copy on Amazon!

these-great-affects-cover-2Heather told Adelle one day, “When your parents give you the ‘It’s-Not-You-It’s-Us’ talk, text me the code word ‘BAD FISH.’ It’s an acronym of all the bad words. You’ll want to yell them all if this announcement ever happens. Repeatedly. I’ll be here for you to yell them at or text them to.”

“What does the I stand for?” Adelle had asked, clicking through all the bad words in her mind.

“That’s a freebie. It can be interpreted into anything you’d like.”

As Adelle types “BAD FISH” into her phone, she turns the corner onto River Road and meanders down the sidewalk. It takes less than thirty seconds for her phone to chirp, signaling Heather’s urgent call.

Adelle passes a fire hydrant and a street sign as she brings the phone to her ear. From behind her she hears an inflated POP! POP! of tires bouncing onto the curb. She spins her head around and finds her entire line of vision filled with the front bumper of an approaching car. She flinches, throwing her arms up protectively, waiting for the inevitable impact, but the car never makes contact.

At least not with her.

At the sound of metal compacting, Adelle lowers her arms and no longer sees the front of the car. Instead, in its place is a thick veil of mist, spraying Adelle with cold water, which is oddly refreshing in this late July heat. The air around her is filled with deafening static noise like the aftermath of an explosion. It all happens too fast for her to be scared or have any rational thoughts outside of, I’m dead. This is what it’s like to die. It’s…wet.

But when Adelle realizes she still has to breathe in and out in order to stay alive, she knows she’s not dead.

The pieces start falling into place as she looks around. The thick wall of mist is actually water shooting up from the ground and falling back to earth. When her senses start regrouping, she sees that the street sign she just passed has been mercifully spared but the yellow fire hydrant next to it has been smashed completely off its bolts, causing the explosion of water.

Adelle peers through the water to see the car that caused the upheaval. It’s a black Nissan Altima. As she observes the chaos before her, she realizes how close she had just come to dying. Her knees shake and she’s tempted to drop to the ground, but she can’t because the water is already up to her ankles.

As Adelle tries to collect herself, a passerby rushes around the gushing water. He’s soaking wet and excitable. He’s about Adelle’s age, maybe half a foot taller, with long skinny arms and wild hands flying all over the wet air.

He’s yelling something, but it’s inaudible because of the tumultuous water pounding the concrete all around them. Nevertheless, he continues to yell indistinguishably while pushing his wet hair back and bending over to catch his breath as though he has just completed a marathon.

He holds his phone up and begins taking pictures of the crash site. She crosses over to him to see if he’ll help her get the driver out of the vehicle, but the guy holds his finger out to hold her off.

Adelle yells over the thundering water. “Shouldn’t we help the driver?”

The guy leans forward, dripping wet, cups his ear with his hand, and leans toward her. She grunts in frustration and pushes him out of the way, her feet sloshing through the water so she can get to the driver’s door. But it’s already wide open, and there’s no one in the seat. She wonders if the driver ran off.

She turns back toward the guy and points toward the river, away from the downpour. The guy nods and follows her, but not before snapping another picture of the car with his phone, a big grin spread across his face.

They step across the street, away from the accident, rounding a large white pillar that holds up the walking bridge. There they find a bench facing the river. But before she can say anything, the guy speaks up first. “Did you see that?” he asks, as though spotting a deer from the highway.

“Um. I kinda had a front row seat,” Adelle answers lamely. She’s starting to wonder if this guy is the driver, but judging by his misplaced excitement, she doubts it. 

“Good! You saw it, so you can testify to the police that I wasn’t drinking or anything. The cops will want your version, not just mine. I’ll need you to back me up.”

“Back you up? From what?” Adelle asks, wondering if she did in fact hit her head.

“From a felony, I don’t know,” the guy says. “I’m sure the car’s totaled. I don’t know what that means as far as a write-up goes. This is my first accident.”

Maybe his tongue is just wet and slippery from the water, but the guy talks incredibly fast, and it takes a moment for Adelle to catch up to what he’s saying. “Wait. You’re the driver? You almost hit me!”

The guy looks at Adelle quizzically, squinting his eyes as though trying to recall her. “Um. I’m not aware of almost running over someone with my car. That’d be kind of hard to miss, wouldn’t you say?”

Perhaps it’s because of her parents’ out-of-the-blue divorce, or because she’s suddenly soaking wet, or because she was just reminded of her frail mortality, but with everything compounded, she erupts like a zit long neglected.

“You’re a BAD FISH! You can’t just almost kill me and then not own up to it.  And you certainly shouldn’t ignore me by standing there taking pictures on your stupid phone! At least see if I’m okay, idiot!” She wonders for a brief moment if that should be her freebie, but throws it from her mind.

“Whoa,” he says, putting his hands up. “Did you just call me a ‘bad fish’? What does that even mean? Did I offend you in some other life?”

“Believe me, being offensive would be the least of your crimes,” Adelle says, scathingly.

The water on her sunglasses is drying up against the sun and collecting into obnoxious white droplets obscuring her vision. She pulls them off to clean them with her dress, and she hears the guy catch his breath. Adelle looks up and finds him staring at her.

“What,” she says, “choke on some water?”

He clears his throat and nonchalantly holds his phone up to his face, then lowers it.

“Did you just take a picture of me?” Adelle demands.

“Wait. What?” he says, acting confused. “I just needed to know the time.”

Liar.

For some reason he looks dumbfounded and it’s annoying her.

A car slows and the driver peers at them and asks if they need assistance. “We’re good,” the guy says, waving the driver on. “We’re good.”

As the vehicle crawls away, Adelle reaches into her purse in an attempt to fish out her phone. But instead of finding it, her fingers grope her pink “Write On” notebook and she discovers that it’s sopping wet.

“Damn it,” she says, pulling it out of her water-balloon purse, dripping it all over her feet.

“Is that your diary?” the guy asks.

“I don’t keep a diary. It’s not 1992.”

“Right. Sorry. Is it your little black book? Only, you’re a girl, so it’s pink. Want to add my number?”

“Yeah, actually. So I can turn you into the police.” She’s looking through the other pockets of her purse as she says this. “Now will you shut up? I’m looking for my phone so I can call the cops for real. You should never be allowed to drive again.”

“That’s kind of harsh.”

Adelle halts, shoving her notebook underneath her arm, and tries to decide if he really just said that. “Dude. You almost killed me. I’d say that’s pretty lenient.” His eyes go wide and he leans forward as if pressing her for more. “Did you seriously not see me?” she asks. “I was right in front of you. No, I take that back, I was on the sidewalk!”

“Yeah, I definitely didn’t see you. It’s hard to concentrate on the road when you’re rearranging your playlist.”

“That’s why I almost got hit? Because you were playing with your stupid music?” Adelle can’t remember when she’s heard her voice sound this upset.

“Hey,” he says, suddenly defensive, “I wasn’t playing, I was rearranging. And besides, Coldplay is not stupid. Coldplay is something to be taken seriously as one of the greatest bands of the twenty-first century.”

 “You nearly commit a felony and you’re talking about a stupid band?” Adelle asks, incredulous.

“Again. Not stupid. Because of Coldplay, there is life. Coldplay is baby-making music.” And then he adds with a smirk and an obnoxious wink, “If my iPod still works, I’ll show you what I mean sometime.” He waves another car on without taking his eyes off of her.

Not one to be cowed, Adelle throws her sunglasses back on and says, “Right. I doubt they’ll let you take your iPod with you to jail. And any baby-making will not be with me.”

“Touché.”

Remembering she was holding her phone when she almost got hit, she looks toward the geyser and realizes it must be submerged somewhere in the muddy flood.

When Adelle looks back to the guy, he’s holding his own phone out to her. “Here. Use mine.” He’s holding out his wet device for her. “It’s waterproof. Password is ‘J-Law,’ one word, no dash, no spaces. Can you call an ambulance first? I’m a little woozy from the accident. Possible whiplash.” He says this while rubbing the back of his neck with his free hand.

“Why are you talking so fast? Are you nervous or something?”

“No, this is how I normally talk. Life’s too short to take your time, and some people have a lot to say, so I talk fast. I click my tongue when I’m nervous.”

She glares hard at him before snatching the phone out of his hand. “Jennifer Lawrence, huh?” she asks coyly.

“Oh, yeah. Big crush. Totally hopeless. If I knew she was going to visit me in jail, I would not complain about being arrested.”

Adelle unlocks his phone with his password. His wallpaper is a picture of a slightly older, chubby guy with a backwards hat posing like an extra from Straight Outta Compton. “Is this your accomplice?”

“Nah, that’s my brother Eric.”

She wouldn’t have asked such a snarky question had she read the caption on the bottom of the screen first: “Rest in peace my friend.”

“He’s dead?” she asks.

“Yeah. Can you call the cops now? I’d rather not tell you my life story at the moment. Unless you’d like to come to my house and I’ll grill you a mean cheese sandwich while we talk.”

The fact that he offered her his phone so she can call the cops assures her that he’s no menace after all. But she wonders if her next move is very smart. She stretches her arm out, offering his phone back. No, she will not be calling the cops on him today. She’ll leave that to someone else.

“Why don’t you hold on to that for me for a while,” he insists. “Borrow it.”

“It’s fine. I’ll go look for mine and get it replaced,” she says, hating that the edge in her voice is dulling. “Besides, I’m sure you need to call your parents so they can pick you up.”

“You think I’m in a hurry to tell them about this?” He waves his hands in front of him as though fending off a threat. “I’ll be taking my time walking home so I can put together a well-rehearsed confession. I’ll be like the prodigal son coming home from his countryside escapades. Except, I doubt my parents will throw me a party and feed me suckling bacon.”

“You’re telling them in person?” Adelle asks, surprised, and kind of impressed.

“Why not? Better than over the phone.”

Adelle laughs, thinking he’s joking. “Right. But at least you wouldn’t be there for the initial shock and outrage.”

“But that’s the best part. That’s the whole point of the Affect.” The guy says this as though speaking of holy things in a church. 

“The affect?” Adelle asks, scrunching her brow.

“Yeah. The Affect. Being present on purpose for the benefit of those tomorrow.”

“Present on purpose,” Adelle repeats, wondering if that would make a good slogan for some self-help gimmick. “That’s cool.” But then her tone changes to sarcasm. “I was afraid you’d be all nonsensical or something, so I’m glad you cleared that up.”

He laughs and suddenly he’s not talking at such a whirlwind speed. “What I mean is, yeah, it’s gonna suck when I tell my parents that I totaled their car. But I try to think in terms of tomorrow or next week if I meet new people, I’ll have an awesome story to tell. Or many years from now when I tell my kids about today, which I inevitably will because, let’s face it, today will be pretty hard to forget.” He’s not speaking so fast now. Each word is punctuated with importance and urgency as though delivering sensitive instructions, and he can’t afford to have his listener miss a thing. He crosses one wet leg over the other and continues. “So when I tell them about this, I want to be able to describe the looks on my parents’ faces. That’s the Affect you can’t get over the phone; that’s the Affect that will make this story worth repeating. For the benefit of those tomorrow.”

Adelle doesn’t have a clue how to respond to this except to say, “Gotta do it for the kids, huh.”

He flashes a smile that kind of affects her breathing. His eyes are sparkling blue and alert. They look like they don’t have the ability to show disinterest in anything. His cheeks are soft, but firm anyway. His dark hair is matted against his head, but Adelle can tell that if it were dry it would probably be brown and wavy. He’s wearing gym shorts and a white T-shirt, and she wonders where he was off to. The gym? His arms are skinny, but they’re toned; no strangers to free-weights, she suspects.

Adelle forces herself to look off to the side so as not to stare. Then he says, “Though, now I’m wondering if describing my parents’ faces will even be the big climax of the story.”

 “Yeah,” she says, still looking away. “I’m sure your kids will be more impressed about the totaled car and the flooded street.” By this point the water has washed over the entire width of the street. Another car sloshes through the flood and pulls up next to the site. The driver is already on the phone.

“That’s certainly a good aside,” says Trill, “but I was thinking the biggest Affect could be meeting my children’s mother for the first time in the falling sewage water.” Adelle chokes a little and her eyes instinctively dart back to meet his. Thankfully he saves her from having to respond. “Forward, I know,” he continues. “Isn’t life too short to drag things out? But I don’t need to remind you of that, do I, Second Chance Girl?”

Adelle’s mind seems to be on pause and fast-forward at the same time. Either way, nothing in her brain is coherent as she tries to comprehend his words, and it’s not because he’s talking fast again.

 “Anyway,” the guy continues, standing up from the bench. “You’ve got my number. Give me a call sometime. And don’t worry about your phone. I’ll fish it out for you. I know a guy who can replace it free of charge.”

“Wait,” she manages as he begins to walk back toward the accident. The other driver is getting out of his car now. Adelle’s voice comes out hoarse. “I have your phone, not your number.”

“Correction: You have my phone, therefore my number.”

“But how would I call you, then?”

“I expect to see several missed calls from my number when I get your phone fixed. My name’s Trill by the way.”

Trill walks away, back toward the flooded street and his smashed up car. Adelle stops him only to say, “‘Prim Forever.’ No spaces. Number 4.”

He raises her phone like he’s toasting and smiles. “Hunger Games. Good taste.” Then he continues on his way.

And that’s how Adelle meets her first love who will not live long enough to tell their story to anyone. 

Get the full book here!

The Polls Are In (once you vote)

9470a7dac90259b0ae2d3f70dd29cd79b376eba6d074908871c730a0775a76fa_1At Endever Publishing we are dedicated to brining success to our authors. But in the book industry, success equals readers. So, logically, we are dedicated to bringing readers to our authors.

In order to bring readers along, we must have something that pleases them, that entices.

Let me say this as unconventionally as I can:

As a book publisher we we want to lure and seduce you into giving us your hard-earned money in exchange for a night (or several) of pure, unadulterated entertainment. (No, we don’t publish those kinds of books.)

And  the books we have lined up for you…we firmly believe they will not disappoint. We are working-class citizens like yourself. We know how difficult and time-consuming it is to earn your money, and how much harder it is to part with it. But we also know that sometimes, good quality entertainment can be priceless.

But we want to know who we’re selling to. We want to get to know you as our potential readers. Consider this post a restaurant of your choice. You’re seated at the table. We’re here to serve you an entertainment value. And, since presidential polls are all the rave right now (of which I declined to watch last night’s debate because I figure I’d rather work since both candidates are gong to end up taxing me through the nose anyway…plus, circus side shows bother me), I have posted a couple of polls for you to indulge in.

These are your menu options. I’m not guaranteeing we have everything in stock, but I want to know from you, going forward, what you look for in a trusted entertainment company, one that Endever strives to be.

 

Thanks for your time in voting. This will help us gauge how to best serve you, as readers, going forward. If we think of more questions, we’ll ask and we trust you’ll answer!

This Post Breaks All the Rules

Socially speaking, I’m not allowed to write this post.

Even the business world would frown on me.

Because we’re supposed to only present our best selves, right? And as a business owner, I’m supposed to give the impression that I’ve got it all under control.

To a degree, these are good rules. Personally, I don’t like it when people show up to work and start crying about their broken marriage. But I don’t hold it against them. I don’t tell them to stop. I just ignore them if I don’t want to hear it.

So if you don’t want to hear it, I suggest you stop reading now. Because I’m about to unleash as a father, a husband, a middle-class citizen, an aspiring bestselling author, and a brand-new business owner.

This post breaks all the rules. I trust you’ll forgive me.

I’m mad. No, I’m perpetually pissed off. My wife sees it, my kids see it, and I wake up and go to sleep each day feeling it.

Today I had to take our foster son to the doctor to get staples removed from his head. A quick two-minute procedure. But since Kentucky passed a new law mandating that foster parents have to get consent from the kids’ social workers before a doctor can do anything, they have to get permission from the already-hard-to-reach social workers. We were at the doctor this morning for almost an hour. No response. We called and called. I ended up having to reschedule and leave with the staples still in his head so I wouldn’t be late for work.

Because, you know, being a law-abiding, working middle-class citizen is no different than grade school. Can’t be tardy! (My particular day job is actually good in this regard compared to others’, but you get my point.)

Which is half the reason I’ve started my own business. I’m tired of being told when to show up to work and when I’m allowed to go on vacation. That is, if my insurance hasn’t robbed me as blind as the previous month.  I’m tired of getting permission to be sick.

I hate that the foster care system is crap deteriorating to shit that even makes the bacteria sick, never getting better, always getting worse.

I hate the state giving drug-addicts every chance under the sun (and then years-worth-of-chances after that) to get their kids back only for them to likely be abused and neglected even more, just so the faceless assholes running our government can come out looking like the good guys. All the while we foster parents are trying to do a good thing for these kids and we’re treated worse than the felons!

I can’t do a single thing about it and that really pisses me off!!!

I hate that running a business and writing a book takes nearly all the risk and energy in the world. And it’s driven by pure fear. I hate that no hours in a day is not just a cliche saying. It’s really, really, really, really true. And that sucks so bad.

I’m terrified that I’m going to fail. I’m terrified that you’re all going to read my book and hate it. (I’m not so terrified that you’re going to hate the other authors’ books because they’ve got more talent than I have in one of my graying hairs.) But the bigger fear is that you’re not going to buy our books. You’ll like the pages and posts and share the excerpts, but come book release, you’ll shrug it off.

I’m terrified that my kids won’t discover their passions until late in life, like me. And they’ll be stuck clocking in at a job they don’t care for making money for someone they don’t even know.

I’m terrified that my wife and I will just be done with each other. I’m terrified that I really can’t change. I hate that I love my kids so much and that one day they’re not going to care. I hate that I can’t take care of babies. I make them cry. My rapid heart-rate and boiling blood freaks them out.

I hate that I don’t know how to raise my kids.

Just on my way to work this morning (I made it on time, no thanks to the foster care system), blasted the music and just screamed. I’m sick of working my ass off and being robbed nearly half of my paycheck by our insurance. If you don’t know that money is only going to fatten corporate wallets, then you need to do your homework. (Where do you think your premiums are going if you still have to pay extreme medical bills?) And that doesn’t account for taxes.

I’m sick of the hardest working people getting paid nickels and dimes and the comfortable corner-office inhabitants getting perks and hiring maids to dust out their Ferraris.

I can go on. And believe me, each day I do. But I’m not going to be another one of those bloggers who pretends everything is great and that my life is all peaches and flowers. I’m a human being with real issues and real problems and real effed up emotions.

I’m a terrible husband at best.

I’m a paranoid and angry father.

I’m a terrible writer.

I’m a terrified business owner.

I’m completely unraveled.

You’re all going to comment and say things like, “It’s okay, we feel your pain,” or “You’re a great writer! I’ve been following you for years!”

Don’t.

In fact, you’re as messed up and in as bad of a situation as I am. Gripe. Just let it out. Writing this didn’t fix anything, and honestly, it didn’t make me feel better. But at least I’m not lying or presenting a false image. Because this is who I am. This is how I feel.

And I’m really sorry, but I’m going to keep trying my hardest. Because I’m just. That. Stupid.