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Leaving, Going

The more you have, the more you want. It’s so funny, it’s sad. We spend so much time doing the things we love that in the end you don’t even realize how much time you’ve wasted. And then after that, well, it was fun while it lasted. So, it’s sad to think that something that once upon a time gave me peace, energy, love and ultimately life, ends up being my downfall.

Well, that’s one scenario. What if everything really does happen for a reason, and whatever doesn’t kill you really does makes you stronger?

Three things I’ve learned so far in 2016:

  1. Everything (and everyone) has a time limit: Of course, little things, like work, has time limits. What about the things we don’t think about quite as often, such as relationships, or life? Now when I say relationships, I don’t mean the union itself. I mean the very building blocks of that union. It’s only a matter of time before one of you changes. News flash: you don’t see it coming. So what happens when you finally get your shit together and your mate still sticks around, but doesn’t even want to listen to what you have to say?
  2. You can learn from your mistakes, but you’ll never be who you were- ever again: Forgiveness is everything, except what it’s supposed to be. Granted, forgiveness doesn’t cause amnesia, but I thought it meant that I’ve wronged you, you were upset, you eventually changed your attitude regarding said offense, and agreed to move forward with me, all while wishing the best for our future in each other’s lives. Not only does this not turn out to be true, but forgiveness isn’t using said offense as a trump card.
  3. You can’t make people talk to you: Now, I’m already an introvert so I already don’t engage in much conversation, and I’ll listen all day, but when I want to talk, it’s usually because it’s important to me. The problem usually, is when I want to talk, it seems to always be at the wrong time. So what that tells me is there is just a general disinterest in what I have to say, which takes brings me to my next point…
  4. (Bonuslessonthatijustrealizedbydiscussingnumberthree) Bad shit is on the horizon: So, when you fuck up, no one wants to talk, no one wants to listen, and time is running thin, what do you do?

When I was growing up, my Father used to play this cassette tape (I miss the 90s) called ‘Always You’ by James Ingram (it’s amazing how underrated this guy was). I swear, every song on it, I’ve related to at some point in my life. The courting, the hookup, the love, the breakup, the fairytale, death, and even the kids. I won’t go over every song on the album, but there is this one song on it…ok, three songs within the ten tracks that teach me something new every time I get around to listen to it.

Let Me Love You This Way- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxFZEBoRJxs
Treat Her Right- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smUxhocqTB8
You Never Know What You Got- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63ZESp-90YQ

And without spending too much time on them, love your woman like the first night you fell in love, and treat her right along the way because you won’t realize what you had until it’s over.

Same can be said both ways, but I can only control me, so here I am.

But this isn’t just about a relationship. Family, friends, co-workers and the like. The year is teaching me to deal with them all, and all the rules apply.

I just want to talk, so put the fucking attitude to the side, stop acting like everything is okay when you and I both know it isn’t okay…

Talk to me so we can work shit out.

Otherwise, you’re leaving.

And I’m going.

Another Sh*tty Husband

When I get bored, I sometimes feed the urge to pass time by browsing social media, like most people. The great part about this is you don’t necessarily have to socialize at all in order to get lost in everything you see. As I was browsing today, I came across an article titled “Dear Sh*tty Husbands: This Is Your Wake Up Call” by Matthew Fray. Normally, I’d scroll past these types of articles (more on that in a little bit), but today just seemed like the perfect day to read about one recovering shitty husband’s advice to all current shitty husbands.

I was immediately interested in what this guy was talking about, as the opening line reads:

“Why do we leave our spouses alone in a marriage built for two?”

This was followed up by dumb stuff shitty husbands usually say they are good at, most of it being things you are already required to do, but if it makes them feel good about themselves, so be it. Then it gets deeper; this is really a sad story about a guy who had the world and took it for granted.

I won’t do a play-by-play of this entire article, but for those of you that are about to read my shitty husband moments, you may want to read his too at the link below. It’s a great article and worth your time. Definitely a must read for the rest of you other shitty husbands out there. You know who you are.

http://www.yourtango.com/2016286194/dear-shtty-husbands-your-wake-up-call

For starters, no man wakes up one morning and just discovers by the grace of cosmic rainbows and unicorns that he’s been an asshole to his spouse. Trust me, we already know. Or don’t trust me, do with that what you will. It’s my blog. The truth is, all of us deal with it in different ways, and the time it takes and/or circumstances involved that force us to finally deal with it vary.

Two things bothered me about this article.

First, the author acknowledged his flaws; says for all to see that he was not the perfect husband. That’s already a hard pill to swallow. The next step is to work on you. But that part that bugged me was this:

“But I was an asshole. A selfish one. And while I truly believe I redeemed myself during the final two years of our marriage, when I was growing and she was withdrawing, I was a shitty husband for the seven years prior.”

That’s right. For two years our friend tried to right his wrongs, and for two years his wife remained with him, only to leave him anyway. I don’t know this family, therefore I don’t know the fine details of his story, but you mean to tell me she left him during the two best years they’ve had probably since the wedding?

I am not defending him, I don’t know the extent of his prior assholery, but this is one of the few times a guy actually learned before it was too late- and it still broke.

Here’s the second thing that bothered me, and here’s where we get serious about it. As I was scrolling down my timeline, I saw the article title and immediately clicked on it. After I backed out of it, I noticed that one of my social network friends “liked” it: my own wife.

Now, this could very well be just the fact that she liked the article, maybe the way it was written, maybe she’s read other posts from the website, who knows? Maybe my line of thinking was just blown out of proportion. Again, who knows? Whatever the case, it had me dwelling over my own stuff, and it wasn’t long before I came to the realization that the author and I are a lot alike.

Like I said, we know. We know when we’re being assholes. We know when we are doing things our spouse won’t like. It’s only a matter of time before we decide to own up to it and work on ourselves, which is exactly what I’ve been trying to do for right around two years now. So, on my journey for growth, the latest lesson to learn: fear.

I am a recovering shitty husband as well. One thing’s for sure: if the time on my marriage isn’t limited, my time on Earth most certainly is. So to all of my fellow assholes out there, stop that shit. Love your spouse. The right way. No one like paying interest rates.

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Why Not

stevenjcurtis

Our actions are more important than our profits.

As younger generations come up, I hear the question “Why” a lot. Why should I help? Why should I be nice while others are mean? Why am I responsible for the actions of others? I am still asking myself that last one. “Why” is a good question when used properly. Using it directly after being given a task is not considered proper. However, one can easily state, “I don’t understand.” This statement is better received than “why”.

To understand the reason behind asking “why”, let’s take a look at what is expected. We all want to profit. If we are asked to do something and we do not see the profit in it, we will ask ourselves “why”. We need to be able to see that we are getting a reward as well as those around us. If we only see others…

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Action.

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We tend to get caught up in the words. They lose value. Actions always speak louder.

-thewarden

From ‘New’ Love to ‘Consistent’ Love

I love you, I love, I love you…
“Kick off your shoes, take off the blues and come to me…”
Time…we never notice where it went, until we start trying to piece together the events of the day. The days turn to the week. By then the week is gone with only work to show for it. We dedicate so much of what we do for these businesses and corporations. Most times we don’t even have a choice. These things happen. But what happened to life? What happened to when things were simple?
Call to action.
When we do have time, what are we doing with it? Are we making long term investments or just making it work from day to day? I’m talking about your relationships. With actual people. Don’t get the introvert going.
The little things.
We waste time by asking for time, so by the time we start asking others for time, it’s already too late.
I always joke about “new love” and how new lovers are always under each other, dedicating time to that one person. All the time spent before they begin to argue, fuss, and ultimately resent each other…had to be worth it in some fashion. It set the foundation for which that relationship will be built. Then when the walls go up and the foundation begins to settle and the walls crack and the doors creak, they have to put energy towards fixing it.
Or they just move.
Tell me…are you buying the house, or just paying rent?
New love is the simple life. They don’t really know each other’s secrets. They don’t really know how one will react to certain situations. They don’t really know anything. Just that they can’t be without the other for too long.
So why is it…we get comfortable and feel like maybe we don’t need to fix those creaks? Why don’t seasoned couples invest as much time, if not more, into what made them great to begin with?
The times when they called each other, instead of texted.
The times when he would rush up to hug her from behind to whisper “I love you” in her ear.
The times when she wanted to lay with him on his side of the bed.
The times when they held hands in public.
The times when he listened to all of her problems.
The times when she posted pictures of them together.
The times when they didn’t let anything ruin their plans.
The times when he surprised her at work with gifts.
The time when she held him down and gave him hope after his failed attempt.
They made mixtapes for each other (remember that?).
But then things change.
Time gets away. Life gets away. And now…
They no longer have time to talk.
He’s always busy.
She learns to talk to other people.
They no longer date.
He’s always tired.
She gives her attention to her friends.
They are seldom intimate.
He’s upset because he wants attention.
She sleeps on her side of the bed.
They no longer call each other.
That mixtape he made all those years ago is scratched to shit.
They flawlessly work and commit to everything they want in the beginning. Then they set auto pilot. Then autopilot fails.
And all of a sudden they realize how hard it really is to make sure their partner is happier than they are.
They forgot.
They lost track of time, so they don’t even know where things went wrong. Just two upset people who really don’t even know why.
On my soapbox.
Get that time back. Technology has made us so smart, and so stupid. We don’t know how to be people anymore. Why don’t we talk anymore? It baffles me. We’d rather send a message, text, tweet. Pick up the damn phone. Hear each other’s voice. Actually tell them you love them. Make it a habit.
Take all the additional time back from your friends. Give it back to it’s rightful owner, your partner. What are you even talking about, anyway?
Go on a fucking date. For no reason. Wear some cologne. Put on some damn eyeliner.
Confide in each other, and only in each other.
Take turns on each other’s side of the bed. Cuddle.
If you find yourself not having time for your partner, you’re probably investing too much time into something else.

In other words, get back to new love. It wouldn’t have to be new love, if it was consistent love.

#3 down, vigor with continuance.

-thewarden

You must change who you are for that position…

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Here’s the scenario: You work a mid-level desk job at a corporation that you’ve been with for a few years, and you’ve done pretty well for yourself. You’re well known, you’ve networked, and gotten yourself a few promotions along the way. You’re trying to set yourself to move up. You’re not quite there yet but your record is spotless, and besides a few more items you’re currently working on that would qualify you for the position, you’re golden. The management position is within sight. It’s the next step. You can practically see it in your future.

One day, your boss approaches you and commends you on the great job you’re doing. He says to you that the review board is looking at your record and you are well on your way to a management position. You smile. Even though you’ve felt that you were on the right track, it’s always nice to hear that your work ethic is being noticed. But then, the tone changes and you realize that you’ve been set up for the letdown. Sure, there are always things that you can improve on to better yourself and make you better prepared for the next higher position, but everything comes at a cost (let’s stick a pin in that for now).

Your boss then tells you that the review board wants to see more of you and what you can do. Sure, you do have that spotless record, but they want to see you in action. After all, what kind of leader leads from behind a desk?

Now, let’s talk more about you. You’re an introvert. You’re not loud and obnoxious, and you have a very small circle of people you consider “true” friends. You get along with people at work, but you aren’t the type that leaves your work on the desk just to go joke and pass time with your buddies in accounting. You don’t talk trash with the janitors in the smoking area, and you certainly don’t kiss up to the managers. You’re just a guy (or gal) that’s known to get the job done. You work behind the scenes to accomplish your goals. The few people in your office look up to you. They confide in you. They ask you for help. Most importantly, they trust you. When they do well, you let them know and reward them if possible. When they’re wrong, you also let them know. Your methods of reprimand are largely unnoticed, mainly because you never do it in public, and it’s something your workers appreciate. You have fun at work, sure. But you know that your people come first and your work comes next.

In a nutshell, your personality has made you who you are. It’s who you are known as, by you your family, your friends, and your coworkers. Now, in order to be competitive with your mid-level peers, your boss tells you that you must make some changes (go ahead and take that pin out).

You must work on marketing yourself not only to your office, but the entire department. You know you can, but you ask yourself “do I really need to?”

Let me explain.

Our country is extremely diverse. Along with it are all of the corporations and companies, and businesses, also with their own group of diverse individuals. Individuals. No, I’m not only talking about race and gender, but also personality types. I’m no expert, but I think this is a key piece of what makes us diverse, and we don’t address it nearly as much as we should. At an entry level position, it’s all about doing what’s required of you to keep your job. Once you move up and get a little bit of responsibility, maybe the authority to make minor decisions, it all changes. This is where the molding comes in. The key thing here is that most, if not all managers have their own story of how they got the position they now sit. Along with that comes the wanting to “give back” and help the up and comers also achieve the same status. Here are two phrases I’ve heard from two different managers on career advancement:

1: As you move up and attain more responsibility, you will have to decide the type leader you want to be.

2: In order to be successful in this position, this is the type of leader you have to be.

Which one sounds more appealing to an up and comer? You decide for yourself.

The point I’m trying to make is this: Why are we so “fake” concerned with diversity and innovation and originality, but at the same time, requiring out new talent to be exact replicas of our former selves? That’s what I think a mentor is not. If there are milestones that I need to hit to reach an objective, by all means share your knowledge and guidance. But why is there a need to try to change people? What does my personality have that my work ethic doesn’t? Why be loud and charismatic when I can just show you through my actions?

My suggestion? Why don’t we teach our mentee how he or she can channel their own personal strengths for the good of the company? If you’re a loud person, learn how to use that to inspire the masses. If you work better in smaller groups, then be great at that. Sure, we should find the right niche in our weaknesses and build from there, but being well-rounded shouldn’t require you to change your persona.

Fellow introverts, help me out. We are amazing at just about everything (personal opinion). Public speaking, we can do it and be great at it. But just because we aren’t the joke master, “hey, look at me,” freestyle rap battling, gossiping, in crowd cool kids that doesn’t make us unworthy of being great leaders. We achieve the same results, we just crossed the bridge from different sides.

I wouldn’t be myself, I’d just be another you.

#2 down, vigor with continuance.

-thewarden

Just. Keep. Writing.

Just. Keep. Writing.
I love this. I’ve waited so long to get back into my works because I’ve spent so much time neck deep into working for everyone and everything else. There will be no excuses this time. As I have stated in my previous blog, I’m working on the first draft of my novel (still, details will be revealed at a later date, so stay tuned). I’m still changing plots, arcs, and hell, even the character names. I won’t stop this time. Forwarding on this advice. Keep at it!

Victoria (V.E.) Schwab

Hey there, lovelies!

I know it’s been awhile since I posted. I’ve spent the last few months buried under deadlines and finishing up coursework–so far this year I’ve gone to grad school, and written and edited THREE books, all coming out next year–and getting ready to head back to Nashville.

But in the slivers of space between, I’ve been reflecting a lot–about writing, publishing, advice–and I wanted to talk about a piece of advice that I know seems trite, but is honestly the best I can give. I’ll try to explain why.

Five years into my publishing career, I finally feel like I have my feet under me, and because of that, I’m often asked for advice.

When writers–aspiring, debut, and established–ask for insight, I always say, “Just keep writing.”

And I know that sounds like a very Dory thing to say, but the fact of the matter is, if…

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