The Scent Of Discontent

The scent of discontent is rising

Is this ultimately surprising?

Are we no longer capable of compromising?

The people are going around and analyzing

While others are more concerned with enterprising?

 

Have we truly reached this crossroads?

This seems like a long drawn out episode

Individuals acting as solitary nodes

 

What really happened to our connections?

We are on an unsavory direction

But it’s never too late for a massive correction

 

Treat them as if they were your friend

Even though they may not blend

We have zero right to apprehend

Put out your hand and defend

We no longer have to pretend

We can still make an amend

For this is our only way to transcend

 

The scent of discontent if falling

Keep your voices loud and calling

To the masses as they continue sprawling

We have to continue stalling

Or we’ll be left on our knee crawling

 

 

Until next time,

JSTRD

 

 

Advertisements

Life is Short

As the dust settles around this experience we call life there are incidents that affect us in unimaginable ways. Speaking from the perspective of someone who isn’t even thirty yet I find it extremely discomforting to realize the amount of death that has surrounded myself in the past year. My complete lack of social media presence until recently has only seemed to compound my emotions.

Firstly, my step father passed away from a massive heart attack. This was unexpected to say the least and the warning signs just weren’t there. He hadn’t even reach the age of 50. His children were deeply affected and my brothers were no exception. What I found very hard to grasp was that I wasn’t told about it until almost 3 months later which only compounded the feelings I still have about the situation.

Secondly, I had a friend get hit by a car on his way home from work. He was 32. Shocked and saddened to hear the news I kicked myself pretty hard that this happened a week before I rejoined social media. We had a phone conversation about a year prior were he wasn’t in the best of places and I talked though some of the issues he was experiencing. Things ended on a good note and I made it clear that he could always reach out and I’d be there to help.

I’ve never been a stranger to talk about depression and suicide. I frankly have experienced quite a bit for someone of my age and if I can get someone to rethink their current state of mind things usually seem to work out for the best.

Lastly, I come to one of the most difficult deaths I’ve ever experienced. His passing has deeply affected myself in some pretty dramatic and awful ways.

My friend from high school and roommate of almost 2 years committed suicide in May 2016. He was 29. I find it difficult to comprehend as I only found out about what happened by fluke. I had tried to reach out to him back in September 2016 when I rejoined social media but I hadn’t gotten a reply. Last week I was curious and figuring something was up I decided to do a quick internet search, which is when I found it. A heartfelt obituary.

He and I had similar pasts. We both struggled with depression, suicide and substance but we both overcame it. He finished his programming degree, was working as a programmer and had become clean.  We both had multiyear struggles to get to a point of happiness and we had talked deeply about it throughout the years.

When we had our talks they weren’t the typical sunshine and roses ones you hear society talk about. They were the ugly, emotional and disturbing talks about depression and suicide. We had delved deep into the inner workings of why we were depressed and why we felt suicide or substance was the answer. We talked about how it felt when going past the point of no return in an emotional suicidal stupor but we always came to the same conclusion after these multi hour talks. It seemed right at moment but neither of us actually wanted to die. We just wanted an outlet.

We lost contact around 2014 due to changing life circumstances. I had grown tired of our hometown and wanted out but he had grown to love it. What actually happened in that time that changed his life forever will always leave questions unanswered.

 

If I had reached out could things of been different?

Had he really reached rock bottom or was it a cry for help?

Did he know that I was always going to be a friend that he could ask for help without judgement?

 

I had always imagined that with the life I’ve lived that I would be the one to go in such a tragic and devastating way. There is nothing I can do about the past but despite that it still leaves an emotional scar that cannot be healed. Death has a massive impact on the living and if it’s by suicide that reach is exponentially larger.

 

Let your feelings, loyalties and actions be pure today because life is short and tomorrow is not guaranteed.

 

Until next time,

JSTRD

2016 – The year of the rollercoaster

I spend my summer overseeing the expansion and rehabilitation of our concrete jungle. It is quite remarkable how much our civilization has accomplished but I’m left with some burning internal conundrums.

I have worked hard over these past several years bettering myself through education and work experience. This has led me down an extremely fruitful path and is multi directional giving myself many options with no dead ends.

I find it somewhat perplexing that the more money and experience I obtain the less work I do. This is not to say the work I do isn’t difficult but it’s in a different way than I’m accustomed too.

I no longer work like a dog running through the bush with decaying swamp matter up to my knees. I’m no longer fighting for every possible overtime hour so I can actually save some money.

Before I go any further I must point out that despite the aforementioned cons I made at the time what I thought was good money. It was certainly better than other prospects at my disposal and I held onto the belief that I would climb the leadership ladder. Even though I didn’t full heartily believe it..

As time progressed I found other work in my field. I made a little bit more money and had some more expectations. While it was not entirely difficult for myself I learned a lot. Maybe my doubts about the ladder were wrong or maybe it’s just an unnatural progression. Either way I didn’t mind as I would of been alright being paid less. After all, pay cheques come and go but experience lasts a lifetime. Besides, I was having fun observing organized chaos on a grandiose scale.

I then made the decision to go back and finish my degree. While extremely difficult, I made a life changing choice. Working experience can be discounted and dismembered but schooling is absolute.

This brings us to this summer. Prospects were high and all my ducks were lined in a row. Employers were chasing me from all directions and I did what any logical person would do. I looked over all the offers and picked the one that I thought would help me the most long term.

Unfortunately this almost became the downfall of the person I have been for many years and I reverted back to someone that is on there last legs.

For reasons I am still to this day dumbfounded by I had my perfect professional experience record shattered to what I can only atone to was malicious intent.

As someone who was living off debt and money saved long ago I wasn’t able to stand up and fight for what would of been a long drawn out but highly favorable battle. Lawyers are expensive and I simply couldn’t afford it…

This drew out a darkness that had been dormant for almost a decade. A looming shadow drew over my entire being as I was feeling my dream of finishing my degree had slipped away. If I didn’t work while I could my education would be a pipe dream

I put all my eggs in a single basket which was the one thing to do. There wasn’t a reason for holding on to other employers as they were making summer decisions then and only then. One of the perks of working in an industry with airtight no moonlighting clauses…

This led myself to the unfortunate position of being a highly qualified individual in an industry with tons of work and no job. It also didn’t help my cause that I moved from the city back to my small town. Distances that are in absolutely no way commutable even semi regularly. Too bad almost all of my prospects had been there. Irony is a cruel beast..

To put it lightly I was up shit creek with no paddle and a sinking boat. Gotta love my constantly interesting life….

The darkness began consuming myself and almost immediately I turned to alcohol. This was the only way I could turn down the volume of my broken and mutilated dreams. More and more was needed to keep the volume low until it did nothing but turn it to 11.

My fiancé immediately raised a red flag and being the calm rational one in our relationship I could do nothing to quell her fears. My lows were only getting lower and there was nothing her or I could do to fix it. I was trapped in my mental prison with the doors welded shut.

As the days progressed I lightly poked an industry contact that I hadn’t spoken to in a year. If I was going to rationalize my demise I had to scope out all directions and if it blew out in my face it’s not like I could sink any faster. Logic above all else, it’s my personal double edged sword.

Surprisingly my contact was more than willing to take on an out of work surveyor. Not only that but she was ecstatic to do it. The hours were up in the air and the details would be hammered out in a few days. It was something

A few days went by and I began doubting myself as the agreed upon contact day had come and went. Maybe this was another irony that was beginning.

At last my contact called and gave me the details of the offer. I was simply floored by the intensity of it. It was way more than I was expecting and had some serious responsibility. The hours were to be erratic to begin with but settling out in the future.

The next day I began and it would be a true trial by fire. Thankfully I passed with flying colours and had earned my white hat.

It turned out to be a massive blessing both in terms of wage and ladder progression. I was earning way more than what I was used to in previous adventures. My responsibilities were also drastically shifted. I was out on my own and required to make tough calls.

I’m no longer working myself to death but the calls I make now impact not only myself but entire job sites. I can no longer say practically whatever I want but have to be absolutely sure about the information I’m providing.

When I’m on site there is no one else to correct me or to twist what I say into what they think is the correct call. The buck stops at me at least for a period of time. Unless of course my contact over rules me but this is not an instant process.

My career this year has been an incredibly deep and tumultuous ride. I have been tested in many different ways and have come out on top, even though it was by the skin of my teeth.

My story is still being written but as of now I’m thoroughly enjoying the fruits of my labour. Silver linings have shown them selves to me and it’s an experience that will follow me through out the coming years.

My perfect professional record may be stained and I guarantee I’ll have to answer questions about it in the months to come but it worked out highly favorable for myself. Maybe my ironic life is that way for a reason…

Until next time,
JSTRD

Citations

We as a species have great correlations

It’s what built our great nations

Looking for patterns

When everything was scattered

We took our knowledge in context

Racing as though we were in a great contest

But we left out one detail

That was going to curtail

Our inner understandings of how society works

A big mistake for our cultural clerk

For we never thought about causation

As we had too much of a fixation

On our glamorous creation

That we didn’t notice the horrible mutation

Maybe we should of given better citations..

The Page

Sifting through the thoughts on the page

A glamorous, spectacular serenade

Freedom, expression, the thoughts are just

It exposes, enlightens, our inner handcuffs

Come to a conclusion if you dare

The fruitful tree is bound to bear

Another rabbit hole, lest be forgot

It only stirs and thickens the plot

For this is our only sword

To slice down the demons that infect the hoard

We are true and rightly so

For we reap, what we sow

So never forget what your mind uncovers

It’s like two miraculous star crossed lovers

Use your knowledge as a gauge

To break free out of your cage

But most of all in this day and age

Never forget what you put on the page

The Iceberg Effect

When we are faced with an ever increasing amount of difficult situations there is something that often goes unnoticed. Something that should be oh so obvious yet it sails away in the distance never to be thought about again. This is known as the Iceberg effect.

As a society there is this strict and unconventional bias to take situations at face value. It could be as simple as your friend telling you they’re having a bad day, as complex as watching someone go through a mental health crisis or anything in between. While society tries to fix the issue at hand through mild questioning or social skimming there is a lot to be desired.

If simple and complex issues are actually going to be solved in any meaningful way this social skimming needs to be put back several notches. While it can be a valuable tool in some situations it should definitely not be the gold standard. When issues are dealt with at face value the current situation may be resolved but it’s a band aid fix at best. For every situation there are deep issues at play and we need to be aware of them.

Personally, I always try to dig deeper when I’m told about situations. This has come with its own unique set of issues but as I’ve realized more and more I am part of the minority. I find this somewhat akin to putting out small fires in a house but refusing to acknowledge or not noticing the faulty wiring that is creating them. While this does solve the immediate issue of not having fires it’s only temporary and eventually one will be missed destroying the house in its entirety.

I came across a situation recently on a social media application that drove this point to its core. It is essentially a message board where posts are made anonymously and broadcast to anyone else on the application within 10km. While I find it hilarious I have also found a darker side such as with the following example.

“Lol found my girlfriend on pof [dating site] in the will respond section, glad I don’t trust shit”

When I saw this I simply could not resist asking the blaring and obvious question of.

“Why were you on there looking for women?”

To which his response was typical in that it was both evasive and defensive

“Can’t you read?! I don’t trust anyone.”

Seeing as how his response didn’t exactly clarify anything I decided to push it a bit further

“If you don’t trust anyone than you have missed what relationships are all about”

At this point other people started chiming in and I decided to give it a rest. Maybe he would calm down and listen to reason? After all he did just find a relationship ending piece of information and most people aren’t thinking rationally at that point. It’s all finger pointing at the other party while admitting no fault what so ever. Ugly stuff and as I’ve eluded to before there’s no point in giving advice when people aren’t processing information due to high emotions

After about 20 minutes the conversation had shifted from; “That sucks” and “You’ll find someone better” to something even more counter-productive.

“Never trust any girl 100%. They will use you in the end, its human nature”

At this point I felt the need to pull out my trump card. If I was going to get anywhere with this guy this was going to be the time.

“A lack of trust in other people speaks volumes about inner insecurities”

After inserting that there was this eerie calm that fell over the discussion for ten straight minutes. The up votes to the comment kept rising before someone new finally chimed in.

“Paw knows” [A yellow paw was my randomly generated icon for that particular conversation, distinguishes anonymous posters between one another]

While encouraging they weren’t my target audience but it was only a couple minutes later before I saw the fruits of my labour.

“Paw you finally made me cry and I’ve been asking for advice all day long!”

This wasn’t the reaction I was expecting but it accomplished what I had hoped for. I uncovered his iceberg and hit at the very core of the issue. While it was not something he wanted to hear and it won’t help him with his current break up it may just be the driver for change in the future.

This point was further cemented after the chauvinists tried to regain ground in a fury of demeaning and degrading posts to which the original poster simply shrugged them off saying it was time for “soul searching and me time”

 

While this is only one example there are countless more in your day to day lives that you’ll encounter. If you choose to take something away from this post let it be this;

We are all Icebergs floating around in society and more often than not all it takes is a little push to find out what’s really going on underneath the surface. We learn about what makes people tick but most of all we have insight to what our surface actions say about our own Icebergs. We are built to be interconnected as a species and that one or two extra questions can make the difference between inner growth and social hindrance.

 

Until next time,

JSTRD

 

 

Why I Write

This isn’t an easy question to answer nor should it be. Writing, especially when expressing one’s opinion, is inherently something very personal that opens the door to criticism both thrilling and disappointing.

While it’s a journey I enjoy very much I struggle with the perception of others and how they would see my inner expression. As I explained in my previous post about opinions not defining you it’s still not an easy task to separate your expression of those opinions vs the opinions themselves.

Expression is something I excel at but when it’s on a personal level I tend to avoid it. While this has made for some interesting situations in life it is one I am fully trying to break through my writing. Even still I find it difficult and even counter intuitive to mix emotions with hard hitting discussions. Emotions are quite often the culprit in the strange reactions I see in my peers so removing it from at least one side of the debate seems to lessen their invoked response. After all there’s little point in trying to get a point across when the other side isn’t even processing the information.

I write to express myself, to capture opinions in others I may not have noticed and I also write simply for therapy.

Being able to sit back and let your expression go through the words you paint across the blank slate is a feeling I care deeply about. Peering at the blank page and understanding that it could be anything that your heart desires. It could be a piece of poetry, a discussion on recent events, a life experience or just the mindless ramblings of the day. The possibilities are endless and it’s what true inner expression is made of.

Watching profound opinions rise out of topics where you thought you covered everything is also another sight to behold. It’s in moments like these that you begin to grasp the concept that everyone will form opinions and express them in different ways. When these begin to happen though responses to your writing you learn about the respondent but more importantly you learn about how your words can dazzle or disgust the masses. For better or worse it has the strength to grow you as a human being

Perhaps the most important of all is writing for therapy despite it always being in the background. This was never the true intention I had when I started this blog but it has always played a critical role. Even now as I write this I’m sitting in my college with the sound of the HVAC unit humming, the student population wandering by chattering about topics that won’t matter in the days and weeks to come, with the faint sound of a ping pong game in the background. It is strangely peaceful, relaxing and a perfect setting from which to slowly type away at the keys of my laptop. While this is the first time I’ve chosen to write in such a setting I feel as though I’ll come back to this place.

Writing for therapy concerning myself also includes how I choose to promote my blog. Only a select few in real life have ever been told about this place and it gives me a sense of security. When there are no social or personal hindrances in writing it allows you to fully engage in what your expressions may become.

 

Writing can be whatever you want it to be. It can be a driver for social change or destruction, it can be a getaway from what bothers you or it can be a place to simply express gratitude. However you view writing there is one thing that it always is; it’s a form of personal expression that has the power to do whatever your heart desires.

Until next time,

JSTRD

Opinions Don’t Define You

As debates rage across the world in fantastic and spectacular ways I always find myself in the position of heated conversations. While there is nothing better than discussing the important issues of the day there always seems to be an elephant in the room.

Everyone has their opinions and expressing them seems fundamental in our human nature. I find it exhilarating when I find someone’s opinion so vastly different from mine. Did we come to different conclusions due to the same set of facts and if so why are they so different?

More times than not this is not the case and either myself or the other party has been misinformed about a critical fact. To the vast majority of the population when these obvious issues in the fundamental of the conversation are pointed out a torrent of anger and rage explodes the otherwise fruitful discussion.

It left myself wondering why this is a while ago and I came to a rather disheartening conclusion. People think that their opinions define who they are. This something that can be overcome but it requires a large conscious effect on the part of the individual. Once that it achieved though, it will change your life forever.

Opinions are like choosing what you want to have for breakfast. If you always eat cereal but someone offers you steak and you think that’s a better option then take it. You’re not changing who you are as a person because you picked something more appealing. This is fundamentally the same on an intellectual level concerning everything from world views to what clothes you think look good.

If you’re in a debate with someone and they give an opinion that you think has some merit then by all means use it. I’m not saying that you have to completely disregard your old set of opinions and beliefs in favor of the new one. You are free to pick and choose what you like about it and mold it into a new set of opinions. This is how you’ll grow as a person and evolve as nature intended.

Usually when this is put across in conversations I’m hit with the inevitable question of;

“If my opinions don’t define me and my beliefs are based on my opinions then what does define me?”

The answer is that your ability to make those choices is what defines you. It is not what you may choose as an opinion today but the fact that you can make those opinions in the first place. Sifting through the abundance of knowledge and coming to a conclusion is what defines you.

We are constantly changing and our opinions should too

 

Until next time,

JSTRD

Wanted: Humanity

I remember as young child watching the events of 9/11 unfolding on TV. My step father was watching it as though his heart had been ripped out of his chest. As I sat down in shock at what was happening he turned to me and said “The world you’re going to grow up in has just been changed forever”

14 years later I look back and am disgusted at what has transpired since then. It’s not so much that our world has changed as dramatically as he predicted but it’s the people who inhabit it. Our culture of fear and revenge has tainted the sense of humanity of our race. Unfortunately this is not a new habit of ours.

As a Canadian most of my fellow countrymen seem to think we have this sense of helping one another and always trying to play the “good guy” on the world stage. Defending freedoms, helping the vulnerable, giving out aid and trying to sort out world problems. All these feel good policies that make us blind to what is actually happening within our geopolitical sphere of influence.

Canada, not unlike our American counterparts, has a shaky at best track record of these feel good policies but our ignorance and pride has clouded our preconceived notions. While we tend to lift ourselves leagues above our American neighbors on human rights and multiculturalism when we are in fact on a lower level because we can’t admit our own wrong doings. We viciously attacked Japanese Canadians during WW2 and interred them in camps, we sent the indigenous population to residential schools to beat and rape the culture out of them and we stood ideally by while countless people were murdered in Rwanda leaving heroes like Romeo Dallaire to do what was morally right. A competent person looking at these atrocities would learn from history and not make similar mistakes; unfortunately our society isn’t a competent person.

Canadians without a second thought followed our American counterpart in what would turn out to be a bloody and needless war in Afghanistan that only fueled the rise of racism in a country of “multiculturalism”. Fathers, mothers, sons and daughters gave their lives in a cause that while they may have thought of the time as right and just, only deepened the root cause of the problem in our society.

As our media and politicians were touting the end of the war in Afghanistan this was very much not the case as it was the beginning of a festering hatred that would engulf the world we know today. This hatred has crossed lines seemingly unfathomable years ago and threw it into the mainstream where we swallow it without a second thought.

I look to my fellow peers and wonder how people could be so indoctrinated with fear that they would gladly send thousands of people to their death in the name of a false sense of security. The passions in them soar to dazzling heights and any rational, factual conversation leads to a whirlwind of rants that always ends up with “Bomb the whole Middle East and be done with it”.

While I in absolutely no way agree with the attacks on Paris and Beirut or have any sympathy for the ones who carried out these vicious attacks there are things underneath the surface that desperately need to be addressed.

Firstly we as a society need address the monumental humanitarian crisis in Syria as the influx of refugees grows each passing day. These are people who have been given one of three options and they are:

1) Join the Syrian government who has slaughtered everyone not with them

2) Join ISIS who has slaughtered everyone not with them

3) Leave the country and head somewhere else

With these three options at hand I find it absolutely mind boggling that we are punishing these people for arriving in another country while toting that both options one and two are horrible. The vast majority of these people are NOT terrorists and the branding of them as such by a huge majority is sickening. It’s a kin to saying every Canadian is a serial killer or that every American competitively eats hot dogs. We are punishing the majority for the actions of minority and that needs to stop.

Secondly we need to address that even though someone is a terrorist now that doesn’t mean they were born with an AK47 in hand and a bomb strapped to their chest. People choose their paths in life partly due to the circumstances they are in and partly due to outside influences. While we can’t control all these factors in a country so far away we can stop adding fuel to the fire. ISIS’s biggest recruiting tool is propagations of allied aggressions such as bombings that “missed their target” and torture. If you had to watch everyone you know and loved be blown away because of an “opps” I’m positive that would alter your mental state in a dramatic and insane way.

Thirdly we need to stop with this ridiculously racist demeanor that has been oh so slowly engrained into our society. There is something VERY seriously wrong when a Canadian Sikh man can’t even post a bathroom selfie on the internet without it being altered to show him holding a Quran with a suicide vest. Despite the obvious flaws with the editing (Quarn’s don’t take pictures) it was published on numerous print magazines with titles such as “one of the terrorists” of the Paris bombings. When we can’t even express ourselves by taking a picture in the bathroom without horrible brandings of murderous rage we have problems so large you could fit the world’s ignorance into it.

 

If you take anything away from this let it be the following;

Our society is controlled by the will of the people and our collective voice makes us who we are. I personally don’t want to be judged by the future generations who will look at us in disgust and ask “How could you let that happen?! Why didn’t you do something?!”. Our racist fear mongering culture needs to come to an end or I truly fear our humanity will go the way of the dinosaurs. We’re already half way there, let’s not go any further

 

 

JSTRD

 

 

 

 

I’m Steel Here

As I sit and ponder my studies in structural analysis I’m in a strange way relating it to my life. For all too long I’ve been torn in several different directions, both in career and personal aspects. It has been a constant state of tension for better or worse. This brings my studies into quite the limelight. A bit odd but quite rationalized on a fundamental level.

If a steel beam is being put into tension on the top then it has to be put into compression at the bottom when bended. This relates to myself as all the tension I’ve experienced put myself into this odd state of compression. Bottling everything up until one day….Everything changed.

Materials, such as steel, have another interesting property called a deformation point. This is where a material has experienced so much stress that it no longer bounces back to its original point. A sad day for a material and it may seem gloomy but alas, not all is lost. Steel especially actually increases in strength past this point (not indefinitely) and this is where my story intertwines nicely.

I hit this deformation point personally. I shook off all my tension and let everything that was compressed out into the open. A glorious day indeed when I could feel everything that was putting negative forces on to me bounce off without a scratch.

I increased in strength exponentially that day and although I may not be the same person any more, deformed though external forces, I am glad I got through it. A more rationalized human being is what has emerged.