Life needs Assurance NOT Insurance

 

 

Not sure how many of you have experienced but I find writing self-healing. I can feel seamless full-duplex communication with self which is so enriching and galvanising. Frequency of writing has dropped due to rush-rush of life. Experience is point of life where you can see with closed eyes. The other day my son and I were playing cricket and he said papa did you see my pace and turn. Are you finding hard to bat? I did not respond to him for the first three overs he bowled and fielded. When I could see the signs of him getting exhausted I reacted to one of the delivery he bowled WOW! that is awesome your bowling is making me think before I play my shots. The smile followed by pride that I could see on his face was priceless. I could see him gaining all the lost energy and he ended up bowling two more overs. I told Soham looks like I am done will you like to bat. Soham said NO! I want to be better bowler if you find hard to bat I can be good at bowling.
When I reflect back to my day to day life I do get tired not always because of fatigue but lack of honest recognition, appreciation, guidance and direction. I dare to assume that we all get self into such loop of physical and emotional tiredness. A sense of assurance that comes from someone being with you in ups and downs is priceless.

There was one conversation that I heard where one partner asked to other what will you do if I die? Other partner replied  I will call your parents. Partner asked why because I don’t know in your culture whether they bury the person and put them to fire as last rites. This conversation turned out to be joke for listeners and disappointment for the partner who asked the question. However, if we dive deep to the question : It was meant to know how much the other partner loves, misses, recognised and longs. Additionally, to get the assurance. Is anyone in this world who will be in their ups and down even after the person is gone? Life needs Assurance NOT Insurance…
Coming to the response : Partner instead of reacting to situation chose to respond. Partner stood up not only to take the ownership but collective ownership of involving partner’s parents for the proper last rights.
Both partners in this situation cared for each other and confessed the same love but differently which never get across each other the way they wanted to conceived. Just because you can’t see or feel due to WHAT EVER IT IS  does not mean love does not exist Just have to change the lenses and  Just have to stir. JUST!
My two kids Soham (9 years) and Krishiv ( 8 years) fight all the time with no reasons or some reasons known best to them. However whenever I give one of them something to eat they share with other without me having to tell. There is so much to recollect from this simple act. Hope such innocence of such caring  exist for all human kind to make this world a better place to live and let live. – Shail

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Time to buy curtain for my mirror.

My first attempt at English poetry (If I may call it)

Winter time to buy curtain for my mirror.
Stranger out there staring at me.
For warmth?
May be.. maybe not.

Is stranger still there when I am not at mirror.
Longing for me?
May be.. maybe not.

I put hands on my face.
Peaked between fingers.
Stranger did the same.
Did he like it?
May be.. maybe not.

I made friends with stranger.
We played peekaboo.
Also showed him my stained teeth.
Hope he did not mind the look and smell.
May be.. maybe not.

I pulled my cheeks so did he.
I laughed so did he.
Was he real?
May be.. maybe not.

I was tired so was he
Is he a mute actor/spectator?
May be.. maybe not.

He doesn’t talk back.. but stares in silence.
We played staring contest game.
Ended with moist eyes.
Did it hurt?
May be.. maybe not.

My Actions are his Actions.
There is an actor in the mirror
Mimics me so well.
Can I call him friend?
May be yes.. May be not

Do I need really curtains for my mirror?
May be.. May be not – Shail

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15 Things You MUST Know About People Who Have Concealed Depression

They hide it really well, and that’s how you miss it.

Many of you reading this will know how easy it is to feel lost and alone. The truth is, no one has to hide the darkest and most unpleasant parts of themselves. The world we live in encourages this, but it’s those darkest parts that also have the most light in them. All that pain produces understandings that create a new level of living.

No matter how complicated someone is, it’s important for them to understand that they’re searching for love acceptance. We all are. Open your heart to someone, even if it scares you to death. Here’s what you need to know about people with concealed depression.

  1. Their personalities aren’t dreary in the slightest.

Those with concealed depression are some of the most charismatic people you know, and are prone to having a sharp tongue and hyper-creative mind.

  1. Their biggest challenge is shutting off their brain.

They’re able to process the world around them at rapid-fire speed — the good and the bad. It’s like their brain is a sponge soaking in everything, causing them to be hyper-aware and highly intuitive.

  1. Subsequently, they’re more vulnerable to numbing themselves with alcohol or drugs.

It can provide a temporary off switch for their brain, putting a halt to the never-ending flow of thoughts and ideas.

  1. Their hangovers make them extremely emotionally vulnerable.

Their worry often centers on a fear of being judged by others, and the next morning they’re left in fear of what they could have said to that one person they’d rather die than act like an idiot in front of.

  1. They have the most agony about other people’s agony.

Their moments of breathtaking emotional pain is often triggered by seeing other people suffer. They’re very in tune with other people’s feelings — when a stranger cries, they can’t help but feel their pain.

  1. If they do something to hurt someone, it’s like a stab to the heart.

When they say, “I’m sorry,” they’re really sorry. But what you will never see is the hours they spend going over every single detail of the fight.

  1. Their sadness has a lot to do with the ways they try to conquer their own demons.

For many, it’s “self-regulating” their thoughts.

Brain: What meaning does life have?

You: Godd*mnit, this again? Homie, we went over this a million times.

Brain: Yeah, but there’s just one more thing I still don’t-

You: It’s 3 AM.

  1. They have many friends or acquaintances, but very few people who they truly share their world with.

They hate meaningless small talk and avoid it like the plague; having unauthentic conversations can feel overwhelming exhausting.

  1. They’re very difficult to truly get to know.

They come across as being larger than life. Many are easily drawn to them and perceive them as being extroverted, only to be confused later on when they realize that they’re also very introspective, with moments of isolating themselves to recharge their social batteries.

  1. It’s rare to find someone to whom they can relate on an intellectual and emotional plane.

They hang onto the people who are stimulating enough for them to stop over-thinking for dear life.

  1. They’re wicked smart.

High intelligence is linked to depression. Smarter people can envision all sorts of worst-case scenarios, and while this is stressful, one of the benefits is that it leads them to consider every worst case scenario. Subsequently, they handle or respond to each, making them great problem-solvers.

  1. They’re very uncomfortable with people seeing them in pain.

And they will do everything in their power to ensure other people don’t see them struggle. They don’t want to be pitied or to bring anyone down, because making the people around them feel loved and special actually eases their sadness.

  1. Their sadness makes them very driven.

Since their sadness is often perpetuated by their constant search for a purpose, they will always attempt to do more to satisfy something inside of them that may be always hungry for more.

  1. They often feel like they have no control.

So they compensate for fear of the unknown.

  1. They make situations worse for themselves by trying to conceal their sadness.

They’re very expressive people, but it’s difficult for them to express their anguish; they feel like people won’t understand what they’re going through and they have to protect themselves — their heart, the people around them, and the success of their dreams.

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30 concrete and practical tips for changing your life for the better

Marc and Angel offer 30 concrete and practical tips for changing your life for the better.

Originally appeared at Marc and Angel Hack Life

As Maria Robinson once said, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”  Nothing could be closer to the truth.  But before you can begin this process of transformation you have to stop doing the things that have been holding you back.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Stop spending time with the wrong people. – Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.  If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you.  You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot.  Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth.  And remember, it’s not the people that stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends.
  2. Stop running from your problems. – Face them head on.  No, it won’t be easy.  There is no person in the world capable of flawlessly handling every punch thrown at them.  We aren’t supposed to be able to instantly solve problems.  That’s not how we’re made.  In fact, we’re made to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall.  Because that’s the whole purpose of living – to face problems, learn, adapt, and solve them over the course of time.  This is what ultimately molds us into the person we become.
  3. Stop lying to yourself. – You can lie to anyone else in the world, but you can’t lie to yourself.  Our lives improve only when we take chances, and the first and most difficult chance we can take is to be honest with ourselves.  Read The Road Less Traveled.
  4. Stop putting your own needs on the back burner. – The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.  Yes, help others; but help yourself too.  If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now.
  5. Stop trying to be someone you’re not. – One of the greatest challenges in life is being yourself in a world that’s trying to make you like everyone else.  Someone will always be prettier, someone will always be smarter, someone will always be younger, but they will never be you.  Don’t change so people will like you.  Be yourself and the right people will love the real you.
  6. Stop trying to hold onto the past. – You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one.
  7. Stop being scared to make a mistake. – Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing.  Every success has a trail of failures behind it, and every failure is leading towards success.  You end up regretting the things you did NOT do far more than the things you did.
  8. Stop berating yourself for old mistakes. – We may love the wrong person and cry about the wrong things, but no matter how things go wrong, one thing is for sure, mistakes help us find the person and things that are right for us.  We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past.  But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.  Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.
  9. Stop trying to buy happiness. – Many of the things we desire are expensive.  But the truth is, the things that really satisfy us are totally free – love, laughter and working on our passions.
  10. Stop exclusively looking to others for happiness. – If you’re not happy with who you are on the inside, you won’t be happy in a long-term relationship with anyone else either.  You have to create stability in your own life first before you can share it with someone else.  Read Stumbling on Happiness.
  11. Stop being idle. – Don’t think too much or you’ll create a problem that wasn’t even there in the first place.  Evaluate situations and take decisive action.  You cannot change what you refuse to confront.  Making progress involves risk.  Period!  You can’t make it to second base with your foot on first.
  12. Stop thinking you’re not ready. – Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises.  Because most great opportunities in life force us to grow beyond our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first.
  13. Stop getting involved in relationships for the wrong reasons. – Relationships must be chosen wisely.  It’s better to be alone than to be in bad company.  There’s no need to rush.  If something is meant to be, it will happen – in the right time, with the right person, and for the best reason. Fall in love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.
  14. Stop rejecting new relationships just because old ones didn’t work. – In life you’ll realize that there is a purpose for everyone you meet.  Some will test you, some will use you and some will teach you.  But most importantly, some will bring out the best in you.
  15. Stop trying to compete against everyone else. – Don’t worry about what others are doing better than you.  Concentrate on beating your own records every day.  Success is a battle between YOU and YOURSELF only.
  16. Stop being jealous of others. – Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own.  Ask yourself this:  “What’s something I have that everyone wants?”
  17. Stop complaining and feeling sorry for yourself. – Life’s curveballs are thrown for a reason – to shift your path in a direction that is meant for you.  You may not see or understand everything the moment it happens, and it may be tough.  But reflect back on those negative curveballs thrown at you in the past.  You’ll often see that eventually they led you to a better place, person, state of mind, or situation.  So smile!  Let everyone know that today you are a lot stronger than you were yesterday, and you will be.
  18. Stop holding grudges. – Don’t live your life with hate in your heart.  You will end up hurting yourself more than the people you hate.  Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay.”  It is saying, “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever.”  Forgiveness is the answer… let go, find peace, liberate yourself!  And remember, forgiveness is not just for other people, it’s for you too.  If you must, forgive yourself, move on and try to do better next time.
  19. Stop letting others bring you down to their level. – Refuse to lower your standards to accommodate those who refuse to raise theirs.
  20. Stop wasting time explaining yourself to others. – Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe it anyway.  Just do what you know in your heart is right.
  21. Stop doing the same things over and over without taking a break. – The time to take a deep breath is when you don’t have time for it.  If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.  Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly.
  22. Stop overlooking the beauty of small moments. – Enjoy the little things, because one day you may look back and discover they were the big things.  The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you.
  23. Stop trying to make things perfect. – The real world doesn’t reward perfectionists, it rewards people who get things done.  Read Getting Things Done.
  24. Stop following the path of least resistance. – Life is not easy, especially when you plan on achieving something worthwhile.  Don’t take the easy way out.  Do something extraordinary.
  25. Stop acting like everything is fine if it isn’t. – It’s okay to fall apart for a little while.  You don’t always have to pretend to be strong, and there is no need to constantly prove that everything is going well.  You shouldn’t be concerned with what other people are thinking either – cry if you need to – it’s healthy to shed your tears.  The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to smile again.
  26. Stop blaming others for your troubles. – The extent to which you can achieve your dreams depends on the extent to which you take responsibility for your life.  When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility – you give others power over that part of your life.
  27. Stop trying to be everything to everyone. – Doing so is impossible, and trying will only burn you out.  But making one person smile CAN change the world.  Maybe not the whole world, but their world.  So narrow your focus.
  28. Stop worrying so much. – Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy.  One way to check if something is worth mulling over is to ask yourself this question: “Will this matter in one year’s time?  Three years?  Five years?”  If not, then it’s not worth worrying about.
  29. Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen. – Focus on what you do want to happen.  Positive thinking is at the forefront of every great success story.  If you awake every morning with the thought that something wonderful will happen in your life today, and you pay close attention, you’ll often find that you’re right.
  30. Stop being ungrateful. – No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life.  Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs.  Instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing.
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We can find more love as adults by healing painful childhood memories that prevent us from fully experiencing love.

We can find more love as adults by healing painful childhood memories that prevent us from fully experiencing love.

Life lessons—especially traumatic ones—heavily influence how we behave in life.

Our view of love and life is colored by our past experiences. Those experiences determine how we interact with people—how we perceive their words, body language, and actions towards us. It affects how we see ourselves, relationships, and our ability to receive, give, and experience love.

Traumas that may negatively shape a man’s belief system about love include:

  • If as a boy he experienced some form of abandonment, then he may develop trust issues as an adult.
  • If he didn’t receive love and affection in his formative years, then he may have intimacy blocks later on.
  • If a man was raised to always be self-composed—learning that “boys don’t cry”—then as an adult, he may have a hard time feeling and expressing his emotions.

Life lessons—especially traumatic ones—heavily influence how we behave in life.  Your ability to see, feel, and give love is deeply connected to these experiences. Can you think of past situations that helped form your thoughts and beliefs about love, women, men, commitment, and so on?

◊♦◊

For example, did you witness your father treat your mother badly? Are you a child of divorce? Did you lose a loved one at an early age and feel like you never recovered from the loss? Can you see how these experiences may still affect your perception of life and love as an adult?

How would your adult life and outlook on love change if these memories were fully healed?

For new beliefs such as these to take root, a man must first heal the thing that made him believe the opposite—the painful and sometimes traumatic childhood memories.

What if you could change your perspective on a memory—how you remember the event and what you learned from it—so that it no longer impacts your thoughts and actions in a negative way and instead it positively influences your ideas of life and love? When we heal past experiences where we were hurt, we make room in the present for a new narrative to take place—new ideas and beliefs—that can bring about more happiness, fulfillment, and love in our lives.

◊♦◊

Using our previous examples, here are new scenarios that can arise from healing the past:

  • A man who was concerned about being abandoned—just as he was in childhood—can come to believe that he’ll never be alone, that he is supported, and that he deserves to be loved.
  • A man who heals his childhood memories—key moments in life where he needed love and attention, but didn’t receive it therefore teaching him his unworthiness—can learn to value himself and believe that he is worthy of an intimate and passionate relationship.
  • A man who was taught not to cry because it was an unacceptable—through healing the memories where he needed to express himself, but couldn’t—can learn to trust that showing emotion is natural and beneficial to his well-being and happiness.

For new beliefs such as these to take root, a man must first heal the thing that made him believe the opposite—the painful and sometimes traumatic childhood memories. Otherwise, it’s like repeating positive affirmations such as “I’m a strong and capable person,” while hearing the harsh words of a parent who called us “stupid” in the past in our mind. Our efforts would be useless. The positive affirmation will never be our reality because the limiting belief—that we’re stupid—is still being replayed in our mind.

Choose the method that resonates with you and heal your past and then adopt new positive beliefs that help you accept that you are deserving of love.

A man can decide today that he wants to experience more love, but if he has a broken record playing in his mind—hurtful memories that remind him he’s unlovable, unworthy, and / or not good enough—then his effort will be in vain. The life-lessons he learned from those experiences—the beliefs that he’s been playing in his head for most of his life—is much stronger than the new declaration he wishes to adopt. By and large, this is the main reason positive affirmations or resolutions don’t work. A person’s unresolved past experiences will prevent him from creating a better life.

There are several ways to go about healing one’s past such as psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, and Matrix Reimprinting. Choose the method that resonates with you and heal your past—the childhood memories that negatively taint your ideas about life and love—and then adopt new positive beliefs that help you accept that you are deserving of love.

– See more at: http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/men-need-to-heal-childhood-pain-to-find-adult-love-and-happiness-dg/#sthash.ZdDUExZn.dpuf

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WF

Infatuation is when you find somebody who is absolutely perfect. Love is when you realize that they aren’t and it doesn’t matter.

When you’re single, all you see are happy couples. When you’re committed, all you see are happy singles.

Life is like a party. You invite a lot of people; some go, some join you, some laugh with you, some didn’t come. But in the end, after the fun, there would be a few who would clean up the mess with you. And most of the time, those were the uninvited ones.

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.

Face your problems, don’t facebook them.

You don’t have to like me, I’m not a Facebook status.

You have to be odd to be number one.
Be yourself; because an original is worth more than a copy.

Sometimes, I pretend to be normal, but then it gets boring, so I go back to being me.
Be-you-tiful.

Only dead fish go ‘with the flow’.

If I was meant to be controlled, I would have came with a remote.

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How to Form a Philosophy?

Steps

1

Understand that you are starting a lifelong journey. Commit to being open-minded and flexible. Every conscious person has a philosophy. Individual philosophies can be simple, developing, or well-developed. A personal philosophy is a fundamental and integrated understanding about existence and your relationship to all related issues. Discovering and developing one’s philosophy requires self-awareness, a desire to understand, and the will and ability to learn. Commit to looking for meaning and discern what makes sense. Your goal is to start on a path of personal growth that will evolve and mature as you pursue the love of wisdom (philosophia) for that is what philosophy means.

2

Start reading and learning. Stick with what interests you and try to get a sense of the big ideas that philosophers are concerned with. As you learn look for connections between ideas and subjects to find coherence and/or arguments. This is akin to putting a jigsaw puzzle together; some pieces will fit and others won’t.

 

Step3: Choose a type of [[]. Philosophical thought is organized around many types of philosophies including: axiology, ontology, aesthetics, epistemology, ethics, logic, metaphysics and political theory. Follow your interests. Feel free to choose more than one type because you see particular linkages. You will enjoy thinking through how to meld them successfully.

  • After deciding a philosophy type, learn the background history of your chosen philosophy, including readings from the key philosophers. Understand the key questions that were addressed and get a solid understanding of the key concepts.
  • Improve your basic understanding of other types of philosophies. You cannot be an expert in everything but recognize that there is great value in understanding the basics of what others have done. A broad understanding of what people are struggling with and what the discussions have been about will help you to develop your own personal philosophy. Feel free to learn and build on existing ideas. It is difficult starting from scratch, so why not take another philosopher’s ideas as a basic framework to get started? Many well known philosophers started like this. For example Plato took the undoubtedly oral and sociable Socratic method from the real Socrates, and used it as the basis for his highly polished literary Socratic method, which in turn was taken by Aristotle to form the basis of Logic particularly syllogisms.

4.Expand and evolve your thinking. The framework you have selected is a starting point. As you experience life, test it out and see what works for you and what doesn’t. When you have time analyze this and refine your framework philosophy. Over time, as you solve problems and assess the quality of the decisions you have made, you will be able to evolve from where you started into something autonomous of the original philosophy.

  • Become a critical thinker. Keep track of where you have obtained the basis for ideas, tenets, theories, etc., in your new philosophy. Being able to trace your theorizing or conclusions back to their source will help you defending your ideas or pushing them further. Very little develops in a vacuum.
  • Referring to what other philosophers have said gives your philosophy greater credibility because you are displaying your depth of knowledge and understanding of existing philosophies.

5

Be patient and allow your ideas to percolate over time. When you have spare time, analyze the framework of your nascent philosophy, and try to find problems and solutions. Taking the development of your philosophy gradually will allow it to evolve into something autonomous of the original philosophy.

  • Keep a journal and continue writing down your thoughts and ideas, even if they’re not coherent. Patience is essential because it may take you years to sort through all the discarded notions to find the treasure buried underneath. The passage of time is healthy, as it allows your ideas to keep evolving and to be tested by daily events.
  • Ask some pertinent questions, such as:
    • What is the purpose of your philosophy? Do you want to apply it to all of society or just a sector?
    • What is your role in your philosophy? What, if any, are the roles of particular people in your philosophy?
    • How will you explain the basis of your philosophy to others? Is it helpful on a practical level, or Utopian?
    • How do other belief sets or philosophies fit in with or go against your philosophy?
    • Are you willing to write down a thesis or book of your philosophy? Or would you rather write stories that contain your philosophy but are not overtly a philosophical work in structure?

5.Talk to others interested in philosophy. They can point out faults you might have missed and give different solutions. This is helpful for developing your philosophy.

  • Join a local philosophy group, club, or chapter.
  • Join an online group that has private forums where you can share your ideas freely and get responses.
  • Visit your local university and ask to speak with philosophy professors to share your thoughts with them.
  • If you find someone else who really understands where your new philosophy is headed, embrace their enthusiasm but take care to keep working on your understandings separate from their enthusiasm. It is hard to follow someone else while they are still working out what it is that they believe, so their enthusiasm may just be because they like and trust you.
  1. Actively find/seek out new experiences to help you to see things in different ways and from different angles.
  1. Keep reading philosophy. It will allow you to see previous philosophers’ attempts, what they found, and what fallacies they fell into; thus, progressing your own philosophy. This will also help you to see whether or not you are attempting something that a previous philosopher has already tried.

 

  1. Keep up to date with the world. Try reading a newspaper once in a while. It’ll help you apply theories to real situations.
  • For example, take a serious news story that involves issues impacting on many sectors of society and ask yourself: “What would I have done?” Work your answers into your developing philosophy to see if it can withstand actual events and provide explanations, instruction, or greater understanding.

 

  • See yourself as a philosopher, whether or not you work as one. A career in philosophy, or similar roles such as a researcher in a think-tank or institute, will ensure you dedicate regular time to your philosophy, but for the part time philosopher make sure you dedicate enough time to it so you keep improving and don’t forget bits of your work.

 

9: Try as much as possible to live up to your thoughts, even when you are experiencing something uncanny that may distract you from your opinions. Get back to those notes that you have made about your philosophy

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7 Things I’m Not Afraid to Tell My Sons About Love, Sex, and Their Bodies

7 Things I’m Not Afraid to Tell My Sons About Love, Sex, and Their Bodies

boy jump 

Joanna Schroeder is tired of the expectations put upon boys and men, and encourages her boys to forge their own paths.

I know that as your mom I can be super annoying. I say things like, “Did you wash behind your ears?” every single time you take a shower, even though you’re old enough to wash behind your ears without your mom yelling things from behind the bathroom door. But there are some things I want you to know, not just as your mom but also as someone who cares a lot about the way society treats boys and men when it comes to sex, shame and their bodies.

I’m spelling them out here so that other parents can talk about these things, too, and other boys can see that there isn’t just one way to grow up into a good man.

1. You don’t have to be manly. 

There’s already a ton of pressure on you boys to be “manly”, and you’re nowhere near grown men yet. Since you guys were two years old, you’ve heard people saying, “He’s all boy” or “Boys will be boys” as an affirmation of your masculinity, and I think that probably has affected you in some way.

Just know that even if you like what most guys like, you don’t have to buy into every part of what you’re told is manly. If you want to do stuff that other people think is girlie, Dad and I don’t care. We support you. Wear pink or don’t, it’s just a color. Become a football fan or don’t. Paint your nails or don’t. None of these things make you more or less of a man, and it’s not on us to decide for you.

We see how much pressure is on you to “man up” and be tough, and you don’t have to do that with us. You can cry, you can relax, you can let your guard down. We’ll always stand by you.

2. You deserve the right to bodily autonomy.

What does this mean? It means you get to say “no” to anything you don’t want done to your body at all times. You get to say it to us and other adults – even adults who just want to hug you or pat you on the head. You also get to say it to girls or guys you may date or hook up with, and you get to say it to your friends.

Even better, you should be with people who practice affirmative consent and wait to hear a “yes” from you before touching you in any way, instead of waiting for a “no”.

We believe that every part of your body is yours to do with what you please. Your gender and your sexuality, as well as your sexual expression belong to you.

 

3. You should never touch anybody without their consent.

It’s that affirmative thing I just talked about. Keep your hands to yourself, and if you want to touch someone else, ask first. When you start dating, ask to touch the people you want to hook up with before you do. Ask if you can kiss them. Do it in a sexy or a playful way. Don’t wait for someone to say “no” to something you’re doing, that means it’s too late.

And don’t hook up with or touch people who are too intoxicated or otherwise unable to give consent. This should be a no-brainer, but I’m going to say it just so we’re clear.

 

wolverine_hugh_jackman_hd_widescreen_wallpapers_1920x12004. Your body is good how it is. Treat it well.

I know you see guys with huge muscles and small waists everywhere you look. Spider-Man and Superman have six-pack abs now, but did you know they used to be somewhat normal-looking guys back in the old movies, action figure and comics? Today, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine is held up as the model of masculinity, even though he’s supposed to be a mutation of a human being, not a normal dude! Jackman got that body by working out with a trainer, by having a nutritionist and chef, and doing it all day, every single day. Getting that body was his job. It’s not your job to look like that.

You don’t have to be jacked. You don’t have to be ripped. You can be yourself and people are still going to want to be your friend and date you. Just treat your body like you want it to last a long time, by exercising in moderation and thinking about giving your body the nutrition it needs. Your great-grandpa rode his bike, took a walk, or shoveled snow every single day and look at him, he’s over 95 years old and still fun and happy.

Take the pressure off yourself to look like a male model and just be your own, healthy self. We don’t care what size your body is, we only care how big your heart is.

 

5. Don’t use drugs. Seriously.

You might wish Dad and I could be as “cool” about drugs as we are about sex and sexuality, but we’re not going to be.

Here’s the thing: You come from a long line of addicts. You’ve lost relatives to overdoses and addiction-related diseases. You’re not entering into this drug and alcohol situation with a clean slate like some of your friends may think they are. There are genetic ghosts looming over you and you won’t know until it’s too late if you’re gonna be the one who can’t stop, and whose funeral the whole family attends like we did just a few short years ago.

People around you are going to do some drugs, and I’ll be brutally honest: nobody can promise you that you’ll come out of the experimental phase unscathed or even alive. Yes, some drugs are more dangerous than others, but any substance that helps you escape reality can become a crutch if you don’t need it for medical reasons.

Neither Dad nor I do any drugs at all, and we’re really happy. We have fun, have amazing friends, are deeply connected to each other, and find our thrills and excitement out on the ocean, in trying new things, or on our bikes. We’re here to do those things with you, any kind of thrill-seeking you want, be it dirt bike riding, playing a crazy new video game, performing on stage in front of a packed theater or whatever other things you feel passionate about.
son and uncles

6. Being alone sometimes is a good thing.

Maybe you already know this, but you don’t always have to have a bunch of people around. I know it’s fun to be with friends, I like it too, but it’s important that you set some time aside every day to just be by yourself with no technology. You can read, think, write, meditate, take a walk or a run, draw, play music, whatever you like that makes you feel centered or calm. Just remember to respect who you are enough to give that person (you!) some down-time to regroup and come back to yourself.

On the other hand, know that you’re never really alone. You’ve got a family that loves you and wants to hang out with you, and you can reach out to friends if you need to talk or want some support. You can be a good source of support to others, too.

Once you start dating, it gets harder and harder to be alone. You will probably really like the sense of validation you get from having a partner. This is totally natural, but remember that you’re just fine on your own, too.

 

7. You don’t have to be afraid or ashamed of your desire.

It’s weird, but some people might going to try to make you feel bad about the lust or desire you may come into as you grow up. Regardless of whether you’re straight, gay, bi, or trans or anything else, people will try to put their own weird shame upon you.

Don’t fall for it. You’re great. You’re totally fine. Even when your feelings of love or lust feel totally crazy and new, you’re still you and you’re still okay. It might sound overly simple, but feelings are just feelings and we can’t control how we feel, only how we behave. It doesn’t matter how strongly you might want to connect to somebody or get their attention, you don’t have the right to demand attention or even attraction. That means no groping, obvious staring or catcalling, and I hope you’ll stand up against people who do these things to others.

And despite what a lot of people are going to tell you, love and sex aren’t necessarily entwined. They can be, and that is often the most fulfilling way to experience sex for a lot of people, but the key to healthy sexuality is being honest, open, and safe with your partner… and yourself.

Lust and desire are awesome, and eventually it all starts to make sense. Dad and I are here to talk about what you’re going through, if you want. We won’t judge or think you’re weird. It’s a new and weird time, but it’s also totally normal.

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Why Do We Murder the Beautiful Friendships of Boys?

Why Do We Murder the Beautiful Friendships of Boys?

murder

 An epidemic of loneliness is killing millions of American men. Here’s why.

On a cold February night a few weeks ago, Professor and researcher Niobe Way presented findings from her book Deep Secrets here in New York. (Her book is available on Amazon.) She was hosted by Partnership With Children, a groundbreaking organization doing powerful interventions with at risk children in the New York’s Public Schools. Both Way and Partnership With Children’s work have produced reams of hard statistical data proving that emotional support directly impacts every metric of academic performance. And, as it turns out, every other part of our lives as well.

That night, as my wife Saliha and I made our way down the snow-blown streets towards Fifth Avenue, I was feeling the somber weight of the third month of dark Northeast winter, wondering how many days remained until Spring would come. “It’s February. Don’t kid yourself,” the answer came back. My charming and lovely wife was to take me to dinner after Way’s presentation. It was my birthday.

Deep SecretsNiobe Way is Professor of Applied Psychology at New York University and director of the Ph.D. program in Developmental Psychology. A number of years ago, she started asking teenage boys what their closest friendships meant to them and documenting what they had to say.

This particular question turns out to be an issue of life or death for American men.

When it comes to what is happening emotionally with boys and men, we confuse what we expect of them with what they actually feel…And given enough time, they do so as well.

Before Way, no one would have thought to ask boys what is happening in their closest friendships because we assumed we already knew. In fact, when it comes to what is happening emotionally with boys or men, we confuse what we expect of them with what they actually feel. And given enough time, they do so as well.

This surprisingly simple line of inquiry, once engaged, can open a Pandora’s box of self-reflection for men. After a lifetime of being told how men “typically” experience feeling and emotion, the answer to the question “what do my closest friends mean to me” is lost to us.

And here is the proof. In a survey published by the AARP in 2010, we learn that one in three adults aged 45 or older reported being chronically lonely. Just a decade before, only one out of five of us said that. And men are facing the brunt of this epidemic of loneliness. Research shows that between 1999 and 2010 suicide among men, age 50 and over, rose by nearly 50%. The New York Times reports that “the suicide rate for middle-aged men was 27.3 deaths per 100,000, while for women it was 8.1 deaths per 100,000.”

In an article for the New Republic titled The Lethality of Loneliness, Judith Schulevitz writes:

Emotional isolation is ranked as high a risk factor for mortality as smoking. A partial list of the physical diseases thought to be caused by or exacerbated by loneliness would include Alzheimer’s, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and even cancertumors can metastasize faster in lonely people.

Meanwhile, as I sat down to write about Niobe Way’s research today, a tweet by Alain De Botton popped up in my stream:

“An epidemic of loneliness generated by the misguided idea that romantic love is the only solution to loneliness.”

♦◊♦

And there you have it. What Niobe Way illuminates in her book is nothing less than the central source of our culture’s epidemic of male loneliness. Driven by our collective assumption that the friendships of boys are both casual and interchangeable, along with our relentless privileging of romantic love over platonic love, we are driving boys into lives Professor Way describes as “autonomous, emotionally stoic, and isolated.”  What’s more, the traumatic loss of connection for boys Way describes is directly linked to our struggles as men in every aspect of our lives.

Millions of men are experiencing a sense of deep loss that haunts them even though they are engaged in fully realized romantic relationships, marriages and families.

Professor Way’s research shows us that as boys in early adolescence, we express deeply fulfilling emotional connection and love for each other, but by the time we reach adulthood, that sense of connection evaporates. This is a catastrophic loss; a loss we somehow assume men will simply adjust to. They do not. Millions of men are experiencing a sense of deep loss that haunts them even though they are engaged in fully realized romantic relationships, marriages and families.

For men, the voices in Way’s book open a deeply private door to our pasts. In the words of the boys themselves, we experience the heartfelt expression of male emotional intimacy that echoes the sunlit afternoons of our youth. This passionate and loving boy to boy connection occurs across class, race and cultures. It is exclusive to neither white nor black, rich nor poor. It is universal; beautifully evident in the hundreds of interviews that Way conducted. These boys declare freely the love they feel for their closest friends. They use the word love and they are proud to do so.

Consider this quote from a fifteen year old boy named Justin:

[My best friend and I] love each other…that’s it …you have this thing that is deep, so deep, it’s within you, you can’t explain it. It’s just a thing that you know that that person is that person… and that is all that should be important in our friendship…I guess in life, sometimes two people can really, really understand each other and really have a trust, respect, and love for each other. It just happens, it’s human nature.

Way writes:

Set against a culture that perceives boys and men to be “activity oriented,” “emotionally illiterate,” and interested only in independence, these stories seem shocking.  The lone cowboy, the cultural icon of masculinity in the West, suggests that what boys want and need most are opportunities for competition and autonomy.  Yet over 85% of the hundreds of boys we have interviewed throughout adolescence for the past 20 years suggest that their closest friendships — especially those during early and middle adolescence— share the plot of Love Story more than the plot of Lord of the Flies. Boys from different walks of life greatly valued their male friendships and saw them as critical components to their emotional wellbeing, not because their friends were worthy opponents in the competition for manhood, but because they were able to share their thoughts and feelings — their deepest secrets — with these friends.

Yet something happens to boys as they enter late adolescence….As boys enter manhood, they do, in fact, begin to talk less. They start using the phrase “no homo” following any intimate statement about their friends and they begin to say that they don’t have time for their male friendships even though they continue to express strong desires for having such friendships.

In response to a simple question regarding how their friendships have changed since they were a freshman in high school, two boys respond and reveal everything about friendships for boys during adolescence. Justin describes in his senior year how his friendships have changed since he was a freshman:

“I don’t know, maybe, not a lot, but I guess that best friends become close friends. So that’s basically the only thing that changed. It’s like best friends become close friends, close friends become general friends and then general friends become acquaintances. So they just… If there’s distance whether it’s, I don’t know, natural or whatever. You can say that, but it just happens that way.”

Michael says:

“Like my friendship with my best friend is fading, but I’m saying it’s still there but… So I mean, it’s still there ‘cause we still do stuff together, but only once in a while. It’s sad ‘cause he lives only one block away from me and I get to do stuff with him less than I get to do stuff with people who are way further. …It’s like a DJ used his cross fader and started fading it slowly and slowly and now I’m like halfway through the cross fade.”

And then Way takes us through the logical results of this disconnection for boys:

Boys know by late adolescence that their close male friendships, and even their emotional acuity, put them at risk of being labeled “girly,” “immature,” or “gay.” Thus, rather than focusing on who they are, they become obsessed with who they are not — they are not girls, little boys nor, in the case of heterosexual boys, are they gay. In response to a cultural context that links intimacy in male friendships with an age, a sex (female), and a sexuality (gay), these boys “mature” into men who are autonomous, emotionally stoic, and isolated.

The ages of 16 to 19, however, are not only a period of disconnection for the boys in my studies, it is also a period in which the suicide rate for boys in the United States rises dramatically and becomes five times the rate of girls when in early adolescence it is only three times the rate of girls. And it is the developmental period in which many of the school shootings we have read about in the paper have occurred and violence, more generally, among boys occurs. Just as boys during early and middle adolescence predicted, not having friends to share their deepest secrets appears to make them go “wacko.”

In America, men perform masculinity within a narrow set of cultural rules often called the Man Box. Charlie Glickman explains it beautifully here.  One of the central tenants of the man box is the subjugation of women and by extension, all things feminine. Since we Americans hold emotional connection as a female trait, we reject it in our boys, demanding that they “man up” and adopt a strict regimen of emotional independence, even isolation as proof they are real men. Behind the drumbeat message that real men are stoic and detached, is the brutal fist of homophobia, ready to crush any boy who might show too much of the wrong kind of emotions.

“Maybe they’ll think I’m a faggot,” is the paramount fear that is never far from any boy’s mind, be they gay or straight. And so, by late adolescence, boys declare over and over “no homo” following any intimate statement about their friends.

If you want to see the smoking gun, the toxic poison that is leading to the life killing epidemic of loneliness for men, (and by extension, women,) look no further. It’s right there: “no homo.”

Which is why we must fight relentlessly for gay rights and marriage equality. It is a battle for the hearts and souls of our young sons. The sooner being gay is normalized, the sooner we will all be free of the shrill and violent homophobic policing of boys and men. America’s pervasive homophobic anti-feminine policing has forced generations of young men to abandon each other’s support at the crucial moment they enter manhood.

It is a heart rending realization that even as men hunger for real connection in our male relationships, we have been trained away from embracing it. We have been trained to choose surface level relationships, even isolation; sleep-walking through our lives out of fear that we will not be viewed as real men. We keep the loving natures that once came so naturally to us hidden and locked away. This training runs so deep we’re no longer even conscious of it. And we pass this training on, men and women alike, to generation after generation of bright eyed, loving little boys.

Something was uncoiling in me; something cold and bleak had taken root in me long ago and gone to sleep there.

♦◊♦

By the time Professor Way was completing her presentation, I realized I was feeling sick. A queasy nausea roiled up. Something was uncoiling in me; something cold and bleak that had taken root in me long ago and gone to sleep there. As Way read these boys’ words, it woke up. It was baleful moment of mutual recognition. A sense of utter despair came rushing up, vast, deeper than deep. A February moment to end all of them. Spring was never coming back.

And no matter how determined I had been all those years ago to put my grief away, it was here now, a wall of pain so pure and unflinchingly raw, I was shocked to discover that something so huge could fit in the frail confines of a human being. And even now, as I write these words, gingerly reaching out to give witness to that part of me, I am confronted with an dizzying abyss of sadness that stops my breath, leaving me flinching, waiting for the same killing blow to fall again. Over and over and over again.

I never made it to my birthday dinner. Instead, I wept for George, my wife holding me, as we barreled home through the winter darkness on the New York City subway.

♦◊♦

I can still recall his house, the luminous joy it held for me, along with each sidewalk crack, garden edge and tree root that marked, step by childhood step, the block of houses separating us.

When I was seven, my best friend’s name was George. He lived around the corner from me. George was tall and lanky. His elbows always akimbo, his cowlick stellar in its sheer verticality. He had an aquarium. He had a glow-in-the-dark board game. He had the 45 RPM of Hang on Sloopy and he was a Harry Nilsson fan, just like me. I can still recall his house, the luminous joy it held for me, along with each sidewalk crack, garden and tree root that marked, step by childhood step, the block of houses separating us. I still see it in my mind’s eye that way. The way in which a child sees down close to the ground, the twigs and ants and trimmed grass sprawling into distinct green blades.  All part of the frozen seven-year-old’s mosaic that exploded into pieces when my parents’ marriage failed, launching them into the bitter self-immolation that typifies American divorce.

Boxes were packed. Doors closed and locked. We were swept away in a wave of surging dislocation, to another house, other hands, other curbs and sidewalks in another part of town. It was never to be the same. And try as I may, I can not shake the magic of that one lost suburban street.

Although we lived just an hour apart, our parents were not willing to insure that George and I stayed in regular contact. For my mother’s part, perhaps it was just too much. Alongside a wrenching divorce, a new husband and the challenges of putting the past behind her, perhaps, George was just that. To much a thing of the past.

But George and I were granted a yearly reprieve. Once or sometimes twice a year, George and I were allowed a sleepover. George always came to spend the night on my birthday. It was the one gift I asked for. His visit.

We would spend all night sorting and reading mountains of comics books. Drawing super heroes and discussing, page by page, the comic art of Neal Adams, Jack Kirby, Jim Aparo, Bernie Wrightson, Frank Frazetta and all the others. We loved that artwork. Each line and pen stroke. Each page. I recall we were also able to meet at a few comic conventions. Watching Harryhausen films and searching thousands of musty boxes for back issues.

Then one day it ended. My mother simply said, “no more.” I still feel it in my gut. Like a knife so sharp that all I felt was the intense cold of it.

Then one day it ended. My mother simply said, “no more.” I still feel it in my gut. Like a knife so sharp that all I felt was the intense cold of it. Did I ask why? One time? A hundred times? I don’t recall. My mother was never one for questions about her decisions.

To this day, I don’t know what triggered that choice for her, but my guess is she was feeling vaguely uncomfortable. That two boys, by then around eleven years old, should be moving on to things more productive than comic books and sleep overs. That this “friendship” should have died of its own lack of oxygen, but, pending that, she could no longer sponsor something so…intense. From her perspective, it was unnaturally so.

How many times have we heard parents say, “Oh, they’ll make new friends.” As if the relationships of children are so shallow and contextual that they can be swapped out like next year’s lunchbox. Whatever kid they are seated by, in whatever random school room is assigned, will do as well as the next.

George and I dutifully gave up our friendship, like boys are expected to do, when some random change demands it of us. We accepted the arcane logic of my mother’s decision and turned away to other relationships more convenient to her purposes.

George and I dutifully gave up our friendship, like boys are expected to do, when some random life change demands it of us. We accepted the arcane logic of my mother’s decision and turned away to other relationships more convenient to her purposes.

I’m sorry to hold her responsible in this way. I would like to leave, somehow, petals of kind recollections trailing along the internet, holding her memory aloft, but I don’t have it in me. Her choices were too dysfunctional, too emotionally exhausted, too tired, dismissive, numbing, too predictable.

When I was in my early thirties, I ran into George again. He was working for a local newspaper and living in an apartment in Houston. I went and visited him. To my surprise, he happily split up his comic collection, (I had sold mine when I was 16 or so) and gave me half of his huge collection. It was an act of profound generosity and I’m sure I was effusive in my thanks.

Then I ran into George again in my forties. He had married, moved to California and was living South of L.A. near Seal Beach. On a business trip, I spent the night at his house. We fell into our old pattern of reading comic books and drawing while his wife hovered, declaring over and over how great it was that I was visiting. The next day I packed up and went home to New York feeling vaguely disconnected, but happy.

A year and a half later, I boxed up a bunch of new graphic novels and mailed them to George with a note telling him that these were my new favorites.

About six months later his wife called me. She was screaming and weeping, this woman I had only met for a few short hours. George had died.

To this day, I remain shocked. That I didn’t connect more is my first thought. My second is how effusive his wife had been about my visit. So supportive. So happy for “George’s friend” to be there. I was never able to follow up after his death. I don’t even know what killed him, just an illness. Strangely, when I collected my thoughts, I realized I could no longer find a phone number for George’s wife. She had called me on a land line? I don’t remember. Maybe I did call her one more time. A fog of disconnection rises in me about this. Just move on. Just move on.

I recall a single phone call with his mother after his death. (Had she called me?) If I go into my decades old contact list today, I have no entry for George. No address in L. A. No disconnected email address. Nothing.

How is this possible? How did I sleep walk through the chance to reconnect with this friendship? I should have cared. I should have given a damn. Why didn’t I? Because somewhere, somehow, I was convinced that close friendships with boys are too painful? 

Don’t parents understand? Don’t they know that we love each other? That our children’s hearts can be broken so profoundly that we will never rise to a love like that again?

Don’t parents understand? Don’t they know that we love each other? That our children’s hearts can be broken so profoundly that we will never rise to a love like that again?

What boys do, the world had convinced me, was to move on to the next thing. So I did so. We shrug our collective shoulders and suppress the panic of heartbreak and loss. We go numb. We suppress everything. We accept the world as a surface level exercise. Because the love boys feel, that passion we feel for the ones we love is too powerful. It makes grownups nervous.

And we can’t have grownups feeling nervous now can we?

Let’s take a moment to connect the dots. Boys feel fierce love for their best friends ——> Add homophobia, the Man Box, etc. ———-> Boys disassociate from loving best friends ———–> Boys and men become emotionally isolated  ————> Men enter the epidemic of loneliness ————> Men die.

We now have a clear and direct through-line tying rampant homophobia and the Man Box to resulting grief, isolation, and early mortality in heterosexual men.

Sound a little dramatic? Here is the central piece of research data that every man should take to heart.

In a six-year study of 736 middle-aged men, attachment to a single person (almost always a spouse) did NOT lower the risk of heart attack and fatal coronary heart disease, whereas having a strong social support network did. [Source: Kristina Orth-Gomér, Annika Rosengren & Lars Wilhelmsen, “Lack of Social Support and Incidence of Coronary Heart Disease in Middle-Aged Swedish Men,” Psychosomatic Medicine, 55(1993): 37-43.]

♦◊♦

I recall to this day, walking into George’s room when I was ten and him holding out a copy of Jack Kirby’s New Gods. The issue was titled The Death Wish of Terrible Turpin. His joy in sharing that with me, the book thrust out in his hands, is as real to me now as any human moment I can recall. The birth of my son. My dear wife’s tears. Anything.

When I turn my thoughts back to those times with George I feel a glimmer of primal emotional strength glowing in me. Something fierce and unquenched is there. Something I badly need to reconnect to.

When I turn my thoughts to those times with George, I feel a glimmer of primal emotional power glowing in me. Something fierce and unquenched is there. Something I badly need to reconnect to.

Niobe Way has given us a clear and actionable truth about boys and about ourselves as men. We can shrug it off at our peril. But ignoring her truth and the truth of these boys comes with a terrible price. The loss of my friendship with George set a pattern in my life that I am only now, decades later, finally conscious of. I have walked past so many friendships. Sleep walking past men, as I went instead from woman to women, looking for everything I had lost. Looking instead in the realm of the romantic, the sexual. A false lead to a false solution. And in doing so, I have missed so many opportunities to live a fuller life.

Our female or male lovers are not put here to replace the warm platonic love of the hilarious, generous, sympathetic men in our lives. They are put here to celebrate them with us, even as we celebrate our lover’s passionate platonic friends with them. It is a symphony of love, wherein our joy in platonic love is co-amplified by our sexual loves. Both.

Both.

I have told my story several times to the men I know, like I’m telling it here, and in doing so, I’m becoming fierce and awake now.

Since my birthday I have placed some phone calls. I called my friend Michael and I told him I love him. That I value him as one of my closest friends and that I welcome him to call on me for fun or for sorrow. I have told my story several times to other friends, like I’m telling it here, and in doing so, I’m becoming fierce and awake now.

Niobe Way’s work has given me the piece of the puzzle I was never conscious of. That the love I had felt for George and others, Troy, Jack, David, Bruce, and Kyle was right and good and powerful. Could move mountains. That the slow withdrawing of those friendships from my life had not been a killing blow. Not quite. And that I’m back in the game of loving my friends. Fiercely.

So, know it guys. I love you all.

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In the moment of silence I have discovered that I dont exist inspite of phyical persence. sometimes I get a feeling that you are here I am here but where is the moment and when the moment is around one of us are not there. I got strong longing for the hug which would squeeze out all the thing which I bottled in, but another thought creeps in what next may be I would fly like a bird in sky. when droppings of the bird fall on me I look at it and say thank you for shiting on me at least I was some worth for you which for that moment makes me feel proud. My head gets heavy and hands tremble not that it is the hangover but the helplessness of not being helpful. I usually don’t compare myself with other which because there is not scale to compare even it exist will give it middle figure ovation. When i look at the eyes of the people when they don’t look at me get the feeling how helpless they are constantly looking for some motivation through books, people and hungry for appreciation. Question often pondered do we really need those when recap of it could solve most of the memories. Having backbone and saying no is missing these day with most of them. We work hard so much in pleasing other in turn forget there someone inside us looking for the same which no one can offer but self. I often laugh when some one says you are stupid not because what he said but I feel I am on the right track by staying foolish and underdog.

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