When it’s time to be selfish

This summer has been amazing.  It’s been relaxing, exciting and fun, with some small periods of stress sprinkled in the mix.  Two bachelor parties out of state, two stags I helped throw, one wedding including the best man’s speech for my twin bro (yes, I have a twin, and yes, my speech was phenomenal), and to top it off, some serious improvements on myself.  Oh yeah.  BIG TIME improvements. To the naked eye, they may not be as big, but to me, they’ve represented a shift in my viewpoint of what being happy truly means.  And you know what that is, being God damn selfish (sorry Mom I know you hate when I curse). Let me explain.

My entire life I have been a people pleaser.  I am a “go with the flow” type person, super laid back, the type to want to just have good vibes and avoid conflict.  Growing up this turned me into a “Yes man”, always wanting to do the right thing, to never let the other person down, to seek that sense of approval.  I think this view also represents the current state of a majority of people who use social media.  We are always seeking some type of validation for our posts, whether its on our main feed, our stories, whatever the case may be.  I myself also fall into this mix, and throughout my adult life, I’ve restrained from some of the posts I may or may not have put because I was afraid that it wouldn’t get that “approval” I was subconsciously seeking.   I don’t know what finally switched, it could have been a variety of factors, but sometime during the last few months, heck even the last year, I started being selfish.  Selfish with my thoughts.  Selfish with my communication.  Selfish with my time. Selfish with what I would say “Yes” too. Selfish with what I would post. Everything.

Here’s what I started to notice.  Freedom.  Freedom from the people who would take advantage of me. Freedom from my thoughts of any self-doubt.  Freedom from the opinion of others.  Freedom from the forced validation and competition of social media.  I started actually LIVING for me. No fear. No competition. Just doing what was right and best for ME. And in doing this, some of my passions that have been “dormant” or almost “hiding” have started to reemerge.  New passion and career paths have started to motivate me to new goals. I’m excited at everything I plan to accomplish within the next five years.

Heck, even in writing this, I feel back to my true creative self. I started this small blog because one I always wanted to help people, but two, because I LOVE TO FUCKING WRITE (sorry again Mom but the “f” word was needed in that sentence). So here I am again, being selfish in not only this blog post, but in how I’m spending my Sunday afternoon. I’m eating a salad, I’m drinking a seltzer, and I’m sharing my thoughts with the world (or to the 20 people who actually decide to read this), and yes, I couldn’t be happier.

Peace be the journey,

-Derek

(Always have to throw in a movie reference) 🤙

Arm me with ______.

Arm me with a voice.  Arm me with support.  Arm me with books.  Arm me with love.  Arm me with a broader understanding of the countless stressors these kids face in today’s society.  Arm me with politicians who are intelligent enough to realize guns are not the answer.  If arming me with a gun is your solution to the “mass school shootings epidemic” we are now living and teaching in, than you are part of the problem.

What recently transpired in Parkland, Florida was tragic, every mass shooting is.  But the answer politicians are proposing is seriously flawed.  There WAS a trained resource officer who was working on site that day at the school in Florida.  He WAS armed with the weapon that politicians suggest teachers should someday carry.  How that person reacted in that situation however is something that CAN NOT be predicted.  Seventeen people still lost their lives that day.  Who knows if the school resource officer would have been the 18th? That is not for me or us to say.  I will and cannot judge or criticize his actions as I have never been in a position similar to the one he was thrown into on February 14 of last week.  It is solely unfair to him or any of the school resource officers and security personnel across the nation who simply work hard day in and day out to help make our schools better and safer places.  But this is unfortunately a prime example of why arming staff in the Schools CAN NOT be the solution.

Countless reports have come out exclaiming the numerous times that the shooter exhibited “warning signs” prior to committing his heinous act. There were various reports from the schools he’s attended, different write ups from doctors, police reports, social media posts, and even threats that all showed signs of him venturing down a path of unspeakable violence. Even the FBI had a warning about him, and they did NOTHING! Doesn’t that anger you? It makes my damn blood boil. They had all the evidence to prevent this massacre from happening but did nothing to stop it. Or they simply did not take it serious enough but regardless, they could have. They should have been better. They need to be better. Everyone needs to be better. Teachers included.

We need to be better at recognizing the early signs of depression in our students, better at greeting and keeping positive relationships with them, better at teaching empathy and compassion in the classroom, better at working together with counselors and support staff when seeing at risk students. All of it needs to be better! Don’t we see that future lives depend on it?! I don’t need to sit around and wait for the next school shooting to happen to understand that this problem will keep continuing if we keep doing what we have always done! When will our nation’s leaders realize that more emphasis needs to be placed on improving our young students’ mental and social health far more than the current emphasis of receiving specific scores on these outdated standardized tests? All of it needs to change. And it starts from the top.

Arm me with a gun?

Nah,

ARM ME WITH CHANGE.