Reflections and Expectations: For Better or For Worse

On this edition, I will not be looking back at the month that was. It was largely uneventful with hardly anything worth sharing.

Instead, there’s one thing I can look ahead to in the month of October: Moving to the Bay Area from L.A. on Oct. 11, despite not having a job nor a home lined up yet.

Since the beginning of the year, the Bay Area consistently held better hopes of reviving my moribund career prospects than if I decided to continue living in Southern California. I pursued opportunities up north while living down south, possibly affecting the outcomes of earlier opportunities I was in consideration for. I’m determined to finally change all that in less than two weeks.

I know for certain that the opportunities are there. I’m working with my existing network of contacts in the area in hopes of finding work up there soon. These individuals have proven themselves to be helpful and supportive in many ways and have become some of my greatest advocates.

It is a pretty risky and gutsy decision to make — the latter attribute I credit to my good friend Jessica Lawlor and how she always encourages everyone to #GetGutsy. I’m making this move without the kind of certainty and financial safety net that I enjoyed in previous relocations elsewhere. There’s always the chance this might not work out and it would all be for nothing. However, I’m confident that this is a gamble worth taking for it is the only real choice I have left to find the happiness, stability and security that diminished over the last two and a half years. Oh, I’ll still be in graduate school at San Jose State, thanks to the distance-learning nature of the program.

I hope this all works out. What’s left of any hopes I still possess for my future now rest solely in the Bay Area.

On This Sunday…: Changes

On This Sunday, I’m preparing to make one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made under less-than-ideal circumstances. My new edition of Reflections and Expectations tomorrow will cover what that will be and why it has to be done.

In the meantime, to lighten things up a bit today, here’s a video of a hamster eating tiny hot dogs. Enjoy and have a wonderful week, America.

 

On This Sunday…: About Last Sunday

On This Sunday, thank you.

That’s right. Thanks to you, the reader, for taking the time to read my story last week in response to the recent spate of domestic violence incidents involving NFL players. If you were watching the news this week, I’m sure you’d be shaking your head like I am over how the NFL continues to poorly address this issue. I’ll leave it to others to hold the league and its players more accountable on that matter.

The story I told last week is something that I have always been comfortable sharing, despite its dark subject matter. I believe that sharing stories like this to others is one of the best coping mechanisms to help me recover through such trauma I experienced as a child. I shared my story last week not to bring attention to my own story but rather to add some personal perspective of how this is a real problem that affects real people. That’s what I hope readers took away from all this — domestic violence and child abuse should not be trivialized and should be taken more seriously.

If you know someone who might be a victim of domestic violence or are one, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1 (800) 799-7233. The hotline is open 24/7 and is completely confidential.

If you know someone who might be a victim of child abuse or are one, please visit this link for the contact information in your state.

On This Sunday…: Role Models, Part II

This is an extension of the previous edition of On This Sunday…

ESPN’s Keith Olbermann, with a commentary on Minnesota Vikings reinstating Adrian Peterson and why this is the wrong move.

UPDATE (8:30 a.m. PT Wednesday): The Minnesota Vikings has since reversed course and barred Adrian Peterson from playing for the team until his legal matters are resolved.

On This Sunday…: Role Models

Celebrities. Activists. World leaders. Athletes. These are just some of the many types of people that we look up to as role models — individuals that set exemplary standards for how we should live our lives to make this world a better place to live in.

On This Sunday, we learned that there are some within one of those categories that failed us all — athletes. More specifically, I’m talking about NFL players Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson.

In a nutshell, video surfaced this week of Ray Rice beating his then-fiancee in an elevator at an Atlantic City casino in February while Adrian Peterson is indicted for child abuse charges against his young son.

While I’m not much of a sports fan, I’m sure Rice and Peterson are talented athletes in their own right. They are admired by many football fans young and old, poor and wealthy, black and white among other attributes. There probably are young children that aspire to be just like them someday.

These incidences of domestic violence — which we all know happened with Rice — and child abuse — which is alleged with Peterson — do a great deal of harm to their reputations as the exemplary figures they are supposed to be to young children.

It is heartbreaking to see that these individuals would inflict the kind of physical harm against the very people that they supposedly love — the same harm these players should be protecting their loved ones from by others. Trust is broken. Fear is instilled. Psychological scars emerge. These are the byproducts of abuse by their lovers and parents that should have never happened in the first place.

I know that feeling too. I was physically abused as a child by my father.

I lived with my father for the first 13 years of my life before I entered the foster care system. I remember, as a young child, often fearing that my father will go off on me for any reason just about every day. Sometimes, there was no reason or involved reasons that had nothing to do with me. Often times when such physical abuse occurred, he had been drinking like he did on a near-daily basis. He often promised that he would protect me from others that may try to inflict harm toward me. While no one else ever tried nor did they have any reason to do so, my father was the only person in my life that did the very thing he promised to protect me from.

To this day, he refuses to apologize for hurting me in the most undeserving way imaginable and I don’t expect he ever will. He has betrayed my trust to the point that any potential efforts on his part to show remorse or regret for his actions cannot be taken seriously. I have not had any contact with him since May 2007. Frankly, I prefer to keep it that way for as long as he lives.

A few people in my life since have suggested that just because I believe child abuse is morally and legally wrong that I also oppose corporal punishment such as spanking. One foster parent I lived with even attempted to justify child abuse as a practice by pointing me to a magazine feature story of a Korean pop star who credits the harsh physical punishment she sustained from her parents for becoming successful in life and being the upstanding citizen she supposedly is. Others, including individuals commenting on stories about the two NFL players, suggested that the woman and child were deserving of such abuse due to perceived lack of adequate discipline among children these days or that men are still superior enough to women that they feel entitled to mistreat and degrade women all they want.

All of this upsets me. Child abuse is not the same thing as corporal punishment. If it leaves bruises and cuts on the victims, that’s not corporal punishment. That’s abuse. If a victim bleeds as a result and to any extent, that’s not corporal punishment. That’s abuse. If you’re having crumpled papers being shoved into your mouth — which once happened to me as a child– that’s not corporal punishment. That’s abuse.

Domestic violence and child abuse should not be equated to spanking as it is not the same thing. Abuse toward women and children are illegal, immoral and reprehensible acts that no human being ever deserves to be put through, no matter what the nature or the extent of their alleged misdeeds are. There is absolutely no justification whatsoever for abuse.

If you beat a child or a significant other, you do not love them. Instead, you are the problem. You are the one that needs help and lots of it. Remember that this isn’t all about you. This is about the people that you supposedly love — spouse, fiancee, life partner, significant other, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends among many others. For years, I have personally witnessed what the actions of one man will do to his relationships with family and friends — it sets off a destructive chain reaction that impacts everyone that ever crossed paths with him. Don’t be that person. You’re better than that.

The only thing role models should be hitting is the field for each game, not their loved ones.

On This Sunday…: Tomorrow

On This Sunday, I’m hoping today marks the start of what will be a better week than last.

This past week was one of the worst weeks I have had in recent years. During the course of the week, I have let down people I care about and love the most, encountered more setbacks in getting my career back on track and became emotionally overwhelmed by all of this that I broke down into tears for the first time in 2.5 years. I rarely cry — usually once every few years — and when it happens, it is precipitated by negatively impactful developments, big and small.

All of these recent events have made me question what’s left to be hopeful for in life. This year, so far, also has been a pretty difficult year, personally and professionally. I have experienced tough times before but this appears to be the longest in recent years. I hope to emerge from all of this soon, regaining a sense of stability and hopefulness that diminished since 2012.

I avoid as much as possible to air such negative sentiments on a public space like this. Given writing is my strong suit, I find it to be a better coping mechanism than talking more in-depth about my feelings to people I know — which I rarely do. Not everyone wants to hear about it — neither do I — and I get that. As a personal platform in which I often express my thoughts on a variety of personal and professional topics, I felt this week’s developments warranted special attention to be shared in a blog post. As to whether any of this will truly make me feel better remains to be seen.

Have a wonderful week, America. I hope we all do.

Reflections and Expectations: A Long Summer

Greetings, friends. Hope you’re having a wonderful holiday weekend.

As August comes to a close, let’s look back at the month that was and look ahead to September.

August

Graduate school – On Aug. 4, I started my second semester with the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University.

The current class I’m taking covers the fundamentals of transportation management, serving as a beginner’s course for students pursuing their Master of Science in Transportation Management (MSTM) degrees through the program. Lots of reading and a few written assignments so far. However, I’m off to a cautiously optimistic start.

Labor Day weekend in San Diego – There was an added bonus to this occasion.

On Thursday afternoon, I had a job interview in Downtown San Diego. While I won’t divulge much about where or what it entails, I am still grateful for the opportunity to be considered for an opportunity there, regardless of the eventual decision that I will receive.

After the interview, I stayed put in the area by spending the rest of the weekend with family down here — an increasingly common occurrence on holiday weekends throughout the year within the last year or so. I’m always glad to be down here to spend time in a great part of the state with some pretty wonderful people. There was definitely more to love about this visit in particular.

#EverySimpsonsEver – Yes. I took part in that marathon on FXX although I didn’t watch all episodes that have aired so far. I mainly watched my favorites from earlier seasons of the series — “Marge vs. the Monorail,” “Homie the Clown,” “The Springfield Files,” “Last Exit to Springfield” among others.

The marathon runs through Labor Day although I have since largely stopped watching. I look forward to re-watching older episodes some more later in the year when Simpsons World launches, a site that will stream full episodes of the complete series.

September

  • OC PRSA Luncheon – It’s the only major event that I can highlight for now. I’m on the planning committee for this event. If you’re in the area, register today.

How was your summer? What are you looking forward to this fall? Share your thoughts below. I’d love to hear from you.