This Post Has No Pictures

This post doesn’t have any pictures. It won’t have any fancy links, or interesting facts. It doesn’t have formal structure, or much structure at all, really. It’s a minor miracle it groups words into sentences and paragraphs.

There is a reason for it, though. I’m writing this post because I don’t write enough. And it just so happens that things like pictures and links and structure are what stop me most of the time. Writing blog posts reminds me that everything we do is judged and measured.

The reason I write is for impact. I want to give something valuable to people in the form of life advice. Not because I think I’m perfect, or some kind of fucking guru, but because I’ve been deep in the shit and I always manage to climb out. That has to be worth something to all the other people who are deep in shit. Be a fucking light to those in the dark, and all that nonsense.

The problem is, I get caught in HOW to write blogs instead of WHY. I start worrying about search parameters and reach. Which tags will be most valuable to google. It starts to ruin the intention.

Once I start worrying about how my little cogs fit into the internet machine, I get slowed down. I don’t write when I feel it, but when I think I can expand my reach, which is antithetical to the idea of heartfelt expression. Trying to do that shit while I give advice is like patting my head and rubbing my belly.

This is where I get a ways into a post and realize I’ve been rambling without going anywhere.

I think what it all comes down to is that I shouldn’t let details derail my ideas. Sure, I can increase reach by reading how to structure my posts so people react better, but maybe it won’t increase my reach, because it won’t sound like my voice. And if I can’t use my voice to tell my story, will it even come off as authentic enough to make a difference in someone’s life?

I spent so much of my life suicidal and obliterated drunk. There’s entire chunks of my life that are a blur. I’ve felt anxiety that prevented me from completing simple tasks. I used to picture myself as being on a small island, a floating chunk of rock and grass, elevated above and separate from everyone. Humanity sat within one ring, and my little island floated on another. Eternally apart from everyone; never understood and never belonging.

These are feelings, and states of being, and drives that I’ve learned to manage. While I still visit sometimes, I don’t live in those states of mind. When one begins to creep up on me, I can spot it and take precautions to make sure it doesn’t take control.

What the fuck does this have to do with everything else? Well, if I’ve experienced those challenges and hardships in my life, and I’ve learned to crawl out of that hole, then I should be sharing that every chance I get. There’s too many people who need to know they’re not alone.

So I’ll do my best not to let myself get caught in the minutiae of proper blogging techniques, because somebody needs to read this. Maybe it’s you. Maybe you’re reading this right now and you’ve been wrestling with feelings of worthlessness, or a feeling of separateness; like no one can possibly identify with you and what it’s like to be you. I understand, because I’ve been there. It’s a lonely place.

But you’re not alone, and that’s the point. My inability to put out regularly spaced blog posts stems from my own feelings of worthlessness. My desire for perfection, which leads to my inability to complete anything, because if I’m not perfect, then I’m a failure. You’re not alone. I see you.

I see you, and I love you. I think you should know that you deserve love.


If you enjoyed this post and found it helpful, please let me know. If you you know someone this could help, share it with them. My goal is to help you by giving you the information that helps me. If you want to continue the conversation, follow me on Twitter, or join my Facebook group, Unstoppable.

You can’t stop bad things from happening

When I was in my early 30’s, I asked my dad when I would get a break. There had been so much difficulty and so many challenges, that I thought I deserved a break. I wanted a run of good things to happen. Hardship was beating me down.

He told me there is no break.

Not the answer I wanted. No break? No respite? No shelter from the ongoing assault? What the fuck kind of shit answer is that? “Sorry, son. You’re doomed.”

Apparently there was good news in this. Apparently, while bad situations will constantly appear in your life, so do good ones. And if you look hard enough, you can find a silver lining in the bad stuff.

That’s a tough pill to swallow when you’re drowning in debt, or having all of your employees quit, or you’re under imminent threat to your physical safety. When you’re facing these types of situations, it basically feels like you’re cursed. The world is collapsing on you. There is nothing good coming, and no one will save you.

I’ll spare you the shit where I get all posi and say “just switch your mindset!” I know as well as anyone that simply changing your mindset is much easier said than done. Yes, it is the end goal, but it’s not as simple as flicking a light switch. There’s a lot of ongoing work involved.

This is the part where I’m supposed to geek out talking about neuroplasticity, but I’ll spare you that too. Instead, I’ll just say old habits are hard to break. It takes conscious effort, willpower, and repetition to put healthy habits in place. It’s never easy when you start.

That’s the whole trick, though. You have to start. You have to sift through the uncomfortable and downright scary situations and find the good parts, then focus your attention there. Sometimes the good is tough to find, especially early on.

When we think about positive and negative situations, we tend to polarize them. It’s either wonderful or awful. That’s not how it works. It’s more of a sliding scale, with both positive and negative happening simultaneously.

If you’ll notice, “DEAD” is at the far end of negative for me, just past syphilis. That’s because if you didn’t die, then your day wasn’t the worst. Sure, your day might have sucked, but you didn’t die. That sounds like victory to me.

That’s not to undermine or minimize pain and suffering. It’s important that we allow ourselves to experience those feelings, but we also need to maintain perspective. There is always a situation worse than what we’re in.

The truth is, most of our days fall between “found $5” and “cheese slid off pizza.” I know the disappointment of opening a piping hot box of freshly delivered pizza only to discover the cheese piled high to one side. If that’s the worst thing to happen that day, you’re doing fine.

If a day is not the worst possible (dying) then that means there’s a glimmer of good. You need to find that good, and celebrate it. Revel in it. Recognize that something shitty happened, but also that it could have been worse. Bask in the fact that you didn’t die.

This is the essence of positive mindset. Recognize the worst, aim for the best, and understand you’ll probably fall in the middle. There’s always some good with the bad, and it could always be worse. Practice this. Start today. It can be the beginning of amazing things.


If you found any of this useful, or you know someone who would, please share it. My goal is to help people with this information, so I appreciate feedback. If you want to continue talking about mindset and life tips, you can join the conversation on Twitter or my Facebook group, Unstoppable.

It’s never too late to make a change

I used to think I was a man set in his ways. Hell, I still try to pitch that idea when I’m being stubborn about something. The truth is, I’ve made multiple drastic changes in my life. My father showed me that change can happen at any time, and when I was in my early 20’s watching my dad get his degree, I knew it wasn’t just lip service. He had turned his entire life around when he was older than I am today.

Speaking of how old I am today, I just turned 40. That’s me and my kids after I blew out my candles. It’s funny when I thin about it, because at 30, sitting home and eating cake with a bunch of kids wasn’t my idea of a great birthday, and I HAD 3 kids. That speaks to the idea that we can continue to reinvent ourselves and make changes as we age.

When I look back, it seems like I reinvent myself every decade. You can even take that back to childhood, and say that my first reinvention was when I was around 11, and decided I wanted to draw comic books. The second came when I was around 20, and embraced my new role as a tattoo artist. The third was at 30 and I opened my studio, launching my role as business man and entrepreneur. It looks like it’s time for that to happen again.

Now this isn’t overnight change. These are natural progressions as I navigate my situations, clarify my intentions, and commit myself to moving forward. The last 10 years has been total fucking madness most of the time. I waded through chaos for the majority of it, scrambling just to hold onto threads of sanity to keep me going. Through divorce, depression, anxiety, alcoholism, suicidal ideation, marriage, kids, mortgage, life, death, loss…it’s a rollercoaster.

That just fucking life, though. I’m not a special case. This is the same bullshit millions of other people have to go through every single day. I haven’t been given a shit hand. If anything, my life is amazing. We all have to deal with pain and loss, and huge numbers of people have to deal with addiction and mental illness. It could be so much worse, and I should be grateful I even have the opportunity to deal with my struggles. The struggles of others can be so much more difficult by comparison.

The only thing about me that’s special is that I am introspective enough to understand how my own thoughts and actions have brought me to this place. That’s not even that special, either, because that shit can be taught and cultivated in anyone. It’s the entire catalyst of making changes in your life. Without self awareness and reflection, you’re bound to get stuck in those patterns of thought that keep you exactly where you are, in that dead end job or lonely marriage or those friendships that only offer drama. If you can’t look at yourself with introspection and see what’s happening now, yo won’t be able to change what happens later. You’re just blowing in the wind of circumstance.

Which brings the circle right back around to me, and turning 40, and what that means for my own personal growth. I’ve talked a lot about how tattooing doesn’t hold the same fascination that it used to, and how I want to do other things with my life. I’ve also been pretty open about the fact that I don’t know exactly what that means, or how change is going to manifest itself.

All I know is that there’s other things I love. Other things that make me happy, other things I thoroughly enjoy for no reason whatsoever. I’m just going to grab those things and squeeze the fucking life out of them, and hope that I stumble into the satisfaction we all deserve.

For now, that means I’m going to make a lot of art. I’m going to write, vlog, go to thrift stores, hang out with my family, and take midday naps. I’m going to eat delicious things and then feel guilty about it. But most important, above all else, I’m going to use these experiences to help other people.

I don’t know what help looks like from one person to another, but I do know that no matter how different we are, we go through life the same way and experience many of the same things. We feel the same emotions and ask the same questions of ourselves. We wonder “can I even make changes in my life?” We often don’t have an answer.

Lean on each other in support. That’s what I’m here for, if I’m to be completely honest. Hopefully you can see me fuck up and feel like shit, and then maybe you won’t feel like shit when you do. We’re all human. The happiness and contentment isn’t in our destination, it’s in the journey.

All that stuff, and whatever other cliches you’d like to add in, ad infinitum. You get the idea.