Smile. Laugh. Sing.

Smile. Laugh. Sing.

Cry tears of joy, you deserve them.

Let the giggles out, why preserve them?

Why lock them up? Why detain them?

Time to trump stress! Cause some mayhem!

Stretch those lips out as wide as you can.

Let’s see them pearly whites.

Or sunshine yellows…

Hahaha! They’re still alright.

Now bellow my fellow!

Let them know you’ll be here tomorrow.

That sadness won’t keep you feeling hollow.

That you every time you’ll choose joy over sorrow.

That you won’t ever let stress gain control.

That no matter what happens you’ll still:

Smile. Laugh. Sing.

Maybe even cry tears of joy.

 

🙂

Good Pain

From the balls of my feet to the nape of my neck is a low-burning sensation. With each motion (more likely attempted motion) the flames are stoked and burn brightly. My limbs have been rendered near useless. I feel as if my bones have transformed into jelly – my muscle fibres into marshmallow. Sitting up my lower back screams at me, crying tears of sweat for the slowest motion. As I lie down again my calves beg for relief. Just one session of parkour, “just a taster” they said and I feel I’ve had my fill for seven generations. And yet I absolutely loved it. I’m no masochist but I’ve never felt better. Each step takes more effort than the last. At times I feel as though I’m one hundred years older; putting on clothes or getting out of bed feel like impossible tasks. But each time I manage to do something, even the really simple things, the euphoria kicks in. I have gained a greater appreciation for every part of my body – because at long last I now feel every part of that body. Oh it’s pain alright… but it’s so damn good… it’s good pain.

Perhaps I should have listened to myself and one funny brunette I know. Maybe I should frequent the best place for my body, the secret the world would love to hear about; in her own words: “Gym!” 

Or maybe I’ll go back to the parkour session next week. Maybe I’ll shake off the cobwebs in my underused muscles and awaken them with a sweet, sweet dose of good old pain.

No

No. Such a short and simple word yet for some reason I find it very hard to say lately.

“But I say no all the time,” you say. “Why can’t you?”

Well I can. I like to think I’m very good at saying no, maybe even among the best.

Q: “Wanna go…?”

A: “No thanks.”

Q: “Wanna try?”

A: “I’m good.”

Q: “Would you like…?”

A: “I’m perfectly fine but thanks for asking.”

This is how it would go on many an occasion as I relentlessly pursued independence – individuality. Yet I eventually felt shortchanged. I’d been closing doors to opportunities, gifts and friendships because of my affinity to the word ‘no’. My friends and family felt the barrier I was putting up. I was essentially isolating myself. I had to learn to do otherwise. I had to learn to say yes, and like most things I put effort into I learned it really, really well… in this case too well.

Now we’re at the other end of the spectrum. My incessantly saying ‘yes’ has had a detrimental effect recently. It’s taken away my time and has slowly leeches part of my joy. I guess it’s time to take that back by saying what I used to say all the time when asked to do something beyond my means.

No.

The Best Wisdom

You know that bit of wisdom that you get when you ask for advice? When you’re feeling really hurt, mad, annoyed or desperate?

“I need help with this!”

“Could you please just hear me out…”

Then those that were listening have the nerve to give you reasonable advice? They tell you the words you needed to hear, even if you didn’t want to, no – especially when you didn’t want to. In the end you’re frustrated because they leave you empty of that anger.  You wanted to be mad but in the end you’re filled with peace. They shared their wisdom; their reason, when all you wanted was someone to back you up. Those people are definitely on your side.  They are backing you up. Those are the people you should put more effort loving, cherishing and keeping… because that painful advice we just described earlier, is the best wisdom you’ll ever receive.

Nakama, Grow Well

My brother you turn 21 today. I figure as you are the one who introduced me to anime, it would only be fitting if I use your favourite anime character in your message. For your 21st I’ll let Jiraiya do all the talking. Happy birthday bro!

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So to sum it all up. Jiraiya says:

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How you grow is up to you. Grow well.

I Am THAT Guy

I am THAT guy. That wasn’t always the case. I used to be that guy. I started out really petty, for what reason I will never be certain. I craved success and absolutely detested failure, I still do, but my attitude towards obtaining both has changed. Young Joe would pout if he lost. He’d think about it all day and all night and would not be consoled until he either forgot or won at something else. If I’d lost in a competition then whoever would have beaten me couldn’t be my friend. At the same time though, cheating wasn’t something I would take pride in. I remember a race I took part in, in 1st grade. We were meant to race to a building touch it, then return. I remember racing to the building, turning back without touching it, taking first place for the majority of the return sprint and… I still finished 3rd. In the end it wasn’t coming 3rd that hurt – it was doing so after having cheated. I didn’t talk to the boys that beat me, that was the way I was back then.

I liked being top of the class. In 2nd grade I didn’t; I came 7th instead. Who remembers what position they came in 2nd grade? I do, isn’t that odd? Well it’s because it pained me greatly. I went to the prize-giving ceremony and felt like a big helping of poop watching my peers receive prize after prize while I was relegated to just watch and clap. I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t let that happen again. I was beyond jealous and couldn’t even bring myself to applaud the winners.

That was the old me.

After teaching from my lovely parents and role-models as well as a bit of first-hand experience, I shed that skin off. I decided to be THAT guy instead. You know THAT guy? THAT guy who celebrates your victory more than you would. THAT guy who you can always tell your success stories knowing you won’t receive resentment, just encouragement and an supermassive dose of enthusiasm. Part of the transformation was being taught to value the success of others and never to moan when someone one-ups me in anything.

Use the success of others as inspiration, as motivation. Celebrate them as you would celebrate yourself and if possible, find out how they earned that success.

So what if we went in for the same scholarship and you got it and I didn’t? So long as you don’t follow me on the way home saying, “Sorry you didn’t get it,” or “I totally smashed you!” (You probably wouldn’t do that because you’re not a certified prick) I would be glad for you. I would probably want advice on how you edged me and feedback from those that made the decision so that next time I have a greater chance at the scholarship. Of course I would be sad I didn’t win it. I’m bound to be if it’s something that I wanted but I would also be happy that you did. I will strive to congratulate and motivate, “You did fantastic! You deserve it! Keep up the good work! Hopefully next time we’ll both get scholarships.” It’s in my nature now and whether you think it’s cool or not, I’m not getting rid of it.

That’s what I’m all about. Tell me about your victory, it motivates me to pursue my own. You need a hype-man to bounce your excitement off of? I got you! I am THAT guy, I like to say probably even the best THAT guy! If you didn’t know that by now, you probably don’t know me very well.

P.S. You can be THAT guy too. It’s so much more liberating than being that guy.