Agent of Change

A Blog by Cory!! Strode, who really should write something interesting here.

Archive for the month “June, 2017”

You know it don’t come easy

I have said over and over in my little essays that my goal is to “Love everybody and make ‘em feel good about themselves.” Michael Des Barres, who I knew little about until I started listening to him on his Underground Garage radio show, states that he is “Your Humbler Servant” which was something I adopted to put words to how I see my life.  I didn’t come to this easily, and for a portion of my life I was embittered, cynical, and felt that I had been given the fuzzy end of the lollypop.

 

I made the change in my thinking, and I am NOT one of those people who believes “the secret” or that positive thoughts bring you positive results. In fact, the world around me hasn’t changed.  I’ve still had to struggle, deal with financial and emotional upheaval, had people in my life who did me wrong and the like.  None of that changed, and the people who say “thinking positively will always make you rich!” are scam artists just as big as the Nigerian Prince who used to e-mail you about helping him get his money transferred to another bank.

The world didn’t change. I still have been laid off 4 times since 1999 when I made the mental change.  I have had a dear friendship dissolve in a painful way.  I have had five relationships with women I loved end.  I have suffered huge financial setbacks, increased anxiety, family tragedies and the like.  What changed was how I saw it.

With people, I assumed positive intent and gave forgiveness, knowing that they did what they thought was a good idea at the time. With employment, I made sure to keep myself learning and got away from thinking that my job is who I am, and instead see it as how I help others.  With family, I realize that things will be good at times and not good at others.  With my own mental health, I realize that I can do what I can to take care of myself and to get help when I need it, same as I would for an infection or a chronic condition.

I wake up every day knowing that my internal weather determines how I see the external circumstances. That everyone is a person with hopes, dreams, fears, desires and needs and while what they do may affect me, it’s all in how I react to that.

I have also seen people whose lives are defined by who and what they hate, and the more I se4e it, the more I realize it’s not my job to oppose them, but to avoid them and not let their anger change how you live your life. I fail at this, and tend to take criticism much more easily than praise, but I’m trying to do better.

I want to live in a world where everyone gets what they want. Even my enemies.  It ain’t easy, but since we’re all we’ve got, we have to help each other.

Much love to friends old and new and I hope that you learn to live a life defined by forgiveness and hope rather than anger and fear. It may not work for everyone, but it works for me.

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Mr. Trump, I am upset as well

I am about to make some people mad, but…sorry, not sorry.

The Trumps have said that their son was upset by seeing Kathy Griffith picture of Trump’s bloody face. I’m sorry he saw that, and you should be a bit more diligent in what you allow your son to see.  As a single father, I took great care as to what media was son was exposed to, which is hard in the days of the internet, but it is possible.

My son is upset that his health care is going to be taken from him. As an asthmatic who works a low wage starter job he enjoys, the ACA has brought down costs for him that he can afford the medication that helps him breathe so that he’s not in and out of the emergency room.  He’s also upset that you’ve rolled back protections for safe water supplies, as he would like to not be subject to pollution and water borne diseases in his drinking water.

He’s also upset that your cavalier sharing of intelligence information has made it easier for the people who want to do us harm economically, internationally and physically to know classified information. He’s also upset that your administration is looking into removing protections for LBGTQ people much like your Vice President attempted to do and that he can be fired if he happens to date someone of the same gender.

He is also upset that you have thrown in with white supremacist hate groups by retweeting their messages and endorsing their statements. You have even appointed people with ties to their organizations into your administration.  He is upset that you only seem to recognize minority terrorism and when white people commit acts of terrorism, you ignore it until days or weeks later, giving the appearance that you only get upset when minorities commit crimes, which is a lifelong pattern with you.

He’s upset with your past business ties to mod bosses like Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno and Paul Castellano, your use of illegal immigrants and the long history of illegal and corrupt business dealings. He’s upset with your lifelong poor treatments of women, including the sexualization of your daughter Ivanka starting when she was 12.

But that’s just MY son. YOUR son is the scion of a President.

I guess only the children of Presidents should be shielded from upset.

However, I’m betting that Obama’s children were upset that you claimed their father was not an American citizen. That your detectives in Hawaii had found blockbuster evidence that we are still waiting for to their day.  That their father was such a poor President that America will never elect another African American.  That you are trying to destroy everything he did in office, that you lie about your accomplishments to diminish and delegitimize him.

Then again, your son may also be upset in how you treat his mother, ignoring her at events, berating her while cameras are running, mocking her looks after she gave birth to him, your sexual advances on other women while you were married to her and other ways you show that she is just another of your possessions.

What Kathy Griffith did was failed art and in poor taste, but I think stating that your son was upset by it doesn’t hold a lot of water for me. That’s on me.

Guess I have a long way to go before I am as empathic and caring as you are.

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Perfect Moments

I am amazingly sentimental, and when it comes to anniversaries, I tend to obsess. I realized this week that 30 years ago I finished college, moved to Minnesota and started my jobs at a juvenile justice group home that doesn’t exist anymore and a comic shop that doesn’t exist anymore.

I am going to record a podcast about that shift soon (and it’s along the lines of the song “That’s how I got to Memphis” if The Newsroom gave you a deep, abiding love of that one). But one thing I remember was a day when I was all done with college, had finished up my college jobs (they were for students only) and was sharing a house with a woman I was in love with.

It was a cool early summer morning, the radio was playing, and we had had a light breakfast, and we just sitting around, reading and enjoying each other’s company. I stopped what I was doing and said, “We need to treasure this.  All is right in our lives, things are peaceful and relaxed.  This is a perfect moment.  Soon, we’ll have to worry about jobs and money and other things, but for now, everything is where it should be.”  I was right.  In the years since, those “perfect moments” have been few and far between, but they are to be treasured:

-Watching Batman Returns with my son at the drive in as a Thunderstorm slowly moved toward us

-A warm evening on the patio at Uncommon Ground where I was reading, a couple of people were working out a new song on a guitar, and people walked by on their way to their Friday night activities

-Reading the New York Times with Gene Colan before a comic convention stared for the day and talking movies

-Shooting pool with a woman I loved the day she moved in with me

–Nights on my deck, reading comics with a cold beverage as the sun went down

-Watching the X-Files cuddled together on a couch and talking about the future during the commercials.

-A road trip with music playing and singing along to the music.

-A long conversation with a future friend at a coffee house

-Having a conversation while wandering the streets of St Paul through twilight

-Sitting on the banks of the river in Stillwater after going through antique stores

-Driving a drunk woman home as she muttered on and on about how much she loved me

-Taking my son to his first showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show

-The glorious, amazing all night multi-theater horror movie fest on Halloween

Moments where all is right with the world are fleeting, special and should be treasured.

Much love to friends old and new, and what are some of YOUR perfect moments?

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