Archives For friends

ROCK. PAPER. SCISSORS. – Be Together.  Not the same.

1983 was a very transitional time for me, as I was about to enter my first year in middle school as a 6th grader and McDonald’s had just introduced the chicken McNugget.  Yeah, you know those nuggets changed your life too, admit it.  Swatch also released their first watch that year, which I would later overdose on and wear way too many at a time on both arms, but that’s for another 80s story.  One story that always comes to mind though as a new middle schooler is one of my first real experiences with a bully.  I remember him clearly, yet I always forget his name.  What’s funny is that it made no sense why this guy was bullying me and several others, because he was short and to this day is probably the size of Mr. Danny Devito the lovable little actor.  One would think that HE would be the victim of bullying because of his awkward size and I only use the word “awkward” because at that time he was obviously very different from most kids.  He wasn’t technically a dwarf or little person, but was small, stocky, strong, and definitely menacing to me.  For reasons unknown to this day he chose me as a target and would constantly pick at me.  I don’t recall ever having to give him my lunch money but he put a fear in me that eventually led me to share with my older brother, someone who didn’t play around and wasn’t going to allow anyone to mess with me.

My brother is about 4 years older than me and the early 80s were the beginning of many many tough years for him.  A year earlier our dad had died from Cancer so all we had was each other and even as he struggled with his own issues and even though we had brotherly fights ourselves, he was going to do his best to watch over and protect me as needed.  The next day after receiving this news about the bully, he met up with me on the side of the school where I would normally run into this little bully and sure enough he could be seen walking down the sidewalk towards the school gate exit.  He saw me and as he and his friends approached and got closer my brother stepped in front of me and confronted him.  My brother drilled him about his bullying and Mr. Bully was clearly concerned and worried and without any warning or notice, my brother punched him right in the forehead.  This surprised everyone that was surrounding us and within seconds the guy’s forehead swelled up like a baseball.  My brother calmly asked him to leave me alone and from that day forward me and the bully became friends, which lasted all the way through high school.  Turns out he wasn’t so menacing after all and was actually a very nice person.  He just needed a little guidance and punch in the forehead.

I bring up this story because here I am, 44 yrs old, and I thought that bullying and situations like this were reserved for the school yard, yet I see more of this behavior by adults everyday on social media and yes, even in person.  You would think that with age we would mature and handle things differently but I feel like social media has created a world where humans are finding it a lot easier to bully, bash, attack, and beat up on each other with words and images.  More than ever I’ve seen this bad behavior as we approach an election and I’ve seen sides of people that I never thought existed, all in the name of politics.  People are getting angry and wanting to poke people’s eyes out because of differing opinions and views.  Speak against the opposing candidate or appear to be supporting another and you run the risk of being eaten alive or have your limbs torn off.  It’s very sad and it shouldn’t be this way, but it is and all I can do is acknowledge it and ask those in my circle and my readers to do something different and be different.

The video below is one that I saw this past year during the Oscars and I have to give props to the agency that created this, because they delivered a message of unity better than I’ve ever seen. Every one of us is different in many ways yet we are all very much the same.  We all have hands, feet, eyes, a brain (some bigger than others), we have beating hearts and that heart pumps the same blood throughout our veins.  We’re going to have differing opinions and politics, we’re going to like different music, and we’re going to see the world differently, but please don’t allow those differences to cause ugliness or hate.  Don’t allow those differences to attack your brother or sister and hurt one another.  We’re bigger than that and we may have had an excuse for this behavior as kids but we definitely have no excuses as adults.  Learn from one another and accept each other’s differences.

So whether you’re a rock, a wrinkly piece of paper, or those little tiny scissors that they give you in elementary school that don’t cut worth a damn, be nice to one another, love each other, and encourage those around you to do the same.

With lots of love.



In the boxing movie Million Dollar Baby, Clint Eastwood’s new female boxing project named Maggie, played by Hillary Swank, ends up having to face her first opponent with some unknown business man/fight promoter as her manager.  Frankie Dunn, Clint’s character, is hard nosed and only promised Maggie that he would train her and not go any further.

This first fight exposes a few of Maggie’s weaknesses, while Frankie sits in the stands frustrated with some of her fighting mistakes.  In her corner is her “manager” who of course is only interested in making some cash off the fight, not very much concerned about his fighter.  Not being able to take anymore torture, Frankie leaves the stands and ends up on the side of the ring coaching Maggie with swiftness.  In those few minutes Frankie decides to take on the role of manager and by the next round Maggie takes out her opponent.

Maggie wouldn’t have been able to win that first fight, or many after that if she didn’t have good people in her corner coaching and guiding her.  It made all the difference in the world to have Frankie step in and tell her exactly what she needed to do.  Having a corner full of good people is important to every one of us.  There’s no reason for any of us to go through life’s challenges without the help of friends, family, and people that truly care about us.

With this said, I ask you this question:  Who’s in your corner?  Who do you have speaking into your life and offering counsel on a daily basis.  Who do you entrust with the important and most valuable parts of your life?  Are they giving good counsel?  Solid counsel?  Unbiased counsel?  Do they have your best interests in mind or do they simply tell you what you want to hear?

There’s really only two kinds of people you want in your corner:  honest people and experienced people.


If you’re going to give permission to people to speak into your life and give you counsel, you want people that are always going to shoot straight with you and not hold back.  Of course we want people to tell us what we’d like to hear, but that really does us no good.  That type of counsel might make us feel good for a little bit, but it’s temporary.

I have several people that know they have permission to be very blunt and honest with me.  They know that they don’t have to take my feelings into account and that I WANT them to be 100% honest with me.  Some call it “tough love”, but why should pure honesty be referred to as “tough”?  Being straight with a friend or family member and not holding anything back is simply love, and it’s only “tough” because most of the time it’s not what we want to hear.

So evaluate your friends and family or your “support systems”.  Make sure they’re shooting straight with you.  If the counsel they give you doesn’t make you uncomfortable, then maybe they’re not giving you honest counsel.  And if you had people in your life that did shoot straight and you removed yourself from them because you didn’t like what you were hearing, bring those people back in.  You need them more than you know.


In addition to having honest people giving us counsel, you want people that know what they’re talking about.  Maggie, the boxer, had an experienced fighter in her corner who taught her everything she needed to know.  All he had to do during a fight was be there in the corner with her, occasionally reminding her of what she had already been taught.

If you’re struggling with something or going through a crisis, why have someone or more than one person in your corner who’s worse off than you?  Yes, it’s good to have people to lean on who have been there or are going through the same thing, but they shouldn’t be the only ones in your corner.  Allow older, wiser people to stand by you.  People that may have been there in the past but succeeded at some point and learned from their mistakes.  People that are full of wisdom and strength that can actually “carry” you.  Allow people that will not only hold you by the hand while you go through your crap, but those that will actually do some hard work and stand behind you and push you from behind to help you get up the mountain.

Be sure that your corner includes experience that resulted in successful results, not just someone or others that went through something similar, yet never really learned from it.  You also want to be careful that there is no bias in your corner, a person that might be bitter or filter everything through hate or dislike, for example someone that may have experienced a bad relationship and now walks around mad at men or women.  This can prove to be poisonous and have nothing to do with experience.

I’m sure we can all agree that this life is not easy and will come with daily challenges.  I’m thankful for the people in my life that are always there ready to not only hold my hand, but also slap me in the back of the head when I’m not seeing clearly.  Take a step back today, wipe your lenses, and make an effort to see more clearly.  Make whatever changes you need to make today so that you fill up your corner with good, solid, honest, and experienced people, and then enjoy a very awesome and maybe even a lazy Sunday.



March 16, 2011 — Leave a comment

Since I created a facebook account over 2 years ago, I’ve reconnected with so many friends and family.  I’ll get a message or friend request from someone I knew some 10 – 15 years ago at least once a month.  Most of the time I accept these new friend requests, unless the person is straight up crazy.  ha.

Well, I received a random message recently from an old friend that was very encouraging.  We don’t know how powerful our words are until someone comes to you later with a message like his.  Here is what he said:

“Hey brotha! I just felt to tell you this, or remind you of something you told me along time ago that has always echoed in my mind. I was attempting that handrail at the original Dex skate park one time and crashed, i got upset and threw my bike from off of me and said, ” i hate this @%!#$@ bike!”, and you were right there and looked to me and said, “it’s not the bike . . . it’s the rider.” I have always took that as this, its not what we are going through, but how we go through it. I have really never kept it in practice, but i have never forgotten that… You may not have meant it that way or you may have, but i took it that way i guess because i knew i was not living right way back then and for a long time after… So i’m just saying thanks for speaking up.”

I’m pretty certain that I was just being Hector when I made that sarcastic statement, but it’s interesting what he got out of it and what it even means to him to this day.  He also has no idea how timely his message to me was.  It was very encouraging and exactly what I needed to hear that day.

We’re all going through something I’m sure.  Some more than others.  How we go through it or who we go through it with is what’s important.  With what has recently happened in Japan, I want to dedicate this post to our Japanese friends.  If we put things in perspective, I’m sure most of us could say that nothing we’re going through right now could compare to what that country is currently dealing with.  Entire villages/towns were wiped away in minutes.  Thousands of families are without homes and many will never find their missing loved ones.  Is one person’s crisis greater than another?  Not sure.  It all comes down to perspective.  Your car broke down and you have no money to fix it?  Ok, sorry about that, but think about the family who had to watch their entire town disappear before their eyes as one giant wave of water picked it up and carried it away.  Makes that car issue sound a little small doesn’t it?

Whatever you’re going through, just remember  “it’s not what we are going through, but how we go through it”.  Perspective.  God.  Friends.  Family.  Your loyal little puppy who licks your face when you’re crying.  The key is to GET THROUGH it.  The Japanese have a word or phrase “Ganbaru”.  It translates to mean “never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever give up!”

Ganbaru everyone.  Ganbaru.

– Hector