Stop Playing ‘Victim’

All too often, I see people continue to blame their problems on the world or another external factor. Some of them even have the audacity to think that the world owes them something after the world comes crumbling down on them.

Well, let me be the first to tell you, and hopefully I’m not the first to tell you, that the world owes you nothing. You make or break under your own willpower. Instead of incessantly complaining, “Why me?”, you should be asking yourself, “What can I do to make this situation better? To pick myself up off the ground?”

Those who complain are the ones who keep playing “victim.”  Because they feel uncomfortable with their own anger, they become trapped in a victimized orientation toward life. People who become mired down in feeling victimized tend to view events in their lives as happening to them and feel ineffective and overwhelmed. They also operate on the basic assumption that the world should be fair, which is a child’s way of thinking.

There have been several times in my life where I could’ve just sat there, angry at the world for what it had done to me, given me, and left me in a position leaving me to feel vulnerable. And I’ll admit that there have been a couple times where I’m guilty of doing this.

But if I hadn’t picked myself up off the ground after situations where life had dealt me a bad hand, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today, nor would I be the person I am today.

One of my favorite lyrics is from Shinedown’s “Sound of Madness,” and it goes, “I created the sound of madness / Wrote the book on pain / Somehow I’m still here to explain / That the darkest hour never comes in the night / You can sleep with a gun / When you gonna wake up and fight?” I feel that the song really resonates with me because I know the whole “I’ve been there” mentality, but I will never understand other peoples’ situations no matter how hard I try to put myself in their shoes.

Nothing will ever be right and life will never be perfect. But if you want to live what you would consider a “perfect life,” it’ll never be easy.

I realize that there are some individuals that feel that nobody understands their situation and that they have no hope. Let me tell you, there is always hope, but it’s up to the individual to find the determination to seek their own definition of a “perfect life.”

Stay strong and never, ever give up.


NFL Draft First Round Recap

For the first couple picks of the draft last night, I was only able to watch it on my phone between my legs while at my school’s Danceworks show (which was amazing by the way). I was blown away by a lot of the selections and moves that ultimately spelled out a team’s future for this upcoming season. Here are some of the major events throughout the night that made this first round so special:

  1. The Browns Draft an Army, But Will It Make a Difference?

Hey, at least they didn’t draft another QB… yet. It was obvious that DE Myles Garrett from Texas A&M was going to go first overall. However, their following picks were very surprising because of the big names they selected, trying to bring some life into an already dead team. For their 25th and 29th overall picks, the Browns selected two studs with safety Jabrill Peppers from Michigan and TE David Njoku from Miami. Will these big names help them though? Garrett will be a powerful force coming off the end of the line, but going up against an NFL, possibly all-pro, tackle is way different than embarrassing some far-from-standout offensive lineman. He will be explosive, yes, but he’ll need to prove himself if he wants to be the dominant force that he says he is. Peppers did it all in college, playing nine positions offensively and defensively. If he can help the Browns succeed, then it’s very vital that the Browns strategize their defense, or offense, around him once he finds his groove within the organization.

2. Bears Trade ONE PICK UP to Select Mitchell Trubisky

Instead of me talking about this pick, I’ll let some Bears fans express how they feel about this…

Some Bears fans weren't exactly pumped for their team's selection at No. 2.

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Last night, the Bears, who originally had the third overall pick, traded one pick up in order to take QB Mitchell Trubisky from North Carolina. But why? The Niners didn’t even want him; they were going to select DE Solomon Thomas from Stanford regardless. And to top it off, they traded away multiple 2018 third round draft picks when they could end up needing those later on. After signing QB Mike Glennon to an absurd $15M contract, the Bears seem to really be banking on quarterbacks this season, which is understandable after watching Jay Cutler fall off a cliff these past couple seasons. The Bears surely needed a change, but was this the right approach?

3. Jaguars Add Another Name to Their Backfield with Leonard Fournette

Since I predicted this pick, I won’t dive in too deep with the analysis. The Jaguars need some help in their backfield since T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory don’t seem to be carrying the load. Fournette could surely help, but after a lackluster season, I’m very interested to see how he adjusts to a major NFL role.

4. Can the Panthers Bounce Back After a Shaky Season with McCaffrey?

I think this was the most surprising pick of the night other than Trubisky. I wasn’t expecting McCaffrey to go in this direction, but after taking about 30 seconds last night to reflect and think about it, it totally makes sense. The Panthers needed both a running back and a wide receiver; they got both in one pick. This Stanford stud fits the mold of a running back while also being the right size for a slot receiver. It’s a perfect match. Unless I’m proven wrong this coming season, the Panthers could get back up to an over .500 record like they did two seasons ago.

5. The CFP Champion Lands in Houston

Clemson QB Deshaun Watson, who, three months ago, brought down the Alabama Crimson Tide in the College Football Championship with two seconds left, was selected by the Houston Texans with the 12th overall pick. After giving away Brock Osweiler, who proved to not be worth the $72M they gave him, Houston saw that it was time to invest in a new quarterback that would help them be a major contender in not only their conference, but in the AFC South which, statistically, was the worst division in all of the NFL last year. Watson could definitely make a statement early if he and DeAndre Hopkins feel each other out during summer training and running routes after practice. And by the looks of it, that could happen very early…

6. The Eagles Find Someone to Match Legend Reggie White

There were a lot of fans who were very pleased by this pick when Philadelphia selected Tennessee All-American DE Derek Barnett. With the Volunteers, he broke the university’s career sack record of 32.0, which was formerly held by NFL legend Reggie White, who also played with the Eagles from 1985-92. If this isn’t something that has shades of destiny, I don’t know of anything else that could spell it out better. Many improvements need to be made to the Eagles, especially defensively, and this was a great start.

There are only six more rounds to go, but last night showed some impressive faces landing in spots where they could eventually make a difference. The Patriots won’t have a pick until early in the third round, and the 49ers are still looking to make a change since newly-appointed GM John Lynch took over. I’m very interested to see what else unfolds, especially since Florida State RB Dalvin Cook is still on the board. It’s anyone’s game, but it’s the most exciting time of the month for football.


Why I Don’t Talk Politics

I spent four years in the NJROTC program at my high school and one of the sections of learning we, as student cadets, partook in. One of the most interesting and helpful sections that we learned was etiquette. We’d always dedicate a couple weeks to this section when our annual Military Ball, a huge formal dance much more upscale than your typical high school prom, was right around the corner. Cadets would learn what to do with a formal place setting at the table (always work from the outside in), how to respectively decline an invitation through an RSVP, how to ask a young lady to dance in a gentleman-like manner and escort her to the dance floor. We also learned how to ballroom dance, which was my personal favorite because I got to dance the multi-step Commander’s Waltz two years in a row. However, the most interesting thing that I learned were the three things that should never, EVER be talked about at the table at a formal event: religion, sex, and politics. As I went more in depth into why it’s like this, it influenced me for the future when interacting with other people.

Now while I do try my best to follow politics and the current debates that are going on right now, I just don’t find a purpose in involving myself in political discussions among my friends and other peers. I’d rather much discuss sports and music, dreams and aspirations, anything that won’t lead to a heated argument due to peoples’ different perspectives on how this world should turn. Especially today is why I find myself to be feeling this way. I don’t know if anybody notices this, but if you say that you support Donald Trump, you’d be ridiculed (at least from what I’ve seen and heard). He’s been given offputting names such as “racist”, “bigot”, or “tyrant”; he’s even been compared to Hitler. On the other hand, Hillary is also receiving criticism after her email scandal, causing her to be untrustworthy in the public eye. Maybe she can seem a little egotistical at times because she’s been in Washington for a long time and believes she finally deserves it. Now, am I saying that I support either of these candidates? I’m not about to say because I don’t want my political views to be spread around. I’d rather keep them to myself.

I choose to look at the world of politics in an artistic, humorous perspective; for example, I constantly watch Saturday Night Live. Their cold opens and Weekend Update reports provide me with a short scenario of what’s happening in the world of politics while also giving me a good laugh. I also watch Jimmy Fallon who implements politics into his hilarious monologues on the Tonight Show. Musically, Green Day’s American Idiot is one of my all-time favorite albums. It was inspired by American politics, such as the presidency of George W. Bush and the war in Iraq (examples include “American Idiot” and “Holiday”). Billie Joe Armstrong, the frontman and lyricist for the band, said in an interview that he had expressed dismay at the then-upcoming presidential election in 2004. Confused by the country’s culture war, he noted the way people were divided on Iraq War. These ideas led to one of the most significant albums of the band’s history and during the early 2000’s. For me, this album gave me an artistic, creative approach on how to view politics and how the world is affected by the subject.

In conclusion, do I really care about politics? I truly do, but not enough to talk about it. I’m not the type of person to donate to particular campaigns and put a political bumper sticker on the back of my car signifying who I support. It’s not important and other people don’t need to know that. Come time to vote is where my opinion really matters. For now, I’ll keep it under lock and key.