The Blame Game


Today is my 29th birthday.  I spent the first part of it at an urgent care facility due to a terribly annoying case of bronchitis.  But I’ve obtained an antibiotic now & a breastfeeding-friendly cough syrup, so hopefully I’ll be feeling much better very soon.  Also, I burnt my tongue on a cup of tea on Thursday & it’s still incredibly sore.  Lame.

almost 30

Haha, turning 30 doesn’t actually scare me.

Anyway, I know it’s typical to have rather mixed feelings about turning 29 as it is the last year before hitting the big 3-0, but to be perfectly honest I really couldn’t care less.  I am just thankful to have such a wonderful husband & baby girl (who just turned one last week!) & so many wonderful friends & family.  And aside from this bout of bronchitis I am grateful for good health.  When I worked in the hospital before Rachel was born, I took care of patients younger than I am who ended up dying.  So I really try to keep that in mind & realize what a privilege it is to have the opportunity to grow “old.”  Besides, I’ve been “old at heart” for years now anyway!

On that note, today’s post might make me seem like a really crotchety old lady.  But I don’t care because I think this topic needs to be discussed.  self-responsibility-ownership

So yesterday it came to my attention that Rob Gronkowski, commonly referred to as Gronk, of the New England Patriots committed what basically everyone agrees was a really dirty hit on a player from the Buffalo Bills.  That unfortunate player is now under observation for a concussion.  What’s really crazy about this whole scenario is that Gronk was not suspended from the game for his misbehavior, & as of this writing he has not yet received any punishment from the NFL.  Naturally Gronk has come out & blithely apologized for this hit, trying to say he was just acting out his frustration. gronk

But here’s the thing: an apology isn’t enough!  Gronk is a grown man (just shy of four months younger than I am, in fact) & he gets paid millions of dollars to play a game for a living.  Admittedly I have no idea what it’s like to be play professional football or to be a veritable barrel of testosterone as Gronk surely is, but nonetheless I don’t think there is any good excuse for willfully hurting another player the way he did, no matter how frustrated one is.

But the truth is it won’t shock me at all if Gronk receives no real punishment for his behavior because it seems that nowadays anyone can get away with anything.  I mean, just last week an illegal immigrant who has been deported multiple times was declared not guilty of murdering a woman in California when it seems pretty clear he was guilty of manslaughter at the very least.blame society

What I’m getting at here is this: our society has come to the conclusion that no one is ever really responsible for anythingIt’s always someone else’s fault.  Your kid didn’t get straight A’s?  Must be the teacher’s fault.  You’re overweight?  Must be the fast food industry’s fault.  You treat your spouse/SO like crap?  Must be your parents’ fault for setting a bad example.  I could go on & on but I’m sure you get the drift.  Is it wise to be aware of the ways in which society influences individuals?  Absolutely.  But the problem with blaming someone or everyone else for our every misdeed is that when everyone is responsible, no one is responsible.  How can we ever expect the world to change for the better if no one ever takes responsibility for their actions?  How can we affect positive change in the world when we’re all busy blaming everyone else for our problems?  The answer is we can’t.self responsibility

I’m reminded of a lamb of god song called Delusion Pandemic off their latest album.  You’ll have to excuse the “profanity” but these lyrics from Randy Blythe are harsh but true & are exactly what I think our world needs to hear right now:

“Now is the moment that everything can change
You are completely responsible for your own life
And no one is coming to save you from yourself
So stop blaming your problems on any or everything else
It does not matter one tiny fucking bit
How unfair you think the world is, it’s only what you do
Right here, right now
Right this fucking instant that matters
It’s your choice to
Sink or swim”

randy blythe

Randy Blythe, lead singer of lamb of god, a metal band based out of my home state of Virginia

Just to be completely candid here, I realize I am far from perfect.  I have plenty of faults (including being a good 20 lbs overweight at the moment) & I am as tempted as anyone to find excuses for them.  But the older I get the more I realize how useless that is.  It’s very easy to live with the comfortable notion that you can’t really change your life because circumstances are beyond your control.  But that’s called stagnation, & I for one am not content with that.  If I want to change my life, it’s up to ME to do it because I’m the only one who truly CAN.  Is that scary?  Yes.  But it’s also incredibly empowering.

The same is true for you.  Stop the blame game.  Get over the victim complex.  And make the most of your life, knowing you & you alone are truly responsible for your actions & the consequences thereof.  If each of us took that mentality, I’m quite sure we would see a great deal of positive change in this world.  tolstoy quote

I’ll end with another empowering song, Do You Really Want It? off of Nothing More’s recent album The Stories We Tell Ourselves.  

You gotta dig up the past to get past this
(Anxious feeling)
You gotta get ripped apart to see why you’re breathing
(To find your reason)
So I can shake these American demons
Ohh, gimme, gimme, gimme

Everybody wants to change the world
But one thing’s clear
No one ever wants to change themselves
That’s the way things are

A Plea for Logic


I’ve got a lot of frustration & angst coursing through my veins right now, so I will forewarn you that today’s post will not be the most optimistic or warm & fuzzy thing you’ll read today.  Nor will it be particularly organized or coherent (at least at times).  But I do promise that it will be inspirational; it’s just that inspiration sometimes has to come in the form of a swift kick in the rear.frustration 1

In case you should find yourself becoming offended at any point while reading this post, please remember the following things:

  1. These are just my opinions, & no one is under any obligation to agree with me.
  2. I write these posts as much to myself as to anyone else.
  3. I really do care about people, & my goal is to inspire others to achieve their fullest potential in life, but I’m slowly becoming more & more aware of the fact that doing so sometimes means being very blunt & risking offending a few folks.

Anyhow, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts & hearing a lot of things lately that just grind my gears to no end.  Everywhere I look I feel like the world is running completely counter to what is logical & sane (at least in my mind).  I like to think of myself as someone who is capable of balancing both logic & emotion to live a fulfilling & enjoyable life; that is certainly one of my greatest goals in life which I seek to pursue daily.  While I learned long ago to stop expecting the world around me to be logical, it still irks me to see how completely illogical so many folks are in our world today.  To be fair, I seriously doubt society in general is any more illogical now than it ever was, but all I know is the world as it is now, so that’s all I can truly address at this time.

logic cartoon

Anyhow, here are some of the things that have been particularly irksome to me lately:

  • College students begging for/demanding free education
    • Ok, I’ll be the first to admit that college tuition has risen drastically in the past few years & is clearly out of control. However, expecting college education to be free is just ludicrous.  Unless you want to pay well over 50% of your income in taxes, expecting to pay zero tuition is just absurd.  There is no such thing as free healthcare or free education anyway.  It’s all paid for in taxes.  Duh!  Is it fair that so many college graduates end up in loads of debt that they can’t afford to pay off because they can’t find a job that pays more than minimum wage?    No!  But life’s not fair, & no one forced you to get that liberal arts degree that you should have known from day one wasn’t worth the paper on which it was printed.  Sorry.  This isn’t the 1950s anymore.  I know when we were kids we were told we’d be sold for life if we just got a college degree, regardless of what the degree was.  That was a lie.  It might have been true 40 or 50 years ago, but it isn’t true now & really hasn’t been for quite some time.  If you aren’t willing to put in the extra years in school to get an advanced degree that actually makes your undergrad years useful, then don’t even bother getting some kind of worthless psych or sociology or women’s studies degree.  Just go to technical school & learn a trade that allows you to actually have a decent career & won’t land you in loads of debt for the rest of your life.  You’ll be far better off in the long run.  Another great way to avoid massive student debt is to work your butt off so you can get a scholarship(s).  You can also strategically apply to schools to which you know you’ll be an outstanding candidate which further increases your odds of obtaining a scholarship.  (P.S. That’s exactly what I did, & it worked.)nothing is free
  • People who either demonize all police officers or worship them all as heroes
    • I don’t see why it’s so difficult to admit that there are plenty of good police officers while there are also plenty of corrupt ones. I think it’s pretty obvious that we do have a problem with police brutality in this country, much of which is directed at minorities.  However, that doesn’t mean I’m going to treat every cop I meet as if he’s some deranged psycho.  Why is it so difficult for people to understand that you can support justice by demanding that police officers be held responsible for the actions they take & prosecuted if they truly act outside the lines of duty without hating all police officers everywhere?  This isn’t a black or white issue, guys.  We need to take each case on a case by case basis, rather than making blanket judgments about all cops everywhere based on one or two sensational cases that wind up in the news.police brutality
  • Our society’s continued acceptance & even promotion of obesity
    • As a nurse I’m continually confronted with the horrible health consequences of obesity, from diabetes to heart disease & so much more, so this is a subject that has a lot of personal value to me. Once again, I don’t see why it’s so difficult for people to understand that I can speak out against obesity without hating or being rude to all obese people I meet.  Would I ever treat an obese patient as somehow less than human just because of their obesity?  Absolutely not.  That should go without saying.  But does that mean I have to support the continued acceptance & even promotion of obesity within our society?  Absolutely not.  While I’ll gladly admit that the average fashion model is scarily skinny & likely unhealthy because of that, I don’t think that means we need to swing the pendulum the other way & demand that current models be replaced with truly plus size models who are easily 50-100 lbs overweight.  I don’t know why moderation is such a difficult concept for Americans (& people in general) to grasp.  To me it seems obvious that men & women can be healthy at various sizes, & some folks are going to be naturally a bit skinnier while others are naturally a bit plumper.  But it all has to be WITHIN REASON.  Trust me, I’m not some paragon of fitness virtue.  I recently got my body fat tested, & it was 26.9%.  That places me squarely within the healthy range for a woman my age, but my goal is to get down to 22%-25% so that I can be even healthier.  I’ve lost 3.5 inches off my waist since August, & my goal is to lose 1-2 more inches in the next few months.  I’m not perfect, but I do hold myself to certain standards, & I take action when I see that I’ve gained a few pounds/inches & don’t look or feel as good as I’d like.  What no one wants to talk about is that no one has ever become obese overnight.  No one has ever gained 50 lbs while they slept!  These things happen gradually.  And, yes, I know that is why some people say it’s so easy not to notice, but that has never made sense to me.  No one goes from a size 8 to a size 14 overnight.  When your clothes get tight or no longer fit & you have to buy new ones, how do you not notice that?  It is always possible that I am just an asshole, but those who know me in real life can attest that my actions speak otherwise . . . My point is I’m really not trying to make anyone feel bad about themselves here.  I’m just trying to be a voice of reason in a world that seems to have lost all sense of logic.  The truth is I really do care about people, & when I see how many of us are quite literally killing ourselves with obesity, I cannot be silent about that.  I want people to be healthy & happy & feel good about themselves.  I certainly don’t expect everyone to be a size 2 or a size 6 or to look like a VS model.  I’m not any of those things myself.  But when I see that 2/3 of Americans are overweight & 1/3 are obese, I know that this is a problem I/we cannot just ignore.

      Graph showing world obesity rates by country.

      We’re lying to ourselves if we say we don’t have a problem.

  • People who stereotype all Muslims as terrorists
    • Since I’m being blunt today, I’ll just say it exactly how I see it. ISIS sucks.  They are a true personification of evil.  HOWEVER, just because a small group of radical Muslims has acted in such astoundingly inhumane ways does not mean that all Muslims everywhere are terrorists or potential terrorists.  Throughout history, horrible injustices have been carried out in the name of every major religion.  Fundamentalists & radicals of all religions can become dangerous terrorists.  It just so happens that at this point in history a lot of them are Islamic.  A thousand years ago, it was a different story.  And a thousand years from now (if we haven’t all killed each other off), it will once again probably be a different story.  The point is we need to stop making assumptions about people based solely on race or religion or any such factor.  As I said earlier about police officers, we need to take each individual on a case by case basis.  I don’t know why that is so hard for some folks to grasp.terrorism
  • People who refuse to accept the consequences of their actions
    • I think this is the bottom line of what really annoys me about so much of modern society. So many people refuse to accept the consequences of their actions.  I know it sucks to admit that you might be to blame for certain bad things that have happened in your life (not all bad things because obviously some things are beyond anyone’s control), but until you accept that, you’re not going to have the power to overcome the obstacles you face.  You’ll constantly be stuck playing the victim.  As one of my favorite high school teachers said, “Life’s not fair.  I’m not nice.  Get used to it.”  It sounds harsh, but it’s true.  Life ISN’T fair.  But there’s nothing to be gained by harping about it forever & ever.  This absolutely does not mean we should not work to repair some of the injustices in the world.  Of course not.  But if there is anything I hope to teach my future children, it’s this: you alone are ultimately responsible for the actions you take & thus you must accept any & all consequences of those actions.  If you have unprotected sex, you might get pregnant or contract an STI.  If you do poorly in school, you won’t get accepted to college.  If you choose a worthless major, you probably won’t get a good job out of college & you’ll end up in debt up to your eyeballs.  If you drink & drive, you might get a DUI & worse yet you might injure or kill yourself or others.  If you try cocaine or heroin or any other such drugs, you will probably get addicted & run your life into the ground.  If you choose to hang out with people who have no life goals & generally make bad decisions, you’ll probably end up doing the same crappy things with your life; you’ll still be responsible for those choices, but both positive & negative influences are real & should not be ignored.  The list goes on & on, but I think you get the point.choices

If there’s anything I hope to convey in this post it’s this: stop blaming others for the mistakes you’ve made or for the bad things that have happened in your life.  Own up to your failures & realize the power that lies within you to improve your own life.  To be clear, there’s nothing to be gained in self-flagellation, for none of is perfect & we’ve all had our fair share of screw-ups.  But until we accept that each of us is ultimately responsible for our own lives, we’ll be forever stuck in the cycle of victimhood & we’ll never reach our full potential.  It’s scary to realize how much power we have over our own lives, but it’s also invigorating & exciting & the best thing any of us can ever do for ourselves.lamb of god

I’ll end this post with a link to a song I found last night that helped inspire this post.  My husband is a big fan of the Richmond, VA-based metal band lamb of god.  Thanks to my husband playing their albums over & over in the car, I’ve slowly started to like some of their music as well.  When I came across this song last night, the lyrics struck such a chord that I felt I must share it with y’all today.  Listen, enjoy, & be inspired.

In case heavy metal isn’t your thing, I’ll share my favorite lyrics below which are spoken towards the end of the song:

“Now is the moment when everything can change

You are completely responsible for your own life

And no one is coming to save you from yourself

So stop blaming your problems on any & everything else

It does not matter one tiny f—ing bit

How unfair you think the world is

It’s only what you do right here, right now,

Right this f—ing instant that matters

It’s your choice to sink or swim”randy blythe prison

(Just for some background, Randy Blythe, the vocalist & lyricist of lamb of god, spent over thirty days in prison in the Czech Republic in 2012 for a crime for which he was eventually found innocent & acquitted.  Despite knowing that he could face up to 10 years in prison, he chose to return to that country to stand trial because he felt that it was his responsibility to do so.  He has also overcome a long history of severe alcoholism.  The point is this is a man who definitely has the right to say these words to us because he has lived them out over & over again.)