Find the beauty in the world

Lately, I’ve been posting photos and sharing them with the phrase “Find the beauty in the world” and the subsequent hashtag: #findthebeautyintheworld

My friend Matt posted a comment under one of the photos, saying, “I would support this becoming a continued series.”

I like that idea, and I’ve stuck with it so far. I wanted to take just a moment to talk about the reasoning behind it, though.

Every day, it seems, we are inundated with negativity – whether it be from tragic world events, personal or familial issues, or just negativity from social media overload. It seems like everyone is struggling with something in their lives, no matter how well they hide it. Sometimes things just look really dark. And it can be easy to let it get to you. I know – experience talking.

So rather than get bogged down, I want to be a source of positivity. I want to encourage others. I want to find the beauty in the world. Sometimes it’s not obvious. Sometimes it’s not staring you in the face. Sometimes you actually have to search to find it. But I encourage you to keep searching. And feel free to join in: #findthebeautyintheworld

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Find the beauty in the world #findthebeautyintheworld

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‘Were you just frying like bacon?’

Is that title random enough?

OK, I’ll explain: I was sitting in a bar in Atlanta with Adam Davila (Fall of Adam / The Heavy Children), and some guy laid face-down on the ground and started shaking, then got up as his friends laughed. (More random than the title, right?)

So Adam asks, “Were you just frying like bacon,” to which the guy responded, “Yes! You’d be good at charades!”

Anyway… Back in September 2014, I got to serve as assistant production manager (and extra… look for the trumpet player) for the Four X Productions team as they filmed a short film titled Little Cabbage. It screened this past weekend as part of the Atlanta Film Festival. It turned out great! It’s in the film festival circuit, so if you get a chance to see it, you definitely should. Writer/director Jen West and producer James Martin can be seen in the above photo introducing the film.

There are many things I could write about, but I’m trying to keep this short… although I did have some of the best barbecue ever at a place called “Community BBQ.” The mac and cheese… man.

Also, I want to post a quick follow-up to a previous post, one that was more serious and personal in nature, from earlier this month. (Read it here, if you’re interested.) I received so many positive comments and private messages from people who related or are currently dealing (or have in the past) with the same types of things. First of all, thanks for the messages and comments. Second, be encouraged: there are people who love and care about you. Never forget that.

That brings me to this: I just read this article on LifeHack titled “20 Things to Remember If You Love A Person With Depression.” It’s worth taking a few moments to read.

Find the beauty in the world.

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Find the beauty in the world #findthebeautyintheworld

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Third Man hits Gumptown

Wednesday (a.k.a. tomorrow), the Third Man Rolling Record Store is making a stop in Montgomery at The Record Stop.

It will be there from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. at 516 Coliseum Blvd.

If you were unaware, the Nashville-based Third Man Records was founded by Jack White. According to Wikipedia, the rolling record store made its debut at SXSW in 2011.

Update: More details in this Montgomery Advertiser article.

Confession: I am an emotional hoarder

It’s amazing sometimes, just what level of tragedy or heartbreak it takes to come to a realization that’s been right in front of your eyes for as long as you can remember. At least that’s what it has been for me the first week of March, 2015.

It’s become almost cliche to say, “the first step is admitting you have a problem,” but that is, indeed, the first step, it seems. Admitting it means you’ve come to that realization that probably took years to come to.

For as long as I can remember, at least going back to my early teens, I have struggled with depression. It would come, maybe for a couple of days or so, and then it would leave. I didn’t need to talk to anyone; I just “handled it,” which means I kept it to myself, put on a happy face, and walked out in public like it was a normal day.

From an early age, I began to emotionally isolate myself from others, not in the sense that I didn’t have fun or have friends or go to parties, but to the extent that no matter how close I was to someone, there was never anyone I felt comfortable telling everything to. No matter how good and trustworthy the person was, they couldn’t be as trustworthy as me keeping things to myself.

It was like I was building up these walls all around me and painting a happy “public” face on the outside. And then filling the inside of these walls with my problems, big and small. I slowly became an emotional hoarder.

A close friend of mine actually discussed this with me a few years ago. He said it was like I was always “Business Josh,” whether in public or private. His mother had used the term “guarded.” And it had come up at other times with other people. The thing is, I would hear what they said, I would listen to what they said, but it didn’t click. I understood the words, but I didn’t really understand that it was a problem. This past week, it finally clicked. I finally gained that understanding that yes, this is a problem.

Those walls that were meant to protect me from heartache and pain were really just keeping me isolated from any deeper connections with others. It was counter productive.

Over time, these things have affected how I saw the world. I wanted to be the guy that helped my friends with any problems. I love my friends and want to be there for them. I’ve always said they could call me any time they needed me – 24/7, and I really, genuinely mean it. They would even tell me the same thing, but I knew I would never take them up on that offer. I could handle it myself. Plus, what if I did take them up on it? What if it was 3 a.m. and I really needed to talk to someone? What if I called them and woke them up? How guilty would I feel? How much of a burden would I be to a friend?

So, as logical of a person as I am, I held myself to a different standard (while fully knowing how illogical that is.) I could be there for people, but I couldn’t allow them to be there for me. I could handle it.

Year after year after year of this made it habit. I didn’t even realize I was doing it. There was no active decision to be this way. It was just habit. It was just “me.” It was just how I dealt with things. No big deal. “Yeah, I’m depressed, but it’ll pass. I don’t need to talk. I don’t need to let anyone get close. It’ll be ok.”

Bottom line: I didn’t realize I was pushing people away.

I thought people would be more interested in getting to know the more public version of me – the one that seemed (or at least pretended) to have it all together. The parts of me that were sad or depressed, well, who would want that, right? When I’m that way, I don’t want to be around me, so why would anyone else?

When those times hit, I would get reclusive. I would withdraw. I didn’t want to be social. I didn’t want to be around anyone. I would love to hear from people, but I couldn’t bring myself to actually reach out. Yeah, I’d answer a text, email or message on social media, but I did not feel like initiating a conversation. I felt like I would just bring others down and then get angry with myself for doing it. And if I didn’t magically hear from anyone, I would just assume that everyone was beginning to hate me. Illogical? Yes. But the logical part of me didn’t change the way I felt emotionally.

What started out when I was younger as a couple of days of depression gradually increased over time. In fact, lately, it had increased to weeks. This meant weeks of being more withdrawn from the people who care about me, all while still trying to put on the public happy face.

What I thought was protecting my loved ones from having to deal with me and my issues was actually hurting them instead. I don’t know why it has been so hard to accept that people can genuinely love me, even with the faults, imperfections and – gasp – emotions.

This past week was a long-needed realization, a moment of clarity for me. I have to do something different. I have to admit I have a problem. I have to make changes. I have to reach out. And I did. And it has reinforced something I already knew: I have some great and wonderful friends in my life. I’m extremely lucky for that.

I’m working on being a better person and a better friend. I’m very thankful for the wonderful people in my life, and I want them to know it.

Bands I miss: Longwave

I never got to see this band live, unfortunately, but since I first heard their album The Strangest Things, starting with the opening track “Wake Me When It’s Over,” this became one of my favorite bands and albums.

The album, which came out in 2003, is great start to finish (as is their 2008 release Secrets Are Sinister.) The guitar tone, the vocals, the effects, the arrangements, just… everything.

One of the singles from the album, Tidal Wave, and the lyrics always caught me as well, including this section:

Take me back to the other place
Take me back when I’m alone
I can see all the little things that once could make me whole
I am everything you wanted
I am everything you wanted
I am everything you need
But I can feel it again