Archive | June 2013

How do you like your legs?

How do you like your legs?

After a couple of heavy posts last week, I thought I would show a bit of a lighter side. Here’s an old song that I still get requests for fairly frequently. It’s a false song, but was inspired by a true event. Enjoy!

The Hairy Legs Song

I’m in love with a girl. I’m in love with a girl who has hairy legs.

I’m in love with a girl. I’m in love with a girl who needs to shave her hairy legs.

 

First time I saw my girl, she was wearing tight blue jeans.

I knew right then that I was hooked.

Next time I saw my girl, she was wearing short-shorts.

I had to take another look.

 

I’m in love with a girl. I’m in love with a girl who has hairy legs.

I’m in love with a girl. I’m in love with a girl who needs to shave her hairy legs.

 

I knew I was in big trouble

when all I could think about was her stubble.

 

I’m in love with a girl. I’m in love with a girl who has hairy legs.

I’m in love with a girl. I’m in love with a girl who needs to shave her hairy legs.

 

One time I asked my girl if she would shave her legs.

She nearly broke- up with me, but she was cool with me.

She compromised. She shaved up to her knee.

 

I’m in love with a girl. I’m in love with a girl who has hairy legs.

I’m in love with a girl. I’m in love with a girl who needs to shave her hairy legs.

 

I think I’ve gotten used to it.

About her hairy legs, I don’t give a shaving cream.

 

I’m in love with a girl. I’m in love with a girl who has hairy legs.

I’m in love with a girl. I’m in love with a girl who needs to shave her hairy legs.

 

I’m in love with a girl. I’m in love with a girl.

I’m in love with a girl. I’m in love with a girl who needs to shave her legs.

 

I’m in love with a hairy legged girl. I’m in love with a hairy legged girl.

I’m in love with a hairy legged girl and I think hair is good.

Is That A Good Time? – Part Two

This is the second half of, “Is That A Good Time?” It is a self-examination written in the metaphor of a hurdle race. It is intended to relate and inspire. If this is your first visit to this blog, I highly recommend viewing the previous post first. Thank you.

The third hurdle – Saying goodbye.

This was the hardest step in the process. In fact, I think this is the hardest thing I have ever done.

The job that I got in the first hurdle had me feeling better physically and I was enjoying the little taste of success I had from the band I started in hurdle two. I wanted more, but there was a lingering feeling of doubt deep inside. The young man that I had been was still there, and he was an asshole. It was like having a freeloader roommate that you didn’t like and he followed you everywhere. The worst part was knowing that that asshole was me. The man I was becoming, no longer wanted to be the young man I had been. It was time to say goodbye to that life.

In part one of this post, when I said that I had quit my job to remodel my house, you may have been wondering how I could afford a house without a job. Well, although the mortgage was in my name, I wasn’t the one making the payments. SHE was. I told you I was an asshole.

I thought I loved her. I was in a dark place and she was the only part of my life that didn’t seem like more effort than it was worth. I was unhappy, but she was the best part of my life during that time. I realized later that what I really loved was just having someone there who didn’t judge me. Unfortunately, no judgment, meant no standard.

I had lived with my girlfriend for roughly five years, the last two in the house we bought together, the last one with me unemployed. We had bought the house with the intent of it being the first step toward our future. We were going to start buying cheap houses and flipping them. This was our first one and we knew it would take a while so we decided to live there while we did it. We were not successful in this endeavor. The failure only added to my depression.

In an attempt to pull myself out of my general unhappiness, I indulged in anything that could help me forget about my malaise, even for a short time. I ate too much, I drank too much, and regrettably, I cheated on my girlfriend several times.

She was nothing but sweet to me. She loved me. She supported me. She would have done anything for me. She did not deserve to have her trust betrayed. I didn’t want to hurt her, but my actions prove that I was more concerned about my own feelings than I was about hers. Is it any surprise that I didn’t want to be that guy anymore? She knew I had cheated, but she didn’t leave me. She was willing to work with me.

After gaining some perspective by clearing the first two hurdles, I realized that I now faced an extremely difficult situation. The only way to rid myself of the young man I used to be was to cut ties with that life. Looking at her would only remind me of how terribly I had treated her. With her in my life, I would never be free of the monster that I once was. I would never be happy, which meant she would never be happy.

There I was, about to break the heart of a woman who stood by me and literally supported me through the worst part of my life. No one deserved that heartache less than she did, but there was no other way. Conquering the darkness inside me meant hurting the one person who deserved it the least. I had hurt her several times before, but this was the first time I would be fully aware of what I was doing. Sometimes it takes monstrous actions to defeat a monster.

I took a deep breath and told her it was over. I left to let her pack her things.

Months later, we briefly considered getting back together, but it was just nostalgic longing – nothing real. We haven’t spoken since.

The last I heard, she got a promotion and moved to the other side of the country. I still believe that breaking her heart was the only thing I could do to give us both the best chance at happiness. At least that’s what I tell myself so I can sleep at night.

The fourth hurdle – Swallowed pride and circumstance.

Three hurdles down, I found myself alone in a partially remodeled house that I could no longer afford. Having just ripped the heart out of my biggest supporter, I was beginning to wonder if the monster I was becoming was any better than the one I used to be. Either way, there was no turning back now.

My timing couldn’t have been worse. I needed to unload this house quickly and the housing market had just collapsed. My self-reclamation project had hit a major snag.

The entire point of putting effort back into my life was to become self-reliant. Now, I had boxed myself into a corner that I couldn’t escape without some help. I didn’t want to believe it had come to this. It was hard to rationalize. Wouldn’t accepting help mean that I wasn’t self-reliant? I didn’t have a lot of options. After a few restless nights, I accepted that short-term help could set me up for long-term stability. This would only delay my goal, not derail it.

In reality, there was never any other option, but so much of this journey was about rationalizing and justifying my own decisions to myself.

With a lump in my throat, I picked up the phone, “Hey Dad.”

It was Mom and Dad to the rescue. When you’re nearly 30 years old and on a quest to finally get your life on track, that is a truly humbling experience.

A month later, with my parents’ help, we were able to finish enough of the remodel to get the house on the market. They paid for all the materials, and allowed me to move back in with them until I got back on my feet. I grew very sick of the taste of humble pie.

We eventually sold the house. We took a loss on it, but at least it was over. The last tie to my old life had been cut. I still owe my parents for their help. It is a debt I plan to repay as soon as possible. As of yet that has not been accomplished.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but the ability to accept help was actually a strength and not a weakness. It’s hard for a man to swallow his pride, and somehow, the less he has to be proud of, the harder it is. I’m glad I learned this lesson before I let my situation get even worse.

The fifth hurdle – Applying the lessons.

With the first hurdle, I learned that there is a hidden value in effort. With the second, I learned that skills must be tested in order to draw strength from them. The third hurdle taught me that the right thing to do is often the hardest. The fourth taught me that I don’t have to do it alone. All of these were steps in leaving my past behind. The fifth hurdle was about moving my new life forward.

I was the thirty-year-old guy living in his parents’ basement. This is often the go to description for a loser. I was glad that I had learned humility. Despite my current situation, I was feeling good about my life – not about my past, but about my future.

I had just pulled myself out a perpetual tailspin and it was no easy task. I suddenly felt like I could accomplish more with my life than just working it away at a dead end job. I wanted to put effort into increasing my own value. I wanted to put my abilities to the test. I wanted to do something that I would have felt was too hard before. I wanted to learn from others.

I applied for admission to The University of Utah. I was accepted. Last December I graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in communication. I am now a professional writer.

The Finish Line

The man I am now would not like the young man that I used to be, but I would not be this man had I not been that young man. The hurdles got me out of those dark times and made me who I am today. Now, nothing seems too hard. It’s just a matter of deciding which goal to pursue.

I don’t know exactly what it was that started me on my quest to improve my life. It may have been turning twenty-nine, recognizing that I was about to be thirty and realizing that I remembered when my uncles were in their thirties. In my brain thirty meant adult. It may have been watching The Shawshank Redemption and hearing Andy Defresne say, “Get busy living, or get busy dying.” Whatever it was, it was small enough to forget, but big enough to get me to take my first steps.

Something inside me pushed me out of the blocks and on to the first hurdle. All it took was a spark – like the one that comes out of a starter pistol. Is 8.42 seconds a good time? It’s not great, but at least I didn’t trip over any of the hurdles.

 

I deliberately left out the names in this story because I don’t know if the people being referenced would want their identities known.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I hope this will inspire you to overcome your own hurdles. I don’t anticipate the rest of the posts on this blog to be this heavy, but I wanted you to know a little about me, so you would know who wrote what you’re reading. If you like what you read, please follow my blog, and follow me on twitter, @john_dilley.  Thanks again.

Is That A Good Time? – Part One

Hurdle

I recently found myself watching the conference championships in college track & field. I know many of you probably find track & field boring and hard to watch. It’s definitely not for everybody. For me, however, it’s a window into my past. Years ago, I ran the hurdles in high school and later on at Southern Utah University.  In fact, I still own the eighth fastest time in school history for the SUU men’s indoor 60-meter hurdles at 8.42 seconds. There was a time when I thought that would be the most success I would ever have.

Not long after posting that 8.42, my foolish youth led me into betraying myself. That actually sounds a lot worse than it was. My young adult rebellion was probably the most boring version of the prodigal son you could imagine. Whether you want to call it rebellion or just Peter Pan complex, it consisted of showing defiance by knowing I had great potential, but putting zero energy toward actually accomplishing anything. It was a strange combination of being self-defeating and narcissistic at the same time.

After about seven years with very little effort put into my own life, I found myself out of shape, out of work, out of love, and out of sorts. I also had plenty of “ins” to match those “outs.” I was intoxicated, indifferent, in the wrong, and in denial.

I am not telling you this story to gain sympathy. This is about overcoming obstacles or hurdles, as the case may be. Just like with the 60 meter indoor high hurdles, this story has five barriers that stood between where I was and where I wanted to be. Even as I’m writing this, I am surprised at how much my experience with hurdles must have engrained itself on my psyche and helped me find the drive that eventually pulled me out of my doldrums.

Eventually I realized that squandering my talent and my youth was not proving any kind of point. It was just setting me up for a wasted life. After finally deciding that trying and failing would at the very least be less boring than not trying at all, I started taking steps to improve my situation.

The first hurdle – A reason to get out of bed.

About a year before deciding to try at life, I had quit my job with the intent to remodel my home in preparation to flip it for a profit. I thought working for myself would be enough to push me. It wasn’t. After a full year of unemployment, I had successfully remodeled one room. It was the bathroom. When you only have one bathroom in your house, it’s amazing how fast you finish a remodel once you start it. Aside from that brief burst of motivation caused by nature calling, I barely got out of bed. I did master PlayStation football during that period, but I would easily trade that skill to get some of my time back.

It was a tough pill to swallow, but there, at my lowest point, I realized that I was seriously lacking in the ability to self-motivate. Without somebody holding me accountable, I was squandering my time. I needed expectations. I needed structure. I needed a job.

It took about a month, but I finally found employment. It was warehouse work, but it was exactly what I needed. Not only was it a reason to get out of bed, but it was a physically demanding job. I believe the exercise I was getting from this job went a long way to pull me out of my depression.

The second hurdle – Finding some confidence.

During those seven years of slothful revolt, I had often wondered if I had the chops to be a singer in a rock band, even just a local band. I had spent a lot of time playing guitar and writing “poor me” songs. I had even gone to a few open-mike nights. With my newly found spirit of trying, I decided to give it a real shot.

Because I had no idea how to be in a band, I didn’t want to burden an existing band with my learning curve, so I decided to start my own band where we could all learn together. After placing an ad online, I got a few responses. A couple of auditions later, I found a drummer that had enough similarity in musical taste that we developed a decent groove. After throwing together a few songs, we began booking any show we could get. I invited a few people from work to come see us. One of them happened to be a bass player. After a little encouragement, he began playing with us. The band was off and running.

On a true scale, we weren’t very good, but we weren’t bad. We could definitely hold our own with most of the bands we played with. We were good enough to book local shows and I got the answer I was seeking. I did measure up as a vocalist, at least locally. For someone who just a month or two before was measuring success by whether he could correctly guess the identity of the killer on Law & Order reruns, this was a big step.

That band no longer exists, and I don’t jam with those two guys anymore, but they will always be important to me. They helped me more than they know. Without them, I would have never gained the confidence that helped me with everything I have done since.

(to be continued…)

Check back later this week for part two, the final three hurdles.

Quest-Johns

Image

Cable, Virtual, Cyber, World Wide Web, the transfer from a world without internet into the fast paced world of living online has occurred mostly in my lifetime. I don’t know if I’m too old or too young, but a lot of the time it doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s getting harder to understand what’s real or true anymore. Some things are getting lost because they are hard to translate into pixels. This has led me to many questions about modern life.  This is the first installment of what I hope will be a recurring blog feature.

John’s Questions on Modern Life

What’s that glass box that Superman used to change in?

Will all commercials eventually be “webisodes?”

Is Google search really anything more than a popularity contest?

How many pages deep into the search results does “ironic guy” have to go to make sure that what he is looking for isn’t too trendy?

If the anonymity of an online persona makes you feel free, does that mean it’s closer to the real you than you’d like to admit?

If you eat your lunch before taking a picture of it, does it still make you full?

Do you remember when it wasn’t cool to have a special needs diet?

Are there really that many men who are attracted to ducks?

Why aren’t half the videos on “funny or die,” snuff films featuring the makers of the videos that weren’t funny?

Which contains more actual history, “The History Channel,” or “Epic Rap Battles of History?”

Who knew that the cold war was doing such a good job of limiting the amount of vampires, zombies, and Nazis in our movies?

Is it possible that the rise in bullying is because it’s trendy to be a victim?

Every time Skrillex drops the beat, he eventually picks it back up again, why hasn’t he ever picked up a melody?

Why aren’t rage comics divided into two groups, “funny to teenagers,” and “actually funny?”

Is making things easier making us all a little sloppy?

Do you remember when it wasn’t cool to have a mental health disorder?

Would starving children care if their meals were all organic?

Why hasn’t some store in Beverly Hills cut out the middleman and just started making handbags out of Chihuahuas?

Has anyone else noticed the Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man in the World,” never has anything to do with anything online?

I have no authority, why are you reading this?

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