Hope – A Personal Story
Boy, we are writing a TON of articles these days!
So what I mean by that is that as of this writing, it’s been less than 48 hours since I got my first ever tattoo. But this won’t post for a few weeks because we just have such a busy schedule. Writing date: 8/20/18; publishing date: 9/7/18. I’m sure by now we have edited together and posted the video of my crybabying my way through the experience, and everyone knows that what I got was a Blue Lantern Corps logo.
What no one knows–literally no one to this point, because I haven’t told anyone until now–is why I got that particular logo.
It’s because I’m a geek who likes DC Comics, Green Lantern, and St. Walker. All right, good night everyone!
No, that’s not it. And I’m stalling because this isn’t something I really want to talk about, but it’s something I feel like I SHOULD talk about. And since I want to be genuine with our fans and let them know I’m a real person behind all this inane wrestling talk and comic book reviews, here it is.
I have never in my life wanted a tattoo. On top of being told they were painful (and they are! So painful!), I am a crazy finicky dude. It was hard to imagine ever finding something that I would want forever. My wife and I essentially change our cats’ names all the time through nicknames and plays on words. I just have a hard time sticking with things. And also, I have gone through various obnoxious hipster phases in my life where I was all “Ew, they’re so stupid and trendy. Only tools get them. Wah wah wah”. Basically I’m a jerk is what it boils down to.
That’s… heh… that’s actually kind of the theme of this article from here on out.
I have… some level of anger management issues. To joke around about it, I usually call it my “rage virus”, but ultimately it’s that I have somewhat severe issues in regards to my temper. At what are essentially minor provocations in my life, I fly off into incredible rages; I don’t deal well with stressors, and I never particularly have. If things are piling up on me or things start pulling me in too many different directions or something absolutely asinine and ridiculous just irritates me, I can fly off into brief, sudden, inconsolable bouts of anger.
Now, the important thing to preface here is that I have not ever and will not ever hurt or been physically violent to another person; it’s just one of those things that you know about yourself as a person. It’s my hard limit. To that point, I’m not even particularly aggressive or rude to people. I don’t know how to put it… I just… won’t. On some level, it’s the amount of control I have always had where I will not take the rage out on another human being because… like I said, it’s just my hard limit. It’s hard to vocalize. It’s never even an option, nor do I want to.
What I will do–and these are both equally as problematic in adult society, if less likely to send me to prison–are physically harm myself or just break inanimate objects. The former is, sadly, usually my attempt at stopping myself from doing the latter. I have broken cell phones, regular telephones, video games, controllers, my car door, and who-can-remember what else in fits of frustration and rage. I go through a ridiculous number of ink pens in a year because they are so easy to snap into pieces. And when I buy pens that are more flexible and less breakable, it’s only a matter of time before they are gnarled and bitten, but it’s nice because they are so damn durable. Occasionally when I buy those, I actually get to see a pen run out of ink. And, like I said, when I have enough “clarity” about my fits to not want to destroy whatever I can get my hands on, I will end up biting my arm or punching myself in the head. That sounds… ha, that sounds like I’m joking. Like it’s hard to take that seriously. Who does that? Me, baby. Me.
For a while I saw… heh. I called her my “crazy person doctor”. That’s not to say that I feel like anyone who sees someone they need to talk about serious mental health issues with is a “crazy person”. That was just my being self-deprecating and coping as best I can by trying to not let it feel real to me. Because there are people with serious depression and mental health issues that keep them from living a whole life, and I was just the asshole sitting around breaking remote controls because I didn’t like the way a sporting event on TV went or biting holes in my arm because I’m flustered at work. It never felt like it was the same thing. She ended up diagnosing me with Intermittent Explosive Disorder which sounds like the kind of thing murders have AND has the same acronym as a literal bomb, so that is awful and scary and fitting all at once. Ultimately, the therapy never felt really useful to me. It was a lot of what seemed like “Well, when you feel yourself getting mad, maybe don’t get mad instead?” Well, yes, that’s great advice, but it also isn’t how it works. Like… if I could COPE, I wouldn’t have trouble COPING, right? If I could just redirect myself by wanting to, I wouldn’t be seeing the person I went to to fix it.
I was also on medication for a while to try to right the ship, but they ended up giving me a seizure, so that was less than ideal. Honestly? I’d probably take “sometimes I get seizures” over “oftentimes I get angry”, but only one of them doesn’t result in my driver’s license being taken away, so… you work with what you got. That’s weird, though, now that I think about it. Like, all things being even and necessary aspects of my life like driving not being in play, if you gave me a pill that could guarantee I’d never get angry again but also that I’d have an unpredictable seizure every 6 months? I would take that pill.
What does any of this have to do with my getting a comic book tattoo, right? I’m getting there!
What it boils down to is that I have a great life. I don’t love my job, but I’m good at it and it has decent perks and it pays well enough. My wife is amazing and fun and supportive and beautiful. I have friends that are important to me. I have this nifty podcast that I absolutely adore working on, and people actually enjoy it. Like, my life is terrific. I am truly happy and content in my life. I have nothing to complain about. And yet… rage virus. Anytime I meet mild resistance in life. So, so often.
Ironically, I’ve somehow also always considered myself a pretty hopeful person, but that actually might just be my confusing laziness for something more flowery. When I’m not caught up in a pressure cooker emotional situation, I am almost the exact opposite of what all I have described above. I’m a very “don’t worry about it; everything will work out. Just think for the best and everything will be fine” kind of guy. That doesn’t seem to jive AT ALL with what I have already just said, but it’s hard to describe. Momentary frustrations begets blinding rage, but long-term concentrated thought and consideration yields a very optimistic outlook. What can I say; humans are complex creatures. For obvious reasons, I like that part of myself better than the rage virus.
Now the thing about the Blue Lantern Corps is that they represent the power of Hope in the DC Comics emotional spectrum. And I do, like I said, feel like a hopeful person, and I want to embrace that part of me more than I ever would the angry part of me. To that end, one of the powers of the blue light of Hope in comics is that it can “cure” Red Lanterns–the lantern corps whose power comes from rage–and wash away their anger and the hate. The Blue Light basically finds those that have been dominated by the Red and takes away their rage. To me, that is incredibly desirable.
So I got this tattoo as a reminder of who I WANT to be instead of who I often AM… in, probably, the dorkiest way possible (comic book logo!). But that’s what we want for people to read comic books, right? We want them to read comics, enjoy them, and come out the other side an improved person for it. Comics are about larger-than-life heroes quashing villainy and leaving the world more perfect than how they found it, and when we read these stories, we wish the people everywhere across the globe would read them with us and think “I do want everything to be better than what it is; I do want a more complete and peaceful world”. So I’m doing my own part to take inspiration from these fantastic stories and apply them to my life, and I hope that in some way, large or small, it makes me a better version of myself. If when I start feel upset, I can remember this symbol on my arm and calm myself by remembering that that’s not who I want to be… that’s something, right?
Hopefully, all WILL be well.