I Love Being Single

I have been single for about 9 years. It’s been an interesting near decade of ups and downs that I have tackled on my own. While social, I am naturally an introvert. That means that I have also spent a lot of time really getting to know myself.

During that time, I chose to stay single. I also met a lot of awesome friends and found my career path. In meeting new friends (or seeing old ones), I get asked the same questions all the time. “Why are you still single?” or “I never see you dating anyone.”  I know that it’s always out of a good place in their hearts and they want to see me happy. I really do appreciate the kinds thoughts and love. However, it’s that last part that irks me a bit. My response is usually a bit shocking to some people.

I love being single.

Yes, that is correct. Personally, I am so happy when it’s just me. Yeah sure, I have hung out with a couple of guys here and there, but only for short periods of time. The thought of starting something with someone doesn’t invoke positive or exciting emotions for me. I lean closer to dread and anxiety. People have a really hard time grasping the fact that not everyone wants to be with someone.

The purpose of this post is give visibility to two very large misconceptions about what it means to have a happy and fulfilling life:

1. Being in a relationship

2. Having children

For some people, being in a relationship, or with the “one”, is not an end game goal. For a lot other people, or the same people even, neither is having children. Some of us just don’t want that white picket fence life with 2.5 kids. Personally, I think it would be awesome to have kids, but as a gay man, I’ve prepared myself with the fact that will most likely not happen.

You do not need either one of those to be happy or feel fulfilled! I certainly don’t. I said I would love to have kids, but it isn’t the end of my life if I don’t. That doesn’t make me selfish or an asshole. It just means that my happy is different than other people’s happy. My happiness and fulfillment comes in the form of traveling and writing. It also comes from developing myself and my potential while become self-aware of who I am. It can be really frustrating when I open up to people that I am not interested in dating or relationships and they start giving me that shit of “Oh you just haven’t met him yet” or “You’ll meet him when you’re not looking”. That just takes away from my vision of happiness.

I am not looking because I don’t want it! That shit always makes me feel like people think I am one of those single people frustrated with dating and just “done” with everyone. I am not that. I am not frustrated with dating or relationships. I just don’t want them nor do I partake in them.

To dig a little deeper into who I am, I like the intensity and passion of meeting new people. It’s sustaining or working on that love the following days as a relationship is where I check out. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.  It just isn’t a fun idea to me. It’s dreadful. To those who know me, that really speaks to my adventurer personality. I also like to keep my time to myself.

I am not interested in getting to know someone on that deep of a level, and vice versa.  Some people probably consider me a high-functioning sociopath, but I am okay with that. When it comes to the sex, I do not need to be in a relationship for that. I can meet guys for casual sex (being a gay man has its perks) or just jerk off. I especially love having sex with someone when we are initially attracted to each other. That stage is the hottest. After that I get bored. I don’t like the routine of it all and I like being able to flirt and have crushes on whomever I want.

I want people to understand that I’m happy. I am so happy. I know what I like and what I don’t. This free-spirit life, not being attached to any one person or thing, is who I am. I am not looking for my “other half” because I am not a half. I am a full person. A happy person.

Look, I think relationships are great for people who want to be in them. I respect that a great deal (the good ones, anyway) and I really do hope that those who are on the hunt for love find what they are looking for.  It just isn’t my cup of tea. So please don’t force that shit down my throat. Let me just be.

I make myself happy. I fulfill my own life. I don’t need anything more than that. I’ve found that the greatest love of all comes from learning to love yourself. Actually, Whitney Houston found that. I just believe it.

2017: Getting Shit Done

If you look back through some of my posts from the last year, you would think I was the most miserable son of bitch on the face of the Earth.

Honestly, I felt like it. I felt like the world had kicked me down to the ground and kept stomping the fuck out of me. The past two years were an emotional shit show for me. So many things happened, and at the same time, that I was drowning. Only a few close people know about them. My social media presence remained upbeat because I didn’t want anyone asking questions or knowing.

I am sure if you are reading this that you are probably wondering what happened. For several reasons, I cannot go into them in such a public forum (although some of my previous posts allude to parts of it).

To be quite honest, I don’t want to focus on that nightmare anyway. I want to focus on 2017, the year that I am getting shit done for myself and moving past the vaguely mentioned experiences.

Near the end of 2016, those several shitty experiences all came to an end and set the stage for 2017. The things that were seriously plaguing me were finally over. It was like the winds blowing my sails into the Bermuda Triangle decided to just change direction and take my tiny boat to happier days.

And happier days it has been! I got a fresh start and was able to start over. It was at this point that I started to feel that 2017 was going to be great. I was going to make it awesome!

I changed jobs at work in December 2016 and transitioned into a role, that I absolutely love, as a leadership trainer. I loved training Servicing and also training other trainers in the art of training. But there is just something about training leaders.

Jumping into this new role in 2017 pushed me outside of my comfort zone and made me very vulnerable, but I am experiencing so much growth of my own skills because of it. It feels amazing being able to make an impact on leaders, which will in turn trickle down to their team members (the only time trickle down economics actually works). I am part of a newer team and doing what I can to help build us up. I am so happy right now!

Personally, my mind has let out this loud sigh of relief. The past two years pushed me over the edge and I fell into a pit of mental health issues. I was seriously balls deep in Depression and Anxiety. My ADHD was out in full swing. I had to start seeing a therapist and was prescribed something for the ADHD to get myself together. So many nights were spent on being victim to racing thoughts, fear, sadness, and fear and not on sleep. I became so fixated on the negativity because I couldn’t see any light. Not even a damn glimmer of it. Life has an intense way of reminding us that nothing lasts forever though.

Many of the things I was experiencing have started to dissipate. I forced myself to start focusing on the good things, and if I didn’t feel like there were good things happening, I fucking made them happen. I was going to get shit done this year. The shit that I wanted, and needed, to do for myself. No more reasons or putting myself in situations where I can’t do shit for myself.

Shit to do #1: Traveling

One thing I decided was that I needed to travel. My soul is the traveling type and staying stationary has negative effects on me.

So I went back to New York and visited family. I went there first because it was where I was from and the first time I was able to travel anywhere for quite some time. I love to explore and it really did me good to get out and check out new places and hang out with one of my amazing cousins. I even went to the hospital I was born in to take pictures!

This is me in Central Park:

I also took myself out every single night I was in NYC. I either went alone or I met up with another cousin. I went out, had drinks, and socialized. Words cannot express how doing that made me feel. I could almost hear the sound of the top popping off and all my mental BS exploding out of me.

While I was in New York, my sister (who really loves to travel) talked to my mom and booked us three tickets to Mexico.

New York was amazing…but fuck..going to Mexico from Christmas to New Year’s Eve was FUCKING SUPERB!! We stayed in Playa Del Carmen. We were there for 9 days and we rocked out that trip! It was gorgeous every single day! Even when it rained, it only rained for 20 minutes and then the sun came back out.

While in Mexico, we hit up several (it’s impossible to do all of them) bars/restaurants on the main strip in Playa Del Carmen. We also went to Tulum where we did sightseeing of ancient ruins. We also went to Chichen Itza where we saw the amazing ancient ruins there as well as went snorkeling! I mentally needed these adventures!

This is me sightseeing:

If you are ever in an emotional rut, I HIGHLY recommend traveling to a place like Mexico. The country is gorgeous (from the tourist side of it), the people are so friendly and genuine, and the scenery is a feast for the eyes! It’s that tropical vacation you long for, but also super affordable! I promise, if you are really going through something, do this for yourself.

I have also booked a trip to Denver for April! So I am moving and experiencing life! I cannot wait to get into the mountains and just be outside in a new place!

Shit to do #2: Personal Goals 

When Old Deller, my laptop, died several months ago, I never got around to getting a new computer. No wait..not that I didn’t get around to it..I just wanted a Mac and those are WAY more expensive than a PC.

Not having a computer probably wouldn’t be such a huge deal for some people. However, I like to write these ramblings of a mad man and share them on my blog. If I wanted to continue writing and building myself as a writer/blogger, then I needed to have adequate resources, like a computer. I don’t like to use my work computer for personal business. So I actually splurged on a Mac computer today! This thing is fucking magical!

I’ve always loved writing and I think (know) being lost in so much negativity was taking that away from me. In other words, I was fucking myself because I was letting my dreams just waste away. I just laid there and let everything run me over. I am also tired of starting something and not seeing it through because of shit excuses.

I also want to get into the beard oil business. This year I registered my blog as an online store and even got an Employee Identification Number (EIN)! Awesome! I have some other stuff around that to figure out, but I have it on my Shit I Need to Do Right Now list.

Lastly, I grew up speaking Albanian, but since I never really used it where I grew up, I don’t speak it like I used to. I am working on relearning and practicing it some more.

Shit to do #3: Personal Upgrades

I first got glasses when I was in second grade. I have always worn glasses, until I became a teenager. Then I transitioned to contact lenses. After that, I went back and forth between contacts and glasses. I have always had corrective lenses in my life.

The past few years though, I found myself thinking about LASIK and eventually making it a goal. Well I can say that as of March 2017, that is one goal I turned into reality. I got LASIK! I feel like I accomplished a bucket list item, and it feels amazing! I can see great, and as my eyes heal my vision keeps getting better. I tested at 20/20, possibly 20/15.

Earlier this year I also signed up for Warrior Dash with my friends from work. I have always wanted to do a physical challenge like that. I have been working out a lot and put on some intense weight.

Last week I signed up for a 6 week workout program with a place called Michigan Kettlebells. It’s going to be intense, but so worth it. It will help me cut down some of this fat I gained and tone up my gained muscle. It will also get me ready for Warrior Dash! I also want to play rugby so this will help me with the training and conditioning of my body!

My goal is to look like this guy (or a watered down version) at Warrior Dash! I even paid for the kilt so I can really experience the event:

I am so ready to continue smashing through my goals! So fucking ready! It is really easy to lay down and die when life hands you a large glass of “Fuck you.” I am guilty of that more than I care to admit. Especially when the shit gets piled on! However, like I said earlier..the negative shit is gone! That means I only have positive things to focus on!

Seriously, if I find something negative to focus on at this point, I brought it on myself and I am a fucking lunatic!

 

I am excited to share this because I have seriously never felt happier. So many great things happening that I just need to let the sun shine on my face!

 

The Best Testosterone Booster

I have been looking into testosterone boosters for a while because I always hear different things about them. I was taking TestoFuel but a friend of mine told me that it could/would damage my liver. I came across this article from the folks at Reviews.com and read up on it as well as the different ingredients.
TestoFuel still stands as a solid testosterone booster and I am looking forward to continuing using it!

Turns out there’s no such thing

1-3-2017 3-09-58 PM.jpg Amid a sea of acronyms, ingredients like deer antler velvet and horny goat weed, and sensationalist promises to pump up both your muscles and your sex life, T-boosters can feel as much magic potion as dietary supplement. These over-the-counter pills and powders promise to help increase testosterone production in the body and abracadabra: greater muscle mass and power output, improved athletic performance, and elevated mood and libido.

The big question: Do they actually boost?

Not so much. After poring over the labels; reviewing the scientific research; and consulting with doctors, fitness and nutrition experts, and professors of endocrinology and biochemistry, we were tempted to junk the industry entirely. Tenuous projections of vigor and virility aside, the actual contents of many of these supplements pose some health and safety concerns.

But the reality is: Testosterone boosters are legal, accessible, and in demand. So we set out to weed through the questionable ingredients and false claims to find which formulas are the safest to consume and have the best chance at giving you at least someof the results you’re looking for.

Our Picks for the Best Testosterone Booster

Best Overall

Axis Labs Hypertest XTROur top pick packs a wide variety of vitamins, herbs, and minerals into its bright-orange capsules.

With just over 3 grams of D-aspartic acid (2-3 grams per day is recommended) and a bevy of vitamins, herbs, and minerals, Axis Labs Hypertest XTR is a T-booster with benefits. The biggest of those benefits is ZMA, a patented formula combining efficacious levels of zinc (30 mg), magnesium (450 mg), and vitamin B6 (10.5 mg), which work together to help strengthen the immune system, lower blood pressure, and regulate metabolism. Zinc is the cornerstone of that trio. Deficiencies in zinc, which can result from excessive exercise and sweating, are associated with low testosterone; supplementing with high doses (24–40 mg) has beenshown to bring low testosterone levels back up to normal. (There’s a difference between boosting and restoring, which is what zinc can do. Boosting indicates breaking that testosterone axis, the equilibrium that your body regulates, whereas restoring helps your body regain that axis if you’ve overdone it.)

One serving of Axis Labs Hypertest XTS is spread across six distinctly colored capsules.

Also beneficial, particularly for athletes: The herb ashwagandha can increase muscle strength and aid in recovery, while stinging nettle serves as an anti-inflammatory. An added bonus: While longjack doesn’t boost testosterone, it has been shown to increase libido and aid erectile function, albeit by subjective (read: self-reported) measures.

Runner-Up

TestoFuelLook past the gimmicky name and you’ll find solid ingredients like D-aspartic acid and fenugreek.

If we were judging by name alone, TestoFuel would get nothing more than an eye roll. But it really is packed with good stuff: a mix of 2,300 mg of D-aspartic acid and 100 mg of fenugreek, plus tons of vitamins and minerals. Panax ginseng has immune-boosting and antioxidant properties. Vitamin K2 (the natural form of vitamin K that’s made in the body) regulates blood clotting and improves bone density; that works synergistically with vitamin D (included in TestoFuel as vitamin D3, the natural form of vitamin D that your body synthesizes in the sun), which is also good for bone health. Important to note: As with zinc, deficiency in vitamin D can cause low testosterone, and supplements can help restore it to normal levels.

If you want one full serving of TestoFuel, you’re going to have to swallow the red pill — four of them, actually.

Zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6 all show up in TestoFuel as well — although at 10 mg, the zinc is on the low side. TestoFuel’s inclusion of 100 mg of oyster extract makes up for it: Essentially dried oyster meat in powder form, it’s a powerhouse of nutrients, rich in zinc, vitamin B12, iron, magnesium, and calcium.

Best for Libido

Athletic Edge APE LibidoAPE Libido’s ingredients could improve not only athletic performance, but also, yes, libido.

At $1.33 per serving (as opposed to Hypertest XTR’s $1.50 and TestoFuel’s $2.17 per serving), Athletic Edge APE Libido ekes out the best value of our top picks — and it’s the one most likely to improve libido. In addition to 500 mg of T-boosting fenugreek (the amount recommended to see results), it includes high doses of libido amplifiers maca and longjack.

It may be the least flashy capsule among our top picks, but Athletic Edge APE Libido does manage to pack a full serving into just two pills.

On the “athletic edge” side of things, we’ve got vitamin D3, vitamin B6, and zinc, as well as vitamin B12, which plays a role in regulating metabolism, and folic acid, which can reduce muscle pain.

Other Testosterone Boosters to Consider

Pure DAA and fenugreek — Vitamins and minerals are typically a welcome addition to any fitness supplement, but just like you might prefer taking a wheatgrass shot over mixing it into a smoothie, you might be looking for a pure T-booster to fuel your workout.

Each of these DAA supplements has a serving size around 3 grams, which is on the high side of the recommended effective dose of 2–3 grams. The one pure fenugreek supplement on our list has a serving size of 300 mg — slightly lower than the 500 mg shown to be effective.

Product

Serving Size

Total Servings

Price/Serving

Genomyx D-Aspartic Acid

3.1g (DAA)

60

$0.23

PrimaForce DAA

3 g (DAA)

33

$0.39

4 Dimension Nutrition D-Aspartic Acid

3 g (DAA)

67

$0.24

LiveLong Nutrition D-Aspartic Acid

3 g (DAA)

33

$0.51

Prime Nutrition DAA

3 g (DAA)

100

$0.24

Infinite Labs D-Aspartic Acid

3 g (DAA)

30

$0.42

AI Sports Nutrition D-Aspartic Acid (capsules)

3 g (DAA)

7

$1.02

AI Sports Nutrition D-Aspartic Acid Powder

3 g (DAA)

100

$0.22

AllMax Nutrition D-Aspartic Acid

3.12 g (DAA)

32

$0.48

Infinite Labs Fenugreek

300 mg (Fenugreek)

240

$0.08

The DAA options should be, essentially, the exact same product, so we say shop by value. AI Sports Nutrition D-Aspartic Acid Powder, at $0.22 per serving, is your best bet if you are looking for a powder. Prefer pills? AI Sports Nutrition also offers its D-Aspartic Acid line in capsule form. Keep in mind, though, any results you might get are minimal — and temporary. It’s like when you were a little kid and your mom put you in a booster seat. You seemed taller for a little bit during dinner, but once the booster seat went away, you were right back where you started.

In total, 35 testosterone boosters made it through our cuts — they are safe to use and clinically proven to at least maybe work. They just didn’t have as many of the excellent additional ingredients to push them into our top picks.

Viewing 12 of 35

Product Price Unit DAA Fenugreek Buy Now
360CUT 360TEST $30.99 Capsule Yes No
4 Dimension Nutrition D-Aspartic Acid $15.99 Powder Yes No
AI Sports Nutrition D-Aspartic Acid $7.13 Capsule Yes No
AI Sports Nutrition D-Aspartic Acid Powder $21.99 Powder Yes No
AllMax Nutrition D-Aspartic Acid $15.50 Powder Yes No
Athletic Edge APE Dark Night $36.99 Capsule No Yes
Athletic Edge APE Libido $39.99 Capsule No Yes
Axis Labs Hypertest XTR $44.97 Capsule Yes No
Bodybuilding.com Platinum Series ALPHA PROTOCOL $36.69 Capsule Yes Yes
Dynamik Muscle Warbringer $39.98 Capsule No Yes
ErgoGenix ErgoDrive $29.99 Capsule No Yes
EVLUTION NUTRITION EVLTEST $34.99 Tablet Yes Yes

Load More

Did You Know?

“Low T” is a part of getting older — but it can be a sign of something more serious too.

Testosterone levels are at their highest during puberty and early adulthood, and from age 30 on, they decline by about 1 percent a year. While that gradual decline is a natural part of aging, there are a slew of medical conditions that can cause low testosterone in men of any age. Obesity, diabetes, and prostate cancer are a few culprits. Alcoholism and thyroid disorders can also contribute to low levels.

What’s tricky is that symptoms of low testosterone — ranging from decreased sex drive and lower energy levels to infertility and impotence — are associated with so many different root causes. If your libido is low and you feel tired all the time, you could be suffering from depression. Or your body could be failing to produce sufficient amounts of testosterone (hypogonadism). Or something else entirely! Either way, no amount of boosting will be a cure. Only a blood test can determine your actual levels of testosterone. From there, your doctor can help figure out the right next steps.

There are ways to increase testosterone naturally.

Exerciseinduces temporary boosts in testosterone as quickly as 15 minutes after a workout, although the levels recede to their pre-workout baseline within a few hours. Studies show that when you exercise can make a difference too, as testosterone levels vary throughout the day (they’re highest in the morning, lowest in the afternoon). Resistance-training workouts, specifically, have more of an impact on testosterone when completed in the evening. Overtraining can have the opposite effect: drops in testosterone.

Lowering both mental and physical stress, can reduce the body’s release of cortisol, which has a negative correlation with testosterone (one goes up; the other goes down). High levels of stress are also known to have a negative physiological impact on the body, causing many of the same symptoms as low testosterone, such as decreased energy and libido. Keeping your stress levels in check, and not undersleeping or overtraining, might kill two birds with one stone.

What about steroids?

Anabolic steroids are synthetic versions of testosterone that induce supraphysiological levels of testosterone in the blood — meaning they really do “boost.” They are illegal without a doctor’s prescription, and illegal for a doctor to prescribe to improve athletic performance. While they do increase strength and muscle mass, they also cause a whole mess of puzzling, dangerous side effects. People who take them can become manic and super aggressive (we’ve all heard of “‘roid rage”). Men grow breasts and their testicles shrink. Steroids are also known to increase blood pressure, create tumors, and cause liver disease and heart attacks. In short: stay far, far away.

The Bottom Line

DAA and fenugreek are the only agents that have shown any impact on T levels. Still, if you’re looking for a testosterone boost, you’re likely going to be disappointed — your body is just too good at regulating itself. A combination of zinc and vitamin D, though, can help replenish testosterone when there’s a temporary dip.

Take Action

Best Overall

Axis Labs Hypertest XTROur top pick offers a solid mix of beneficial ingredients, including zinc and magnesium.

Start small. Even if T-boosters seem like a quick way to get to beast mode, managing your stress, getting enough sleep, and not overtraining are the real first steps to improving your athletic performance.

Tell your doctor.Testosterone boosters aren’t regulated by the FDA and are largely unstudied. If you start playing with powders and pills, make sure your doctor is in the loop. They’ll be able to let you know if and when you’re taking any unnecessary health risks.

Top

Freedom Of Speech?

The ignorance of some people is mind blowing.

I guess that’s what happens when you’ve never had to actually fight to have the same rights or to be treated equally as other people. Being treated as a second rate citizen makes you view our country differently.

For example:

1. Women still face inequality (you can even rape them with minimal to no jail time!).

2. Black people have faced oppression/discrimination for hundreds of years and still do so today.

3. Gay people JUST got the right to get married last year. We can still be legally fired for our sexual orientation in many states.

Don’t think the irony of “the land of the free” was lost on any minority group of people standing for the national anthem.

You’ll have to forgive some of us for being upset by inequality. We had just wanted liberty and freedom, like others who already had it. Women just want to be treated equally, receive equal pay, and stop having their bodies dictated by men. Black people want America to stop being racist and forcing them into a caste system, and also for the police to stop killing them. Gay people just always wanted to marry the person they love and stop having America target them and creating “religious freedom” laws that promote hate.

When that national anthem plays, it can cause rather conflicting feelings. On one hand, you feel patriotic. It’s that other hand..when you start to think about that patriotism, but then remember this nation treats you as less equal than some of your counterparts. That part stings. Sure, we could pretend to be patriotic. What does that really accomplish? It is fake patriotism. It is sweeping the current issues listed above under the rug. We do live in a country where we are actually and legally allowed to express our dissatisfaction at the country and government.

It’s also amazing to me that exercising your First Amendment right to express yourself is ridiculed and judged. That’s not how this works. If you don’t understand how freedom works, then you are part of the problem. Yes, you can absolutely disagree with someone who has a different viewpoint than you. Lately, I have seen some disturbing posts from people where they more than disagree, they find this type of expression offensive and think that anyone like Colin Kaepernick should be punished. Why is it better to play along than speak out? Why should someone be punished for speaking out? Because harsh truths are being brought to light? That is exactly what we need!

Telling people to be grateful for what little they’ve been “allowed” to have (by people who never had the right to “give” those scraps) or comparing us to other countries that discriminate even worse is wrong. If a gay Muslim man is murdered by other Muslims for being gay (which happens and is completely fucking vile), do not compare us to that and say “well at least you aren’t being killed.” That is even MORE infuriating because we are supposed to be PAST shit like that! Black, white, gay, straight, Muslim, whatever.. we should all be considered equal and have liberty in the United States. But we don’t, and that is why people choose to kneel down instead of stand for the anthem. We have not done anything to warrant everyone WANTING to stand for the flag.

Lastly, not standing for the flag is not a diss against the veterans who have served this nation. They fought, and gave their lives, for our freedoms. Speaking out against social injustice and protesting peacefully is not an attack on those people. It is living up to the freedoms that those amazing men and women have protected by sacrifice. I think using this as an argument against protesting the national anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance is just a tactic used to guilt people speaking out and to make them look like anti-American monsters.

It is more America to speak out and express yourself than it is to silence those who are trying to change the country for better.

Respect and celebrate other people’s expression of themselves. This is a right.

Coming to terms with ADHD*

Well, it’s finally happened. After years of being that “flighty” friend because of a short attention span and getting myself into all kinds of messes due to lack of impulse control, I have finally started the path of being better.

I’ve always known that I was “different.” I knew that normal people didn’t experience some of the things I was experiencing. I have always struggled with staying focused on any kind of task, especially one that I deemed boring. I also always struggled with completing anything. There are so many things that I have started in my life that I never saw through. I always thought I had ADHD, but I never did anything about it. I put an asterisk on ADHD for a reason. Read on.

If you actually go back through my blog posts, you can see where I picked up new things like music, Krav Maga, school, and nothing ever came of it. Why? I would be into whatever I started 100%, but I would lose interest and move onto the next shiny object. Now I have Krav Maga skills that are going to waste, a piano that collects dust, and music sheets that just sit on my shelf. I love to blog and you can see the gaps between posts that I lose focus with this as well.

As if that was not bad enough, the lack of impulse control tops it. This has been the hugest pain point in my personal and professional life. I just don’t know how to stop myself sometimes. A lot of the time. I get this high and lose all control. I just say and do anything. There have been so many times in my life where I just do something like destroying furniture because I thought about it. The problem is that once the idea has planted in my head, it drives me. It winds me up and controls me. If I try to ignore it, it becomes even worse. It consumes me. I’ve actually felt my body almost spaz from trying to hold it in like it’s about to explode.

Just recently, I was having a really terrible experience at work, and due to the anxiety that it caused me, I impulsively spent over a grand to get a certificate to teach English abroad. I even told my leaders that I was no longer interested in leadership (I had been passed over for leadership which is what really pushed me down the rabbit hole and why I am here) and that I was planning to move to Europe. I just said and did all of that out of impulse.

In my heart of hearts, I think I knew that I wasn’t going anywhere. I was just running on emotion and impulse.

At work, I was put on a verbal action plan because how I say things. Honestly, I had never experienced stuff like that at work because the people I worked with adapted to me. That ended up making me more successful in the end. Now the game is different and I have to conform to other people.

That catapulted my decision to start looking into behavioral health. Whatever this is, it was affecting my job (although that could be debatable). My primary care physician referred me to the behavioral health department. I had to take a self-assessment with a therapist.

My results were interesting, to say the least. I tested very high for ADHD and Anxiety. I also tested for Depression.

Based on everything I experienced in the past 1.5 years, it all made sense. I always knew I had ADHD (although I was surprised to find out that I have the combined ADHD where all three aspects, short attention span, hyperactivity, and impulse control, are high), but the Anxiety and Depression were a surprise at first…until I thought about it. I am a very anxious person and have always been.

Talking with my therapist, I came to the realization that although I’ve always had those mental illnesses, it wasn’t until recently that they were exacerbated to the point where it was beginning to affect my life. Hearing that I have Depression immediately made me think of ways to beat that. I think I let so much bullshit seep into my life that I caused that to happen. No. Fucking. More! That’s changing right quick!

Moving along, so my next step was to see a Physician’s Assistant or Psychiatrist for medication. I finally had my visit yesterday, July 27, 2016. After an hour of talking about myself and my medical/mental history, the PA did something apparently unique.

I guess when someone shows signs of multiple mental illnesses, they always want to treat the Depression first. My PA determined that my Depression and Anxiety were actually due to the ADHD, so she prescribed me Adderall to start setting that right. That actually made me really happy! I do not want to take medicine for all of those things. I don’t think I need it. I want to tackle the Depression through exercise and living a more enjoyable life. I also want to let the stupid bullshit go. I think being able to focus on my work and life without being all over the map will definitely do that. That will also take care of the Anxiety. I fucking hate being anxious. I had this dreadful “leader” who used to cause me anxiety attacks at work. I only had one since we left her dark reign of control!

It’s only been two days, and I am on the lowest dosage of Adderall, but I have already felt a huge improvement! I was able to stay focused yesterday and today! I even managed to write this blog post with only one or two distractions! I think finding techniques to control my impulses coupled with Adderall is going to allow me to finally and really focus on me.

I am interested to see what I actually like to do and if I can follow through on those things.

I know some people think ADHD is a joke, or it isn’t real. Whatever I am experiencing, it is real. It is very real to me. I am glad that I finally started the road to recovery!

Are you struggling with mental illness? You are not alone! You are never alone! I am a friend and I am here for you, to talk or just to listen!

 

 

Fueling New Goals With Dead Ones

Admitting that your goal is dead is pretty tough. Actually, it fucking sucks. I should know because I am experiencing this very situation as I type. For the past three years, I have only had one main goal in my mind. It is one goal that many of us have in our working lives. To advance ahead. To move into a leadership position.

I seriously worked my ass off to prove I could make an awesome leader. I was passionate and determined to meet that goal. I would look at myself in the mirror every day and tell myself that I would be a leader on my team. Despite my passion for what I do and my skill set, things just did not go according to plan.

Something has changed for me, though. The drive, the motivation, the hunger, that all left. Maybe I am tired fighting for scraps at the table? Maybe I am just emotionally drained? I can feel the goal that I had been so passionate about has expired. It’s time for me to throw out this expired goal so I don’t stink up the kitchen.

If you think that this blog post is negative, it’s not. In fact, so much positivity has been born from this goal failure! This entire situation has inspired me to re-think my passion and what I am doing with my life. At my core, I love to teach. I love to help someone change a behavior and give them a skill they were unable to do before. I also really love traveling and completely dislike corporate politics.

Several years ago, I had researched becoming certified as an ESL teacher and traveling abroad in Europe. I didn’t make much money at the time so I couldn’t afford the tuition or taking time off of work. I started looking into it again recently and found that not only could I afford it now, but it was all online so I could just get certified on my own time. So I signed up!

Once I registered for the course, I lit up with excitement and am still stoked! I begin my training on April 11! This feels right. This feels like the thing I am supposed to be doing. No one knows how happy I am at the prospect of living in Europe for who knows how long and teaching English! I want to go to Kosovo, Czech Republic, and Germany.

Don’t get me wrong, I am scared as fuck about this. I have my family, especially my mother, in the US. I also own a home and a car. I definitely have some logistics to figure out. Luckily I have a while before I do anything. My main focus is just getting certified and getting my teaching hours in right now.

I do not believe that things happen for a reason. I do believe, however, that we all have choices to make when we are faced with a situation. I think I found the positivity in this whole thing and may have just catapulted myself to a different type of success more suited to my personality.

Look for more blog posts about my experience getting TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certified and whatever future steps I take with that.

This song is getting me through this so I don’t lose my nerve:

LGBT Documentary “United in Love” – Kosovo

Being a gay Albanian is pretty tough. I should know because I am one! I was the first openly gay Albanian in the Detroit area to come out of the closet. Some people were fucking shitty about it. I know many Albanians said terrible things about me, and some said them to me. However, I am proud to be both Albanian and gay, so no one’s words will deter me from being happy and appreciating both cultures.

Check out my blog post for about my life as an out gay Albanian man: Gay Shqiptar?! What?!

This post is more about raising awareness. There is a group of brave men and women in Kosovo called QESh who are helping spread the word about the LGBT community. They are bringing awareness that the LGBT community exists, that we are just like everyone else, and that we should be treated as equals by our Albanian brothers and sisters. You can check out their Facebook here: QESh.

The problem is Kosovo’s societal view of homosexuality. Between religion and Albanian pride, being gay is severely frowned upon. QESh is doing a great job of letting people know that being is gay is not the evil and horrendous act against humanity and the Albanian culture that people make it out to be.

They created this wonderful documentary to show what it is like being LGBT and living in Kosovo as well as the legal and psychological views of the LGBT community. Interesting enough, the LGBT community is considered protected and equal by the law. Protection against discrimination sexual orientation is specifically listed in the Kosovo Constitution.

I remember what it was like when I first came out. In the 16 years that I have been out, I have personally seen the progress in the Albanian community when it comes our view on homosexuality. They’ve adapted and have become more accepting than ever before. Coming out was tough, but if trailblazing the way for progress was the outcome, then it was worth every nasty word and dirty look.

This tells me that what QESh is doing can and will work. They will help bring the Kosovo Albanian people into the modern age by spreading knowledge and awareness and help build a stronger Albanian community!

Single On Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day. One of the most hated “Hallmark holidays” ever created. Say Valentine’s Day to a single person and you may get some hostility and bitterness. I know from experience that people in the food service industry also loathe it. Seriously, who the fuck goes out to eat on the busiest day of the year next to Mother’s Day? Just stay home and have sex.

Being single, especially on Valentine’s Day, is tough. A lot of us grow up expecting that we are supposed to find “the one,” settle down, and be happy before a certain age. That is the life plan for almost everyone. For those who haven’t found that, Valentine’s Day is a nice reminder of that failure. For some people, it’s some serious business that invokes all kinds of feelings from anger to loneliness.

How can you tell? Just go on social media on Valentine’s Day. Boy, talk about some pissed off people! My Facebook and Twitter feeds were filled with single people sharing their anger with today.

Speaking of being single…

Last night I went to see the movie “How To Be Single” with some friends. It was a really funny movie (Rebel Wilson is in it, hello!) with a powerful message disguised in there. I learned that we are all in relationships from this movie. We are in relationships with our parents, siblings, friends, pets, co-workers, etc. Some of us found their romantic relationship, and some of us are still looking.

I believe the most important relationship you can have is with yourself. Yes, you have to love yourself and be happy with the person you are before you can even begin to make someone else happy! You have to be truly happy with yourself first.

How can you do that? The first thing is to get away from everyone. Take small trips by yourself. Go on vacations. Take a break from all of the relationships you currently have and just enjoy your own self. Oftentimes, we have to play a part or put on a different face for the people in our lives. Find out what your face looks like when it’s just you.

If you feel lonely when you are by yourself, then you may not be in good company. That is where you need to start.

Ask yourself: “Who the fuck am I?” You have to say it just like that. Dig deep and take your time here. Humans are complex beings with a range of emotions and feelings. Finding out who you are, what you like, and what makes you tick, is setting up a strong foundation for yourself to eventually build a relationship on. That relationship could be romantic with someone else, or it could be an enlightening relationship with yourself.

How do I know these things? I have been single for about 7-8 years myself. I’ve been spending this time discovering who I am as as a man and a person, and what I could offer someone if I were in a relationship. I am not the same person I was when I became single. I have grown, challenged myself, and uncovered new things I did not know about myself before. Learning about yourself is painful at times, but the payoff is worth it.

I think the most important thing for us to all remember is: Just because you don’t have the love you want doesn’t mean you aren’t loved.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Testicular Tornado!

Balls. That’s what this blog post is about. If you are sensitive to talking about the human body or sexuality: A) Grow up and B) Close this window.

Are you sure? You’ve been warned.

Last July I wrote a blog post about how I had discovered some swelling in my testicles. To sum it up, I was masturbating one night and I noticed that my testicles did not look like other guys’ testicles. My scrotum looked more round and you couldn’t make out the testicles. I panicked (naturally) and made an appointment with my primary care physician.

I met with my physician and some med student who examined my testicles. Luckily for that med student, I am an instructor so by profession so I made him get involved in his learning. My doctor verified that I did indeed have swelling around both my testicles. She had a couple of theories regarding the swelling, but wanted me to get an ultrasound to be sure.

Fun fact about getting an ultrasound on your scrotum: Straight, gay, bi, or anywhere in between, you will get an awkward erection when the ultrasound is being rolled around your sack. It feels incredibly good and they know that. It made sense why the ultrasound tech had me put a towel over my penis in the beginning!

The results from the ultrasound showed that I not only have hydrocele (fluid build up in my testicles) but I also have something called varicocele.

From Urologyhealth.org: A varicocele is when veins become enlarged inside your scrotum (the pouch of skin that holds your testicles). These veins are called the pampiniform plexus. Ten to 15 of every 100 men have a varicocele. It is like getting a varicose vein in your leg.

This is exactly what I am experiencing:

V-1

I spoke to my doctor about some options for the hydrocele. She referred me to a urologist to dig deeper into this and see what options were available to me to get this worked out. She said I could get the hydrocele drained, or that I could have a surgery done to fix it. The only thing that had helped with the swelling at the time was ejaculation. Yes, masturbation was the short-term remedy and my doctor said that if ejaculation is helping, then maybe my semen wasn’t flowing correctly.

Guys, think about how your balls feel when you haven’t got off in a few days. Now imagine that with a shit ton of mixed up veins that get really backed the fuck up. That’s my world.


Fast forward to today:

I met with the urologist today, on 2/10/2016. Once he examined my testicles, he said that my hydrocele was so small that I did not have to worry about those at all. He said that I definitely have moderate varicocele. The medical community is not sure exactly what causes varicocele so he opted against any kind of procedure. Instead, he had me give a urine sample so they could see what else could be causing this.

Here’s where I am concerned. He asked me if I ever wanted to have children. Varicocele can cause infertility in men. Considering I’v had this for quite sometime, there could be a chance that I will become infertile or that I am already shooting blanks. When he dropped that “infertility” bomb, that was a reality check. I reached out to my physician and asked if I should have a sperm count done.

I have passively thought about having children before. Now I have to come to grips that I may never have biological children. I can always still be a dad though. Blood doesn’t make family.

In the meantime, I just have to deal with it until another option can be found.

Do any of you someone or have any of you ever dealt with varicocele? If so, what insight can you offer? Suggestions or tips?

 

Bernie Sanders (Vote TOGETHER)

Bernie Sanders. He is unlike any other Presidential nominee I have ever seen. He is as real as it gets when it comes to politicians. Growing up on the New York, I am used to Bernie’s Brooklyn accent. It is a straight shooting, no fucking around, honest accent. That’s how we are in New York. When Bernie speaks, I hear his words AND the truth, unlike our other politician friends who just spew out words with sincerity.

People rip on Bernie Sanders because they think he is a doddering old fool who shouldn’t be running for office at 74. Let me remind everyone that Ronald Reagan became President at 70. He also gets slammed for his socialist way of thinking because America has demonized socialism. I ask you this: Why shouldn’t our government take care of us? Don’t they work for us? This has worked well for other countries. Yes, I know that means higher taxes. But if higher taxes means we are taken care of, then it pays for itself in the long run. As a taxpayer, I support this! The things that would raise our taxes would be things that we have to pay for anyway, so think of it as an auto-draft payment toward your education or health.

Bernie Sanders has consistently done the right thing his entire political career and fought for the middle class. As for his age, time is not promised to anyone of us. Bernie could die a year into his Presidency, or he could serve two terms. Either way, he’s bringing positive change to the country. He is a catalyst for change in a country where the 1% rules on high.

Change is scary and no one likes it. But change is not bad. We need change right now. You have the right to back whatever candidate you like, but it might be time to think outside the box of traditional Republicans or Democrats. Bernie Sanders is a breath of fresh air in the suffocating political arena we are currently dealing with.

Let’s vote for change. Let’s vote for progress. Let’s vote TOGETHER for Bernie Sanders.