On Paper Towels, Being an Asshole, and Using Anything as a Springboard for Your Growth




So I need to say right up front that I had a gorgeous Christmas.  I had THE best Christmas of my life.  Not even a contest.

At the same time, I had ham juice spilled on my head and was informed I was a clueless asshole when I was a kid.

They didn’t use those exact words.

It was all about a story I’ve told where I have upwards of six paper towels in my mouth because I can’t stop “visiting” with my fellow classmates.  I can’t stop talking with my friends.  Every time I got caught talking, a brown industrial paper towel went into my mouth.  I know I had at least six of them.

Have you ever been around college kids telling their drunk stories?  An amazing story of stupidity I used to entertain because it entertained me.  “Can you imagine? I kept talking to my friends with five paper towels in my mouth!”

At Christmas I found out that everyone else in the room, had they been in the same room with me at age 10?  They would have found me distracting and they seemed to perceive that as a bad thing.

Me?  A bad thing?  My mother had seemed to suggest that at times, but I’ve overcome that judgement through therapy and coaching.  lol

Once again I need to say something up front.  I am one of the most fortunate people alive.  At ten, I make all those attempts to communicate and entertain AND get my schoolwork done to a level that pleased my teacher and parents in a way which kept my life hassle free.  My supreme goal during that decade.  Just stay out of trouble.  Which means I didn’t view the paper towels as getting into trouble.  Not really.  I viewed them as a vehicle to make my friends laugh.  My talking became more exaggerated as I thrilled my friends by still making noise three, four, five paper towels in.

I was trying to do a good thing.

That same need not to be hassled led to my becoming a people pleaser for the next two decades.  That always seems like such an insincere expression of self, but I see it as a range of behavior.  Those who try to please solely as protection for self ranging to those who try to please solely because they are trying to relieve the suffering they see around them.  Both are self preservation, but I believe motive speaks to sincerity.

It was a great Christmas.  I laughed until my stomach hurt.  I ate a yummy ham dinner.  I think the potato salad was my favorite.  I saw a piece of my childhood for the first time through other people’s eyes and realized the myriad information available to me there.

  1. It is a FACT I was trying to do a good thing AND was doing a bad thing.

For a thinker like me, this implies a lot.

  1. It makes it possible to do a good thing and a bad thing simultaneously.  As a matter of fact, while I do think I am a unique expression of humanity with many personal traits, that is not one of them which means it not only happens but probably happens all the time.
  2. A good or bad thing now becomes Shrodingers Cat.  Undetermined until after the fact and the outcome has been witnessed.
  3. For this to be possible, a good or bad thing must really be a matter of perception.
  4. For something to be a matter of perception, it cannot have one prime truth.  Truth itself becomes a matter of perception.
  5. I am in control of my perceptions.  I am in control of what I think.
  6. In order for me to be happy, I must be living my own personal truth.
  7. If I control my personal truth by my perceptions and I am in control of my perceptions, then I am in control of my personal reality AND my happiness.
  8. I perceived I was doing a good thing and over the years I’ve told the story because in my personal reality, it was a good thing.  I received a punishment that didn’t really punish.  I got to make my friends laugh.  Setting a goal:  make my friends laugh.  Achieving the goal:  they laughed and nothing so bad happened that I didn’t laugh too.  VISA would say it is priceless.  I would say it is Personal Self Development 101.  Set goals.  Achieve them.
  9. I was winning at being 10. Even while I was doing something that was bad, at least by some people’s perceptions.
  10. Maybe we are always doing something bad and good simultaneously.  Maybe we are always winning and losing simultaneously.  Maybe the only difference is how we choose to perceive it.

Something to think about.

Oh BTW for a view into my head?  Realize there is at least one other chain, equally as interesting, in there too.

  1.  I perceived I was doing a good thing.
  2. The teacher punished me so at least at some level I must realize he thinks I am NOT doing a good thing.
  3. We know ourselves.  We know what our true intent was.  My talking through five paper towels of punishment was lightly disagreeing with him.
  4. Lightly disagreeing with him means that I evaluated my goal against whatever I perceived his goal to be and judged mine was the more worthy goal AND was worth the punishment I would receive.
  5. My goal was to make them laugh which kind of translates in my head to:  “These people seem sad.  I need to cheer them up.”  I was acting out of empathy and the discrepancy in judgement was likely explained away by my belief he didn’t understand the situation as I did.
  6. Some of our best actions in life arise from our empathy.
  7. Given the previous argument:  even empathetic actions can be perceived as a bad thing.

That Ladies and Gentlemen is at least one quarter of how I got from point A to point K in personal growth and development.  What does it bring me?  I can name three essentially important things right off the top of my head.

  1.  It reassures me that my true nature is always to flip over and float back to the top when I have been submarined.
  2. It is the method by which I transform bad memories to good memories.
  3. It is the method by which I found self love in the ashes of lost love.

Yes you could also call my Philosophical Rants as “overthinking.”  The question I’d like to see you ask yourself is: Good and bad are only my perceptions.  Is it possible I can use what I have been told to perceive as bad traits for good outcomes?

The Philosophical Rants you will find on this page are the cousins of similar, earlier rants which were the catalysts of my transformations.    I’ll let you know what happens for me from the ones I post here if you let me know.  😉


It would be easy to say I saw something on Facebook today that offended me.  It would be easy to say, but the truth is I saw something today on Facebook that someone thought to be about healthy attitudes and growth, but my perceptions found it to be the opposite.

It would be easy to comment on the post and berate the “friend” for rocking my world.  It would be easy, but not very useful and not very true.  They did not intend to submarine my perceived reality.  They were simply communicating in the realm of THEIR perceived reality.

It would be easy to expect them to change and view it as a need for them to “catch up,” but it wouldn’t be very empathetic or logical.  You can only change yourself.  No one else.  Just you.

What I do when I find something offensive on Facebook is:

  1. Take a minute to assess how it makes me feel.
  2. If it makes me feel anything that takes longer than 17 seconds to adjust to a higher feeling, I choose to “unfollow” the friend.  Not “unfriend” them, just unfollow.  It is my personal “I agree to disagree” quietly stance.
  3. Every once in awhile I check back to see if anything in the dynamic has changed.  I am always changing and growing so there is always a chance that I have grown to a place where I agree with their perspective.  If not, there is always the chance I have grown to a place where I can live peacefully in my perceived reality side by side with them in theirs.  (As opposed to a greater distance.)

Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 10.29.36 AM

I find this to be the most unconditional loving manner in which to address the situation.


holistic |hōˈlistikadjective

Characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.

I am lucky in that my personal development approach has been a holistic one.  Which means that I have traditionally used anything within my life as a springboard to inspire me to change and improve my life.

Five Movies That Helped Change My Life

The link above will take you to a playlist on my youtube channel.  That playlist contains the trailer to each of my five favorite movies.  Each movie is a comedy.  Each movie has made me laugh dozens of times.  Each movie was the catalyst for personal philosophical rant that ended up inspiring me to action or changing my perception.

For anyone who might be interested in my detailing that experience with each movie, if I’ve figured out the WordPress plug ins well enough, you can find that below.  (In “spoiler text.”)

Defending Your Life
As Good As It Gets
Little Miss Sunshine
Stranger Than Fiction
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Your assignment or exercise is NOT to watch each of the five movies or even the trailers I’ve posted.  (Although you might enjoy doing both.)

Your assignment is to look at your own life (in a mindful and loving kindness meditation sort of manner) and consider all of the fun and unique ways you can inspire yourself by what you see.

Oh …. and one more thing ….


The Next 99: Tuesday, Dec 29th

Writer/Photographic Artist/Law of Attraction Certified Coach

Human crow who enjoys colorful shiny things.

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6 thoughts on “On Paper Towels, Being an Asshole, and Using Anything as a Springboard for Your Growth”

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