Thought Catalog

This Is Our Obsession With ‘Timing’ And How It Holds Us Back

Posted: 28 Apr 2016 08:00 PM PDT


Timing. Such a small word, but has the biggest effect on most of our lives. Everything is based around this one small thing: timing.

We use it as an excuse, we use it as a reason to explain ourselves, and we use it as a sense of direction.

"Oh, it was just the right timing!" or "Yeah, sorry, it's just bad timing". Our society has centered ourselves on this idea of timing and we have let it control our lives more than we are aware of.

I am guilty myself of letting timing control different aspects of my life. I backed away from interviews for internships because I didn't think it was the right time for one (and then decided I was ready again just short months later) and I've also let it affect different aspects of my relationships.

I've learned that although the timing might not feel right, who are we to say that whatever it is, isn't going to be a good thing for us because of it.

We too often find ourselves letting go and losing chances solely based on bad timing and when we find that the timing is finally right, it's too late.

We, as a generation, are obsessed with the fact that we have a plan and when things don't go as we planned, it's all because of "bad timing". We are obsessed with this notion that everything happens for a reason, but dwell on lost chances and lost opportunities. We center our lives around the concept of timing, when we should be centering our lives on taking chances.

You'll lose something good if you're constantly waiting for the right time for something to happen. You could lose that dream job, a chance at a successful relationship, and a chance at true happiness if you're constantly worrying about if it's the right time. You'll make up excuse after excuse and say that you're waiting until the time is "right". The truth is, it will never be the right time. What does the "right time" even mean?

You're never going to find the right time for anything in life, but that's the point of living.

You have to take risks even when it isn't comfortable, and you have to take chances even when you aren't ready.

Sure, not everything is going to turn out perfect in the end, but we live and we learn, and quite frankly, we can't do that until we let go of this perceived idea of "timing".

So go out there, defy the odds, and take chances.

Even when things don't go as you planned or the "timing isn't right" and do it before you lose something good that's right in front of you. You may be surprised; it could truly be the perfect timing in disguise. TC mark

Pretending You Don’t Have A Heart Isn’t Going To Protect It

Posted: 28 Apr 2016 07:00 PM PDT

Danielle Drislane
Danielle Drislane

1. You can't lie to yourself.

You can lie to your parents when they ask you if there are any nice boys in your life. You can lie to yourself about how you can't stand men and that marriage is bullshit anyway. You can even ignore those sexy dreams you've been having about your coworker that cause you to break out the vibrator on lonely mornings. But deep down, you know the truth.

2. There's no substitute for love.

Drugs aren't going to dull the ache in your heart and neither is that bottle of Jack Daniels. All of those text messages and "likes" on your selfies might hold you over for a while, but by the end of the night you'll be feeling lonely again. No amount of brown sugar, Scotch, or social media can replace the feeling of true love.

3. Relationships aren't the only way to get hurt.

Even if you swear yourself off of relationships, you can still fall victim to heartache. No matter what, you're going to be interacting with men, which means you might unexpectedly fall in love with the boy next door or your best guy friend. You can run from Cupid, but you can't hide.

4. Being numb isn't the same as being heartless.

Your heart has been damaged. You don't want to want anyone anymore. That's why you don't feel a thing when a man compliments you, asks you out, or even makes you orgasm. But that doesn't mean you're heartless. You're still capable of loving. You're still capable of being loved. You just need some time to heal before you can use your heart's full capacity.

5. Pain is a part of life.

It would be crazy to remain unemployed, because you have a fear of getting fired or to drop out of college, because you have a fear of bad grades. So why would you avoid dating, out of fear of getting dumped? Everything worth having in life comes with its risks. You have to be willing to take them.

6. Pushing people away isn't the answer.

Turn down dates with men you're not interested in. Turn down dates that you know won't lead to anything. But don't turn down dates that you know would make you happy, even just for a night. You don't have to let everyone in, but you have to let somebody in.

7. You're not a robot.

You're not heartless. You're human. It's natural for you to have feelings, and it's dangerous for you to run from them. Crushes aren't something to be embarrassed about and love isn't something to be ashamed of. They're beautiful things. If you gave them another chance, you'd see that.

8. You'll cause the things you're scared of.

You pretend you're heartless, because you don't want to get your heart broken. But if you keep turning down potential friends and boyfriends, you're going to be the one breaking hearts. You'll become the thing that you hate the most. Is that what you want?

9. History doesn't have to repeat itself.

You've been hurt before, but that doesn't mean it's going to happen again. There are men out there that will handle your heart with gentle hands. They won't put you through all the suffering and strain that you've come to associate with loving someone.

10. You're strong enough to handle the pain.

Even if someone special comes along to "complete you" and then brutally stabs you in the back, you can handle the repercussions. Are you really going to let some silly boy ruin your life? I don't think so. That's why you might as well stop pretending that you're a heartless bitch and give love a shot. TC mark

I Could Have Loved You, But You Wouldn’t Let Me In

Posted: 28 Apr 2016 06:00 PM PDT

I could've loved you. But you didn't let me.

You let me believe that I could, never letting on that those weren't your intentions.

The late night conversations in your bed, tangled up in two… you made me believe there was a chance.

I don't know what went wrong. You were there one day… and then you weren't.

I don't know if I was unlovable or if you made yourself to be unlovable, never letting anyone in.

I could've been there every night and every morning, to say goodnight, and to wish you a good day.

I could've been there for the big moments.

I could've helped you love yourself when the task seemed too big to take on alone.

I could've had your back when no one else would.

I could've held your hand and walked in silence because sometimes it's just better to enjoy each other's company that way.

I could've been the one to turn to whenever life had you asking too many questions that you couldn't answer for yourself.

I could've seen the world with you.

I could've done everything with you.

I could've loved you. But you didn't let me. TC mark

To My Future Boyfriend, I Am Not Broken

Posted: 28 Apr 2016 05:00 PM PDT


I have my share of scrapes, bumps, and bruises. I've made mistakes, I've cried, I've been lonely and afraid and angry. I've been through some things. Haven't we all?

But I want you to know something: I am not broken.

Maybe I was, for a time. Maybe you missed me at my worst, and for that, I have to say I'm thankful. I needed time to rebuild, to heal, to find myself again. I needed to pull away from heartbreak and let it all go.

Or maybe I'm still struggling, but I won't be forever. There will be a time when I rescue myself, when I look back at the past and laugh. And even if that day isn't today, I promise it's coming. So hold out for me.

Listen, this letter is for you. To know that in the future, I will love you. I will love you deeply and fully. I will be unafraid and unhesitant. I will not compare you to pain of the past, but trust that people are different, that you are different and worthy of a chance.

I want you to know something: I am not broken. I am not bitter. I will not hold regrets in my back pocket or carry anger like weights tied to my shoes.

By the time we find each other, my smile will stretch across my face, my laughter will be light, and I will fill the room with my positive energy. You will be pulled to me in unexplainable ways, and I will notice you. Notice your laugh, your smile, and your heart, somehow beating in rhythm with mine.

We won't be perfect, but we will fit. We will start to fall. It will be a beautiful connection that we never expected. We will both be blessed. And we won't have to rescue one another, because I will have healed from my past, and you from yours.

Be excited for this. For the future. For us.

But listen, I need to tell you something. I need you to know that I've been hurt. That I've loved. That I've made mistakes. That I don't come with a perfect past. None of us do.

I've given my heart away a time or two. But you shouldn't be afraid of this. Those past loves, I don't regret them. They taught me so much about myself, they built and shattered me, they loved me in all my different versions—the high school me, the college me, the post-college me, and places in-between—and I loved them, too. But they're past loves. Pieces of who I was and even who I am, pieces I will always remember.

But you are the future, the now.

Trust this. And know that I am no longer broken, no longer the past, no longer what happened to me before.

I am the long-awaited, the hopeful, the moments to come with you.

And I can't wait to get started. TC mark

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You Have To Let Go Of Old Love In Order To Feel New Again

Posted: 28 Apr 2016 04:00 PM PDT

Danielle Drislane
Danielle Drislane

There were always warning signs but you were blinded by hope and and thoughts like, 'Maybe this time it'll be different'. You chose to stay inside a burning building until the smoke became too thick to clear and the foundation began to crack. But now it was time to get yourself out.

No one tells you, though, that trying to move on is a kind of death that you inflict upon yourself. People always make it sound so easy, as if by emptying the stuff in your house, you can empty yourself of the love you still feel.

The memories you have like to coddle you. Laughter and late nights drunk on the feeling of being young and infatuated. They deposited in you the way sand deposits onto wet summer skin. They stick on you in the most unconventional places, underneath fingernails and knobby knees. But you let them stay because it reminds you of how you were once in the water and the sun was beating on your neck.

You now know that is how you ruin yourself.

Before the word “us” turned into something singular, everything had already changed. You look back, really look back, and you see that he is not the same. And neither are you. So you release the fists clenching onto the past and you take off your rose-colored glasses.

You used to mistake the silhouette on the wall for yourself. Used to think of yourself as a stray cat scratching on his door, waiting to be let in again. Not anymore.

It takes time for you to realize that your life with him is not juxtaposed. It's not as simple as a before and after. He is just a detour on your journey. The destination is still there, waiting for you.

When you finally let go, it is like opening your front door and seeing yourself standing there again.

Welcome home, it's been so long. TC mark

For more writing like this, read Out Of The Ruins by Tina Tran.

29 Cops Describe The Worst Criminal They Ever Arrested

Posted: 28 Apr 2016 03:00 PM PDT

Flickr / Victor
Flickr / Victor
Found on AskReddit.

1. She was HIV-positive and started biting everyone

"I once arrested a deranged woman, somehow got involved in a big fight that started with teenage girls. It blew up and was a full-on battle royal. The crazy lady was HIV-positive and decided to start biting everyone in the fight. When I pull up I hear her screaming, 'I hope all of you catch it.' Surprisingly she only got 5 years for felony reckless conduct."

2. He killed his infant daughter by swinging her into a wall by her leg

"One guy killed his

One guy repeatedly raped his granddaughter. The grandmother knew and convinced the victim that victim’s parents already knew and didn’t believe it. Victim only came forward when her mother became terminally ill and victim’s younger sister was set to be driven to/from school by helpful grandpa rapist.

One guy pimped out an eight-year-old girl….

Three pedos got together and rented a duplex. They lived on one side, and they’d rent out the other half to single mothers. They blacked out the window in the rape room with Dora the Explorer blankets."

3. Her six-month-old died while she played video games

"It is the ones with the kids that get you the most. (1) a woman who was a wife of a Navy member was also a gamer. She had two kids. One 6 months, the other 2 years. Husband deployed. She was so into the role-playing game (sorry can’t remember) that she just sit there and let the 6-month-old die in the crib. 2-year-old could get food on his own. Mother found 6-month-old dead in crib and wrapped the body in a trash bag. Body starts to decompose and smell. So she put the body in a box outside by the front door. All the time going back to her gaming. She comments online that her baby died. Husband comes home from deployment and finally gets from her that the baby is dead in a box outside. He talks to a superior the next day, who reports it to police.

Side note—she also did not get up from the computer to pee or poop. Use your imagination on that one. (2) Had a mother lock an 8-month-old in the room and let die. X-rays of the girl showed over half her bones had been broken and were in various stages of healing.

These are the times that stay with us and eat at us. The memories never leave and you can never stop thinking about how those poor kids died."

4. She and her husband killed her son and wrapped him in garbage bags

"I didn’t do the actual arresting, but I spent several months supervising Kristen Bury in custody after she and her husband, Joseph Walsh, were arrested for killing their infant son, Chance.

Her husband beat Chance during a drug bender while she watched and complained they would get caught, saying 'you’re gonna fucking kill him' and recording audio of the incident on her phone in case they were caught. Her husband shoved a baby wipe down Chance’s throat where it got stuck and he started to choke. To get it out, they pried his jaw open with pliers, breaking it and tearing out Chance’s little tongue. When they finally retrieved the wipe from his throat, they left him to slowly die of his injuries in his crib. Kristen posted a Facebook message the day after Chance died saying how she was excited for their first 'family vacay.'

She never called 911. She said she 'didn’t want to lose both people she loved in the same day.'

They left Chance to decompose for several days. When the smell overwhelmed them, they wrapped him in garbage bags and put him in a closet for several more days. Then, they buried him in a trash pile near a homeless camp and took off to 'start a new life together like Bonnie and Clyde.'

While in jail she was insufferable. She talked endlessly about how much money she was getting in support and bragged about how much commissary she could buy. She cried during NA meetings about how her son was murdered by her husband and then turned around after the civilian meeting leaders left and talked about how Joseph is the love of her life and she’ll never stop loving him. She was quick to become angry over little things and routinely tried to either intimidate or impress other inmates with the severity of her crime.

She asked me to print a picture of her son so she could have a picture to take to prison with her. She also asked me to look up publisher information so she could write a book about her experience.

She is absolutely the worst person I have ever encountered and I had the hardest time of my professional career dealing with her pure sociopathic tendencies. She was not an abused wife who was conditioned not to cross her violent husband—she gave her first child away at a Denny’s, her second died after developing an infection that no medical care was sought for, and she helped brutally kill her third child.

She deserves the death penalty and it’s a shame she won’t get it."

5. He glued his pregnant partner's lips shut

"The one that stands out the most was my first domestic violence arrest. This guy was the absolute worst of the worst. Verbal and physical abuse, stealing the money for his pregnant wife and first born to eat and blowing it all on booze and pokies, and culminating in him using industrial glue to seal his 4-month-pregnant partner's lips shut requiring her to be hospitalized in the hopes it would cause the fetus to terminate. Family Violence section had been hunting this dirt bag for months but he was a slippery customer.

Anyway, one night we get a call from a local pub saying a guy had gotten maggoted, and gotten into a car. They got the number plate and I recognized it as being this little scrote (it helped that ironically his number player was ratel code for drunk driving), and his direction of travel was listed as being towards where I knew the girl lived.

My partner and I set some kinda land speed record getting there, but found no trace of his car in the surrounding area. We knew he was nearby though. Sometimes you just feel these things. So we woke the (still pregnant) girl up and explained to her we believed she was in imminent danger, and that we would stay in the area. Gave her the response mobile phone number to ring, and a phrase to say, rather than call dispatch (which can cause a delay in sending out the job).

Then we left. We both got in the car and drove around the corner. I dropped my partner off and he doubled back to keep an eye on the front of the house while I parked up around the corner, and our sergeant arrived in an unmarked car to view the street behind the house.

Sure enough, within 10 mins of us leaving (we suspect he had been hiding out waiting for us to leave), Ol’ mate saunters up the driveway and makes a beeline for the door where he is confronted by my partner. Realizing he has been tricked, he punches my partner square in the jaw. Now for the record my partner at the time was an absolute beast of a man who was more offended by the fact somebody had laid hands on him than he was injured.

Let’s just say the next few minutes went poorly for our young Casanova as me and the sarge came herring around the corner to assist with the arrest.

Sadly we never got a conviction on the scrote, but we were able to get assistance from Family Violence to help the victim pack up and move interstate away from the situation. It still annoys me that he would go on to offend against other women, but at least we managed to help that one woman. She did make contact with our Family Violence section some time later, and they tell me she is doing well.

Sometimes in this job you have to take your victories where you can get them."

6. A sixteen-year-old who stabbed two men in the head with a screwdriver

"The earliest memorable person is a 16-year-old who killed two men by stabbing them in the head with a screwdriver. He was just acting the hard man in front of his mates and picked on these two guys for nothing. The thing that got me was his complete lack of remorse or regret. I’d never properly understood what a psychopath was until then."

7. The kid stabbed both his parents to death because doing his chores was too hard

"A few years ago, we got called to a house to do a welfare check on a couple that hasn’t been heard from in a few days. Making entry into the house, the couple was found in the laundry room stabbed to death. It didn’t take very long to figure out their son did it. Now here’s where’s it’s bad. The day he killed them and stuffed them in the laundry room, that night he used their credit cards and ordered pizza, bought alcohol and threw a party at the house just telling his guests not to go into the laundry room 'cause it was messy. The kid showed no remorse, and admitted to killing them because the house rules/chores were too hard.

8. You could taste the blood in the air, there was so much of it

"I'm terrible with dates and time frames if I didn’t write it down, but I’ll never forget October 26th, 2013. This was in Brooklyn. Squad called an 85 at such and such address. A neighbor had called in an assault in progress and the detective squad happened to be on the block for another reason. They got there fast and met the perp coming out the front door. We get there a couple minutes after as the perp is being walked in handcuffs to the car. I went into the house to see if everybody was OK and what the 85 was about. Long story short, perp hacked a woman and her four kids (infant to 12 years old) to death with a meat cleaver. Mom and oldest were still breathing when we came in the door, but not for long after that. Three babies were all in the back bedroom. The apartment looked pretty much like what you would imagine if you tried to imagine something like that. You could taste the blood in the air, there was so much of it. When I walked out to get a look at the perp, a Detective told me. 'See if you can get his name but don’t ask him anything else.' Guy was seated in the backseat in handcuffs and had a look in his eyes that I can’t even describe here. The Devil was let loose in that apartment."

9. The first time I heard the screams of someone about to die

"Had a call once in a major metropolitan area during my probation period some years ago. The fire department called us for help saying they had been threatened by a knife-wielding maniac while attempting to render aid to someone. My partner and I got there and saw the FD just standing around so were thinking okay this guy is probably gone and we will have to just take a report for them and get to our next call.

That's the first time I heard the screams of someone about to die; the shrill terror in a person's voice is completely distinguishable from your everyday scream for help or yells of anger. It sends a shiver down your spine.

My partner and I didn't have time for backup to arrive or make a tactical plan so we entered an apartment complex by ourselves and followed the screams until we located a door we thought they were coming from. I kicked in the door and we entered to find that knife-wielding madman stabbing a woman in the chest. Shots are fired and the man goes down.

As though a scene from a movie after the shooting backup comes running in to clear the rest of the apartment while i awkwardly handcuff this man who is bleeding all over my uniform (he's missing either his radius or ulna (?). One of the two wrist bones from a bullet shattering it. There's blood everywhere, and you can smell it in the air.

This is also the first time I held a person while they were dying. Which isn't particularly pleasant ,either. The man passed shortly after in the ambulance (even with the fire department outside already).

We later discovered the man was on drugs and suffering from mental illness; he had attempted to kill himself a week prior and failed so the higher-ups believe this is how he wanted to finish himself off.

The woman survived."

10. He used the infant's head as a battering ram

"This guy and his wife start fighting in their apartment in south Los Angeles. It escalated into the guy picking up the 5-month-old baby and charging at the wall with the baby’s head as a battering ram. He then threw the infant out of the third floor window. As I sat in the front of my police car with this guy cuffed in the back seat, all I could think about was a Pulp Fiction type turnaround and put a hole in his head so it would ever happen again. It was very early in my career and made me think about whether I could handle 25-30 years of these kinds of things and what kind of person it would turn me into. The child actually survived and the man was convicted. I’d put this incident away in a little sealed box in my head….Now I’m sweating and angry again….

I know that the baby had a fractured skull and they were concerned about brain damage and the neck/spine. I know that the child survived, but I never followed up because I completely put this out of my head…You could say that I’d completely forgotten about it. The best I can recall was that the guy got 18 years in prison."

11. He had been fucking his girlfriend's three-year-old daughter

"Had a guy who had been fucking his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter. He found out he had gotten busted and took a whole bunch of methadone and probably anything else in the house he could get his hands on. Was found unresponsive and put in an ice bath by his friends and one of them was nice enough to call 911. Hell of it is that when we show up the girlfriend is defending him, stashing contraband and trying to keep us from entering the apartment without a warrant. Exigent circumstances hip-hip hooray get out of my way and we got him to the hospital. Hell of it is that while we got him out she flushed all their shit and deleted all the images from his phone of the rapes. Fuckin' mom choosing her rapist boyfriend over her daughter. Lowest of the low. He pled to a lesser charge eventually due to a lack of evidence and she caught a tampering with physical evidence charge and got her kid taken away. She’s out and works at a local restaurant that I’ll never go to again."

12. Trying to handcuff a man covered in blood is terrifying

"My worst was a response to a home for attempted suicide with the individual still armed with a knife. When we arrived the suspect was walking down the side of the road at 3 am. Covered in blood from having cut himself over most of his body with moderate to deep cuts he was covered. While we where standing around ordering him to drop the knife he stood like a statue not saying anything but staring. This guy was a towering 6'5" 220-pound man who looked at me, a 6′ 160-pound, 22-year-old and said, 'I'm going to take your gun and shoot him.' (Referring to my FTO at the time who was similarly built to me.) I deployed a taser which did nothing but anger him, my FTO deployed his which brought him down. Trying to handcuff a man covered in blood is terrifying, all the blood-borne diseases you can contract. He was transported to the hospital for his self-inflicted wounds. Upon further investigation this guy had been luring cats and dogs to him which he would end up killing and skinning. In this guy's shed he had a harvesting room where he would turn the pelts of these animals into clothing—you name it, this guy had made it. The entire thing reminded me of some horror movie with a stench you could not stomach. That was my first week as a sworn officer, I turned 21 three days before graduating the academy. I've been on now for a year or so and that is the only guy I have ever met I believe could have taken my weapon and kill me. He later was declared mentally competent and charged, he as well was not suicidal but angry because he messed up on one of his 'creations.'"

13. I went through hundreds of photo albums full of children being destroyed

"Oh boy…Grabbed a guy walking down the street with a shotgun in one of those 12-can beer holders cigarette companies used to give away (yeah, I’m old). We get the cuffs on him and he starts getting all chatty in the car about all the other guns that he has. One thing leads to another and we use his statement to get a warrant to get the rest of the guns. We go to the apartment with the warrant and there are HUNDREDS of different firearms and corresponding boxes of ammo and we start cataloging it and carrying it out.

Then we notice cases of photo albums and videotapes…..

Aaaaaaaaaand it’s child porn. I take random samples and as difficult as it is, and to the normal human being, it’s difficult shit, confirm that its children being photographed doing sexual things. It’s logical that given the sampling that the rest of it was kiddie porn, too.

Well, not enough for the ADA who took the case. I explained to her how we arrived at the number and she said that in order for him to be charged for all the porn, that I would have to testify that all of it was indeed porn. I was the arresting officer, I was swearing out the complaint and I also had to make sure the asshole went to jail for a very long time.

I sat in a room in the station house for hours on end going through hundreds of photo albums full of children being destroyed. I viewed videotapes of innocence being swept away and in the end, I wept. I did not stop weeping for days. 20 some odd years later, I still have my moments and every so often I’ll see a kid that looks familiar and I’ll think…. It haunts me constantly because I couldn’t save them. I’m supposed to defend the ones that can’t defend themselves. That was my sacred vow and yet, all I could do was catalog their horror.

Years later, I was a first responder to the WTC attacks and saw horrors that no person should ever have to see and yet, 9/11 wasn’t close to being my worst day on that job."

14. The coldheartedness he showed toward his own granddaughter blew my mind

"Several years ago, I was called to a rural residence in my jurisdiction for a heated disturbance involving firearms. I work a rural county that covers almost 1000 square miles with 3 other deputies (4 deputies are on duty at any given time covering this area). To ease in keeping up with the story, the violator will be called ‘grandfather’ (in his upper 60’s); the son of grandfather/911 caller will be called ‘son’ (in his 30’s); and the victim/granddaughter will be called ‘child ‘(7 years old).

When I arrived on scene, I saw the son standing with a handgun in his hand and the handgun stuck in the mouth of the grandfather (who was on his knees). This took place in the front yard of this residence. My camera/audio was rolling due to me running lights/siren to this call so all this is recorded and played a significant role in the prosecution. I slid to a stop and exited my car expeditiously while taking cover behind the driver’s side wheel well.

I had my Glock 34 out quickly and began giving commands to the son. He was in tears and screaming. The grandfather was motionless on his knees with a gun in his mouth and hands up. The son was screaming at me that he (grandfather) had been sexually assaulting his (the son’s) daughter.

I told him repeatedly that I was here to help and all that good stuff. He took the gun out of the grandfather’s mouth and threw it behind him in the grass and stuck his hands up. I moved forward and placed him into handcuffs as well as the grandfather due to me not knowing anything else about this situation. I then recovered the firearm and placed it in my vehicle. I confirmed the only other person at the residence was the child, who was inside at the window and watched all this unfold. My help was on the way but still about 20 minutes away. I brought the son in front of my car (to be recorded) and asked his what was going on. He explained that he, his daughter and his father (grandfather to the child) all lived at the grandfather’s house due to him losing a job recently (the son had a tough time after coming home from Iraq and holding a job).

The son explained to me that he asked the grandfather for permission to use his laptop. He received permission and began looking stuff up on the computer. the son found a suspicious looking folder on the desktop and opened it. This folder had hundreds of pictures of the child (his daughter) in extremely explicit positions as well as performing sexual acts on the grandfather. Needless to say, he flew into a new dimension of pissed off and immediately retrieved his handgun and dragged his own father (grandfather to the child) out in the front yard 'to avoid bloodying up the house,' in his own words.

He pistol-whipped him and placed him on the ground and stuck his pistol in the grandfather’s mouth. He never did explain to me why he called 911 instead of shooting the grandfather. I placed him back into my vehicle and told him to remain quiet because I needed to get information from the grandfather to get a conviction. I guess I should have mentioned, I spent several years as a criminal investigator prior to going back to the patrol division so I knew exactly what to look for and obtain during the investigation in order to obtain a conviction if a crime did in fact occur. I then brought the grandfather in front of my car and got out a written Miranda form from my car. I read and explained to the grandfather his rights, to which he signed in writing, acknowledging he understood them.

The grandfather then waived his rights in writing and spoke to me without an attorney. I tried to play to his emotion and asked him what was happening. He hung his head and told me he did something bad. I tried to belittle it and say stuff like at least no one is dead, we can all work through this, etc. He proceeded to tell me that he had been molesting his granddaughter (the child) for several months and had pretty much done everything but have intercourse with her. I asked him if he photographed any of this activity and he acknowledged he did. I asked him where it was and he told me that he had it on the desktop, a few jump drives and some new photos should still be on the digital camera. Thinking about his 4th Amendment rights, i got a consent to search form out and requested he sign it to allow me to collect these items. He signed it. Dumbass. I would have gotten it anyway with a search warrant due to an overwhelming amount of facts present so far. I collected these items and did my best to comfort this precious little girl.

I had my backup transport the grandfather to the jail and I took the son and child to the office to interview him. Long story short; the grandfather first pled not guilty and a trial date was set. The morning of trial, he took a plea for 80 years to serve for what he did. As far as how that made me feel: I will never understand how that son didn’t turn his own father’s head into a canoe. I cannot fathom the rage and anger he must have felt. I kept in contact with the son after the arrest and through the prosecution phases. He eventually told me he didn’t shoot him because he didn’t want his daughter to lose her grandfather and father in one day (he thought he would go to jail for killing him). I have dealt with more savage people and been in a few rough spots before, but the coldheartedness demonstrated by this bag of douche towards his own granddaughter blew my mind."

15. I saw her huddled in a corner, having pissed herself, covered in fuel, just shaking like she was freezing to death.

"This one job I went to, man…it lives with me every day even years later.

This woman as a child witnessed her parents burn to death in their car after a crash and she suffered PTSD from that incident.

She was in a relationship with a piece of shit who was abusive and, knowing what had happened to her parents and that she was fucked up over it, decided one day to pour petrol over her and go through a whole box of matches, casually throwing the lit matches closer and closer to where she was cowering in the corner.

She never actually caught fire and the man was arrested at the scene. I was just a back upvehicle but I will never forget that poor fucking woman.

I saw her huddled in a corner, having pissed herself, covered in fuel, just shaking like she was freezing to death.

I cannot comprehend the amount of fear she felt. Nothing I have ever experienced or witnessed since has come close to that kind of calculated cruelty before or since.

The man was charged with Acts with intent to cause Grievous Bodily Harm and only got a year in prison. I wanted to execute that fucking piece of shit."

16. He kept detailed notebooks about ogling little girls in public places

"The most disturbing person I arrested was pedophile who was caught searching for/looking at child porn on a public library computer. That’s not so abnormal, happens more than anyone would like. What made this dude disturbing was some of the notebooks he kept.

After taking him into custody I asked if I could look through his backpack, he gave me consent and I found about six small notebooks. The pages of the notebooks had the date and place (Monkey Joe’s, Chucky Cheese, local park, etc…) and on the lines he would write down the descriptions of the little girls he was attracted to at those places. Along with the physical description he would write what he believed was their age what they were wearing and what color their panties/bloomer/diaper were if he was able to see them.

He had some clear mental issues and ended up not getting charged with anything. Why didn’t he get charged? DA told us that child porn is a very hard crime to have stick and because there was a lack of victim, the photos were not sexual in nature (no sexual intercourse nor was there penetration in any photo) he wasn’t going to try and just suggested that he be taken to a local train station and bought a ticket out of town.

I got out of law enforcement not to long after that. Not particularly for that, but it's one of the shittier people I met."

17. He raped a 9-year-old at gunpoint

"I arrested and transported a guy who raped a 9-year-old at gunpoint. He waited until he knew she was home alone, knocked, and forced himself in. I arrested him on a warrant for violating his parole, years later, not for the crime itself. To this day he denied he committed the crime, but he had already been found guilty and served prison time (although not nearly enough, in my opinion.)…I've arrested a lot of people, but his crimes were easily the most heinous."

18. Killed a kid while drunk-driving in a stolen car

"Guy drunk-driving with 3 kids (brothers aged 9, 7, and 4) in a stolen car. Flipped the car, killing the youngest kid and fled the scene leaving the two other kids in a field in the middle of nowhere with the body of their brother still buckled in. I stayed with those kids for the rest of my shift at the hospital and as the parents came to ID the body. We played Simpsons Road Rage on a PS1 in the hospital waiting area. The driver was found passed out drunk in another stolen car later that night. Worst day of a lot of people’s lives including me. I am no longer a policeman."

19. He stabbed an old lady and two kids while on a drug binge

"Cop here!

There are so many terrible, ugly things that come to mind but one that sticks out was the guy on a 24-hour beer, crack, and PCP binge who was startled by an old lady trying to leave her apartment to take the two young children she was caring for to a store. He had been hitting his pipe in the foyer area and became so enraged by the interruption he began stabbing first the old woman, then the children.

A neighbor called in the suspicious noise—the woman and children’s screams—and I found all three in the apartment. The older of the kids, a little girl, was unconscious and stabbed in the back. The younger, a boy, was stabbed in the leg and hiding under a table. The old lady had been stabbed about a dozen times in the stomach and eventually succumbed to her wounds. The children made it through their injuries eventually.

The murderer said he couldn’t remember the event. He also claimed he was undiagnosed with depression and PTSD from the Salvadoran Civil War, from we he fled in the early nineties. The drugs and alcohol were his 'medicine.' He only had to serve a few years because of this defense before being deported. If I had to put money on it, I’d bet he has crossed the border again and is living somewhere near the murder scene again under another name."

20. He'd put drugs in their SunnyD and then rape them

"A fellow who molested a number of his pre-teen daughter’s friends. He’d have her invite them over for movies and such, then drug their SunnyD and rape them. We never figured out exactly how many girls he raped, but we were able to prove up 28 counts. The arrest was not particularly satisfying. Having to be near him and listen to his diatribe made me feel unclean. His conviction and subsequent LONG sentence made me feel like being a cop was worth it at least 1% of the time."

21. She was so drenched in blood that I couldn’t even tell what race she was

"About two years ago, I was called to a shooting. In the area I work, this is a weekly thing at minimum, so I wasn’t really sweating it. Well, we get to the scene and several people run out of the house yelling 'she’s been shot' and 'he’s still inside.' Based on that information, we know we have to go inside and find the shooter and the victim. Well, out comes the shooter, crying hysterically and literally covered in blood. I get to be the lucky one and put handcuffs on him. Next we go into the bedroom where the shooting occurred and find the victim lying on the bed. She was so drenched in blood that I couldn’t even tell what race she was. Let me tell you, it’s a sad thing to have to sit and watch a young lady and be utterly powerless to help her.

Turns out, the shooter was her boyfriend. He liked to drink and come home and get into arguments, at which point he’d grab his pistol and rack it at her as a sort of sick 'warning.' Well, that’s what he did, except he 'accidentally' kept his finger on the trigger this time and sent a bullet into her brain.

This story has a happy ending, though. The guy is now in prison and the female actually survived by some miracle and appears to be doing all right.

It just sucks to think that so many females are going through the same thing but refuse to get help, saying they have nowhere else to go. I understand what they’re saying but in my experience, domestic abuse never gets better. Once it starts, it only gets worse."

22. Watching the video nearly made me cry on duty

"My partner and I chased down a kidnapper/rapist. Guy convinced a petite drunk girl to go into an alley, while back there he beat her and tried to rape her. She was wearing jeans and he couldn’t get them off. If she hadn’t been wearing jeans, he’d have completed the act. A passerby called 911 and my partner and I stopped him less than a block away. His fly was down and he hadn’t even put his dick back in his pants. We caught a lucky break too, the entire attack was caught on a security camera we were able to immediately obtain. Watching the video nearly made me cry on duty. With that arrest we were able to close out 3 other sexual assaults. The guy was a serial rapist who usually preyed on homeless women. (He was homeless himself.) It’s been 1.5 years since the arrest, we go to trial in a few weeks. I can’t wait to put him behind bars for a very long time."

23. We had a guy slit a cashier's throat over a sandwich

"We had a guy slit a cashier's throat over a sandwich. It was his first day on the job and the guy didn’t want to pay so he literally killed him over a sandwich. The man started to run towards people with a knife when the cops put him down. Bullet got him in the head, EMTs were there just doing CPR for show until paramedics could call it. People are screaming at the EMTs that our CPR would be better if he was a white guy. Literally defending a guy who just killed a man not 5 minutes ago."

24. Arrested a doctor for sexually battering female patients

"Arrested a doctor for sexually battering female patients. I’ve had partners of mine arrest even more awful people (like child rapists), but this man I actually arrested. He would only target his female clients who were mental health patients so that many of their claims were overlooked due to their existing bipolar disorders or depression. He was a POS and his wife sat next to him the entire trial. True love, right? He lost his medical license but we lost the case due to almost half of his victims refusing to testify and his high-dollar, very educated attorney."

25. Death has a very distinct smell

"I was working a late shift on Christmas Eve, which is usually a matter of holding the fort and counting down the clock until the end of shift.

We get a call, 'Sudden Death,' an elderly gentleman. A shame certainly, but nothing more than assumed routine, inspecting the body for signs of trauma and calling the undertakers to remove the deceased.

We get there and go in, the gentleman is lying on his sofa, with a duvet covering him. I perform the usual inspection of the house, looking for anything out of place or suspicious, not that it’d be easy, the house was like your over-the-top hoarder's palace. After some enquiries it became apparent that the gentleman had lost the use of his legs many years before and lived downstairs, relying on his daughter to care for him utterly.

We have to inspect the body for any signs of trauma or suspicious marks prior to calling the undertaker so that we are sure that there is nothing untoward in relation to the death.

We lifted off the duvet, as only his head was showing, and I was rather taken aback and stunned. The main images, having studied history at university, that came to mind was the pictures from the liberation of the concentration camps, emaciated and starved corpses. This man had been dead for no more than 4 to 5 hours, yet he was all skin and bones.

He relied on his daughter to care for him, and he clearly had not been. He lay there, in his own filth, wasting away without anyone properly looking after him. It was utterly despicable.

Death has a very distinct smell. It clings to your uniform, and your body. I finished my shift in the early hours of the morning, went home and tried to sleep. I couldn’t. I just lay there, eyes wide open, the man's body and his haunting stare taking center piece in my thoughts. In the end, I thought fuck it, I’m not going to sleep at this rate. I got in my car and drove the 100 miles to my parents to spend Christmas Day with them."

26. I wiped his tears, and when we got into the jail he went back to acting like a hardened criminal

"A banger who had just committed a drive-by shooting. Found multiple guns. He was a two-striker and knew the gun charge would possibly put him away for the rest of his life. Cried on the way to the jail. As I entered the sally port he asked if I could make sure no tears were on his face before entering the jail. I wiped his tears, and when we got into the jail he went back to acting like a hardened criminal, but was cool with me."

27. He looked me in the eye and said, 'I'm going to hell for this, aren't I?'

"A few years ago we get sent as the second car to a family disturbance, sent as routine. Halfway there we get updated to roll code 3 to a shots fired call…at the same house. We arrive and there is a young man with what looks like a stick in his hand lying on the ground already zero (dead). My partners have an older man in handcuffs in the back of their unit. After speaking to a lady (the wife) and another young man (son) who were home, the story comes out. The family disturbance was the deceased young man breaking a chair and hitting his dad with the broken chair legs. Dad gets gun, warns son, son doesn’t stop, dad shoots son in face and kills him. I will never forget the way the father looked me in the eye and said, 'I'm going to hell for this, aren’t I?'"

28. The most evil prick I have ever come across

"The most evil prick I ever dealt with was about 2 weeks before Hurricane Katrina. A 17-year-old girl disclosed to family members that her father had been sexually exploiting her since she was young and the last incident was the previous night.
On the forensics side I recovered her father’s semen from her stomach and off of the bed sheets.

It took me several hours to interview the suspect. He was part of the 'African Identity/Moorish Nation' and he tended use circular logic. Think about trying to interview Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. It was so frustrating that my partner walked out of the interview. Eventually, I began talking to the suspect about African Identity and because I have a large base of useless knowledge we wound up connecting. It was pretty funny imagining a white cop talking the suspect about the philosophy of MOVE’s John Africa or Yahweh Ben Yahweh.

Eventually, he asserted that because his ancestors were brought to America against their will he was not subject to our laws or customs. Therefore, it was his 'duty' to introduce his daughter to her obligations as a woman. When she was about 8 years old he had her performing oral sex on him. Then when she was 10 years old he decided that she was 'mature' enough to decide if she was ready for sexual intercourse. From that point forward he began having sex with his bio-daughter a few times a week for the next several years. The suspect even began referring to his daughter as his 'Second Wife.' He also physically abused the younger male sibling of my primary victim and used threats to terrorize his wife.

I still recall driving home after working a 18-hour shift on the case and watching the sun coming up while thinking to myself 'That is the most evil prick I have ever come across.' Then when I got home I could not sleep because I realized that there was probably someone more evil than him roaming this planet and our lives were set to intersect at some point.

The good news is that he pled guilty and took 40 years without benefits, which means he will probably die in custody or be in his 80s when he gets released."

29. I had a vision of me taking a baton and beating the guy to death right there in his cell

"It was a Sunday morning shift. We briefed at 7am, at 7:15 we respond to a stabbing at a morning bar. This a regular dump, where there’s always dodgy people doing dodgy things. Fights, drug use, you name it.

As me and my partner arrive at the scene as the second or third patrol car. A couple of ambulances are also on the scene. I see a black male lying in the middle of the street, shirtless, a pool of blood forming underneath him. Paramedics are working on him. We enter the bar, and there’s another black male with a stab wound to the abdomen. He’s conscious and receiving first aid. On the street are intoxicated patrons in chock, ambulances arrive, more police (and investigators) arrive.

Description of the perps are radioed out, and the hunt for them commences. We stay on the scene.

Fast-forward to being back in the station 3 hours later. We have 2 arrests, one perp still at large. We have his identity. The victim first mentioned, dies on the spot. A father of 2. The second lives. A third was already taken to the emergency room, as we arrived. All three were black males.

The perps were Arabic, and investigation shows, that 2 groups had been having arguments and small brawls through the morning, and the Arabic group finally been thrown out by the bouncer.

Agitated, they return to the scene, one wielding a knife. CCTV shows him stabbing the first victim 10-ish times, just outside the bar. The victim had just stepped out. Falling to ground, the perp bows down and stabs a couple more times. He enters the bar and stabs the next black guy he sees. Just walks calmly up to the guy, quickly thrusts the knife in his stomach, walks out the bar. There he stabs the third victim. Turns out, this guy had just stepped out of the bus, going to work. Too bad for him, he happened to be black. Luckily he also lived.

Anyway, knowing this, and having seen the consequences and the hurting that follows, I had a sick to my stomach feeling about these guys in our holding cells.

I had a debrief with a psychologist a couple of days later, where I described a vision of me taking my baton and beating this guy to death right there in the cell. That’s how much I despised the guy.

The last perp was eventually arrested in Lebanon or wherever, and received a 10-year sentence. He was the knife psycho. Worst morning ever." TC mark

The Most Important Part of The Creative Process That Everyone Misses: A Draw-Down Period

Posted: 28 Apr 2016 02:15 PM PDT

Millie Clinton
Millie Clinton

There are many phases of the creative process. One is overlooked more than any of the others. Inspiration, research, production, editing (refining), release, promotion. Most of these get their due.

I'm talking about the phase that comes between the inspiration and the core act of creation (and sometimes appears again briefly between the time the work is finished and the time it is released). It's the most nerve-wracking and difficult part of the entire process.

It's the moment after you've had the idea, after you've put the first round of thinking into the project and then have to step back and say: "Ok, what do I really have here?" "Do I actually have something?" "What is this really going to be?"

The name for this period originates with, John Boyd, a brilliant strategic mind responsible for the F-15 and F-16 fighters as well as key concepts like the OODA loop (used everywhere from the military to business). He called this reflective, pre-production phase his "draw-down period."

In Robert Coram's amazing biography of Boyd, he explains how Boyd entered a draw-down after an exciting 1am breakthrough, eventually leading to his important paper on E-M Theory. Boyd knew he had a good a idea, but he questioned whether someone had already explored a similar line of inquiry. He didn't want to waste his time. He worried the idea might be too simple. He needed to run the idea past more people first. He needed to look at the existing material. He needed to walk through its potential implications. This was a period of doubt and Socratic-questioning.

Only after spending several weeks in this phase, reflecting and thinking, becoming confident that his his ideas had merit and had never been done before, did he allow himself to proceed. Then, Coram writes, Boyd "became excited all over again. The enormity of what he was in the process of discovering would change aviation forever. He knew it." (emphasis mine)

I've found draw-down periods to be essential in my own career as a writer. I spent a little over a year thinking about the ideas in my newest book before I wrote anything down. Originally, I'd wanted to write something about humility. That was the proposal I had sold. As I researched, I made incremental progress both closer to and further away from that idea. I'd find a source here or there. A quote I might like to use. I accumulated my thousands of notecards but whether it would be a book remained to be seen.

I knew that I would need to start writing on January 1st, 2015. Around November, I entered my draw-down period. No more research. Just thinking. Just preparing. I wrapped up the business that I needed to get off my plate. Excited as I was, something wasn't working. I couldn't conceive of what the structure would look like. I just wasn't sure that I was ready.

Then one night at the end of December, I had a dream. It was set in the movie Interstellar. Everything felt exactly like the previews of that movie. An earth that's begun to fall apart. A crisis is brewing. I was selected as an astronaut. I said goodbye to my children (which I don't have). I walked to my spaceship. I put on my helmet. But the spaceship wasn't being launched out of the atmosphere, it was different. In the way that things can only make sense inside a dream, somehow this rocket was being launched into the earth.

I have the journal entry that I wrote the next morning after that dream. It's dated December 19th. Now that the book is finished and printed and ready for release, I know now that that was the date my draw-down period ended. That was the moment I became ready to write the book. I was ready to probe the unknown depths—which, given that the book was about ego—I understand the spaceship was a symbol of.

The draw-down period is not necessarily a fun one. Inspiration is exciting. Doing, making—that's what we think matters. The idea of stopping in between? Of evaluating and analyzing before leaping into it? That's so difficult.

Because of course the idea is good. Of course there's something here. Of course the audiences will love what we create. Of course our breakthrough is legitimate.

Except that isn't always true.

I've written before that passion is dangerous. This is one of the areas that it's particularly devastating. Creative people naturally produce false-positives. Ideas that they think are good but aren't. Ideas that other people have already had. Mediocre ideas that contain buried within them the seeds of much better ideas.

Part of the draw-down period is about sifting through that. In the way that a good steak must be aged, or the way that we let meat marinate in spices and sauce, an idea must be given a bit of space. Rushing into things eliminates that space. It quashes the questioning, the consideration, the second-guessing that produces an idea that is strong and resilient and valuable.

The other reason for the draw-down period is simply to prepare for the mammoth nature of the task in front of you. A book takes months of writing, possibly years. Movies take longer. Scientific discoveries might take decades to properly articulate. This is not a process one ought to dive into unknowingly. Just as we take a big breath before we go underwater, we need to grab some air before we bury ourselves with a creative pursuit.

Is this something we are sure we want to do? Are we prepared to give up and sacrifice what the project will call for? Are we ready to work for days on end with no visible sign of progress?

Those are just the existential questions. The practical ones: What loose ends do I need to tie up? What distractions can I eliminate? Do I have enough money? Am I in shape for this?

As we resolve these issues, ordinary passion is replaced with hardened purpose. We start to feel as Boyd did. We start to get excited again. But real excitement this time—not newness and naïveté. It is here that the draw-down period has come to an end, never to return.

Except it does. Although Boyd never spoke of this, I think there is a second draw-down period. It comes after the work is more or less done but before it is public. When the book is offered to the printers but before the release date. When the movie is in the can but before promo has started. When the paper is accepted to the journal but won't be published for several months. The work is out of our hands…but hasn't quite reached the masses yet.

Now we have another round of questions: What have we done? Did all that really happen? Am I sure I want to go through with it? What if it doesn't work?

This is the most private and lonely of all the creative phases. The die has been cast but we have no idea what it will land on. It's not excitement we feel but dread.

And so, with this nervous energy and doubt, our mind begins to race and we think of our next project. To start the cycle over again. TC mark

You Don’t Need A Hero In Your Fairytale, You Can Save Yourself

Posted: 28 Apr 2016 02:00 PM PDT

Flickr, Joana Ceccarelli
Flickr, Joana Ceccarelli

When I have a daughter,
I will tell her that fairytales are nice,
but misleading.
A beast is usually just that –
few turn out to be princes.
The same goes for toads.
Fairy godmothers rarely show up
with the right shoes at the right time.
If you wait to be rescued,
there's no telling who'll climb your hair
and ruin everything.
Stay away from the tower windows,
don't rely on dwarves,
find your own happy ending.
You save yourself
or you remain unsaved. TC mark

Wait For The One Who Speaks To Your Soul

Posted: 28 Apr 2016 01:00 PM PDT


Please, I beg you, do not settle for mediocracy.

I know, these days it seems like nearly everyone is in such a hurry for "true love" that they wind up settling for someone who is so unworthy of them. And it's a travesty. They do it merely so they don't have to spend their nights alone. They settle for poor online banter and half-assed promises that never come true.

Please, don't be one of those misguided people.

Don't settle for dinners spent staring at phone screens instead of into each other's eyes. Do not be okay with going three days without talking to someone who pretends to care about you immensely.

You don't have to be content with that.

Wait for the person who makes your heart beat faster by simply saying your name. Wait for someone who will twirl the strands of your hair around their fingers while they tell you how terribly they have missed you that day, even if the two of you were only apart for a few hours. Wait for someone who can point out the smiley-faced freckle hidden on your knee, and tell you it is their favorite feature on your body.

They should clutch you tighter to them in the middle of the night, just to make sure they are still lucky enough to be in your presence. They should buy you roses and make you dinner every once in a while, just because they know you deserve it and you are worthy.

Wait for the person who gets so lost staring into your eyes that you both forget what song is even playing in that moment. Wait for the person who wants to get to know your parents, your family, and how they raised someone as wonderful as you.

Wait for someone who yearns to understand you, where you came from, and still loves you more than ever.

You deserve to wake up smiling every morning, because you know you are so very deeply loved just because you are you. You deserve to shake the first time your lips touch theirs, half-delusional from the anticipation. You deserve someone who wants to go out with you on a Friday night, and wake up next to you ready for even more adventures on Saturday morning. You deserve someone who understands you so completely, it is unnecessary to explain yourself. Because they simply already know the thoughts running through your complicated, but beautiful mind, and they know how to put your fears at ease.

You deserve someone who will stand by you at your best and catch you when you succumb to the worst. You deserve someone who will wipe every tear away and turn the suffocating darkness into beautiful rays of sunshine.

Please, because you are so beyond worth it, wait for the one who speaks to your soul. TC mark

7 Truths About Marriage You Will Not Hear In Church

Posted: 28 Apr 2016 12:15 PM PDT


Ever wish you had the answers to a test before you walked into the classroom? Maybe some of you did have the answers, but you better keep that to yourself. I took some really hard tests during my time in college.

And if you spent time in college you remember review days. The professor would walk into a class full of students (some of which I had never seen) and give some insights about the impending test. Miss review day, and it would be foolish to expect a passing grade.

But it never failed. I would follow the guideline. I would study the handout. But on the day of the exam, the professor would put the exam on my desk…and there it was. A foreign formula or equation. It wasn't in the notes. It didn't show up on the study guide.

Looking back, I realize something…the teacher did not intend for the study guide to be comprehensive. It was simply not possible to include everything from the required readings, class notes, and lectures.

The same is true with the church and marriage. I am grateful for the foundation the church gave me in regards to marriage. It was a good study guide. But there some things on the test I did not learn until marriage began. So, I am going to give you some answers to the test that some of you might not expect to see. I grew up in church. I spent most of my time with Christian people. I was told much about marriage. But these 7 truths about marriage I never heard in church.

1. Sex is a gift from God. Explore it.

Make no mistake…God created sex. But through the years, God's people allowed Satan to steal this gift. Without a fight.

God created sex. If you're married, explore this gift to the fullest.

I was never educated about sex…and I grew up in a Christian family. My framework for sex was built by my friends and the movies I watched. Big UH OH. The cloud of lies formed during my teenage years still hinder me from enjoying the fullness of sex.

It is time for God's people to take back the gift of sex. The lies surrounding it are ruining lives and marriages. If you are married, here's a challenge. Explore sex. Explore the fullness of it. Pray for sexual intimacy with your spouse.

Parents…it is time to stop allowing Satan to define sex for our children. Educate them. Start early. The average child is exposed to pornography at age 11. Eleven!! And many parents wait until high school to have "the talk" with their children. At that point, you are not building a foundation for sex. You're trying to destroy a foundation Satan has already built.

Church leaders…I am convinced of this. The situation in our culture today is too urgent to allow parents to override you here. Talk about sex. If parents refuse to educate their children, you do it. Do not let Satan beat you to the punch. A false understanding of sex is destroying young people. It is destroying our nation. It is destroying the world. And we are doing nothing!

Sex is a beautiful gift created by God for a man and a woman that have vowed to spend the rest of their earthly lives with one another. If you are married…open this gift and enjoy the fullness of it.

2. There is more than one person out there for you.

Soul mates are made…not born. I am not sure where this idea of soul mate originated, but it is false. Maintaining a healthy relationship is more about commitment than perfection. Every person on earth has imperfections. And the reality is we could spend our lives with more than one person.

Tiffani (my wife) is not perfect. There are nuances about her that frustrate me. But I realize these frustrations are really a result of my imperfections. I love her so much. And I love her more every day. I am committed to her.

I meet too many young people waiting for something that is not real. "I just couldn't marry her because she smacked her food." "He just wasn't the one…he had this weird twitch when he smiled. But I know my soul mate is still out there. I just have to keep looking."

Or you might have just missed him or her.

What if God does not want you to find a perfect person, but an imperfect person that will draw you closer to Him? What if God desires you to marry a person with flaws to expose yours? What if God wants to teach you the value found in committing to one person forever, not the exhausting pursuit of searching your entire life to find the perfect person?

Soul mates are made…not born.

3. The first year of marriage is hard…really hard.

What have we done? Are we going to make it? Why is this so hard? All questions I asked myself many times during my first year of marriage. We were arguing. We were fighting. It was really hard. And every day I thought something was wrong. I thought we had a bad marriage. Nobody warned me about the first year. But take this as a warning…the first year of marriage is difficult.

If you are in the first year of marriage and thinking about giving up…congratulations. You are now…married!

But let me encourage you…things get better. Every marriage has struggles. Yours is not unique. Don't give up. There are better days coming. Your marriage will get better. Do not walk out. Nothing worth having comes easy. If you walk out now you disqualify yourself (and your spouse) from years of joy.

4. A spouse does not complete you.

I hate you, Jerry Maguire. You brainwashed a generation to believe a lie. Spouses do not complete people. I bought this lie, and it wasn't until I let go of any notion my wife could fill some void that I was able to truly love her. Until then, I was always frustrated. I expected Tiffani to do something she was incapable of doing.

If you are empty, broken, or insecure, and you believe a spouse is the silver bullet to your problems…buckle up. Marriage will be a bumpy ride. Only God can fill those voids. You will never be able to enjoy the beauty of marriage if your spouse's job is to complete you.

You can't experience joy in your marriage if your spouse's job is to complete you.

5. Marry somebody with similar goals, dreams, and passions.

Marry a Christian, yes. But I would go even further. Marry somebody with similar passions and dreams. Now, I understand this breaks down at some point. People are not machines. No two people want exactly the same thing in life. However, if you love foreign missions and your potential spouse hates going overseas, some tension will arise.

Synergy is extremely important in a marriage. If your spouse has the same vision as you, they will understand your struggles and support your pursuits. They will encourage your walk. They will be empathetic. There is much power in two people doing life with the same goals, dreams, and passions for life.

6. Marriage is not for everybody.

Paul talks about this in I Corinthians 7. He tells the church at Corinth to remain in their current situation. If unmarried, then stay unmarried. If married, then stay married. He later says this…

So then the person who marries his fiancee does well, and the person who doesn't marry does even better. –1 Corinthians 7:38

Even better? I never heard that in church. Maybe it is time for God's people to accept the reality. God has not called everyone to marry. I talk with young men and women that consumed with finding a spouse. And most of the pressure comes from…US. The church. Once a person reaches mid-twenties, we assume they have a fatal flaw if they aren't married.

"Bless your heart. You are almost 30 and not married? I know this must be hard!?"

Shame on us. I am worried many failed marriages are the result of Christians pressuring people into something God did not design them for. Marriage is holy and good, but it is also possible to follow Jesus without a spouse.

7. The wedding day is a lie…don’t buy it.

I love weddings. I love officiating them. It is a rare moment where I get to make a divine proclamation that forever changes the status of two people. Powerful.

But in an increasingly individualistic, "me" culture, weddings create a potentially dangerous situation. "Every girl lives for her wedding day." It is all about the bride and groom. Everyone looks at them. Encourages them. Congratulates them.

Don't buy the wedding day lie. Marriage is not about you.

Many couples buy the lie of the wedding day…it is all about me. But marriage is at odds with this mindset. A successful wedding day is one where everyone serves you. A successful marriage is one where you serve your spouse. The wedding day is a day where the spotlight is on you. Marriage has no spotlight. The wedding day is about saying a bunch of words that most couples never take seriously. Marriage is about putting the words into action. The wedding day is joyous and celebratory. Many seasons of marriage are about persevering and not letting go through the storms.

Embrace your wedding day. Prepare for it. Celebrate it. But do not make the mistake of believing the lie. After your 20 minutes of fame, the spotlight is gone forever. It is no longer about you (and this is a good thing…you will see).

What are some truths you have discovered about marriage the church never taught you? There were several more I had to remove because of length. Let’s continue the discussion!

I love you all. To God be the glory forever. Amen! TC mark