We’re Moving But Don’t Be Sad 


Since September 2014, I have written in this space called Living The Dream.  I have emptied my heart into this blog writing about some tough topics. I have used this site both as a therapeutic space and a sounding board for my views.

Thank you.

Thank you for allowing me to vent and speak my truth.  Thank you all for being here and following the journey. Thank you for sticking by LTD and leaving your comments.  I truly appreciate it all.

But this is not the end.   I decided to move to a self-hosted site!  Starting tomorrow, if you come to this site you will be redirected to the new one appropriately titled Antonio L Vereen.  I wanted to bring you more, but being on this .com site limited that.

So expect the same great content on the new site.  Be sure to sign up for the email newsletter to stay up to date and bookmark the site for easy reference.

Again, thank you all so much and look forward to seeing you all on the new site, Antonio L. Vereen.  Don’t forget to leave me a comment and let me know you stopped by!





You know exactly what you want out of life. You know who you want to be. You know who you are right now. You have a plan. Goals are laid out. So what is stopping you? 


You need to see yourself as a success before it actually happens. Whatever your definition of success is, you need to see it. See it daily. Picture what it would look like to you. 

Keep that vision cemented in your head and work on the plan to get there. It may not always be clear. So break it up in 90 day chunks so you can see the progress better and more quickly. 

All the hard work in the world won’t get you there without the vision. 

It’s time to see it and achieve it. 

Let’s go. 


My first guest post: Live Your Life, Serve Your Country and Show No Weakness

I recently had the opportunity to guest post for my writing friend the wonderful, Shawna Ayoub Ainslie who runs the site The Honeyed Quill.   This was a tough and eye-opening post for me to write and I am grateful for her asking me to write on this topic.  Let me know what you think below in the comments below.

Live Your Life, Serve Your Country and Show No Weakness

I am not an emotional person.  Well, the old me isn’t anyway.  My prior profession, serving in the military, made me void of any emotions long ago.  It was seen as a weakness to truly care about the soldiers that you were in charge of.  The culture of the military is to mask your emotions and get on with the business of defending this country.

I was lock, step and heel in that philosophy, too.  Don’t show any emotions so that your subordinates, peers and superiors don’t mistake it for fear.  Because who wants a sensitive soldier around?  We can’t trust them.  Feelings are for women and you know where that gets you.  That’s the type of thing I used to hear all the time.

soldier monument

But I quickly saw on my transition out of the military that it’s just not that institution that feels that way. Society as a whole doesn’t want sensitive, emotional men.  It has become a common thread throughout the country that masculinity and being sensitive are polar opposites. Truly, you can’t be both and be taken seriously as a man. 

Why is that?  I started to look back at my own life when I started to write this so as to use myself as a case study.  What I found brought me to tears.  Sure, I have been loved throughout my life.  My parents loved and still love me.  But my mother was the only one who really showed it.  My parents divorced in the mid-1980s and my father gained custody of my younger brother and me. I lived with him and our new family unit until shortly after my 18th birthday. 

My father was a career Army man, too.  He was the poster boy of the popular slogan “Be All That You Can Be.” He devoted every waking moment to his profession and it showed.  He was not an emotional man at all.  In fact, I only remember my father crying one time; when my stepmother was moving out of the house. I don’t remember him crying at my high school graduation.  I don’t remember him showing any emotion when my oldest daughter, his first grandchild, was born.  Nothing at all.  To be fair, maybe he did but I was so conditioned to not paying attention to it that I didn’t notice it. I doubt it though. 

This was my model:  Live your life, serve your country, and show no weakness.  Don’t show it to women that you are involved with.  And under no circumstances will you allow a man to know, see, or hear that you were emotional. 

I have broken these rules many times.  I have cried uncontrollably at times in my life and been told that I was too sensitive.  Even by those closest to my heart.  It stung, but I regrouped, added more bricks to the wall and continued to shut myself off from the world. 

In 2013 I was diagnosed with an adjustment disorder which was actually depression. When I came to grips with that, I started to let my guard down. Since starting my blog in September 2014, post after post, month after month I have slowly taken a brick down from this wall and let the world in. Unintentionally I came to grips with how I was feeling and how I needed to change.  By allowing myself to be vulnerable to the world, I was becoming my true self: an emotional yet masculine man. 

Now, I still have issues showing emotions to loved ones.  It’s just not going to happen overnight, mind you. It is a daily process, but I want every man who is reading this to understand that you can be both.  That it doesn’t take away your manhood to take your feelings into account.  Some decisions can be made emotionally.  Not all, but some.  You can be emotional about sports as well as the current state of our nation.  You can show genuine gratitude and emotion to another man and not feel less than him. 

It is time to run your life both with your heart and mind as equal partners in the pursuit of your greatness. 


What If Tomorrow Wasn’t Promised? 

if tomorrow wasn't promised

It’s six o’clock in the morning.  I just told you that today is your last day on Earth.  What would you do differently?  Would you lay in the bed contemplating your existence?  Wondering where you went wrong and about all the time you wasted.

Or would you get up out of the bed and be accountable for your 86,400 seconds for this single day?  See, we all seem to think that tomorrow is promised to us.  This should not be a shock to you, but it’s not.  Nothing in this life is permanent.  Not a relationship, a job, etc.  Nothing lasts forever and what you are doing now is temporary and in the moment.

So if today was your last day, you should be doing your best to accomplish everything you have been procrastinating about.  But it shouldn’t take this ominous event to get you to take some action should it?

No, this is the very reason for the saying, Carpe Diem, which mean Seize the Day. And that is how you should be every damn day.  You should ready every day to make the most of each second.  To not waste it frivolously.

So get up and get started.  Yes, right now.  Don’t waste this day.  Stop reading this.  Start doing what you need to do to conquer your dreams.

It’s time to get to work.


You Are Worthy

you are worthy simply because you exist.
The world is not fair.  Some people get all the breaks in life.  I will never amount to anything.  Why am I even here?  Sound familiar?  Any of it?
Each of you reading this today can identify with these sentences.  At some point in your life, you will say one of them or something similar.  You will feel like no matter what you say or do, you can’t get any further in life.

Ok.  Well, I don’t agree with you. I know that the entire world is not fair, but mine is.  My world is everything around me that I can affect.  I don’t care about the chaos going on around me. You know why?  Because I know my worth and you should, too.

You are worthy simply because you exist.

Yes, it’s just that simple.  There is honestly no difference between you and the next person.  Especially a celebrity.  Well, at least, one thing: they realized their worth earlier than you.  That’s it. They knew that they had someone to offer the world and they knew they could do it.

That’s what being worthy is about.  Recognizing that you were born this way and that you can do and be anything you put your mind to. I know there are some skeptics out there.  People who say that this is all lies and everyone is not born with the same advantages.

But I am telling you the truth.  There will be tough times and obstacles. There will be times that you feel like quitting and giving up.  But you can’t do that.  Too many people do in life already.  Be different.

Be different and believe in yourself. Be different and know you are something special created by the cosmos to be exceptional.  Be different and ACTUALLY believe these words and act upon them.  Don’t pay lip service to your worthiness.  Use it as fuel and realize your potential is beyond imagination.

No one is better than you.  No one wants it more than you.  So now prove it to yourself.  Prove that these words aren’t falling on death ears.  It’s not going to be easy, but nothing worth having  ever was.  


Success vs Failure

Time and time again I see this come up. Comparing ourselves to others and feeling let down.  Why? Why would you compare your life to others?  No two lives are the same.

Even if we live in the same house our successes and failures will never be the same.  Be steadfast in your convictions.  Remember your goals and why you are doing them.

Stop comparing yourself to others and do the damn work.  Do what is necessary to create your definition of success. And by the way, success is inevitable.  You just have to choose when you want to have it in your life.


Dream Your Dream

Keep dreaming. Don’t allow people to tell you dreaming is silly. Don’t allow people to tell you that you need to grow up and be responsible.

Dreaming is responsible. As long as you are acting on them. As long as you trying to elevate your life and that of others.

Keep Dreaming with your eyes wide open. Don’t miss a thing.


Healing Ourselves On The Page (Guest Post)

I have always wanted someone to guest post for Living the Dream but was very hesitant about how that would affect the message.  Well, the Universe connected me to an extraordinary  writer at the right time. Recently writing about my own battles with depression I feel like it was only fitting that this post be published now.  

Please welcome Shawna Ayoub Ainslie to LTD.  She is a writing coach in Bloomington, IN. You can find her at her online home, The Honeyed Quill, editing its sister site, On the Verge Magazine, or coordinating the Four Paws for Noah writing competitions. Her writing has recently appeared in The Archipelago, [wherever], RoleReboot, The Manifest-Station and Art Saves Lives International. Shawna offers resources for beginning your own practice of writing for self-care here.  Please read her post below. 

Healing Ourselves on the Page

by Shawna Ayoub Ainslie

I teach expressive writing for traumatic release and recovery. The individuals that come to my classes and retreats or work with me one-on-one are a fascinating mix of old, young, parents, students, teachers, and retirees. Some show up because they need to let go of addictions or persistent fears. Many show up simply because they want to write, or just because my class fit into their schedules and they wanted something to do, not because they consider themselves wounded in any way. But the truth is we are all wounded. This means we are all capable of healing if we do the work.

A lot of what I teach is acceptance. I was abused as a child. I never forgot, but I did move on. The birth of my first child jerked me roughly back into the mindset of a victim. I lost myself for a time. My present became the wait for the next flashback, a monitoring of now for then. I was unable to move out of that cycle because I refused (actively) to accept the extent to which my childhood trauma still hurt me. More specifically, I was afraid of accepting my past because I knew it would make me angry like my abusers.

Eventually, I connected with a therapist who took note that I am a writer. She aimed me toward my anger and put a pen in my hand. “Write it all,” she told me. “Every terrible bit.”

I did. I wrote until my hand cramped and the page tore and my shirt was wet with tears. I wrote until my throat was raw from screaming because sometimes my voice on the page wasn’t enough. I kept writing until I looked up and found myself at a fork in the road. One path led toward a light. The other remained in darkness. I had written my way to acceptance in the process of release.

I turned toward the light and took the first steps toward recovery. For a ways, my anger came with me, carrying me when I wearied. It is still with me so many miles later, a support that perpetuates my transition from wounded to healing. From victim to survivor.

We are all wounded, but we have not all chosen to heal and survive. Some of us are still walking in the dark. Teaching expressive writing is my way of offering a hand to those I see lost in their shadows. It is also a tool to steady those who come to the page with no expectation except to write, but find themselves leaning precariously over a yawning gulf when a memory unexpectedly dragged them to that cliff. I remind them, “You are in charge of your story. You can always write your way home.”

Which is exactly what I do for myself. I write my heart free of restraint. I write myself whole. It is not always beautiful or sensible or even true, but it is work I can do to heal myself. It is work you can do as well.