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Do What You Love With Those That Love You Back

This year I have witnessed magic time and time again.

I have forgiven many who have wronged me while taking away their power by not waiting for their apologies or bothering with their excuses.

I have climbed more than one mountain at a time, by learning many things at once. I always knew when someone said I was stretching myself too thin it was because they didn’t understand the power of baby steps, discipline and passion.

I have reached a point where I am addicted to progress. Or addicted to what many call the journey. I enjoy the walk to the destination so much that at times I just keep walking.

I Learned to use my ‘flaws’ as my strengths and learned to love myself not for the person that I could be but the person that I am.

I have learned to accept love from myself and others.

I have learned that an angry introverted child translates into a passionate disciplined adult.

I no longer regret not being different when I never had the option to be anyone but myself. I would never want to be anyone but me. This being something that I not just know, but understand is the gift of being able to live another year.

To constantly connecting.

To doing more of what you love with the people that love you back.

To understanding ourselves and the world around us more and more each year. Wishing my readers another year of magic! I am grateful for you all.

 

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The Luxury of the False Prophet

Karate Kid and Mr. Miyagi, Rick and Morty, J Cole and Kanye. The story of the false prophet and the lost boy is a story that has been retold and relived for centuries. The notion that it is ok for young boys to follow the guidance of an unqualified older male in order to fulfill some great destiny is troubling.

The idolization of false prophets by boys in an attempt to become men makes me wonder if it is Art imitating life, life imitating art or a little bit of both. The examples above are not the first time that we see boys attempting to become men or men attempting to become gods. In fact this is a prevalent theme in western stories. Also, where do the girls stand in all this?

As a pre-teen I would watch Sailor Moon, the story of a young dumb girl in search of her destiny. As a girl this was one of the only shows where a girl actually had a destiny larger than herself. However, like many stories where girls attempt to become women or goddesses, they are not supplied with an older, wiser woman to guide them through it all. Why would they do that when all of the older women are being portrayed as witches? No, what they are supplied with is a man. This man becomes their help, their torture and their goal all at once.

The notion of a girl having a destiny to begin with was so important to us that the fact that Sailor Moon was too young for Tuxedo Mask, the fact that he treated her horribly and did nothing to really help in battles but throw roses at her, and the fact that her ultimate destiny was to eventually become a wife and mother completely went over our little heads. What mattered to us most was that Sailor Moon had a destiny greater than herself. What mattered to us was that Sailor Moon had room to grow, that there was a difference between being a girl and a woman and it went beyond the changes our bodies go through at an age where we barely know what it means to be a person, much less a woman.

Boys and men have always had the luxury of having destinies to fulfill. Their bodies do not dictate whether they are boys or men, their actions do.  For us females it has always been different. Even now as we see a growing trend of strong female leads in the media, we still have a long way to go.

We have reached a point where females are being seen as tough and independent without the help of a man. This is great and exciting, however regardless of how ridiculous a false prophet may seem, females need to have this luxury. And not in the way that the fairy godmother helps Cinderella get pretty for a man. But in the way that we are able to see other women as worthy enough to follow. In order for a girl to be able to look up to a woman, that woman has to be beautiful, smart, wise and kind. In order for a boy to be able to look up to a man, all that man has to be is a male with similar interests.

The fact is that all prophets are false prophets. We are all following our own paths and when our paths do coincide, we arrive there by completely different means. But to grow up in a world where the older women are witches, while the older men are prophets says a lot about the way we perceive our reality as women.

As we unlock the chains set for us, we begin to see how many more restraints we are currently living with. Every human being is secretly fighting to control the world, regardless of whether we stay in it or die for it. We are fighting to mold the world closer to our vision of what it should be. Whether our intentions are pure or not is another story. It would be not an honor, but a right for women to be portrayed as having a destiny. To then give our gender the importance it deserves, we must understand that we are not just capable of being destined for greatness, but also of leading each other through womanhood.

We are born in one world, live in another and die in the one we’ve created. It is only fair that we have equal share in the creation of the world that we as a gender give birth to.

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Paying For Air

PBS wants you to donate. The FDNY wants you to honor them. Pepsi wants you to drink it. McDonalds wants you to eat it. Chipotle wants you to eat it, but it also wants you to know that it is not McDonalds. Dr. Zizmore wants you to look at yourself and see how much better you could be if you went to him. BMCC wants you to enroll, and bring your baby with you.

We are out here giving our time, energy and attention away to ideals that most likely do not apply to our personal life. Our attention span is not getting smaller, it’s just that there is only so much of it to go around.

When mentally exhausted from just our daily commute, we turn to our phones for a break, where we meet demands from literally everyone and their mothers. To know and interact with hundreds of acquaintances, from their daily life, the things they like, the way they feel and even the way people we don’t even know feel about these contacts, is a bit much. The fact that this is how we escape is preposterous. The fact that many of us have become so addicted to escaping the present that we do so by getting stuck in someone else’s past is even crazier.

When we look down at our phones, at least we choose what we see, who we are friends with and who we follow. With the exception of ads, of course (they choose you). If you gave your audio permissions away to the social media apps on your mobile tracking device then your phone is most likely listening in for key ad words. Even our escape is another version of the thing we are trying so desperately to get away from.

If you attend an event, and you take a picture and post it with the hashtag of the marketing campaign that designed the event, you get the free thing. This thing is often times more free advertising, such as a shirt, a cup, a pin, etc.

Welcome to the world of experimental marketing, where they make sure you fucking look at them. Where they take something that you love to do, make it their own, tell you it’s free and make sure that you know why. They know that our attention is limited, they know that we are becoming dull and tired so they offer us free experiences for the chance to be the only brand in our face for that period of time.

Try to think how many times during a day you are solely thinking about yourself. For what baby boomers call the most selfish generation, I’d say not much, with the exception of the occasional selfie. And even then, we have to question why we are posting what we post. Is it really our own? I admire artists who never go to galleries and musicians who aren’t music snobs for this very reason. It’s like when pregnant women put headphones on their stomachs. The baby doesn’t know what it’s listening to, but it will also never know that listening to Enya while in the womb is one of the reasons why it decided to become a monk.

Their trick is to either take things that you have become conditioned to not live without and make you pay for them or create a new need, offer it for free, and then charge you for it once you are hooked. Our new need is attention and experience. Our attention span isn’t small or limited, it is being taken without our consent. We are a generation of renaissance people. No other generation has been as sympathetic, strong, articulate, artistic and diverse as ours. And I hope that the generation that comes after is even stronger, more expressive, artistic and diverse than ours.

Maybe I’ll pay $100 for an hour of silence in a chamber of salts and water. That should clear my head. Peace and silence have become so rare that in the future none of us would mind paying for air.

“Your diet isn’t always what you eat, it’s what you watch it’s what you listen to, so I’m mindful of what I ingest, and so there was basically nothing there that was feeding me. I have a computer, that’s enough there I can pick and choose what’s feeding me. I didn’t have a TV because I wasn’t trying to be fed by that. The same way some people don’t eat meat. It’s about minding my diet.”Saul Williams

 

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Rebel With a Dress Code

Almost two years ago I went to the clothing store and bought three sweater-dresses for work. The office life has its dress code and I didn’t want to spend too much money on my Monday through Friday 9-5 life so I bought what I called a series of 40 hour uniforms.

Over a short period of time I realized that these sweater-dresses were affecting my work life. I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin so my work life suffered. My hair is naturally big, my jokes are darker than most people can handle and I like taking fashion risks. I wasn’t able to be myself in most of my life during that time. Ask yourself; What do you spend 40 hours a week on other than work? Most of us don’t even spend that much time sleeping. We even see our coworkers more than our loved ones, then waste our post-work time stretching out our personalities that have been confined in a cell for 8 hours or more. It’s not fair to not be yourself during that time. I refuse to go to after-work happy hours out of obligation or take lunch with co-workers for the same reason. And when asked what I am listening to while I work I no longer come up with a random popular band, but say that I am listening to Sword & Scale, a true crime podcast which shows us that the worst monsters are real.

Some of my co-workers occasionally wear jeans and sneakers as an act of rebellion, but at the end of the day, they are still walking around as toned down versions of themselves. The jeans are dark, the sneakers are bland and the shirts are buttoned up to the neck. There was a time where I too felt like rebelling against the dress code. But we sometimes forget that in small acts of rebellion we give a part of ourselves away to the one thing we refuse to give our power to. It’s a catch 22. Also, why get in trouble for being our half selves, when our full selves need that paycheck? By finding small reasons to be 50% of ourselves we start to lose who we truly are as a whole.

This year I refuse to break the dress code, but I also refuse to fit in. Instead I am wearing bright print jammy pants, tribal shirts and boots that would look good with any tight black leather cat suit. There is a way to be myself without rebelling. Not only am I better at my job, because I am more confident than ever, but others respect me more because as a result of my confidence, my work is no longer questioned. Another effect of being my full self is that I no longer hate my job. Surprise surprise! Would you look at that?

In our over-saturated, ego-driven society we constantly hear people preach about leaving their jobs to be happy. What they don’t tell you about is the part time, under-the-table-paying night job they have to work in order to pay the bills. They don’t tell you about their outstanding credit card debt. They also don’t tell you that the reason they are constantly diving deeper into spiritualism, yoga, crystals, chakras, meditation, self-healing retreats and all other self-calming tools that are trending at the moment is because the daily stress of instability requires them to do all the work above in order to keep calm. It is a push and pull of the ego and the spirit. The ego quits, the body feels the outcome and then reaches for the soul. The fact that these mindful leisurely activities are trending also allows their Instagram followers to grow, causing their false sense of success to grow as well.  It’s a push and pull of constantly having to kill two birds with one stone. Not to say that I am happy at my job, but I am content. Content is what we search for in Buddhism, so why knock it when you have it? My higher purpose in life has become a lifestyle, not an activity. Never will I allow work to mentally confine me or exert me to the point that I am not able to do what I love, keep growing or feel happiness.

I know what I am doing and it shows. If who you are someone who prefers to fit in, then by all means do what makes you happy. We are not all born to be in the spotlight, regardless of what modern society tells you. Attempting to be a star when who you truly are and feel most at peace being is a fly on the wall, is also a form of watering yourself down. And if you plan to fake it till you make it, then fake a little harder. However, if you are toning and watering down who you truly are for most of your life then ask yourself, whose life are you living?

Make a decision. Every day we wake up and decide who we want to be. The reactions we make, the clothes we wear, the words we say, the smiles we fake and sentiments we stand for. I haven’t gone shopping for clothes in almost a year and my outfits have been more fabulous than ever before. Much like my closet, I already had everything I was looking for.