Land of the “Free,” Home of the “Depraved.”

The trouble with being free, is that, are we really as free as we are led to believe?

There are some people who will argue that in the philosophical sense of the universe and the great mystery that is the construct of destiny, in all accounts of the word; we as a human race are most definitely not free. 

But there are always two sides to a story, or two faces to a coin, or a two for one drink special.

What I like to believe is that many of the choices I make in life are of my own bidding, and so I’m going to try and convince you why you should try to embrace the philosophy that “you are a free-bodied spirit and you are entitled to all the decisions you make in life.”

Granted, it’s not an easy concept to grasp. Anything even significantly philosophy related is always a cause for head-scratching or the occasional existential crisis when the time arises. But I’m hoping to avoid those thing altogether. They happen, so let’s just assume that they’re a necessary evil and there’s nothing you can do to stop them.

However, that’s not the point of this blog post today, is it? No, the point of this post is to engage you in the liberty that is freedom of choice; creating the mindset that you undoubtedly are a free spirit and a free individual.

But I don’t think that mental freedom is enough to be considered worthy of being a “free individual.” I think that people may feel comfortable and free in their minds; but is that the only extent to which they feel a sliver or a fragment of clarity?

I understand that what I’m about to imply next may seem a bit unreasonable or rash in most regards, but you have to recognize the constrictions that people are being put under nowadays and the various restraints they are putting on themselves without even knowing.

One of the biggest issues that I think people have with expression of freedom or individuality is the repressive pressure of society. Society is this expansive creation of a beast that does much in the way of putting restraints and restrictions on what is “expected” or “recognized” of us [citizens, members of society, etc].

In a big picture sense I believe there’s an incredibly disastrous problem that’s arising (or that has already arose) because of this. People are so afraid of “society” that we can’t even begin to express who we are without feeling the pressure” of condescension or disapproval.  

As we grow up as individuals and learn about integrating into the world around us; we often set up these mental boundaries that act as precautionary posts or safeguards, which help as preventative measures so that we don’t find ourselves in what might be thought of as “potentially threatening” situations. What becomes problematic of these “mental boundaries” is that there’s never a time in our lives that we’re told we should take them down. And so in becoming adults we are eventually stuck with these defensive posts which divide us from the world in which we live.

And it is from this distinction that I feel as though one of the most effective (if not the only) way of combating with this mental, and ultimately physical segregation that we develop while growing up is to… And bare with me on this one….

Sing & Dance. Yes, you read that correctly, I said sing and dwnce, I didn’t make a typo. Well… actually, yeah I did make one little typo; I meant to say “sing and dance,” not “sing and dwnce.” Sing and dance, sing and dance, sing and dance, not sing or dance, but Sing & Dance. But that’s besides the point, and I hope recognizing my little spelling error has given you more than enough time to ring out more than a few ideas or thoughts about what the words sing & dance mean to you. Sure, you may have thought about Gene Kelly from Singing In The Rain or Anchors Aweigh; perhaps you side-stepped right into John Travolta and his gang of T-Birds from Grease, or maybe all you could think about was Neil Patrick Harris and his countless broadway inspired performances as host for the Tony Awards.

Whether you imagined all of those people listed above, or if you imagined none of them, you still have an idea about what singing and dancing means. An maybe for a select few of you, you might already know what singing and dancing feels like. Perhaps you’ve experienced the rush of performing, that indescribable emotion of fear and excitement all in one. It’s damn near impossible to replicate, wouldn’t you agree? But the feeling of that rush is so liberating. It’s a sense of euphoria that grips you at one moment, clenching you with a ferocity so tight you feel as though you might suffocate; and then as a moment passes, it releases you. It releases you, but it doesn’t just let you go, it frees you, it eradicates every molecule of pain and suffering in your body, it washes away all traces of disease and leaves you feeling so vulnerable and yet so powerful. 

When I said the feeling of that emotion is something indescribable, I meant it. No amount of descriptive explanation could even begin to scratch the surface of what that sort of sensation feels like to those who have experienced it. It truly is a sense of embrace that you couldn’t begin to imagine.

And with that being said, I think that’s the majesty of freedom. Individualistic freedom has that sort of power; it has that kind of authority and it knows how to “release” you. It’s hard to put this kind of concept/idea into words, but I’m trying to formulate the best embodiment of it that I can muster. I know that from time to time my eloquence in writing can slip and become prey to the overbearing tides of confusion, and yet I believe that there are sometimes that I think I shouldn’t fight it. Sometimes I feel as though going against the tide in reality is going against everything that I might be standing for.

So here’s my argument; here’s what I propose. If I can’t effectively replicate that sensation of amazement and wonder that singing and dancing emits, then I’m going to extend an invitation to you. I’m inviting you to take action and explore that side of life that you’ve never dared to cross. Sure, the implications of what I’m suggesting you do could perhaps be going against every fiber of your belief system. But what is there to lose?

Fear is in itself an illusory construct that can take years to overcome; and if fear has a grip on you so tight that you couldn’t shake it off for even a fraction of a second, then this post means nothing to you (in which case I am sorry for wasting your time).

But if you have but a microscopic bit of impulse hidden somewhere deep within you; I’m telling you to find it, and I’m tell you to use it. Go out and find that freedom we always neglect; that freedom that we always so often ignore.

Singing and dancing doesn’t have to be on a Broadway stage in front of a 2,000 seat audience (99.9% of us will never get that opportunity in our life, so don’t worry yourself with that). But that doesn’t mean you should discourage yourself from finding freedom, or unlocking happiness. 

Sing and dance on your way to work.

Ignore the preconceived notions of society; neglect the presumptuous standards that we as citizens have to “act a certain way” or “behave in an appropriate manner,” when in fact those rules and regulations are destroying the very essence of who we are.

I understand the underlying messages at work in this post might seem a bit clouded or distraught at first; but I say give it a little time to settle. Maybe the way that I perceive the world is far different from the way that you do; but what I do know is that if I can find a way to express my freedom and individuality in a manner that promotes “product” and creates “content,” so can you.


Be Authentic. Be Direct. Be Unapologetic.

Ash Beckham is an LGBT advocate, who gave a TED: Ideas Worth Spreading (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talk a little over a year ago about the experience of “coming out of the closet,” incidentally not in the conventional sense that people would usually assume. She describes “Coming Out” as an experience that anyone and everyone goes through, and in her opinion coming out is any time that someone is dealing with an often difficult topic or struggle that they need to handle or manage before it gets out of control.

Throughout her talk, she refers to her own personal experiences with being gay, and commonly refers to what she calls a “gay grenade,” a symbolic metaphor that signifies the inevitable awkwardness and situational discomfort that arises when controversial or ambiguous topics are being dealt with. From listening to her talk (which I highly recommend to all), I learned a few things about myself and about how we ultimately associate our struggles and challenges with others in life.

Throughout life, I often considered my life to be a bit more of a struggle than many of the other people that I have met in life, and after listening to Beckham’s talk, I learned the humility of life and that everyone’s experience are unique and challenging in their own right. She declared that the difficulty of “hard” is not relative, “hard is hard,” no matter how you spin it. And that there is no such thing as one’s own life experiences being “harder” than someone else’s. 

It sprung a connection with the common phrase, “Everyone is fighting their own battle,” but helped to identify the specifics of what a “battle” is considered. She also outlined a few traits that she believes are essential to dealing with difficult situations, and effectively, life. 

This is an excerpt from her talk that illustrates and highlights the three main points of what she considers to be what she dubs the three “Pancake Girl Principles.” 

1. Be Authentic.  Take the armor off. Be yourself. That kid in the cafe had no armor, but I was ready for battle. If you want someone to be real with you, they need to know that you bleed too.

 2. Be Direct. Just say it. Rip the Band-Aid off. If you know you are gay, just say it. If you tell your parents you might be gay, they will hold out hope that this will change. Do not give them that sense of false hope.

3. Be Unapologetic. You are speaking your truth. Never apologize for that. And some folks may have gotten hurt along the way,so sure, apologize for what you’ve done, but never apologize for who you are. And yeah, some folks may be disappointed, but that is on them, not on you. Those are their expectations of who you are, not yours. That is their story, not yours. The only story that matters is the one that you want to write. So the next time you find yourself in a pitch-black closet clutching your grenade, know we have all been there before. And you may feel so very alone, but you are not. And we know it’s hard but we need you out here, no matter what your walls are made of, because I guarantee you there are others peering through the keyholes of their closets looking for the next brave soul to bust a door open, so be that person and show the world that we are bigger than our closets and that a closet is no place for a person to truly live.

While the talk itself is relatively short, the implications and the notions that underline her motivation and that guide her to ultimately deliver the speech in its entirety create a sense of understanding that is much bigger than you or her or I, as many things in life usually are.  Beckham claims that, “a closet is no place for a person to truly live” and I couldn’t agree with her more.  

Fear has an incredible power to manipulate and constrain people in ways they never thought imaginable; and while it may not be an easy take, fighting fear head is one of the only ways to effectively overcome it’s prowess and stature. I know I’ve gussied up the description of battling fear, and in most cases it’s just as simple as initiating confrontation. But if I know anything about dealing with fear, it’s always “easier said than done,” and if the goal is overcoming fear, avoiding it by using excuses is not the appropriate cause of action.

Being scared is one thing; it’s natural, it’s inherent, it’s often automatic. But being afraid is an entirely different thing. Being afraid means you are anticipating the fear, you are giving in to its consumption. When you act afraid, you are giving power to fear, and you are making it a more difficult adversary to battle. Fear can never be impossible to battle; but the longer you wait to fight it will only make the battle more ferocious; but it will make the victory that much sweeter. 

Memories Like Water

Memories are like buckets filled with water. There are some memories that you want to keep forever, and yet there are others you wish you could forget; but you don’t have any other choice but to forget it all if you want to move on; you have to sacrifice the good just to forget the bad.

And no matter how hard you try; life keeps moving on, and as long as you continue to live your life, the future will create more memories for you to store in your water bucket. And eventually, no knowing how long it may take; one day the memories from the future will overfill and the memories of from your past will spill out and be lost forever.

So if you choose to treat memories like a bucket of water, they will eventually all spill out and be lost for the rest of your life. That is if you live a life as constrained as buckets full of water, that is.

Keep your memories in cups instead; and label them appropriately so you never lose track. And if you’re ever afraid that you might knock over your memories and spill them, plant a flower and use your memories to water the seed, so that your memories can grow and blossom into something more beautiful than you could have imagined.


Red. Solo. Cup.

Red Solo Cup.

Except not in that particular order. The object sitting on my desk resembles what many people would refer to as a cup, and a majority of people would agree that this object possesses a certain red-like complexion, but would you call it solo? With the minor exception of one of college freshmen’s most beloved cylindrical objects made of plastic, this red cup that’s solo lives a life so incredibly unique from his homologous brethren.

Red Cup has dreams just like everyone else; Red Cup works hard to try and live the best life it possibly can. In a world filled with so many options for liquid containing devices; it’s not easy to be heard or seen amidst the clatter of a crowded cabinet. But if there’s one thing that Red Cup most definitely is; it’s that Red is proud. Red takes pride in it’s work, and knows the sweet feeling of a successful victory when I clamber around looking for a cup to pour my water in and to drink from.

There are so many choices I could have made other than Red; I could have chosen the Moe’s cup, who resembles a similar size but sports a light green design and complexion; or I could have fancied to pick the Jimmy Johns cup, with it’s crazy design and it’s minimalistic yet, “smaller approach” to being a liquid container. And yet, day in and day out, I choose Red. “But why?” you might ask yourself. “Why the same cup to drink from when you’re thirsty, and how do you even know it’s the same cup?”

To which respond I offer no compelling argument to retort; but just as you know which one of your friends is which, while to me they are simply “your friends,” and in my opinion, they are all the same, they share no special distinction from each other. But regardless, to them your friends are your friends; you know their differences and you can tell them apart, and so similarly I can tell apart the cups in my cupboard; I owe them that much, since they have done so much for me throughout this semester of college. Without my cups, how could I possibly manage to contain my liquids in a single place? How could I make them portable? The simple answer to the question is, I could not. Without my cups, I am but a lost soul among a sea of untamed liquids. And just as the lumberjack without his axe feels as though his soul is empty; or the super model who cannot find the right pair of heels to go with her designer dress, I too cannot feel whole and complete without the comforting pleasure and security I get from my cups.

Probably manufactured in a slave-labor factory deep within the recesses of the Indochinese mountain valley, Red has strived for successful since it’s creation. In my opinion, I don’t believe there is a single manufactured cup on this blue planet that has worked harder to quench my never-ending insatiable thirst more so that this incredibly beautiful red cup that sits before me. But cup and red are too limited to describe the lengths that Red has gone through to ensure that they made it to the shelf of my kitchen cabinet. Red has not only lived life as a red cup; but has suffered though life as a solo red cup, a term that simply can befit none other than the most well-equipped and qualified candidates of “Great Cuppery” that come into my apartment. And while the description of solo has brought Red nothing but agony and distress, it’s journey throughout time has earned it the most prestigious of awards that a cup could ever dream of. From the central mass of mainland Indochina to packaged bubble-wrap rides along the dirt-beaten path of inner city Shanghai, Red has endured a life of torturous consequence. After Red’s escort to the Shanghai port; it was over the length of what seemed like years (although in actuality was only a few days) that Red finally made port onto the land of freedom and opportunity. And from there; after traveling for weeks, bidding farewell to all it’s kin, Red was stationed in a Walmart located somewhere in the southeastern part of the US, most likely Florida. There, Red stood post until the faithful day that it was called to duty, to serve it’s country as a member of the most elite group of kitchen cups that the world has ever seen.

And it has been since then that Red has served as a faithful and dedicated member of it’s task force; whose sole mission is to provide a legitimate structure and stable container for me to indulge in my beverages (usually just water, Red doesn’t particularly like anything else other than that).

Over the past couple of months Red has respectfully lived a life of service and duty across all platforms.

And as I make my way to the refrigerator to grab a refill on water; who do I turn to, but none other than the infamous, Red.

I would spare you the details of our many other more illustrious travels throughout the year; but I figure why not just save that for a more appropriate time.

And until then, shall I say, “Bottoms up?”


Fanatical Friends Frenzy

Over the past few days, I feel like I’ve been trapped in this inescapable sludge; the kind of rut that you hear depressive people talk about. The sort of thing that makes you cringe and gag when you watch commercials about antidepressants like Abilify or Prozac.

Because, let’s be brutally honest; nobody like depression, and nobody likes people who are constantly depressed either.

Even the word itself brings this cloud of disparity and drag that you wish you could just swat away like an annoying fly, or banish with a giant ray of positive sunshine. But the cold hard facts of reality have a weight in controlling the universe just as much as you or I have control in waking up in the morning and deciding if we’re going to have a good day or a bad one.

It’s hard to ignore reality, especially when it’s like a guard dog outside of your bedroom door eagerly waiting to rip a hole in the crotch region of your best jeans. So, when there are things that you simply cannot control, fortunately there are a few things that you can (at least that’s what you hope).

I think your family is one of the most important and valuable assets that you have in life; shaping you indefinitely whether you’re still living with them, or whether you lived with them. They instill beliefs and customs within you that even God himself could not cleanse or sanctify. So when you think about that, it’s some powerful shit.

And in most cases, I believe the same principal applies when talking about friends; and on some occasions, the influences that your friends spill into your life can carry even more weight than your predisposed beliefs from childhood.

Here’s the kicker; here’s the thing that distinguishes my opinion on the relationship between your family and your friends. Friends, as precious as they may be from time to time, are inevitably disposable. Your family however, no matter how hard you may wish to fight it; will continue to remain your family whether you’re alive and they’re dead or whether you’re dead and they’re alive.

I think with this distinction it’s important to understand that if you can’t control a factor of influence, (like your family for example), you only have one other option when it comes to having some sort of organization and clarity in your life; and that’s in deciding who you want your friends to be.

Choosing your friends should be a science; because they have such an influence over everything that you are and everything that you do. Choosing friends is as dangerous as mixing chemicals or doing alchemy, you don’t have a damn clue what you’re mixing; you just hope that whatever you do doesn’t blow up in your face (although 9 times out of 10, it usually does).

Basically I’ve realized that I’ve been hanging around the wrong group of people; and unfortunately for me, I’m like a social sponge. Meaning that I can/will soak up everyone’s filthy bullshit whether I like it or not; it’s a gross and disgusting trait of my personality. I’m like a super reactive positive cation (a positively charged + atom for those of you non-chemical enthusiasts) looking to pair up with the negatively charged (-) anions that I call “friends.”

All in all, I don’t really have much more to say about this at the moment, so the take home message right now is choose your friends wisely.