It’s All Politics

•October 9, 2011 • 1 Comment

I love how upon telling someone I was raised in OC, they almost always assume & say, “Oh, you must be a Republican then.” I’m actually quite glad that my parents weren’t into the American political scene while I was growing up. Although a slow process, it allowed me to form my own American opinions without being (even lightly) influenced by my family’s standing or that of my city’s. If anything, having parents from overseas allowed me to see the greater scope of things & appreciate our areas of great advancement as well as develop an attention to our areas where we are still very much behind. Perhaps this is what makes me a little more of a “stinkin’ liberal”, as some say.

I was recently in the middle of a group discussion, and one guy exploded with rage and insults when the issue of the exploitation of undocumented workers came up. His stand was that economies need exploitation in order to prosper. Perhaps he could have worded it differently? Lowered his voice? Not namecall? I calmly mentioned my belief that economies do, in fact, need gardeners, dishwashers, hairstylists, and wall painters. I said this in an attempt to calm him down and hopefully draw out that this is what he meant. It wasn’t, and he only got crazier at the table when we disagreed with what he seemed to be saying.

I see too many Americans with obsessive political convictions, to the point where they sound like you are attacking their religious beliefs or worse yet, their Identity. They are so set on one way, they don’t even acknowledge that we are all aiming for the same results: Freedom & Equality. We all agree something needs to be done about the Economic situation (and all of it’s spawned issues). We all agree our schools need improvement. We all (hopefully) agree our Health care system sucks. We all just have different views on fixing these issues. One political party may hold more of the solutions you would like to see executed, so you tend to identify with this party more. Or maybe you don’t identify with any party and have mixed views. We all have different priorities. Some might favor freedom over equality, and visa versa. But we all, to some degree, want both. You may disagree with the way another candidate or group wants to handle a particular situation. Or you may even just like things the way they are… SO VOTE. Get out there and support your cause. Go volunteer or protest to your reps. At the end of the day, we’re all Americans, and we want the same things. Liberty and equality. So please, don’t assume, don’t label, and don’t mindlessly criticize other people who’s opinions differ from yours. Be your own person and don’t let yourself fall into whatever your family or partner votes for. Don’t sit there posting FB status messages calling everyone who doesn’t vote for Ron Paul an idiot PLEASE. I’m happy you have you’re own opinions, and that you are willing to exercise the 1st amendment.

Just please, be respectful.

And don’t pound on tables.

 

On that note, I leave you with this hilarious video. (Turn off music on the right if you haven’t already done so.)

Here’s 2 dudes who both believe in Jesus having a huge fight in the quad:

Please don’t be the dude in the mustard jacket. Thanks. 🙂

In Comparison…

•September 22, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I come across people who have lost everything. Their homes, their cars, their memories. Then I hear of people that have lost their families, their friends, their loved ones. An old friend of mine even knows someone who’s (obviously clinically insane) wife shot their children while he was overseas. I hear these stories, and I can’t help but wonder how they survived through this. How they picked up the pieces and moved on.

Picked up the pieces. That’s an odd term we use in English. But it does try every bit to describe the seemingly phenomena that comes thereafter.

We are taught to not compare in life. To not compare ones looks, nor ones talents, nor ones riches (or lack thereof). That it will either spawn feelings of inferiority or arrogance. And yet when one is in depression, for what ever series of minuscule things lost… It is encouraged to compare ones series of misfortunes to that of those who have it far worse. Somehow, these types of comparisons are considered acceptable in society.

I saved my laptop today.

Today was a good day.

A Liberation of Sorts

•May 19, 2011 • 1 Comment

Topless Beaches.

The thought of drunken grabbing and cultish, European orgies might come to mind to some. However, it is anything but that. Having heard of the world’s nudist society before, I was well aware that a nude beach (or a much milder “topless beach”) would be anything but a gawking party. American’s definitely seem to be pretty immature when it comes to public nudity, and I sadly was no exception. I can assure I am a straight female, but I could not seem to peel away my eyes from the plethora of breasts from all shapes, sizes, and age scattered across the beaches of Marseille.

It took me a good 20 minutes to work up the courage to snap my top off. I even giggled a few times, I admit. To fully appreciate this, I must first share that I have been known to possess a very bad self-body image. To blame it solely on American media and culture would surely not be enough. However, to neglect that aspect would be to deny a very inherent cause. Add a torrent of disapproving ex-boyfriends and a habit of comparisons and you get a very seemingly prudish individual. I have been known to avoid wearing shorts, and hide in the dark, even in a loving and safe environment. So to bare my nakeness to the sun, was, well….. pretty surreal. Even for a first generation American in the 21st century.

The second it came off, it was like I threw off 50 pounds of self-scrutiny. I wasn’t ashamed of how I looked, or what people thought of me. There was an air of acceptance across the sand, no matter what size, age, or color you were. No one gawked. No one harrassed. There was no social standard to discourage me. Young, old, and even families soaked up the sun and frolicked in the water, paying no mind to anyone’s lack of  “proper” attire. Everyone seemed to be  in a peaceful daze of their own personal indulgence. I have never felt the words “Live and Let Live” more than at this moment. Every single body was beautiful. Including my own.

And I must say, this has changed me in a very positive way.

Winged Wisdom

•April 21, 2011 • 4 Comments

The other day I decided to take a walk in my neighborhood. I currently live in the Presidio of San Francisco, so one would think I would take more walks than I actually do. I am in the process of leaving for a while, so… In an effort to soak in all that I have been missing, I took a stroll through the back woods not far from the apartment.

On this contemplative roaming,  I came across what seemed to be words in the distance. I thought, surely, I must be imagining things. Who would plant giant words here? As I neared the words they started constructing a sentence. “Resolve conflict with song”, it read.

This was unusual at least. I was prepared for a stroll filled with thought, yes. However, I was not prepared for the woods to actually speak to me this way. I continued on my walk as the words repeated themselves in my mind a few times. All the while, robins flew across my path singing what felt like those very words I had just come across.

The sweet serenity of this area was gifting me a much needed calm. Turning across a picturesque wooden bridge, I came across another clearing. More words. I approached this phrase: “Nest from the inside out”

 I stood there for a while, ruminating on what this could possibly mean. By this time, I was excited to see what the forest had in store for me next around the bend!

“Nest from the inside out”, I repeated to myself. “Inside…Out”.

It wasn’t too many steps before I came across the last words that really floored me. Not because they were at all poetic. Not because they were at all intricately arranged into a genius phrase. It was the sweet simplicity that took me by surprise. It was the very phrase I needed to see.

Adapt to Change.

I stopped wondering why these phrases were planted along my path and breathed in what they meant to me.

The first: To resolve conflict with song.

In the book, “The Romantic Manifesto”, Ayn Rand writes, “Art is the indespensible medium for the communication of a moral idea.” For me, those words ring true. There is simply no lovelier way to communicate than through art. Song is the perfect way to bring people together and to resolve differences.

The Second: To nest from the inside out.

The idea of looking inside yourself for happiness has been around for as long as any of us can remember. But so rarely do we actually take this action. I for one, know I can make myself happy. I know I must build my foundation in life in myself before I seek relationships with others. What is it that stops us?

The Last: To adapt to change.

In August 2009, I wrote a post here called flux. I talked about how time is not an actual catalyst for change. We hold the power to change ourselves. Time only seems to change our feelings, because we come to the decision to change due to other events that take place, or simply because we analyzed a situation from another angle. Adaptation is the decision to keep on living, no matter the circumstance.

On my way back from my walk, passing all the phrases and squirrels, robins, and butterflies, I spotted a little sign posted (which I had clearly missed!) where I had started my trail:

From the Presidio Habitats:

Winged Wisdom was conceived by Brody Hartman, director of creative strategy for PhilippeBecker, and designed in collaboration with Philippe Becker, creative director. “The American robin is an enduring icon in our landscape. It is a beloved bird whose behavior demonstrates nature’s ‘wisdom’, which in turn teaches us valuable lessons about how to relate to the land and with each other,” says Hartman. Winged Wisdom is composed of three-dimensional letters that spell out within the landscape three of the robins’ wise behaviors: ‘resolve conflict with song’, ‘adapt to change’, and ‘nest from the inside out’.

Each letter, built of steel armature and mesh netting, is filled with sterile straw, providing ideal nesting material for the robin.  “Our hope is to give park visitors an unexpected, yet mindful provocation of nature’s strength and wisdom,” says Hartman.

Thank you for that, San Francisco. ❤

Antidotes for Numbness

•April 19, 2011 • 1 Comment

Parmi les remèdes habituels contre notre propre misère, il y a l’amour.

Car celui qui estabsolument aimé ne peut être misérable.

“One of the customary remedies for misery is love. Because someone loved absolutely cannot be miserable.”, Kundera writes…

In my last post, I described Litost as a paradox that follows a feeling of Numbness. Numbness is emotional detachment. The disconnection can be moderate to severe. Just as there is a considerable amount of different types of cancers, so too are there several types of emotional numbness. Some are defense mechanisms and can be described as acquired habits. Others are more like falling into an emotional coma.

Because one does not remain in this state forever, there are two outlets to numbness; one of which I recently came to notice. The first, as I previously described, is Litost. Being that Litost is a fleeting (but intense) perception, it is customary to fall back into numbness quite quickly; thus likely beginning a painful cycle. However it has been brought to my attention by a dear friend, that there is indeed another outlet to numbness. This outlet is love. Unconditional love. Be it Eros, Philia, or Storge.

Love breaks the cycle.

Litost.

•April 4, 2011 • 1 Comment

An untranslatable Czech word; Milan Kundera describes Litost as, “a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.” He describes the first syllable to sound like the wail of an abandoned dog. There is no word in any other language for this feeling. Yet how is it possible to understand the human soul without it?

“At any street corner the feeling of absurdity can strike any man in the face.” ~Albert Camus

This is not to be confused with the self-indulging feeling of self-pity. This is no pity party. This is a chilling sensation that hits you with such intensity and surprise, it practically knocks your breath out and makes you want to drop to your knees in a shriek. It leaves you as pale as seeing a ghost. In a sense, it is seeing a ghost. Your ghost. You are standing outside yourself and witnessing what is happening to you. This paradox is what follows a period of numbness. You are still disconnected. Only now is the shock that this person you have been observing from afar, is you. It’s akin to the ghost of christmas future showing you your agonized and doomed self. You are ashamed of your very existence.

There are people who understand this feeling more than others, for whatever reason. Maybe it’s chemical. Maybe it’s a gene, passed on by a depressive mother. Maybe it came from childhood traumas. A hypersensitivity to life’s problematic nuances created by the experience of abandonment or acute disappointment. And then there are people that just can’t grasp this feeling at all. For them, it’s hard to comprehend how someone can be stuck in this pulverizing moment of self-actualization. While everyone experiences grief at some point or another in their life, the average person goes through the cycle of sadness to acceptance and moves on at their own healthy pace. From their perspective, a state such as Litost seems exaggerated, pathetic, and overly dramatized. It is observed as a naively pessimistic decision to remain in a perpetual state of humiliating doom. Observed as an unwillingness to live in reality.

Perhaps what they fail to observe is the distinction between one’s reality and another’s. This is not a misapprehension of reality. This is merely a different one. The perspective in this reality is not that of “inside, looking out” or even “outside, looking in”. Rather it’s more like “above, looking down”. A seemingly, hovered perception. The afflicted, experiences the absence of any visual gravitational pull. Yet somehow, despite the perception of hovering, there is a sense of substantial weight upon the afflicted. How the two feelings can coexist, is mystifying to say the least.

I, for one, know Litost.

And it is alienating in it’s entirety.

 

 

I Never Asked You to Earn Me.

•March 2, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I never asked you to earn me. I want only that you should need me. Your path is not one of merit. Bring the recurring desires of your mind to me, every time they emerge. They cannot shock me, for I willed them. Bring me your confusion, your fear, your craving, your anxiety, your inability to love the world, your hesitation to serve, your jealousy, all the deficiencies that defy your spiritual disciplines.

sri sathya sai baba.

The End of My Faithful Disbelief

•February 8, 2011 • 3 Comments

higgsMost people have the memory of that fateful day when they found out the mythical Santa Claus was not real. I don’t have that reminiscence. My mom was much too egotistical to let her children believe the presents were from anyone other than herself. And with good reason! We were poor and she worked hard. Why give a random old fat dude all the glory? There just was no use for dabbling in fables in my family.

But then, there was God.

Every Sunday I was woken up early, got (over)dressed, and apologized for being human. However, I did like the idea of being able to be fully cleansed of my sins on Saturdays. It made me think of it like a continuation in a video game. Of course, this became a habit, and I knew most of the confessional prayers better than the regular ones. Holy water was nice too. That felt like Sonic the Hedgehog’s blue strobe shield.

Aside from History, Science was my favourite subject. This caused much ruckus in Catholic school, as I asked far too many questions and started to look for answers on my own. Doesn’t the game of “telephone” tell us not to trust a book written by various humans at different points in history? Why are there so many languages that separate us? Why were “civilized” countries blessed with the knowledge of Jesus and the duty to spread this message to rural villages by brutal force? And on that note, why is there suffering? I don’t want to sound like a world of suffering is proof there is no God. That’s a lazy and dare I say, naïve thought. I truly believe that’s the sort of “atheist” that suddenly finds jesus when they discover there is just as much love in the world as there is suffering (surprise. surprise.).

That being said, the world makes a lot more sense when you’re an atheist. There’s a scientific answer to mostly all of life’s mysteries. And let’s face it, science makes everything seem fair. There’s a logical explanation for mostly all things. The answer could be macrocosmic, sociological or even chemical. Logical complications with God’s existence completely dissipate under natural speculation. The gap of ignorance closes and if your belief in God stems from a need to fill the voids of knowledge, you’re setting yourself up for some very deep cognitive dissonance.

I wouldn’t say Atheism comes to you in the same way people talk about the shock after Christmas. It is definitely a gradual process. Some don’t arrive (or rather, choose not to arrive) at it at all, and become the agnostic fence sitter, forever in doubt. However, the feeling after reaching that point is different for everyone. Although, I feel less ignorant, I can’t say I feel enlightened. I don’t feel full of light at all. If anything, I feel left in the dark. I feel disillusioned. And yes, empty. From an early age, I spoke to this invisible being. I’d tell him my sorrows and victories. It was much like an invisible friend (which I also had – but we won’t dive into that now).

Some would say theists are just on this planet waiting to die. Waiting for the afterlife (aka, the “better life”). I can’t say I ever completely believed in a heaven or hell, but rather, I hoped for reincarnation. Now my days feel numbered. Like water evaporating into nothingness. Everyday feels like the melody, “Lux Aeterna” (Requiem For a Dream theme) is faintly playing in the background. The thought of nothingness doesn’t scare me. As “nothingness” would conclude that I would not be around to feel anything. At all. I would not be around for disappointment. I just wouldn’t be.

The laws of probability state that at some point, we were going to be here to observe all of this. There’s just no way around that. It’s natural selection. It’s like winning the lottery. And who knows how many tickets were purchased merely for the simple perfection we call gravity. We’ll probably die out, and come back again, perhaps a bit different. When would probably be determined by where we are on the space and time axis, of course. All of this hardly seems “super natural”. Super natural would be our souls coming back. Complete with memories. Maybe that’s the part that saddens me the most.

Some say faith is blind. In the same way love is blind. I never believed either. Contrary to what some believe, both my faith and love have always been carefully reasoned, rational and defensible. There is a reason to why I feel the way I do. What is one to call another irrational? Be you for or against, you are both people of faith. Faith that lets you believe the path you chose is the right one. One believes there is more. One believes there isn’t. Not with the same people at least. Some could say, the prospect of nothingness is to be celebrated. It’s a chance to make the best out of this life because nothing comes after it. Enjoy it while it’s happening. And I’m ok with that. But there’s a magic that is just… lost. I have little faith in anything nowadays. Even people. This world feels like a big let down. Perhaps, I sound like a child. A child with a void. Maybe I’m not making any sense. Maybe I’m just tired and hurt. In need of sleep.

I guess you could say, I miss God. Among other things.

Now before you all think I’ve become that friend of yours you haven’t talked to in a while and is now a creepy bible thumping preacher that wants to let you know “Jesus loves you”, allow me to defend myself with saying I am NOT for organized religion. In fact, I am NOT for the Christian God at all. Or any other God that any fan club follows. My beliefs, nonbeliefs and “proofs” are my own, and no one else’s. My reality is very different from your reality. And everyone’s reality is the only one he or she lives in. Your experiences, your emotions, your thoughts, and energies, are all what make up your world. Who is anyone to tell you what to believe or not believe, when the only truth in this world seems to be the truths we make for ourselves?

I still call myself an atheist, because it’s easier than to explain the importance I see in feeling a sense of awe in the world. For me, right now, my truth is that God exists. Just not as a creator (which is why I still insist I fall into atheism) But unlike someone who fills in gaps of ignorance, or even someone who dismisses in lack of evidence, I still believe in an energy that gives life to everything. Even that which seems lifeless. Forces still hold particles together to make lifeless mass. Even light, which is massless, travels. Go ahead and call me Pocahontas. I don’t completely agree with Einstein, Stephen Hawking, or Dawkins. To me, God is the Steady State Theory. I don’t think my belief violates the first law of thermodynamics. You can’t really break any laws if you treat God like art. Art has always been meant to be personally interpreted regardless of the Artist’s original intentions or even if the Artist never existed at all.

To me, God is the winning lottery ticket. God is that 1 in 10,000,000,000,000th chance that made molecular DNA possible. It’s the chance that made the mass of a proton perfect. It’s the chance that you were born and not another. It’s the chance that every strange event lead up to the serendipitous meeting of someone special who felt the same way. It’s everywhere. I don’t worship it. But I do love it. As it has shown me love through those that have loved me.

And that makes me feel a little less alone.

Tucson.

•January 15, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I don’t understand why the media is feeding us so much information on the persona of the Tuscan shooter. One photo & a name is enough. We don’t need to know about his childhood, mental illnesses, the breakup he went through in highschool, his political agenda, his sexual orientation, his favorite color… Now some nuts out there will be enthralled by him, try to emulate him, and start sporting red g-strings. Like when every idiot started wearing a black trench coat in highschool. It’s too much. He’s dominating the media. And it’s making it so that murder is a great way to be famous overnight. For some that are ravenous for fame, this might seem like a very valid option now.

Serial Killer Art This is obviously nothing new. The public has been enraptured by crazy killers for so long that we even have art shows with pieces sold for thousands, simply because they depict the identity of a serial killer. We’ve gone from capital punishment to letting the imbeciles live on forever!

Could it be that part of our obsession has to do with our need for validation that we won’t end up like them? Do we need to have all this information so that we can compare him with ourselves and know we are better than he? Does the pale line between thinking violent thoughts and acting upon them scare us so much that we need to constantly be reminded that we are not “that bad”?Art by a Schizophrenic

This circus narrative of our newest American Psycho also opens the case up to observers that are waiting for a piece to pick out for blame. People waiting to hear he was a republican. People waiting to hear he was a member of the ‘angry tea party’. People waiting to hear he was a pothead. People waiting to hear he was a muslim. An Athiest. A Scientologist. People waiting to hear he was gay… Anything that allows us to separate him from us. All so we can cozily categorize him with others we ought to keep a watchful eye on. So we can be fearful of anyone who even remotely shares a specification with him!

He’s a murderer & he’s locked away.

That’s all I need to know. Thanks.

flux.

•August 16, 2009 • 2 Comments

For months I’ve been quietly observing change. Not the reality that replaces the prior, but the actual transition itself. I’ve become obsessed with the process of evolution. I had always thought time to be the magic catalyst of metamorphosis. However I now know this not to be the case at all.Andy

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.
Andy Warhol (1928 – 1987), The Philosophy of Andy Warhol

This has become a trend in my day to day life. Watching what is willing to change and what is not. Although it is apparent that everything evolves and changes, I’ve noticed the things that change the least are the ones that are less alive. I realized despite vast exterior changes, I’ve remained living much like a rock for several years. Rocks change, yes, because eventually life around the rock moves and shifts. Much like a heavy stream eventually will shape a rock. But this is the slowest lifeless change I choose not to endure anymore. Nothing is more painful that being shoved into a new reality; slowly, erosively, and in silence.

It may not seem like it at first, but it takes effort to stay still while everything around you is moving. It’s difficult to hold on to something for an insane amount of time. But it’s not the amount of time spent on the grip that makes the action look so strange but rather, the unwillingness to let go. However, it’s that very notion I had about time changing things that prevented me from augmentation. The hope of one day waking up a new person with no anchor was a fantastic hope indeed. I failed to notice that everything that changes in time had a willingness to change. Even what seems beyond our control; like aging. Aging seems to sneak up on an unsuspecting face. Although gerontology is a relatively new study, it’s now a common theory that it is not a pre-programmed body that contributes to aging but an accumulated damage to cells. Not different to the eroding rock.

I’m not trying to sound like I know the answer to looking 15 for the rest of our days. But I am trying to express that we are the ones that commit the change we see through the years. Not time. When people said to me “You’ll feel better about it. Just give it some time.”, I believed them. I figured time is all I needed. But as time passed, things became increasingly difficult, and I couldn’t understand why.

The Dark ages were a period that stayed stagnant for a long time because of an unwillingness to accept change. Change in science, religion, politics, or even hygiene. This is where I felt I have been living. And I can assure you, it’s a disgusting place to live. I had a sick unwillingness to let go of the past because I believed things to be beyond my control. I found myself sitting. Sometimes patiently. Other times, not so much. But always sitting; still and unflinching.

nelson

There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.
Nelson Mandela (1918 – ), ‘A Long Walk to Freedom’

Now when I see things that change at a rocks pace, I can’t help but to feel I am moving  at a faster rate. For it wasn’t until a series of unfortunate events took place, that I realized just how much power I had to control my own change. I was told this by a few before.

But my belief in time prevented me from seeing this.