How Red & Blue Make Green

How Red & Blue Make Green

A while back, a friend of mine (whom I will not name, nor will I draw too much attention to as he is both white and male, but mostly because I honestly don’t think he wants the attention or the credit, so he will remain nameless and referred to only as a he/friend :) said something to me after I asked him something regarding his toddler daughter that I cannot remember now (&was clearly, largely unimportant) to which he responded (&I’m paraphrasing here as I am also too lazy to go into my DMs to get an exact quote), “When she says, ‘No,’ I completely surrender so that I can model what should happen if she says ‘No’ to a man.” 

I thought about this for a long time, not because I didn’t agree with what he was saying, but rather, because there was something clearly deeper at work, but my mind couldn’t quite come up with it on the spot. Obviously, I cheered him on and encouraged him, like I would any father who has taken on the parenting role of father head-on, but what he said to me has been brewing in the back of my mind for some time now, and I finally have a little something of a nugget about which to write.

Perhaps he’s on to the nugget of truth that in America (perhaps in other places as well, but I can only speak to white [yes, I am Korean, and I recently learned in Franchesca Ramsey’s book that I’m technically transracial…as in, born of a specific race but transplanted, i.e. adopted, into another racial custom, not ‘transracial’ like the disgusting trend of not-black folks posing as black] American life with confidence) ‘No’ doesn’t mean No. And the sad thing is, I cannot even count how many times I’ve heard men (boys, who am I kidding) say things akin to, “99 Nos and 1 Yes is a Yes,” etc. 

And then all of this made me realize that if Americans are unwilling to respect someone’s “No,” then they are quite literally incapable of respecting anyone at all. Everyone loves a Yes-Man, but a No-Woman is seen as troublesome. So, there it is. 

“I can’t breathe.”

In America, No doesn’t mean No. It means nothing at all, which means that words, as a whole, largely have no meaning here in These United States. 

But that can all change! It’s easy. 

We need to respect the words coming out of each other’s mouths.

No matter how much we may disagree with them, no matter how flawed we believe them to be, no matter how uncomfortable the words are making us, we all have the right to say what we want, to be heard, and to hear. But this does not mean that your words have no consequence. In order to truly be heard, we need to be creatures that can hear, can see, can understand the truths of each other. We don’t live in a simulation. If we did, we could all feel the underlying programmed truth &or reality. We live inside our own heads with our own brains that interpret the world for us in our own unique way. This means that in order to get inside each other’s heads, we must speak, communicate, use words (&yes, obviously, people who are incapable of using their physical voices are quite able to communicate with words). This also means that in order for you to successfully get inside someone else’s head, you must listen to what they are saying; you must hear them.

There are no right answers to life. 

There is no right way to live. 

There is only the right to live. 

When someone says something to you, and you say, “No,” to be disrespected and not heard means that that person does not care about your right to your own life. They desire to control you. They see you as a piece in their life. The people who respect your Nos are the ones who ask you why you’re saying no in the first place. Imagine if, when a coworker (or whoever) says no to you, instead of becoming frustrated or upset that they’re not going to “do something for you,” you simply asked why they’re saying no. Maybe it’s because you’re perceived as lazy so they don’t want to help you out. Maybe they’re just tired because they were up all night with the baby, and they just need a break today. Maybe they just don’t want to, and it’s none of your business why; do it yourself, etc. The bottomline is that the reason for their “No” matters a lot less than the fact that they’re saying it. 

Yea, of course, we all have to do stuff we don’t like (which is obviously my concern when hearing this strategy from a parent), but the larger, more important Truth is that we need to respect the words that come out of each of our mouths. Perhaps if we do this, we will be more careful about what actually comes out of our mouths because now we actually feel like someone is hearing us, listening to us, validating our right to life. 

Stock Splits, White Collar Crime, and Leases v. Mortgages

Stock Splits, White Collar Crime, and Leases v. Mortgages

Both Tesla and Apple stocks split today, and if you’re wondering what that means, I’m going to try to explain it because I only have a general sense of knowledge about market speculating, but I also find that when I do work to try to explain shit, I end up understanding it better myself. There’s nothing really too complicated about it, but I am not a teacher (and really good teachers are quite difficult to come across, so I have no idea how teachers aren’t paid $100K; if they were, the position would attract the type of people who should be teachers), nor do I really consider myself a good teacher because I’m not a great explainer because I’m not good at simplifying complexity, but again, like I said, there’s nothing too complicated about stock splits, in and of themselves, but they exist within the realm of the fantastic, and so, the world in which they exist is extremely complex (beyond the comprehension of any single human mind), but again, like I said, the splitting itself is quite simple in concept. 

…and then I will get to the thing I actually want to touch upon, which is white collar crime.

For the sake of easy computation, pretend you bought ten shares of TSLA five years ago when the stock hovered around $200/share. You shoveled in about $2,000. No, I’m not going to use any exact figures from the actual price history of TSLA; I will use “abouts.” If you owned ten shares at the end of last Friday, they were worth about $2,000/share. This means your $2,000 now represents $20,000.

This morning, after the market opened with the 5:1 split, you would now have fifty shares, when added together still equaling $20,000. So, now, you have fifty shares each worth about $400 as opposed to ten shares worth $2,000 each. 

What this does is a number of things that can and cannot be known because I am not on the board of Tesla, which means that very few people actually know what Tesla hopes to accomplish, while everyone else speculates, but one of the obvious reasons would be to allow for new speculators to enter the market. A $2,000 share price is steep, but $400 is far more reasonable. 

The market is open now, however, and so, there are speculators speculating, and the price per share has already gone up since the market opened. So, what was originally your $2,000 that you shoveled into TSLA five years ago is now more than $20,000 and counting with each second that passes as you sit on your butt doing nothing. 

This is how the rich get richer without doing a lick of work, and without paying taxes (a theme for another post). Here’s a quick example of how being rich just makes you richer. Say you’ve got enough cash to purchase 250,000 shares of anything. Doesn’t matter what the entrance price was/is. All that matters is that you can afford to buy 250,000 shares. Consider this, the stock you invested in rises by literally, $0.20…twenty cents in one day. You make $50,000 because you were able to afford a butt-load of shares all at once. Is this unfair? Absolutely. Is this how the world works? You’d better believe it.

So, now to the thing I want to talk about…White Collar Crime (and the difference between the approval processes for a lease and a mortgage). 

And no, this is not another racist rant about white people, but the overarching implications are racist because, let’s face it, basically all the rich people in this country are of caucasian descent (there). 

My point is that I (we, my bodybuddy/lifemate/roommate and I) recently renewed our lease, and there was a new little thing in it that we noticed that differed from our last lease. When it comes to cannabis use where I live, it’s recreationally legal for those 21+, but because I live in an apartment, there are house rules, and so, there is no smoking allowed in the units. Duh. Our last lease stated, in so many words, that if you’re caught, the management has the right to evict. This lease, however, states, in so many words, that if you’re caught, it’s $150 for the first offense, $250 for the second offense, and then after the third offense, the management has the right to evict. 

Now, I’m not gonna lie. I know what pot smells like (but I definitely do not partake in it in the confines of my own home), and it wafts from every hallway on every floor in our building. Nobody’s gonna turn anybody in or complain. I’d guesstimate that 50% of this complex houses 65+, 40% 40+, and 10% under 40. And some seniors like pot, too. 

The thing is that that little change in our lease is not insignificant because what the management has done is they put a price on the crime. Crime is now officially something that can be budgeted. It’s that simple. It’s our first opportunity to commit a crime, knowingly, and get away with it by simply shelling out a hundred bucks. That’s only if you get caught, and getting caught in this scenario means someone telling on you. 

I only mention this because of the type of apartment we live in. We had to be approved through multiple tiers of financials, which means it houses a certain income level, which signals to me that the entree into the white collar crime life begins early. The approval process for apartment living is a completely different world from that of homeownership. 

And this is the thing I want to say about mortgages. When you apply for a mortgage, the less likely you are to be able to afford to pay, the more likely you’re going to get approved for whichever amount it is that the banker offered. The application process scans your credit score (an arbitrary number that “calculates” the amount of debt you have in terms of whether or not you’re making your payments) and your income. Nobody looks at your wealth. Income is variable and in a state of flux at all times. Your wealth is how long you can sustain your current life without any income. 

So, when you apply for a mortgage, all the banker wants to see is how large your monthly income statement is and how much of it the bank can take. 

And I know what you’re thinking, “But a home is an investment.” How? Yes, a house can be an investment, but not if you’re living in it. A home is ONLY an investment if it is making you money. And I know what you’re going to say now, “But it will appreciate and then the house will be worth more than it was when I bought it.” Well, it MIGHT appreciate. But then what? You sell it? And then where will you live? You have to use that money to buy another home, not to mention the extra taxes you have to pay for now owning property. Your home is not an investment unless you have a space that you can rent or unless part of that home is an office for your business, etc. But if you buy a house to live in, you are not making an investment. If you buy two houses (you live in one and rent out the other), then yes, of course, buying a house is an investment. That’s the rule I learned in all of my real estate training, you don’t buy a house until you can afford to buy two houses. And again, I know I am speaking specifically to a certain income level. This obviously is not very good advice for anyone being victimized by the System.

The thing about a lease (for some apartments) is that you don’t have to have any income, if you have enough wealth, AND if you are applying with financial information about your income, you have to prove you can afford MORE than your rent (we’ve seen upwards of 5X). A lease is also not a mortgage because your landlord is the one who holds the mortgage. This is why a landlord’s tenants must be more able to pay their rent than homeowners need to be able to pay their mortgages. 

A bank wins every time a family can no longer pay their mortgage because the bank gets your house as soon as you can no longer pay, and then they turn around and sell it for what you owed them. Banks are in the mortgage business to see you fail. And mortgages are debt. Not that there’s anything wrong with debt; there isn’t. Everyone’s got it, because it’s necessary. It is what makes money go round. But it is debt, and you need to think about it that way. Sure, you may rationalize that it isn’t debt (like a friend of ours did when talking about a new apartment venture), but it is, because, like I said before, that money has to provide you shelter…forever…in an endless cycle of taking on a new or different mortgage with every new place you ever want to live. 

And I know the messaging of the dream…you buy a house because then, when you’re old, you don’t have to pay rent to a landlord, your shelter is secure. If you’re lucky enough and diligent enough to pay off your mortgage (look it up, find out how many homeowners have no mortgages), you’ll still owe the taxes on the house every year. 

Landlords need you to win; they depend on you winning. And yea, obviously some landlords are shit, but if you’re paying your bills and adhering to your lease (and again, this is not blaming or shaming victims of the system), you can’t be evicted. And like I stated earlier, rent money doesn’t go nowhere. Your shelter is all part of your living expenses. There’s no such thing as a free place to live.

The biggest selling point for me, however, when it comes to renting, are the amenities and the maintenance team. When we added up the cost of a gym membership and pool membership and a rough estimate of the cost of new appliances, the numbers didn’t lie. It’s significantly cheaper for us to pay the amount of rent we pay for the things we want access to. So, if anything, I’m just outlining our reasons for renting, I guess *shrug*

But, like always, do what you need to do. I’m not here to tell you what to do. I’m nobody’s supervisor. I’m just here to help define the landscape, for those who want/need help. But seriously, this is your life. If a house is your dream, definitely get a house. You just need to know what you’re in for, and I’ve found in the past that most people do not know what they’re getting into because someone has lied to them. 

Thanks for reading, if you’ve found yourself here :)

It’s not yoga, until it is.

It’s not yoga, until it is.

…big, deep breath in…an accepting exhale out…

And now, I will be the first to admit that I have been flexible all my life (after gymnastics through my childhood, I turned to ballet during adolescence and young adulthood), and I had to reckon with myself a while back that I’m not “just flexible;” I have had to continue to work to remain flexible. But with that said, I am coming to a new reckoning, one of which I am far less proud. Okay, I am going to say it now…I’ve been using yoga as a means to an end and then, simultaneously, wondering why I am not feeling satisfied with “yoga,” in general, and honestly, I have come to an awareness that is bringing up a lot of things for me, namely: frustration, anger, confusion, bitterness, jealousy, rejection, etc., etc., etc., and the only happy thing I used to feel about yoga was my “progress”…my physical progress. Especially since I have never been a fan of the “spiritual” realm of yoga, I find now that the spiritual is unavoidable.  

For starters, my entire relationship with yoga was stretching every day so that I could reach the “heights” of those crazy contortionist “poses,” and with the proliferation of yogis on social media, my approach seemed like the point—when following westerners who perform yoga. Even the yogi whom I followed for years preached a simple lesson through her social media that seemed to say something akin to … stretch, stretch, stretch, work, work, work, and you will become flexible, better, more capable simply by stretching. Now, I know this is completely the wrong focus. Yes, I could easily blame the yogis who proliferate a bastardization of yoga. Yes, I could easily dismiss the situation entirely and delude myself into believing that I had it all right, and so, it doesn’t matter that I used to do yoga the “wrong way.” But what I’m realizing now is that I had it all wrong from the beginning. 

Toward the end of my university days, I began taking yoga classes to stay limber (dancing full-time no longer challenged me intellectually enough), and I hated them all, and the classes birthed within me a sheer annoyance at the whole system, the whole process. It always felt so fake, so contrived. So, I moved online. I watched a few YouTube videos and meandered through the IG yoga community trying to figure out not only what yoga is but also, what yoga can be to me. Ten years later, I am finally beginning to figure it out, with the help of my newly-discovered yoga light, Angelica Marie Wilson. Of course, I had no idea Angelica existed a mere two weeks ago.

After the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, which is now a new lifestyle for me, I scrambled to ditch the white yogi who made no effort to amplify the voices of her fellow yogis in need. Unfortunately (in my mind at the time), Kino MacGregor, a yogi at the top of the online yogi-sphere, about whom I have had a lot of opinions, did her duty and amplified about half-a-dozen black yogis she thought appropriate for her followers to follow (she could still do more promoting, imho, but I understand that she feels she does enough simply by being herself, and I am beginning to agree). Thus, Angelica

And then, I did the thing I thought I’d never do…sign up for (a free thirty-day to test out the process) membership to Kino’s online yoga site, Omstars. Obviously, I’ve known about the site for years, but it’s Kino, and I am not a fan, thereby, not a supporter. She has always felt a bit opportunistic, enterprising, insincere, as if yoga were a means to a wealthy end. But what’s wrong with that? I’m opportunistic and enterprising and probably insincere at times, but it’s yoga, and yoga is supposed to be…what?…exactly. 

After two classes with Angelica, I am beginning to open in a way that I have not really connected to through yoga and through my interaction with black yogis on social media. I am about to paint with a broad brush here (and I am no expert in anything, not yoga, not nothing), and I hope that it doesn’t tinge too brightly of racism, but I feel I must say it, even if I’m wrong right now, in this moment—white yogis focus on results—black yogis focus on process. As superficial as this observation may seem, it is only that, a mere observation, as I do not know any of the yogis I follow online, personally, but I can see it in the pictures they (both white and black alike) post, the types of photos they take, the image that they contrive or convey, the postures they choose and the lighting that goes optimally with each. 

And so, I suppose I do not really know what to say except, “Thank you.” Thank you to you, Kino, for being the way that you are because who you are is one who builds, and upon that platform, you’ve built more opportunities for yoga. I do not have to understand you, nor do I have to believe you or even like you, but it is my choice to have faith that you teach for the reasons that you say, and that you do what you do out of the goodness of your heart, for you truly know that yoga can change a life. But mostly, thank you, Angelica, for being the light that you are. Two classes in, and you’ve transformed my yoga practice and by extension, my life. I cannot hope to come to any further awareness or insight than I have today (in the “Crystal Ball of the Present” —AMW), but I am aware of my gratitude for the yogis who are here to guide me through life through light and a focus on all that is meaningful…through the process, with each posture a mere reflection of the work I’ve done on my mat. Thank you.

Of Viruses & Opinions

Of Viruses & Opinions

In the beginning, the year that is 2020 ran through my body with a vengeance named who-knows-what because I did not go to the doctor, but I was quite sick for quite some time as we flew that last bit of distance around our dear sun. 2019 kicked my ass, and I was ready for a fresh new year, and then the year began in what could only be described as a rotted cherry atop a shitty shit sundae. 2019 wasn’t all bad, obviously. We researched and developed our business and I learned a lot managing a restaurant…even if I didn’t manage it long. I was able to spend a lot of time with my parents, and that was nice after half a decade on the other half of the planet. I missed them more than I realized (my dad bought me a gram of pot as a going away gift), but living that close was a little too close (my mom is adamantly against the use of pot). Eventually, I will drag them down here, and they will have to deal with it.

And then 2020 began to pick up steam in a way that I knew was simply unsustainable. I knew that I could not keep doing what I was doing through the month of January and early February. My professional life was expanding fast, with greater opportunity than I had initially anticipated when we were making our plans last year, and my social life was already unbearable with friends and weekends and weddings already booked through the middle of October!, and it was only the middle of February. I thought a lot about what I was going to do and/or if I could even do it. So, if I’m being really honest about how I felt in The Beforetimes, I may have brought all of this upon the world, but I am not so egocentric to actually think this. But then I began to acclimate a bit to my new life here in Longmont, and a routine began to form, and life was starting to make a lot of sense. The momentum that I had to catch up with due to being sick for so long through the new year finally felt like a comfortable pace. I was hitting my cruising speed, and then it seems like it all came to a standstill, but of course, this is not what actually happened. What happened was that it was a slow trickle as it took time to convince everyone to listen to and obey their phones.

I see only dread in not only the handling of The Virus but also, in The Aftertimes, if the smartest among us do not work harder than we’ve ever worked before to dismantle everything that’s crumbling now and then rebuild the world in which we want to live, in and for the future. The 20th-Century growth model needs to be buried in the 20th century. It, alone, is the reason why we are in this fucking mess, and the people responsible are the overwhelmingly ignoranant populus in the middle. They would not know what is good for them if it smacked them in the face. Yes, all of our individual ignorance contributed to the whole, of course. Nobody is free of blame or guilt. We brought this upon ourselves, and now we have to fix it. I can’t blame the Boomers because I’ve contributed immensely through my global lifestyle. I do not feel as though I am better than anyone. It is simply my job to point at the problem so that we may all see it more clearly. This does not mean that I am not part of the problem. It means that I can see it.

The first two weeks of quarantine announcements were interesting, at least on social media. People were sort of excited about the prospect of staying home, but the honeymoon only lasted a few days. Most people barely survived the first week, but now, by the end of the third week, a little more than two weeks after the official announcement, people have been seeming to settle in and realize that this is life now as The Aftertimes glimmers of hope in the weeks-long future. The reality revealed, however, that we all listen to and obey our phones. I got chills the moment I realized what was happening. Sure there are verifiable “in real life” sources to back up all of the stuff we’re seeing online as news and happening, but I cannot help but think that our collective behavior is fucking crazy. But perhaps it is not, though. We are in the 21st century, afterall. The handing over of the collective-control reigns seems more than plausible by this point. Hmm…but that’s it. This is how a society, a species transitions into the clean crisp future of our collective imagination…the objective, collective fear of germs. Wow, it really takes a long time for an intelligent species to “get it.” This also probably contributes to the overall difficulty of intelligent life (if there’s more out there) creating the opportunity to leave their own planets…germs.

The surprising thing is that around Longmont, it mostly seems as though people are obeying their phones, staying home and wearing masks in populated areas. Yes, there are a number of restaurants still open, and all of those employees are still spreading germs around, and so, that’s annoying. But in general, Colorado seems to care.

And so, it is within the here and now that I currently exist, and what I think has not changed all too much from my initial impressions once Colorado went on official quarantine order. I still see mostly dread due to the overwhelming incompetence of the “Administration,” and I still do not have much to make of the stimulus, yet. On the surface, sure, it seems like an obvious solution…give people money. The problem is that what the money is really doing is bailing out banks…again. There’s no way a bank is simply going to let you not pay your credit card bill, right? So, the “government” (I use quotes for obvious reasons) is sending bailout money to us, and then we will pay our bills, which means the banks always win. Super-honesty, I wish the money were closer to $2,000 each. Oh well. And I can’t even focus on the presidential election. Ugh, I was doing so great at getting all of my political writing done, and now I could not care less. Sorry, there is no knowing when there will be more of those.

I’ve not been feeling psychologically stable the past few days…a little down (but not as low as other lows, don’t worry) and burdened by my existential equation, probably mostly due to my lack of exercise. I know I need to exercise a lot to stay really sane, but now that you have to run with a face thing, the task seems even more unappealing. But I do yoga every day, and I walk around the park next to our apartment most days. And so, my days are filled with making shit. I’ve made so much stuff, I’m almost out of stuff to make stuff out of. I’m going to have to make an online order (gross) for yarn and paper and other stuff to make stuff with.

The boredom is not a problem. I am able to make a lot out of it, and that makes me happy. Whether or not I’m being productive is another issue entirely. But it’s hard to care about my productivity at a time like this, so I’m not stressing nor am I beating myself up about not getting some things done that should’ve been done by now. These are difficult times because people are not used to being prey. We, as a species, are not used to feeling hunted. But we have an “enemy” and it feels like it. It feels like there’s something out to get us, and that we’re the thing it wants. We’re prey. And we cannot even enact fight or flight cause we’re all trapped indoors. It’s a difficult, stressful position to exist within, and the existential nature of this threat makes people (Americans) a little crazy, a little dangerous. So, yes, my concerns are shifting as I feel that we are still weeks away from what this will really be…the impending disaster has still yet to come.

Time is moving fast, which is a strange speed for being trapped inside one’s house. I fear the disaster that this disaster will inevitably birth, and I fear the negative feedback loop of that disintegration. Everyone thinks this is bad? Just wait. The worst has yet to come, and then even after that, The Aftertimes will be even worse. I am not being pessimistic so much as I am trying to be realistic. The reality of a shattered economy is one that I do not want to experience, but the inevitability is looking inevitable. And of course, the poorest among us will suffer the most. Chances are that we will not even feel it, or it will be a small hiccup to our accounts. I could blindly be optimistic and look to a brighter future, but that ideology at a time like this is unhelpful. Optimism breeds nothing but hopes and prayers, and what people need right now are answers, solutions, a vision of the future. Now is the perfect opportunity for someone like, say, Elizabeth Warren to paint a picture of the future. If she could outline for all of the young people out there, the world of work, the opportunities of sustainability, the vision of a future that we can build, together. The world as we knew it in The Beforetimes is gone. And the world as we know it, right now, must fall.  And these are the times to which I am not looking forward, despite how necessary I understand these times to be.

Stay At Home, Dad.

Stay At Home, Dad.

Alright, here’s something petty, perhaps something petty enough to warrant a Petty Report. The thing is that my dad, an old white man, has refused to Stay Home during “The Virus.” And now, after realizing that he must, he has essentially held his good behavior hostage for some of my writing. He’s made a deal with my brother as well, but I do not know exactly what it is that he (my dad) is getting from him (my brother). What he’s “requested” from me is one essay for each week that he “behaves” and stays home, piddles around the neighborhood, goes nowhere non-essential, which is nowhere as the material needs he needs may be delivered, etc., and no expenses. Yes, he requires extensive medical care, but none of them are urgent in nature; they are chronic.

So, if he just stays inside and listens to everybody about how he just needs to not be so stubborn and selfish, then he would simply do the right thing. Instead, he wants something in return. Again, like aforementioned, I do not know what he is getting from my brother, but what he wants from me is writing about this goddamn virus! He wants to know what I thought about it as it was all ramping up; he wants to know what I think about it now as we’re in the throes of it, and he greedily wants to know what I will think about it once it all has died down. I have no idea how many essays this will turn into as there are no knowns at this point, but I am to send them to him on a weekly basis every time he’s a good boy for a whole week. OMFingG. My father is a child.

And I’m his child, so I have no other option than to be petty about it, to almost refuse his wishes to teach him a goddamn lesson about stubbornness. But then, I’m just being stubborn. Ugh. And yes, I am well aware of how my “problems” are not real problems.

When the mind wanders …

When the mind wanders …

I’m about to sit in silence for the majority of this entire day as I read and write and contemplate my life. Why? Because I must. Why? Because, lately, every day I have been having to deal with shit that I’ve never had to deal with before these days.

Everything is new but not necessarily shiny. Everything is different but not necessarily unfamiliar. Everything is challenging but not necessarily overwhelming. Everything is overwhelming but not necessarily unmanageable.

And all at the same time, I must continually remind myself that, “Everything is nothing.” And ultimately, I’m alone in this world.

These American bootstraps are made of rubber.

It’s that great ‘ol American Dream of These United States—individuality—to be able to do and pursue the thing(s), the life(ves) that I want/need/must obtain in order to be and feel fulfilled. And I must achieve all of these things on my own, and if I’m given any help along the way, I should be grateful.  Am I being treated poorly, or am I just being insecure? At eight in the morning, these thoughts cannot be brushed aside.

I know what I’m supposed to do; I know where I’m supposed to go, but the how seems to be the bit about which everyone knows very little. How?, they ask. You do!, they exclaim. But what?, I ask. Whatever you want!, they exclaim again. But how do I figure out what I want?, I ask. Ask yourself what you want to do!, they exclaim. And then do!, they exclaim again. And again, the how is lost.

Nobody wants to hear you.

I hear them say. Over and over I am pummeled by the reality that not only do I not matter, but also, it’s impossible to matter. Who, honestly, matters? You reveal your own importance by creating that importance, but to create one’s own importance reveals a true lack of it (one’s importance).

A sphere being pulled by one hundred thousand tiny suction cups, away from the center, outward, stretching the film of the mind suspended at its core. Pop—the perfect pinging petite pop of a tightly held thing set free—pop, pop, pop, pop, POP. All she wants is to run away. But where will she go and truly be happy? She knows there is nowhere. She knows there is no one. She knows that when all else fades and all else fails, alone she will be when her alive self becomes dead. 

The mind is not a palace it’s a cage. But within the minds of others is where I feel trapped. The perception, the perspective on a perception that all must be … translated.

When the mind wanders, where does it go?

A Few Things About Friendship

A Few Things About Friendship

After a year-long global excursion of procrastination, the lifemate and I have settled back into (we’ve been here for about four full months) our home state. Honestly, we’ve sort of been dreading this arrival due to the fact that there are simply too many people to catch up with, reconnect with, etc., etc., &c. Today marks the fourth day of March, and I’ve already had social engagements with people from my past every single month this year, AND April and July and October already contain bookings. I’m not trying to reveal how vibrant or lame my social life is, what I’m trying to reveal is the thing about friendship. Whether or not I am capable of such a feat (writing about the thing about friendship, not the having of friends) still remains unknown, but alas, the day is Wednesday and that means that I must write to this here Report.

The friend I saw yesterday, for Arbitrary Day, is a very old friend, someone I have known since before I was aware that I knew them (for the sake of the triviality of gender), i.e. our families are friends. I have not seen this friend since late 2012, just before my parents moved out of my “hometown” and the summer before I was to leave for Seoul for the next five-to-six years. They are a dear friend, and the strange part is that I was never super close to her when we were young. We shared a lot of the same extracurriculars (even traveling to South Africa for the same opportunity at the same time but being parted into separate groups), and we got along well, but close is not how I would describe us. I do not hold any of their secrets, nor do they hold mine, and yet, we are so very close simply because we share so many frames of reference, and we know a lot of the same people.

And that’s the strange thing about friendship because I also have a very new friend to whom I have grown very close, very quickly, and I feel so much closer to this person than I do the friend I’ve known all my life, and at the same exact time, I know that the old friend can be relied upon in a way that no new friends really can. All of this probably also has something to do with the thing about time, and the thing about time is something about which I basically know nothing. So, there’s that.

And then there was the friend who fit snugly in the middle. I have known this friend for a little over ten years, and we have been through some shit together. This friend, therefore, I realized fell in a category all their own: a person with whom we are close and with whom we are long-term friends. Meaning, our closeness has the same amount to do with how long we’ve known each other and the actual closeness of our relationship in present time.

I was not expecting to learn something like this from a small gathering of friends, old and new, for a small (too big, after one couple cancelled due to illness) dinner. It was awesome to feel all the feels I felt toward the people in my life. I’m both excited and daunted at the prospect of 2020 being an emotionally charged year filled with the re-connection and new connection of old and new souls. I’m already feeling burdened by the task of being a good friend to those with whom I feel especially bonded. But so far, it’s been worth the effort.

About From-Scratch Bread-Making

About From-Scratch Bread-Making

So, I have this internet friend (and I only use this term because we have not seen each other, in person, afk, since … 2007) with whom I’ve been communicating lately, and she’s fun. She’s also incredibly insightful, in that she is my “Meme Queen.” She’s basically the only person whose memes choice really hit me in the face, and I love them. One of the memes she posted a few months ago had something to do with when friends begin bread-making, they’re definitely depressed. Obviously, she devirginized me of this meme, and I lol’d pretty hard until I had myself a good think.

The thing I enjoyed most was that this perception of people who make bread from scratch being about how depressed they are, and I responded by saying that it totally makes sense, because the making of homemade bread requires time, and most people do not have a lot of time, so if you’re unemployed or underemployed, there’s a really good chance you’re feeling underutilized, useless, etc., and this feeling combined with the act of bread making is what made the meme hilarious to me. And honestly, I don’t remember now if it was a meme or just someone’s tweet, and honestly, I don’t really fucking care cause that’s not the point.

Anyway, the point is that I checked myself. I had to contemplate how I felt, how I feel now when I want/decide to make some bread. For instance, this morning, I woke up feeling a bit exhausted (still from the day before, which is a story unto itself but that will not be addressed here, at this time), tired, drained, and overwhelmingly sad. I, personally, would not define these feelings as depressed as I know why I am feeling these feelings, but I also know that I was inspired to make a fresh loaf. It’s 0900 in the morning. There’s something about a fresh-baked, homemade loaf of bread that I know will satisfy me, comfort me on some level, and today, I am feeling the need for that comfort.

So, although, I do not agree that everyone who begins making bread from scratch is depressed, I am thoroughly grateful that this friend brought the perception to my attention. I do not wish to deny my from-scratch-bread-making proclivities so as not to appear depressed; that’s not it. Instead, I am truly grateful that now, every time I make or want to make a loaf of bread, I check-in with myself to see how I am truly feeling. And that is a great gift, a small nugget of a reminder to see how you’re doing.

But … ?

But … ?

So, I have this friend/acquaintance/old-school buddy from my college days, and she posted a strange Story about how she receives phone calls, and on the other end of the line, speaks some male creep who tells her that they’ve been masturbating to her boobs. Of course, I do not imagine that she will find this particular piece, but it is possible, and so, if you are reading this, friend, just know that I don’t really care that you posted; I do really care about the sexual nature of your harassment/abuse, but I just have a few confusions revolving around this circumstance.

Firstly, obviously, where are they finding these pictures of her boobs? Second, who are these guys who have her number and can reach her so easily? Third, why does she pick up the phone for numbers she doesn’t know? Fourth, the phone used in the story was a desk-top, office phone; like, how? Since I did not feel the need or desire to ask her all of these things, which perhaps was the smarter, better action, I messaged by saying, “At least you’ve got great boobs,” to which she replied with zero appreciation for my comment. I’m not upset by this, of course, we are not close; we are internet close, which reminds me of some other Report I need to write up soon with regards to closeness, but that’s not here cause it’s over there.

Nevertheless, I attempted to explain myself, but now I find that I just don’t really care simply because there are too many unanswered questions that cause too much confusion about how I should be feeling about this particular circumstance. Obviously it sucks; obviously it’s terribly terrible; obviously it’s completely unnecessary and clearly makes her feel bad, BUT … so much of our reality is solely based on our perceptions, and to me, a shift in perception, a shift in perspective helps to make the world less terrible. Yea, sure, you can’t live in denial about the shit you’re going through, but you can broaden your view on the shit that happens on the daily and see the larger picture … the broader picture that accepts that there are a lot of creepy men out there, and so, it’d be worse if you were also unattractive. Yea, of course, it’s petty.

My point is not to disregard the shit that my friend’s going through with the creeps who keep calling, but why do they know her number? Why does she answer the phone? Why has she not spoken to anyone who can actually do something about it if it’s been happening at work? My point is to point at the fact that complaining about shit is not doing anything about the shit that’s happening. Complaining is futile. If she was really offended, she wouldn’t be sharing it on her social media as a Story, she’d be doing something to make it stop. Or at the very least, she’d could Story about what she’s doing to make it all go away. Since that is not the position she took, I responded in a much less serious manner … I joked about it, cause to me, social media, especially the Stories feature, is not a serious platform. If she had texted, I would’ve taken the issue seriously and responded seriously.

I suppose I’m writing all of this, now, in my own self-defense because I’m afraid she’s never going to talk to me again. But again, not really the point, and yea, not really anything new. People find me harsh, and I do not disagree. And it’s not so much that I feel bad about this whole situation, the problem is that I think I offended someone over the internet, an internet friend, but I don’t actually know cause she didn’t tell me that I’m an inconsiderate hag; she didn’t communicate anything. Lame. Oh well.

Until the next Petty Report …

 

Trust Me

Trust Me

Lately, I’ve been learning a lot about myself due to circumstances that I’ve created (but this is not about the circumstances). Unfortunately, most of these lessons are less than savory. Mostly, I’ve been confronted with these two ideas: Love and Trust. Both of the platonic variety (my sexual love life is on point with a Body Buddy the likes of which my world had never known before and of whom my world will never let go). Platonic love is a whole other story, and it requires almost more trust than sexual love because there are fewer ways to express that love, especially when—with regards to platonic love—saying, “I love you,” is usually inappropriate. But really, this is not a thing about love for it is a thing about Trust. And trust is not one of my stronger suits.

The thing about trust is that there are no guarantees, which is not the same as faith because faith requires the acceptance of ignorance. Trust requires the testing of facts against the words and actions that are to be trusted. Trust requires that you bet on the good. Trust demands that you sit in the unknown. Trust is built over the course of a long, steady test of words and events. The unrelenting need for proof that what someone says is what they mean and who they are. And this does not even include the keeping of sensitive information. If I had a metaphor (no matter how terrible), I’d share it.

My situation revolves around the simple trust of a young friend. Obviously, I cannot go into the specifics of the situation, as that would thusly make me untrustworthy, but I do not think it wrong to write about them (as the gender-neutral pronoun) in relation to myself under the terms of discovery. I know that I am trustworthy on many accounts, however, this does not mean that I will not break the trust of my young friend simply because I do not know what actions they will consider to be breaking their trust. I have more than a few inklings about what I can and cannot do, but mostly, I do not know what sorts of little things will cross their line.

The situation, more specifically, however, revolves around my development as a trust-worthy person. I am in constant fear that they will no longer trust me because they find me to be unworthy of their trust. And at the same time, I am also a bit fearful that I will end up heartbroken in the end. But all of this is on me. That is trust. Moving forward, carefully sharing and revealing ourselves to those around us who seem to care. Whether or not they care is not our issue. We trust and are handled (positively or poorly) by those to whom we give our trust, and we grow and become more enlightened as a person who trusts and is rewarded for that trust. Or that trust is broken, and we are enlightened through the feedback we receive when we learn, for certain, that a person cannot be trusted.

I have someone who delicately and gently holds me in my vulnerable state of trust and intimate love, but that seems so easy compared to the platonic love of friends. Cause … like … what if they don’t like me as much as someone else? But there are many different types of love and friendship and intimacy. They all, however, require a solid, strong, secure foundation of trust. Without the vulnerability of floating alone in that unknown space proves difficult at every stage of a relationship. Lest not forget, however, that the other person is also floating about in the unknown. And so, I suppose that the real gift is simply being given the opportunity to trust another human, and in turn, you might both win through the knowing of each by the other.