March 11th, 2021

It’s hard to write sometimes. A lot of times, really, if you’re me. I know that not every single thing a writer produces needs to be spurred by some relentless frenzy of passion, but for myself, it feels like if I’m not writing in a frenzy, with ideas flying through my head just needing to be put to paper, then it feels like I might as well not write at all. It doesn’t just feel inorganic, nor is it that it feels uninspired. It feels like a lie, forcing myself to write. It feels like I cannot say that I well and truly mean every word I’ve typed out, in which case, what was the point? After about a year indoors now, I find myself lacking not only in passion, but also in inspiration. To say I miss the city and the crowded subways and the busy streets would be the understatement of the century. It’s not just the people or the streets or some combination of both, it’s more-so the thoughts they invoke. The highs of getting roles in such a web of people’s lives just by sitting in a certain subway car. The lows of wanting nothing more than an escape, feeling suffocated, or maybe feeling disenchanted. Wherever I find myself, it’s easy to find a muse. It’s easy to want nothing more than to either envelop yourself in everything a place has to offer, or to reject it with every fiber of your being and dream about the places you could be, the things you could’ve been.

For this reason, I would say that quarantine is especially painful. Where one might feel joy and/or suffering out in the world, experiencing any and every possible feeling towards life, the last year has sort of been an absence of that. If happiness were a white and sadness or grief a black, quarantine would be both, but also neither. Not really a type of grey, because grey requires color. More so it would be the lack of any color at all. This analogy is the best way I’ve managed to explain the feeling of no feeling. This entire thing is quite cliché, I know. There’s a reason things become cliché though, no?

Five times have I re-written this and five times have I gotten it wrong. I suppose I’m only writing this because I must write something. Surprisingly, I don’t even have the energy to write some rousing essay on the struggles of the working class in this country or deliver a scathing rebuke of the United States Government. I am, as some would put it, “running on fumes”. Maybe it’s time to try something new.

I’m not much of a storyteller, honestly. I’m very good at telling them, don’t get me wrong. My delivery can be dramatic enough, and I can stay on one train of thought if I’m focused enough. Rather, I’m not very good at crafting narratives, not for very long. I struggle a lot, not at coming up with ideas of where to start, but rather developing places for the story to go. Nothing ever feels right, necessarily. Everything feels forced, in a sense. I’m sure that’s the same for everybody, or every writer at least, and I can’t imagine it’s impossible to overcome. It doesn’t actually need to be impossible to overcome though, as long as it feels that way.

I don’t have anything to end this on, really. Just take care of your loved ones. As long as you try to be the best person you can be, nobody can ask more of you.

I hope this finds everyone well.

Maybe I’ll try writing stories.

January 6, 2021

I don’t know when exactly I’ll get used to writing “2021” out, by hand or on a keyboard. It’ll probably take me longer to get used to saying it, honestly. I can say though, that like most people, I’m glad to see the previous year leave.

Just like many others, I had a somewhat trying 2020. I lost a lot of family. More than I thought I could in one year. I made mistakes and lived through the pandemic we find ourselves in the middle of. The fact that we made it, all of us still here, means something though, I think. I think it stands for something. Things might not get better immediately, in fact it might take a very long time to see notable improvements in the situations of our lives. The lives that were lost and the people close to us will never be replaced, and any mistakes you or I or any of us may have made cannot be unmade. The only thing we can do, is move forward.

The world we live in right now would be unrecognizable to many of us even just two years ago. The trials many of us face regularly now would test even the strongest of us in the best of times. It’s a hard world, and a lot of people are suffering. I do however, believe, that all of us will make it through this, just a little worse for wear.

I was going to write something on New Years Eve to put out there, into the world. Something for those of you that read this to get some entertainment out of, or something that may make you think, but for once in my life I was at a loss for words. I couldn’t decide if I was relieved, or anxious. I didn’t know if I should expect things to get better, or prepare for them to get worse. The only thing I could think to do, is to stop worrying. There’s not much you or I can do to affect the course of this entire year, but as long as we do what we can, we have nothing to worry about.

I hope that as the year passes, no matter how things proceed or turn out, that we continue to allow ourselves to feel love and terror and hatred and passion. I hope that we do not find ourselves indifferent, or apathetic to our situation. I hope that we continue to grow and learn and develop and experience life however we can, rather than finding ourselves blind to the state of the world. Most of all, I hope everyone here has had a wonderful New Year, and that the year is good to you.

Neither love nor terror makes one blind: indifference makes one blind.

– James Baldwin, If Beale Street Could Talk

An Existential Crisis

Preface, this is long, sporadic, unstructured, and garbled. I wouldn’t read it tbh.

Today, or tomorrow (I don’t know when I’ll post this), I turn 20 years old. Like most other twenty year old’s, I’m lost. I’m lost in life, I don’t know who I am, I don’t know what defines me, and I don’t know who I want to be. This, is normal, I think. I’m not experienced enough to determine my worth, my measure. I’m not wise enough to state my place in the world, or to assert my own existence at times. Or maybe I am. I don’t really know, and I suppose that’s part of life. Something something “it’s about the journey, not the destination” cliché.

I am, however, lucky enough to know what brings me joy, and what I consider right and wrong. I abhor hedonism, but I’ve also learned recently to give myself some leeway. To allow myself to enjoy things. Granted, it took twenty years, but I never extolled my intelligence. Still, that has to count for something.

This is going to be pretty jumbled, just a heads up.

I’ve gotten to do a lot in my life. I’ve been to the other side of the planet, I’ve lived in some of the largest metropolises in the world, and in the middle of the unforgiving wilderness during the harshest winters. I’ve read more books than I could ever remember, and I’ve met people I could never forget. I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser – Wait, no that’s Blade Runner. The point is, I’ve been lucky in life. I’ve been luckier than most people, truthfully.

It’s hard not to tell yourself that you don’t deserve it, when you lead an okay life. At least, for me it is. When trying to figure out the measure of a man, or rather, the measure of myself, it’s hard not to think of the bad. All the mistakes, all the embarrassing moments or immoral choices. All the pain you’ve caused or experienced. It’s difficult to accept for anybody that’s not a complete sociopath. It’s hard to accept that you’re wrong, or that you have been weak, or that you have even been immoral. It always will be, for all of us.

I have spent twenty long, crazy, exciting years now existing. Yet all I have to show for it are lofty goals and unfulfilled ambitions. I hope that, when I look back after twenty more, I’m able to say that I have achieved my ambitions. I hope that I can say I’ve learned to forgive myself for mistakes I’ve made and accepted myself for who I am. I hope that I can say I’ve done my best helping everyone I can, improving all the lives I’m capable of, and being the best friend I can to those that need it most. While tempting, self-flagellation (both physically and mentally) doesn’t achieve much. The only thing that does is fighting, to increase the material conditions of everyone you can, and fight for the freedom of those who have none. It’s easy to tell yourself that you’ve atoned when you feel your own personal pain. It’s hard to accept yourself and your limits, and do what you can for other people in spite of them. Self-flagellation is masturbatory, and gets nobody anywhere. Taking action brings real world benefits.

Sorry about the rant, I’ve had a lot of thoughts in my head lately.

I suppose I’m coming of age, in a country that’s finally at the precipice of facing the reckoning of centuries of oppression of the poor, of the black, of the Asian, of the native, of the Hispanic, of the gay, of the alien, and of the “other”. Trying to figure out who I am in a country that’s trying to say “we don’t know what we are but we know we are not *fascist*” is quite the interesting experience. I suppose it’ll make for an interesting story if I survive a civil war and climate change.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Martin Luther King Jr.

I’m twenty years old now, and it’s really weird seeing how things have changed. It’s jarring how fast time has flown. It’s terrifying how little effect I’ve had on the world as it is. Still, all I can, or any of us can do, is try our bests and hope to be better than we are. Sorry for not writing in a while, I have not had much to say. I simply hope I am able to determine my own meaning, and determine my own scale by which I may measure what a man I have become.

I hope this finds whoever reads it, or may read it, well. And if it is your birthday too, happy birthday. No matter who you are, please stay safe. The world is fucked right now, and all we have is each other.

August 21st, 2020

I hope not to etch my name into history
With a series of apologies

Carl Jung said that “we cannot change anything unless we accept it”. I think this is true, and also very difficult. Acceptance is something many people struggle with, especially with accepting themselves. Acceptance is painful. It hurts to accept ourselves and our flaws. It is far easier to escape ourselves and dive into the love and lives of others, but eventually we will always be forced to return. It feels great to jump from ourselves, escape our being, and deceive ourselves into thinking we are virtuous. It feels horrible to accept that we are flawed, we are imperfect, and that we are our most hated foe. We are the sum of all the demons we project onto others and the world. We are our own boogeyman.

Many of us live in a state of cognitive dissonance for much of our lives. The things we do and the ways we act do not match our own self-image, nor do they match the image we *think* people have of us. We will stay in this state until we learn to accept ourselves and learn to love ourselves so that we may properly love others. It is a journey, and we are all at different point in it. I don’t know why I’ve written this, and I don’t know why I write most of the time in general. I suppose it’s just to scream into the void.

I was wrong about change, previously. I think I have changed. I accept who I am, I accept my faults and flaws and all the mistakes I have ever made and continue to make. I hope you can too. I do not know if I’m ready to love myself yet, I don’t know if I ever will be. I do know that we should all have the chance to, or the opportunity. If you read this, whoever you are or wherever you are, I very much love you, whoever you may be. I hope you are able to recognize that you are your own “big bad”, your own most hated foe, your own demons. Love your “shadow”, as Jung called it. And I hope you are able to love yourself.

Gaslighting

I no longer have the words to write about another black body, and I don’t have the tears to cry for one. Maybe that was they’ve won.

This country gaslights you, if you’re a person of color. It’s taken quite a while for me to realize, but once I did, I understood, and I realized it was everywhere.

In school, you usually start your history with the founding of America. A few brief lessons on the Mayflower and then you’re at the Boston Tea-party, the Boston Massacre, the Revolutionary War, etc. They don’t teach about the irony though. They never teach you that first death in a war waged between slave-owners was that of a black man.

You learn about the expansion west, too. You learn about all the land purchased from Napoleon and stolen from natives. You learn about the Trail of Tears. You never learn that all that land still belongs to the native peoples though. You never learn that even by their own legal systems, the government acted brutally and illegally. You never learn the names of the countless dead native peoples. You just learn the number they’re reduced to.

Living in this country, you definitely learn a lot about crime. You learn about how minority populations apparently have a greater disposition to commit crimes, and how minority populations are more likely to be impoverished and overweight, but conveniently you don’t usually learn why. They don’t tell you about red-lining in most high-schools. They don’t tell you how a million black soldiers were denied the G.I. Bill. They don’t tell you how they destroyed almost every attempt to arm and uplift the African American community in this country. They don’t tell you about how they targeted black people in the war on drugs.

But they’ll still tell you you’re a criminal.

It’s kind of funny. The being followed around part sucks, yeah, but you get used to it. That’s not the issue any more. The issue is the fear, that I feel. The anxiety that I experience, checking out at the register, walking out the door, worrying that, even though I didn’t steal anything, and I know I didn’t, the alarm might still go off, or maybe someone slipped something into my bag when I wasn’t looking, or maybe I stole something by accident without realizing it. Maybe when I was putting my phone in my pocket something slipped in. Completely ridiculous things I cannot help but think because this country has raised me to believe that I am a criminal.

This country has given me a mean case of cognitive dissonance. I do not know the solution.

Jun 22, 2020

None of us are perfect. We all know this and yet it’s hard to remember for many people to remember, especially at the worst of times.
In my life I have made many mistakes. I have been the best friend you could have and the worst person you could know.

It’s hard to remember that we all make mistakes. I cannot grasp how everyone else manages to live with theirs.

I do not understand how people can not sit there, every moment of every day, thinking of all the mistakes they’ve made. Thinking of all the mistakes they should’ve been too smart to make. Thinking of all the mistakes they should’ve been too good to make. I suppose if we all tormented ourselves so, maybe we’d have a better world and better societies to live in. Maybe we wouldn’t, I cannot know.

People change. That’s what we’re told. We’re told that people change and evolve and grow and improve themselves over time. I find it impossible to believe that. I notice myself changing constantly, becoming stronger willed, becoming less afraid. Yet, I worry. I don’t know if I am a different person from the person whose made so many mistakes oh so long ago. I do not know if I have changed, because I cannot measure how I have, if I have. I fear that I may never change. I fear I may never stop making mistakes.

I exist as a man who does not have hope. I do not believe humanity will change, and I do not believe that people necessarily change.

I also exist as a man who is unable to come to terms with who he has been before. I cannot accept the wrongs I’ve been responsible for and I cannot accept the man who made all those mistakes.

I have no place, even in my own mind.

I have never known peace.

May 30th, 2020

I am every nigger your silence condemns and your moderation lynches. I am every single man that can not breathe, that dies with his hands up, and that gets lynched while going for a jog. I am more than that too. I am every Black, Brown, Hispanic, Asian, and even White victim of the paramilitary police and their heinous brutality. I am every single voice that’s gone unheard after years of protests and I am tired and I am angry. I am angry at a system that continues to fail us. I am angry at police that do not serve their communities, but rather terrify them. I am angry at the decades of my unheard cries and pleas and protests that seem to fall on deaf ears. I am tired at the lack of change. I am tired at the apparent expendability of black and brown bodies and I am tired of seeing police walk free for making mistakes that cost lives. You cannot expect a civilian to stay calm with a gun in their face and yet allow cops to repeatedly take human lives because they cannot compose themselves.

I am every working class corpse this country is built on.
I am every dead slave.
I am every dead asian rail-worker.
I am every exploited hispanic immigrant working your factories and your fields.

В борьбе обретешь ты право свое

El pueblo unido jamás será vencido !

Smrt fašizmu, sloboda narodu!

I haven’t posted in a long time. I haven’t much had much to say in a long time. Being stuck inside, like everyone else, has given me time to think. To reflect. It’s helped me realize many things.

People are always quick, to condemn political violence and those that commit acts of violence. It’s not hard to understand why, people have an image to protect. People need to appear as the good, loyal, subdued citizens they are. What is hard to understand, at least for many people, is the plight of those committing acts of political violence. To be explicitly against any forms of political violence, and to universally condemn those that utilize it, requires an amount of privilege I cannot overstate.

Can someone really say they have principles and values, if they are not willing to fight for said principles, or said values? Is the appeal of being the moderate, the neoliberal, the safety of not fighting for or believing in anything, worth not having values? Not fighting for anything? At what point, to the moderate, the centrist, does enough become enough? At what point do they realize they must fight? At what point do they stop condemning those actually willing to fight for people they do not know, and for causes they truly believe in?

Those averse to any and all forms of political violence and polarization often point to the successes of Martin Luther King Jr. in the United states as proof that non-violent protests work. These same people fail to recognize that Martin Luther King Jr. saw his “dream become a nightmare”. They fail to recognize that when MLK started fighting for a class of people, those downtrodden and poor, he was assassinated. They fail to recognize that every non-violent attempt to form a coalition between all the poor and downtrodden in this country has ended with nothing but violence and the death of organizers.

For many people, complacency isn’t an option. Centrism isn’t a position they can afford to take. Many people must fight, so that they may live. The rest of us, in my opinion, have a moral imperative to fight for them too. Of course, political violence is not always the answer. In fact, it usually isn’t. However, to pretend that it is never the answer is a joke, and does nothing but push people towards complacency, and away from fighting for actual, real change.

The FBI and the Chicago PD assassinated Fred Hampton in his home, after drugging him to sleep. The FBI and the NYPD assassinated Malcolm X in the middle of the day in New York City. How can one know all of this and not fight?

The answer, for me at least, is that one cannot.

I truly wish the world was a safer place for women, though I’ll be the first to admit that my reasoning is rather selfish. I wish we lived in a world where I could die happily, knowing my wife, or my sister, or my daughter would be safe from exploitation or sexual violence or coercion. I do not know how we got to this point, although I suppose you could say we’ve been at this point for the better half of recorded human history. Exploitation has never been a foreign concept to the human psyche i suppose. Does being a descendant of exploited people’s give me an increased capacity to empathize? Maybe. There are many ways this could be interpreted really, though the feeling of all this is something completely unique.

It feels like knowing you’re going to lose and still being compelled to fight in spite of it. Marxists would probably say it’s a symptom of being the ideal proletariat. Pseudointellectuals online would say something about imagining Sisyphus happy. Whatever the root of this desire is, I cannot believe it to be a normal feeling, nor a common one. It provides an interesting interaction with my depression as well, honestly. I am a nihilist, and I recognize this fact. I own this fact. I shall always use man as the standard by which things have meaning and measure. I shall always compare the real to the ideal. I do not truly understand how to exist outside of the measures of man. I do not desire to either. It is not that I do not recognize the grandeur of all that is occurring now. It is that the beauty I experience in the brightest supernova, or the wonder I feel staring into the void of the largest black holes are drowned out by the shine given off by the extinguishing of human life, the deafening shriek of the loss of ones sense of humanity. Perhaps I cannot see the grandeur of what is occurring as well as I thought? Perhaps it simply means nothing to me.

I am not blind to the issues that men face in the world. I would never put forth the idea that men do not suffer as well, nor that they suffer any less. Comparing suffering is completely futile. I simply accept that the world we find ourselves in is more hospitable to men than women, even if not by much. Should I pass, would i worry for my son or brother? Yes, of course. Do I worry as much as I would had i a sister, or a daughter, or a wife? Not really, no. This may be the result of some toxic masculine viewpoints. This may be the result of simply seeing the world as it is. I simply worry less about a male alone in the world being taken advantage of, being put into a position where they need to do something degrading to survive. Do my worries accurately reflect the reality of the world? Probably not. Do men get called “slam-pig” or “whore” or beheaded for rejecting people as often? No. I do not desire anything. I do, however, require myself to leave the world better than I found it. Sisyphus must have been fucking miserable.

Our Greatest Lie

I believe our greatest lie we tell to everybody, is the lie that one day, it gets better. It does not get better. There is even a chance that it will never get better. The most damaging lie we tell ourselves, and each other, is that it gets better. Nothing will ever just get better. Many things will never get better. It is okay to admit this, and to accept this. I do not accept that people do not have the right to end their own lives if they desire to, life is hard. To be aware is hard. To be aware and to lack direction is painful. To exist without meaning is torture. It may not get better. Not for you, not for me. The most we can do is to find reasons why we should stay. Why we should suffer, and why we should live. If you struggle with happiness, if you struggle with meaning, if you struggle at all, I encourage you to find not only who or what makes you happy, but to find who you make happy.

Of course, even through all of this, it is your decision in the end. You have the right to your own life, you have control over what you do with it, when and where it ends, how it ends. These are all rights nobody can take away from any other human being. And, as much as I hate to say it, it may not get better. It may never get better. But how will you know, if you do not stay along for the ride? There are always more things to try, more people to meet, there is always more love to feel. I tell you this because I love you, whoever you are, wherever you may be. I do not care what makes us different, and I do not accept that just because I may not know you, means I can not love you. I tell you the truth because I love you, and I always will. It may always be a struggle. I may always be painful. However, you will not know unless you stick through it. And though you owe nobody anything, you will not see all the people that will miss you. All the people you could’ve made smile, have made smile. All the people that wake up and will think about you, or what you’ve done, or how you’ve made them feel, and be better for it. You may never feel better, this is true. You may never even be happy. I promise, however, that you will never not be loved. Even if it is just by myself.

“For such small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love”

Carl Sagan