Embracing Your Weirdness

So lately I’ve just been thinking how everyone, especially young people, are so petrified of what the world thinks of them nowadays. To that, I say this. With everyone placed on the same eternally spinning sphere surrounded by big burning glittery things in pitch black antigravity, several things are certain:

  1. We will all meet each other at one point or another
  2. We all think we’re weird, so you might as well embrace it. You never know who might like it. We’re all awkward, insecure, and feel inadequate. It’s why we do things, good or bad. Be secure in the knowledge that everyone else is just as insecure as you. And if they say they’re not, there’s a 90% chance they’re lying.
  3. Not many will understand you at first. But that’s okay. They’re just used to paying more attention to themselves and their own world. You’re always you, and nobody can take that away.
  4. Usually if you’re not in harmony with yourself, you can’t be in harmony with others. Start with the understanding of that you’re actually not all that special. Everyone, to a certain degree, is just like you. They breathe the same air, feel many of the same feelings, have good or bad days, just like you. Maybe they come from a different society which colors their interpretation of the world, but in general, most of us fear the same things and aspire to rise above those fears, express ourselves, and create positive change in the world.
  5. Given enough time, we all eventually break free of these false, imaginary walls we build both within ourselves and between each other, and embrace our insecurities and secrets for what they are. Because eventually, you get to a point where nothing shocks you anymore. And when you do, you will realize we’re all human, all equally capable of good or bad. It’s how you live in harmony with yourself and others that matters most. 

Basically, you shouldn’t care what anyone thinks of you. There’s no reason to, because we all worry about that. All that matters is that you’re good enough for you, and that you treat yourself and other people well.

It’s funny, really. You grow up and you’re amazed at the evolution of the human race, until you realize we’re all still children inside.

Everyone is just winging it. Most of us are terrified of screwing everything up and maintaining some imaginary wall where all anyone ever sees is the best of us. America suffers from this disease perhaps more than any other nation. But it’s important to be honest with each other and ourselves, because much of the society we’ve built doesn’t want us to. Various companies thrive on our insecurities and fears because nothing sells greater, they provide us products that help maintain this wall. But who cares? The wall is not you. There is no wall.

To quote a favorite movie of mine, “there is no spoon”.

So I encourage you all, young or old, to be shameless. Be weird. Question things. Be honest and real and genuine. Learn to know when you’re not being honest with yourself or others about who you are.

No other path will give you peace.

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My First Vlog!

Hey guys! So recently, I discovered an insanely awesome and down-to-earth author named Jenna Moreci, and she is friggin’ amazing! She gives frank and very helpful advice to other writers, and she has become both my go-to resource for writing tips as well as one of my favorite YouTubers.

And because I was so inspired by her and what she does and how she’s marketed herself–resulting in great success and a following of diehard fans–I decided to start a vlog myself to talk about my writing and various other topics of interest related to it.

So without further adieu, I give you my first vlog =) I know it may not be the greatest and I have to get more comfortable in front of a camera and I need to clean my room, all that jazz. But I’m super pumped and excited for it. Check it out! I’ll be putting out new videos every Monday!

You Don’t Know What It’s Like

I try to see the 21st century as a formative one when it comes to society. We can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, as the saying goes. Despite that, I’m disgusted by the amount of bullies that online anonymity frequently produces, the sheer ignorance and lack of understanding of some people, and the fact we’re still fighting century-old battles that should have been resolved by now. Racism, women’s rights, LGBT+ rights, constantly shaming each other because we’re not good enough or whatever.

You don’t truly know someone else’s struggle. You don’t know what demons some people fight every second of every day. And it’s far too easy to resign yourself to ignorance than to learn respect and tact. I write about this constantly in every story I pen, because it’s not something people want to understand. From the darkest and most evil to the saddest of the sad. People commit mass genocide, invade countries, fight long and brutal wars and torture the crap out of each other and themselves for many years.

All to avoid sitting down, listening, and talking. The one human phenomenon that continues to boggle my mind.

Why. Why. Why is it ever so IMPOSSIBLE to sit and talk and try understanding each other? A question for the ages. I know we’ve come a long way, and we’ve longer still to go.

I do have hope.

But I just wanted to illustrate how much this avoidance of natural communication wears on humanity.

The Hatred of Change, and Writer’s Frustration.

mandala2

It is no secret to those who know me that I abhor healthy routines. If there is any length of time during which I manage to drag my stubborn ass onto the path of eating healthy, sleeping normal hours, using the gym membership I waste $20 a month for, paying bills on time, and being a normal, sociable person who actually takes time for interaction outside of work, it is inevitable that I will screw it up somehow.

And I can feel myself slipping, every time. The nights get progressively longer, until eventually I’m going to bed in the wee hours of the morning. Sometimes I’ll get fed up and reprogram myself by staying up for 48 hours until I’m exhausted enough, but lately I find myself incredibly stubborn. I do this even though I know I feel at least 70% better about life on a regular schedule.

I make a lot of excuses for why I don’t go out anymore. “I have to write,” I’ll tell myself. Or “I have to finish working on this song”. And then months go by, and life passes by and very little of it really gets done.

All of that seems to be changing lately. Not the stubborn habits, but my work ethic. I now have two web serials going, Burntown which is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi teen drama amalgamation (that I haven’t worked on in over a year but just decided hey, let’s see if anyone likes this weird thing), and Adventures in Viktorium, a dystopian sci-fi series which is much better written and is more planned out.

Guess which one is now getting the most attention since I just dumped all these posts into it last night? Of course. Burntown.

But I am not particularly proud of Burntown. The writing isn’t the best. It’s horribly planned out and needs editing. It straddles a few lines, ranging from major teen drama and social issues to post-apocalyptic, and then later on I blast the characters off into deep space. Strangest story ever.

And yet somehow, Adventures in Viktorium, which I am currently writing in the arena of 4,000 words a day for, is getting no traction at all. I wanted feedback on it most of all.

That’s one of the most incredibly discouraging things for me as a writer and music producer. It has been for a long time. How can I be this creative and yet have no audience? All I want is feedback. I feel like a tree falling in a forest that makes a sound, but no one’s around to hear it, so it’s as if that sound does not exist–even though I know it does, because I made it.

Maybe it’s that I’m still waiting for that “magic hand”, so to speak to drag me out of obscurity–which is also why I haven’t looked for a better day job–but I am slowly getting better at tearing away from that mindset and working on my own luck. I’ve recently been talking to a successful author named Travis Simmons, and while he isn’t world famous by any means, he makes an actual living off his writing (or otherwise things involved with writing). That’s pretty what I want to do, and he’s given me a few pointers. I don’t need to be famous (nor would I want to), I just want to make a living doing what I love.

But I wonder why it even bothers me that I get no attention–I think it may stem from my childhood. My dad didn’t really spend a whole lot of time with me since he’s a pastor, and even now that I’m 29, we don’t have the closest relationship. It’s been hard all my life to find people willing to listen to me, because I was usually the one listening to everyone else and helping them with their issues, to the point I never helped myself.

And now somehow, I must break free of that mindset. I must make a change. I just wish I felt some sort of validation, or knew how to go about validating myself as a human. A rite of passage, as it were. It feels pathetic to want attention. But I don’t think the general wanting of anything is bad in itself. It’s good to want, and it’s okay. But I don’t think it’s okay to want out of lack for something, or to fill a void. You should want because it’s good, because it is already yours, because you already feel blessed. You should want for others, and want because of the experience of having.

Life is transient after all, and short. To quote one of my favorite bands Circa Survive, accomplishments are transient.

Maybe that’s what I have to get back to. The one thing I always used to hate about the Lehigh Valley where I now live is that everything in it seems transient; the people, the businesses, the friends, everyone just passes through. We’ve become somewhat of a tourist destination in recent years, and this is no more evident than in our interpersonal relationships.

Still, maybe it’s time I embraced the transience, the impermanence of everything. What would happen if I did that? I wonder…

Buddhist monks painstakingly create these beautiful, intricate sand mandalas, then toss them into the river when they finish. It serves as a reminder of the transience of life.

I’ve wanted to cultivate my spiritual self forever, but like everyone else in this media/internet-saturated world, I “haven’t had the time”.

What if I stopped focusing on the how? What if I stopped looking for validation? I love what I write. I do it because I like to think that through the sharing of myself, I can help others. I can give them an escape.And through it, I escape also, as I learn to love myself.

Fate will find me. We are all walking universes made up of the literal collective past of the cosmos. I do not hold a universe inside me just to collapse. But even if I do, I am reborn. We are all transient creatures, helping each other along through the motions. My words should be a narrative of that. They will find the people who need them most.

Yes. I think that will be my philosophy from now on. Don’t look for the readers, because then all you’re looking for is validation. Your words will find them. Keep pressing on.

Embrace the transience.

House of Rats – Part 1

“House of Rats, Part 1” from my web serial ‘Adventures in Viktorium’ is now available. The story has officially begun!!

Adventures in Viktorium

Maxwell Ferrier took a deep breath and steadied himself by the third floor window of the abandoned villa, taking care that his face was still covered. He abhorred sneaking out of the city. Not that he feared getting himself into trouble; as an elder of the Barreau Orphanage boys, he was no stranger to that. But forming a temporary alliance with the most feared gang west of Cavarice seemed to be the only way to get their hands on Dispatcher technology. Such devices could fetch thousands on the black market. Since the orphanage received little funding from the government to keep its doors open year-round anymore, it was a necessary evil.

Outside, the sun shone hot across the deserted golden wasteland. Harsh gusts of wind kicked up dust and debris now and again. The villa itself provided little shelter from the elements as most of the doors were ripped off…

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Christiany vs. Homosexuality: What is Moral, and What Homosexuality Isn’t

The following is from a rather long YouTube comment I made to a woman who believes it is the Christian’s job to warn others about going to hell, which I disagree with. I know it’s a tad long, but I’m a writer and this is an issue which I’m incredibly passionate about not only as a homosexual, but as someone who was raised Christian in a loving household with my dad being a Baptist pastor. I want to build bridges and close the gap between us because there’s so much unnecessary fear and hatred coming from both sides. Here’s my take.

Morality does not come from the Bible, it comes from parents and a society who teach it to their children, and before the Bible, it came from cavemen and later humans interacting with each other and making decisions based on what wouldn’t kill them, i.e. challenging a wild animal in combat without a spear, they learned, was probably not a good idea. And if you learn what’s right and wrong in that sense, it doesn’t take you long to make decisions on everything else. If you take into account that God put us on this earth, in these bodies, to experience something special for the advancement of our souls, don’t you think He would let us discover everything for ourselves in terms of what will work and what doesn’t? Jesus Himself always invited people to “come and see”, and that sort of witness was far more powerful than any quotes he made about the Old Testament. I should note that it’s done a world of good for our church attendance as well.

I was raised in a Christian household, my dad is a Baptist pastor who has no problem accepting homosexuals and bases all of his sermons around having faith, practicing compassionate love towards everyone, being a witness to people through your actions, what works in modern times, and the Gospels. He has never made a sermon about the dangers of hell or God’s judgment to my knowledge (and I’ve sat through many years of his sermons).

The reason anyone grows intolerant of religion is because you’re using it to judge them, as opposed to letting them make that judgment for themselves. Religion is not meant to be used to judge others. If you practice it, you will decide what’s right for your own life in keeping with the scriptures. But to apply that same philosophy to people who may not share your beliefs will sound insulting and ridiculous to them. If you want to witness to people, then show it through your actions, not your words. In my mind when you make judgments on others, it takes away their fundamental right to experience life as God intends. We are meant to work through certain things in our time on Earth. BUT don’t misunderstand…if it’s causing anyone harm, then obviously step in. But that’s also why we have rules and morality as a society. The Bible itself is not a rulebook for life, it was never intended to be. What you take out of it and how you live and experience the life God gave you is what the Word is really all about. Learning for yourself while keeping faith.

If it was just a straight rulebook, we would also be subscribing to Old Testament law and stoning each other to death, but we’re not talking about that, we’re talking about homosexuality.

My view and my dad’s view is that you’re more or less born that way, and that factors throughout life can influence its expression, similar to genes or certain things which can happen in the womb. There has been research that putting stress on the mother, various chemicals to which she may have been exposed, or hormones her body released during stressful times can and will affect the fetus’s brain development later in life. This can be explained as a trigger for homosexuality. In some instances, maybe it takes more than that, like a major life crisis for example. Also in the Bible, there are a lot of things we’ve done away with that have no place in our current society. In other words, we understand the concept of the Word as being something which is ALIVE, and thus constantly changing, but which is no less moral than it was in the beginning. Looking for morality in the Bible today is largely based on several key concepts:

– What time/society are we living in?
– Does it cause harm to oneself?
– Does it cause harm to others?
– Does it keep with the core teachings of Jesus?
– What are the intentions of the heart?

You cannot judge a person who later on in life develops some sort of disease because of a gene expression that was suddenly triggered, for example, because we do not know the cause. Similarly, you cannot say the same of gay people, because you do not know how it was that they came to be gay.

But unlike things like alcoholism, adultery, etc. which all cause serious damage to families and society, we know that homosexuality does not cause harm to society based on those 5 above points. Should you wish to cite the Bible on this, it is important to remember that Sodom & Gomorrah was about sexual assault—which if you’re a feminist, you should understand as being a major problem whether it’s done to males or females, and also the fact that in Biblical times, homosexual relationships as we know them today did not even exist, and if homosexuality itself was spoken of (as in Paul’s writings in Romans), it would be in the context of Roman officials who kept slave boys and engaged in pedophilia. Which—keeping in the context of the verses in Romans—would make perfect sense, because he rails off about “thieves, murderers, adulterers”, etc.

But homosexuality as we know it today is a complete 180 degree turn from how it was spoken of in the Bible, and it’s important to remember that. One still decides what is in keeping with morality in that lifestyle, though.

For example, I identify as gay and have for the past 10 years, but I don’t personally engage in a lot of things that people in the gay community do, i.e. promiscuity, doing drugs, drinking yourself to death, anal sex, etc….but you know what’s interesting? All of these are actions which can be done by people in the heterosexual community too, meaning that homosexuality itself is a harm to no one, since all acts are between consenting adults and the vast majority don’t push their views on the rest of society as a lot of right-wing Christians have.

As for “going to hell”, who are we to make such a judgment (if indeed that’s what you believe in…I don’t believe there’s a hell outright, but my philosophy is a little complicated and involves some crossover between Buddhism and New Age concepts)? We are not called by God to judge, we are called to witness and be an example through our lives. And saying “well I don’t want them to go to hell” is, at its root, nothing more than a justification for your intolerance. We don’t try to cure alcoholism because we don’t want people to go to hell, nor do we tell people to stop being sexually promiscuous because we’re afraid they’ll go to hell, nor do we tell people with anorexia, bulimia, or self-harm issues that “we don’t want you to go to hell”. If that’s the kind of things they’re doing, trust me, in their minds, THEY ARE ALREADY THERE.

The same is not true of homosexuality. Our minds are most in hell when we FEAR being attacked or ostracized by society, always looking over our shoulders in each new environment with each new person we meet. “Will they accept me for who I am? Will I lose my job, my home, or will someone kill me because I’m gay?” Alcoholics, thieves, the sexually promiscuous, etc. don’t ask that sort of question because they know that what they are doing are behaviors, not necessarily a result of who they are as people. That’s why the gay rights movement can be equated with the fight for civil rights in America. Heck, a lot of African Americans still struggle with it! Look at Ferguson, look at the Zimmerman case! “Will they think I’m trying to steal something or kill someone if I walk down this street”, or for women, “is this man walking behind me a stranger or is he going to try to rape me…” You just don’t ask those sorts of things if it’s not something you struggle with in society as a result of who you are.

It seems to me that most Christians who rail against homosexuality cannot make that distinction. They take things out of context, and they ascribe actions to an orientation. I think it’s worth noting here that “homosexuality” and “child molestation” in the 1950’s were also used interchangeably. So people would call homosexuals child molesters.

You get the picture here? And yet that was the BIBLICAL definition! Homosexuals have been branded one of those really deviant things by the rest of society (no surprise, since an overwhelming majority of people in America identify as Christian) when all we want is to be loved and accepted by our families, friends, and have the same rights as everyone else in society. How is that harmful? As homosexuals, we aren’t aiming to hurt anyone, abuse anyone, etc. and if anyone in the gay community does, it’s not because they’re gay, it’s because they have other issues.

I know this was a long post, but I do hope you read it and that it makes you think twice about what you’re really saying when you judge homosexuals because it’s very important for Christians to make these distinctions and consider the Word as a living thing, as well as taking into account the humanity and intentions of people before they judge. It’s just not your place to judge someone else’s life, especially if they’re not causing harm to themselves or anyone else.