Every person has their demons. Every person is haunted by skeletons in their closet. And often, it is easier to close the closet door than to open it and see what is in there everyday. It is easier to bury a demon than it is to try to figure out what is fueling and driving it. See the fact of the matter is that skeletons and demons are ugly. We live in a society where everything is expected to be perfect, pristine, unblemished, high quality, and mistake free. We live in a society where those who deal with their demons are looked down upon, while those who hide and pretend to be perfect use a judging eye. “Oh he went to rehab,” they whisper. “Oh he is in therapy,” they condescendingly note. Yet those are the people, whether being forced to or not, are trying to make their own lives better and fix problems rather than just hide them. “But rehab is only for people with real problems.” We all have real problems, we just rationalize them in our heads to the point where they aren’t problems anymore. Or maybe society doesn’t think your addiction to religion is a problem a problem that needs a solution. Maybe society doesn’t look down on the fact that you get a headache from a lack of caffeine. Maybe your unwavering political views are praised and not seen as ideologically blinding. So in a society scared to be anything less than perfect, people choose to run. Run from the ugly, run from the solutions, and run from actually trying to obtain perfection. Now I know as humans we will always be flawed and never be perfect, but there is nothing wrong with setting yourself down a road of betterment and seeking perfection. It is easy to see what people are running from. People run from death, police, emotions, responsibility, people, trials, and tribulations. It is more difficult to see what people are running to. Is it always negative? Is it always drugs, alcohol, and abuse? Can it be to exercise, talking, and friends? There are always healthy and unhealthy ways to deal with situations in life. There is a tendency to focus on the negative and the unhealthy choices, rather than the times people run to the healthy choices. So what are you running from? Or maybe in this society the better question is, “What are you running to?”

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Routines of Freedom

Posted: February 6, 2012 in Rant
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Whether we realize it or not, much of our day is set around routines. Everyday you wake up. Boom. Routine. Going to work, eating, going to the bathroom, all of these are routines. The time of day and the content of what you eat may change, but the act is the same. By necessity, much of human life is set up by routine.

As a substitute teacher, it is funny to see routines. Students, especially the younger ones, are dependent on routines. When I come into a classroom and say something, I get the precise way it is to be done by twenty-something children. If I do it slightly different, all hell breaks loose, and I hear it from the students that I am doing it wrong. It must be done the right way. Some would call this indoctrination. Teachers use routines to keep to and let students know what is coming.

There is a fear of the unknown. People do not handle what they don’t know  or expect very well. The worry of what is to come can cause anxiety. If you don’t know what is coming, there is no way to be in control or have control of what will happen. Routines are ways for people to semi-know what is coming and semi-control the outcome of said event.

At the same time, routines take away freedom, but freedom can be scary. The freedom to walk down a different street or try a new restaurant comes with unknowns. If every Friday I go to the same Mexican restaurant and order carne asada fries, I know what I am going to get. The unknown may be scary, but that does not make it instantly bad. Maybe that street has a beautiful mural and street musicians. Maybe that restaurant has a dish that will become your favorite. The road I am not walking down will create new routines. Is it ironic that freedom creates new routines?

We have been training our children, for a while now, to follow routines. They know instantly what to do when the lights are turned off, when they see a sheet with bubbles filled with letters, and how to find an answer that is explicitly stated in a piece of writing. What have taken away the freedom in education and it has leaked out into life. We have taken away innovation and critical thinking. We are obsessed with routines, with keeping order, and with finding a way to control what we shouldn’t be able to control. Break from the routine, adventure, challenge your freedom.

Modern day life is crazy. Not only are we as humans connected in ways people in the past would never dream of, we broadcast ourselves to friends and enemies alike. The advent of social media has created a new aspect to life that takes anonymity and spits in its face. Right now, my life and my words are being broadcast across the continents and to random strangers. The crazier part is that I choose to allow people to see into aspects of my life that in generations passed were very private.

So why do we do this? Will my videos on youtube ever get me a record deal? I can emphatically say no. Will my blogs ever get me a book deal? Most likely, no. Will my pictures of me getting drunk get me into trouble? Eventually. Will my big mouth status updates offend people? They usually do. If we as a society are gaining no tangible benefits from social media, why is everyone so hooked?

It may have something to do with validation. It may have something to do with a human feeling of boastfulness, of pride. It may have to do with the need to be liked, pun intended. It may have to do with boredom, or it may be for straight entertainment.

Gossiping has long been a form of entertainment for both men and women. It may vary how each sex does it, but both still attempt it. The difficult part of gossiping is that it requires someone else to gain new information or share the already acquired information. I am using the term information loosely. Gossip is hardly information. Occasionally it may lead to some juicy nuggets, but most of the time it is just rumor. Social media has taken the need for another person out of the gossiping equation. I can now lurk any of my friends and make assumptions about their actions, their lives, and their significant others. I can “know” someone without actually staying in physical contact with them. People get entertainment out of knowing about other people’s lives.

We have put our private lives into the public domain more than ever before. It is far our own entertainment and the entertainment of others. Individuals are now more open and as a result more vulnerable to fraud, gossip, and punishment, but so is everyone who also uses social media. The question is, “Are you not entertained?”

A Century

Posted: February 6, 2012 in Free Write
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A century is 100 years. Now living to be 100 is an accomplishment. In the course of human history, a century is not a long time, and in the history of the universe it is the blink of an eye. Stop and think about a person living an entire century. In that life, how many singular moments has that person had? How many do they remember? How many have they created? How many are they just along for the ride for? It is beyond a lifetime of memories and moments. Stop and think of how many events and actions occur everyday. Each day is built on thousands of events, like each time a pen touches paper. Singular events weave together to create a larger specified unit of time measurement. A century is created out of millions of singular events in the life of a person. How many of those matter? Shouldn’t they all matter? Headaches, butterflies, sleepy eyes, sex hair, smiles, tears, hugs. Over a century, so many of those build up. Some are forgotten, others are held onto for good or bad reasons. A century builds more than a person. It creates a legend, a larger than life story. A larger than life story that reflects life, so we maybe we underestimate life a bit.

Running

Posted: February 6, 2012 in Free Write
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I went for a run the other night, after I got some bad news. I’m not really a runner. Here is my problem with running: Most of the time you are by yourself. Running is lonely. Sure there are times in your life when you need that, but I am not a fan. What is the point of running? Sports have purpose, there is reason. Is that enough? People say that running clears their heads. I think people just don’t know how to think. They need to force themselves to be alone, to be cut off from everything to be able to think. I think all the time. I think when I shouldn’t be thinking. Thinking is what drives me. I do think when I run but no more than any other time. Running takes you, ultimately, to the same place you started. The difference is your looking at it from a different angle.

Keyboards and Screens and Mouses, Oh My

Posted: February 6, 2012 in Old
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Hello internet generation. Or is this the facebook generation? What is our generations tag? Anyone? Anyone? I have a bunch of ideas for blogs lately. If they will get done is another story. We shall see if I have the creativity to mold those tender ideas into beautiful sculptures and works of art. Ha.
Moving right along. I addressed everyone with the opening sentence because there is a trend that has caught my eye and no doubt many eyes out on the vast expanse of information/trash we call the internet. I signed onto myspace the other day. So 2006, I know forgive me internet world please. I wonder if I can still get scene points for take angle pics for myspace. Hmmm. Probably not. The scene is dead. Anyways back to the lecture at hand. I decided to click on a bulletin that one of my ex’s had put up. It was under the title of like, “Haha Booty Shorts.” I read that and was like, “Hell yeah. Booty shorts make me laugh too, except in my pants. Let me read more, and please God, if you are up there, let this bulletin include pictures.” Side note, doesn’t God ever get tired of being up? He’s an omnipotent being, I’m pretty sure he could watch what everyone was doing from where ever he wanted. I wouldn’t want to be sitting on a cloud if I were him that would just be balmy and make his hair go real frizzy. Just a thought. So I open up this bulletin hoping for a juicy tidbit or at least something pleasing to the eye. What was I greeted with you ask? A survey of course, who does anything else on myspace anymore? Needless to say, I was disappointed, but since I already had the damn page open I decided to read it. Now people ask, “Who has time to read those boring surveys about other people?” Well the answer is me apparently. So I put on a pair of my best spectacles and began the task of trying to decipher what this girl was saying in the survey. Surveys crack me up because people try to be as ambiguous as possible on the damn things. If they don’t want people to know stuff about them then why do a survey in the first place? Anyways, I was reading what the last liquid was to touch this girl’s lips and blah blah blah, when I came upon a question that caught me by surprise. Not for the content of the question, but for my reaction. It was a question about the last person this girl had kissed. Up until that point, I hadn’t thought about her kissing anyone else, but now that action was brought to the forefront of my brain. Do I still have feelings for this girl? Possibly. Would I like to kiss her again? Now that is a silly question if you know me. If it hadn’t been for myspace I would have never thought about this and wouldn’t have cared. Now usually when I have a jealous feeling it is like getting kicked in the stomach by one of those damn Budweiser horses with the huge clodhoppers. Translation- clodhopper=foot/hoof/other leg extremity. This wasn’t that bad, but still did have a downtrodden feeling after.
Making my rounds on the information superhighway, the next exit was facebook. Facebook is based around status updates. If there were no status updates there would be no point to facebook because it would just be boring. The words creeper and lurker would also be less frequented by the youth of America. The status update can be used in one of two ways. You can actually say what you are doing, or you can say some ambiguous statement that people will try to read into to decide what is going on in your life at the current time. Of course I take the second path most of the time because it is more fun. Recent updates include. “Its knucklepuck time baby.” And “Fear does not exist in this dojo.” Both are completely irrelevant and mean absolutely nothing. Why the hell would I have knucklepuck time? I don’t play hockey. I can’t even stand on rollerblades or ice skates. Am I going to take a girl tilt her on her side and try to push her into a bed? Now that is actually an idea, but most likely no. Oh Mighty Ducks, how good of a movie you were. Come back to me. Now people tend to use their status updates in the other way. I do not know why people feel the need to update others on the constant activity of their lives. I don’t really care that a guy I knew in high school got super drunk last night and can’t get out of bed today. I don’t care that some girl had the greatest night of her life last night at the club with her guurrrrllssss. Is that what it is? Is facebook really just a tool to make people want to be like other people? “Oh. My. God. She had a great night last night. Why didn’t I have a great night? I need to have a great night tonight!” It is an excuse for people to get into other people’s business. Although it most people put it out there publicly in the first place so it’s not really getting into. What is the word I’m looking for? Jealousy. Not jealousy of the actual person. It is internet jealousy.
The internet has created an entirely new way for people to be jealous of others. Jealous that they had a great night or jealous that an ex is hooking up with other people. We are so connected that we can’t kick people out of lives. It is all right there on the internet. No matter how bad I want to get rid of the thought of someone. I can’t. I will see their facebook status update. Or someone else will and they’ll text me about it, but that is a problem for another day. I can’t delete her either. That would immature. Or so people say. So the internet generation demands a stronger person. To constantly have pain being shoved into their face and be able to deal with it. The internet has become an integral part of life for much of America. It is an epidemic raging throughout the country of people being stuck in front of a screen, much like I am right now. Internet jealousy is claiming victims as we speak. There is someone crying in front of a computer right now because they see pictures of their ex with their new significant other. Where is the rock to crawl under and hide? Don’t even get me started on porn and making girls and guys expect perfect bodies and crazy face down ass half up while one leg is perched like a flamingo sex. The internet is creating a jealousy problem that requires a stronger person that the babied children who are currently surfing the data waves. God. Surfing the web. So 90’s. If anything, it’ll teach us all how to suck it up and move on with life to try and ease the pain.

Crash Into Me

Posted: February 6, 2012 in Old
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Write. Write. Write. I don’t know where I’m going with this. I guess you never really know where you are going until you actually get there. Have you hugged anyone today? Have you told your parents you love them? Did you smile at that stranger walking down the hall? When I was in high school I watched Crash in my humanities class. At the time the movie connected with me on so many different levels. Now looking back on it Don Cheadle is really correct. We drive around and purposely crash into people just to know they are there and feel something. What is a relationship? What does it take to maintain one? Does it matter how careful people are will someone always get hurt?
Hmmm. A relationship is a bond between two people. What a simple definition. It is one that can be debated fervently. And it is ironic that such a simple definition can create chaos, anger, sadness, joy, and love. The confusion comes in the part where there are two people needed for a relationship to be created. Two individuals. Oh hey, look individuals, another word we can define. An individual is a person who has been shaped by his or her own experiences in life. I can have the same exact life as Bobby Joe, but during that night in the thunderstorm as we both curled underneath a tree he thought of life and I of death. Bobby Joe and I can have a relationship, but we will never be the same. Automatically, this creates conflict in the relationship. Why did I choose Bobby Joe as a name? I have no clue it is just the first thing that came to mind. I write these things as word vomit and don’t do any brainstorming before I start typing. We all have that one moment in our life that shapes our thinking for the rest of our lives. Whether we know it or not it was there and we make decisions and have thoughts based on our history. A person cannot exist without having gone through events in their past that define who they are. And in this moment, as I can have the tuna or the turkey sandwich, I will chose the turkey because in my past I remember the obnoxious smell of tuna as my mother made her lunch everyday. But there is Bobby Joe munching on his tuna sandwich, also destroying the ecosystem of the ocean. Damn your fake ungreenness Bobby Joe. That doesn’t mean that I can’t sit next to Bobby Joe and enjoy my turkey while he or she or it enjoys their tuna. Wait a minute Andrew. What about my relationship with that inanimate object? What a bout my relationship with my nation? Or if you are me, what about my relationship with my favorite Normal Like You sweatshirt. This is why I hate defining things. I never can get it down just write. I would be a terrible dictionary writer. So let us look at these things. I have a sweatshirt. I wear my sweatshirt. My sweatshirt keeps me warm. Now that I’ve passed 1st grade let me take a deeper look at those sentences I just typed. My sweatshirt has a purpose. It keeps my warm and sheltered from the cold. If I did not wear it, it would not have a purpose. It provides for me. I provide for it. My nation provides me with a sense of who I am. If you are reading this, can speak English, and watch American Idol, you can be part of my nation. I provide the nation with a representation on Earth of an abstract idea. So therefore is a relationship is defined by a partnership in which each side provides something for the other. Right?
Okay so now you have successfully discovered what a relationship is. You probably realize, “Hey, I’m in a relationship!” Awesome. Good for you. Now how do you maintain that relationship through the peaks and valleys of what life has to offer? Take my sweatshirt. I love my sweatshirt dearly, but if I do not wear it, my sweatshirt has no purpose and it will get angry with me. If it is not cold or rainy, I do not need my sweatshirt. Therefore during the summer our relationship becomes less necessary than the relationship between my wife beater and me. Moving away from the inanimate, what about Bobby Joe. I love Bobby Joe, but he likes tuna and I like turkey. How can we ever overcome that fundamental difference in our relationship? I can forgive Bobby Joe for liking tuna. It has no direct effect on my life. What happens when we go to dinner and Bobby Joe takes me to a fish restaurant that only serves tuna? Am I supposed to get angry because Bobby Joe should know me better or am I supposed to be understanding because Bobby Joe is my friend and I should be able to make a sacrifice for the relationship? Who decides who needs to back down? If both Bobby Joe and I are hard headed and don’t give in the relationship has come to a cliff. It can turn around and try to retrace steps and work out a plan or it can continue and tumble off the cliff. This is the thing; relationships inevitably run into bumps in the road. It takes two people deciding the change things for a healthy relationship to thrive. A relationship where one person decides that they need to back down all the time is not a relationship it is a parasite with one person preying on the other. Working together is pivotal for success. Not only communication but an understanding must be laid that allows both parties to be happy both when they are in the relationship and outside of it. There comes a point in a healthy relationship where so much is known by both parties about the other that it almost an extension of one party onto the other. Now what is human nature to do at this point? So many things have been put into this relationship that trust exists. One party may have all the secrets of the other party and it is simple to break someone’s trust with one fell swoop. All the work that had gone into building a healthy relationship can be destroyed with one action, thought out or not.
Is it inevitable that one person in a relationship will be hurt? There are so many instances of people being hurt by relationships. One party may read more into the relationship than the other party. Bobby Joe may think we are just friends but I may be in love with her or him, or whatever. Or I may have thought that the way I was acting when Bobby Joe came to me with a problem was appropriate when it was actually hurting Bobby Joe. Or what if I kept secrets from Bobby Joe and Bobby Joe found out about them form other people? All these things are possible and happen everyday. People want companionship, but they also want to keep things to themselves. No relationship can be perfect like I described above. There is no perfect relationship with perfect communication and able to work every problem out with cool rational heads. That is what I love. I love knowing the fact that there may be problems in my relationships whether it is with a girl, a friend, or my parents I can try to work it out. It makes me angry it makes me happy it makes me sad. I want to yell, I want to scream, I want to cry, I want to run away. It makes me feel alive. I’m fighting something that I believe in. If I weren’t fighting I wouldn’t believe in it. I wouldn’t care. What is the point in fighting for something that one does not believe in? The pain is what I thrive off of. It sucks yes, but if I didn’t feel pain there would be no point in living. It is not so sadistic. Relationships make me feel joy and happiness beyond belief too. I thrive off of that. I want to make relationships, I want to keep my current relationships, and I want to rekindle past relationships. I am a fighter. If you do not like that I apologize. The theoretical bullshit above is a college student removing himself from a situation and describing the perfect ideal image of a relationship. This is me feeling. Something that sometimes gets lost. Feeling. Yeah a relationship should have feeling too. I used to try to stifle my emotions and not let them get in the way of my thinking. I have begun to accept them and have them help me make decisions. I want to experience the full range of feelings in my life. I want to have a relationship with you, whether it is terrible and painful or wonderful and happy. I want to say thank you to all of those people who have been in my life throughout the years. I don’t care if we weren’t really friends, if we were enemies, or if we were attached at the hip. You have all given me an experience and a life I would not change for anything. I’m a person and you’re a person. Shouldn’t that be enough of a reason for us to get to know each other? See I know where I finished at now, but I had no idea I would get here.