Yo Dre, Why Are You Always Talking about Changing the World?

earth

I’ve been reconnecting with a lot of friends recently and it’s been cool to catch up with all of them. As I’ve shared with them the many changes I’ve gone through over the past year and a half or so, there has been a trend I’ve noticed: people asking me why I care so much about changing the world.

Wait… wanting the world to be a better place is a weird thing? LOL.

Okay, okay, I’ll explain it like this because after a call I had with my fiancé, I feel like I finally found the words to properly convey my mindset.

*deep breath*

Much like everyone else, most of my life was spent just trying to make my way through this world. I tried to play fair within the boundaries of the rules everyone told me to follow. There were exceptions, of course, but for the most part I was just the nice guy who had to earn his confidence over time rather than having it all my life.

Actually, I started off as a super confident kid, but adolescence isn’t for the weak of heart. A brother’s confidence caught a beat down, y’all.

There was also a nagging thought I had had ever since I was a kid: I’m alive right now and one day I won’t be. I kept that to myself for YEARS because I figured I’d be looked at like a weirdo if I started posing such esoteric concepts as a ten-year-old. Still, why was I alive? Am I supposed to just live and die and that’s it?

Was I a sinner for making a joke about Jesus? I mean, it’s Jesus, for… uh… Christ’s sake. He should know I’m kidding, right?

Am I supposed to spend my entire life working and hope that I stay alive long enough to enjoy retirement? That sounds like a bum deal.

I kid you not when I say I had these thoughts and questions for the majority of my life. I felt like an effing alien because no one else I knew seemed concerned about any of this.

Andre: King of the Weirdos.

During college and afterward, I met a handful of awesome, open-minded people. Folks who are fine with conversing about this stuff. Coupled with that, I soon found out that everything for which I had ambition (a high salary, lots of stuff, a misguided definition of love) brought me temporary happiness at best and straight up unhappiness at their worst. I mean, by and large I was a happy person, but every once in a while the disappointment of not being able to swallow society’s expectations of me and the goals I was taught to have manifested itself in not so pretty ways. In short, I was lost.

If only I knew I wasn’t alone, but people who are lost rarely see the big picture.

I took it upon myself to figure this thing out. I’d love to get into the details of how I did it, but not everyone in my personal life would be accepting of the choices I’ve made even if they’ve helped me for the better. I personally don’t care about the opinion of others, but I’m not about to stir the pot unnecessarily either. That being said, I figured myself out. I figured out that I was much more and much less than what I thought I was. To be specific, I’m not special. Not as an individual at least. But I’m also much more than just a man; I’m a part of everything. Just in the same way that a blood cell is both the individual cell and the blood. I am this reality in which I exist, the individual and the collective.

It may sound crazy to people who won’t get what I mean, but stick with me on this because it all ties back together.

I found my happiness and it was pretty awesome if I do say so myself. I spent some time patting myself on the back for having the wherewithal to discover my own answers while still being open to the beliefs of others. Unfortunately, I quickly discovered not everyone reciprocated this feeling. On top of that, I was all too aware that I didn’t actually care about the fancy job, having a bunch of stuff, or many of the other things I was taught to want. What was the point? My happiness and sense of peace was far more important and I learned I could have that independent of any external factors.

So why was I still here?

This next part may sound concerning if you don’t know me at all, but I’m not about to apologize for thoughts that crossed my mind. I seriously questioned why I should keep playing this unfair game of life. You know, the one where we’re expected to follow rules that not everyone is actually following. Where people hate, murder, cheat, steal, and whatever other vile acts humanity is capable of. Why do I want to continue working at a thankless job where I didn’t agree with many principles? I already found my happiness. What was the point of continuing? None of this would help me maintain my sense of inner peace. For all intents and purposes, I would have welcomed being done with life. Not in a negative way, but more like there was nothing I felt this world could offer me and I certainly didn’t want anything from this world either. I was happy being benign, but family, friends, and the rest of society had invested too much in me already. I wouldn’t be let off the hook that easily.

Sigh…

Then a funny thing happened: I met my soul mate aka my fiancé. The story of how we met is nothing short of fate. I say that because, seriously, how it happened is ridiculously improbable (I’ll save that for another day). The point is, I found my reason for enduring a life in which I had no stakes. Soon afterward I was laid off from my job, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise despite it being an initial burden. I had the opportunity to create a life that I wanted, not one shaped by what I was taught to want. I wasn’t about to sacrifice my own happiness again.

But then I looked at the the rest of world and couldn’t help being put off by all the ills around me. Remember, I saw myself as both the blood cell and the blood. I’m both the being and the reality. Therefore, how could I just sit idly by and be unconcerned with inequality, war, discrimination, greed, etc? That’s quite the impossible task given the way I think nowadays.

We’re all sharing the same house. If I was living with someone who treated me unfairly and was trashing our home, I would probably move out or ask them to leave. I don’t have that option. I have to figure out how to coexist in this house. But I don’t want to live in a sh*tty place either.

This time there are no questions. I have to do what I can to fix this house. Not just for me, but for all the people out there who are walking the path I once walked. We’re all just trying to figure our way through this life and we’re the victims or beneficiaries of people who came before us. That doesn’t excuse crappy behavior, but I understand why we aren’t living in utopia right now; there are a lot of lost people out there just trying to fit in where they can.

And this is why I want to bring positivity to this tiny, insignificant rock we call Earth. If I have to be here I’m going to do my damndest to only make an impact that helps rather than hurts. It’s why I’m going vegan. It’s why I want to exclusively use reusable energy. It’s why I’ll always be against our current form of capitalism. It’s why I’m writing this now. Believe me when I say I love you all and I only want to see you happy too. ALL OF YOU.

But I’ll always love my fiancé more. After all, I don’t know if I’d be here right now if it wasn’t for her, heh.

Peace out, party people.

I Want to Become a Superhero (I Think)

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I’m conflicted, y’all. I’ve been conflicted for about a year now actually and it all has to do with my own knowledge of how this whole funky system is working.

I love being lazy. I also love reading and watching documentaries. The reading and documentary watching, however, is effing up my desire to be lazy. Case in point: the food industry.

As I wrote on here previously, I’m a vegetarian. I dabbled in it in the past, but it was more so for health reasons. After seeing the ugliness of how animals are treated – how they live, what they’re fed, and so on – I gave up on chowing down on animals.

Even you, bacon. I still love you though.

Don’t tell my future wife.

Now I’m on the way to becoming vegan because I became aware of what happens to animals after they can’t produce milk, eggs, etc.

VEGAN.

I used to make fun of vegans. If we were in high school, I’d probably be tempted to steal a vegan’s lunch money, buy a burger, and seductively eat it as a single vegan tear trickles down their vegan cheek.

NOW I’M BECOMING ONE OF THEM.

Well, I watched a documentary called Food Chains that covers how the food industry thrives based on the poverty of farm workers. Not farmers, mind you; those barely exist anymore. I sort of knew these shenanigans were going on, but to hear the details… Good Jeebus….

So now I want to grow my own food too. Problem solved, right?

Nope. Not at all actually.

I watched a documentary called Blackfish that details the straight up grimy nature of Sea World. You know, how they mistreat orcas, how they lied about the death of trainers, and the ILLEGAL way they captured whales.

I read about the lack of integrity in mass journalism. I read about politicians who get away with crimes that affect citizens while low level criminals get prison time like nothing. I read about the outright lies of capitalism and the roots of poverty. I read about how misinterpretations of something as simple as the bible cause the discrimination of, say, homosexuals.

I read too effing much.

Now, I could turn a blind eye to all this and just say I’m going to do me. I’m going to separate from all of this and live the best life I can without contributing to the negativity. It sounded like a perfect plan.

Almost.

I think a lot of people do this. But if everyone does this, the BS continues. Can I sit on this knowledge and try to play the “I’m just one person” card? That just feels like a cop out to me.

Listen, I want nothing more than a quiet life away from everything with the love of my life, but it’s tough for me to just ignore this nonsense. I can do it for a while, but I always come back to this same place. Can I just ignore this and keep living? Am I okay with knowing others suffer to make this machine move?

That’s a lot to ignore. The proverbial elephant in the room, I suppose.

This isn’t a call to action. Everyone is free to do what they want, even if I don’t agree. But I think it’s time for Clark Kent…

Er… Bruce Wayne. Clark Kent is a dork.

…I think it’s time for Bruce Wayne to let the world know he’s not standing for it.

It’s put up or shut up time.

Peace out, party people.

My Girlfriend’s Dog Hates Sex (Part 2)

Tea the dog

When last we met our hero, he was trying to get dat bootay (here’s PART ONE for those that missed it).

Day Two

My girlfriend and I woke up around 6am, all cuddled up and whatnot.

Cue the Full House “Aw.”

We joked about the previous night’s antics and figured it had to be an isolated incident. After all, what kind of dog is opposed to sex?

Tea

Oh yeah…

We decided to take another stab at intimacy and things looked good at first. The dog was huddled underneath a comforter; surely she would stay asleep. However, as soon as my girlfriend and I made a noise that simply sounded like sex, the dog popped out like an abstinent jack-in-the-box, barking her adorable little head off in an attempt to stop the debauchery.

Oh wait, you think I’m kidding about this? This dog senses sex. We could be talking or laughing, but as soon as that energy in the room changes, she’s there to break it up. My girlfriend even tested this by simply sitting on top of me. Guess what. The dog began barking.

Someone must be pranking me.

We went about our business on a largely sexless Sunday. It was an awesome day, to be sure, but there was no horizontal mambo for poor Dre.

As the day wore on, my girlfriend’s dog warmed up to me more. I took her out. I gave her a treat. She even lay down for me! But the day was ridiculously hot and eventually I needed a break from Tea (pronounced “tae-ah”… damned Swedes).

My girlfriend and I lay on the sofa, simmering in an 89 degree apartment (Fahrenheit , of course). As I held her, Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” played in my mind. Because I got that feeling.

We took off to the bedroom, but the dog was close behind. I figured we had become friend over the last 24 hours, so maybe I’d be in the clear. Tea (also pronounced “kahk blahker”) had other plans. She immediately began licking my arm, leg, back, and…

WHAT THE?!?!

Yup, she went for my balls again.

Dre and Tea

This time I took her narrow little butt out of the room, closed the door, and proceeded to mambo the afternoon away.

Today

My girlfriend’s dog seems to have really taken to me. She’ll sit next to me on the couch and even whines when I leave the apartment. On top of that, she even lets me get away with kissing and cuddling up to my girlfriend.

She’s still not cool with sex.

But now we just put her in a different room and it’s all good. She used to bark when she was outside, but it hasn’t been too much of a problem recently. However, whenever we let her back in, I still see a certain look in her eyes as if she knows what just went down.

Parsons Russell Terrier

“You disgust me.”

Peace out, party people.

Tracking My Progress: Week 7 – Becoming a Fulltime Writer

Blogging

Well, would you look at this; Andre’s back to his blogging ways. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Well, if you follow my blog, you know that my girlfriend moved in from Sweden last week. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t soaking in every single moment possible. As a result, I stopped blogging as consistently.

But I’m back, baby!

Okay, first let me say that I didn’t do much to make progress toward my goals last week. Life gets in the way sometimes, right? But those are the things that make life worth living. Trying to make money is just a false necessity.

But I digress.

So let me tell you what I decided. I’m going to do everything I can to become a fulltime writer. It’s time to really test my mettle and create the life I’ve wanted for so long. My girlfriend being here is a hell of a motivation, for sure.

Let’s get into it, shall we?

So if you remember, I make about $47 a day from my part time gig. That’s not that much. Sure, that’s across seven days and I’m not counting any overtime, but you can see that’s not a ton of money. The rest of my cash is made in writing gigs.

I haven’t hit $100 a day yet. But what if I instead focus on increasing my current writing so I can cover $47 a day? I just thought of that while writing this.

Yes, folks, this is how I write. Total stream of consciousness.

I finally signed up for Scripted so I can start knocking out jobs. Some of these pay decently enough for me to reach my goal. I’m going to start on this as soon as I’m approved to write.

I applied to write for htpc Beginner as well. My articles do, of course, have to be approved. As such, I’m going to spend some time today searching the site and seeing what they don’t have. If at all possible I want to see which of their pages gets the highest hits. Is there a quick way to do that?

If anyone knows, let me know. Otherwise, I’ve got my buddy, Google, to help me out.

I love you, Google. Even when you punch my blog in the stomach.

There are a few other smaller gigs I have, but there’s no need to go into detail for those. Also, I’m not counting any work I do with TripleCurve as that money was more for the $100 goal, not this new $47 income replacement goal.

I think I fell into the same trap into which many writers fall when they try to acquire gigs: I sold myself short. There are higher paying gigs out there, but without a modicum of hustle, I’m never going to get there. I have to commit to this hardcore.

This also means a change to the way I’m going to push this blog.

Right now, I shoot links out to Facebook, Twitter and Google+ every time I publish a new post. I want to try something out. It’s a theory I have.

Some people who go to my blog check out more than one post. Other people only view the one I advertised. I’m going to throw in a few mini posts and not blast them on social media. I want to see how well they do. The reason for this is I want to increase my content, but I don’t want to alienate my audiences. Many of these people were following me before I began this blog so it’d be stupid to kill them with links like I’m some robot.

This tactic will also allow me to vary how I advertise. I need to figure out what tiles grab people’s attention more than others. My blog is a mix of subjects so I need to figure out if it’s worth it for me to keep this all under one blog or split topics into more focused blogs. Maybe that’ll result in more focused audiences.

We’ll see.

At the end of the day, I’m just trying to make a living doing what I love. I’m only being open about all of this because I know many other people share the same dream. Go for it.

Do it.

Now.

I’m waiting…

Well, whenever you decide to make that amazingly scary jump into working independently, let me know how I can help. I’m learning along the way so maybe you can take something from my successes and failures. After all, if a number of people have the same dream, why can’t they achieve it together?

Peace out, party people.

My Girlfriend’s Dog Hates Sex (Part 1)

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I didn’t do such a great job posting over the weekend, but I blame that fact on my girlfriend’s arrival.

Her dog gets some blame too.

Actually, A LOT of blame.

Why? Because this sweet, little dog is determined we stay in a loving, yet sexless relationship.

photo (7)

What a sweetheart.

Night 1

It was a long day. My girl was stuck in customs for three hours after a nine-hour flight from Sweden. I, on the other hand, didn’t sleep the night before so I was running on fumes. Still, after months of speaking only on Skype, neither of us could hold out physically now that we were face to face.

Now, this deceptively innocent looking Parson Russell Terrier and I didn’t get off to a great start. Mostly because I touched her nose through her travel cage, to which she responded by barking and trying to bite it off like a piece of Vienna sausage.

Yum.

libbys-vienna-sausage-18-pk-5oz

Not really.

We finally get to my place, engage in some chit chat and settle down on the couch. Holy crap, we’re finally here. It was time to get down.

Except it wasn’t because that dog wanted me nowhere near my girlfriend. Sure, it barked, but I’m bigger so I moved her little yappy butt out of the way.

The dog politely responded by licking my balls when I least expected it.

I believe my reaction was something to the effect of “What the fuck, dog?!?!?!”

Now that the moment was effectively killed, we decided to take the party to a more traditional place. My girlfriend goes into the bedroom first while I quickly freshen up in the bathroom. Because, y’know, sexy time.

As I approach the bedroom, I’m greeted by the loudest barking I’ve ever heard from such a tiny dog. This wasn’t a “Who’s there?” kind of bark. This was more of a “I’M CRAZY, MUTHA FUCKA!!!!!” kind of bark.

Mind you, I live on the second floor of a two-family house with the first floor’s couple’s bedroom directly below mine. I couldn’t have a high-pitched Kujo acting up.

We calmed her down eventually, but the dog was still suspicious. Which is odd because she definitely made herself comfortable on a bed that smells like the dude with which she had an issue.

As we lay in bed, things start to escalate between my girlfriend and I. It was at this very moment that the dog decided to lick my arm over and over again. I pushed her away, but she’d come right back. The more I pushed, the more aggressive she became with her licking. When she couldn’t get at my arms, she went for my legs, feet, back, etc. I kid you not when I say this tiny little dog tried to hold my arm down before I could push her away. It was at that point I realized I was being lick-raped by a 15 pound dog.

Dad would be proud.

Though I was CLEARLY being violated, my girlfriend laughed her head off about the situation and was no help at all. So I did what any grown man would do: I hid under the covers until my canine lick-rapist calmed down.

Sigh.

I thought I was in the clear to resume. The dog was laying down and all was silent. The moment I emerged to finally have some fun, I feel the familiar creepiness of a dog’s tongue on my balls.

What.

The.

INSERT ALL EXPLETIVES.

That was the last straw. My sex is more important than your ball licking addiction, dog. We placed her out of the room, closed the door and got back to business.

Then we heard whining.

And then a scratch at the door.

And then barking that could shatter glass.

This couldn’t happen at 2am. Not with people sleeping right below us.

So we turned in for the night, dejected because this crazy little dog actually managed to kill the mood for the night. We laughed about it, figuring the worst was behind us.

Yeah, sure; my life is never that simple.

Continued in PART TWO.

Peace out, party people.

Throwback Writing: A Random Tuesday at Work

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What’s going on, party people? I’m doing a bunch of laundry today and some last minute cleaning before I have to work in anticipation of my girlfriend’s arrival tomorrow. So today is another throwback piece. Enjoy!

Today is boring. There’s a ridiculously bad rainstorm battering baseball sized raindrops on the streets of New York today and I seem to be the only idiot who actually made it into the office today. Yay, me.

So… work. Yeah, I should probably do some of that. Yup.

Well, it’s still early. Let me check my email before digging into some real work.

Hmmm… Let’s see.

Junk.

Junk.

Junk.

Ooh an email from my old boss. I wonder what this is all about.

hey andre! check out this funny video of this dog goin crazy after hearing a vuvuzela…  funny stuff… anyway hope you stayed in today… i hear roads are getting flooded. lets grab a beer sometime… later!

This guy must really hate capital letters. Well, that wasted all of – ugh – 4 minutes. Whatever. Back to work. Yup.

Man, it’s friggin’ quiet with no one here. I really need to stretch my legs. Maybe that’ll help me refocus. I’ll just walk a quick lap around the office.

That’s better. I needed to get on my feet for a bit. Ah, the vending machine! I should grab a snack. That might help too. Sure it’s 7:30am, but a snack will have to be my makeshift breakfast. Besides, there’s no one in the office to judge me anyway.

Sun Chips? No.

M&M’s? Meh.

Animal Crackers? What am I, a six-year-old starting his first day of kindergarten?

Aw shit! Reece’s Pieces! I knew there was a hidden treasure in here somewhere. Ok, selection B-4…

Damn it. I pressed 5 accidentally. Now I have… a Nutrigrain Bar?

Fuck. That.

That sounds too healthy to be coming out of a machine that serves snacks for under a dollar. I want some Reece’s Pieces. Let’s try this again. B-4. Candy coated peanut butter goodness is only a few seconds…

Son of a bitch.

It’s stuck. We’ll I’ve been going to the gym just for this precise occurrence. Time to rock the hell out of this bad boy.

One. Two. Three. Push!

One. Two. Three. Push!

How can one bag of candy be so stubborn? Ok, maybe brute force isn’t the answer. How about this: The animal crackers are right above my prized candy. What I’ll do is buy the crackers and they’ll subsequently knock down my Reece’s Pieces. It’s fool proof.

Son. Of. A. BITCH.

Ok, Plan C. There’s a five-pack of Oreos above the animal crackers which are now stuck on the precariously perched Reece’s Pieces. If I buy that it should be heavy enough to topple both of the snack items below it. This HAS to work; I’m down to my last single.

Yes! It took nearly four dollars, but I did it. So this is what it feels like to be a genius. Funnily enough, genius feels just like gluttony.

Ok, I should really head back to my desk. But with all these snacks I need something to drink. A parched throat could really ruin my productivity. Er… once I start doing something productive, that is. I’ll head to the pantry for a beverage.

Coffee? Nah.

Water? That’s doable.

Milk. Milk…? Milk! Not only am I a genius at solving vending machine puzzles, but I think I may possibly be an inventor as well! I’m going to make cereal out of this. A Reece’s Pieces, Oreo and animal cracker cereal. Screw this Nutrigrain crap. I sound like a pothead. A genius pothead. Wait, is that redundant? Probably in Amsterdam.

Bowl? Check.

Spoon? Check?

Ok, let’s make this happen. I don’t want it to get soggy too quickly so I’ll pour the milk and eat while at my desk. It’ll be good to get back though as I don’t want to waste too much of this day. With the office this dead one would expect me to get more work done.

Walking around the office all I see are dark offices. Man, even our Director took the day off. I can’t remember the last time I saw his office unoccupied. It’d be nice to be in his position. Awesome pay. Travel expenses paid. A huge office overlooking Park Avenue. An… awesome place to eat a new cereal invention.

Leather chair? Nice. His desk is ridiculously oversized too. I think I’ll kick my feet up, eat my breakfast and watch the rain as it continues to pummel the streets below. Quiet simplicity.

So… peaceful…

‘Hey, buddy.’

‘Wh- what?’ A security guard is looming over me as I slowly recover from an impromptu nap, my feet still propped up on the desk in front of me.

‘I’m assuming this isn’t your office.’

‘Er… no. I came in here earlier to take a break and watch the rain. I guess I dozed off.’

‘Right. I guess we’re the only chumps who actually made it in today.’

‘I guess.’ This guy is being oddly casual with me. ‘So… I suppose I’ll head back to my desk.’

‘The rain is something, eh? Makes me think of my time in Venezuela.’

‘Me too… uh, I guess.’

‘Think with all this rain we’ll eventually see a giant rainbow?’

‘Uh… What?’

‘I’m just fuckin’ with you, buddy. It’s about 2pm so if you have shit to do, do it soon. We’ve actually been given the ok to close the building early today due to all the flooding. You have about an hour or so.’

‘Two o’clock? Nah, I think I’ll head out. Thanks man, I know I shouldn’t have been in here.’

‘No biggie. We all like to pretend sometimes, right? Take it easy, boss man.’

‘Right. Later.’

Well, that was a pointless day. I think I’ll go home and write about it.

5 Ways I Maintain Balance in a World Determined to Throw Me off It

balance

If you read my blog, you know that I am a big proponent of the concept of achieving balance and peace in one’s self. The path I took to get there was… unconventional. At least for your average person.

But how I got there is of little consequence. The fact is, I got there.

Yay, me!

But maintaining this isn’t always easy given the life I currently have. It’s tough for many of us.  I’m working toward a life that is much more conducive to my daily balance, but I’m sure as hell not there yet. So here are a few ways I maintain my sense of inner peace in a chaotic world.

  1. Mini Meditation Sessions – I’m not one of those guys who thinks people need to meditate a certain amount of time every day. Why? I think it depends more on the individual and their daily circumstances. Personally, I just need 5-15 minutes every few days of focused meditation. I generally sit or lay while letting my mind run free. I just don’t acknowledge any thoughts. Like a kid throwing a temper tantrum, it relaxes and I feel that sense of connection.
  2. A Greener Diet – In my 33 years on this planet, I’ve realized old adages stick around for a reason.

    Like ‘Stupid is as stupid does.’

    Or ‘Cowabunga.’

    Really, the saying I have in mind is ‘You are what you eat.’ I kid you not, I’ve noticed a difference in my sense of balance when I eat meat and crap carbs than when I eat more plant-based, natural foods. I’m not saying I’ll never eat that stuff. Bacon is effing delicious, after all. But when there’s too much of that, I feel… off. Thankfully my girl is moving in so I’ll have her to help keep me honest. Because seriously, bacon is effing delicious.

    So are Combos.

  3. Meditative Walks – I love walks. I actually don’t think much during them, but I often find I come back with something insightful. I make a walk meditative by feeling each step as my foot strikes the ground.

    Also, as insane as this sounds, I use my glasses as a way of imagining I’m viewing the world through a screen. This is something I took away from my meditative experiences and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to explain it properly. But I will say this, it helps me separate from myself. I don’t think of myself as an individual; instead I just include myself and everything around me as a singular experience.

  4. Workout – If you’ve stuck with me thus far, you’re a brave one. Reward yourself with a workout. Nah, not like a round at the gym or anything. I just do things throughout the day. My shoulder sucks right now so I’ll do light sprints, jumping jacks, situps, curls, etc. I’m by no means an Adonis, but if I ALWAYS embrace sloth, my balance is thrown off.
  5. Verbalizing Thoughts – I talk to myself.

    A lot.

    I don’t even do it consciously. I do, however, notice that this keeps my mental chatter to a minimum. Before I found balance, my inner monologue didn’t know when to shut up. It was so bad I had to go to sleep with the television on EVERY NIGHT. Seriously. So I talk in the moment instead. Give it a shot sometimes. It’ll only feel silly if you pay attention to yourself. Half the time I’m not aware I’m doing it.

These things sound so simple, but you’d be surprised how effective they are if they become a part of who you are. Sure, there’s different strokes for different folks, but give it a shot. You never know how much of a difference it’ll make unless you try.

Peace out, party people.

Hey, Good Lookin’: Beauty, Acceptance, and Denial

old-woman101Photo Credit: http://dianablography.wordpress.com/

So I’m going to tell you something. Don’t go getting a big ego about it.

You’re beautiful.

Yes, fine, even the guys out there.

I’m not trying to get in your panties/boxers/tighty-whities or anything. I just wanted to tell you because the world doesn’t say it enough. The world is saying things like…

Cover up those flaws on your face! Now, because the man of your dreams doesn’t like blemishes.

Isn’t fast food awesome? Just don’t get fat, because you’re totally getting fat.

How about a gym membership because you’re so fat?

Want to buy some big dick pills? They’re awesome at keeping your dick the exact same size.

You’re old. You should really get a boob job to make yourself hotter. Sofia Vergara style.

OMG grey (yes, I spell grey with an ‘e’ instead of an ‘a’) hair? You better dye it!

Now you’re too skinny. Get some butt injections! Twerk, twerk, twerk!

Most of the people saying you aren’t good enough are likely trying to sell you something. Either that or they believe the hell out of what’s being sold.

Screw. That.

Be you. Yes, there are things that I want to change about myself too. For example, I want to lose weight. But that’s more because I want to be healthier as well as challenge myself physically in the near future.

Also, sex is more awesome when your cardio is on point.

I grew up as a kid who totally thought he wasn’t beautiful enough. To a certain extent, the world picks up on what you believe about yourself. And then it reinforces that belief. As soon as I started embracing who I am, the world reciprocated and I found others who thought I was beautiful as well.

Yes, beautiful. I don’t care if that’s not a manly word.

Sure, someone can find you aesthetically appealing, but that’s so short-sighted, isn’t it?

I think real beauty comes from the energy you exude. Some call it confidence; I call it acceptance. Everyone saying you’re not good enough is denying the person you are. Why deny yourself as well? It’s funny how explaining this in slightly different words shows how shitty we are to each other sometimes.

Sometimes it feels like a lot of times.

But I suppose that’s the price when there’s money to be made. I mean, many people are looking for acceptance so it only makes sense someone capitalizes on that, right?

If you say so. In the meantime, I’ll be here not caring.

Peace out, party people.

Hey, Santa, I Have a Question

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I never believed in Santa Claus. Not because I was some genius kid, but my parents just never fed me that BS. In fact, I remember my parents telling me not to believe kids at school if they said jolly old St. Nick was real.

They wanted all the credit for those gifts.

Fuck Santa.

Ahem… pardon my French.

Thankfully, I never had to deal with the pain of realizing my Christmas gifts weren’t constructed at some elf sweatshop at the North Pole. But I started thinking recently… how many things do we believe now just because our parents told us they were true? I mean, I’m sure they had good intentions, but my mom was 12 years younger than I am now when she had me. Did she REALLY have a great grasp on the world at the ripe old age of twenty-one?

Sure, as a kid i thought my parents knew everything. So I bought into everything they taught me. It’s not uncommon, not is it unexpected. I do, however, also realize it could be done a better way.

I know some parents will say, “You’re not a parent! What do you know about raising children? Also you have an awesome blog!”

Why, thank you.

It’s true, I don’t have or want kids. But I was a kid once and I see how people have been molded by their parents. So I just wonder why we don’t teach kids to question more. I remember my parents found questioning to be disrespectful.

Mom/Dad, sorry, but “because I say so” isn’t a good reason for anything. Especially when it came to not letting me watch Married with Children. That show is tame as hell by today’s standards.

Questioning rules, beliefs, society and myself has brought me to a greater understanding about life and people. I’m not saying I know everything, but at least I know a belief doesn’t equate to truth.

Ask questions!

Peace out, party people.

Andre the Ten-Year-Old Fugitive

When I was a kid – maybe ten years old or so – I was way into drawing. I’ve never been a great artist, mind you. I just loved it.

Every kid used crayons, but I remember seeing these colored pencils in our local supermarket one day. It was a Prang 48 pack.

Sexy.

But I was a broke kid in 1991. How the hell was I going to draw the next great comic book hero?

Like most of my decisions, I don’t remember much self-debate. I just knew I had to steal those colored pencils.

Side note: I’m fully aware of how dorky I was/am for starting my criminal career over art supplies. Way to live life on the edge, nerd.

In retrospect, I know I wasn’t slick at all because my master plan was to stick the pack of pencils down the front of my pants. This subsequently left me with a rectangular shaped crotch and a bow-legged gait. It took all of five minutes for a security guard to snatch me up and bring me to a back office. I cried like no tomorrow because that bastard security guard did the unforgivable.

He called my father.

Oh shit. Hellfire was going to rain in Paterson.

The ride home with my father was silent, though I swore I could hear his pulse emanating from the bulging vein on his right temple. I was trapped. I knew I was in for the ass whooping to end all ass whoopings.

All for art supplies.

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Thug life.

Barely containing his fury, my father told me to get inside the house. My mind raced with possible exit strategies. Luckily, once we entered the house, my father immediately went to find my mother to inform her of my escapades.

Oh, you done slipped up, dad.

I took my mother’s house and car keys. I took a few magazines. I took a box of cereal and a box of Cheez-Its. I stashed the food and magazines in the backseat of my mom’s car and ran over to my friend Ahijah’s house.

I figured I’d flesh out the rest of this brilliant plan later. For now it was time to play. Ahijah and I played Nintendo, watched TV, and did a bunch of other random stuff my adult mind has long forgotten.

This was me living life on the run from the law.

Then my parents called Ahijah’s house.

Damn, the jig was up!

I rushed outside and ran back home. Ahijah’s mom said my father was on his way so I wanted to make sure I was nowhere in the vicinity. I may have had horrible plans, but I was amazingly elusive.

Darkwing Duck style.

It started raining as soon as I arrived back at my house. I dared not step inside; instead I opted to hop in the back of my mom’s Corolla and settle in for some post-Nintendo Cheez-Its and Highlights magazine.

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Thug Life.

I hid back there for what seemed like hours. Knowing my short attention span, it was probably 30 minutes tops. In any case, after a while I began contemplating my next move. Do I start a new life as a fugitive or fess up and take my punishment?

Starting a new life is tough. After all, no one’s just handing out free Cheez-Its to ten-year-olds. The world seemed too big for me to handle So I went back home, got my ass whooping, and went on to fight another day.

Another week.

Another month.

Another year.

Here I am 23 years later. The situation is different, but the choices have remained consistent after all these years.

Do I start a new life or return to what’s familiar?

This time the world seems just big enough to handle.

Peace out, party people.