In Regards to the Dear Matron of the Colony

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To the dear Matron,

I fear I must apologize for some things. I admit that I judged you too harshly upon our first meeting, of course, this was because of the way you judged me, but the manner of my wrongdoings is of no matter. The end goal of my harsh judgment was a result of fear for who you are, the power I foolishly believed you held over me, and much more. But those things aren’t the reason I chose to write this.

I chose to write this because I fear I have held you to a standard that I haven’t held another to before. If I am to judge your vitriol and deem it unworthy of some kind of love, then my own poison will be left lonely by the same scale. Despite everything you’ve been through, and everything you’ve done, I think that deep down, you are just as scared of the world as we all are. Afraid of the big bad wolves that hunt the meek sheep through the night time. I’ve since had time to meet some of your colony. Of course, those meetings were vaguely insincere as each of the generals you’ve appointed have been dipped into a pool of alcohol, disallowing their bodies and their words to speak with complete honesty. Those meetings were revealing to me. I admire how powerfully your colony will defend you, despite the things you’ve said or done. The nature of people never ceases to amaze me. The extent some will venture to in order to protect their status or what relationships they must grasp on to in order to assure themselves that they are worthy. It was enlightening to see, because I learned much of myself in these short meetings.

I first learned of you, in the aftermath of a decision that no mother would never make. I will spare the details, as they don’t matter to anyone but you. They shouldn’t matter to me, and yet they did. The actions that you took in the short time I allowed myself proximity to you frightened me. They did so not because I was worried that you could do anything to me. They scared me because I saw someone who was drunk with power and from the outside I could see the void of that power. It made me reconsider my own position in this grand life, where I felt as if I had some kind of agency. I could control those around me with only the way I spoke to them. That power isn’t one I would trust myself to have.

To speak and distill fear into the glass frames of those around me, people who were once sand before the bombs went off. Did you know that? The miracle of sand becoming glass. It’s a phenomenon I’ve always enjoyed witnessing. The concept that lightning strikes a desert and the area around the blast will be superheated and become glass. I have marveled at this miracle for much of my life, hoping to witness it first hand at some point, in a safe condition where I wouldn’t be hurt by the blast.

Turns out, I did find this, because I saw your castle and the court, filled with glass knights and pawns, each of whom marched around your quarters and trembled, their glass bones clinking against one another out of fear for the moment another strike would come. I came to find that the miracle I had wished to witness for so many years was not so magical up close. In truth, watching lightning strike the ground before you is a terror to behold. The way it changes those around you, the sound of the powerful boom roosting in their ears, echoing through glass bones over and over.

I’m sorry that this happened. I’m sorry that I judged you so harshly for this. I, of course, don’t understand your position or your power. How hollow I see it may be a difference in my perspective and I accept that. Out of fear I have said a great number of things about you and your practices, I have decried many things + openly spoken about the duties of a guardian, but I accept that this is a position of privilege, because my mother and father are amazing. My colony, just as small, just as influential, did nothing but show me love. Don’t doubt that I have a great deal of sorrow inside of me that the same cannot be said of what happened to you. I can’t know your history, or your life, just as you can’t know mine.

But I apologize for mistaking you, in the first place, as a series of thunderstorms brewing overhead. I hope that one day those clouds disperse, and the true love I have felt can find itself in your home, in your heart. The past is the past and moving forward I will consider this more. That I have unlimited power on some days, when my stomach doesn’t ache, and my ankles don’t grind against the bones in my feet.

I was called to walk, despite these pains and I was called for something more important. To love, despite the pain I’ve felt. Some days the scars that decorate my heart pulse and ache, and I let that pain jump out to others, I lash out and I find myself relieved in the displeasure I can cause to the random passerby I question and disgrace in public.

In some ways, I understand you, but in many, I don’t. I have no desire to, not because I think you aren’t worth understanding, no not anymore. Had you asked me a year ago the answer would have been the worst I could imagine. Nothing but words meant to rip you into pieces.

But I can see that your ant hill is much higher than mine, and I don’t have a reason to disagree. I don’t have a desire to understand because I don’t want to see what changed you firsthand. I’m afraid I would lose the calm I’ve spent years collecting and managing. Having lost that calm upon the first strike of lightning and taken months to recollect it, I choose to politely decline and step away from your presence. I will choose to do what I adamantly speak about and turn to show you kindness if I am ever faced with the displeasure of meeting your demons.

I have no reason to hate you, and I found my thoughts devolving into such. Just know, that I know. I hope you forgive me, if you hear the thoughts within my head. They are not kind, loving, or healthy. There is no excuse for what I’ve thought. I apologize that I’ve gotten in your way on your conquest and I will excuse myself, in an attempt to allow you to seek the answers you need on your own. I can’t help you, because I can so easily become you. I’m sorry that I cannot help you, but I am nothing but a bag of sand, afraid to be turned to glass. Without these warm stones I will be unable to shelter those I want to shelter, I will be unable to build my own ant hill. I hope you can forgive me.

That is all there is to say. I will part from your mountainous anthill and find a nice meadow to lie down in. This will be the last time I reach forward to say a thing. You have caused me too much strife, and I’ve realized recently that it wasn’t you at all. It was what has become of you. My heart goes out to you, truly. I cannot act upon the thoughts within my head, lest I forgo the promises I’ve made myself for years. But I will pray for you, and I will pray for me. I will pray for those we’ve touched, and I will be sure to consider the terrible power you’ve shown me that I have. I will work to fix it, because I am not strong enough to control this terrible thunder.

I fear that no one is.

Condolences, Terrence Amber,

The Ant Hunter.

 

P.S. I haven’t seen a species such as you in quite a while. I thought you had gone extinct. I must call my friend Indigo, she will know much more. She has lived through the time in which your species grew fruitfully. Perhaps then I can help you, but even so. I am still afraid. I will send Indigo to seek you out one day, when she is ready, I will call for you again upon that day. Until then, I hope this letter reaches you with ease. Of course, I don’t want you to read it. I’m not even sending it to you. It will stay in this lockbox until you or I have found the strength to move forward. With grace, and with love.

With lots, and lots of love.

I’ll be releasing more fun writing as next month begins, keep an eye out! I’m excited for all the stories I have to tell.

www.linmtba.com

Also, if you haven’t yet, I’ve been releasing videos on YouTube! I’ve had to reupload the first two, and I’ve begun posting bi-weekly, but if you’re interested in writing I have a lot of information and advice, what you should do, what you shouldn’t (lots of what you shouldn’t) and some exercises to keep your writing ability sharp!

A Man Smoking a Cigarette

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About a week ago, I sat down with my mom and talked to her about my life. The things I am happy with, the things I am not happy with. Mostly for the purpose of evaluation. I wanted to make sure I was still on the same path I had set myself on at the beginning and during this conversation, many things came to light.

It’s important to talk to someone about where you are at, especially when you feel downtrodden and struggling. They can check and balance you against the things you say you want. Having that is such an important aspect of growing and changing.

As I left, I felt refreshed and more in tune with myself. Knowing that I was failing some things and succeeding at others, I went about my night with my girlfriend and we stopped at Maverick to refill our water bottles as she asked me about what my mom and I had talked about. I started to tell her, and before I realized it I was spilling deep seeded fears and frustrations I wasn’t even aware I had until then. I was revealing all of these things about my life in a Maverick parking lot with my window rolled down when one of the employees came out front to smoke a cigarette.

He was tying up his apron and puffing along on his smoke while I ventured dangerously close to mental breakdown territory. When it was all said and done I watched this man turn and look at me, and smile.

It was brief, if I hadn’t been paying attention to him I wouldn’t have noticed. But it was just a short moment after I had finally finished venting and being excited about the future that he looked up and flashed that smile at me.

Now, I could never know why he did or what reason he had for smiling at me, but if you ask me, it’s because he watched a young man through the corner of his eyes as this young man fought off the evils of his own mind. Aloud, for everyone to hear. That quick glance was all I needed to see that everything I do, even the venting and the frustrations I release are seen by the world. He listened as I talked about how scared I am of the future, how ashamed I am of the things I’ve failed, how much pleasure I get from writing and how I have bound myself to a contract I can’t escape from and he watched a young man, on some level, come back from the dead that night.

I think that’s why he smiled.

We never know what we will see or hear, and sometimes it can be horrible. Somethings in life are disastrous. Some things make us want to curl up and die, but sometimes, we see bright lights flashing. Bright fires burning inside the souls of others, finding a new path or reconnecting with the path they had once walked.

But regardless of what we see, a smile is important. It is the thing that can change someone else for the better, and all you need to offer is a split second of your time. Flash them a smile. Let them know that you are there and that things will be okay, even if your presence is a flash in the pan.

It is still something, and something hopeful is better than nothing at all, I’d say.

http://www.linmtba.com

Overwhelmed by Nothing

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From Ryn,

Wandering through the desert on your own, laid bare before a grand jury of plants and dust. The way it creeps into your head and heart. The way it grinds in between your bones, where the joints twist to push you forward grows weary as these tiny pieces of stone line the surface of your frame and push against it. Making every pop in your joints something you grow to worry about.

But the worry doesn’t last long in the hot sun, as it beats on your shoulders and neck. Through the thin cotton rag you draped across your back and laid in the oasis you found four months ago, hoping for some ounce of moisture is within. You hope the piece of fabric is enough, but with every breath you push forward, searching for a temple, a city, even a small palm tree you can rest upon for only a moment.

But that is all it would take, isn’t it? Only a moment to shift where your mind is and change your entire reality.

Sincerely, Chaim.

I work like a machine. At least, I tell myself I do. I want to be that person who can sit down and crank out project after project as if they are simple tasks, like formulas I just need to complete.

It’s easy to fall prey to our own ideals. Wanting something so bad that it drives you to the point of solidarity is fine, to an extent. If your focus evolves to a true solidarity, then you’ll see the things you once loved become tasks you should complete. Like the passion inside of your work became a tally to see how much of one thing you could handle doing at a time. You set out this list of goals and the only thing that mattered was doing them to completion.

I am especially guilty of this, I want the things I do to be done so I can work on the next thing I have, but I had to stop a few days ago and ask myself what the purpose of it all was.

If I am only writing to meet some sort of end goal, then why am I writing in the first place? It is a difficult task to take on, and if the end result is my goal then I would be wise to select a task other than writing. One that is much easier to accomplish. Basket weaving. Knitting. Even dog training. I could train forty pets in the same time it would take to write six novels. But writing those novels, this creative process I’ve entangled myself within is nothing if there is no soul within the words I’m penning.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed. My goal-oriented mind often absorbs itself in accomplishing a task for the sake of accomplishing a task. To simply get the shit done and to focus on something else. Which is fine, I suppose, for a D&D campaign. To tell the story and build it with my friends, and then when it is done perhaps record it for memory’s sake.

Of course, that doesn’t work so well with relationships, living day to day, or pursuing a passion.

The funny thing is that I felt so overwhelmed by all of these tasks I laid out for myself that I elected to panic and hide away in video games or sleep instead of getting back on track. I tightened my schedule, and in doing so, my grasp on my joy, so much that I didn’t have a way out. I just felt strangled all the time.

It was funny to find that I was strangling myself for these past days, to be sure.

What I’m saying here is that it is okay to take a break. Everything doesn’t have to be sectioned off into a schedule. Everything doesn’t have to be comprised of strict order and nothing else. We should take time to enjoy the way the world spins while we set about doing whatever we desire.

I focus my struggles through all manner of lenses. I inspect myself and what I’m going through, and I end up venturing through games with those feelings in mind. Dark Souls is one of many, I build these characters with a fiction in progress diluting my thoughts. I created a girl named Ryn for that purpose. I gamed through Dark Souls as I considered the possibilities for this character that seemed to spring from nowhere. As I poured free time into these games, this character came to life within me. Taking a shape and a form inside of my mind that I can’t shake.

She is calling to be written, she is calling to be brought to life.

But that interfered with my plan, so would I have been so courageous as to write two books at once?

I asked myself this and felt the pressure of my schedule bearing down on me. Losing hours of sleep or wasting hours’ worth of valuable work time simply to figure out my next step. Whatever I wanted to do would lead me, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do because I wanted to do it all.

It was around this point when I realized I was only 25 and didn’t need to focus all of my attention on getting these stories finished. I set goals for a guideline, I don’t need to write every book I want to write by the time I’m thirty. It will be impossible.

But of course, I was born to do the impossible, wasn’t I?

I think so. That is what birthed the passion of creation inside of me. To make something that is impossible, that is magical, that is worth every second I spend on it.

That is a grand achievement, I think.

To get there, sometimes you gotta take a break.

It is easy to be overwhelmed by nothing, but there is nothing that can overwhelm you if you don’t let it.

If you enjoyed this, please consider checking out my website. I am working on starting a youtube channel + I’d love to hear what you have to say! I’ll be posting a (late) analysis of my last video on the blog this coming sunday. (8.5) and a new video will be out on Tuesday.

Alva Tobias (YouTube)

www.linmtba.com

Tremble

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Colossians 2:10

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.

Since Chance the Rapper dropped four (FOUR) new singles last week, I thought it would be good to talk about faith again. It just seems right, especially given the circumstances of my life right now.

It has been a difficult month, I’ve watched friends lose loved ones, the threat of lost loved ones looms over others. I’ve spent time with friends for the last time in a while, I’ve suffered in private and in public and all these things hearken back to something I don’t remember as often as I should.

I should be spending much more time praising my Lord than I do.

This week, I returned from visiting my Godmother with my girlfriend. We just hopped up to say hello and I hadn’t seen her in some time, she’s been dealing with an autoimmune disease that was hard to identify and difficult to deal with. As I laid in her living room and spoke to her for a while when we arrived, I could do nothing but thank God that we are given the lives that we are given.

Some would say lucky.

I think I could agree to that, but it is so much more than simple luck. I’ve believed in a Creator since I could perceive the world around me. There is something to be said about the terrible things that happen, and I wish they wouldn’t.

I recognize that I am in a position of privilege when I see the chaos and destruction happening in the world around me. I recognize that blessing when I see people taken before their time, when I see tragedy without definite reason, I recognize that I am blessed beyond measure, and I can’t take that for granted.

My life, despite the struggles and the hardships, is so fully packed with new blessings every moment. I can’t count them all. They number more than the stars in the sky.

It’s a difficult thing to do, when we are suffering, to look to God and still worship him. To praise him. It’s so easy for us to say we should, because that thing isn’t happening to us, but is that the case? Can we praise God with the “me before you mindset?”

I don’t think so. Not truly, not wholly. I can thank God for every blessing I have, but when I thank Him by regarding the curses or sufferings upon the heads of others, am I not inherently disrespecting the body of the church? Am I not distracting myself from the reality that we are one body in Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:12-14

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

To pray and to say “Thank you for not putting me through that, Lord. I would never want that to happen to me.” Is disregarding this biblical teaching.

It’s something I find myself trapped within occasionally. It isn’t the subject of my prayer, but I’ve noticed often, that I find myself thankful to God that I don’t have some suffering, because others do. I am not thankful because it’s suffering and it’s horrible. I am thankful that the suffering in question has not afflicted me, without considering the implications. It’s a short-sighted thing to pray for, don’t you think?

In essence we are saying “Thanks for not cursing me, but cursing another.”

Because when we look at our hardships in that light, we disregard the purpose of hardship and struggle. That we are to see these things for a reason.

Philippians 3:10

10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

When we look to another, we see it as a curse, a plague upon someone that, while we can feel the pain of their suffering, we are still quietly glad that it isn’t us. Yet, if this is true, then why are we one body? If we are supposed to be separated in our faith, why would we silently celebrate the suffering of another? We suffer for a purpose.

I’ve been asked why I take so many things so personally over the course of my life, why am I so troubled about the pain in the lives of my friends? Why do I care so much, when someone is plagued by something that I can’t fix? Why is it that I shed tears for the dead that I don’t know?

It is because of this. I am one with them. Each of us, children of God. When your finger is broken, your arm feels the pain. When your neck is kinked, your whole back aches. When you are blind in one eye, your hands know not where to go.

1 Corinthians 12:15-20

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

I seek to praise God when my life is going the way I want it to. I seek to praise Him when my friends and my loved ones are in good health, with good faith I sing praises when the body is celebrating, when we are rejoicing and it is so easy to praise God in these moments.

But what of those with broken hands, shattered hearts, or infected brains?

Will we abandon the praises to God then? Because we are scared? Or is it because we are selfish? When the finger becomes infected, we don’t sever it from the hand to save the body. We apply ointment, we take time to seek it out, to care for the infection and heal it that our finger might be capable of writing once more.

The dreadful knowing that I am guilty of this, makes me tremble.

But the calm knowing that my Lord is bigger than it all, that He will see to it that we will be safe and protected, the reminder every moment that those in pain, those suffering, need me to remain steadfast more than ever before. Those in moments of plague and pestilence should not halt my praises to God. They should not stop the song from my heart. They should strengthen it.

Because we are one, fulfilled in Christ. We are wrapped in the arms of a God who cares for us all. We were never meant to be left alone, to wander in silence, with no one there to hold on to us.

We are connected, and when one of us feels pain so deeply it makes us shake, the rest of the body should shake along with that pain and let it lift our voices in praise.

Because we didn’t deserve this life. We were given it.

And in awe we tremble at the King who offered it to us.

Accidental Murder

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Isn’t it funny in the most macabre way how we inspect our failures after they shine in the worst times? Each motion of the sea serves to draw beasts from the depths closer to the shore, but when they emerge it will be too late, won’t it?

The brakes in my truck have been failing for a while, and I knew I needed to get them changed. A little over a week ago I made plans with my father to change them that Friday and make sure my truck was running properly. When the day came for me to replace the brake pads, I woke up early to help pops with a class at our church and my girlfriend needed the truck that afternoon to run some errands for her new job. I was exhausted, not having gotten any sleep and getting called in to work that night myself, I asked to reschedule. It was no problem for dad, he let me reschedule, knowing I’d be around to fix them as soon as I had the availability to.

I went home and went about my day, returning from work as my girlfriend took the truck and headed to her graveyard shift. I was sitting quietly at home when she called me and told me that the brakes failed, and she needed a ride.

A sudden wave of realization washed over me as I realized what had actually happened.

Have you ever watched something occur, and it took a few moments before your brain processed the event? Something catastrophic like a train wreck or a hurricane making landfall? It was in the scale of that for me, because I am a bit of a drama queen naturally.

Still, the realization struck that if the scene had been just slightly different, if there had been lots of traffic, if she didn’t know about the emergency brake, if she was on the freeway, there was a real chance that I would have lost my girlfriend that night.

It was all due to my negligence.

I’ve often wondered how a parent can allow something to happen to their children in the same way, there have been a handful of national cases involving negligence over the past few years, children passing away untimely in the event that their parents weren’t paying attention to them or something that they were doing.

I’ve chastised that concept for years.

“How could you be so careless to not take care of the things your loved ones will be doing?”

“How could you not make sure everything was safe before you let your kid play around out there?”

“What were you doing that you weren’t looking towards them and caring for them?”

Albeit, she isn’t my child, but the comparison still rings true.

I could have fixed the brakes that day, really. I could’ve called my mom to give her a ride. I could have sucked up my exhaustion and done what needed to be done, as a boyfriend should.

However, I didn’t, and I thank God that my laziness and negligence didn’t turn into a waking nightmare for me.

Don’t get me wrong, the probability of something worse actually happening was slim, but it wasn’t nonexistent. Which is what I would rather in all scenarios. The fact that it could have been done in two hours or less is the kicker. I had plenty of time. Hell, I could have fixed the brakes and still napped before work, but I made the argument to myself that I had too much that needed to be done, it was more important for me to get work done and get my girl to the bank. When in reality, I ended up staying up late that night panicked because I could have accidentally murdered my girlfriend due to nothing more than laziness, or negligence.

I think I see the side of the negligent more clearly after this.

No that it is an excuse, but I can see how it happens.

When your own life and needs come before others, bad things can happen. I’ve nearly lived it, and I don’t want to live through it again. I hated the thought of something happening because I was more concerned with my exhaustion, and my own needs than I was taking care of the vehicle we both share.

The point is, I am not the most important person in my life anymore, and I would do well to remember than when important things arise.

If you haven’t seen it yet, I released the first vlog on my writing YouTube channel this tuesday! If you’ve ever considered writing or had the idea that you could make a story, this will definitely be a channel you’ll want to see.

www.linmtba.com

Cool Heads Prevail

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Politics has too much power anymore.

 

EDIT!

I’ve removed the alterations to President Trump’s name, i.e. Desert Ogre, Ol’ Trumby, Turnip, and Frump, among others. The purpose of this blog post was to be an experiment. Through the entirety of this blog post, I’ve not insulted the man one time. I’ve only described him with a handful of nicknames, mostly pulled from memes I’ve seen online. In the end, it diverted the overall goal of the blog post. Which I don’t intend to do.

In a post that seems to have been deleted recently, I watched two friends clash against one another about the policies of Donald Trump.

Though I need to recall the information from the top of my head, I still remember the gist of what they said to one another. The original post was about respecting the man in the white house, regardless of who he is or what he says. That Trump is doing everything he can and so on, your general image in support of the MAGA camp.

What I noticed immediately, is how much the post had flared with comments back and forth. One girl, who I know was a past friend to the OP in which she said “Block Me.” With a couple emojis tagged on to the end, you know, for emphasis.

As a person who feeds off of it, no matter how surreptitiously, I enjoy watching internet arguments and gossip unfold online because it is such an invasive and open form of communication. People’s lives have been ruined simply because of the things said online to another, and it is on display for the entire world if we know where to look.

Of course, I gave in to my desire to read about this post and scanned through a catalogue of messages in which the primary replier was focused on how terrible Trump is, noting the things he has said to people and the way he’s reacted to events around the world over the course of his life. Unafraid to pepper her comments generously with clear distaste for “anyone who supports such a disgusting and vile monstrosity.” As she put it.

OP wasn’t much better, her initial image and stance were built around ignoring the way Trump speaks and the policies that he pushes, as if she was sounding off alongside the numbers of those who will blindly support a leader regardless of their position of power.

I’m going to be clear as can be regarding Trump + my own personal opinion.

I don’t like him as a person. I think he is brash and speaks with an uncalculated tongue. He gives me creepy uncle vibes and I don’t see eye to eye with him politically either. Those are just my tastes on his personality. Regarding politics, I think that in the world of business ventures, he knows what he is doing. Trump runs multimillion dollar companies around the world, and like many people choose to bring to attention, he has bankrupted four of them, which, if your total business repertoire stands within the hundreds, I think having four or five failures is nothing to scoff at. Of course, the reason Trump draws so much negative attention is because of the things he says. Not necessarily his policies. Of course, that is to the tongues of our internet prophets. As for his border policy, his taxation and healthcare policies, I agree with some parts, I disagree with others. I’ve viewed each of the major proposals myself that have come up and I’ve reached my own conclusions. I won’t waste time going in depth in regard to this, because this isn’t about Trump. Not today. Maybe later, look for a blog post named “Orange Ogre Fetish”

Until then, I want to ask those of you who have investigated the hearts of others, divining their purpose and identity in life based on their support of a presidential candidate or political ambassador.

Those who’ve progressed to a point of human evolution which has granted you the unique yet powerful ability to debase an entire life on the decision to support or deny the authority of a political position.

What saddens me about the exchange from earlier is that this isn’t the first time this has happened. I’ve watched friendships be ripped apart because two people disagreed on the support of Trump. My question is this:

How can you be so afraid of a single man you would give him that much power?

To rob a man of power, you must first realize that he is only as powerful as you allow him to be. To the citizens of America, the President, no matter his ideology or standing, is only as strong as we allow him to be. A president is simply not all we make them out to be.

In a position to command respect? Of course.

I can respect lots of people and disagree with them about everything. I can understand that they are doing what they think is right by opposing Trump. My reasoning for disliking Trump stems almost entirely from his actions on the internet, especially Twitter. If we were to remove his Twitter rants and belligerent social media presence, we would find much less to prop against him in the way of a leader.

Of course, this isn’t how the internet works.

As long as there is a bit of wallpaper to adhere to the paint, we will always be scratching for another flake to rip away. This happens every day with people who abuse their children and the piles of garbage who deem themselves worthy of another’s body regardless of their consent. The internet has spoiled the lives of young men and women who otherwise wouldn’t have been accused of the horrible things they did. I am proud of us for that.

What I am not proud of, however, is the way we are letting one wrinkly old man command so much of our day to day lives.

Friends of mine who were once upstanding individuals filled with generosity and a yearning desire to help those less fortunate then they are have devolved since the results of the election. What was once a bastion of hope in a dark time has evolved to a slobbering monster, unsure of their own identity and incapable of accepting the differences of their peers. Incapable of understanding that there are plenty of people in the world who have made mistakes.

Was voting for Trump a mistake? Perhaps. Was screaming at your neighbor and ripping apart their Trump sign a mistake? I’d say so.

I can hear the echoes of those in the distance, preparing pitch forks and daggers to come and breach my household and tell me that Trump is a symbol for the dark underbelly of America.

I could agree with that. He represents something I don’t agree with:

The endless quest for gold and riches. Whatever his intention with those precious jewels is, I will never know.

But I think the problem with Trump and the state of my America today is much deeper than just one man. It goes back to Bernie’s  unjust treatment amid the primary. It goes back to the rising racial tensions during Obama’s presidency. It goes back to Bush Jr. and the shockwave felt around the states as the events of 9/11 unfolded around us.

We have long been breeding this hatred of one another.

Since before I was born, the world has been seeking to rend itself apart. One unit into two, into four and it will continue so long as we allow these men in power to control the world around us.

(By that, I mean our personal lives. Our day to day interactions, not the literal mechanics of the worlds we live in. Of course, they change those.)

What I’m getting at, is this:

Even if you think Ol’ Trumby to be the vilest human being in the world, even if your blood boils at the sound of his name. Even if you fantasize about his impeachment with erotic fervor…

Your relationships with others are not always less important.

Of course, it should go without being said (but it won’t) that if you find you’ve been in league with someone who is ACTUALLY racist, and is ACTUALLY evil, you should speak your piece and step away. Most of the time, in my experience, it hasn’t been that way. I’ve watched Trump stans be stripped of their friends and family, simply for the fact that they support him. I’ve seen the Resistance fledglings cast away any love they had for friends in favor of their hatred for a wrinkled old bastard with skin like citrus rind.

I ask you, is that a way to live? For those of us who regularly speak and preach on the efforts of goodwill and peace and especially love, is it right for you to abandon your covenants of friendship in favor of your hatred for another?

Trump is not that powerful, don’t make him that powerful. Next time you consider unleashing a cannonade of insults and disrespect upon a friend who nothing has done but express their opinion (in either direction, this isn’t a one-sided issue) consider asking yourself a question first. Especially if you are in the camp that believes we should be saving the lives of these people that Trump’s immigration laws are affecting because they are people, with feeling and emotion just like the rest of us…

Is it right to forgo love, that you grew within your heart, for hate, that was handed to you on a platter covered in money?

www.linmtba.com

Tying The Knot

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They say you can’t stop the Dogs of War. They’ve slipped lose and The Machine has awoken.

Purpose is so easily defined for some, others struggle for most of their lives and still seek it until the day they get home. The way we sing for identity in the world is astounding to me, this encompasses even myself, to be sure.

I’ve always been just a bit put off when people identify themselves by their job or interests. Those components make up who you are overall, but the real grit in who you are is what you do with those things. The way you use your work to make a difference around you. I ask myself if we have diminished our purpose so much to a handful of titles we hold.

Certified, Electrician, Gumbo Prize Winner, Trumpet Playing Champion, Honorable Mention in the 2016 Annual Bilge Water Science Fair, Server, Wordsmith, Passion Play Predictable Penman of The Year, Two Time Lover and the Best Guy to take to Horror Movies.

The other day a stranger and myself were talking, getting to know one another for the first time and she asked what I did. I immediately responded that I am a server and an author. She asked about my books and I stammered around explaining The Darling Bones as well as I could, hopefully making a sell in the middle of the awkward conversation.

It’s interesting that I still tried to pitch the book to this girl when I had no idea what her interests were, or who she even really was. She was a phantom to me in so many ways and I still tried to convince her to buy my book. (I didn’t do a great job, either, by the way.)

It’s almost a knee jerk reaction for me at this point, someone asks about my books and I devolve into some kind of puppet controlled by a gluttonous phantasm that’s trying to steal someone’s money. Not that I don’t want to talk about my books, but I didn’t start writing to get rich. That was never the plan.

It’s interesting that it’s come to that. Instead of talking about how passionately I wrote The Darling Bones, what it means to me, I just kind of gave her a sales pitch and left it at that. I realized later that we do that with so much of ourselves. I often try to pitch who I am as a person based on what I do. I’m a server and a selfish comedian. I like to keep my jokes to my close circles. I’m an author that writes lots of books I don’t have published yet. I’m a YouTuber who hasn’t uploaded to his channel in a few months. I’m just hanging out. Long haired ruffian that hangs out, plays video games and sleeps more than I should.

This especially comes out at first meetings. I’ll ask someone to tell me about themselves and they usually respond with their job and favorite hobby.

“I’m Dolores, I work at Jo-Ann’s and I like to Knit Lifesize Horse Puppets.”

It seems so silly that we look towards our tasks and duties to identify who we are. Mothers, Kids, Bartenders, Clerics and Lawyers. Thousands upon millions of us exist and we all have to have a job of some kind, and it becomes so engrained in who we are that it becomes our identifier overall. I think that an alternative we could use would be to describe ourselves as if we were passionate about who we were. Are you a person that lives for kindness? Is your heart full of grace? Are you ambitious?

I’m ambitious. I have a lot of stuff that I want to do. It’s mostly just stuff, too. It’s important, but it doesn’t make up who I am. My purpose in life is a result of that ambition, that desire to make the world better, somehow. So I push forward with the books and the jobs I choose. I want people to smile more. I want them to love more. So I make things that reinforce those motives. Life is such a crazy myriad of events and moments that can quickly confuse you. It moves fast and it’s hard to describe.

Don’t travel through life attached to your profession or your hobbies. Absolutely appreciate them and love them, but we were meant for more than just a list of stuff we’ve done, don’t you think?

www.linmtba.com