You’re The Exception (Yr. 3 – 2016.5.27)

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When my generation was younger, I remember always being told “Labels are for soup cans, not people.” And we stuck to that. We didn’t want to be called jocks, or preps, or emo kids in high school. We wanted to be people, not soup cans. So here we are five or so years later and the lot of us have grown up with that label free mentality. We don’t want to be put into a box of any kind because we are all different and special and unique, but those trait in and of themselves don’t mean anything, because there are so many voices screaming at us all the time saying “If everyone is unique then uniqueness doesn’t exist. There are only so many ways to be different, you have to organize yourself into something so that you can be identified.”

It comes in a million different forms. Myself as an author according to a handful of bloggers, should create a pen name for every kind of genre that I want to write. I should make sure that every different one has its own distinct personality and that I set up social media accounts for all of them. I need to be sure that my horror pen name sells only horror, that my romantic comedy pen name only sells cheesy romance books and so on.

I read that and laughed out loud.

I’m one dude who is comprised of about forty million different ideas and concepts and plans for myself. I’m not going to divide that down because it would take me years to figure out who wants what. Either that, or I trim the fat and only write in one genre because “Publishers don’t want to hire you for a myriad of titles. They look for specific genres and writers, and if you can’t always fit their bill the chances of you getting a deal with one is slim.”

Well, I’m (not even sort of) sorry to say, that I disagree. You don’t get to do that. People don’t get to raise us by saying “You can be anything you want, you can do anything you want, you don’t fit inside any kind of label.” Then when I’m an adult you don’t get to change your answer to “You have to be a specific kind of person because otherwise you won’t be accepted.”

Well, I’m not looking for that kind of acceptance. If I have to foot these books on my own, I suppose I’ll have to. But why? Why do we have to fit inside some kind of idea all of a sudden?

I think that’s why people are getting so confused and fed up with how the world is. We’re fighting against the ideas that we have been taught because they don’t crossover. We lived our whole young lives believing that any person can do and be anything. That stretched through even to the people who do bad things. Thieves have a shot at redemption when we are kids. If you atone for the bad things you did, or your narrow mind state you can come back. If you don’t like yourself you can reinvent yourself. We were told this kind of stuff over and over again.

Then? Bang.

Out of nowhere we are adults and trying to understand bills and taxes and full time jobs while balancing school or our own projects. We are trying to make something of ourselves even though we didn’t have enough time to make a plan to begin with. So we fight and we dodge through life and we get forced into these roles because we haven’t made up our minds.

“Oh, you’re good at engineering. Be an engineer.”

What if you hate engineering?

“Oh, you’re just short tempered. That’s how you are and you will have to understand that it will make your personal life difficult.”

What if you hate that about yourself? Are you supposed to keep living thought and never doing anything to improve?

That’s the big problem with fitting us into boxes. You can’t improve. You can only stack boxes on boxes for a while. Like a machine, pick up life skills that align with what you already know so you can multiply your productivity. Stack, stack, and stack.

Well… I’m not here to tell you to keep that up. After all, I believe we were meant to be like trees, not machines. If you are happy doing what you love and you are good at it, great. Keep going. Keep being happy and doing what you love. Grow and learn and change! Do what it takes.

See, any person in this world that tells you that you must stay the same is a liar and I’d bet that there is someone above them who taught them that too. You can get anywhere and do anything you’d like as long as you believe in yourself.

It might come off like a loose “believe in yourself” blog post, but it’ll come around.

Picture it.

One day, when you start doing what you love and learn how to do those things well, you can make a career based off of that thing and you’ll never have to worry again.

If you interact with people in the most positive way possible, your arguments with slowly vanish and eventually it will be hard for people to pick things about you that are frustrating.

All this takes is a bit of self-observation. If you frequently find yourself getting angry with another person over something they do, chances are high that you see that same thing in yourself.

I started this blog to help me, and I want it to help you too. So here I am.

This life is wild and difficult and full of unexpected things. Some parts will be dull and frustrating. Other parts will be exhilarating and will fill you with passion. You are driven to find a career from the moment you get out of school, if you can’t find one people will tell you to go to college and “shop around” which is fine for some, but I’ll let you in on a secret. College isn’t that important. It’s not mandatory. I encourage every one of my friends and readers that are in college because they want to get to a higher level of education, or their chosen profession requires it. Keep going, I’m so proud of the choices that you’ve made. If you’re on the other spectrum, like myself, and don’t want to go to college because it isn’t necessary for who you are, then don’t. Granted, this is no excuse to be lazy. But you don’t always have to get a higher education thought colleges or schooling to get to where you want to be. Maybe gather experience for a while. Maybe live life in a different way. Every person has a different plan and we all need to take a look at that. All of our plans have exceptions. All of our plans are building us to be the kind of people we want to be.

That’s really important to this whole blog post. We all have exceptions.

Which is great.

There are a thousand things I want to do, and I’ve been told recently that I should maybe take it slow and pick out the things I truly love and focus on those. I am focusing on those, for now. When I’ve reached some goals there, I’ll get to the other stuff. I’m not going to give it up just because it doesn’t “fit who I am.”

You shouldn’t give up either.

For everyone reading this right now, if you have a dream, I want you to follow it in any way you can. Obviously some adjustments and exceptions will have to be made, but that’s okay. You can get there. You can, and you will.

As long as you believe.

The whole world is going to try to file you into a box of some kind for the rest of your life.

 

“Oh, most people aren’t artsy and creative like you.”

I beg to differ, I think everyone has some kind of creativity inside them. It’s how we work and laugh and love. It’s how we are.

“How can you explain left brained people then?”

My father. He is without a doubt left brained. He thinks in logic and numbers and carefully constructed thoughts, he speaks only after he has thought his reply though. He is the most left brained person I know. Yet he helped create me, who you’ve said is ‘artsy and creative’

“Sure, he helped raise you, but you have your own creativity. Not everyone is creative. Not like that.”

You’re right. He doesn’t have creativity like me. He has a kind of energy that I actually can’t understand. I can describe something in 3D and he can sketch it for me. When I was a kid he showed me ways to build and construct solid toys for me to play with. He openly offered for me to cut swords out of plywood and helped me paint and design them. He showed me how to fix my bike and he taught me how the important stuff works in my car because I was frustrated and couldn’t understand it. He doesn’t often get to use big technical words with my mother and I because we don’t think in car parts and exploded diagrams. We don’t think with the same kind of creativity than he does, but the fact that he shows it differently than we do doesn’t make a difference. When you say that someone isn’t creative, you might as well have killed their spirit. Creativity and Passion are one and the same. Just because you can’t place it in a crate and ship it out with some kind of label doesn’t mean that it suddenly doesn’t exist. To think otherwise would be foolish. My father is one of millions of people whose creativity is shown differently. Finding different creative thinkers is important, because if we all begin to think the same you might as well stick every human in the same box, because we will go nowhere. Unified thought with no options to explore will destroy you as a person. That’s why we have our creativity in the first place.

“Well, your dad must just be an exception then. Not all people are creative like you. I can’t write, I can’t act, I can hardly sing.”

Can you create?

“I guess. I liked woodshop in high school.”

Look at that. You’re an exception, too.

 

 

And so are you. The person reading this.

Life is full of exceptions.

Be exceptional, at whatever it is you want to make your passion.

I believe in you.

Training for The S-Class

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If you’re here from my YouTube channel I love you tons + Thank you so much for subscribing/following the blog + shit. I love what I get to do.

Recently one of my absolute favorite series came to an end: Fairy Tail.

So I’m going to talk about it for roughly the next 1200 words.

I started watching back in 2014 with my friends, it is a story about a group of wizards and their guild going on jobs, conquering challenges and growing their bonds with one another. As the seasons progressed like just about everything else in media the stakes rose and here we were in 2017 with the ultimate battle against the greatest evil in the world.

I won’t talk a lot about the plot or the course of the show. Questionable choices were made and it certainly wasn’t a story I would have written but I think I can appreciate it that much more because of that fact. See, when I write I do it to expel demons. There may be happy endings and there may be sad endings but at the end of the day I write to get out what is inside of my soul. Each word I put down corresponds with the way I am feeling at the time of writing. What you see most are the things I want to engrain here forever. The timeless messages that I am always learning. I put them in this public forum so that years from now I can look back on whatever year and remember the ups, the downs and the adventures I was having. I attempt to do so fondly.

That may not always be the case for me. Some things I’ve written have broken my own heart, especially a la The Darling Bones, they have come from a place of heartbreak.

Much of the media I consume mirrors that emotional spectrum. I feel things extraordinarily, I’ve been told. What I listen to and watch reflects those feelings. I can cry at the drop of a hat and I can laugh aloud with next to no provocation. I’ve spoken before about searching within my own writing to make my readers laugh and cry at the same time. There is something spectacular about feeling so joyful that you begin tearing up and giggling to yourself.

Fairy Tail gave me that feeling, reading through the last chapter of the manga I thought back on the ride it had taken me on. My friends and I joked about not caring for spoilers in the series as we were all at different parts because it was all about the ride. We wanted to enjoy the story we were being told.

Enjoy it I did, as I sat in my mother’s house at the end of last month and read the final chapter I began crying and laughing because all of these characters I had grown to love had finally come to the end of their journey. Their tasks were completed and they were able to rest. They accomplished dreams and they formed bonds that would last forever. They fell in love and they grew strong in their love for one another.

It takes a strong kind of magic for a creator like Hiro Mashima, the author, to grasp the attention of any one human and draw them into a world. Like so many people have felt with Harry Potter and friends I found myself invested and attached to so many characters from the story. All of whom I watched grow and change at a time in my life when I was growing and changing as well. By the end of the chapter I realized that I had gotten caught up in the technical aspects of the story like many, MANY people on the r/fairytail subreddit did. I had lost focus for just a moment, on what the story was truly about. I love when a tale can do this to me, rip me out of the fantasy world and sit me back down in reality to look at myself critically.

Therein lies the magic of creation. Every author or musician, painter or creator has this level of power within them, this real life magic that enables us to create something amazing and share a bond with others through it. I have surrounded myself with a league of men and women who do amazing things and there I have found my own guild, much like Fairy Tail.

I realized that the story wasn’t about the fights or the potential death toll. It wasn’t about the way the dragons vanished and the way the demons came to exist. Sure those things were important to the plot of the story but they weren’t what FT was about. I believe that we can put so much focus on defining plotlines and poking plot holes that we forget sometimes that these things were created by humans with imperfections like ourselves. We are just as much Natsu and Lucy as we are Zeref and Hades and even the same, we are still ourselves.

People consume characters that are real and tangible, and while there may not be a lot of reality to a 400 year old dragon slayer lighting a stadium on fire or a 90 year old man bringing his wrath down upon an enemy in the form of light, there is a real tangible desire within the characters.

Each of them, like you and me, are searching for a purpose and searching for someone to share that purpose in.

We are all looking for the next adventure, or the next moment to survive, but I think we are focusing too closely on the plot instead of trying to understand what our story is about.

I was created to do this. This writing, this creating. It courses through my blood and brain every moment I am awake. It is my calling. I can’t turn that off. I was given a level of compassion that sometimes I wish I could shut off, I am able to feel things like they are happening to me. I use these traits to further the plot of my own story, which is driven by my purpose for being.

Every day I am training. I am bettering myself and praying to better those around me with the same spell.

Today, don’t focus too much on the plot. Don’t concern yourself so severely with your next step. Don’t focus all of your effort on continuing forward. Instead, focus on your reason for being here. Why are you sitting at your desk reading this? What put you here? Was it me? Was it a friend? Was it curiosity or luck or happenstance? Whatever the reason, you have an engine behind your plot that is driving you. Find it. Harness it. Continue to pursue that purpose. Don’t fall into the technical bullshit about your battles and your plot.

I live today to be here for all of you. I live to write my books. My plot is just another job, just another meeting, just another period to sleep or shower. In all my down time however, I am training.

I am training because I am not the best I can be yet. I am still an A class wizard.

Soon, I will make it to S class and I want to see you there beside me.

Bonus love to you if you clicked all four of the creator links + subscribed. Tell em I love em, tell em they’re beautiful people.

Fairy Law (Yr. 2 – 2015.6.5)

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This week’s post will be about a lot and about a little. A lot like our lives.

We are made up of a lot, and a little.

I’ll be the first to admit that I spend a great deal of time watching television, specifically anime. I also spend a lot of my time listening to music. Playing games. All around, my life is just a bunch of premeditated horsin’ around. When I’m watching anime I point out things I notice or thoughts I have about where the story is going. It’s become a habit. Whether you think that’s bad is up for you to decide.

Currently, I’m catching up in an anime called “Fairy Tail.” Now, I love the story for this show. It’s become one of my favorites, if not my favorite for sure. This show relies heavily on the “power of friendship” trope, wherein the characters are faced with an obstacle and are too weak by themselves to overcome it so they have to rely on each other to solve their problem. In shows this usually comes down to winning the last fight against the bad guy/monster/scary thing. I see it all the time, and generally it cheapens the story. However, as a story teller myself I know that tropes exist for a reason.

We exist for a reason.

Lately I’ve been feeling caught up in life and overwhelmed by the work I’ve set out for myself and the things that have to be done and the money I don’t have and the cigarettes in my hand. All of these things have become burdens on my heart and mind. That being said, it has altered my mood. I noticed it clearly when I was called yesterday and told that I owed a sum of money to someone that I did not owe a sum of money to. That I was being called to notify me of a collection of that money, which right now I just don’t have. For the first time in a long time I actually acted out my anger. Throwing things, yelling, swearing because I was so upset. I acted in a way that I do not encourage myself (or anyone else) to act. I was childish, and immature. Shortly after that call I had to go to work. I popped in for three hours and while I was there I stewed on my thoughts. I considered my life and where I have allowed myself to go. Like usual, when I stop racing and think about where I’m going I realize I’ve gotten off track and need to be realigned.

I’ve noticed my anger getting out of control and my disdain to even speak to people has become a real problem. Which is pretty much shit considering that I have to talk to people 24/7. If I’m at home, I can’t reasonably ignore my roommate for days at a time and when I’m at work I am forced to talk and be cheery with people so that they will be enticed to buy things. It’s part of my routine now.

I’ve grown mold. My brain has stopped working as it should be.

The other day, I was listening to a favorite song of mine by a band called “The Wonder Years.” This song ends with important lines from each song on the album and top it off with a line that always gets to me… (Pardon the language.)

“Two blackbirds on a highway sign
Are laughing at me here with my wings clipped.
I’m staring up at the sky
But the bombs keep fucking falling.
There’s no devil on my shoulder;
He’s got a rocking chair on my front porch
But I won’t let him in.
No, I won’t let him in.

‘Cause I’m sick of seeing ghosts
And I know how it’s all gonna end.
There’s no triumph waiting.
There’s no sunset to ride off in.
We all want to be great men
And there’s nothing romantic about it.
I just want to know that I did all I could with what I was given.”

These two verses always cut me deep, because they remind me that I’m not doing what I should as an employee, as a son, as a friend.

I’ve been struggling a lot lately.

I’m not where I want to be, I’m not doing what I want to do, I’m not acting the way I know I should be acting. I constantly feel like I’m wasting time when I’m not working on my projects, and when I am I feel like they aren’t good enough to spend my time working on. I’m just racing, trying to get to the next step of something permanent.

When I do something, I search myself to see if I will feel a permanence of any kind. If I don’t, I know that I need to work harder or rework it or make it better. I will try and do whatever it takes to give everything when I’m doing anything. It’s part of who I am. As of the last few weeks, I’ve been too apathetic to care. I’ve gotten into the inner workings of my heart and stirred up feelings that don’t need to be stirred up. I have begun tampering with things that should be left well enough alone because I have simply stopped caring about everything else. The problem with being so careless about everything is that I get into my head. I begin thinking about things and making mountains everywhere I go.

I play Magic: The Gathering. I don’t like red decks, I don’t like mountains. So I should stop making them, right?

Right.

I’ve been focused on my own problems so much that I seem to have forgotten my two best friends. Well, not so much forgotten them, I think about them constantly. I think of how they must be disappointed that I’m still smoking. How they either think I work too hard or I’m too lazy. How I don’t want to be around them for any length of time and how I have been slipping. Of course, I don’t know most of these things for certain. I’m sure they’re disappointed because I still smoke. They know it’s killing me. I know it’s killing me, yet every couple of days I go buy a new pack because I’ve grown weak. I’ve grown careless. I don’t know how they feel about the rest of the things, save for the last one. I know that they know I’ve been slipping backwards. Becoming the opposite of what I am supposed to be. I know they see it because I can see it. As much as I’d like to think I’m the first one to evaluate myself, I’m not. I only look at myself when someone mentions something about it to me. I’m not self-aware, you know what happens when someone becomes self-aware.

So, last night I was watching some more of that show, and they played the power of friendship card in a scene. Again. For the millionth time. I finished the episode in awe. (Big reveal about my favorite character.) I stepped out to smoke and it was almost like I had a vision. Somewhere in the midst of the smoke screen, I saw myself in a perfect mirror. I realized that I have put too much of my weight in places it doesn’t belong. I have grown attached to the sadness and anger that had manifested in me. I have let them overstay their welcome and it has begun affecting me long term. Worst of all…

I have gotten lazy.

I am not lazy. I do not ever want to be lazy.

A few days back, one of my best friends, Travis, returned home from college to visit for the summer. I was excited for this, but didn’t show it. On the 9th, my friend Preston returns from his mission. My friend Lukas is coming to town to visit with us. We are all coming back. This weekend is my friend Chase’s birthday. There are so many opportunities in this next week for me to be filled with joy.

Instead, I’m still apathetic. I’m still racing myself.

A few weeks ago I went to Reno to visit some friends. The whole way down there and back was rainy and wet. There was standing water on the road and I didn’t feel safe driving as fast as I would have liked, so I forced myself to keep my speed in check so that I didn’t hydroplane and get myself into an accident.

I think that I should begin that same practice in my everyday life. It’s a series of steps. Brake slowly. Don’t slam on the brakes. Keep your wheel steady. Allow others to pass you, you will arrive where you need to be when you need to be there. No point in racing birds. They’ll always win. Sometimes, when it’s terrible on the road and you don’t feel comfortable driving at all you just need to stop, get out of your damn truck and enjoy the view. That’s what I did on my way down there. That’s what I did on my way back, that’s what I need to do now.

It isn’t a race. No one has challenged me to anything, and if they had it would be a fruitless race because no one is on my road. I’m the only one here. There is no prize for getting to the end first in life. As a matter of fact, life is much the opposite. People fight and bicker for a chance to come in last. To be in this race for as long as possible.

I have been slamming on the brakes, trying to avoid skidding across the water as best I can but it’s a knee jerk reaction and I didn’t think it through. I can feel my tires popping up. If I were to jerk my wheel right now I would flip.

The rain is going to come down whether I want it to or not. I just need to let it fall. It would make as much sense to fight the bad thoughts and feelings that drop into my head as it would to go out into a rain storm and try to empty a puddle with a plastic cup. The rain will always fill it back up.

There is good news though, eventually it will dry. It will leave your head. It will leave mine. If you’re really lucky, it will soak up into the ground and nourish you. It will slip into the cracks of your mind and bring you new lessons learned or new reminders of things you or I have forgotten.

Finally, the last step, for goodness sakes. Get out of your damn car and look at the sky. It is the most beautiful thing in all of creation. So complex, so many other things out there that we can’t even quantify it all. It is endless. It should be appreciated and celebrated. Even the thick storm clouds bring us beauty simply because of their size. The problems in life are something to be admired, not ignored. Because if you quit paying attention when you’re on the road in a storm it’s that much easier to lose control.

Never let yourself lose control. If you do, dammit you get it back.

I need to get it back.

Writing this, I’ve been able to point out the things I need to work on immediately and the things that I need to seriously dedicate my time to. Namely, that would be my two best friends. I have been snapping at Jess at a moment’s notice, I owe him money because he graciously picked up food for me and I haven’t been capable of paying him back. I have become even lazier around the house. I have grown to complain about everything inside my head. Travis has come to town and I have hardly acknowledged that. I realized that I’ve only been able to talk about things that directly involve me. It has been months since I told either of them that I love them. Everything I do feels jaded and empty.

I am not empty.

I am full of rainwater and I am going to be happy, over everything.

If you liked this, consider picking up one of my LINMTBA Compilations, this one is from Year Two + It was a good year. Check them out on my website!

www.linmtba.com

 

Bubbles (Year Three)

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Days come every so often where I forget what I’m doing. I let slip the ideas inside of my head that started this whole business and this blog. I lose sight of my goals because of some new temporary problem that rears its head. This happened not so long ago, I began feeling a heavy weight before I left for Oregon to see my best friend get married. The morning I was preparing to leave, a handful of complications reared their heads and I broke down.

I did then what I do always, I went to visit my mother. I explained how stressed I’ve been and how I feel as if I can’t deal with it all and she told me something that set my sights back where they need to be.

I needed to find bubbles.

See, her and her best friend Melody had this thing between them about bubbles. In the classic Sonic the Hedgehog games there were underwater levels where you would drown if you stayed in the water for too long. You could stay under the water for longer if you found bubbles that would float up to the top and suck in all the air.

She told me this and told me what that meant in the real world. Finding bubbles is easy if you’re looking for them. No matter your situation, there will always be a handful of moments that bring you joy and excitement. No matter how deep you get, there will always be bubbles.

She told me sometimes you get them from walking through a drive through, from finding cool rocks, you get them from a long hug or from an inspired joke. You can find them everywhere, and she gave me a good hint… They are especially prominent on the beach.

So I took that grain of knowledge and left for Oregon. I’ve talked about the trip a lot this month, because I needed it so badly. On the way to Oregon I took a handful of stops to take pictures and to experience the world around me. I found a nice rock on top of a mountain that I took a pee off of, because I found bubbles there.

Indecent as it might be, there are few things better than standing at the summit of a mountain and watching the entire world of problems beneath you that you are just pissing all over. It was inspiring to me, in a strange and awkward kind of way.

When we had made it to Coos Bay, I crashed with Torre and his camp out behind a hardware store. We talked and drank and enjoyed our time together there, as you know now. The following morning, there were bubbles everywhere. In the morning fog there were bubbles. In the bakery there were bubbles. I picked Jess up and we went to meet Travis and Gage at the airport. There were bubbles there, when I saw Gage and gave him a big hug there were bubbles. When I saw Travis there were bubbles. When we checked into our hotel and began playing Magic: the Gathering there were bubbles. We went out to 7 Devils Brewery (Highly recommended by the way.) There were bubbles. Our server gave us bubbles. I got them from the shirt I bought and the 16 year old scotch I shared with Travis. There were bubbles as we walked to a convenience store and Torre found his grandfather’s favorite beer. There were so many of them everywhere. Bubbles in the sky, on the ground, in the sea. We saw bubbles when we met up with Eric, Preston and Allison and walked all over the city looking for food. There were bubbles as we caught Pokémon. They were there when we accidentally ran into Travis’ father in our hotel. They were there the next day when we set up for the wedding. They were there in greater numbers than I’ve ever seen when I watched Travis nearly collapse at the sight of Cassi on his wedding day. There were bubbles when I gave my speech as the best man. There were bubbles in the good and the bad. The awkward dance I asked for when I was half drunk at the reception. There were bubbles in the face of Torre’s younger brother Taydan as he wept watching Travis + Cassi’s first dance together. There were so many in such a great number that they clarified something for me.

Those little moments are always here. No matter how stressed or how broken you feel… find those bubbles. Suck in every drop of air that you can and breathe. Everything is going to be okay. I promise.

Where there are bubbles, there is water, and where there is water there is a current. Those currents never stay the same. Neither does your life. Just let it flow. I promise you, no matter how much the river changes, there will always be bubbles to suck in. The weight of the water will never crush you as long as you remember to breathe.

If you liked this, consider picking up Volume 3 of my compilation book, Life is not Meant to be Awful from my website or if you’d like, from Amazon!