Generation Selfie

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Generation Y, Generation We, The Me Me Me Generation, Echo Boomers. This is what they call us-anyone born between the 1980’s to the early 2000’s. I prefer Millennials, it just sounds too cool for school.

Millennials have been called narcissistic, arrogant, disrespectful, and entitled. I agree and disagree. Some of us are disrespectful. I’ve seen kids use their skateboards to Ollie over the body of a dead cat just for “fun”. I know, adorable, right?

We are narcissistic, but so was every generation when they were young. We are still discovering who we are, but I’m sure we’ll get over ourselves eventually.

One day we’ll all stop caring every time someone posts something like, “I just worked out”, on Facebook. And someday we won’t feel the need to put a new selfie up on instagram every 10 minutes.

I admire my generation’s willingness to put it all out there though. It demonstrates some courage, it’s just that we don’t need to hear it or see it every second of every day. We could show a little restraint and be more selective in what we share with the world.

Communication is our biggest issue. It’s easy to be brave while hiding behind our computers, tablets, and smartphones, but our generation has difficulty with real communication. We are the internet generation. We have never been more connected in any other point in history and yet we are the most disconnected.

It’s interesting that we call it “social media” when it encourages anything but being social. We can have entire online conversations without ever knowing someone. We can text and tweet, we can insta this and snap that, but when it comes to just sitting down and making real face to face conversation with real people we are at a loss for words. Maybe we should call ourselves Generation Hashtag since nothing really exists to us anymore unless there’s a # in front of it.

Don’t get me wrong, there are numerous advantages of living in this internet age, especially from a business sense. But I’ve starved myself of facebook for the past 4 days and I feel so much better about myself. I’ve gone on a job interview, I’ve been reading actual books, I even set up a date with an actual guy. The bastard ended up standing me up, but the point is I now have the time to put myself out there and work on me. I can start going for the things I want and focus on myself in a positive way rather than focusing on what other people are doing with their lives every 10 minutes or what they think of me.

That’s what facebook and Instagram have turned into for me lately. It’s easy to get wrapped up in what others are doing or wearing or dating until you start asking yourself why you aren’t doing those same things. Why aren’t I engaged? Why don’t I have those shoes? Why didn’t I get that job? It’s easy to start thinking negatively when all you do is compare yourself to others. So stop it already and go play outside with the real boys and girls.

As for being entitled, well the internet plays a part in that as well. Everything is available to us. You can order a movie online and watch it instantly, you can type in a term on google and find out everything there is to know about it instantly. We want everything instantly, now.

This stems from our parents as well. They wanted to give us everything they didn’t have growing up so many of them gave us way too much or gave it to us just so they did the opposite of what their parents did.

Some say the result is that we all evolved into little spoiled ingrates. In some ways we did, but in other ways we are better for it. We realize the positive aspects of entitlement. We realize that we are entitled to be happy and we are entitled to go after our dreams instead of the futures our parents or anyone else has planned for us.

Books and movies of our time like The Hunger Games and Divergent are an indication that our generation is simply not willing to put up with shit. We will not be told what to do or who we can do it with. We are a generation of rebels and insurgents. We know about the man behind the curtain and we refuse to buy into his lies or his rules. We want to make up our own rules.

But in order to do that we have to find our voice, our true voice. We have to stop living off our parents, stop hiding behind our iPhones, stop being distracted by the pretty new technology, and start communicating, for real. We need to come out from behind the hashtag so we can start living for real.

Challenged

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What is it with people today and internet challenges?

I first heard about these challenges when people began eating large quantities of cinnamon without any liquid to swallow it with and then posting their experiences on Youtube. They of course choked and coughed their brains out. Hello??!! Cinnamon is poisonous in large amounts, especially without water to dilute it, and can cause liver and lung damage. Why doesn’t this register with people?

Now it’s the ice bucket challenge. Celebrities like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates began posting Youtube videos of themselves pouring large buckets of ice cold water over their heads. First it was for no reason and then it became a way of raising money and awareness for ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) a neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerves in brain cells and the spinal cord. Patients with this disease usually become paralyzed.

It’s nice, I guess, that these celebs are raising money for a worthy cause, but that’s because they have money! Everyday people aren’t donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to ALS, they’re just dumping buckets of cold water over their heads for no reason. Umm, really? That’s what the cool kids are doing nowadays?

My “favorite” is the condom challenge. The rules are that one jams a condom (ideally unused) up their nose and snorts until it comes to the back of their throat, from which they can pull it out of their mouth. I’m sorry, but WTF?! Why does that sound appealing to people?!

Has this generation really become so bored that they need idiotic challenges in order to entertain themselves? And has our society become so sheeplike that we all need to join in? Have we all become severely developmentally challenged?

It’s the classic case of don’t jump off a fucking cliff just because everyone else is fucking doing it…you fucking moron!

These challenges are stupid to me and sometimes dangerous. But it gives people, who feel like nobodies, a chance to feel like somebodies for a moment. They’ll be regarded by some as “brave bitches” and “badass dudes” and the like button on their youtube channels will go up for awhile. If that’s what you consider a good time, then by all means be my guest.

But if that’s not your fancy, then how about this: Why not challenge yourself to be the best person you can possibly be? Be the best student, artist, teacher, writer, dancer you can possibly be and actually do something with your life. Go on, I dare you.

If that isn’t exciting enough for you, then feel free to keep watching and participating in videos like the one down below. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll tell all your homies so they can make their own videos. It is entertaining, after all, and that’s the point, isn’t it?

Ooze of Existence

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This morning I woke up and asked myself, “How did I end up a human and not a tree?” Then I had a scary thought. That question assumes that things happen randomly. Yeah…I don’t approve of that notion.

I don’t believe that things just happen. There is a reason for everything. There is a reason why the sun shines, why the Earth rotates, and why you and I are people instead of ants, or rocks, or plankton.

The reason is because we chose to be here. We are clearly designed by someone or something. I’m not religious and I don’t think you need religion in order to believe in God or some kind of creator. But you can’t deny that our bodies are perfectly designed for this world. Every part of our body has a job to do, a purpose-except the belly button. That’s pretty much useless.

Everything on this planet wants to survive. Call it God, call it Mother Nature, but something created everything and is sustaining it all. Otherwise we’d all just be blobs of jello or that green slime from that Nickelodeon show, “Family Double Dare”.

This is what I tell myself anyhow. I refuse to believe that I am here by chance, that you are here by happenstance, and that everything is random with no rhyme or reason.

I want to believe that I chose to be born at exactly the time I was born, that I chose to be a part of this time in history instead of any other time. I chose to be born a boy, I chose to be born to my mother because I thought she could teach me something, and I chose to be born gay so that I could teach others acceptance. This what I tell myself anyway.

And even if that isn’t the case. Even if everything is random and willy nilly, isn’t that all the more reason to give things meaning? Because the alternative is just too depressing.

No, I think I’ll take what’s in box number 3 and that’s my power of choice. Call it innocence, call it ignorance, call it living in a dreamworld. The fact is no one actually knows why we are here, so we are all free to choose what we want to believe. Right now I choose to be happy I’m alive and human. And not a fungus growing on the side of a rock or on some guy’s foot.

Get Happy

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Do we really have free will?

We have been given the power of choice so that we can choose to do things to either feel good or feel bad. Hmm not much of a choice there. Who would choose to feel bad?

Who in their right mind would choose to hurt and suffer? Who would choose to be unhappy?

We do this all the time. We do things to our bodies that aren’t good for us, we stay in relationships that make us unhappy, and we convince ourselves that we don’t have a choice when we do. We tell ourselves that there is a mysterious hold on us, like love, or duty, or obligation. But these are just distractions from the truth, which is that we at any time can choose to be happy.

But how? Is there a magic switch somewhere that we can flip in order to completely do a 180? Sort of. It’s more gradual than that. It starts by feeling grateful. Start with something small and it’ll grow.

I’m grateful for having my own apartment. I’m grateful for the silence in the morning, for having someone to come home to, for family, for rainstorms, for nightlife, for sexy men, for sexy women, for books, for the internet, for sex, for love, for junk food, for body lotion, for clothes, for dreams, for imagination. I could go on and on. Once you start it can be hard to stop, and that’s a good thing. That is free will.

If the universe gives back what we send out, then why not choose to send out positivity? If we feel good, then good things will start to happen. It doesn’t mean that negative things won’t happen. It just means that we don’t have to view them as negative.

We can choose to see the things that happen in our lives as things that make us stronger, smarter, more loving, more appreciative.
Pretty soon we’ll choose to feel happy every time and it’ll be second nature. That is our only real obligation in life.

So do whatever you need to do to feel happy. Go paint, go write, go put on a strap on get your freak on. But let’s all just shut up, get grateful, and get happy.

Chandelier

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I just saw Sia’s video for her single “Chandelier” and I am blown away. I’m a little behind on my music, but something told me to watch this music video today. A friend posted the video on Facebook and I overheard my sister talking about the amazing choreography in it. The song kept following me. I believe in signs and this was a sign I couldn’t ignore.

The song is beautifully sung by Sia, an Australian pop singer-songwriter known for her deep raspy vocals. (I love a woman who sounds like she smokes a pack of cigarettes a day) But Sia is nowhere to be seen in the video. Instead she chose to showcase an amazing 11 year old girl named Maddie Ziegler who is well known for being in the show, “Dance Moms”.

In the video Maddie is outfitted in a leotard and dons a platinum blonde wig in the page boy style that Sia wears her own hair. She represents the innocent child version of Sia. She is alone in a dreary old apartment that is almost prison like. She has no one to play with, but also no one to tell her what to do. She pirouettes, and flails, and flips to her heart’s content, all while the chorus sings, “I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist”. She is free.

It reminded me of myself as a child. I don’t remember most of my childhood, but I do remember being alone when coming home from school. I was raised by a single mother and she couldn’t pick me up from school because she had to work.

A classic latchkey kid, I would walk home alone, let myself into our apartment, and not do my homework. I was an only child and didn’t have many friends so I grew to be a loner. I had to learn to entertain myself.

I would watch the classic Disney movies and fall into fantasy world. All it took was some blankets and a belt and I had myself a one of a kind designer gown. I became Cinderella, Bell, or Ariel after she got her legs. I could prance and dance all over my apartment and no one could tell me not to. I could express myself freely and dress like a girl even though I was a boy and didn’t have to feel judged or ashamed. I was free and innocent which is exactly what little Maddie and Sia reminded me of today.

They reminded me that none of us should give a fuck about what others think. We should live like it’s our last day on Earth. We should laugh more, dance more, sing more. We should do things that may seem crazy to others. We should live on the edge and no matter how scary life seems, we should always listen to our hearts because they know best and they will lead us to our dreams. We should always keep our inner 11 year olds close to us. And we all owe it to ourselves to swing from chandeliers.

Watch Sia’s powerful video here:

The Walking Dead

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Should we be grateful for things we have, but don’t necessarily want?

After my vacation, it’s been difficult going back to work. I got a taste of fun, excitement, and adventure and now that’s all I crave. To go from that to, “Would you like to add any fries or onion rings?” is excruciating. Yup. I literally have a job where I have to ask “Do you want fries with that?” That question is like the kiss of death. It signifies that you are either a high school senior who just needs an after school job for the extra cash, or that your life has taken a terribly wrong turn somewhere. I, unfortunately, am not the former.

I once had a customer say, “Wow, so this is, like, your Iife, huh?” I often ask myself the same question. I ask myself how I got here. Then I remember why I took this job. I was desperate. I was depressed because I didn’t have a job and needed money. But I had no idea, 3 years later, what a soul sucker it would be.

I hate being told what to do, yet I chose a job where all I do is what people tell me to do. I spend all my time trying to please people. They ask for Ranch, I bring them two. They want more water, I rush over and refill their glasses. All in the hopes of receiving a tip. I’m basically a whore with a bow tie. A trained monkey dancing for the approval of the audience.

There are people at my job who actually work something called the graveyard shift. I too have worked this shift and it’s not pretty. You start at midnight and work until 6am. All night you deal with drunken idiots who slur their words as they order gravy fries, chili fries, and even more alcohol. When the sun comes up it means you get to leave. Just as the rest of the world is waking up, you stumble on home. The blisters on the bottoms of your feet pop and sting and you hobble each step of the way like an extra from The Walking Dead.

Whoever said sleep all day, party all night is an asshole. I sleep all day and work all night. You do this often enough and your days begin to blur together. You start to forget what time it is, what day it is, and even what your own name is. You are not a person anymore. You’ve become a thing. A robot that sort of resembles something that was once alive. Is it all worth it? The answer to that is becoming increasingly blurry itself.

Middle class problems you say? Yes, I realize that there are people who have it worse. Some people don’t have jobs at all. Some people can’t put food on the table. Some people don’t even have a table. But just because there is poverty, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t want my own life to improve and be better than what it is, right? Of course not. But it means a decision must be made. I can’t just whine and complain all day. If something in my life isn’t the way I want it, then I need to change it. If there is something I want to do instead, then I should do it, right? But how?

I still have bills to pay. I still have to put food on my table. Or…my lap since I myself don’t even own a table. How can I change my life? I want more. I’m Santiago searching for the Egyptian treasure. I’m the Englishman searching for the Alchemist.

Perhaps the problem is that I’m not sure what treasure I’m looking for. Opportunities usually arise when you don’t look for them, but you at least have to know what it is you want. I don’t want to be unhappy. I don’t want the life drained out of me and I don’t want to work to live or live to work. But those are things I don’t want. What are the things I do want?

I want to be happy. I want a career that’s fun, exciting, and always keeps me guessing. I want more creativity in my life. I want more love, romance, and adventure too. I want more friendships, more parties, and dance nights. I want more kisses, and brunches, and desserts. I want more spooning, more laughter, and more kindness. Maybe if I focus on all the positive things that get me excited and make me feel good. Maybe if I speak it into existence, as my sister says, then the answers I need will manifest. Maybe if I breathe. Just breathe.

Who knows what lies ahead? I can’t control what happens, but I can control how I feel. And I feel better already so that’s a step in the right direction.