Where are we
in the cosmos
of our love.
Where are we
in the cosmos
of our love.
as being drunk—
You just have to live.
Whatever you decide, do it without the need for validation.
To seek validity is but a farce. It’s like aiming to make a splash in a rain puddle.
A child learns early on whether they care to admit it or not, that their choice is theirs and theirs alone. Nobody really cares more than it takes them to realize, eventually with age, that nobody really cares.
Sure, a mother cares deeply, but only as far as it interrupts her well being.
A father can break his back many times, but only as many times as it serves his cause.
Progression doesn’t come from an audience. Progression comes from within.
Progression comes from love, awareness, and nurture.
And although social media tells a different story from reality, we seek it, crave it, we often need it, but do we really?
Perhaps the greatest lesson we can learn from posting our day to day lives, morality, and hardships is that we are all equally as alone as we are the same—myself included.
Not too long ago, there was a time, it seemed, the world was much larger than we could ever imagine.
Driving cross country felt then like an achievement whereas now—after doing it more than a dozen times—it feels more like a routine I’d rather not admit.
Mostly it’s this that scares me.
Desensitization. It’s this that makes me wonder.
What’s the point?
The point is to treat yourself with the same dignity you would a stranger—a child.
The point is to look beyond life’s blessings, with eyes wide shut, and understand that all will be regardless of whatever validation you seek.
We can learn this by simply looking at a flower bloom. We can understand this by accepting that although, it may seem, the flower dies, another will take its place, as equally and wholly as beautiful as its former.
So whatever you decide, decide knowing, you aren’t as separate as you feel—we are all one.
Like a child sent to his room
I’m stuck staring, blindly
thinking about what I’ve done.
Because I’m still healing, I mean
it’s really no excuse except to acknowledge how
I’m just like everyone…
When I was a kid—after bedtime—as quietly as I could, I would crawl from my bed, onto the floor, then elbow and knee my way down the hallway to lay in the doorway of my brothers room to watch his television.
He’s four years older than I am and, well, I thought he was really cool.
One, for having a TV in his bedroom. And two, for probably knowing I was there but not saying anything.
Whatever he was watching didn’t really make a difference but it was comfortable there, on the carpet, with the blue light flashing.
A dark bedroom can be pretty scary to a child, especially during a thunderstorm.
Now that we’re older, we speak when it is necessary, but not all the time.
Probably less than either of us cares to admit.
He’s a busy working husband and parent while I’m pretty much all over the map.
Though when we do talk, it’s a meaningful talk of mutual reflection. He provides me with information from four years down the line and I remind him that I’m listening by offering whatever small insights are on my mind.
I thought he was great then and I still do now. No matter the distance the bond between two brothers is strong and unwavering.
Basically what I am saying is I look forward to the next time we’re able to watch a little TV, crack a couple jokes, and just hang out—without any pressure—even if it means the carpet or floor, that’ll be enough.
If I could go back, all those years, and stand next to twelve year old me, would I have the courage and strength to tell that nervous boy watching all the other children, swimming, laughing, and running—playing shirts v.s. skins—to quit worrying and join in, that it doesn’t matter how chubby you feel, or how different you look, that as long as you love and accept yourself, no words from another can harm you, or would I just sit back and watch, still the observer unable to join the party?
It’s funny how something so simple as taking your shirt off to swim can be so detrimental to a young child’s self esteem and yet as adults we often forget what that was like or rather what external forces beyond our control led us to believe ourselves unworthy of such a simple, yet harrowing task.
As in childhood, so as in adulthood, what we allow to harm us will.
Commercials show us long, slender, sleek models who seem to effortlessly fit in to their surroundings while being rewarded with warm smiles and admiration for seeming perfect.
Television shows and movies give us well manicured, quintessential versions of ourselves that often seem more like science fiction than what actually is.
Billboard ads and magazines are placed conveniently to fill all our psyche with blemish-less detail to promote this false sense of unattainable beauty that even when met, there’s ultimately an even whiter teeth formula, or wax to whisk away our imperfection.
It’s a cycle that even before the mind has time to develop, stunts it’s growth and like a cavity begins to decay all sense of self worth.
How often have you judged yourself by your looks rather than how you feel?
For this average white guy, countless.
But it’s taken all those countless times to figure out that it doesn’t matter in the slightest, especially as a child who’s developing.
So would I tell that twelve year old me to take his shirt off and go swimming with the rest of the lot?
I don’t think there is a clear answer other than that instead of telling him what he should or shouldn’t do like all the rest of the world, I’d allow him the opportunity to listen to my story and decide for himself.
But I would say this. Chances are that boy or girl over there thinks there nose is too big or there ears are too small. Chances are that kid who cringes to put on his glasses everyday feels just like you do now, wondering what others will think of what makes him human.
Perhaps I’d reassure him that everybody has stretch marks, even the biggest, strongest athletes. Even his mother, and what could be more beautiful than sacrificing your physical form to grant another life?
But we all figure it out in our own time.
I know he did.
If what you see in the mirror is ugly, then consider this: chances are you’re comparing your own unique beauty to what, for your entire life, you’ve been programmed to believe is beautiful.
And what is beauty anyways?
Margaret Wolfe Hungerford said, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
And isn’t that true? Yes or no, in more instances than not beauty is subjective. In fact, I’d go even further to say that beauty manifests itself in infinite ways other than what the eye can see.
As a photographer with a fond admiration for women and men alike I can honestly say that I have taken countless photographs and manipulated them to appeal to the mass collective of what is to be considered quote on quote “beautiful.”
Hypocrite. No, I think not. I never claimed they were beautiful but simply did my job in a way that my superior agreed was aesthetically pleasing.
A wrinkle here, a crows foot there, deleted.
Nobody has ever died from a portrayal of beauty, right?
Wrong. Though I’m not an extremist so there are many factors to consider, all of which yes, I agree, may seem like a bit of a cop out or excuse not to hold oneself accountable for taking what is and transforming it into something less natural.
But this isn’t about my career choice or eye in which I behold.
This is about you and that “ugly” reflection in the mirror.
You are not ugly, you simply aren’t. You are you, and you are beautiful.
Those who claim to seek perfection, well, they’re only trying to fill a void. And it’s a bottomless pit because like beauty, perfection is ultimately subjective.
While I sit here and delve deeper into thought, I watch a mother and daughter walk by my window. The mother is flapping her arms as graceful as she can. The child looks to her mother and understands she is trying her best.
In the end all that we can do is try our best to love ourselves enough to fully accept the unique beauty of another.
Any other judgement is of which we have been programmed to believe.
It’s taken a very long while to believe in myself and I willingly admit that each day is a slow progression to further acceptance of my own unique beauty.
If someone tells you you’re not beautiful, that’s their loss.
And I hope the next mirror that you face looks back in your direction as the child looks with grace and marvels at the perfection of her mother’s love.
Call me crystal and I’ll make this clear
The world’s your oyster, won’t you be a dear?
Remember us, when you’re famous
Such a dangerous manifestation
Bite the bullet trigger happy kid
They said break a leg behind closed eyelids
Opportunity, don’t blow it
You’re a shooting star, now show it
Call me Ishmael cause I am drowning quick
Wailing never got you through the thick
What more could we ask for?
Through closed doors
Another kid’s born in the grave
By the third day he’ll be saved
Another wick is burnt too late
Just one more spirit and you’ll feel great
Wipe the Chalice, next in line to drink
Every word has meaning, child
who’s never’d time to blink
Blades of grass
beneath my feet
rise and fall
and spring back
my perception of sky,
and my eyes are blue
and my vision is clear
and I’m seeing sevens,
while my shadow flutters
and becomes the tree
which stands still as death
O Heavens! O Heavens!
your child’s due rebellion—
now I can finally see.