Caller ID

I think back to the time when landlines were still a thing and you were considered fancy if you had caller ID.

I mean, when you think about it, it marked the end of an era when caller ID came around. It used to be you had to pick up the phone not knowing whether or not you wanted to talk to the person on the other end. Nowadays it’s practical to have caller ID, helpful even. But it’s so boring when you think about it.

Picking up the phone used to be an adventure!

Do I want to talk to this person calling? Is it the long awaited response to the job interview I had last week, or a call from my nana who’ll most likely be nagging me about whether or not I’ve gotten a job yet? If it is my nana will I be able to wiggle my way out of the conversation fast enough before I snap at her? Should I risk not picking up at all? It does sort of have a nana type ring to it…What am I thinking?! I can’t miss this job opportunity! That’s completely counterintuitive!

Surprise. It was nana.

I feel like a lot of our daily lives have become so efficient that they require so much less of us and I’m not entirely sure it’s always a good thing.

Think of the mental and social acrobatics we miss out on in not agonizing over the identity of a phone call. This requires such mental strength in decision making, such social acuity when engaging in the roulette-esque situation of it all.

Or is that just me? Being a person who doesn’t care for phone calls, has very little tact when getting away from social situations, and generally takes 10-15 minutes when making trivial decisions like what they’ll have for dinner.

Is caller ID maybe not that big of a deal?

Hm. Maybe just me.

~LDA

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Not In Kansas Anymore

I find that these days I am often surprised that I have a reflection. It’s not that I have lost my sense of self. In fact, it is quite the opposite.

Recently I did experience an awakening that made me aware of what a lack of self I had. It’s not that I didn’t have an identity. I did. We all do, it’s how we get around and drink things without people going, “Hey, why’s that coffee mug floating in the air?”

It’s just that the self that I identified with did not match up with my true self enough to ring true.

Haha. That sentence was a mess.

What I’m trying to say is, I had been wearing a mask for so long just to avoid being invisible that I was surprised to discover there was actually a face underneath the mask when I took it off. And even more surprised that I don’t completely hate it.

It was difficult, shedding a mask that I’d worn for so long that it was practically chemically bonded with my skin. It was really difficult. Especially since the mask bore such close resemblance to my real face that I often forgot I was wearing one. Now this is about to sound completely contradictory, but I’m not one to be fake. I’ve hated the idea of posers and fake people since I was young enough to understand how humans often default to interacting with each other. From a very young age I understood that I thought differently from other people in the sense that I saw very little need to put on a show for the sake of reputation. I was what I was and I gave you the option to take it or leave it and that was that. I’ve never wasted my time much with people who wanted me to act a certain way or were obviously preoccupied with having me believe they were a certain way. The idea of relating with such people has always been boring to me. It’s such a false interaction. Why bother with the energy? It’s much more interesting to deal with people who accept the way they are and challenge you to accept it too.

The problem with the identity I had before is that in my attempt to stay as raw as possible I lacked the flexibility to change in response to others. I wanted people to accept the way I was but was quite unwilling to let them affect me in return, which is unfair. I think the reason I became this way is because I had experienced so many exchanges with dishonest people that I had become jaded. I had been let down so many times by the possibility of authentic people that I decided I would force people to accept me the way I was before I was willing to accept them. And I think the really sick thing about my condition was that it’s not that I wasn’t willing to take. I was completely willing to take anything people had to offer me in the way of relationship. I just wasn’t willing to take and accept them as a person in return. It was a trust issue.

Even though I’m pretty perceptive when it comes to reading people, I’m pretty dumb when it comes to reading their actions in the context of emotional and social cues. I would be able to see if a person was showing their true self for the most part, but then be very unsure of what they wanted from me. A question I often ask myself is, “What does this person hope to gain from this interaction?” People’s motives are often so double-sided and shallow that I didn’t trust that it was worth nurturing a relationship with them. And if I don’t trust what they can give me, then why bother offering myself in return?

As I encouraged this way of thinking and being in myself, I developed this thin, almost translucent mask that said I accepted myself so entirely that I didn’t need other people. It’s strange because it was a mask more for myself than for showing to other people. I wanted to be able to look in the mirror and believe that I wasn’t this intensely lonely creature who longed for meaningful connection. I did a good job too, because I believed it. For a really long time.

I’ve recently gone through some serious bumps in the road that have led me to re-evaluate how I handled some of my most precious relationships (of which there are not many) in the past. I’ve gone through and am still going through this spiraling cycle of regret about how I could have loved better had I just not been afraid to be vulnerable and taken off my mask.

Even though the regret is still hitting me hard, I’ve pushed forward enough to realize that the thing to do is not to waste time reminiscing, but to strive to do better in the here and now. Even harder is to realize that I have to let go of those people I will not get a second chance with, because they have the right to say no.

So I’m all naked and gross now, like a snail who has lost it’s shell, but then realized it’s been a slug all along.

It’s nerve-wracking. I mean, really quite terrifying to try to approach the world with an open point of view after all this time hiding under a shell. And I’m honest enough with myself now to be able to admit that I’m terrified after being blasted into the sky by this tornado of a thing we call life.

It’s weird to walk past a mirror and be startled. Like, “Whoa, what was that? Oh, yeah, that’s just me. That’s how I actually look like.”

It’s even weirder to find I’m not invisible after taking off my mask. Not necessarily that I love everything I see. There’s still so much that I know needs changing. But I breathe a little sigh of relief when I realize, “Ah, I can work with that. Those frown lines can turn into laugh lines with some effort.”

It’s surprising to find I’m actually glad I’m not in Kansas anymore.

~LDA

Unrequited Love

When you’re in a relationship with someone, (be it romantic or platonic), the most comfortable arrangement is to feel like they like you just as much as you like them.  I used to think that most times that’s how it pans out if you’re careful, but I know now that oftentimes feelings in a relationship are uneven regardless. Most times the way the scale is balanced is unclear until key events slap you in the face and make this clearly known.  Like maybe he decided that flirting with the waitress while you sit alone at the bar is an acceptable way to start a date, or you realize on a night out that this girl’s laugh is a little too obnoxious for you and if she mentions the word literally one more time you’re going to literally connect your knuckles to her face.

Well, every now and then you get into a relationship where it is blatantly obvious that this is the case from the beginning, and you’re on the disinterest receiving end.

You want with all your heart for them to be as interested in you as you are in them, but you can tell that the attraction is lopsided, if not one-sided.

You’re sitting there having this intense amount of intrigue in the person, but you can tell that they are only mildly curious about you at best.  You can’t quite figure out what about you is serving as a complete turnoff to the awesomeness that is you and this bothers you.  Eventually, you’re left there ruminating so long about how you can change their level of interest in you that you start thinking things that should never even enter your mind.  You actually begin thinking about what ways you can change yourself to fit the desires of the other person, (which is crazy because you’re you and that’s amazing and no one in the world should make you feel otherwise).

The brainstorming starts turning into crazy talk:  “Why don’t they like me?  Is it my style?  My hairdo?  My love of all things yellow?  Ohmigerd, no.  They figured out my left leg is half a centimeter shorter than my right one didn’t they?  I knew someone would figure it out one day!  What am I supposed to do now?  That’s not exactly fixable.  Well…maybe if I nick a piece of my heel off here…” Then you realize how ridiculous you sound so you start to reassure yourself that you’re lovable the way you are, but then you start to remember things that went wrong in past relationships, and you begin thinking maybe your ex’s dislike of your Disney plushie collection and penchant for singing along with television jingles isn’t all that unreasonable.

That’s when the worst question sets in.

I’m lovable aren’t I?…Pssh, of course I am…

Wait…AREN’T I?!

Now, it’s not always so severe of a case.  You may not question your worth to such an extreme degree, but the self esteem questions come tumbling in nonetheless, if not crashing in.  It really sucks.  My advice to you when you’re faced with the possibility of these obviously lopsided relationships:

Run the other way.

No matter how fantastic the other person really may be, they’re not worth losing your mind over.

And if you’re on the other side of the equation where you’re seeing that some person is latching onto you that you really don’t care to engage with, let them down easily but clearly to spare them some grief.  Or better yet, take the time to genuinely look them in the eye before you do.  It just might turn out they could become one of the people you love most in the world if you just stop holding yourself back and be honest with yourself.   

~LDA

Journaling for Memories

I don’t have very many childhood memories.  This sometimes leads me to believe I’m probably some kind of alien with artificially implanted memories to keep me believing I belong with humankind. Like any day now my true self will bob to the surface and loads of suppressed memories will come popping to the top of my consciousness like so many caramel apples.

 

Every now and then I’ll hear someone talking about how they remember the time they were three and their sister dunked their head in their spaghetti bowl. Or the time they were seven and they found out Lucky Charms weren’t magical, just delicious.

 

I always find myself getting a little jealous over the bubbling reservoir of memories they have to choose from. Like how do you even remember that far back? I have albums of pictures and a small library of home videos that my parents compiled that’s tells me what I looked like and what I was up to at those ages, but I don’t actually remember having done most of the things my parents (supposedly) have documentation of. Most of my childhood memories exist in my mind as a mist of latent emotions, photographs and fumbled experiences.

 

There was a point in high school when I tried to write down as many childhood memories as I could before they slipped away in the fog of adulthood.  Even then I still didn’t come up with very many. Often I found that what I thought was a memory was just a rerun of a home video I’d seen. Not something I actually remembered from the point of origin in my relatively short human timeline.

 

So these days I try really hard to keep track of what’s happening in my life on paper. Not that I keep regular journals of my every day life per se. I only do that when I have a specific dilemma I want to work through. But I do have many journals around the house which all serve different purposes. One is for quotes and/or mantras I find interesting. One is for a writing project I’m working on. One used to be a dream journal that is now complete. One is a prayer journal.  One is for Japanese study of words I’ve picked up from movies, shows, or music. One is for drawing. One is for survival skills I think are useful should my country suffer some sort of large scale cyber attack or zombie apocalypse. One is for jotting down ideas I don’t want to forget.

 

Sometimes I laugh at myself because I have the creeping feeling that all these journals are just an excuse to lie to myself that I’m not a useless wench who can’t finish a thing. Butwhen the demons quiet down I know that’s not true. At different points in time they will all become complete and be wonderfully useful in their own right. If only to look back on things I’ve learned or created. They’ll all represent a particular thought thread, a particular project, a particular moment & emotion.  In this way I’ll have immortalized different periods of my life in more than the usual day by day account format.

 

Oh, yeah. And there’s one more journal I have.  

 

The one I keep with you guys. 😘

 

~LDA

 

Tongue Tucking Disclaimers

Wow, would I never want to be in the public eye. 

 

Which, I know, is ironic, because here I am posting my thoughts for all to see.  But what I mean is, I’d never want to get to the point where I’m popular enough for people to start thinking they have the right to misinterpret and put a spin on everything I say.

 

These days no one has an opinion, but everyone is shouting loud enough to think they’re doing a good job making people believe they do. It’s the same with average everyman and celebrity alike.  It seems like especially with public figureheads, whether it be talk show host, YouTuber, or famous athlete, everybody speaks with a disclaimer tucked behind their tongue. 

 

It’s ridiculous.

 

“So here’s what I think…BUT I’m not actually saying that I necessarily think such and such, I’m just saying it’s a way to think.  But in the end who am I to tell you what to think? *insert nervous chuckling* Did I succeed in not offending anybody?

 

I think humanity as a whole has lost some fundamental anchor in themselves.  Everyone is turning to everyone else for affirmation that they’re saying and doing the right things.  Of course, it’s questionable that we ever had that security of conviction to begin with.  Every generation thinks they’re the generation when humanity will fall apart.

 

In any case, it’s come to the point where it seems like the only thing people feel comfortable talking about is the fact that straight, white males are privileged.  In fact, it’s even come to the point where that’s all some straight, white males are comfortable talking about.

 

“Oh boy.  Confound my privileged position in society, am I right? Heh, heh…Oh jeez.  I apologize for my existence.  Please don’t hurt me.”

 

Don’t get me wrong.  I appreciate the fact that long-standing social injustices are being examined and exposed for what they truly are.  I just don’t think it has to come to the point where everyone is so afraid of being the next person/group being ostracized for political incorrectness, that we stop stating anything with real certainty at all. 

 

“No opinion is the best opinion.  If I just feed off of others’ thoughts long and hard, my individuality will become blurred enough for it to be impossible for me to be attacked.  Mwhahaha!  I shall engage in my genius plan immediately!”

 

Oh, wait.  You lost your soul in the process, ya’ dummy.

 

~LDA

Too Cowardly to Love

There’s this really insane part of us that longs to love so deeply that we don’t care whether or not we receive love in return.  It’s a part of us we try to bury for fear of ourselves.  The day we are born our instinct is self preservation so this illogical part of us that is so willing to be vulnerable in exchange for nothing is terrifying. We tuck it away in a file cabinet of our brain labeled “Do not open at all costs.”

 

But it’s there.

 

And every now and then we remember that we were born selfish but programmed selfless. 

 

 

Whether it be a pang of loneliness in the night or a relationship gone awry, we are reminded that a part of us wants to trust and give affection so much that we are willing to take the risk of complete rejection. 

 

There are some of us who in a rush of panic or a wave of unconditional love peek into that file cabinet and glance into the forbidden file.  Some of us survive, and walk into a healthy relationship.  But others of us are destroyed.  Having taken the risk on the wrong person, we are pulled into a cycle of pain and betrayal during which we hope against hope that things will change for the better despite being torn down again and again in exchange for our love and compassion.

 

Those of us who get stuck in that bitter cycle tend to be looked down upon by society, by both the happy couples and those of us who lack the courage to peek.

 

“How pitiful,” we scoff.  “Can’t they see it’s so obviously hopeless?  Only a person who lacks self respect would continue to put themselves in that situation.”

 

Suddenly we’ve forgotten that love is blind and keeps no record of wrongs.  Or worse, we never knew.

 

The people who get stuck in abusive relationships are most often those of us who have gotten in touch with the side of us who seeks to give affection so much that we don’t care whether the subject of our affection is worthy of it or not.  That beautiful and twisted side that only sees human beings as creatures worthy of love despite our nasty underbellies.  That callused and forgotten side that was simply created to love.  Having been disappointed again and again, surely the persistence of this side is not an attempt to receive love, but to give it. 

 

Those broken people should not be spit down upon, but looked up to, for the courage it took to wind their inner workings back to start. 

 

What if all we broken people did the same?  We could put away our shame and function in all our wonderful capacity.

 

Only guilty people scoff at the innocent in hopes the world will forget the shame of their cowardice.  They are the ones who were to afraid to brave a glance into the file cabinet.  Only guilty people have to run away from themselves in order to avoid running into the arms of another. 

 

All it would take is a little bit of faith on each person’s part to heal the world, but there will always be that one who in fear of betrayal lashes out and continues the horrific cycle of hurting and being hurt.  And so, we will always be full of mistrust.  Our souls forever lost to the fear of abandonment, even though love is just around the file tab.

 

 

 

~LDA

 

Undivided Attention

I’m the kind of douche bag who decides what kind of douche they’re going to be when they wake up.

Am I going to be a sunglasses wearing even though it’s cloudy outside kind of douche, or the doesn’t reply to the cashier when they ask “How are you?” kind of douche?

I feel that life is becoming increasingly more like a chore that no one has the energy to fake interest in anymore.  We’re all stuck to our devices busy ignoring life.  The ultimate measure of a decent life has become how well we can ignore it.  

I mean, look at the amount of apps there are out there!  All made in the name of efficiency when in reality it’s a contest of who can distract the most people the most effectively.  Efficiency is now just another name for convenience.

The truth is we have become masters at inefficiency.

No longer are we able to focus on doing one thing to the best of our ability.  We’ve been conned into thinking that doing the most things at the same time is what counts.  I remember a couple years ago when the psychology community was arguing with the public about the value of multitasking and whether it is truly a thing.

After various studies they concluded that the brain cannot effectively do what the mainstream has come to call multitasking, and that the human brain can actually only focus on doing one cognitively complex task at a time.

I mean truly focus.

That even though we can train our bodies to rely on muscle memory and a limited version of human autopilot, in order to truly perform any task to the best of our ability it is necessary to give it our undivided attention.  

 

Whatever happened to those findings, huh?

Doesn’t it strike anyone as strange that this verity was swept under the rug in the rush of amplified consumerism?  Technology has allowed us to become masters at distraction at a rate the world has never seen before.  Of course the powers that be didn’t want their eyeball-less sheep to reach the conclusion that came with this psychological epiphany.

God forbid they realize they don’t need any more stuff!

It seems that people have been duped into thinking that because the things they seek are less tangible and more metaphysical (in the sense that they can be downloaded onto their handhelds), that they have broken the bonds of consumerism and have bloomed into a much more evolved creature.  The self-help book that they downloaded onto their kindle about how to accomplish more and feel unhappy less, is not a desperate cry for help to the gods of consumerism, but a postmodern side-effect of advanced life that simply has to be dealt with.

Or so they tell themselves.

People have tried to mitigate this side-effect with things such as minimalist movements, but to no avail.  The people attempting to dive back into their primitive, more driven roots, inevitably come back more jaded and material hungry than they were before.

Back into the ocean of stuff they plunge.  The decision to give themselves over to a deluge of voices whispering, “Join us, join us.  You lost the battle because there is no war to be won,” lulls them into an apathetic slumber.

They cannot seem to wrench themselves from the grip of caressing hands murmuring,”There, there.  No need to fuss.  It’ll all be over soon.  Just pretend until it is.”
Do you know what’s so hard about fighting against the post modern wave of feigned sensitivity?  It’s the fact that we hold no ideology anymore.

How do you fight against a collective consciousness that has staked no claim in anything?

Can you fight against a wave that isn’t moving in any direction?

Can you argue with a generation who hasn’t bothered to say a thing?  

-LDA

So Apparently I’m a Naked Mole Rat

I stand here,

toothbrush dangling from fingertips,

staring at myself in the mirror.

I stand here for five minutes straight, with my face wet from rinsing, trying to convince myself that I think I’m beautiful. Just the way I am. Right now. In this moment. Water soaked mustache and all.

Oh, I’m sorry. Did that throw you off? I’m a girl, so I’m not supposed to have a mustache, right?

Wrong.

I do. And so do most women though we might try to hide it. Don’t get me wrong. My stache isn’t long enough to cuaf into curly points or anything, but it’s there. A little dark layer of peach fuzz who especially likes to come out to play when my face is wet. It’s not too noticeable otherwise  (unless you’re mere inches from my face), but when it is, it IS, if ya’ know what I mean. It kinda slaps you in the face and demands to be looked at. Almost as if someone’s pressed zoom on a camera and the focus just happened to land smack dab in the middle of my upper lip.

Quite frankly, it’s distracting. Or at least I think so. I imagine someone leaning in to kiss me and then recoiling in sudden disgust. AWKWARD.

“Naw, naw. You’re fine,” I tell myself. “This is your natural face. It’s just the media that’s got you convinced you need to change. If a guy can’t handle you and all your ‘ugly’ he can’t handle you anyway.”

But then I stand there making kissy faces for another five minutes, trying to get the positive concept of myself that’s in my heart become true in my brain. I still haven’t succeeded. Somewhere along the line, us women got convinced that any and all hair is the bane of our existence and now we’re plagued with the constant removal of it.

Remove some hair here, cut a patch there, rip off all those babies over there. Never mind the unnecessary pain it causes you!

It’s pretty ridiculous.

I made the societal compromise of removing my leg and armpit hair a long time ago because even as a little girl who was just developing into a woman, I was told which changes in my body were acceptable and which were not. At the ripe old age of thirteen I mowed down those leg hairs with zeal for the sheer convenience of not being pointed and laughed at. Even though I couldn’t for the life of me see the need, I swallowed the idea that my body was unacceptable as it was like Nair flavored Tic Tacs.

“So I look ugly and gross like this,” I thought. “That’s okay. I can change it at least.” So I did. And I continue to every couple days.

But up to this point, I’ve been able to stand by one little shred of self respect for my natural body by leaving my shadow of a mustache alone. A declaration of “this is where I draw the line.”

So why is it that just because I’m faced with the prospect of another human being coming close to my face, the self esteem brownie points just shiver off of me with ease? Is my resolve really that shallow? I mean, sheesh! Isn’t my body mine? Why should I have to cower in fear as someone judges my body? Almost as if it’s some offering I have to beg to be accepted.

“Oh, please, master! Tell me you’re not repulsed by the piece of humanity that is my body hair!”

I mean, really?

I realize body hair, especially facial hair, is sort of seen as the mark of a developing male, but where and when in the medical textbooks did we erase the part where female hair production increases during puberty as well?

Female facial hair. It’s a thing, men.

Why do you insist on asking us to play this little charade where we pretend we’re naturally hairless, and “oh, I just woke up this way”?

We’re human. Grow up.

When the facade of what you think a woman should look like begins to affect us so badly that most of us women feel like we’re basically forced to spend countless hours (not to mention dollar bills) on hair removal, I think there’s a problem.

Why should I have to pretend I’m some kind of wig wearing naked mole rat with eyebrows that just happened to be on fleek?

I’m not a naked mole rat, guys. I’m a female human.

And guess what? I’m also beautiful just the way I am and I’m going to keep telling myself that until all the brainwashing fades away and it sinks in.

~LDA

Explosions and Water Slides: A Commentary on Human Nature

Human nature never ceases to amaze me. 

 

It’s even more baffling when I see it manifesting in myself.  It’s like, I know I’m a part of the “human race” in my head, but I’m so often watching other humans from a third person perspective that this obvious truth bowls me over every time I come into contact with it.

 

I was at a water park with my family the other day, enjoying my time in the skin peeling Florida sun, when out of the corner of my eye I notice other people noticing something.

 

People seem to be looking in a certain direction all around me and a few people are even pointing.  Naturally, my siblings and I turn to see what’s so noteworthy.  In the distance, maybe half a mile away, there is a thick, cloud of smoke rising. This was no cloud of barbeque grill smoke, mind you.  It was huge, charcoal black and aggressively billowing.  Similar to the amount of smoke you would expect from a large car fire.

 

That’s what we speculated it was to begin with.  It was the least threatening scenario we could come up with.  People never want to assume the worst when something is happening within their realm of comfort.  It’s too inconvenient.

 

But with the Orlando terrorist attack fresh in the nation’s mind, I couldn’t help but assume so myself after a minute or two.

 

What if this was another terrorist attack?

 

What if there were similar explosions going on in the area and this wasn’t even the only one?

 

What if the water park was the next target?

 

I mean, come on.  How ironic would that be?  A place literally filled with water and crawling with carefree Americans catching fire?  If ever there was a way to send the signal that no matter where you are, you are not safe from ISIS, that would be it in my opinion.

 

Turns out, it wasn’t a terrorist attack.  It was a construction fire from which, thankfully, nobody seems to have been badly injured.

 

But you know what really amazed me?  The reactions the situation prompted for the people in the water park.  Most people’s reaction was to go toward the danger and I thought to myself, “Only humans would take such a course of action.  Any other animal on the planet would naturally run like hell in the other direction.”

 

I kept thinking about it and realized I couldn’t make up my mind as to why that was.  Saying it’s because mankind naturally feels the desire to rescue those in need sounded awfully altruistic.  Saying it’s because mankind naturally feels the desire to excavate uncharted areas of knowledge sounded optimistically philosophical.

 

In the end, I settled with the conclusion that human beings are just that freaking nosy.  That it’s not a desire to help those in need or finding answers to the questions of life.  Maybe we’re just so curious that we fight against our better judgement and move toward risky situations out of nosiness. 

 

Almost like a “What’s going on?  What’s going on?  I wanna find out so I can tweet to my friends that I knew it before them” kind of thing.

 

That we want to know just to know.  Not even that we want to do anything further about the information than reporting it.  We’ll leave that kind of motivated action to someone else.

 

What’s more is the reaction of the water park goers after about five minutes of fruitless inquiry into the situation.  They just shrugged their shoulders and continued riding water slides.  I chuckled disbelievingly and muttered to my brother, “Just shows you human nature.  People are potentially being blown up and they’re riding water slides.”

 

Then it occurred to me that this isn’t anything different than usual.  People are always being potentially blown up or hurt.

 

In fact, it’s a statistical certainty that there is always someone in pain at any given moment in time. 

 

Whether it be via paper cut, slavery, or crushing poverty, there are always people suffering and most of us manage to go on with our lives as if nothing is happening.  I guess it’s just a survival thing.  We’d all go insane if we stayed aware of the suffering of every individual in the world at all times, but it’s kind of sobering isn’t it?

 

When push comes to shove, we can’t bring ourselves to care unless the suffering directly impacts us. 

 

We don’t truly bring ourselves to care unless we see a smoke cloud swelling in the distance.

 

As I watched the smoke settle down and the fire trucks spray tremendous blasts of water in the direction of the problem, my mind floated to thoughts of  people who have survived things like nuclear bombs and the terror they must have felt having had their glass bubble of personal security shattered.

 

How must it feel to go from watching terror to being in the middle of it?

 

I almost wish I could say I’d like to find out as an experiment in human experience.  That I’d like to do what it takes to be brought closer to my fellow human being.  But in truth, I don’t.

 

We take it so much for granted how richly sheltered and 1st world the United States is.  How is it that the RAM space of collective human memory is so small?

 

Why do we always have to fall down in order to remember that we picked ourselves up in the first place?

 

~LDA

Esoteric Garbage

As I confessed in a previous post, I am quite a fan of cartoons.  Anime and otherwise.  I find that they hold a certain charm that programs generally more aimed at an adult audience don’t have.

 

There are two things that I especially enjoy about cartoons:

  1. They are not afraid to be obscenely ridiculous.

and

2. They are not so preoccupied with aspirations of meaning that they miss the whole point.

 

The ambition of greatness often gets in the way of actually obtaining greatness.  If one sits down with the intent of creating some great and masterful work, it is inevitable that the aspiration holder will never reach that end.

 

At least,

I find it is always the case with me.  I am only one person and can therefore only speak for one of the billions of people on this planet.  But it has proven infallible that if I ever set out with the goal of creating something that will stand the test of time and resound throughout the ages, I always, and I mean always, end up with a useless, ungrounded, piece of less than esoteric garbage.

 

It’s my theory that this is the case with many forms of television (and all forms of entertainment for that matter).

 

A person sets out with the Herculean task of creating something that will suit the pallet of the masses and ends up forgetting what they set out to do in first place.

 

Oh, wait.

That’s just it. 

 

Many artists set out with no other goal than to conform, which is a recipe for disaster in itself…Either this actually leads them to disaster or…to rampant success simply by virtue of suiting the mutual meaningless goal of the majority.

 

But that’s an entirely different blog post.

I digress.

 

In any case,

 

I think that cartoons (specifically when speaking of the television medium) have an advantage over the rest, because from the outset they are not expected to produce any form of revelational wisdom.  When one thinks cartoons, they usually think children.  And when one thinks children, they usually think of the ignorant bliss of nonsense which permeates most forms of child play.

 

I think that the mistake we make there is that we underestimate the purposeful potential of a child’s mind and inflate our own just because it’s been around longer.

 

I was talking to a friend’s children this afternoon (ages 8 and 14), and I was amused at the fact that it felt like the most purpose driven conversation I’ve had all day.  Granted, I haven’t actually spoken to many people today.  After all, I’m the type of person who sits happily locked in their room, typing away at a keyboard for long periods of time.  But still, the fifteen minute conversation I had with those children seemed like the most refreshingly honest conversation I’ve had for a long time.

 

What was the conversation about? you may ask.

 

Well, cartoons, of course.

 

The conversation started off direct and to the point with the question of “What’s your favorite cartoon?”

 

No small talk necessary.  No setting of the stage.  No veiled meanings.  No aspirations to the politeness of indirectness.

 

The conversation was so unpretentious and obvious.

 

It just was.

It sat in the air and reveled in the sheer purity of its existence. 

 

I feel like with a lot of adult conversations or the lofty dreams of television shows, there’s this constant question of whether or not what is happening is actually happening.  And in addition to that, is it happening well.

 

“Am I succeeding at this conversation?” the conversational partner seems to ask at the end of each measured sentence.

 

“Am I impressing you with my wittiness and astonishing modern relevance?” the television show asks.

 

With cartoons, because the expectation is lower by default, the people creating them seem to have more freedom of expression.  I think that’s why things like anime and Adult Swim have managed such a booming following.  People are tired of failed attempts at wit and meaning and have slumped into the staticy arms of the cartoon industry.

 

Having abandoned the primary aspiration of societal significance, content creators have managed to attain the very thing they have dodged by focusing on the vapidness of simply creating what they feel like.  The amused masses coming pouring in as a side of effect.

 

Some of the most consequential and successful people seem to have the same general answer to that thirsty, desperate question:

 

“How did you do it?’

 

“Well…I just did what I love most in the world and believed in the value of that love enough to dedicate myself wholly to it.  The idea that others might love that I love it never really occurred to me.  But, hey, what do you know?  Apparently they do, and that appreciation has assisted me in continuing to do what I love.  So I thank them for that.”

 

Have you ever noticed how celebrities, whether they be international pop sensations or adored small town graphic novel artists, always go out of their way to thank the fan and how it’s all thanks to little ol’ you?

 

Do you really think they had you in mind when first creating their work?

Do you think that your amusement was at the pinnacle of their concern when they produced whatever service they were producing?

 

No, I think you are all much smarter than that, but sometimes just choose not to be.

 

You know that you are not truly the center of their universe.

 

They are simply acknowledging the fact that you are acknowledging them in the field of their choice.  They are simply appreciating that your appreciation allows them to recklessly do what they are best at.

 

I wonder what kind of place the world would be if we all produced with such creative abandon instead of producing with the masses in mind. 

 

~LDA