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

Jesse McCartney Was Wrong: Ugly Soul

 

People are so imperfect.  

No matter how much faith you put in them, they always seem to let you down, at least at one time or another.

 

I know.  I must sound like I’ve just gone through some terrible betrayal recently or something.  That’s not the case.  Quite the opposite actually.  I keep self-reflecting on how unreliable I, myself am at my core.

 

Well, I guess in a way I have gone through a betrayal, a self betrayal.

 

I expect others to depend on me because ‘reliable’ is a characteristic I’ve come to identify myself with, but in reality I let myself down so often that it’s a ludicrous request.  Almost like I’m setting them up for failure out of some egocentric desire to prove that I can be sure of myself at the risk of others.

 

There’s that saying that friends come and go, but family never fails, but I think that’s an exaggeration.  Even the most devoted of mothers fails her child in numerous ways throughout their life.  That’s why people love to point to their messed-up childhood, no matter how perfect, and find excuses for why they are the way they are.

 

It’s so much easier to look outward for the cause of our imperfections, to point the chocolate smeared finger in another’s direction, all the while hiding the cookie jar behind our backs. 

 

Humans are so flawed that they have given up looking inside themselves and trying to rectify what’s wrong.  Our ugly souls are too scary to look at so we give up altogether.

 

A lot of people like to point to this as a main cause of religion.  They say that we have allowed ourselves to become so weak that we like to turn to some Santa-faced deity to fix our problems for us.

 

God is a crutch, they say. 

We don’t need him and he is therefore dead, they say. 

 

But I wonder if the people who say that have ever wondered whether or not we turn to someone else because we’re not only weak, but right.  Maybe we are too messed up to fix ourselves.  Maybe we do need someone else.  And maybe that cloud gazing instinct is a result of some programmed default feature that is triggered when we have finally exhausted our energy and options.

 

People are so imperfect. 

 

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was some big, fluffy Papa in the sky to swipe away tears and reset our central processing units?  Would it really be so wrong to rely on someone who was actually reliable?  I know, I know.  There’s suffering in the world.  How can anyone view that as reliable?

 

I think an important question people forget to ask concerning the problem of suffering is who’s causing the suffering?

 

Is there a God wreaking havoc while he points and laughs?  Is there a God sitting on his divine keister, watching us like television?  Or maybe there’s a God reaching out to us in non-material ways that are so unanticipated we neglect to even acknowledge them.

 

Maybe he’s busy trying to help us fix our ugly souls. 

 

~LDA

I Think, Therefore I Am: Jaw Troubles

There’s this really weird thing that happens to me every couple months or so where I suddenly don’t know where to place my jaw.

 

I know.  It sounds absurd, but I’ll wake up one day suddenly feeling that my jaw is out of place.  Not so much in the sense that’s it’s been dislocated or anything drastic like that.  Only that I don’t know where to put it.  It seems as though there isn’t a position that seems natural anymore.

 

I’m suddenly asking myself, “How do I usually hold my jaw?  Do I usually have the teeth on either jaw touching each other, or do I usually have my jaw in a loose position?”  And usually as a result of all this clenching and unclenching, I feel exponentially worse, my jaw have tightened into an unnatural position.

 

It’s the most confounding thing to wake up one day and find that you don’t know yourself.  I mean, it’s something that we humans pride ourselves on, right?  “I may not have a clue as to what’s going on in the world or if any of it has any meaning, but if there’s one thing I do know, it’s that I know myself.”

 

“I think, therefore I am,” right?  It’s that one thing that the average everyman can agree with those lunatic philosophers on.  That we may not agree with all the rational nonsense that follows that premise, but we can agree that the one thing we know without a shadow of a doubt is that #1:  I exist and #2: I’m therefore the chief consultant as to all the nitty gritty details of that existence.

 

Because, well.  I’m me.  And who could know more about me than me?

 

Who could possibly know me better?

 

I’m the person most concerned with me despite what I might choose to believe about love and the nature of that loaded L-word.  There’s no one on the planet who could possibly be more obsessed about my existence and the well-being of it than the wonderful, talented, consequential, worth paying attention to, special in every way, moi.

 

And yet, there are days when we wake up, and we suddenly don’t know how our jaw is supposed to go, or if it ever went, or where it went for that matter. 

 

How can I, the one and only specialist on me, claim to know the stuff I’m made of when some days I don’t even know how to use my body.  How can I when I find myself wondering if there was ever even a set way that I held myself to begin with?

 

If I can’t even figure out how to gain control of my body, how can I ever hope to gain control of my mind, never mind my spirit, the very essence of who I am? 

 

I don’t want to act like I can speak for the rest of you, but sometimes I wake up and wonder how on Earth I got to where I am and if that even happens to be where I intended to go in  the first place.  I have these short and long term goals set for myself.  I take note of them in journals and write them on my walls in the form of handy little sticky notes.  And even while I find myself satisfactorily check marking and taking them down from my walls, I always ultimately end up in the same place. 

 

“Wait, why am I doing this again?  This is what I intended to do and where I intended to go, right?  Have I accidentally turned down a side street and completely lost track of the main road?”

 

I always find myself questioning who I am and whether or not this is the stuff I want to choose to make myself out of.  Will I be satisfied in the end?  Will I be able to sigh a contented last breath and know that I took my freedom to think seriously?  Will I be able to look back and see footprints burnt into asphalt from the sheer decisiveness of each step that was taken?  Will the direction of those steps reflect my inner most thoughts and convictions back at me?  Will I recognize myself and the distinctive angle of my jaw?

 

I guess all I’m trying to say is, I DON’T KNOW.

 

And I like to tell myself that this is a good thing, even though it’s pretty contrary to any linear and straightforward form of logic.  Because I don’t believe in straight lines.  When I was child a visual arts student once told me, “There are no such thing as straight lines.  Only dozens and dozens of hesitant strokes that trick you into thinking they’re straight.”  And at the time that I heard this, something resembling an unanticipated breath of relief escaped my body.  Like I had been trying to conform myself to something I knew I never had been and could never become, and now I was free.

 

I didn’t know why at the time, but I believe that this revelation was one of the many beginnings of the unbelievably sketchy circle that is my life.  I believe that I discovered the secret that it’s okay not to know, or maybe even better.  If you’re constantly willing to admit that you don’t know, won’t that just keep you in check and make sure that you keep verifying whether what you think you really knew you actually know?

 

But who knows.  Maybe that’s just another thing I like to tell myself.

 

After all, I simply don’t know.

 

~LDA

 

 

Cosmic Shrapnel

 

There are times when you have stayed for so long in one position thinking about nothing at all that you become unexpectedly acquainted with yourself. Suddenly you’re faced with the reality of your own mind against the backdrop of the world.

Times like when you’ve been driving for so long that you’ve spaced out and started contemplating strange things, some even bordering suicidal. You become so attuned to the sound of your infinitesimal existence that you begin to fade in and out of your surroundings. You start forgetting where you end and they begin, and so suicidal thoughts aren’t so much melancholy or malicious as they are sobering.

It suddenly occurs to you that you could drift onto the median and watch as your car swerves, tumbles and careens from a third person perspective. Or maybe gently let go of the wheel and let the tires take you where they will…

You’d be content and at peace with this too, because the blinding truth that you once knew as you floated in the embryonic fluid of your mother’s uterus has suddenly re-dawned on you.   And this truth is that you are but a tiny piece of shrapnel in the cosmic explosion that is the universe.

And that’s not to say that you are without cause or without purpose. Just that you are only a microscopic cog in the mechanic master plan, and you realize that if you were to fade out a little “too” early, another microscopic cog would quickly lock into position and take your place.

And this happenstance wouldn’t even have to be sad, or unfortunate, or particularly depressing. It could be just another beautiful explosion of a sun. Another pinprick fading in the fabric of our sky.

~LDA

 

Core Persona (NatureVersusNurture)

We say all the time that you should be yourself.

Don’t change for anybody or anything.

Just be yourself.

But who are we really? Aren’t we just the sum of our experiences, a conglomeration of changes we’ve made? Some conscious, some unconscious? I mean, even deciding to take your next breath is a decision you’re making, even if your body is automatically making it for you. You have the autonomy to choose otherwise.  And each breath is causing minuscule changes in your body’s chemical makeup.

Some changes sort of just happen to us more than we choose to make them happen. Like how a traumatic experience such as the loss of a loved one or an abusive experience changes who we fundamentally are. But they’re all still changes nonetheless.

So what makes some changes considered things that turn us into phonies or posers, while others are just considered personal growth or collateral damage? If a person chooses that they want to change how they manifest their personality by changing a clothing style or hanging out with an entirely different crowd, how is that different from if a person chooses to continue wearing the same clothing style or to continue taking part in a particular hobby. At what point do we identify or become ourselves?

Where does the core of our persona lie?

In some super secret sequence of our genetic code?

In the most inner reaches of what some might call the soul?

Who are we really?

Aren’t we all just constantly changing beings who are always in flux?

Or is there an essential part of us that never changes? A solid constant that we must stay true to?

Who exactly are you?  Do you know? 

 

Your Fellow Identity Crisis,

~LDA

Psychotic Breaks Are Sexy

So I rear ended a guy the other day.

In reality it was his fault, because he stopped ridiculously short.  But we all know how the insurance companies see it. If you’re the rear ending party, you’re automatically at fault and now you have to deal with the repercussions of some prick practically setting you up.

These are the thoughts that should have been going through my head at the time of the accident.

LadyDerpsALot that I am…of course they weren’t.

Instead of thinking “Frickety frick!” when he got out of his car, I found myself thinking

“Hey, he’s pretty cute…”

I know, I know.

“Like, really? That’s what you’re thinking about, Lady?!”

I’m ashamed. Really, I am.

I’m not usually this shallow. Honest. I realize that I should have been freaking out or doing something else similarly productive, but instead I was busy admiring how clean cut he was. How for some reason I didn’t expect him to be young. Those are the turns my mind chose to take in such a high stress situation.

I’m pretty amused, really. It was so uncharacteristic of me. I’m not going to straight-up lie and say my eye isn’t caught by good looks, but I’m usually so oblivious to the people around me that I don’t really notice. A handsome guy will only catch my attention for a few seconds at most.  Sure, I’ll drink my fill for a few seconds, but that’s pretty much it.  It’s inner quality that I’m truly a sucker for, which I guess is why I don’t usually pay attention to looks.

But for some reason, this guy’s beauty did not escape me.

Instead of chocking up strategies, I was purring out melodies.

I choose to blame it on the high stress situation. (;p) Something with my adrenaline must have turned we wonky.

If I ever get called in by a boss to be let go, or you know, stabbed to death by a guy on a psychotic break, I guess we know how I’ll react then. If it’s anything like this high stress scenario,

I’ll probably be thinking about how chiseled his chin is or something.

 

Sincerely,

~LDA

Bare Butts and Toilet Stalls

Before I dive into the logistics of the anecdote I’m about to address, let me give you the down low of what happened prior. It’ll enhance the experience and help you blush in informed embarrassment along with me.

So don your Lady caps.

Forget about the identity you have been building up for yourself since you’ve been born.  Forget all that sweat, heartache and tears.

You are now me.

You’re me and you’ve just screwed up big time.

Twice.

You’re in college and the class prior you flipped a figurative bird to the world by showing up an entire two hours late to the only class you had for the day. As if that isn’t bad enough, you did it quite unapologetically. You’re too tired to care about impressions, so you swag on in with your insolent self.

There are only about twenty people in your class by the way. So your belated entrance is well noted.

But you plop down into your seat while flickering a gaze over each of their stupidly dumbfounded faces anyway, as if everything is hunky dory. In fact, your composure is so nonchalantly apathetic that someone watching only you might have thought you’d just strolled in two minutes early rather than two hours late. 

The class moves on without comment and it ends uneventfully enough, but you can tell the professor is silently stewing.

How dare you be so brazenly uncaring.

The next class—today, in fact, you waltz in five minutes early with perky countenance hoping to erase the indiscretions of the previous class. You’ve got a presentation to give so you need to remove any possibility of your prior behavior affecting your grade.

Wipe the slate clean so to speak.

The prof doesn’t really seem to be holding latent feelings of malice against you, but she isn’t exactly Bear in the Big Blue House either. She crosses her legs in the corner and calls you up with a slightly warm quality of voice.

“Slightly positive undertones,” you note mentally.

You may have a chance yet.

You parade up to the front of the class, feathers puffing with anticipated success.

You get off to a moderately adequate start.   Everything’s going fine.   And then, all of a sudden, you fail miserably.

You’ve forgotten an entire segment of the presentation.

There’s no compensating for it.

You fumble to make an on the spot modification, but like I said,

you fail miserably.

At the end of class, you trudge out with tail between your legs and head metaphorically hung. You just want to get out of there. There’s no salvaging your grade. Or your dignity for that matter. All you want is to run home crying to Netflix and a bucket of homemade popcorn.

But first, a slight detour.

You head for restroom.

And this, my friend, is your third mistake.

Let me tell you…

There ‘aint nothing more awkward than peeing next to your professor. I mean, really.

Out of all the bathrooms and all the stalls in the entire university, to end up dropping your pants next to the one superior you just made a fool out of yourself in front of, is just one of the most unconventional forms of divine retributions there is.  It’s entirely too deliciously ironic.  You’re standing there trying your best not to acknowledge the fact that you can see her foot beside yours on the other side of the barrier, but all you can see are her pale toes scrunched up in their surfer flip flops.  Undoubtedly in response to hovering over the toilet seat in a squat, just as you are.

Your over active imagination can’t help but imagine what a pair you must make from an aerial view. Teacher and student. Sage and apprentice. Oblivious and embarrassed. Side by side. Both reduced to facing the reality of your pathetically practical existence by assuming deuce dropping position in close proximity.

Letting loose a stream of piss, the only thing between your bare butts a flimsy plastic wall, is a surprisingly effective invasion of privacy. And, of course.

OF COURSE.

You happen to be having a Nile River kind of pee. You know.  One of those infinite pees where just when you think you’re finishing up, another wave comes blasting through?

“Sorry, thighs. You won’t be receiving relief from your excruciating position any time soon,” says bladder. “I’ve decided to expel every ounce of moisture in this body in this single moment in time.”

You want more than anything to get away from this secretly compromising situation, but your bladder has other ideas.

Now, I know this may be TMI, but you all know what I’m talking about, okay.

Don’t act like you haven’t the slightest clue what I’m saying and I’m just some weirdo going on for an entire paragraph about the process of urination.

Granted, I am a weirdo,

but I’m not speaking about anything you haven’t admittedly experienced before.  We’ve all had our bladders bursting at one time or another. It’s practically a rite of passage for homo-sapiens or something.

Anyway, I just thought I’d share that lovely anecdote of mine with you. It was such a surprisingly traumatic experience that I just had to vent about it. I ended up having to ask her a question about an upcoming assignment on the way out of the bathroom too, by the way.

Delightfully awkward for me, but hey. I’ve just kind of accepted these kinds of occurrences in my derpy daily life.

How about you?

What kind of professor and/or bathroom mishaps have you had that left you cringing?

~LDA

The Dream Universe

So I’m one of those derps who’ve decided that they want to learn how to speak Japanese just because of the sheer amount of Japanese language input they’ve received from watching so much anime.

Except, I’m not one of those unmotivated people who learn how to say “kawaii” and how to stick a “desu ne” in the correct place and then abandon ship.  I’m really determined and am being awarded for my efforts by understanding more and more of what I listen to, (both in anime and music).

Anyway, the only reason I bring this up is because I find that this new language acquisition has reached the point where it’s affecting my dream universe.

Each and every one of us has a dream universe tailored to their specific subconscious that picks up signals and images throughout their entire waking day and then plucks and chooses which details it wants to reincorporate into dreams.  These reincorporated signals become our personal”dreamscape.” 

I read somewhere once that everyone you see in your dreams are people you’ve seen in your waking life.  That no face you come across in your dreamscape is not a person that you perceived while you were awake, whether consciously or just on a subconscious level out of the corner of your eye.  Now, I don’t know whether that really is a statement of fact or not, but I think it’s a really interesting thought to entertain nonetheless.

It makes enough sense.  Our brains, (even the most creative ones of us), are not as innovative as we might wish to think they are.  A lot of what we come up with (if not all) are just a conglomeration of signals that our brains have somehow made connections between and re-outputted.  The most creative ideas come from a combination of two unrelated things that have now come to be related.

For example: 

tweeting birds + social media = twittter

AND

cannibalism + giants with freaky faces + cool fighting gear = Shingeki no Kyojin (AKA Attack on Titan)

AND

giant talking turtles + Italian plumbers + bromance = every Super Mario Bros. game ever made

It’s a good system that has churned out a lot of awesome stuff.  Our dreamscapes are constructed in a similar way, throwing stuff together in cool and/or weird ways and calling it imagination. 

Last night, a new thing happened in my dreamscape that I found really amusing once I figured out what was going on.

I was derping around, going about some unimportant task that I can’t remember when everyone started speaking to me in Japanese.  So…everything was cool, everyone was speaking English and helping me go about my business, I was just about to solve some crucial problem, and then all of a sudden, all these Japanese phrases were being spit out at me.

Confusing much?

I was like, “Ohmigrob, ohmigrod, ohmiglob.  Why is everyone speaking to me in Japanese all of a sudden?!”  After I stopped freaking out I told myself.  “No, wait.  I can do this.  I got this!  I’m barely at an intermediate Japanese proficiency level, but I should be able to understand at least some of what they’re saying.”

Being the ‘dream turned nightmare’ that it was, they of course were all speaking to me at the same time which only compounded my frustration.

“Why can’t I understand anything?!  All I can understand are a particle or two and a few words here and there!  Oh man, all of my studies have been in VAAAAIIIN!” I thought, pulling out tufts of hair and letting my knees dramatically hit the floor.

Then, suddenly, one of those wonderfully magical things happened and it became a lucid dream. 

“Heyyy, waaiit aaaa minute. This is a dream, isn’t it?   Which means…that everything going on in here is only a product of what my mind already knows.”  A smile spread across my face.

“Which means…”

Having calmed down and logic-ed everything out, I listened to the people spouting Japanese at me more closely.

Turns out they weren’t really speaking Japanese at all.  Well, they were speaking some Japanese, but the rest was just gibberish!  Since I’m not at all at a fluent level of Japanese yet, my brain was filling in the gaps of speech between words with gibberish since it didn’t know what else to do.  I was freaking out about not understanding but I couldn’t have no matter how hard I tried because neither did my brain!  

How’s that for inception?

Of course, once I realized this, the magic of my subconscious was disrupted and I woke up laughing like a hysterical idiot.  Dreamscapes don’t take kindly to being figured out so they often kick people out of lucid dreams pretty quickly.

This dream was one of the funnier, quirkier dreams I’ve had in a long time so I thought I’d share.

What about you?  Have you ever had any lucid dreams?  Tell me about them in the comments. 🙂

~LDA

Driving Your Destiny

This one time…

I stopped writing for a really long time just to see what it would do to me. (And I mean a REALLY long time. An entire year and change.) I did it to see if maybe I didn’t love writing as much as I thought I did.  I wanted to see whether I was worthy of picking up a pen (or tapping away at a keyboard).

If it wasn’t my calling, I felt I had no business dabbling in it.

Out of a sort of respect for the craft I vowed that if I didn’t feel a sort of supernatural push to write, if I didn’t feel compelled beyond reason at some point, if I didn’t have a defining moment where I felt the very flesh from my bones would peel away and leave me a broken corpse if I didn’t write, then I wouldn’t ever seriously pick up a pen ever again. 

That was one of the worst decisions I ever made in my life.

All it proved was that just like anyone else, my motivation and inspiration wells were capable of being dried up and I could become a boring old worse than average Joe who was wasting potential.  Too much of the world is.

It made me bitter and insecure that I wasn’t feeling some supernatural urge to vomit out an entire novel in one night.

Why weren’t the clouds parting?

Why wasn’t a great booming voice from the sky resounding, “My child, it is time to return to your notebook and recommence the penning of history’s greatest literature! You have arrived at a critical creative state at long last!”

Where was the convictive divine splendor?

If I waited long enough surely it would show up. Thunderclouds, writing in the sky and all, right?

Wrong.

I felt pulls and little nudges of inklings that I ought to get back to my craft. I still jotted down the little spontaneous spurts of inspiration I had while passively riding the bus home in the evening or in the dead of night.

But I was being stubborn.

If God wanted me to write, he would tell me so. And he would tell me my way too.

Well, lemme tell you something.

God’s got all day. In fact, he’s got all eternity. That’s an awful long time to wait for writing on the wall and if you’re smart you’ll realize you can’t out-stubborn the guy who made mules and Steve Jobs. (They get that impressive head strength from somewhere.)

Eventually I realized I had to stop waiting and take action. Benjamin Franklin didn’t harness the power of electricity by twiddling his thumbs. He took his ‘lil kite and strut outside.

I’ve recently bounced back and started grabbing my destiny by the horns for myself as I’ve learned that things don’t happen to you, you make them happen.  I’m re-realizing that one’s creative flow needs to be nurtured. That river of ideas needs to be coaxed into flowing freely and powerfully before it can regularly break down a few dams of setbacks on its own.

Because of my foolishness, my creative river has trickled down to a stream and I’m paying for all the debris that’s gotten in the way.

Everybody has their calling and sometimes we let tiny nagging doubts get in the way of us reaching out and capturing them. Don’t be stupid like me and stunt your growth. Push forward and bust those conscientious “boo hoos” in the balls.

Whatever your destiny may be. Be it computer programming or cartooning, or writing or football..

It’s called your calling because YOU call the shots, not because you’re sitting there waiting to be called on.

Regrettably Delayed,

~LDA