Tag Archive | life

Reflecting

It was hitting me on Saturday night as I sat at Dempsey’s attempting to learn sports by osmosis, my fleshy frame’s surface area exposed to discussion of basketball statistics, attempting to draw the knowledge in through my cell membranes, that my life has turned into something I didn’t really expect. I am becoming friends with professional fighters. I’m looking at getting a motorcycle. The thought of donuts makes me sick to my stomach (I will still totally eat them though, lets not get too crazy). I think about running two miles and I get a mild buzz of excitement and not dread. I have business cards, they even have my name on them. It’s a bunch of little strange things that confuse me, and of course that makes me think about where I have been. So a brief recap of the last year:

A year and a day ago, I graduated with a Master’s degree in Linguistics. My sister got married the day before. I was never as upset about it as the other people I knew. I started talking to my girlfriend about getting married. Eleven months ago I switched anxiety medications and everything seemed like it was going to be great. They were actually helping instead of making me feel worse, all of which came from the fact that I was still anxious after grad school ended. Ten months ago, my girlfriend left me in the middle of the night, my life started to fall apart. Nine months ago, I adopted my kitten. Shadow has been, well, my shadow ever since. Eight months ago, with no prospects of employment after getting a significant amount of debt and doing a lot of work to prove I could be an academic success, and reeling after being left by someone I thought I wanted to spend life with, I thought very hard about the benefits of no longer existing. Seven months ago, I got a part time job that paid a ridiculous amount for being a part time job, but still wasn’t quite enough to make ends meet on my own. But it was something. I turned 27 and I could get out and do things occasionally again. My dad retired, they named a building after him. Six months ago, I had a brief encounter with someone who had meant a lot to me before my girlfriend, and who still means a lot to me today. 5 months ago, I kind of screwed that up. Neither of us were in the right place to even be thinking about dating someone. This made Christmas kind of rough. Four months ago I got my camera. Instead of sulking I started to go out and practice shooting. I wanted to explore and get better. Three months ago, I made it 5km on the elliptical trainer for the first time ever in my life. I was starting to actually get in shape instead of just punishing myself at the gym for being a fuck up in his late 20s. Two months ago, I got my motorcycle license. I had gotten up to doing 5k three times a week on the trainer and could do 3k on foot without stopping. I knew I could go further, I don’t stop because I’m out of breath, but because I’m hell on my knees. Last month, I decided I wanted to get serious about becoming a fashion/alt photographer. I’m slowly collecting gear and kit to make that work. I actually did some work painting for the first time in a long while. I had forgotten how much I liked painting little mans, and how good I was at it. This month, I hardly believe its been a year.

The truth of the thing is that eight months ago, I may have really died. Whoever I was stopped existing, because he was defeated. All the work he did and all the plans he made fell apart and failed, and he had to let go and admit that none of that was solely his fault. It takes two to tango, and I admit I screwed up a fair number of times in that relationship, but you can’t control how someone else feels. She just wasn’t feeling it any more. I couldn’t have fixed it. The economy and politics have been severely mismanaged by a small group of greedy individuals, especially here in Kansas. I am not alone in the substantial amount of debt that I left school with, and am not alone in the fact that it will crush my ability to function in society for years to come. Things in this country have stagnated, and the work I do now, funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health, is threatened further by short sighted budget cuts and anti-intellectual agendas. How many students out there are now highly trained scientists and problem solvers that can’t get hired because they lack job experience? How will we ever get job experience if no one is willing to train us or let us train ourselves? Every graduate student in America, unless they finished their degree by being a mindless sycophant, has demonstrated that for a minimum of two years that they are capable of learning and adapting to any situation under their own direction. They can identify and deconstruct problems and work through innovative solutions by doing research and through systematic inquiry and investigation.

And hell, even the mindless sycophants have proven that they are spineless and well documented yes-men, and there are people who want that, too.

There are plenty of people feeling guilty today because they are in their 20s and they had to move back home after school and society says that is a sign of personal failure. Well guess what, we are becoming a majority of people, we get to decide what society says, and I think we should be saying “No, fuck you, we never got a chance to buy cars and houses like you said we should. The problem isn’t us, it’s you. We haven’t failed you, you failed us. You told us the only way to get ahead in life is to go to school and get an education, and then hung us out to dry after you got our money. You sold us into slavery, and we refuse to go quietly.”

Point being, I hit an extreme low, and I think because of it I have started to think and feel significantly differently. I have become a person I did not expect to become. I’m an activist and an advocate, an artist and kind of a bad ass. If people want to call me a self important internet asshole, or cry “Social Justice Warrior!” let them. What people think about you is not important, but what you think about yourself. I’ll keep volunteering and donating, making calls to the FCC Chairman everyday until he fixes the net neutrality rules, and you can make your own decisions. You always have been able to, and that’s what I’ve wanted my readers to do all along.

I hope you stick around, though. We can get a lot more done together then we can alone.

Star Trek

I decided to write a post about how to not be afraid of posting regardless of who is reading what. I promptly then started not posting. Well let’s fix that.

Kansas City is home to Planet ComiCon, which is apparently becoming more and more of an important thing. People have talked about it, but I have never been a comics person. However, I found out this year that William Shatner, Jonathan Frakes, Michael Dorn, Levar Burton, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, and Wil Wheaton will be in attendance. This seriously made me giddy for a bit Monday evening. That is very much the kind of nerd that I am, and I sat for a while and thought about exactly why I was so excited to see a couple actors at a convention for something I don’t really care about.

I never liked comic books. Super heroes didn’t really make a lot of sense to me. It was difficult to get into, and felt like a boys club that I didn’t really fit into. DC was by far the worst, they have a stable of established characters, paragons of good and hyper manly to the point of being boring. Recently in movies and collections I see that they spend a lot of time “darkening” these characters, as if making them more edgy and sad would make them more relevant. That sort of just muddies the message they are sending further. Marvel was always a little more interesting, their heroes consisted of a bunch of rag tag misfits barring Captain America. The first comic I really loved was Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, which is far and away from the normal comic book fair.

Star Trek, however, had me hooked from the time that I could form memories. The major themes were always of inclusion, it didn’t have the walls to entry like comic books did. It wasn’t an exclusive club. People wanted you to be there, because in the Federation, everyone had something to contribute, big or small, regardless of gender, skin color, creed, or even species. And that really meant a ton to me! Maybe more now than it did then. Understanding that gender is a spectrum instead of binary, that might be why I never felt like part of the comic club, but felt more comfortable there beyond the stars. As a youth and a teen, I don’t think I felt any different from anyone else; generally alienated and acutely aware of what made me different from other people, which we realize, as we get older, is absurd. Sure everyone is different in several cosmetic and superficial ways, but in the core of people, we are mostly the same. We have the same needs, similar wants, all we want is to feel accomplished and appreciated, to live with some comfort, and share our thoughts, lives, and bodies with others, with variations in specific tastes and preferences. Watching those adventures each week on the Enterprise gave us a glimpse of a world where that was embraced, where everyone can come together to accomplish much, much more then they could have alone.

I watched both the documentary hosted by William Shatner where in he interviews each captain, and the Trek Nation documentary hosted by Gene Roddenberry’s son. It really amazes me just how much a silly TV series means to not only me, but possibly millions of people. We all watched those heroes, who were just normal people, we all saw how much they meant to each other. The characters all being of radically different backgrounds and opinions came together to form families. Star Trek changed lives. It was really interesting to watch each actor talk about how at first they didn’t like the attention, how they didn’t like being conflated with their character on TV, bit as they saw that their show actually made people’s lives better, even if it was just giving them a hopeful feeling that there is a place for everyone, it was meaningful. They had done something good.

That’s why I’m so excited. I get to see the people that might have changed my life.