one of the foremost goals of being young is trying to innovate. looking at the world asking pretty little questions about all its wrongs, and wondering about what the solutions are. and whether or not you, personally, could enact them.
one of the foremost goals of getting old is murdering this idealism and burying it with as much cynicism as you can shovel.
it seems sad i guess. to look at something we define as optimism decay slowly and quietly. it’s those little moments of daily cruelty. you know, when someone should’ve said hi to you, looked at you, and didn’t. or when your friends tell you they’ll join you somewhere, but don’t.
these blur together over time, with the details being forgotten, but the feeling harshly remembered. out of this wound comes not a scab, but a scar. and before you know it, the untouched skin of your youth becomes a grotesque display of social torture.
or does it.
i wouldn’t suggest embracing cynicism. it’s fun and all but if this blog is any proof, it doesn’t leave you much happiness.
however, optimism is not beautiful, just as cynicism is not ugly. the two in any form can produce good and bad results. i can at least say that cynicism has kept me from holding myself to massive standards. this, in turn, keeps me from measuring others too.
after all, have you ever seen tumblr, or the facebook page of any 14-25 year old? it’s filled with posts and reblogs of the way things should be, manifested in illustrations, tv shows, and quotes from (and about) dead people. this is often followed by harsh criticisms of how cruel people are, and how fucked the world is.
as a disclaimer, yeah, this is pretty bias posturing. but it’s my blog, and i’ll say what i want.
it’s not worth forcing the optimism and posting the pretty pictures with the pretty fonts if, at its core, is an ugly scathing criticism of society. it is okay to dislike this society. i don’t think anyone really does like it anyway. but it’s not okay to scrutinize it. because no one is an outsider.
even as much as i embrace being an observer and a part from the crowd, i’m aware that i’ve done my share of fucking this culture up. that self-awareness. i think this is what’s missing from people my age right now. and why i embrace losing any notion of changing the world kony-style. because it’s not the world you have to change. it’s you.
you have to stop being an asshole.
the idea of striking seems to have caught on, as even the usually deflated McDonald’s workers have rallied themselves a pride to shout with.
they’re complaining about the following:
“part-time work, contingent work, the inability to have control over one’s schedule … essentially no protections, and even where there’s existing protections, they’re not enforced … They don’t even approach living wage jobs,” and for most workers, “there are absolutely no benefits.”
does this sound familiar? because it’s practically the reality for anyone without a college-born job.
and in particular, those of us a bit too young to experience what actual, professional work is like.
most of us read that paragraph and relate to it. then quietly we wonder, “well, my job is shit like this. why aren’t we striking?”
one of the greatest quotes to describe the culture behind American working life was said by John Steinbeck. pretty sure you’ve read it by now:
“…the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”
this mindset is cultivated from the very start of life in america (assuming you’re not already born into the upper class). it begins first with your struggling parents, who tell you of their origins. it’s reinforced later by teachers who were fortunate enough to live their dream of teaching but fail to tell you the financial slavery they’re deeply embedded in.
it’s later supplemented by the pop culture you idolize. shows, movies, and music of hard-working protagonists who struggle deeply until achieving whatever it is they desire. and they always achieve.
when you’re finally cognizant enough, the politicians will make sense to you. you will hear their fabricated tales of rags to riches, believe their immaculate speeches about hardships, and be moved by their thrilling conclusions. these conclusions are the same for either a party; work hard, be nice, achieve your dreams.
the cement has solidified and the pillars stabilized; you now believe you can become anything you want. you just have to work hard. you have to struggle.
that is always the condition, isn’t it. to struggle. that you can’t get what you want until you struggle.
this is where america fails.
the thing to ask is what exactly is “working hard”? what exactly is “struggle”? there’s a lot of things to struggle with. a lot of ways to “work hard”. “struggling” could be just remembering to wake up on time. “working hard” for some is as simple as completing the last paragraph of an essay for class. but these aren’t really the things that come to mind.
no, “struggle” and “working hard” usually conjures images of mind-numbing work, and soul-breaking atmospheres. to do things you don’t like with people who don’t respect you. for money that has no value to purchase things that don’t matter.
they tell us that “working hard” is what will make us succeed. but who exactly defines that? because if it remains that undefined, then aren’t we susceptible to doing anything? isn’t easy to make people do things they shouldn’t be doing in environments they shouldn’t be standing for if you just tell them “well, this is ‘working hard’”? that “we all have to ‘struggle’”?
america’s sacred clause is a very clever way to remove pride while pretending to instill it. to ask you to lose dignity while suggesting that you’re gaining it. do things you don’t want to. sacrifice precious time for common shit. compromise personal aspirations for a business you don’t own and never will.
it is easy to dismiss this with a simple #firstworldproblems. and it is. but i’d rather “struggle” on my own terms. “work hard” in the ways i choose to. the “first world” does not offer that.
i’ve gotten strangely good at being nice lately. i understand this isn’t usually something people discuss, but the contrast is so black and white for me that i feel an urge to say it somewhere. i’d always been a relatively nice person. just reluctant to make small talk. i think it’s kind of stupid.
yet for whatever reason it’s become some natural instinct.
this unusual spring of positivity has seeped into my creative side, changing the way i approach my little projects. it’s a good thing i suppose. but most importantly, it isn’t fake.
i would imagine growing up is what does this to you. you kind of learn how to smile for everything. through anything. and for anyone. without really being disingenuous. the smile’s an acknowledgement; i get it. shit sucks. let’s laugh anyway.
there is a clash between social status and desire. the two do not intertwine often; if ever they do, it is out of my own cunning with which i make them fit. but by default, they naturally conflict. i want to do what is socially suicidal. but i don’t want to commit social suicide.
i am aware this issue is not my very own, and i wonder just to what end this is limited to. if it’s american culture, and i think it may just be, or if it’s an everyday human experience. to feel what it is you cannot have, then act as though you do not feel it.
the dichotomies of the human experience, though exciting, have grown weary. i have been crafting my own set of rules for a while, now. i’ve thought it best to follow them. they disagree.
an affable “fuck you”, so to speak.
the government is the architect of a game in which we lose simply by playing. by the game, i do not mean just politics, or voting. i mean american society as it is today. i do not like this government. most of us do not like this government. i don’t partake in things i do not like. and i don’t lose.
so i am not voting.
i would urge others to do the same.
This is part 2 of a 3 part essay. The last entry will come tomorrow.
In general humans are keen on nurturing things that seem adorable and frail. We may not necessarily respect its existence, but we do sympathize with it. This is pretty obvious in a lot of ways, from the Internet’s obsession with Boxxy (Who makes similar videos as this youtuber, but is infinitely more renowned because she’s “cute”), to our strange adoration of murderous baby animals (like hippos, even though they’re considered Africa’s most feared animal).
Applying this to women, females have the strongest physical resemblances to these cute things. Their voices, eyes, faces, and, at times, their bodies look more adorable to us than anything a man can grow into. And while yes, straight males obviously find chicks adorable, straight women also adore themselves too. Straight males cannot say the same about other males.
And so begins the fuck up.
As a girl grows up, what she is witnessing, without knowing, is people actively altering their honest feelings to accommodate for how cute and frail she is.
Applying this logic makes the flaw clear; being a female means the world will not give you an honest response. They will skew their opinions of you, your experiences, and your actions, treating you nicer than they would normally, just because you’re a girl.
This especially applies to very attractive women, again for obvious reasons. It is also why “uglier” girls often have social crutches beautiful women do not, like being funny, or more aggressive. This is because being beautiful provides you with positive responses. Simply existing is all you need to get what you desire. But if you’re not beautiful, you have to create another means by which to impress people. We will do anything to attain social success, and this includes compensating for all that we lack.
The “We Treat Girls Nice ‘Cause They’re Pretty” law also explains the common belief that chicks seem to appreciate “douchebags” more than “nice guys”.
Beginning with the “douchebags”, let’s break down what exactly that implies. It is often a guy (Or girl, in some cases) who seems to “disrespect” the girl by making harsh criticisms or dismissing her emotions. Often, they’re contradicting our standard means of reacting to women, which is to respect their feelings and respond carefully.
“Nice guys” are considered to follow these standards, giving women not only this respect, but also putting them first above all else, irrespective of whether or not the girl’s actions are objectively retarded.
Before we proceed, we have to erase any negative associations on anything. Clear the “good things to do”/”bad things to do” Venn diagram that often muddles our perception of life.
I am here.
I will always be here.
And they will always be there. Interacting, conversing, exchanging, networking. Together. Understanding. In unison. A symphony of human psychology. Beautiful.
I will be there.
But not there.