The Reason I Still Fight

Southern California Malibu by 45SURF Hero's Journey Mythology Goddesses on flickr

The sun beats down in the early day. Gunpowder shots deafen ears. The soldiers fall back and regroup. They run through the hilly valleys and disappear into the forests. More soldiers come into the fray from the sides, leaping over the fences and through the fields to engage in combat. Are they on the fight for the right? Whose to say.

Life is warfare. Everyone knows that. Some people are on the front lines, others fire the artillery, others give the orders. No matter where we are in the quasi-political hierarchy of life, we are all fighting for something. For some, it is love. For others, it is family. For the rest, it is for self-preservation. I fight for none of these things. I fight because I have dreams. I have a direction I want to choose in life. I have seen the future. It is murky, but it is solid. It is like peering through a rippling body of water and seeing an obelisk sitting on the floor yet not witnessing its distinct shape.

"Murky" by theothermattm on flickr

Being that I have only entered my second decade of life, my dreams and ambitions have often been derided by those that are much older than I am. These “elder statesmen” with their hubris have pushed my dreams aside like junk sitting on a work desk. I have often encountered the statements “you’re too young to know right now”, “you haven’t lived yet”, and “wait until you get my age”. These were the same people that have told me to reach for the stars and if I miss that I will land on the moon among other cliches…

I am seen as being overly ambitious and overly serious. I have been told to “lighten up”, to “live a little”. I suppose it is unusual to see someone who is 20 years old with a drive as strong as mine. As a healthy heterosexual 20 year old male, I am expected to drink as much as possible, commit reckless and often life-threatening behavior, and have as much sex before I become “tied down”. None of this has ever made much sense to me and I doubt it ever will. Since I do not conform to the behavioral standards set by a large majority of my male contemporaries, I am seen as “prudish”, “regimented”, and “odd”. In my opinion, a worldview based on finding your way inside a woman’s “Chinese box” at the end of the night is simply unsustainable and counterproductive.

I cannot blame these people, for they do not understand that I have nothing to lose but so much to gain. I have nothing to lose in the sense that I have not built anything up and I can only increase my standing. Then again, I do have something to lose. No one is waiting for me to fail with the exception of myself. If I do not reach my goals that I have set for myself, then I will consider myself a failure. The situation is too dire and the stakes are too high for me to fail, even though I hypothetically have nothing to lose.

Now that I have gone on about why I must succeed, it is a logical step to say what exactly I want out of life. The first and foremost thing I want out of life is relocation. The phrase location, location, location has always been important in life’s modern warfare and it will become ever more so within the coming years. I want to move out west. California to be more specific. I know what you’re thinking. “Everybody moves to California”. Well, there’s a good reason for that. California is known as being one of the most geographically diverse states in the continental United States and it has great temperatures all year round. However, I don’t want to move to Los Angeles and call it a day. To be more specific, I want to eventually move to this place in California called Big Sur.

Big Sur by carl_l_grant on flickr

Big Sur by karith on flickr

Big Sur by Slippy Jenkins on flickr

For those unfamiliar with Big Sur, it is a region on California’s Central Coast about a little halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It is a three hour drive to San Francisco from there and a five hour drive to Los Angeles from there, that is if you take Highway 1 and if there is no traffic. Big Sur is a popular tourist location and for good reason. It is hard for me not to think of Big Sur and think of the values of freedom, mystery, and optimism. Big Sur is just a vast wilderness that begs for the adventurous to explore her curvy bends and tall mountain valleys. It is the perfect mix of forest and coastline.

However, as with many Californian cities, real estate here is expensive. That is why it is important for me to really shoot high and develop a game plan. I know this will not happen overnight, but it will happen. It MUST happen. I do not plan on moving to Big Sur immediately. I plan on exploring other locales first. Not sure if I want to live in Southern California or some other place out West before I make the move to Big Sur later on. However, no matter where I end up in a couple years, I do feel that relocation is central to the ideals that I have in mind and the dreams I want to see fulfilled. Wanderlust. Providing for all needs without having to worry about lack of funds. A breath of fresh air. Satisfaction. A new view on life.

My current environment simply does not inspire me. It motivates me, but it does not inspire me. My primary interest in life is creating art in all forms and I feel that my current environment is stifling and not providing me with the resources I need to do some truly great things. I believe a lot of other young people can relate to my situation, especially those with lofty goals and ambitions. Many of us are stuck in limbo, that uncomfortable space of being let go from your parents’ arms and trying to remember your lessons on how to fly so that you do not hit the ground. It’s that numbing space where you are trying to establish yourself as a free thinking adult, yet you are told by others that you are naive and that you know nothing. It’s discouraging at least, completely heartshattering at the very most.

Some people may disagree with me and say that paradise is what you make it. That may be true, but I have certainly tried to make the best out of my situation and I am certainly trying. However, I have lived here for too long and I need to get out there and see some other things. I am restless and my feet agree.

This is what motivates me everyday. This is what makes me get up at 6:30 am every day. This is what creates the faint tingle that keeps me up at night. This is what makes me put my nose to the grindstone every day, making sure all the i’s are dotted and all the t’s are crossed.

Whenever I’m down and feeling as if I’m on my last legs in the midst of this unforgiving modern warfare, I just think to the future about my house in California in Big Sur overlooking the Pacific Ocean and then I feel as if for once, that everything will be alright.

– Scotia

Big Sur Sunset by sbisson on flickr

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How The Cards Lie

 

I’ve discussed something along the lines of this post in earlier times. I believe the post was called Fortune. This is a slightly expanded version of that post. From birth, we are born with a set of cards. They are given to us by none other than our parents. Our parents cards were given to them by their parents and so on and so forth. This cycle will continue until humanity decides to call it quits. We are all players at a table. The table is determined by our location and our circumstances. Are the players our friends? Our enemies? Or maybe a masterful combination of both? I guess it depends on how you look at it. Some players can create a ruse, something that they hope you fall for. Is it that distraction in the corner? Or maybe it’s that smoky-eyed brunette sitting across the table.

Every player gets nervous when sitting at the table because they do not know what cards are up the sleeves of the others. Is it something that can contribute to their downfall, no matter how well prepared they are for it? Is it a card that can end the game as soon as it’s laid out? Or maybe it’s a card that will put all of their entire hand to shame and cause the player to literally “quit”.

Some hands overall are better than others, but every hand has some type of ace. Some people are better at more important skills, some people possess more important attribute. Some people are better at ping-pong. Some people are better at checkers. Some people are stronger. Faster. Better. More athletic. Taller. Some people are more easily able to grasp certain concepts better than others. Some are more or less emotionally sensitive than others. Some people make friends easier. Some people are more attractive. The list goes on.

The real question is what happens when a player that has a terrible hand is at the same table with someone that has a very dominant hand? Is the player no longer a person? Is he or she so insignificant when compared to this titan that it would be in their best interest to fold and cease a losing battle? What happens then? What happens when years of mental conditioning of “everyone is special in their own way” falls apart? How can this be justified by the game of life?

How can one that has a terrible hand in life make the best out of a bad situation when their hand is virtually useless?

 

These are all questions that I do not have the answers to, nor do I think I ever will.

I know one thing for certain. No matter what the hand is like, I hate how the cards lie.

 

There is no reshuffling of the deck.

 

– Scotia

Walks

On nice days, I enjoy taking walks. They help to cleanse the palette and they create a warmness on the soul. I tend to think quite a lot when I walk, especially when observing other human beings and watching the activities of life take place. When I walk, I either have a defined destination or I just walk in a semi-roundabout way back to my starting point. If I have a defined destination, I tend to stay for a while. If I’m walking back to where I started, I tend to walk for a while. Either way, I find that being away from my original starting point gives me a new perspective on things.

On Thursday, it was a nice day in my neck of the woods. I decided to take one of these walks and see if I could figure some things out. There are certain things I find I haven’t made much progress on yet I yearn to do so. This is one of the reasons I take walks. Then there are certain things I get a better perspective on because I’m thinking about them more and more. There are things I have come to conclusions on, during my recent walks.

  • A lot of people are good people with bad tendencies. A lot of people just simply don’t know how to express this side of themselves. Everyone is capable of empathy but choose not to exercise this so that they will not appear vulnerable. In this man-to-man competition called life, I can’t really blame them. We say bad things to one another and put each other down because we are scared. Of everything.
  • There is not someone for everyone, no matter what anyone says. Some people will just end up being alone. Being that spinster with 1000 cats. Why is this? Could be a variety of reasons. Could be that there is no one compatible or could be fear of getting into some type of relationship. Some people just have certain personality traits that put them at the end of the queue for relationships. It sucks, but its one of those unfortunate things in life some people will have to deal with. Am I in this category? Maybe, maybe not. However, as the days pass and the sand slips through the hourglass, all signs are pointing to a very probable “yes”.
  • People worry too much about the unimportant things. Or maybe it’s because I find I’m not really giving too much of a shit about anything. I’ve always considered myself a laidback person and it really aggravates some people. I guess its because I’ve seen past the bullshit or maybe it’s because I couldn’t even see at all. I just figure that everyone’s going to die one day and all the little things we worry about won’t matter. Maybe I’m thinking too long term but that’s how I view it anyway.
  • People waste too much time. A lot of things aren’t streamlined. A lot of people are unfocused and blame it on external occurrences. Maybe if people stopped spending hours upon end on Facebook, the world would be a much better place. Then again, I think I’m asking for too much.
  • I’m fortunate that I have been at the right places at the right time and I have met people that have added to my life. I often wonder how my life would be different if I hadn’t met this person on this day and so on and so forth.

 

So, that’s the subject matter that I thought of on my most recent walk. Not the most enthralling subjects, but still they’re subjects nonetheless. So there you have it: things I’ve been thinking about for the past couple of days.

Can’t wait for my next walk.

 

 

– Scotia

Music

It has come to my attention that this generation of mine has no conception of what good music is. Yes, MY generation. The Millenials. The Lost Generation. The Generation That We Fucked Up. Generation Y. As a whole, we do not understand what makes good music. I can’t blame them. In an age of auto-tune, shallow lyrics, and the propagation of “pussy, money, weed”, it’s not hard to understand why people do not know musical artistry. “Good music” varies from person to person but one main identifier is talent.

People can identify musical artistry. People can identify that Jimi Hendrix was a good guitar player. But do they KNOW why he was a good guitar player? Can they even begin to fathom the depths of what he did? This is where the disconnect between artistry and appearance. Many musicians today are concerned with appearance. People dress in flashy clothes with flashy stage acts with lip synching and backup dancers in tow. They are concerned with how the music video looks. They are concerned about the critics. There is just so much of a veneer in popular music, it makes me want to crawl up in a ball in a corner of my room and cry. And for some people, that’s all they listen to. Popular music.. How does Jennifer Lopez have more views on a music video than some other talented artist? Simply because of the appearance. Jennifer Lopez isn’t even a musician. Infact, I don’t really know what to call her. Publicity whore, maybe.

At Thanksgiving last year, I was playing a song off the computer by a band called The Dead Weather. My cousin came over and said:

“hey man, what’s this?”

“It’s a band called the Dead Weather.”

“oh. This ain’t really music, though.”

“You think so?”

“Yeah man, put on some Taio Cruz, some Trey Songz, or some Waka Flocka Flame.”

I wanted to slap him upside the head. Bombs dropping over a nondescript country in the desert make better music than those guys.

Programs such as American Idol and Americas’ Got Talent only further the degradation of popular music. These programs are shifting music from a primarily aural phenomenon to that of a visual phenomenon. So, why exactly is popular music so bad

I’ll tell you why.It simply lacks grit. It lacks soul. Heart. Aural stimulation. Pre-packaged, predictable, bubblegum pop in an easily digestible and non-introspective format. Soul and heart aren’t something you can fake and when you do, it’s quite obvious. However, there are vanguards of good music. Good lyrics. Good song composition.

I am so grateful that there are artists such as Adele, with her combination of deep soulful vocals reminiscent of soul singers gone by. I am thankful for prog-rock kings Tool with their uncompromising and progressive brand of aggressive-melodic art rock. I am thankful for the legendary electronic duo Massive Attack with their use of dark, creeping beats to create an inescapable and claustrophobic soundscape to be lost in for hours. I am thankful for artists such as The Civil Wars and how they are able to deliver strong songs with only a guitar and two voices and still make a stronger statement than a person who has a full-band behind them. There are many other artists in multiple genres that create good music: one genre does not have a monopoly on good music. Again, good music is artistry, lyrics, and feeling.

Universally, music is food for the soul. When I listen to music, I feel it right *here*. When its honest, I feel it right *there*. I like listening to music and dissecting it into music theory. It starts to give me a deeper understanding of the song and its meaning when I look at the chords and what colors they sound like. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t listen to some form of music. Headphones, car stereo, record player, whatever. There is not a day that goes by that I do not write music or play a musical instrument.

At the end of the day, that’s all that matters – music. Not how many girls you can fuck in a month, not how much money is in your bank account, not how you’re looking for love in this club or how you have “moves like jagger”. If we as a species wish to attain a higher view of life, we need music that challenges us and takes us to higher heights. If that’s not so, we’ll have to settle for the same old bullshit and we’ll never know just h0w far we could have climbed.

I’ll say it again. At the end of the day, nothing else matters. Everything we do is a conduit for creativity. When I go about my daily routine, I encounter people I like and people I don’t like. Life experiences make me see art in new ways. I take care of myself so that I can continue to create art. I don’t do it because it”s somehow required. All of these things lead back to me creating the best art I can. All things lead to one road – art & music.

After all, that’s all I have left.

– Scotia

Drifting

A faint tingle keeps me up at night…

It’s 3:02 AM here in the Western Hemisphere, Eastern Seaboard. in a haze. Its now the first day of 2012. The year we are all supposedly going to meet our cosmic end. Either way, I came into the new year once again by way of solitary confinement. 2011 was a virtually nondescript year for me. Of course with the exception of several unfortunate anomalies along the way. I don’t want to even mention the summer. The summer came and burned as always. It created its own isolation, more dystopian than idyllic. Little progress was made in those months. It wasn’t until halfway through I experienced my revelation. It broke more ground than I had ever imagined.

What will 2012 be like? I always wish I could see the future. Who doesn’t? We wish for a happy new year, but then it manages to deteriorate into something else. Broken resolutions. Lost tempers. Forgotten diets. Unclaimed gift cards. Such is life isn’t it? Isn’t that how it should be?

I met a lot of interesting people in 2011. A lot of assholes, too.

Then I started thinking. If I had the chance to disappear from this realm into that of another I would do it. I would forget all the people that I ever knew. Everyone that I ever hurt, everyone that ever disappointed me, everyone that ever brought me joy (and sadness), everyone that ever criticized me, everyone that was ever under the uncomfortable microscope of my inquisitive demeanor, I would forget them all. That would mean that I would cease to exist.

The new year is supposed to bring change. I doubt I will be able to fully change and progress unless I move from my current location. I need a breath of fresh air. A change in surrounding. Something to break up the monotony. However, I can’t do that just yet. Not just yet. And it frustrates me. So for now I am drifting. Doing all the right things. Making all the right moves. Taking the right steps. Yet still..

 

 

I just hope someone comes along and gives me a firm kick in the pants one of these days.

Because I sure as hell need it.

 

 

– Scotia