Posts Tagged ‘imperfection’

be a ‘no man’

12/14/2011

All too often in life we encounter people who ride the wave of popular opinion. All too often in life we ourselves ride that wave. We do this because we don’t want to shake things up. We don’t want to piss someone off. We are comfortable with the status quo and aren’t in the mood for challenging ourselves or others.

But there comes a time, there comes a place, when this simply will not do. When confronted with a time and a place such as this, it’s time to say “screw it” and start being a ‘No Man.’

be contentious

I have few friends who agree with me on many things. In that same light I refuse to date a girl who won’t test me. And I prefer it that way. If all my friends agreed with me on everything, life would pose no challenge. Debate would hold no merit, as it would be nonexistent. Now that’s not to say they can’t be brought around to my point of view, or I to theirs (we should all be open-minded enough to allow our opinions to be swayed time and again), but sometimes we must argue simply for the sake of arguing. Here’s why:

We cannot advance ourselves without discontent. Without dissatisfaction. Without confrontation. Many people shy away from confrontation because it scares them, but it should be wholeheartedly embraced. The disillusioned hold the key to societal progression. Oscar Wilde said, “The world belongs to the discontented.” I agree with the intent of that saying, and I admire the concept of the Occupy movement for this reason alone. They are flipping the metaphorical, and sometimes physical, finger to the establishment. It takes balls (and some free time) to be able to do that.

Be contentious about issues like this that matter. And sometimes, for the fun of it, be contentious about issues that don’t, simply to stir up some cognitive dissonance within yourself. You may find that you question things more than you originally thought you did, an unwitting gift in the form of confusion. This is not a curse, but a blessing. If you don’t believe me, listen to some dead guy: “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.”

However, in light of all of the above, please avoid the whirlpool of idiocy this can oft-times generate:

  • Don’t argue about things you know nothing about
  • Understand that things you know something about via personal experience, you may have no knowledge of in abstract form, or vice versa (i.e. I feel better when I don’t eat carbs means carbs are bad for me)
  • If the other person is getting too heated, sometimes it’s better to just drop the issue. An excess of emotion does not a good argument make

Now if only my sober self could tell this to my 10-beer-deep self.

be content

Throughout all this, we must feel the discontentment brewing within us. We must feel the defiance, and the freedom that this brings. Stop saying yes all the time, stop agreeing with everyone, stop riding the wave of popular opinion. Stop being a paper sailboat drifting along in the gutter until the only thing that awaits you is the gaping darkness of the storm drain. Stop being a fucking pussy.

And through all this, be content.

We will lose arguments. Our reasoning will not prove sound. Our level of knowledge will not be sufficient. Someone’s “yes” will overpower our “no.” We will question ourselves so completely that we will get lost in the argument with little of hope of resurfacing.

And through all this, be content.

Life is mysterious. Life is nebulous. Life is immeasurable. Understand this. And when intellectual understanding is attained, realize it. Internalize it. It’s not all rainbows and kittens, but it’s also not all blood, sweat and tears. Life is imperfect at best. And in this imperfection, it is perfect.

so the next time

The next time a boss or coworker tells you to do something you disagree with, say no.

The next time someone says something so ridiculous you want to punch them right in the suckhole, say no.

The next time someone does something you deem immoral, say no.

And through everything, be content.

twists and turns and imperfection

06/09/2011

A fascinating thing to me is to take a close examination of life in the context of the forces applied. Allow me to explain.

In relation to time, we’re on an allegorical one-way street. Moving inexorably forward, heedless of our own protestations. Closer to death. Further from youth and the accompanying exuberance. Learning more. Knowing less.

In relation to space, to personality, to behavior, to state of mind, we’re always shifting. Always changing. Never stagnant. We may feel like a glass of tepid water at times, but even within that glass a multitude of things are happening – bacteria is growing, dust is accumulating, temperatures are rising and falling. We may feel numbed. We may feel bored. But beneath that veneer of contextual emotions, our brains are developing (or degrading), we’re learning new things and our attitude is changing – a long history of personal experience is writing itself in the stacks of our chattering minds, building toward various crescendos that we may or may not recognize.

my change

I write this post in a time of larger transition – slightly physical, slightly mental, slightly emotional…a little bit of everything thrown into an imperfect mixing bowl comprised of my emotional well-being, my habits and my intellect (or lack thereof).

I was able to track down a few of the instigating factors behind this change, examining the twists, turns and “what-ifs”:

  1. A girl I met at pre-college seven years ago at Ohio University. If I hadn’t met her, the primary instigator of the ensuing change, I would not be in the place I am now.
  2. Deciding on a Journalism degree instead of History because I simply wanted to write more
  3. Picking OU over Miami because of their Journalism program. One of the unknowingly wisest decisions I’ve ever made. Still can’t get over the fact that I even considered Miami…
  4. The girl who inspired this very blog post with a single sentence and has no idea – and never will (not that it’s very direction-changing, but you never know)

In times of crisis, people seem to ask the question “How did I get here?” They search for some mysterious answer in their past that will illuminate the future. I ask the same question in times of prosperity, knowing that the smallest decisions I make now – the SMALLEST decisions – have boundless unrecognized consequences on the future. It’s chaos theory. It’s unpredictable. It’s imperfect. And it’s beautiful.

How many times have you remembered the tiniest details of an interaction only to recall it at a later date for some specific purpose? To prove a point, to reveal a flaw or inconsistency,Β to make a decision in which you’re vacillating – we all do it. Grandma does it. Your mailman does it. Barack does it. And the ripple effect of that small detail only escalates.

life is a beautiful, imperfect thing

Because it doesn’t last.

Awkward segue aside…life is beautiful because it will fade. Embrace death and you’ve embraced life. I don’t mean this in a dark, cryptic way, either. I wouldn’t have gotten the tattoo on my forearm if it was meant to be dark and cryptic – that just ain’t my style.

By realizing this fact we can recognize the random imperfections for what they are – they are perfect. We need to appreciate the inconsistencies, the ebbing and flowing of the space-time continuum, instead of waiting for that perfect moment that never comes.

I heard a story the other day about a guy who hadn’t kissed a girl after no less than 12 dates because he was “waiting for the perfect moment.” He finally kissed her while they were both highly intoxicated at a dance club with a group of friends. The perfect moment? Probably not. Hilarious? Yep. (which makes it the perfect moment…catching on yet?)

Challenge the very basic assumptions of your cognition of space and time by appreciating these simple facts…by making so many moments last for what I like to call a “baby eternity.”

OK, so I got a bit off topic from where I was initially going with this, but, as Ray Bradbury says, “Digression is the soul of wit.”

Now if only I was witty.

it rained on her wedding day

10/05/2010

(This is kind of a follow-up post to a spring posting.)

It rained on her wedding day.

Photo by Mike Lotz

It poured, in fact. All weekend. Without repose. And it’s still going.

Wedding pictures needed umbrellas. Bridesmaids were covered in goosebumps as they shivered with the groomsmen’s jackets draped around their shoulders.

There’s a sort of ephemeral elegance in rain on a wedding day, an intangible sense of the intrinsic nature of love. The soft pattering of raindrops on your face as you’re racing from photo shoot to photo shoot. The water accumulating in your hair til you give it a good dog-like shake and splatter anyone within a ten-foot radius. It reminds you that marriage isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. It’s bickering. It’s burning dinner. It’s the mistakes made. It’s weathering storms.

lost in a moment

The wedding day should never be perfect. For it is in the imperfection that we find perfection. That one crystalline moment where all in the world is right as rain, pun very much intended. Ideally, we can make all of our moments like that, but that would require me delving into meditation and enlightenment, which is not the purpose of this blog post. So for now, for the unenlightened masses of which we are all a part, we have to feel that moment where we are present and everything is perfect in its imperfection.

Personally, I prefer rain on the wedding day. I’ve never been a huge fan of the white wedding. I think it’s superficial and overly extravagant, and opportunistic people who know they can profit from them capitalize without remorse. Twelve-year-old girls are taught to fantasize about their wedding and are looking at wedding dresses by the time they’re 18. They imagine this incredibly perfect day where everything goes right, everybody gets along and the sun is a shining starburst in a clear blue sky. And then they get married and those beautiful storm clouds roll in and the cold, fat raindrops start to fall. It’s a dose of reality right when the bride and groom probably need it most. After all, you have to have rain to have a rainbow.

my moment of (im)perfection

It was my sister’s wedding this past weekend, but here is my moment of (im)perfection. I say it’s imperfect because when it happened, my head went in between my brother and sister’s and the one thought that briefly went through my head was, “Jessie’s head should be in the middle.” πŸ™‚

This took place after the three of us cleared the dance floor and danced to an Irish drinking song by Buck-O-Nine. And then, of course, this naturally followed:

Muscle beers! Yeah!

We keep it classy, folks.

embrace the chaos

08/10/2010

Life is suffering. Life is chaos.

If you don’t believe me, check the local headlines. Watch CNN. Drive through the bad part of town. Read a history book. Take a look at your 401k. You may currently be “happy” with your nuclear family, your pampered lifestyle or your 9-5 paycheck, but all it takes is one car accident, one phone call, one house fire or one person saying “I just want to be friends” to ruin all your best laid plans. And it all boils down to control.

just…let…go…

Everybody wants to control their environments. We feel this burning need to have a direct impact on all of our immediate surroundings. We feel that control of our lives equals a measure of success, of esteem, of prestige. We get comfortable when we control things, when things work out as planned.

This is a flawed line of thinking.

Attempting to control our environment is the source of much of what is wrong with we humans as a species, with us as a civilization. We just can’t let go – and I mean really let go – of what we want to control, which is everything. We’re obsessed with status, with perception, with titles, with money, with politics, with the acquisition of knowledge, with Biggest Loser, with Ryan Seacrest, with our own selfish dreams. We’ve gravitated away from the natural order of things and created our own superficial reality that is anything but reality.

Why do you think we’ve had so many counter-cultural movements since the 50’s? A great starting point could be the Beat Generation, moving forward with the Hippies and now it’s moved onto us, the Gen X-ers and Y-ers. I often hear older folks saying “It’s a different generation” about us 20-somethings. (this quote normally takes place after commiserating over the supposed degradation of our morals and inhibitions in direct regard to sex, drugs and living with our parents long after our welcome has worn out). We don’t have any term or symbol to wholly personify our counter-culture and disillusion, except maybe Fight Club and a wide variety of contraceptives.

A big part of this disillusionment is education. As more and more people acquire a quality education from kindergarten through college, and as the world population continues to increase, AND as more conveniences and amenities arise to make our lives easier and us lazier, more people will begin to question the status quo. More people will realize that the way things are aren’t the way they should be.

As much as we may try, controlling our environments will never fully work, and people are slowly beginning to understand this. And so long as we try to wrestle control from unforeseen circumstances and various inevitabilities, we will never be truly happy. Control creates a false sense of security and blinds us to the world beyond that control. By letting go of what we expect to be there every day, we get a nice wide angle perspective on our surroundings. We’ll see things we’ve never seen. Experience things we’ve never experienced.

the first law of motion

The best martial artists will teach that you should never try to muscle your opponent, but rather use their movements against them. If they push, you pull, always using their own momentum against them. You never try to control your opponent, you let them defeat themselves by taking advantage of their inertia. Same goes for life. Don’t try to muscle it to your will. Roll with it πŸ™‚

I feel as if Western civilization is rising toward a crescendo in its evolutionary process. We’ve become so materialistic, so disillusioned, so obsessed with the white-wedding concept of Western culture that we’ve lost our way, and we’re finally starting to realize it. A new counter-culture is starting to emerge, and I’m very excited to see what form it will take as it evolves and gains momentum.

So for now, live wild, live free, and stay imperfect.

And embrace the beautiful chaos that is life.

a new tattoo

06/17/2010

I’ve always hated birthdays. They seem like just another ritual to be endured. Another year older. Another year closer to death. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

But then I had what some might call a revelation – that may be too strong a word, but we’re gonna run with this one. This revelation came to me while I was soaping up in the shower the other week (some people sing in the shower – I have revelations). We treat birthdays like this: “Well shit, I’m another year older.” Unless, of course, it’s a birthday with a milestone:

16 – I can drive!

18 – I’m a legal adult! (but still can’t drink…)

19 – I can drink and gamble in Canada, eh

21 – I can drink! (even though I may have already died for my country)

25 – My insurance rates go down…hopefully

Yep, that’s it. After that, you just get older. And what’s exciting about that?

We’ve lost the meaning of birthdays. We celebrate a birthday because…well, just because. It’s ingrained in our culture and we don’t know any other way. You tell people “Happy Birthday” even though there’s not necessarily anything in particular to be happy about. It’s just their day. You buy them drinks, you buy them way more shots than any human was meant to imbibe in a given night and you sing Meat Loaf at the top of your lungs while trying to avoid getting your shorts pulled down around your ankles. In the words of 2pac: that’s just the way it is.

Birthdays should be a celebration of life. Of the life we’ve lived thus far and the life we’re going to live as we move inexorably toward a shallow grave. A celebration of the air you’re breathing, of the work you do, of the friends you’ve made, of the loves you’ve lost, of anything and everything that makes life so beautifully chaotic.

It’s only human to find ways to divide up time. Whether it be seven days in a week, 52 weeks in a year, or maybe we’re talking epochs and eras. Regardless, we do it so we can quantify time. This should inherently carry with it a time for reflection, for internal study. Let your birthday be your marker. Screw New Year’s and the resolutions that come with. That carries no significance for us aside from the fact that it’s an excuse to kick back and party.

if death comes today

30 minutes after the operation...still a little bloody

if death comes today

Thus, after my own period of internal reflection, I came to the decision that I wanted to celebrate this birthday with a new tattoo (number two). It’s on my forearm and says “if death comes today.”

The banner folds over the “if” too far, the t in “death” kind of looks like a c, and the two words “comes today” are too close together….and I absolutely love it. I told myself going into this that if there was anything about the tattoo I didn’t like that I would just roll with it. My body isn’t perfect (granted, that’s debatable), so why should any permanent addition I get to it be totally free of imperfection? Imperfection is perfection, an inherent contradiction that rings true, methinks.

And look at it this way: if I’ve accomplished anything with this new tattoo, I have successfully made my impending death ironic.