We should all dream and we should, at some point, all dream about love. We’re not setting high expectations or even idealizing relationships. We’re just using our imaginations because sometimes, the imagination is all we have. We’re all just dreaming of love. This brings me back to what Victor E. Frankl says about finding meaning in life. When the odds are against us and we come face to face with immense suffering or unbearable grief, we dream. We dream of better days ahead and hold onto hope. Hope is the intangible force that keeps us hanging on and moving forward, with faith driving our feelings and actions. I think most people have a vision of what love looks and feels like, even if it is based on unrealistic fantasies. Fantasies, hopes, dreams, and visions of love are simple manifestations of subconscious erotic and neurotic desires. It shouldn’t be surprising then, that media turns our desires into a dramatic visual on screen. In effect, as a society, we’re taught to believe that love should feel a certain way and that certain actions are romantic while others are not only unromatic, but hindrances to love and budding relationships. I have my own dream and vision of an “ideal” love, but read it with this in mind: an ideal love is not necessarily a happy one, nor is it always the right one. It is the fictional one that we can escape to in times of need, when our lives become inundated with stress, responsibilities, expectations, fights, and synergistic effects of everyday troubles.
seal rock in san francisco, california
Years ago, when I was an undergrad at UC Davis, I took a class (my last class during my stay) about refuse in American culture. The course was titled: Objects and Everyday Life: Garbage, Junk, and Refuse. It touched on themes of garbage, refuse management, recycling, up-cycling, reuse, thrifting, second hand, and nature. If you’re interested in the lifestyle concerning secondhand and thrifting, because there is a thriving culture in it, I implore you to grab a copy of Second Hand by Michael Zadoorian. It is a novel and a great read, delving at lengths into the spiritual side of thrifting.
I blame the television for my sometimes overactive imagination and meandering mind. Early in my childhood, I spent hours glued to the tube, watching anything that mesmerized me. Just to name a few, I often caught episodes of Barney, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Power Rangers, Relic Hunter, and StarGate SG-1. I can attribute my love of sci-fi and history to these shows. They opened my mind up to new stories and new possibilities. It didn’t matter if they were unrealistic, fairy tales, or of lands full of magic, because they all reflected the values that I hold dear to the core of my being. This constant buzz in my head has never ceased and I don’t believe it ever will. It has forced me to incessantly wander whether I want to or not, but I’ve grown to enjoy it. Through it all, I’ve come up with a clearer understanding of this beast. The beast that holds me hostage and now, I also now know how to control it.
What happens to us when times get tough? People always say that the only constant in life is change. Things are always changing, although not necessarily in good ways. Sometimes it’s good, but every once in a while we encounter the bad, and who’s to say what is positive and what is negative? I think we have to agree – and it certainly shows in all of my writing – that we understand nothing. We try to make sense of the world as best we can, given our limited resources, knowledge, and wit. There will never be a day, at least in the near future, where we understand all that there is. Tough times call for thicker skin, right? It’s what everyone I’ve ever met tells me. But I always force myself to remember that tough skin makes us immune to all the rest of the stimuli in the world. Building yourself to be tough is not always good. Take it from someone who has spent almost half of his life doing just that. I wouldn’t say that it’s hopeless, but it most certainly isn’t necessary. Why do we feel the need to create this impermeable exterior while inside, we’re slowly crumbling under the pressures of being human?
I’ve only ever written for myself. I know that sounds a bit narcissistic, but I don’t really have an audience other than myself, a fingerful of friends, family, and a couple of strangers now and again. I’m writing for the “imaginary audience” that I have made up. This audience is, at least in my head, made up of individuals who are: smart, emotionally intelligent, empathetic, and big picture thinkers. They’re unwavering in their morals and beliefs, but open enough to know that these things can sometimes change with time. Here’s a personal manifesto that I wrote up for myself about a year ago and I think it’s high time that I share it with you all (by you I mean my imaginary audience).
Regardless of the job, I will exhibit responsibility and excellent work ethics. I will never lie, cheat, or dishonor my birth and will always work for the cause, whatever that may be. Even in the face of adversity, I will never falter or waver in my actions. Remember the words of Thomas Edison:
“We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
I will treat every single person as a unique individual with varied experiences and a story to tell. No matter the circumstances, I will treat everyone with respect, a smile, and pleasant conversation. I will treat people as they want to be treated and provide a sense of community. As Donald Miller wrote:
“When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.”
I will always fight for the beliefs I think are right, with confidence and unfaltering passion. by no means will i be unbending, but i will not let hardships and conflict deter me from being true to my nature. regardless of the difficulty or obstacles in my way, I will find the strength to carry on and use these experiences to improve myself and help others. Keep this by Peter Deunov in mind:
“Human happiness is defined by the hardships and conflicts you have been through. The greater they are, the greater is your happiness.”
I’ve never been one to think on and on about the direction of my life. It’s not that I don’t have ambitions, desires, dreams, or goals, but that I like to focus on the present. I’ve found that when you’re standing in the middle of an empty road and lost, your best option is to stay there for a while. Turning tail and running back into the past does nothing for you. You’ve already seen and experienced that. Trudging on is not truly an option either, especially when you haven’t fully experienced the present moment. I like to stand in one spot and look around until I am ready to see something else, but keep in mind that life is a constant move forward. Even if I don’t feel like moving, I let the road move from underneath me. Staying in one spot for too long, you take the risk of getting run over by a speeding vehicle when you least expect it.
There’s nothing quite like the current moment.
As time ticks by, things start to change. That cloud that looks like a unicorn won’t stay looking like a unicorn for long. It’s something that I’ve noticed from my time taking pictures. Things don’t like to stagnate, and so, they’re always in a constant state of flux. Perhaps this is why people stand behind grabbing life by the horns. If you don’t take the chance now, there may not be another chance for you to take in the future. I’ve come to realize that it might be my time to move on from where I am now, after having several enlightening talks with two different people. As always, I take what they have to say with a few sprinkles of salt, because in the end, it will be my own choices that shape my future existence.
I’m really getting into the groove of things now. I’ve always been a fan of visuals – photography and cinematography just speak to me. Recently, I’ve discovered how much I love documentaries. It used to be that I would watch PBS programing about the animal kingdom. I was known to, at least as a kid, stare at the TV with my mouth open, totally engrossed in the otherworldly visuals and audio. Film is very immersive and brings sights and sounds straight to you, transporting you to a different place entirely.
By now, I assume you’ve all heard about the brutal and bloody massacre that took place in Santa Barbara. It’s been all over the news and has sparked a wave of related but disjointed vocal outbursts on social media. I just got done reading the memoir-manifesto titled My Twisted World by Elliot Rodger, which details his life story and all the things that led up to this so-called “Day of Retribution”. I have a few thoughts on this topic and I thought I’d put that out there, but first and foremost, I want to say that it was a gripping account and a unique window into the psyche of a troubled young man. It’s tragic that this had to transpire and my thoughts go out to the families and friends of those who lost their lives.
I can understand why he did it. I can certainly feel the turmoil and anger through his writing.
I don’t approve of violent means, but this was a major cry for help and as far as he knew, he wasn’t good enough for the world and saw himself as a failure in life and in love, gauged by the number of girls he slept with and dated. I must admit, I couldn’t quite follow the logic in his writing or the thought process, but I found it fraught with irony, self-loathing, and above all else – pain and frustrations. Perhaps it was the combination of these feelings and his depressed mood that overrode his logic and sense of morality. The social pressures in his writing are very real and very powerful, but more on that later. I just wanted to voice a few things and highlight a few passages. It is clear that there was something, perhaps something out of balance with his neurochemistry that plagued him. He exhibits many signs of have a narcissistic personality disorder, being bipolar, and being extremely compulsive.
In 137 pages of text, I’ve picked out passages that stuck out most to me and gave me the most amount of insight: