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Youkoso~

Thanks for viewing my site. If you are the kind of person who has a lot of opinions, especially when it comes to stuff like music, films, art in general, then this is probably the place for you. Here I will discuss my thoughts on anything I feel conveys a feeling or message or just my personal interpretation of something. This is not an objective blog by any means. Also, don’t be surprised if you see “journal entries” or just off-topic rants. Also, I’m keeping the default quote at the bottom cause I like it. Enough said.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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Dolor Amoroso

The young man traversed the center of the city at night without stalling looking for his would be lover. They said they would be there but weren’t at the spot they said they would be. He had this worried expression on his face and he carried a single rose in his right hand.

The rose was wilting by the minute for every minute that passed without him entrusting the rose to his beloved.

I have to find her, he thought.

He texted her on his mobile phone. Where are you? He wondered if maybe she was ghosting him.

He gauged the many couples hand in hand and thought about how lonely he felt without her around. The city lights were almost like a spotlight on him and this was his performance. Though no one really wondered why he carried the rose with such haste.

Upon entering a bar he saw a woman with brown hair much like his loved one. He maneuvered through the large crowd to get to her and he set his hand on her shoulder. She turned around with a jolt.

It wasn’t her.

“Sorry.”

The woman went back to conversing with her friends. At this point he’s distraught. He circles the floor of the bar when some girls at a table notice him.

“Are you looking for someone?” One of them asks.

“I am. I’m looking for a girl with brown hair, pale skin, she’s really short. Have you seen her around here?”

They all shook their heads.

“Do you want a lollipop?” The same girl asked.

The man thought they were being nice in offering him a treat.

“Sure,” he said.

“One dollar,” the girl said.

The young man was bewildered. It seems they were having a birthday party but were selling would-be party favors at a price. He turned them down and went about his business.

He stepped outside of the bar and surveyed the passerby’s and then looked up at the dark night sky. There weren’t many stars. It was just empty blackness. Which summed up his night pretty well.

He trotted some more, occasionally resting on park benches. He held the rose in his hand and decided it was time to go home. She wouldn’t show. He threw the rose in the trash. It was one of the most painful things he had ever done.

As he was walking a man walked next to him at about the same pace.

“Man I’ve walked all this city looking for this place and I still don’t know where it’s at, man.”

The young man turned to him.

“I understand, I’ve been looking all over for this girl. She said she’d be here and never showed.”

“Sorry to hear that, man,” the man said.

At that point the young man looked up at the roof of the cathedral and a flock of birds took flight in a V-pattern. This is pain, he thought.

The White Room

I slowly opened my eyes and saw nothing but white. A white wall. For a second I forgot just where I was. I was in the white room, where time moved at a crawl. Or did time really move at all? I seemed to have forgotten the concept of time. At first I could tell how much time had gone by because I was provided with a small mirror. When my beard grew out I knew it had been several days. But I didn’t have any tools to shave.

I think I’ve gone mad, I don’t know how long I’ve been in here and why… at first I came up with little stories to entertain myself. I learned how to be my best friend. I talked to myself a lot. I talked about how to break out. The door was right there, but I couldn’t bring myself to open it. I was afraid of what was on the other side. Many times I came close to opening it but decided not to. I still don’t know if it’s really locked or I just tricked myself into believing it. But I digress.

There was the wall to my right stained with blood from when I punched my knuckles bloody. I was frustrated and a little crazy. I don’t know what I thought. Maybe that I could punch my way out? But it was unsuccessful.

At that moment a buzzer rang. I looked up at the wall to my left and there was a red light flashing. The door swung open and a man in a white lab coat came inside. I stood up and faced him.

“Who are you?” I asked.

He just smiled.

“Are you ready to come out now?”

I didn’t know how to answer that question.

“Of course… I have been. For a while.”

“I don’t think you were ready. But now, are you ready?”

I stared at him for a moment then nodded.

“Why am I here? Who put me in here?”

The man smiled.

“I’ll show you. And when I show you, you won’t want to believe it.”

I followed him out of the room and the door shut behind me.

What I saw shocked me to my core.

My Struggle With Being Bipolar

A little fact you may not know about me is that I have bipolar disorder. And recently I’ve been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

My road with mental illness (and I’m reluctant to say “battle” as many who suffer from mental illness have endured a lot more than I have) started a couple years ago in 2016 when I had my first manic episode triggered by some anti-depressants I was taking.

Since then I’ve had two more episodes. Thankfully these episodes didn’t last long and didn’t leave much in their wake but a broken self-esteem.

I was embarrassed of the choices I made and more importantly how I was perceived. Not only that but I terrified my family.

For a while I really didn’t feel good about myself. I was wondering why it had to be me. Why did I have to be diagnosed with this condition? I was worried about the stigma and also the destructive nature that is mania.

Part of me enjoyed mania. When I’m manic, the world is rose colored and the possibilities are endless. I have boundless energy and resolve to meet my goals. I met a lot of unforgettable people because of this. Normally I’m more of a homebody but when I’m manic I like to take risks and am adventurous. But there’s a dark side. I’m not rational. And I can hurt myself and even those around me if I’m not careful.

It’s a part of me I rather people not know about. I don’t want people to know about the things I did while manic.

There are also lows where one feels like everything is hopeless and considers suicide as a actual viable option. Which I know now is never an option.

Life is unfair, that much is known. I’ve gone from bipolar II which is a less severe form to bipolar I a more severe form, to now being diagnosed with bipolar and schizophrenia at the same time.

I did what they asked but still things only got worse and recently I had the most terrifying moment in my life happen that left me thinking “well, what now?”

My life is now a series of gray areas and I’m not sure what to hold on to anymore.

When I feel too happy, I wonder if it’s because an episode is coming on. I try not to project into the future but these episodes happen. Although not as frequent as with some people, I’m still wary of one coming on. In the past I thought I would be able to sense when an episode was coming but each time has been different and I never really realize I’m living in a delusion until it’s too late.

In these states, there’s usually recurring elements. I wonder what they tell me about myself. I always believe in the same things, go after the same things. I always go to the same places. Surely there’s something to learn from it. But I guess that’s just taking the good with the bad.

This was more of a post to just cope with some thoughts and feelings I have been having lately. If you made it through it all, I applaud you. If not, I don’t hold it against you.

This is my world. Thank you for reading.

50 Follower Milestone

I’m happy to be able to say I’ve reached fifty followers on WordPress. I started this blog in November and didn’t really expect much to happen but what followed was surely worth it.

I’ve bared my soul on this blog and people seem to like it. I’m happy that people even bother to read what I write. If even one person gets something out of it then I am satisfied.

This blog serves as a device to unload a lot of trains of thought that I have that I feel deserve a place somewhere and you all have made me feel welcome on here.

So here’s to you. I’m going to bring you more quality content and more consistency. Thank you for taking the time to read my posts and for the support. Cheers.

Human Suffering

I’ve been meaning to make this post for a couple of days now. I just had this feeling that I had something to say. As I type this, I’m still not sure what it is. I suppose it will come naturally.

Recently I finished a very good book and watched a very impactful movie that brought to my attention struggles from the past I was unaware of. In school, I learned about several atrocities but just seeing these events unraveled in such detail really opened my eyes.

These peoples’ struggling hit me particularly hard and made me wonder about my own situation. These are my brothers and sisters going through a hard time. It made me realize just how fortunate I am to lead the life I lead.

I’ve never had to eat out of the trash to survive. I’ve never had to eat bugs to survive. I’ve never watched my mother or father die before my very eyes.

All these thoughts brought up in me a conviction. I felt that I had a duty to help alleviate suffering however I can.

We all suffer the same. Doesn’t matter what color, creed, or flag you are. Anyone suffering out there is a brother or sister in need. If I could help them in any way I’d be happy.

I guess that’s what this post is about mostly. I wanted to write about it so I wouldn’t become passive and go back to living my middle class life in a first world country.

I want to be of service.

A question. Why do people seek peace through violence? It seems that it would be common sense this is counter-intuitive but history shows it doesn’t come naturally to everybody.

Thank you for reading.

Can Album Artwork Influence Your Perception?

In the cover for Madlib and MF Doom’s collaborative project, better known together as Madvillain, you get MF Doom in his metal face mask reminiscent of the villain Doctor Doom from Marvel Comics. The notorious black and white helps paint an image of a real Hip-Hop villain. The splash of color in the right corner helps add a nice contrast.

So, can a album’s artwork influence your perception of a body of work?

I certainly think it can.

Some album covers give you an expectation. You may have already heard some singles off the album prior to listening to the full project but certain covers give you an over-all idea of what to expect.

A$AP Rocky’s At.Long.Last.Asap is a good example (great album by the way). In the cover we have Rocky holding his face with his hands but we see several different faces. We also see a face with a birth mark that belongs to his late comrade A$AP Yams. So, already you can tell this is going to be a trippy and experimental album and also that it’s in memory of A$AP Yams. You can already expect a shoutout or two.

Kero Kero Bonito, an indie pop group with bilingual lyrics often have covers like this with colors that “pop.” Get it? Pop music? Usually Sarah, the frontwoman for the band is featured, as it is mainly her vocals that appear on the songs. She often wears “cute,” “glamorous,” or “kawaii” clothing. This is fitting because their lyrics are filled with Japanese and the production is often a glossy, bubblegum, cheery, cutesy type of music.

There are certain album covers that make more sense after listening to the album itself. Take for example, Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, a play on the book title To Kill a Mockingbird.

In this album, pictured are friends of Lamar from his neighborhood, shown here flashing money and holding liquor bottles. Even the younger ones in this can be seen holding money. This is characteristic of what Kendrick Lamar grew up with. Growing up he saw a lot of hustling and partying as well. If you notice, the White House sits in the background and what looks like a dead judge lays at their feet. This is a statement on the injustice African-Americans face everyday in America. The fallen judge signifies that they’ve beaten the injustice.

Lamar surrounded by his friends can be interpreted as, when Kendrick reaches the top, he is taking his neighborhood with him. The album talks a lot about race dynamics and politics. You might think the cover is just your typical “we’re taking over” rap theme until you reach deeper.

Some album covers are more blatant. Take Joey Bada$$’s All-AmeriKKKan Bada$$.

In this album, Joey criticizes the American government and speaks on the injustices and struggles many African-Americans face at the hands of an “oppressor.” The paisley American flag represents another side of America that’s often looked over. He states here that he is All-American and should not be ignored or suppressed. The play on the infamous name of racist radical group The KKK sandwiched between the letters that spell America also suggests there is going to be themes of race and oppression.

All in all, I think good album artwork is essential for a good album. I’m of the variety who like aesthetics. I think the artwork goes hand in hand with the music and has to make sense. You wouldn’t want a grungy looking album cover for a teen girl group. It would just leave people confused and is distasteful. I think it’s what makes music so multi-dimensional. Music is not just auditory anymore but you have the static album artwork and music videos, which is film and music combined, adding to the experience.

Thank you for reading this somewhat long post. Until the next one.

Silence, Stillness

How much do you value silence?

In this fast paced and ever demanding world, rarely do people stop to take a real breather.

I think silence, stillness, is powerful.

There’s beauty in just staying still and observing what is around you without so much as a word. Or also, just observing your mind. How many people know how to calm their mind to a standstill? Where the daily traffic of intruding thoughts and memos and reminders come to a halt? A daunting task for I’d say many. It’s something that still eludes me myself.

How more beautiful can a moment be in perfect silence? Even your mind is silent. You’re just being. How many people can appreciate this moment before they go mad or reach for their phone? Not many.

I remember I used to practice meditation for 2 hours every morning. For a while I didn’t think it did anything. Then I started noticing that I felt calmer, didn’t divide my attention up and could focus on things more attentively. I also just seemed happier.

See, they call a wandering mind “monkey mind.” The mind is like an ape begging for attention constantly. By taking time out of my day to watch and essentially give it the attention it wanted, I was able to calm it.

I’m guilty of falling out of this practice but today brought me back to the moments I spent enjoying absolute stillness and nothingness, just being. Singularity. Indeed life is very delicate in and of itself and when you stop a moment to appreciate it you become more thankful.

Perhaps I will reinstate this practice back into my routine as it is to my benefit.

Thank you for reading.