find beautiful things in humble places
I feel like so many people think that this is the end the journey. I can’t help but think this is really only the beginning. Most of my adult life has been spent hoping for the day that the people around me would, as a vast majority, agree that so many of my friends and I deserve having the same rights as anyone else. I fully endorse everyone’s right to have differing opinions. And anyone who knows me well knows that I always want to get to the root of the issue to understand opposing viewpoints. So I’ve been thinking over the years what is it that keeps people from feeling like we all deserve the same rights, across the board on any issue. I’ve never been the type of person to really get into a public display of political viewpoints or stance but I spent a lot of time over the last couple of months, heck, years, silently trying to understand the big picture. The biggest thing opponents of marriage equality seem to say is they want to protect the sanctity and definition of marriage. I think religion and up bringing and the combination of the two are integral components for formulating views and understanding as a child and then a young adult and those cornerstones shape us into an adult. The problem I see with the argument that marriage on a religious basis should be protected because it has been defined as being between the man and a woman is that, to me at least, the core nature of marriage is really founded on something entirely different. The signs I saw around South Portland over the last month or so say “vote no on 1. Don’t redefine marriage.” When I read signs that tell me not to redefine marriage this is really what gets me. I was brought up Catholic. And for all of the struggles I have in regards to Catholicism, one thing I can say for certain is that anytime marriage was a topic in Sunday school I never, under any circumstance, was lead to believe that the core value of marriage hinged on the fact that it was special because it was between a man and a woman. In thinking about specifically defined genders being the core argument against legalizing gay marriage it actually makes me sad. It makes me wonder if marriage is even something I should want some day. As a kid growing up in my household with my family and relatives all being very Catholic, I was raised to believe that the core value of marriage was the commitment to someone else who you love and want to spend your life with. I grew up believing that marriage was founded on cherishing one relationship above any other relationship. If people are opposed to marriage equality on the grounds that they don’t feel the concept itself should be redefined maybe the bigger issue here is in the definition itself. On principle I want to be able to marry the person I love, but if the value of marriage to so many other people is simply the gender the people engaging in it, it kind of makes me feel bad for anyone who is married based on that as a foundation. The fact that yesterday a little over half of my state agreed that I can marry whoever I want regardless of gender is really a tiny step in this journey. It means that a little less than half of my state still thinks that so many of my friends and I are lesser people and that our rights are up for debate. So am I happy for this new day? One in which I have been granted the same rights as other people around me? Of course. Am I a little saddened that it took a bunch of people stepping up and filling out little bubbles on a scantron sheet to grant me that? You better believe it. In the words of Macklemore, “a certificate of paper ain’t gonna solve it all, but it’s a damn good place to start.” Maybe we should have started with a vote on the literal definition of marriage. Truly, the most concerning thing about winning the vote on question 1 by such a small margin is that a little less than half of my state and the majority of this country thinks that the most important thing about marriage is the gender of the parties involved rather than genuine love, deep commitment and the innate desire to spend a lifetime with the one person who means the most to them. I can’t help but feel sad for all the people who are married for any reason other than those. And to everyone who is married for the right reasons, and to all my friends and family who will… today is a good day. It’s day one.
Rewind to your Sesame Street days. I’m going to name four songs and you’re going to try and figure out which doesn’t belong:
And I’m a toddler <——- [only thing that makes sense in the entire song]
It’s a typical day. I return to my apartment after a long day of work and once again, from the bathroom, the foul scent of fiber successfully doing it’s job comes prancing into my nostrils. Only it’s not alone. It’s holding hands with the newest scent in the Febreze lineup: Thai Dragon Fruit. Now rather than just smelling poop or just smelling thai dragon fruit, half of which might be pleasant, I’m smelling a rude combination of the two: shitbreze.
Anyone who lives in a big city knows the triumphs and perils in the challenge of finding the perfect parking spot. Or just any-freakin-thing that resembles a parking spot for that matter. After a couple years now in Boston I have come to a profound conclusion: parking in the city is actually a lot like dating. Hands down, at the very least, a three person job.
Stereotyping the wireless customer base of Harvard Square:
If you know me, you’re already rolling your eyes just after reading the headline of this blog. But I’m serious, no one likes eating outside. We’ve been conditioned to think we’re supposed to, but I promise, we don’t.
It’s possible I talk about this social abnormality more than most. I can’t help it, when I feel this passionately about something I decide it’s my civil duty to spread the word.
What is ‘the word’ you might be wondering?
The word is that society is LYING. When the hostess asks, “inside or patio?” and you fake excitement as you reply seductively “ooh, patio” as if it’s going to be suchhhh a lovely time, YOU’RE LYING. When you spend your afternoon having a picnic near the Charles River and afterwards you’re telling friends how nice it was, YOU’RE LYING. When you’re sweating bullets and you’re chasing your napkin accross the patio and you’re swatting at fruit flies and the table is covered in sap from a nearby tree and you’re sticking to the never-comfy outdoor chairs and your hair is blowing in your face and you have that overall uncontrollable feeling of irritability all while you’re uttering pre-programmed courtesy statements on queue like, “it’s such a perfect day for this” and “we should do this more often”… YOU. ARE. LYING.
Eating outside is utterly miserable. So I’m giving society permission to stop faking it. Seriously, go ahead and say it out loud, “I HATE EATING OUTSIDE!”. Don’t you feel better?
So please, from here on out, do yourselves and the company you keep a favor…
ask for a booth.
I think too often people sell themselves short. Why do we allow others to have such an impact on our thoughts and emotions but so hard a time empowering ourselves? I have spent a great deal of time in the past few years adjusting my mind and heart to some self-empowering ideas. I have discussed these ideas with some people and the more I do, the more truth I find. I mean truth is such a relative term, so I guess I should say the more of myself I invest into this idea. Some of the concepts I am embracing, not considering and not exploring, but actually living: the only person who can hurt me, is me. Life is a compilation of thoughts, feelings, emotions and experiences. Each thought, feeling, emotion and experience is entangled with another and if separated we can distinguish the endless web of choices we make in the millions of solitary moments that make up our days.
I was thinking about the concept of a cyclic life. While life in its entirety comes full circle, I find that days, minutes, moments, conversations and experiences do as well. Life is beautiful in that regard. If life wasn’t cyclic, consider the subsequent result. Why would we need a memory? Why would we have to learn anything? I love when random experiences in my life help me understand a concept. A few years ago I was in Chicago just walking and exploring the city for several hours. I told a friend of mine just to pick me up wherever I ended up. I started thinking what if I just kept walking away from where I came my whole life. I would not need to remember what was behind me for future reference because I would never be back. I would not pay attention to street signs or calculate how many blocks I had traveled because it would not be useful information if my destination was ahead of me indefinitely. Instead, in a cyclic life, we know the ultimate destination. So in essence, our destination is always behind us.
With this in mind, it makes sense that we have memories and we carry people with us in our hearts and minds. This way we can recognize our own thoughts, emotions, etc when we experience either the same or the opposite. We have a measuring stick for our journey “home”. This is why we learn, too. So when we travel a similar path, we know the best way. If you view each moment in your life as a fork in the road, you realize that while you are blessed with a choice, you will end up in the same place. It’s simply a matter of when you “return” to that place, whether or not you will remember the scenery.
In other words, you can take beauty from every path and you can go through life hoping that someone will treat you the way you deserve to be treated or you can BE the person who treats yourself that way and be the best example for the people in your life. It’s amazing how this simple realization can be life altering. Even finding beauty in the ugly becomes almost effortless.
As I walked around the city that day, I made up stories in my head of how things came to be and I started thinking how much more I see when I walk alone. I remember I barely spoke at all that day, I just walked. The people all around me taught me things without meaning to. At the end of the day, I was right back where I started, writing a journal entry about my day in a place where nothing was really different but I wasn’t even close to the same as I was when I woke up. Now I’m blogging about a journal entry about a day I spent in Chicago. Reliving the experience. That’s just the epitome of life though. At each street corner I chose which way to walk and which streets to take and which people to pay attention to and which stores to enter and what to look at in each store and then eventually ended up here, writing all this nonsense. Each day is like a mini model of life as a whole. Several thousand trips “home”. The stories you tell when you walk in the door are entirely up to you.