Wallflower

Hi! I see what you post, and don’t say anything!

Why? You could look at issues like low self-esteem or a superiority complex, but the truth is must more simple than that.

I realized a little while ago that I can look and no one has any clue that I was there. It sounds creepy, and it is! I could fight with posts I disagree with, or updates I find problematic, but the fact of the matter is that I am far too lazy to fight with someone or ellaborate on why they are wrong.

Maybe it is a product of my age. Maybe it is from being beeten down by people flaunting wrong opinions using bad/no research for the last 30 years. Maybe it is because I am non-confrontational.

A big part of it is that I see what someone posts, and I see how some react to it. I do not belong to parts of society that those posts are catering to, and I do not wish to try to change the minds of thousands.

I will speak up if I feel the information being shared is flawed and I have sources to back up why occasionally. Mostly in situations where I feel I actually have a valid and researched opinion. Or, if it is a social issue that impacts me directly. Otherwise, I am not going to fight someone just to fight someone. I am not going to start discourse if it will only change one mind on an issue that will never change.

Some things I will never fight anyone on are:
-female empowerment — Not my place, and if you have archaic views on the topic, society as a whole will eat you alive.
-economics — I have opinions that are bread from observation. Defending my points would be screaming at a wall, and I am far too passive to actually fight someone on the topics. That is regardless of how “right” I think I am.
-raceism/ablism — Either now my place, or society will eat you. I feel I don’t need to justify why I am just going to ignore your post.
-art — This topic has an asterisk on it. I will *discuss* the idea with you, but everyone is aloud to have opinions on art. That is what makes art amazing. We could both experience an expression and get wildly differing views.
-beauty — I feel commenting on someone’s appearence unsolicited to be creepy and unneccissary.

That list is incomplete, but I feel my points are valid.

Is there something you will never voice an opinion on? Even if you really want to?

Embrace the ‘No’

This post is lightly inspired by an image posted by a friend. It was alluding to three important ‘rules’ to live by. I noticed the lack of embracing a no response, so I added it for her.

It is probably leading to a load of confusion for everyone who sees it, so I am going to further explain what I mean in this post to express what I meant!

A no is progress. Of course, I mean this mostly in regards to the arts, mostly because that is where a majority of my experience is.

While I was pitching my book to publishing agents, I loved getting rejection letters. It let me know that they actually took the time to consider my work, and that they just felt like it was not worth their time. It is easy to forget when you are entrenched in a work you have created to remember that agents (both literary and music) make their money being able to sell your work to a bigger label. So, yes: you may have done something amazing for you. You might even have friends and family who think what you have done is amazing; but if the agent cannot sell it, they are going to pass. This doesn’t mean that the work is bad, it just means that the audience doesn’t exist, or the timing is off.

Hell, we all have seen pieces of art that we think are horrible. There are number one singles in the spotlight that we know we could do better than, or books that are boring. There are actors that are just fucking terrible, podcasts that are petty, and blogs (like this one) that are a mess narratively. The only reason they exist is because someone heard the ‘no’ and said ‘MEH’.

When it comes to the arts, it truly is a timing and arrogance game. Luck plays an unfortunately large percent of how things go. I say arrogance because you cannot give up, even if you are feeling like things are too hard. If you have an end goal of making money doing the arts, and your enjoyment is being hampered by your inability to do, the choice has to be made: is the ‘no’ too taxing on your continued enjoyment of the journey?

Stockholm Syndome

Did you ever think about the fact that no one realizes they are in a situation Stockholm Syndrome describes?

I am getting ahead of myself again. Let me define this, give an example, then explain what I mean.

Stockholm Syndrome describes a situation where someone falls in a semblance of dependence on an overbearing situation. The most famous example, also where the name comes from, is a crew of bank robbers enters their intended target. They are there for hours, while police and security arrives on location, but is not able to enter for fear of something happening to a hostage. Over the time that they are kept as prisoners, the hostages start to relate more and more to the insurgents plea. They become sympathetic, some even falling in love with their captures. When the event is finally quelled, police are forced to let the majority of criminals go because no one is willing to give any information to police that would harm their new obsession.

Why would no one be able to identify they are afflicted by Stockholm Syndrome if they are, indeed, in the throws of it? They, by definition, would be so embroiled in a kind of narrative where the person they love could do no wrong.The relationship is never described as symbiotic. There is always described a strong power imbalance that favours the target of “desire”. If someone realised that they were giving in to this kind of pseudo-machasistic machination, it would cause the illusion to falter. They would, by acknowledging this, be admitting that their “captor” is bad, therefore, accepting what everyone is trying to tell them.

If you suspect that someone is stuck in the middle of some sort of power vacuum, start interrogations by asking them their opinion first. Launching into why they should be more worried could just cause them to real back and ignore everything they are saying. No one likes being reminded that they are weak. However, if you voice it as noticing something off and highlighting the issue instead of condemning, you will probably have a better chance of cracking a fincade.

In a situation like this, be prepared to cause a chain reaction. Make sure that before you remove a brick, you can have things in place to save the person you are trying to help. There is always the chance that pointing out an issue will wake someone from not thinking things are that bad, to noticing how everything is horrible and they don’t know how to fix it. If you can put out a hand to assist, that could make everything clearer. Just keep yourself open, keep your thoughts pure, and make everything you say as truthful as possible.

Yes, I am aware that Stockholm Syndrome (as a term) has been discredited. I am using the term as a shorthand that a majority of people will understand.

Disgusted

I was explaining to a friend of mine recently how my latest work-in-process has a very anti-police angle in one chapter. When I showed it to her, she claimed that I didn’t go far enough. To paraphrase what she replied with: ‘Your message is weak. The absence of opinion is a political stance.’

I wish I had kept the conversation so I could put what she said exactly, but basically she thought that my fears were unwarranted because I never actually stated clearly that ACAB (All Cops Are Bad). Due to this, she thought that my fears of offending some people were extreme, at best.

When I wrote the chapter, I felt that it was a necessary commentary on the police culture in modern western society. I also feared that my opinions were too radical, and subsequently wondered if I showed the wrong person for an opinion. I say that not because of a negative view on her opinion, but because she has a greater and more warranted opinion on the police in this country.

Then: Wednesday happened.

I am not going to give a detailed breakdown of my feelings towards the events. I am not educated enough, nor am I American. For me to weigh in feels disingenuous and judgmental.

I do, however, need to say something. Her words ring true: not giving an opinion is taking a political stance, and when you leave silence, your lack of words can lead to the wrong opinion. So, I will make my stance on the topic clear, concise, and if you do NOT agree, I can promise that I am not going to fight you. I realize that I might be deafening myself to an opposing opinion, and that is something I normally never do. I feel that the only way to remain educated and accepting is to hear opposing arguments.

THE STORMING OF THE WHITE HOUSE WAS A TERRORIST ACT. THE PEOPLE INVOLVED WERE TERRORISTS. THE CAUSE WAS WEAK, AT BEST. YOUR FEARS ARE UNFOUNDED.

I have never been so disgusted with a country. If this was a “third world” nation who went through the same attempted coup, American forces would be deployed and the sitting government would be dismantled by the Army.

The lack of response, or inappropriate response by the police on hand was deplorable.

Feel shame, United States of America. The world watched. We could not believe what you did.

If you did not take part in the “systematic” dismantling of parliament, you should still be embarrassed by proxy.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside : OPINION

This is just conjecture. I need to make that clear before people rip me apart for voicing my opinion on the song asking for studies or facts around what I say.

People always seem to point out that this song is promoting rape and rape culture. Then, out come the ravenous defenders of “classic” holiday songs to proclaim how the song was never intended to reflect that sentiment.

Am I here to say that either side is right or wrong? Well, I am neither educated enough or vested in the battle to say either way. I do have a point that I am going to dive into, but I am not going to say either side is correct or wrong.

The song was intended as an innocent exclamation of feelings. It is meant to be “cute”, and is not intended to support an abhorrent behavior type.

HOWEVER:

To state that someone should not feel that way about the lyrical content about that song is a bit deaf to their opinion.

Let me explain in harsh terms. Trigger warning, by the way. I am going to talk about sexual exploitation and taking advantage of gender-roles.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

The song talks about a woman being trapped in a house by the weather, and a man trying to convince her that it is way too hazardous to venture into the cold. If taken on face value, it can already be disseminated into two camps: either the man is actually caring and stating that IN HER BEST INTEREST, she should stick around until it is safe for her to go into the night. OR: the man is trying to coax the woman into staying because she wants to sleep with him (in his mind).

The issue, as I see it, is that it sounds patriarchal. It sounds almost creepy and forceful. He speaks, at length, how it’s dangerous. Being the listener, the only side you hear is his. One would be forgiven in thinking that he is exaggerating the state of the weather for nefarious means.

The other way to see it is that he actually has the woman’s interest at heart. He does not want anything bad to happen to her and, therefore, very much intends to keep her safe.

To shoot down either interpretation someone displays assumes history. Maybe, the person crying rape is someone who has actually been through something similar. Maybe, they are just projecting. Projecting does not make their feelings surrounding the song less important to consider. All because someone does not agree with your perspective does not make them wrong.

If a song or situation makes someone uncomfortable, do whatever is in your power (or whatever is needed of you) to fix it. If you do not have any control, listen with a compassionate ear.

On the other side of things, if you think the song is about unsavoury things, do not be a dick about it. If you’re in a store and it comes on the speaker, the employee helping you probably has no way of changing the music. Your friends have no way of doing anything about it. Hell, in big-box store like Walmart, even the managers have no way of changing it.

What you can do is voice your opinion calmly. Yes, the song has become more and more problematic. Ideally, it would just be stricken from playlists and be left to vanish in the annals of history. Yes, you are aloud to be upset about it. However, if you are sitting on your social media of choice and someone mentions to someone who isn’t you how they like that song, let them be. They are allowed to their opinion as much as you are yours. People like things other people don’t all of the time, it’s not going to make rape or sexual exploitation okay all because that song exists.

If you are assuming that this is justification for your actions, you’re a parasite on this realm.

Unfortunately, we cannot punish the past for their exploitative actions. We live in a world where the horrible things of the past are almost celebrated in today’s day-to-day. All we can do is try to survive, and try to make everything as palatable for those around us.

Words to live by — Don’t be a dick. Love other people.

…now for step two…

The results of the election are out. I am happy T*mp lost, but I feel that some people don’t share my sentiment for why.

I wanted T*mp out, but not to see a huge change in American policy. I think we’ll see one, but it will be mostly superficial. So many of the issues noticed by the populace have been things in place for over a century. Biden, though I honestly do think there will be huge changes, needed to take over T*mp because T*mp was the issue. The way he conducted himself just made it socially acceptable to be a bigot and a liar.

I would love to be proven wrong. Obviously, it is still way too soon to tell exactly what is going to happen. The racist and homophobic moron needed to be ousted. He was dangerous, stupid, buffoon-like, and fascist. I am not even pointing anything new out, and I was very isolated from a majority of his decisions because I don’t even live in the States.

That brings me heavy handed to my next point: well, it’s more a question. Do the States not realize just how poorly the world viewed his policies? Yes, he was just a figurehead, but his actions made that very clear to the rest of the world for the first time in my life. Even Bush Jr. seemed a better leader, and that’s saying something. He decisions were dangerous, he could be pointed at for the deaths that shadow 9/11, and he made stupid allegations when he lost the election that threatened democracy.

I’m not even a huge fan of democracy, but he challenged the populace on their voting tattics, questioned their validity, and seemed geared to make himself a “leader” for another term. The fact that the vote was so close just amplifies how stupid all of this is.

Okay, I’ve lost my point in the midst of my angry rants.

Oh, right! I wanted to say that Biden probably will not illicit huge changes on the ground floor, but his respect on the world stage is already making the difference. T*mp made politics a spectator sport, for lack of a better term. We, internationally, would read headlines to mock the States and the backwards bullshit that came to the forefront. Biden has become immediately famous because his VP is a black woman. Seriously: this is a fact that should not matter. Since it does, we see just how backward the American view on, not just race, but gender really and truly is.

Goddamn, I cannot even finish my paragraph about how I have reclaimed my opinion without going on another angry tangent about how archaic the American system is.

Okay, that’s it. I will now concede my rants and leave my American readers with this:
Your emotional support Canadians are still here, and fuck knows that people from other countries feel the same. Things will change. Kamila sounds amazing on paper, and we have great hopes for the upcoming year. T*mp was a dictator, and Biden sounds like he is going to be much better. The bar for improvement is very low, however. Things will not change overnight. We are here for you.

(Image in regards to Spec Ops: The Line. Fantastic commentary on war, the human psyche, and video games in general.)

I feel terrible.

I was talking to a friend of mine regarding the American election that is about to happen, and I expressed how horrible I felt. I have this feeling of panic that normally would be in connection with a severe lack of nicotine in my bloodstream, or the grasp of doom and death taking its on my everything.

She pointed out the idea that it could be caused by a climate of dread that looms over the impending election.

As a Canadian, I have literally no say in the way the election goes. It feels mildly ironic, seeing as the outcome of the election has a direct influence on the way politics on a global scale shapes over the next few terms. Not to mention the possible consequences it could have on the WHO.

I bring a very simple question that I want an honest answer to: what has the current government done in the last four years that has benefited you directly? I honestly wish to know. As a Canadian, I have not seen one thing that does anything good for the standard man. I see a lot for companies, and I see a lot being done to sew confusion and fear, but little-to-no good.

If I just missed it, I will concede my point.

My initial point is still that we can all get through this trying time. We have each other, and feeling useless is normal.

Change is scary. Together, we can do whatever we need to.

Hi there, depression

I recently made a post on FaceBook that instigated some polarising opinions from “I appreciate this” to “you fucking hack”. I now feel obliged to explain my reasoning further.

The initial post read as follows:

Some days, I worry that when people don’t talk about suicide or depression because the feeling is potentially fleeting and they don’t want the stigma of being “that” person following them around

I will now be an over-explaining ass and further dissect what I meant:
I have a couple of friends, myself included, who are afraid of reaching out because what they feel is very much temporary. How can depression be temporary? Well, it cannot. However, sadness can be. You could be overly stressed one day, or feel crushed under the oppressive thumb of reality. You could want to say something about it, then hold back because you don’t want to be a burden, or be forever stigmatized as a sad sack.

This post was not to say that no one should reach out. Quite the opposite. It is simply reminding people to isolate the situation from the person until you know the full story. To reiterate, it could be a bad day. It could be a bad moment. It might be a bad week. It doesn’t always mean that the person is chronically depressed or in need of public sympathy. Quite the opposite: there are occasions where public pressure may push the person over an edge that they may not recover from.

A better way to handle it is to simply acknowledge it. Leave a “like” on their message. If you notice a pattern, then reach out privately. If that doesn’t seem to result in anything, move on to getting a hold of family or friends if you notice an ongoing issue.

Don’t assume that talking will do anything. Don’t gaslight or rehash. Don’t guilt.

There is also a chance that the depressing thought might be simply a song lyric (something I have fallen prey to many times ove). There is also a chance that it was an expression of frustration over one event.

Or: maybe they are depressed. If that is the case, just make it clear that you are willing to listen, but make sure to do so privately. Public expressions could be seen as shaming. Shaming could lead to putting up walls, or worse, sprialing.

Again: a private extension of a branch is often all that the person would want if they want anything.

Of course, every expression of depression is unique. That’s what makes it so hard to deal with. Keep in mind that there are a lot of people out there who do not want people to know that they are actually sad. Again, assume that the person doesn’t want to share their emotions privately. Don’t just jump to “sad post therefore sad person” and keep in mind that there is a large number of people born after the year 1980 who just like sad music.

Here is a link for the depression and addiction resources that I have for the Kingston and South Frontenac region. If you need help and cannot reach out, for whatever reason, please look into this. I am not trained, nor do I have any facts that I need to share. These are all just opinions and the point of view from someone who suffers from mild depression themself. Please, use the link above. Get proper guidance if you are actually worried about someone and don’t know what to do. It’s not a secret that I have failed time and time again.

To reply…?

I have gone a couple of months without saying too much about the review that was published. Official opinion? I like it! I was very honoured that they compared me to Chuck Palahniuk, as he is one of my favourite writers. Even being called “undercooked” by comparison is like saying that a painting is no Mona Lisa. That comparison alone brought tears to my eyes as I read it.

I refuse to refute any points I do not agree with. I am a firm believer in the idea that a work is a living entity that exists on its own. The review, though I do think it is a bit too tough on the vignettes, is very good. Even the “undercooked” is surrounded by words of encouragement and praise, so I need to stop focusing on it.

It’s hard to detach personal attachment from something that I created. I still get mildly defensive when people attack bands I was in a lifetime ago. Hell, I have notice lyrical discrepancies in regards to The Twin and I will never elaborate on that. If you can hear where we were offensive, let’s talk about it. I’ll tell you 234982340 other times you should be offended, and I will fully agree that we should have payed more attention to what we were saying.

On the topic of creation, I am about 1/5th into writing my next book. I know that does not sound far, but you have no idea how little hair I have left trying to wrap my mind around timeline and greater scope. I have the ending done, I have a major event. Now, it’s just a matter of connecting those two points, while also making those points make sense in the greater narrative. Also, I need to give some importance and gravity to the initial event.

I showed a very early draft to my friend Pat, and he pointed out how there was no reason to care that an event happened to the main character. At that time, I had the inciting event happen right at the beginning. I still hold that it could have worked, but starting with an emotional moment only to have it undercut by how we don’t know the character is not ideal…

MY GREATER POINT

If you donate to my Patreon (as low as a dollar a month) you will be listed in the “Thank You”s at the end of the text. I will have the book done by 2021, because 2020 is a garbage fire and I want nothing I do to be immortalized by this horrible year.