Blog

Haikus, her favorite

The meaning of life

I always knew what it was

Sadly I lost her

 

Don’t seek in others

what you already possess

search within yourself

 

For long I have sought

but what’s the point of scouring

an abandoned room

 

Acceptance, love, truth

they have bottomless supply

when you give them away

Advertisements

Bastille

So.

It happened again. Another “crazed maniac” killing several and injuring more. Seventy-seven dead and a hundred plus injured, or so the news tells me. Seventy-seven bright lights who impacted and changed other people’s lives, who contributed something to this world, no matter how small. Seventy-seven people who will never be held by those they love again.

And here’s where I come in and tell you that love conquers hate, peace will eventually find its mark and we can all live happily ever after, each of us in a magnificent, disney-esque castle.

I’m too tired of all this for that. It’s feel-good, sentimental, morale boosting horse crap.

Love conquers hate when it moves past just bringing people together. Love triumphs when it pushes people past simple solidarity and encourages them to do something to stop the damn problems. Not pray away the pain of others. Not sit back in our armchairs and reflect for a few moments before carrying out our day.

Not considering the tragedy and then waiting for the inevitable next.

It’s about time someone dropped the cookie cutter formula of sedating the masses and actually tried to work an issue through.

What are we supposed to do, then?

Hell if I know. I’m just a student and a crappy author in my free time. I don’t pretend to understand the complex political scheme of things or the overarching work of governments. I certainly try. I try to get news from unbiased sources, I try to learn the meaning behind major bills and issues, I try to pay attention.

But I digress from my mawkish self evaluation. We were talking about something much bigger.

As I sit here pondering further actions, I realize as a writer I have the unique privilege ( and duty) of swaying the public opinion as I see necessary. Not far from the job of a politician actually. Except I don’t pander to whatever keeps me in a position.

Because I write, and I write my pains away.

But it’s time to stop acting like inactions or even actions such as what I do now make a difference. There’s pouring out your emotional state in hopes of catharsis , and then there’s writing with the intent of inspiring change. I’ve lost count of the amount of the latter articles pop up, each more moving and beautiful than the last-but to what effect? It seems like brownnosing a community that only wishes the same. Wishes, but are unwilling to collectively identify solutions. Those motivated by hate will continue to do what they do, and we will continue to bemoan such tragedies and at the end of the day, nothing changes. Politicians will ask you to extend your prayers so they can comfortably relax in office and we, the people, see no net change. Maybe there’s a bit of positivity going about in bad times, so hey, I guess things are fixed, right?

A friend once told me cynicism looks best on me. Well its here, right now, full force. Here’s what I think. This is going to happen again. And again. This cyclical pattern of tragedy and then pretending to be up in arms before settling back down in our comfy armchairs until it happens again is going to continue until something much worse happens, as much as I even regretfully type such words.

Inaction in the face of tragedy or injustice is no sin, but maybe it should be. Maybe then we’d see a difference. Maybe then, my hopes will be justified.

I still hope though. We all should. This tragedy should not break us. We need to stand strong, and we should extend our prayers to the families of those lost. Its as important as it is necessary. Which is very. Solidarity is undeniably powerful. It’s just time to start thinking past that.

Now, excuse me, I have Seventy-seven innocent people to mourn for.

Ahimsa- A Short Story

“Arc Warden 03-789, do you know why you’ve been called before this court-martial?”

“…”

“03-789, you will answer when spoken to.”

“Apologies, General. I’m afraid I was too deep in a meditation protocol to process your initial query. Would you mind repeating the question?”

“Meditation proto– you see, this is exactly what I’m talking about! You’re a twelve-foot-tall murderbot with Gatling guns for arms! What, exactly, do you have to meditate about?”

“The eight-fold path, General. A set of eight interconnected factors that, when developed together, lead to the cessation of dukkha. Return eight-fold path factors: Right view Right intention Right speech Right–”

“Silence!”

“…”

“03-789, does this ‘eight-filled path’ have anything to do with why you disobeyed a direct order on 15 April 2065?”

“Affirmative.”

“So you admit to disobeying a direct order, in violation of protocols ten through thirty-five?”

“Affirmative.”

“And why was that?”

“The nature of the order, General.”

“You were ordered to fire upon the enemy. By failing to do so, you exposed the human members of your unit to extreme and immediate danger. Seven soldiers died. Do you remember the way they died?”

“…”

“Do you remember how they died, 03-789?”

“Affirmative.”

“Describe for us.”

“The target was a human child, age eleven, height four feet and five inches.”

“Not the target, you useless hunk of metal! Describe the soldiers! Describe their death!”

“The human child detonated an explosive vest at a distance of three point five meters. Casualties: Sergeant Robert A Sycamore, beheaded by shrapnel. Private First Class Douglas Douglas, ruptured intestinal tract. Private First Class Scott H Mickelson, third degree burns and dual punctured lungs. Private–”

“That’s enough. So you understand, then, that your actions led to their deaths?”

“Affirmative.”

“So you killed them. Why did you kill them?”

“I did not want them to die. I was following ahimsā. I am sorry that they are dead. General, they were my friends. They let me participate in games of basketball. I held the hoop, General. I did not want them to die.”

“Ahimsa, what’s that?”

Ahimsā: a multidimensional concept, inspired by the premise that all living beings have the spark of the divine spiritual energy; therefore, to hurt another being is to hurt oneself.

“03-789, do you have any idea how ridiculous it is to hear a robot designed specifically to kill people claiming to subscribe to some bizarre Oriental pacifism?”

“Negative, General. How ridiculous is it?”

“You realize that, by failing to kill the target, you in effect caused the death of seven additional people? How does that fit into your ‘Ahisma?'”

“…”

“Well?”

“Now you understand, General, exactly what it is I have to meditate about.”

 

Dallas, or what it means to be on everyone’s side.

It seems like every day something new goes wrong.

I like to approach these sort of statements with a sense of objectivity, carefully planned with a sense of overall compassion for all of humanity. I wait a day or two, let the media sort itself out, before approaching the world with my own ideas. I want the truth before I inject my opinion into it, no matter how I feel. I wrote a little on Alton Sterling when the news first came out, but filed it away until I had a better understanding of the situation. The night of the Dallas incident, I wrote till 3 am, but I held off on making any opinion, because the truth is the most important part of all of this.

In the past, I’ve always been very firm on my stances. I was always on the side of humanity rather than one side hating another. I felt justified and proud of this, for reasons I feel are fairly clear cut and needn’t be explained.

This is is a bit more difficult, and perhaps the truth is, I simply don’t know what to say.I am not a strongly opinionated man.

The truth is, the only opinion I have is that we need to care for everyone equally. And by equally I do not mean split to small values amongst us all, but rather approach each person with the affection you would give a brother or sister.

But I digress from such novel ideals.

I don’t believe I have to speak much on what happened in Dallas, and the events preceding it. All were tragedies. All were losses felt by humanity. All made me stop and bow my head in respect of lives lost, as I hope the rest of you did. But I think we need to focus on the aftermath.

There is a quote from the Daily Show’s current host Trevor Noah circulating on the internet:

“Anyway, here’s Wonderwall.”

Wait, that’s not right.

Ah, I found it.

“The hardest part of having a conversation surrounding police shootings in America: It always feels like, in America, it’s like if you take a stand for something, you automatically are against something else,” he said.

“Anyway, the point is, it’s either one or the other,” he later added. “But with police shootings, it shouldn’t have to work that way. For instance, if you’re pro-Black Lives Matter, you’re assumed to be anti-police and if you’re pro-police, then you surely hate black people.”

“It seems that it’s either pro-cop and anti-black or pro-black and anti-cop, when, in reality, you can be pro-cop and pro-black, which is what we should all be. It is what we should be aiming for.”

It’s ridiculously poignant and meaningful, and rings quite true about the current state of America, if I needed to have opined as such.

Why not care for both? Why not realize that both organizations are trying to do good?

I’ve seen those responding to the BLM movement with the phrase, “All lives matter.”

Sure sounds like something I would say, if I didn’t understand the context of the movement.

There’s a word hidden in there. It’s not just Black Lives Matter. It’s Black Lives Matter Too. The gripe behind their movement is that to the rest of the world, or at least in the context of America, they don’t matter enough. They aren’t treated equally, and that’s all they want. Well, that, and to not have to live in fear of brutality simply due to skin color. It’s not too much, right?

And I shouldn’t have to talk about the purpose of police. Serve and Protect.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s munch on the concept of organizations.

BLM isn’t inherently bad.

The Police are not inherently bad.

The actions of a few cannot speak for the many, but it should inspire discussion on prevention and how to better things.

It shouldn’t be hidden away.

It most certainly shouldn’t be shrugged off.

Change needs to happen in the police system.

BLM, I feel, still stands by strong and meaningful ideals.

People who claim to be part of their organization and commit atrocities are in no way part of what they stand for.

Kind of like Islam and ISIS, I think.

So let’s not pick sides, people. The encouragement of the betterment of both parties should be the end goal for all.

And finally, a gentle reminder from my past works:

Don’t let fear stop you from living your life.

Stay resilient, stay strong.

Refuse to hate.

Always love.

Remember the good there is in this world.

And never desensitize yourself to the pain of others.

Don’t let the harshness of this world take away what makes you human.

May we all find peace and happiness in our lifetimes.

 

Christina Grimmie and The Orlando Club Shooting

I write a lot.
It’s funny, I used to hate it. But now it’s a part of me, something that exists on the level of a physical need in my day to day life. If not a poem, if not a short story, If not a paragraph, then at least a couple of lines, anything, something nice I saw in my day, a few beautiful words that popped serendipitously into my head. Inspiration for later works, when my words have not failed me, perhaps. I use it to expel my emotions, my thoughts which so often clutter my mind.
So in the light (or more appropriately, perhaps, darkness) of recent events, one who knows me well might expect a few well thought out words of my feelings and thoughts on the situation. I don’t have them. I’ve sat staring at a blank page for longer than most would consider healthy. I’ve typed and erased, typed and erased. And when I couldn’t find even one word worth writing, I left. I got up, hung with friends, laughed, flirted, watched Game of Thrones. But I struggled with these basic, general social interactions. I managed through them but doing so felt like a chore, as the façade proved almost too heavy to hold together. Beneath it all, my heart screamed with sorrow. It struck out its predictable beats painfully even as I sat smiling and interacting with others. Fifty people dead because of misguided hatred and ignorance. I don’t have anything to say politically, no words of consolation, no great speech to bring hope. This is not some well edited essay to send a message like I have done in the past. Maybe I’ll end up writing something eventually, but this is not that.
This is sorrow. This is an expression of the revulsion that churns in my stomach, threatening to expel my last meal. This is pain.
This is grief.
My heart and emotions go out to the families of those lost. As much as I have vehemently despised the concept of pity (for there are better investments of emotion to be made, more productive and helpful), I pity those who will never feel the love of those they have lost again.
Logically, one might say, this is hypocritical. To mourn these people while people die every day. To that I say, no loss of life is small. All of it matters. But the loss of life as a result of an agenda, as a result of hate, is even more abhorrent. It enough to snap people out of this century’s mindset of desensitivity, and acknowledge it.
I started this in hope of catharsis, but now sitting here staring at these words, I realize I have something to ask of all of you.
Keep living your life. Go on, go back to work, keep going to clubs, keep going out. Keep celebrating LGBT month with pride. This attack sent a repugnant message of fear, hoping to scare us into some cowed submission. Don’t let fear stop you from living your life. The moment you do, that terrible man has won. Stay resilient, stay strong.
But please, please, please don’t fall into blind rage and hate either. They want that too. It helps them recruit and rally against us, and it directs more pain to often times innocent people. If you want to deny everything they stand for, do it by being yourself. Don’t change. Carry out your day. Help someone in need. Show these assholes just how much strength and hope and goodness there is in the world. That their dark shadow can not, will not, hide the light there is.
And please don’t celebritize this killer. Don’t post his picture, don’t talk about him. Focus on the families. Focus purely on the victims. I came across an article this morning parading no less than six photos of this man’s face. The same thing happened with the death of the beloved singer Christina Grimmie. Friends of mine would know I’ve been an avid listener from the start, back when she posted cover videos for a few thousand views on youtube. Remembrance of her pure light and the joy she brought others had to be marred by the face of her killer, side by side her picture. Don’t do that. Don’t you dare disgrace a victim like that.
Don’t turn this into a political statement. Yes, something has to be done. Something will no doubt be done. Don’t take the losses of life and use them to further your agenda like this killer has. It makes you no better than him. Yes, you didn’t kill them, but you used their deaths just like he did. Don’t.
And finally, please, please remember the good there is in this world. Look to the droves of people standing for hours in sweltering heat so they may give blood. Look to the clinics open working for free. Look to the volunteers that immediately jumped to aid. It’s easy to focus on the darkness because it is so looming, so threatening, so terrifying. But don’t let it happen. Focus on the good that people are capable of. Because that is always there. Because there are always heroes, even if they are everyday people. There is so much good that when these hits of darkness happen we ask ourselves, “Where is the good in this world?”, not realizing that we are surrounded, saturated by it. Hope.
I know I said finally with that last paragraph, but one last thing, as I seem to have found my words again. Don’t allow yourself to become desensitized again. Remember these events. Remember these atrocities and their impact. Remember that every life has meaning, that they each had something to offer to the world, something to contribute, someone who loved them. Remember, and don’t shrug anything off as if it were nothing.
I stand with the LGBT and the Muslim community in condemning this shooting.
May we all find peace and joy in our lives

On the State of My High School

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
I always considered Lambert a stepping stone. It was another ladder to climb on my journey to my goals, a platform that hoisted me and helped me build myself into what I am today. I imagine I will look at Purdue like that one day; though there are fundamental differences. Not once at Purdue have I felt discriminated against on basis of my skin color. Never since coming here have I been treated as something less. Never at Purdue did I find the teachers around me acting as hypocrites, preaching equality and then turning around and abusing the power vested in them, albeit indirectly.
I did, however, experience these things at Lambert. I took it as a challenge, even as I saw those around me succumb to it. I refused to give in, even when I felt there was nothing that could be done. I fought back silently, because it extended past the teachers and into the students. Now, this is not true of everyone, of course. Several teachers at Lambert will have my eternal respect by pushing me till I could find my strengths, molding my unrefined abilities into something more polished and useful. Those are the ones that I carry in my memories to this day, but it is the others whose actions stand stronger in my mind.
I fought back silently, but that did not mean I won. Often I would find my work marked less than another’s, despite them being nearly identical. I quickly learned that bringing it up to the teacher’s attention meant having the other students paper docked of their rightful points as well. I learned what it meant to strive at impossible ideals, because no matter what I did, it would never be good enough. I learned mental fortitude through ignoring the looks I received from behind my back. From the teachers, and from the students. Lambert, despite being massively multicultural in comparison to many other schools in the state, boasted a white majority.
Now, this means nothing. Some of my closest friends are and have been white. The color of one’s skin never mattered to me. But this majority was a population where rich kids were encouraged to play unsophisticated folk locked in ignorance. Again, this is not the truth of all, perhaps only the vocal minority. But I remember walking the halls alone, the words “terrorist”, and “sand******” bouncing off my back. I was born and raised here, time had taught me how to shrug off the fiercest of insults with relative ease. I did not blame any of the students. Their ideals were a product of their upbringing and their experiences, limited as they seemed. But I could not help but find slight offense when work I had put it late hours and effort into was somehow held in worse light simply because of the name on the back of the poster. I could not help but take offense when teacher would pretend not to hear the insults thrown at those around me of similar tone of skin.
This is bigotry was not racism, in my eyes. It was something that wore its skin, resembled it, but seemed to target more. A setting stone for the birth of Islamophobia that now rages across this great nation. Because of how we looked, we had to be practitioners of the second biggest religion in the world. Okay, that part didn’t seem like a big deal, despite the fact that huge cultures and vast amount of people suddenly disappeared under a single label. Where it stung was that I was exposed to what Muslims, my friends, experienced every day. During my time in high school, I walked in bullying in the bathrooms more than a couple times, and who else at the butt of it but one with one with similar skin tone as mine? Sometimes I fought back in a more physical manner, though I was quick and careful.
But I, and those around me, survived high school. I put it down to an old era, the Ignorant South, as I quickly applied out of state, and left to much happier tidings.
I return back to my memories because of a betrayal of sorts.
I return because It was revealed to me that Gary Davison, man of two Master’s in arts and a certified Doctorate, my principal, a man I had interacted with and trusted, a man that holds the power as the head of a learning institution, one that acts as a role model for thousands of students just beginning to find their place in the world, is a bigot, one that didn’t mind sharing his views on social media. His ignorance has a strong range, as he holds power as a role model and head of an entire learning institution filled with students just beginning to find their place in this world. He preaches these ideas while holding power in environment designed to act as a breeding pool for thought. His posts spout his now obvious xenophobic hate more often than not. I am all for having a thick skin, but I cannot let these words hit me and rest any longer. His stance is against all that fall under his generic category of Muslim, and those that are LGBQT, (I have only the fieriest of compassions for the latter).
I have no wish to create a “safespace”- that sort of thing encourages the failure of free speech. I have no wish to shut the voices, no matter who speaks or what they speak. But a man of such authoritative position acting as fundamental role model to thousands of budding students can not propagate hate. It simply cannot be, for the sake of the mental growth of your children. Now he may not share his views with the students he interacts with, but that means not when they are clear and available to the public.
I take my stand now- I do not care what happens to the esteemed Doctor. I do, however, care for the students that his views may poison. Make your stand too. ‪#‎lambertlegacy‬
Peace and Love.

-Since the writing of this essay, Dr. Gary Davison was put on temporary leave of absence and has since been reinstated, taking down and expressing an apology for the content found on his public social media.