Last stop: The end of my teens

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Plenty of twists and turns are now behind me in the space between the beginning and right here. I’ve reached that milestone, and I think by now it goes without saying.

Our lives aren’t as captivating or provocative as we like to think they are. Not to brush this off by saying we’re ultimately human. Instead, I think the finality of our lives’ content pulls the veil back from a central and sobering reality: We just kind of exist and do things. We fill empty things with what we like, and a lot of people do this so many times over that nothing is truly it’s own distinct substance positioned on any winning side beyond our own invention.

I think when we try to make sense of life, we’re bound to distinguish between experiences accounting for circumstance (cause and effect) and setting. I use “distinguish” in a very precise way; to underscore contrasting elements of substance that certainly went through the wringer, but impact differently depending on who encounters them. Doing this normally leads us to conclude that the individual experience is as close to relative certainty as we can get. And that seems to always be the goal. To continually overcome uncertainty, being necessary to secure some inner peace. Contentment.

Considering life this way, I’m more inclined to accept how little I’ve done up to this point. I’m more at peace with the conclusion of that period and where it left me. At least my shortcomings existed in a sort of vacuum. But while things in the end are meaningless, this doesn’t mean it’s pointless to look for reason in the madness, or to create it. The absence of meaning is probably a reason to create your own.

So, you’ve acknowledged that coherence will never be given to you on a silver platter, and ventured to derive some from your own experience. Here lies the catch. Personal experience isn’t always pleasant, especially when it’s of the existential sort measured in birthdays, changing shape every five to fifteen years.

There aren’t any answers toward the end to expect. Only angry moments of disappointment and frenzy in real time. Bills. Rent. Why you can’t think straight. Your health problems. There is no time whatsoever to pause and investigate. None of these moments work well with each other, they don’t form a larger whole, and no discernible truth has come from the experiments so far. The cycle eats itself. At the end, you’re really just gravitated to live out the hypotheses without method. That I’m told, is a very liberating point in your life. Where uncertainty becomes the exhale of your whole life, and your desires outlast everything (as far as you know.)

To me, this is the sum of existence. Or at least one way of imagining it.

But I’m not at that point of relief, and I can’t just keep reminding myself that I’ll get there someday. You don’t get a break from hunger by the idea of tomorrow’s lunch. So how do you face the reality that 240 months of your millisecond flash in eternity has gone by? Not disappointed by what you have or haven’t done, but unnerved by the simple fact of time passing and what that could mean for future experiences?

Getting off the brief adventure that was my teenage years feels like the last stop on one or two of a series of travels. A final chance for something significant. An urgent and narrow opportunity to grab something before it expires on me. I’ve talked to so many people who recall chaotic teenage years right the middle of a great social hysteria, while my own are spent at home, all year every year. Alone in small towns, isolated and bland. Mortified of the uncertain. It feels like making up for that in my twenties will bend the fence of my character compared to those I’ll associate with going forward. Should I be ashamed of this, or embrace it?

For whatever reason, I think of Trainspotting (1996) Who am I most similar to: Renton, or Spud? How might I reconstruct this point in life?

Resolving this intimate gloom is different for each individual. It depends on the trades you find yourself invested in, the people you bite your lip for, or the words you write that nobody else reads. For some, this is the end for one set of adventures, probably one where nothing was restricted. For me, it’s a curious glance at what I’m willing to go through for a few tranquil moments before my 30s going on 40s, and where to seek refuge afterward.

None of this is to advocate an obvious point of deterioration. We all rot into oblivion at different rates, but every person has a point in time where they shine brightest. I think it’s worth talking about it, always curious if we’re living it now while admiring the brevity of everything we can ever hope to know. Roughly ten years of elapsed time is good enough for me to reflect on, to chart where things are going; if only for the hell of it.

When you carve a statement into prose about yourself, it’s hard to fool anyone. At least, anyone who matters. You can lie and have everyone know it, but you’re always honest to yourself in the moments between thinking and speaking. You’re the only one who has to bare that emotional labor. You might even take comfort in coming back down to earth. One way or another, truth that only comes from the person living the life in question slips through, heard or not.

I endured new ruminations on what is “ultimate” or “final” in the course of all this. Although I’m not drawing up a final testament before my death, I value the graceful closure of one stage of my life and what I see in it looking back. Maybe I’m just afraid of important moments slipping away, even if I know better ones are bound to come along later. Maybe I genuinely like getting lost in memory, telling myself points A, M and V were the best three out of the others. All neatly sorted with the knowledge that I’ll never have these a second time.

I might have an opportunity to hold my present and future selves accountable to one another, while using past excursions and blunders to hold it all together in the hope of doing better. Though I never want one point in my life to hold every proceeding experience to, there is no safety net of contentment better than leaving a trail for the future self back to a trusted place if things go bad.

After scrawling a few different prefaces, I’m giving myself at least one week of time to collect these scraps of thought and synthesize them into streamline prose; giving the illusion of a consistent and clear thought process behind this article’s production.

I’ll just go through some highlights.

Who is right, who can tell and who gives a damn right now?
Until’ the spirit, new sensation takes hold, then you know

I don’t consider thirteen to have been a fruitful first year of my “teens.” While it was probably the peak of my desire to sort and document things, it didn’t resemble much of the road I still travel, nor is it fully relevant for it.

That said, I like to pay it tribute it for a weird scholarly phase when I learned the basic definition of philosophy. The first name I steeped myself in was Kierkegaard. Either/Or specifically, from Books-A-Million with the money I saved up that summer. At the time, I couldn’t hope to really grasp the concepts of Christian existentialism or Angest and interact with them significantly. But I did gain an impression of the fragility of the charted world’s framework, and it’s poor foundation in the surface level of our minds. Søren’s melancholic charm was also something of a treat for my young feelings toward men.

I’d give it two more years before getting somewhere familiar. I had a number of these impressions stored up with a bit of constructive interaction going on between them. It was just enough to give me a sense of real perspective, first emerging in the social and interpersonal spectrum of issues. I picked these up somewhere between Marx, Kropotkin, Tolstoy and Thoreau. It was exciting that these things had more to do with why things were happening now and how the past informs the present, rather than asking questions about “god” and eternity. The shift from existential and speculative, to immediate and foresighted. A slow, personal divorce from sanctity and a gravitation to realistic projects. This played out at different times: Commending Aaron Swartz and his legacy in online organizing, Internet legislation and the “modern web.” Supporting Edward Snowden’s revelations of global NSA surveillance. Advocating for free culture. My energy had more in common with the present than the present forcing itself on me.

It’s interesting when I think about how my social/political energy redirected over three years. I used to have all my passion stored into Internet freedom: The idea that the Internet is the one thing that people should control and be responsible for, not authorities of any kind, state or private. I think that was a good starting point for my overall philosophy, which meant that it would have to grow out of whatever box it started in. It would eventually find itself side-by-side with ideas that critique capitalism, stratification, expectations of conformity and power imbalance on a variety of axes.

At eighteen, this was changing form through the course of politics that year. Shortly after I stopped taking Bernie Sanders and the election seriously, I was changing political labels and buying different leftist and anarchist literature every three months. Internet freedom was soon meshed with a more general perspective of social change.

Now, just replace the Internet and people’s electronic possessions with every part of life. Whether it’s the joys and spoils of material excess, or the most basic necessities of survival, we have to own all of this and interact with it indivisibly, freely and equally, and establish clear habits to make this arrangement the most agreeable reality. It’s not up to any master to enforce their will upon us at the expense of what we love. At least, it isn’t desirable; yet the conversation gets caught up in whether that thing is or isn’t what someone claims it is. As far as I’ve unearthed, people who advocate against this are in an abusive relationship with something not out of the question to be overcome someday by future generations. Generations of people who had to put their lives on hold for the failures of those before them.

Every logic to the contrary offers nothing. Not a better idea, not a more lasting method. It only wants to pull us back into the tired old misery. It tells us the same thing we oppose in a different way. We have to discard things like this and keep answering to ourselves against all odds. Seeing how right and wrong, whether on a scale of “morality”, “practicality” or “efficiency”, is totally fabricated for the benefit of a variety of elites with only their accumulation of power and wealth in mind, it proved to me that life is kind of awful most of the time. After a while, some questions go unanswered for so long that people can’t hold any self-respect ignoring them anymore. They’re compelled to prove that they’re better than that. To do what feels obvious.

So ends my noteworthy evolution in that regard. The most recent development is probably my gravitation toward an anarchism without adjectives, spelled out nicely by Aragorn! and Voline. One that disregards excessively prefiguring a hypothetical future world. Instead, it favors proactive engagement with the present and associations of individuals living out their desires. It values anarchist projects equally for whatever reasons those involved decide on, and whatever methods are necessary for their common interest. But this has more to do with widening or obscuring boundaries than moving beyond something. A pattern I found myself falling in and out with.

Maybe the emotional sphere of my teens hasn’t been as constructive as I’d like in that sense. There is nil to gain from widening those particular boundaries, reducing oneself to one or two jaded emotional gears after seeing too much of everything. As much as the individual’s contrast with life itself is admirable, it’s often painful. My early to mid teens comprised a web of introverted strains that I’m still working to untangle.

Leaving school in my early adolescence was rough. Although I was being spared a long and grueling few years of bullying, I had little in the way of validating my deepest thoughts and feelings. My refuge was in the imaginative assortment of reality that different writers strung together, telling myself “maybe.” I used those as indicators toward the likelihood of a better day, but I didn’t consider that a better day isn’t synonymous with any kind of redemption.

New relationships built on honesty and intimacy conflict with my adjustment to solitude. If I’m not ungrateful, I’m easily weary of the emotional warmth that I need at different points, only to be overwhelmed by them after a few days of their use. While I need the embrace of my partner, the voices of my friends, and my ever-changing interests, I don’t need them to become the same centerpieces of my conscience as melancholy was. Retreating back to scenes from my old neighborhoods at early morning hours, outraged at the vast emptiness of every day, is one way of reminding myself how stagnant, if not worse, things could be.

“Intense” is one of a few words I think succinctly describe having senses and emotions. Intensity makes or breaks. I fully understand the desire to cease interacting with this reality. But I think there are ways we can get by, if only to numb the pain with vague reassurance. For instance, the belief that being hopeful is reasonable is also incredibly difficult. This difficulty is then artfully expressed through a culture, defiantly mad against the absurdity of it all, understanding that doing so is the means toward accumulating reason to illuminate hope. There is self-evident action in these ideals, and questions only answerable by the one asking them.

What I was hopeful for and what I’m presently hopeful for are steps in the unique process of myself, doomed to cycle back to each other without connecting or forming a stable whole. The chaotic pattern I’ve become accustomed to. I fully recognize the anguish on almost stereotypical levels of romantic sentiment, but I don’t see why anyone should exhaust their energy to cover up the simple fact of life being overwhelming and strange.

And in those moments as if we’re seated comfortably on a hill watching the vibrant blaze of social life in all the cities and towns on earth, we look for a few simple words to decorate the obvious. But why spoil those moments? I’d rather say what I would if given the full opportunity to elaborate on a few scenes from these last ten years. To attach my own reason to a couple glimpses back that meant something to me.

It’s time to go ’round
A one man showdown
Teach us how to fail

For the foreseeable journey, all of my genuinely creative energy is invested in this medium, which specifically entails the pattern of tone one would expect from an author’s usual spiel. I feel like I should consciously tend to that or let the tyranny of legacy set the standard for me. The common themes that fall into place are the first things people read on an author’s wikipedia page; their appraisals, and the verdict of public opinion. It’s the checklist of things likely to be twisted or exaggerated about me. That’s a crucial point of communication left out of my control, if I allow it.

I consider much of this to be necessarily detached from the intimate experiences and influences of the author. The basis of criticism is pointing out and stressing the divide between one perspective and another, always highlighting impression instead of deeper intention, which can only be assumed. This isn’t to say all criticism is faulty because it lacks that insight, but it could probably do well for itself to acknowledge this. Adapt, maybe.

How to actually steer a medium is hard to visualize. I guess it depends on what I’m interested in burning energy over. This particular set of paragraphs and epigraphs isn’t guaranteed to stick the landing and I don’t care. Getting to the destination I set out on is my prime concern. Getting there gracefully is always someone else’s concern. Looking at what I want out of all this, the sacrifices I haven’t made and won’t make, I should preface any attention I get with a disclaimer of impulse: I write the bare minimum notes and do the least possible outlining before steeping in the intricacies of what I want to relay. Only after I judged it in my best creative interest do I go back to overly producing a frame for my prose.

Unless my active project isn’t sorting my personal thoughts, I don’t feel the urge to be scientific about this. I consider it a “moral” duty to transgress as much of the bourgeois how to be a successful writer culture as possible. If I must brave this swirling concrete void, soaking up our decomposing dreams in the humidity, I only ask that my words are laminated before being swallowed by the ocean.

So I prefer to separate that noise from “writing.” I think “medium” is akin to a vessel that makes ideas more engaging and open to scrutiny, while “writing” refers to free acts in the form of text: A few pages of monologue. Two verses scrawled on a napkin. Graffiti lamenting industrial society. With or without attribution, every act of writing is a willful blow to an imposed social fabric (sometimes woven by highly formal mediums), with every pause giving time for new parts to be developed and applied.

Does it follow that mediums lack the spontaneous energy of writing? Probably not, if you build one out of what inspirations come naturally and immediately. Fixing the same revised narratives to a publishing or marketing scheme is just another thing to be avoided when pursuing impression while making a clear case for intention. Most of us are aware of Medium.com publications (especially with the expanded partner program) that invest excessive creative effort in aesthetic, leavened with trademark micromanaging analysis on culture that hardly makes a case for anything beside completing the look.

The question is not if mediums make us less sincere, or if writing has to take on an insurrectionist vibe for us to have it at its most raw. The question is how the author relates the sum of their work to an overarching profile or aesthetic, and how to change it to fit, if at all. We should ask if we’re actually reading someone’s words, or just admiring the medium.

I prefer to make the medium’s aesthetic from what one might contrast it with, simply because it wouldn’t feel like my own craftsmanship otherwise.

Whatever helps you get by.

I guess I should incorporate the setting I work and live in. There are separate ventures from my personal medium based on such willful acts of writing. Local newspapers and the handful of college zines. While their range is limited, I think that’s exactly what a consciously written medium deserves. A small and manageable project, if only for a short time. At least it could be an opportunity to critique workshops, prepare notes on how to collaborate better and open to participants.

Probably half of writing is just listening to yourself talk or think. Getting familiar with how you think and what habits to exploit. Highlighting a few keywords when brainstorming, slowly building an idea for something. But this process enters new and difficult realms when it’s time to translate to a structure. Align the scattered thoughts into something you can read back to the point of origin. There’s always disappointment in what you read, which is the function of ourselves being our worst critics. This is where it becomes a tightrope.

One might lack a coherent stream of thought. It might be the wrong weather. One’s access to helpful substances might be broken. This is where we get irritable and it becomes paramount to find the right order of words, if only to be rid of the stress.

There have been grueling nights at the looming hours of my own deadline where I’m sitting over my fourth cup of coffee at 3 am working on another draft, hating every word I put into it, nauseated over every paragraph. Why do I do this!? Persisting is the only thing that feels right, making little investment in mental breathing room. I am the pawn of my medium, but only because the landscape uncovered by continually reshaping my writing is one of the most enticing and urgent self-realizations I ever experienced.

Dadda and surrealism were probably manifestations of surrendering to this impossibility, handing control over to anguish. Not expression as science or pulpit, but as a scream or plea.

Bukowski gave his own advice, now beat to death by creative writing students.

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.

I think the safest and most appropriate bet is to work on something according to how much you want out of it. Blogging removed the publishing mechanics of a book from the author’s concern, so people now have a much wider range of options than what he had. A more potent sense of constructive rage is probably to blame, common with “not getting published” during his time, which is now “not getting read.” Still, the basic idea remains.

unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.

I don’t plan to formally publish a book: I’m going to stitch things together as I see fit and throw it at people’s heads for free whenever I can. That said, I’m not opposed to tip jars. Consistent sources of income aren’t as immediate and manipulable as writing, so I think both will be happening simultaneously. Some writers think we should survive on this, but at what cost can this be promised?

Adopting the identity of a writer is an angle (if not a reach) into some intricate sliver of life, either presented by a medium or inserted through writing.

I’m not going to suddenly do more worthwhile things or make smarter choices in my second decade of life, and taking this opportunity to carve out a fragment of a memoir isn’t going to do much beyond leaving a personal record. I feel compelled to do so because the subject exists in the same environment as the creative process. A particularly useful reach into how to make sense of it and leave behind some documentation. When I find myself in the middle of the next leap for the anarchist movement, shift in society or in myself, I’ll consider the opportunity and act on my own terms.

I don’t feel like I need to be compensated, because the part we each play in all of this is a reward in of itself.

We’re off the streets now
And back on the road
On the riot trail

There’s a basic idea underlying most of what I create. I like to think we can imagine that idea in basic terms, knowing it won’t be perfect. That idea is that none of this should have to be complicated.

Every day we could wake up and physically build on our desires, discover new ones, share in the necessary labor for what a group of people agree to maintaining, and find the wherewithal to point out and remove the gunk from life. Sadly, people had to ask if this is idealistic or sensible, falling into the trap.

The more we interact with a toxic web of displeasure and confusion, the more we become the thing we hate: We get into situations where complexity is mandatory, the only thing that space is made for. We meet complication with more of it, playing into it’s own game and recreating the nutrients for social, emotional and existential disarray. We build brick walls around ourselves and keep building higher to try to escape.

Ultimately, nothing is secured in place by our own diluted sanctity. Everything is recycled around the impersonal changing nature of social stratification. But in the moments before that, we can get better at consciously disassociating from its ideals and patters of social organization to make way for our own worlds, becoming more and more familiar with how to overcome.

The prospect of overturning the nightmare is endearing. Perhaps a little more hopeful than I’m comfortable with, but a worthwhile standard to act on. But in the meantime, the suffering and limitations imposed on us inspire more ways to attack. We’re continually inclined to overcome, which seems like a fact of this world being unsustainable on all fronts.

Living a life is more akin to a radiating, shifting mass of energy than a hopeless journey of submission on a straight line of time mapped onto a hollow notion of “progress.” If we enable individual actualization over the blank frame of reality, we can outlast imprisonment in all its forms.

Until then, we’re all basically slowdancing with reality, awkwardly grinning at the horrors staring back at us, catching a few brief glimpses of something interesting in the background, until the music stops and the lights go out.

We all just want to surpass the constantly current mode of “average.” I’m glad to be moving in some direction with people doing the same in their own unique ways.

Twenty years. Huh.

To erase everything from the slate from one day to the next, to be new with each morning, in a perpetual revival of our emotional virginity this, and only this, is worth being or having, to be or have what we imperfectly are.

Last stop: The end of my teens

Pass Me By, 2017

New year. Here again. The late December cold surges once more through the neighborhoods. Jack Frost assaults people at bus stops in Midwestern cities on cruel weekend schedules. The neglected Christmas tree and ice skating rink downtown stand below the overcast and gentle descent of flurries. Corner liquor stores are cleared of champagne. Dirty white tents selling fireworks set up in empty parking lots. Sticker-covered trash cans and thirty-five year-old concrete walls sit where they were yesterday and the day before. Ambulance sirens.

More importantly, it seems, people find things to write about on this occasion; at this uncertain turning point.

Five alarms on my phone wake me up. One after the other, an intemperate decision made four hours and sixteen minutes before crashing. I knew that one simply wouldn’t do it if I was serious about being up. This is perfectly normal.

11:45 am. 11:50 am. 12:05 pm. 12:10 pm. The same android alarm I changed to when I moved into the apartment. I find my way out of bed. To the bathroom, then the kitchen for coffee. My clothes are laid out on the couch next to my backpack, bus fair and wad of bills.

A few essentials are packed for the first trek out in my city after returning from visiting family. When living off two-hundred dollars or less a week, Christmas gifts become apparent as genuine tools for life being a little more bearable.

A pear beckons me from the produce drawer of the fridge. Part of a fancy snack box of fruit, mixed nuts, cheese and summer sausage, a gift from my partner’s dad. I add one to the backpack along with coffee from the french press in a new black thermos, both gifts from a week ago. It feels like trying on new colors for everyday routines.

My familiar Dr. Martens, the creases in the leather coated in dry crusted balm and the dust attracted to it, are then straight-laced tightly. Jackets layered. Scarf tossed over my neck. Down the stairs and out the door into the snowfall, crunching on the pear.

This day is flooded in a particularly pleasing shade of overcast. The sky a distinct pale blue, its brightness subdued by grey clouds. Ear buds connect my phone to my head, playing the same playlist on the same bus route. Indifferent community members fill the seats. The usual people, the usual business.

The same as any winter day. No watermark at the corner of every glimpse that reads “New Year 2017.” It takes me a moment to realize this when I glance at the date on my phone.

Am I dreaming? Is it all really that insignificant?

I go forward, coming home to the one I love when all is said and done. The rest of today will be totally boring and I will love it. I pour some coffee, take necessary pulls off the usual substances, and get to typing an offhand account (for a change) of a lived experience back in town before the seven-to-eight transition, just for the hell of it.

Here we are. The world is the same. It might stay this way next year — tomorrow. Annual life feels less like a spectacular reset of 12 seasonal points of planetary alignments, and more like the expected repackaging of time and events by people who aren’t you or me, gradually set in place over 72 hours of morning news and Trump’s latest tweets.

At least for now, I’ve stopped cursing the informal obligation to offer up thoughts in the form of prose before the new year, as my first thoughts of this year elaborate. I simply decided to act. To observe the moments before and after. Take from them what I might, but take nothing too seriously. Along the way, maybe construct a bumper for my medium.

The calendar starts over. Air traffic controllers and data centers begin the first of their monthly operations. The final digit in date fields of IBM and Windows NT embedded systems changes. The same minute and specific continuation of mass industrial society, constantly directing us toward large-scale ecological collapse. Everyday life.

Whatever happens involving Trump, the anniversary of Disrupt J20 and the whole host of deaths, scandals and social abuses to take course in society, we’re mostly in the same spot we were 365 days ago.

The same people we lose in 2018 — not accounting for their specifics — will be interchangeable with those we lost in 2017, looking from the macro perspective of the closing few years of the decade. The same for the street battles between fascists and anarchists, the oil pipelines and the legal repression.

Thats how most people after us will see this point in time, to interpret and utilize for future efforts. Not much to be worked up for. It doesn’t feel much like a choice. The same uncertainty embraced again.

What can you do? I cursed myself for documenting the first moments of the new year. For not make better use of energy on something that everyone else wasn’t doing. It was useless to be so hard on myself. I realize now that its just more liberating to let things pass you by. To go forward and do it offhand.

Don’t force anything. That isn’t my resolution that everyone advocates against, but probably something I’ll take away from 2017.

We go on in our own ways. I document the one perspective I have control over. Almost like letters to myself, but spaced out between the years and publicly displayed. Like we share in the general idea. I like to think we do.

Pass Me By, 2017

Reflections on Being Bi

September 23rd marks Celebrate Bisexuality Day, on which in 1999, Wendy Curry and friends with BiNet USA created a day of celebration to foster non-monosexual (not strictly gay, lesbian, etc.) pride and solidarity in the post-1960s and 70s gay rights movement. During a period in the movement of bisexuals patronized as “going through a phase” or reduced as “half gay,” constantly lugging behind rainbow banners hoping to be recognized with as much dignity, Curry gave non-monosexual queers a day to get loud and proud without being vouched for by their rigidly gay older siblings.

A little over a decade, new grounds on identity and community have been broken. The “gay or straight” dichotomy is increasingly decommissioned in favor of a fluid, shifting idea of sexual, romantic and emotional orientation. The strict roles of man or woman are replaced by individuals defining their presentations free from strict qualifying castes. Angry queers are on standby to take direct action against the oppression and bigotry that persists, despite liberal appeals for assimilation.

While bisexuals and other non-monosexuals still endure misconception and stigma around their identity, there are strides made in deconstructioning mythology and tapping into pride as a change-making tool. In Curry’s words, “If you really study civil rights/diversity acceptance, you’ll see that people start to respect people once they respect themselves. As long as we were in this endless begging for inclusion, we weren’t addressing the respect issue.”

For me, bisexuality laid a path of self-identity that has been a strange and reassuring force. Well before digging into all the complexities, I had a sense of there being more to it than “liking guys and girls” through lived experience. Emotions beyond romance and sex coupled with self-esteem and existential chaos provided me with the texture of this still young, still uncertain life. Seeing the way people in-between’ed expression gave me a sense of deeper possibilities even before I saw them put down in theory. And ultimately, seeing where I am right now with a truly wonderful and life-saving partner, I don’t ever want to let where I came from lose its influencing power on where I go from here.

In the years of bi voices being amplified, the positivity shared by those who endured community changes, and my own doings around who I am beyond sexual identity, I think now is a good time to lend my own perspective to the conversation, given the occasion.

Growing Up

Don’t worry, there won’t be any irrelevant life story. Though I will say that I grew up kind of hazy, in memory and in what I felt during life-defining experiences. Even if that’s how it should be, it still feels abnormally tangled. The sentiment of things not needing to make perfect sense was always kind of endearing for me.

Considering that I’m at the last stop before my twenties as of writing, we’ll be backing up to the point where a lot of these testimonies qualify as life stories.

I was weird. I still am. I knew I was weird, and I told myself this everyday. It didn’t really become an unhealthy thing until I was about eleven or twelve years old. My weight, personality and learning disability became the foremost things plaguing my nerves when I was in school or around kids my age. I think I tried to build my personality vicariously through the images I got in media, which is a terrible thing to do. Overly romanticized situations don’t serve as a good primer for the all-too real awkwardness of pre-adolescent social exchanges. With that facade toppled, I was on my own.

When I realized I wasn’t as “cool” as I thought I was, the only way I could avoid a breakdown was by repeating apologies in my head to people I had to talk to. “I’m sorry you have to interact with me.” Whenever I could calm myself down and think of something “funny” or “witty” to say, they would kind of just grin, smother a cringe and turn to their friends to snicker. After so many of those over and over again, all my effort to be likable wasted, I finally decided to just shut my mouth for good. I would have asked people straight-up if they would prefer not to talk to me before I even said my name, but that would pretty much defeat the purpose. People were no-go zones.

Around that time I was pulled out of public school after a year of bullying that I left bottled up became known to my mom, and I continued through online courses officially registered as homeschooled. At the time I felt luckier than ever, especially with new methods of education available to me. The school system served, and continues to serve, a dual purpose of devaluing students’ capabilities for making them useful to a boss somewhere down the road, and encouraging an atmosphere of strife and petty indignities among each other. The last part made me not pay a second thought to being removed from easy access to socializing. I was convinced that everyone in my age range hated me anyways, and anyone a few years older than me would always find ways to exploit my social shortcomings for a sick laugh.

By then, the stage was set for my personality to follow. A lot of confusion and angst was baked into my young perception, so I wasn’t really lonely so much as angry and dismissive. A lot of time alone in that conviction made me comfortably numb, reassuring myself with “fuck everyone” whenever I felt envious to the contrary. But everything only worsened with time, and soon I had to come to terms with myself and the world.

Isolation

I knew what being bisexual meant fairly early, but I had trouble considering myself that. With all the self-hatred going on, I determined my identity based on how “likable” I was; how and if I could relate to others regardless of gender. So for a while, with what juvenile information I had, I considered myself asexual for a brief period. I thought it was the most fitting justification for being asocial more than anything, but I couldn’t deny that I was misusing the label. Then I called myself straight but that I “didn’t like sex,” and then I kind of just stopped trying to name it, letting it be whatever.

All my time at home let me figure out how to transform hobbies into meaningful work. A lot of effort was funneled into writing and learning programming, which is responsible for everything right now. It was humble beginnings and I’m still proud that I made the most of my time alone in my own world, but it also did a great job of keeping me at a distance from things I wanted to go further in. I was too comfortable in front of a keyboard, and couldn’t see how to change that with minimal effort.

Nothing ever felt fair. I rarely got a break from being sad or anxious. There’s nothing to complain about family-wise, but emotionally — in the realm I never spoke about to anyone — I was always in a rut. As far as simply getting people to know and respect me, I was completely lost. A local church youth group was a decent enough sandbox for finding common interests, but sure enough, the same impressions I got from school were rediscovered there. At this stage anger was dissolved into mild acceptance. I was fully prepared to be overlooked, but disappointed nonetheless.

There wasn’t much refuge alone. Oftentimes I would see a close bond between two men in a film and I would feel the worst reeling pain of emptiness and envy I could imagine. Or I would see a bond between a man and woman and feel the same way. I couldn’t make sense of the inconsistency, losing the grasp on reasoning with it in the haze of everything else. Puberty at its finest. I often reminded myself with Wizard’s line from Taxi Driver: “Don’t worry so much!”

Internet friendships and communities were a blessing, a monumental tool for being real with someone dealing with the same things and giving me at least some reassurance that generations before have been dealt this same shitty roll of the dice. Around that point, going through different causes of my misery, it dawned on me that my frustrations had a connection to sexual and romantic orientation worthy of examination.

That particular case was reopened, but investigating it was delayed. It was in the middle of moving to another state that confusion was transplanted in a new environment, stripped of my familiar home town and nothing but long car rides to dwell on things. Temporary residence in a rural area gave me a tranquil place to reset for a little while. A forest to merge with in spirit, a sunny field to get lost in thought staring at — dumb little sentimental touches that were really needed for my weary mind. I think I was trying to reassure myself that it was okay that I didn’t belong in the castes of heterosexuality and conservatism; that I had to put my own convictions first or risk being the same fake type of person I detested.

Eventually we settled in another town, where I resumed my self-examination online with a new outlook. It didn’t take long for me to accept that whatever I was, I certainly wasn’t straight. It might have been the queer gamers and furries (yep) that had my back, but soon I came to embrace it quietly, uncertain of my family’s reaction if they knew.

I must be a magnet for ruining everything, because I couldn’t keep myself from inventing new problems. With some newly won self-confidence, I made attempts at distant relationships which were predictably failures. In my own defense, both parties were young and trying different things with different persuasions, so it wasn’t a foolproof excursion in retrospect. But at the time it meant as much to me as anyone in a face-to-face relationship. Once again, I was crushed. I secured the pain in place with such adages as I’m uglyI’m boring or Its best that I’m not known.

It wasn’t abnormal to find myself fantasizing about draining all my blood via slit arteries or Google searching the highest point near me to jump from. I have to admit these still plague me sporadically. My mom finding out I was self-harming for reasons I kept vague made me want to put every possible thing in existence in one place while I walk away from it all. Torment on top of torment, I dragged on mindlessly. I’m honestly surprised I survived those hectic times.

Getting Out and Coming Out

I got over the bumps in the road. I still don’t know how, and even now when I face similar problems I forget how to start recovery. I think the mind just lets go of things when its ready to, at least in my case.

I latched onto new things and found myself in a refreshed mindset. At this point I was openly bi online for two years, amassing all the advice I could get and looking to generally improve on my existence. I wasn’t free from anguish, but I poured as much energy as I could into my blog and programming to keep myself busy. Working my first job helped disperse a lot of that energy too.

I didn’t stop looking for someone who could care about me, but I played it safe. I was done being desperate about it. I used that familiar misery as the force that brought me back down to earth whenever I could feel myself flying too close to the sun. My teens were spent alone from the start, and I felt like I deserved someone to build prospects with. Nothing dramatic or specific, and in fact I dreamed of an understated but palpably close bond that would become dramatic when it needed to be. I was out for anyone: friend, lover, something in-between — anyone.

A week before thanksgiving, I started talking to someone. At first I rested assured that we wouldn’t go far. That was my mechanism for staying intact. I prefaced our first night of conversation with something along the lines of “I’m not looking for anything sexual or whatever. Just someone to talk to.” If only I could guess at how short I was selling myself. The things we shared were surprising, how well we clicked and understood each other was something I never felt with anyone else. Day by day, good morning and good night texts, I knew I found the one I would take refuge in when everything else felt wrong. It didn’t take more than four months for us to officially begin dating, and two more for me to save up for a plane ticket for us to finally rendezvous.

Minneapolis, summer of 2016. That was when I finally broke from my past and started a new beginning. A solid week of my doubts and fears melted away by love, honesty and adventure in Minnesota. It was a totally alien sensation; all those years of self-doubt healed in such a short time. But even then, questions about ourselves and the future weren’t over. My partner had time to think things over, and affirmed that she was trans. This presented us with new questions to ask ourselves; for her as an individual in a shitty society, and us as a couple to be perceived by others.

Along with worrying for her health, safety and the respect she deserves in the years to come, I was concerned with how I was going to be looked at: As a bisexual guy, or an assumed straight guy, with a girl at my side. This particular revelation opened a new part in the … I became invested in her through the gender I first perceived her as, and now it was a matter of channeling this kind of inertia in a positive and constructive way. I knew that my feelings for her were unaffected, I was just too used to the idea of being seen with someone of the same gender. It was up to knowing the changes, holding on to what was most important and respecting this person who I love above all else.

The trip home was the worst. I never walked through an airport trying not to cry before, but the flight home gave me time to contemplate this new beginning and what it would take to make it flourish into something tangible. A couple weeks passed and I was alone in my room binging on netflix and something unhealthy. My mom checks on me and tells me I haven’t been very talkative lately. I tell her that I’m fine, but that we should take a drive. It was completely spur of the moment, I just felt the urge to get this over with.

We get coffee and sit in the starbucks parking lot. I’m already panicking when she asks whats up. I know I’m not going to tell her everything, certainly not the gender identity of my “friend”, but only the truth of who I am. I shake off the worst-case scenario thoughts of being disowned and get it out: “Mom, I can only hope you don’t hate me, but… I’m bisexual.”

I immediately begin to cry, terrified. “Okay” she replies. I keep crying.

“Its okay!” she repeats. I piece myself together as much as possible, explain my relationship, neglect all the necessary details and retire back to my room after gaining the approval of my mom, the rest of my family to follow. That feeling in your gut, like you took off a lead vest: I felt that for the rest of the week. A long stretch of uncertainty amounted to my experiences translated into a newly public fact about myself. I felt like my reality was acknowledged, giving me my first sense of self-validation.

A year later, after the right planning and timing, my girlfriend and I are living together, making the most of our passions and bringing them to life with our friends in our community. The rest is history, but one that drives doing better everyday, looking for something at the end of it all worth resting on.

Appraisal

I never liked talking about myself. I think I always neglect the richest details that could be compressed into a perfect couple of sentences to save your time and mine, and instead I gravitate toward droning recollections of times that may or may not paint an accurate picture. But there are times when you have to do your best in that to avoid yet another stuffy academic review of sexual identity and derive from lived experiences. I think being real at the risk of sounding sentimental is a lot better than being a jargon machine from one’s favorite armchair.

I think two things determined how I went about self-discovery: Autism and internalized self-restraint, or, more formulaic: my perception of the world multiplied by the effects of the world on me in return. In this light, this applies to a lot of different stories with different names given to the variables. For me, one thing was very good at fortifying the results of the other: I had a preconception of people, I had a preconception of the right ways to act, their responses were things I held too sacredly, and I instilled them in myself because I trusted others’ judgment far more than my own. This bolstered the whole cycle during new periods in my life when I felt like trying again, more or less giving new reasons to stop again because of responses following preconception. Putting it simply, I was hopeful, disappointed and confused in that order. My naive belief in better things over the horizon sabotaged by the realities others lived.

Self-discovery happened in different parts in different places. A lot of it took place alone with what I had to dwell on. It wasn’t healthy, but it was the only option when I didn’t want to risk a panic attack. I mostly just hated bothering people, but every once in a while I could refresh what specific types of interactions had the most effect on me. This included how shy I was around masculine people compared to feminine people, how intensity changed with people’s age, and the personalities that I felt threatened by.

Soon I noticed that boys my age with relatively outgoing personalities caused me the most tension, while girls fitting the same descriptions were just a hair more fear-inducing. I can easily see connections to who these people reminded me of during negative interactions in the past, e.g., girls telling me that I’m “gross”, or boys telling me I’m “stupid”, but further down the road it went from simply “bothering people” to the likelihood of never being able to make a bond with anyone. Now it was a question of who I desired bonds with the most.

I was always juggling who held sway of my preference when I was realizing myself as bi. Before that, I had a boundless admiration for anyone with the right amount of charm, wit and kindness. It didn’t connect with sexuality and take on a certain form until I hit puberty, where I was mixed up by everything I started feeling. I never got to be face-to-face with any of this until meeting my girlfriend, but I think years of observing and stewing alone from a distance was ultimately worth it.

I eventually judged myself to be a four on the Kinsey scale, essentially saying that I prefer people of the same gender while maintaining a fair attraction to those who aren’t. My girlfriend’s identity gave me an interesting lesson in what you’re attracted to and who you love; not as things that necessitate each other, but as things that indicate one’s sexual capacity separate from long-term emotional standpoint, and what you do to consolidate those feelings in a healthy way. I didn’t surrender my attraction to men, but I arranged my committed relationship and my expression of attraction as non-conflicting spheres with every parties’ consent.

A lot my tribulations can rightly be blamed on hormones, but I’m not going to deny that for most of my life, and as it continues now, I’ve always taken emotional responses and the meanings in things I can’t fully grasp very seriously. Overlaps with social anxiety, uncertainty, self-disgust and feeling bad for everyone I talked to made me more conscious of my interactions. They held me accountable, and I think even if they made me more self-conscious than I need to be, it made a thorough process of knowing who I was without much left to guess on.

It wasn’t a way to say “I know I’m bi because…“, but a way to show the inspiration behind the style of bisexuality I invented for myself.

Why Bi Day Matters

“Pride already happened.” This was one person’s response to me advertising a bi day celebration in my city. Aside from the baked-in aggression against queer voices, it reflects one of the reasons why sections of the queer community value their sovereign days of celebration, sometimes more than the massive annual parades and festivals of rainbow capitalism.

There was no serious usage of “LGBT” as a unified group of people in solidarity until the late 90s. Even afterward, the appearance of a cohesive community of non-heterosexual and gender non-conforming individuals is a pretty new thing. I think in the wake of bigotry expressing itself in neoliberal America, LGBT sections urgently crystallized in a way that shrugged off past injuries, and pardoned new ones in the name of “progress.”

Before this, there was a lot of conflict in legislative and community organizing that cut deep into trans and non-monosexual hidden figures, whether it was after Harvey Milk’s death or the damage control after the stonewall riots. Today that tradition graduates from negligent organizing behaviors to the ongoing assimilation of gay people into state apparatuses of domination and mediation, who expect the rest of us to go along with their victories as trans and non-binary people of color are assaulted or killed by the same cops they march with at pride.

Gay has become a trademark with a standard set of attributes, and if you aren’t “gay” or “straight”, you’re certainly queer in one sense or other. We, obviously, are looking to make the gay community militant again — not to shun every monosexual as a liberal traitor. But with the circumstance of it all, rebuilding ourselves requires amplifying those who are left to the back of the parade line or asked silly questions about their identity.

Bi, trans, non-binary, intersex, asexual and other days of celebration are all occasions to hold our communities proud and independent from the history of liberal assimilation into rigid legalistic frameworks. Its about having the self-respect to determine one’s own sense of pride specific to their identity and how its expressed to others.

A Better Relationship with Sexuality and Gender

The relativity and fluidity of gender content is something that can’t be dismissed for much longer in today’s world. As the gendering of behaviors becomes increasingly brittle with each person living them, its clear that laying down a basic idea of contouring ourselves with others is easier and more fruitful than everyone trying to fit into something that won’t budge.

I’ve often been asked the question when talking about gender followed by my own sexuality: “If gender is about self-identity and not ‘how many genders there are,’ how can you call yourself bisexual? Doesn’t that imply that there are only two?”

When thinking about bisexuality, most people jump to the conclusion of quantities meaning “how many genders this person is attracted to” instead of considering what quantity even relates to. Dealing with quantity is more or less visualizing people’s scope and flexibility, using quantity to refer to points that start and stop boundaries. It should be obvious that nobody should submit to any elementary analysis and surrender their identity just because there are differences on what quantifying adjectives mean.

For a basic example, we can think of two (bi-) poles that start in one place on a spectrum and terminate in another. These poles encompass a specific area of presentation that an individual is attracted to, instead of having two mutually exclusive types of people our inclinations will be limited to like the traditional idea of bisexuality suggests. Its more like covering all bases by looking at the two ends of a region, which are sometimes simplified as masculine, feminine and what is between them.

This model might work accordingly with other non-monosexual identities too: Polysexual individuals might envision multiple sections encompassed by multiple sets of poles, while pansexual individuals have no visible divides at all, embracing the entirety of identity spectrums.

I think this is key to expressing any sexuality without coming off as binary about gender. Bisexuality is a way of people defining the scope of their attraction in relation to the sum of their preference, and not so much the “number of genders” they prefer. Even with straight or monosexual people, there is no correct way to be any of those things; identifying the areas of attraction doesn’t take any prescribed form of roles or numbers. Its about presentation and who it resonates with.

Going Forward

We decide what life looks and feels like. There are collective and individual aspects of that reality; people can get together to make societal changes, and individuals can establish the facts of themselves through which to interface with life. Joining or conflicting, relating potential to each other accomplishes more than we think. Its all in knowing ourselves, what we want and what it all means in the end. Doing our best and staying relentless.

Happy Bi Day. Remember Scout Schultz.

Reflections on Being Bi

Hiatus Break

I wanted to write something quick to break the silence. Consider it a placeholder at the end point of a series of events spanning a month and a half, and the start of getting back into what I was wading through previously. I’ll do a sort of rundown of each notable thing thats happened since, though this won’t be very interesting. I almost feel foolish posting this to my actual blog and not on tumblr or something, but considering I’ve only been inactive here, it should be appropriate. Is it counterproductive to be breaking your hiatus with a rant on your hiatus? Oh well. Thats what I’m doing. Here’s your chance to exit if you don’t want to read uninteresting personal nonsense.

I’ve been questioning my integrity as a writer since I let so much get between me and my craft, even though this is totally at my own will. Every previous meddler in this brand of striking on the earth’s surface had some level of higher commitment, jotting things down in worn notebooks when away from their primary tool, rushing to grab a napkin to write something down at a restaurant when something grabs their attention. Whereas I barely even think about it when I’m out of my lonesome space, making me wonder if I’m only aboard this to have an idle placeholder for who I am. “I’m a writer, but the last thing I wrote was two and half months ago” which is always the case.

I guess the closest excusable factor is that I’m part of a generation based on doing a lot in a lot of different sectors by diverse means, and not a lot of people keep up too well, especially the absent-minded ones. Some forget or lose things, some drag behind in the productivity realm.

This, and I’m ashamed to admit that it takes me significantly longer than others to complete anything. Something that could take a columnist for a paper of any status about an hour or two takes me two weeks to a month. This is of several reasons. Firstly, I sometimes spend a whole day re-reading and re-writing paragraphs because I’m highly self-critical of my structuring, phrasing and use of devices and literary figures, as if any mistake would swell and corrupt the whole work and make me a dupe to the grand total of two readers. Correspondingly, I can’t exactly produce poetic, eloquent sentences in a moment’s notice like many honored authors can. I can make it appear so if I invest a month’s time in it, or get lucky enough to have a burst of creativity and a free flowing mind, but the whole work you see before you commonly takes a ridiculously prolonged period of time. Even this took a few days, even though its “short.” And thirdly, I’m too easily swayed that I can put off work for a day to play a video game or spend time researching a different matter with a subconscious knowledge that I wouldn’t produce anything worth leaving in anyway. This is greatly problematic when this becomes my default mood for a whole month, requiring another month to get back at it.

Now obviously anyone who read that would guess that I’m new to writing and I have some further development to go on. Thing is, I’ve been writing on a scale I do now since I first knew how to form sentences. Going in and out of it, being sidetracked with work in programming and shifting from different paradigms involving typing, has probably worn that dexterity from when prose was my lone craft in its purest shape. Not beyond repair, just into a state of confusion that gets readjusted from time to time. Breaking the cycle normally relies on a single instance of having the perfect idea at the right moment, and following that idea to its end and acting on it. I have plenty of ideas in my notes, only a small handful of them will be revealed to be fruitful and interesting enough to follow to the end into a story. I think a lot of people rest on that rift. We pretty much have the ideas at the ready, but the manner in which to execute them are still up in the air. Drafts within drafts.

Being open about such things is probably for the best. The truth sets you free and all that noise, but this also gives an audience a sense of your inner workings as a creator. We all know what to expect from Scorsese or Tarantino when they release a film because they’re open about their quirks and flaws and fixations in their medium. Now you guys know to expect one blog post per month from me because I’m a tortoise of an author who can’t leave alone the fact that I haven’t written anything for a short period of time and I just have to write about that even though nobody really reads me. Great.

Alright, so onto the main explanation I intended for this.

Minneapolis, June 2016

I couldn’t write anything for June, I made some notes here and there, but no actual work done, as something I’ve been longing for for arguably my whole life happened on the 16th when I flew out to finally meet my lover of about five months, though we’ve had something special for about a year. I could drone on and on about how sweet and wonderful and fucking gorgeous he is, and how my life honestly depended on confirming the reality of this splendid love we share, but I’d prefer to leave that part up to the summary that I was on the cusp of throwing my life off a bridge until this angel among people came into my life and swept my heart up.

The week was primarily spent going to different shops and places of interest in the two cities, seeing the Mississippi river, consuming different substances and junk food, and cuddling and making out. Lots and lots of cuddling and making out. Perhaps not enough, but that will be corrected next time around.

I came home with a heavy heart and started drafting an overall telling of the experience. I couldn’t just let this be something to look back on from memory, I wanted it documented somehow. As of now its still in development, and it might just become a private memoir of our first meet between the two of us, but a better idea of the whole thing can be conveyed in the first draft which is worth publishing.

Leaving Minneapolis

Take off from SDF shoved my anxious tension into my chest and forced me down into my seat. All I could do is watch the shadow of the plane become smaller as my heart pounded harder, and later burst at the seems as I finally touched down in St. Paul 94 minutes later.

I was going to rendezvous with someone particularly special. Of the romantic variety. Someone who I’ve come to love on a level not simply of physical attraction coupled with an admiration for character. This individual was keeping me alive in ways I still don’t fully understand. Keeping me moving forward in resolving lifelong emotional issues I had forgotten about. We gradually formed this relationship online in November of last year. Each passing day of chatting with each other got better and better, more and more deeper in subject and personal outlook. I think we started saying “I love you” about a week or two into getting well aquianted. From there on out I knew I wanted this person and not any other soul.

Let me put it in perspective. Since I turned two digits old I’ve never had a genuine friend in my life; let alone a love. Ditching public school for a cross between homeschooling and self-education at 11 years old ruined any chance of forming an important relationship with anyone. Around this time I started learning more that I liked boys, and that I also still liked girls to a very small extent. Upon entering my teens I accepted myself as a bisexual male. Knowing this, all I could really yearn for — in total isolation, as if expressing loneliness was the greatest sin of all — was that of a loving friend. Not even a boyfriend, just anyone who would honestly care about me and hug me when I’m miserable. Seven years later, I’d get more than I bargained for.

Baggage claim 9. Thats where the lonely chapter ended when I looked over and saw him walking toward me. A solid second of my heart arresting and all the memories of sheer isolation evaporating before my mind’s eye preceded a beautiful smile and a first awkward hug. That goddamn Hawaiian shirt he wore. It was dorky as all hell but I wouldn’t have changed a thing. His hands in his pockets, his shoulders scrunched together, a nervous little grin on his beautiful face as he stepped closer. I think I mustered enough in the moment to simply exclaim “Dude!”, and fell into his arms. That sweet embrace I had dreamed of for half a year had finally come, the rift between building the foundation and standing on its peak had been crossed. Five seconds in, holding him by his shoulders and getting his scent in, I pulled out as if I had done something wrong. I stared back at the empty carousel, him staring as well. An excited grin on both of our faces said the same thing. “Holy fuck, its real.”

I can’t remember the awful small talk we conjured to break the ice in those initial moments, but I do remember jumping into the back seat of his friend’s car at the airport and him immediately going into cuddles for the whole way back to his place. This was especially wonderful and terrifying in the first five minutes. I sat there with an uncontrollable smile on my face as this lovely person was hugging my arm and nuzzling my neck. A virgin to all things delightful coming from another person freshly thrown into the fire can only handle a little at a time, but I’m glad I didn’t burst *too much*.

[…]

Things go by way too damn fast, especially when they’re the best moments of your life. When they’re spent with your life’s love, in a new and splendidly chaotic environment. Why is time so cruel like that? I never wanted to not be driving to an airport so badly in my life. Just seven days ago its all I wanted to do, now I wished every airport in the world suddenly disappeared. Anything at all to keep this person’s arm around me forever and ever. Anything to stop the mile-by-mild progression toward the best week of my life coming to its end.

“This isn’t the last time”

“I will see you up ahead”

We exchange a final hug before I break away to get this shit over with. I pick up my bags and go to check in for the outbound flight.

“I love you. No looking back”

Now that I’m back into my usual cycle, I’m of course introduced to new life obligations outside of writing and work – related to money, housing, family and where this relationship will take us. Consider this the part where I say that only my best efforts in balancing my responsibilities with my self-endowed responsibility in converting ideas and events into neat text will be at the helm of my life for the remainder of the year. Normally in a week I would have sorted through my notes and drafts enough to gain direction, but to be safe I’ll give myself the remainder of the month to have everything sorted. Thanks to all those who stick with me and those similar to me. Its the small lights that inevitably shine brighter than the greater, shallow ones.

Hiatus Break

The New Year, 2016

I touched a bit on 2015 and 2016 in a post on Medium relating to my actual thoughts and hopes for what is to come. This here is more of a personal overview on what I’ll actually be doing in the new year.

I think 2015 was my final year idling in contemplation over a lot of different things: The course of the sociopolitical relation to civil liberties in the United States and worldwide (something that I think almost drove me to insanity with TPP, CISA, NSA surveillance and H.R. 4681), the public dulling towards corporate rigging of the economy and labor laws, people trying desperately to push forward in keeping culture and a sense of meaning alive, the world, and myself as a human being witnessing these things.

A lot of shitty, stressful things stuck with me early on in that year, making it pretty mentally and emotionally rough. I did quite a bit in attempt to make a difference. Wrote essays on what a new revolution out of necessity would be like and theories on actually making reform and not just advoacting it (most I left unpublished), hanging up flyers in my city, and worked on a file transfer program focused on privacy, which I eventually scrapped (not good at coding crypto).

I eventually got out of that rut, having taken long needed steps back and breathing. I managed to moderate doing what I cared about with chilling the hell out and going on with other things, leading to where I am now, December.

This new year is the one where I will actually be moving on some long-held ambitions of moving out of my parent’s place and setting off on my own devices as a residual member of this generation, trying to find his place in this sensory plane. Not as big of a deal as many will think, but me having perfect knowledge of me: how I make plans and how I love lusting over the dream and not the actual means of doing things, it becomes more important and more desperate personally to formulate so it acutally works.

A lot of idealistic visions of living in Philadelphia or Chicago in a nice appartment, meeting up with beloved friends and having a job in some nice media start-up or some shit constitutes a good deal of the actual objective, but the meat and bones of the initial phase, the one that matters right now, was layed out in a short post on my tumblr account:

Starting in 2016, sometime in January, I’m starting whats needed to start my life on my own: Work, finishing school, that whole thing. I estimate I should have enough money to move out and find a place around late 2016 or mid to late 2017 based on the numbers I ran on hourly wage, the hours, overtime (if any) and total savings by weekly deposit.

I’m going to basically be dedicating as much possible time I can to work, and then school and my driver’s license to be molded around what free time I will have.

This means I’ll be surrendering a lot of my work in programming and writing, so expect a length of time where I’m not at all very active on social media or my blog. I am not leaving the Internet or forgetting about this aspect of my life, as its immensely important to me, but so too is being independent and out of the house.

So yeah, thats just a heads up to anyone who pays any attention to my work or what I have to say. Thanks so much, if you do. I’ll deffinetly check in with everyone when I’m off work or whatever. As of writing this, I’m enjoying the last few days of 2015 as a slacker until the time comes where shit needs to be together and I’ll be chaining myself to labor as much as possible.

I sort of reached a point where I’m sick of the same-old. Hell, I think at this point I’d be okay with being desituted in a foreign land for a while if it meant doing something new to reset myself as a person. Being a working stiff for about a year and a half isn’t much, in that regard.

I really just want to touch on the next chapter, as cliche as it may sound. Making money once more and having the precious freedom to go wherever, settle wherever and pave whatever path. This is the one action at this point in my young life that I feel like I truly need, as if the base of my mental and reasonable integrity relies on moving onward. I hate this sense of miserable comfort that basement-dwellers develop: pacified and hollow in these four walls. Having just a little taste of that is enough to make me ready to throw my entire heart and soul into something to break those down.

In all, I’m just going to throw myself into a job or two, and not come out until I have everything I need to move on. Again, my activity in publishing and programming will be a lot smaller due to schedules and such, but I’ll no doubt work on something in any free time I have. Or, if the guy known as Tolbiac is forgotten in the heat of his service to the system (hard to imagine I could be any less known), I could always restart with some new identity somewhere if this one is past revival. I’m not too worried though, just ready to make a move forward, however not that big of a deal it may be. It feels empowering to do something of this nature.

And with that, I want to give everyone my most sincere best wishes for you in the New Year, that your lives be bright and peaceful, and hopefully 2016 will be a pathway for improvement in the world and the start of mankind’s move forward once again in this crazy, beautifully chaotic world we share.

The New Year, 2016

Putting things on the backburner, putting others up front

I’ll do my best to keep this one short so I don’t get into details about unproductivity and useless efforts and become ironic.

I have a personal guideline for myself when programming or doing anything else involving technology: Don’t force anything. Don’t try too hard and don’t overthink the project. Once I break this, the code and the end product becomes sloppy, buggy and different from what I originally intended. And once that happens, I have to overthink and overwork fixing it all, and the cycle repeats.

Lately this guideline has been tossed out the window, hard to believe considering my <sarcasm>excellent</sarcasm> commit history, but its true. The underlying thing seen here is nothing good being committed because nothing really good has been done, and its sort of a recursive problem for me, having nothing good being done and so I push myself to correct that, leading to more problems leading to less progress. Its not something that I hate myself over or anything (its not like anyone depends on my code), but rather something that makes me disappointed in myself. I don’t want to say its lack of ambition either, because I certainly have the desire to do something better after the last project, but I can say that its partly giving up too easily or giving in to the towering obstacle in front of me. I just hope I can shake off stress in programming if I ever develop something as a solo project that people begin to rely on or trust for something, and a disastrous bug or vulnerability hits it and they turn to me for the fix.

This is nothing new to me and I know how to go about stopping and restarting it all, but this problem is important to touch on for technical people who don’t take stress easily. My solution is to move work to things I’ve been neglecting when dealing with code, but had some good ideas therein worth expanding on. Among them is writing about new or interesting subjects, and having more than four or five publications on my WordPress blog. A few of what I’ve had in mind are things I had the germ for a few months ago, but didn’t plant them in the soil. I guess at the time there was something bigger facing me or I just didn’t think they worth doing just yet, but I think now is as good a time as ever to just go for them. In no particular order, here are some upcoming articles, or more or less things to expect:

  • A piece on file sharing, copying, creativity and content. An overview and observation of the surroundings of File sharing technology, Free Culture, the Pirate movement, intrusive copyright and laws, the existence of content and the Anarchistic effort to free it.
  • A piece on issues and schisms within contemporary Liberalism and the Progressive movement. Looking at how radical pandering to the nearest leaning social movement for the sake of having a label has negatively shaped Progressive communities, discussion, action and its image, and the importance of differentiating where people stand and why, and those who use their community to label their dogmatic possition. (SJWs taking the social justice label, etc.)
  • A piece on social media alternatives and free and open communications platforms. The case of big-name social media and communications services, the existence of open alternatives that are democratic, decentralized and user-not-profit centered, and the importance of these alternatives in the wake of larger services demanding more from their users.
  • A piece on The Internet as an Infinite Concept. An explaination of my opinion that so long as electricity and the means of connection one computer to another will be available, there will always be an Internet with infinite possibilities, that the core concept of the Internet is not physical or electrical, it is an extension of reality and communication.
  • A response to Internet Freedom and Digital Rights discussion. Particularly this. Observations on privacy and security based off of recent discussions of Internet freedom.

This is all I have available so far. I think the introduction on productivity was self-explanatory on how this shift to writing will be, but I will be working on these at a decent enough pace to balance with jobs and school. And to close, I’d just like to thank anyone who actually reads or looks forward to whatever I do, be it code or blogging. I can guess and say that a few of you who follow me on Twitter, or are just internet friends of mine, stumble onto whatever I circulate through social media and skim through it, and even that is nice to keep in mind. But honestly, its just good to know that anyone has the ability to carve their say into this great big rock that we call the Internet. I’m just one out of a million.

Putting things on the backburner, putting others up front