it’s up to you, New York

I often wonder if people are sick of New Yorkers always talking about New York City. Living here makes up such a part of who we are, that “New Yorker” often becomes a personality trait. And why wouldn’t it? This city has been hyped for years as this international hub of good cuisine, fine entertainment, and a societal grasp on the pulse of the world. Everyone came here, everyone wanted to be here, and everyone always had a fabulous time. The glitz and glamor of a city so packed with people yet remained a shining beacon of America’s heart. You could always find your place here because the opportunities of discovery never once ceased.

That is not the city of today. But many who represent it sure like to think so.

I was born in New York City. I’ve lived in the same apartment for ten years. I’ve grown here, loved here, work here, contribute here. This is my city as much as it is everyone else’s, and I feel my voice is completely lost in the sauce. And a big part of what it boils down to is my status. It’s not the correct one that complies with all of NYC’s insane pandemic-era policies they are for some reason cleaving to like a rat on a New York slice. When a policy is bad, it more often than not leads to bad outcomes. And New York City from the 2010’s onward has been nothing but one step into the proverbial manure pile after another. We cannot seem to get things going because we’re revving a long-dead generator, hoping a bit more juice gets pressed by the pressure. We’re the only city in America with still-in-place vaccine mandates for the public and private sectors, and we’re the only city in the world requiring toddlers ages two and up to mask in schools. The progressivism has seemingly crawled right back up its own behind and it feels like there’s absolutely nothing any of us can do about it. Because, more often than not, this is what the people want.

There’s just something so cruel and malicious plaguing this city. Those in charge treat the citizens like they’re stupid and cannot make choices for themselves. We have a health commissioner, who none of us voted for, threaten the city with reimplementation of vaccine passports and mask mandates, based on a completely arbitrary metric of positive tests for a multi-season virus that has dwindled to nothing more than a seasonal flu. These are protocols that did not work to begin with and would end up with even more devastating outcomes than before. At this point, this is just straight up punishment for the people who have no control in completely eradicating a virus that cannot be gotten rid of. This is not science, this is malice. And I want to know who we have to talk to in order to get our complaints to the manager seriously heard.

And the worst part about this all is the health commissioner has the gall to speak on New Yorkers’ mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. There is not even a whisper of self-reflection or reading the room with these people. The policies in place can be directly connected and correlated to the astronomical rise in crime, worker shortage, and overall holding back of a once-thriving city. When you tell a people their only chance to “end this pandemic” is to get a vaccine, get a test, and wear a mask to prevent the spread, you have failed entirely to pretend like you’re a human. Those are robotic actions to take to feel well and safe in a population-dense city. They are gaslighting us into thinking cases matter and hospitalizations are “rising,” when the numbers are nowhere near pandemic levels of panic. Yet those with celebrity status are treated ‘equal’ while the mayor blows kisses at the dissenters while on his way to another high-profile event.

This city has chosen to remain a joke with clowns at the helm, and they feel content in punishing people for reasons I still don’t understand.

This scrutiny and discrimination has done a number on my private feelings, and there’s no better place for me to get them out. I have never once in my entire thirty-six years felt like this much of a target based on something that didn’t matter then, and certainly doesn’t matter now. I’m honestly not trying to complain about it, as I choose to remain here, but things have felt so obviously wrong lately, and I have nowhere I can turn without someone telling me it’s the right thing to do. My company requires me to get a rapid test every day before entering the building, meaning a swab of unknown origin goes in both nostrils before I even take my first sip of coffee. I have not been able to smell anything since being infected with this virus seven months ago, and I don’t know how much these swabs are deterring it from coming back. I also am required to wear a mask in the control room for three hours a day, while the option is given to my “fully-vaccinated colleagues” to remove it. My status was called into question when I refused to put one on, and I was not given any kind of reassurance that going to Human Resources for a written copy of this policy change would yield any results. So I’m stuck in this strange compliance stage of my life, all because I refused a medical procedure based on concerns about my reproductive health. Which is kind of ironic to think about as many blue states are reaffirming a woman’s right to choose on a completely seperate but equal issue.

It’s all so backwards and cruel and wrong and I honestly think it’s giving me an ulcer. And it’s even more disheartening when people go along with these everyday injustices that show no signs of stopping. I got snapped at at work the other day where I felt it was unwarranted, and it was made all the more ironic considering my face was the one covered up. My mask prevented me from speaking back, to say I didn’t feel that was called for, and it caused me to shut down for the rest of the work day. I felt invisible and all-too visible, and there’s no one in the work world I can speak to about it right now.

This is quite possibly the most miserable time in my life, although I have every comfort I could possibly ask for. I own a home. I make over six figures. I have the world’s cutest cat. I have everything going for me. And yet there’s one thing I’m constantly striving for that these circumstances are taking away from me: a place I can call home.

The rallying cry of the ‘right’ people online has become “Get out of cities.” And I’d love nothing more than to do that right now. But there’s still a fight in me here. Maybe it drives to the point that I really am a New Yorker at heart, though my soul will always be in New Jersey. Either way, I want to make sure this place is at its best quality before I go. I can’t just abandon a place that’s crying out for guidance and proper standards. I can’t just run away from the myriad testing tents I see every day, to which people justify them by saying “We need tests.” I know I alone can’t fix it, but I can at least do something. Maybe just presenting you the reality of what it’s like living as a singular woman in 2022’s New York City is enough for right now. It’s a unique perspective I’m not sure enough people talk about. I’ve been documenting a lot of it as I’m just so incredulous to the moment in time I’m currently living.

I’ll bring you on a tour sometime of my reality here in the city. A city I’ll always love, even if it’s not sure it loves me back.

ready or not, it’s gonna blow

This has been the worst news cycle of my life. Maybe all our lives, I don’t know. Certainly mine. All I know is nothing in my near fourteen years in a newsroom has even come close to topping this. Not the leadup to the 2012, 2016, or 2020 elections, not the botched Afghanistan withdrawal. Not the pandemic’s initial market volatility, not even the 45-minute cringe riot that was January 6th. Nope, war were declared back on February 23rd, and now that’s all my newsroom can focus on: One big explosion after another. Granted, we’re watching it from an economic standpoint and putting the focus on the price of energy, but it’s still exhausting when you’re constantly surrounded by several burning wildfires.

I know, I know, I’m supposed to care deeply and pledge my undying support based on the latest Twitter hashtag. I need to light a candle and pray that the outcome is the one they say it should be. I’ve been asked to set everything aside, forget we’re “still in a pandemic,” and watch one country invade another for reasons I still don’t fully understand.

But I can’t. Something in me just can’t feel anything other than a nascent sense of skepticism surrounding the entire process. I may not be able to smell the smoke, but I sure can see it. And I believe the fires are not coming from where they say they are.

I must admit I’m relatively ignorant in pinpointing exactly where all the tension began, but I do know it was long before current year 2022. The gas leak has been filling the mansion for a while, and it’s only now that the match has fully dragging across the striker. Either way, this is where we are right now, and we’ve just got to do our best to work around all the nonsense. Because there’s a lot of things going on that just don’t seem to add up to me.

Companies are pulling their businesses, banks are freezing services, Facebook says it’s now okay to call for violence on its plaform, long-standing ballet companies are changing names, The White House bringing in the TikTok influencers to give them talking points to share, and you better pour all that vodka you already paid for down the drain. Nevermind the other genocidal regimes who were committing atrocities long before this one broke out. Now they care. Now they take action to prevent further firestorms. Because it’s all going to help stop the already-lit powder keg from igniting, won’t it?

I’ve made it clear that I condemn war crimes, illegal invasions of countries, and loss of human life, regardless of who is holding the match. But that doesn’t seem to be good enough for some. Put the flag in your bio or you’re a war lord apologist. Say you denounce a certain person or else you’re just as genocidal as they are. I just don’t understand this all or-nothing approach. It just seems to be fanning the flames of division even further, when the messaging is all about shoving unity down our throats. I’m just feeling manipulated by all of it, and it’s sparking new anger within me. Because the moment I try and talk about how I feel, I just get shut down. I get called the “r*tard” for believing my lyin’ eyes. I’m the maniac who’d rather blow it all up rather than find comfort in the complacency. I can’t trust myself, I’m supposed to trust all those who insult me for reserving my skepticism about why all this is happening in the first place.

I don’t think anyone is right here. I just can’t see it that way. There are flaws in everything we experience. There’s right and there’s wrong. And right now, there’s just more wrong than right going on. It’s so hard to trust anything right now, even those I wish to trust more than anyone in the world. Maybe the answer is letting it all erupt and burn to the ground, only to rise stronger from the ashes. I’m not sure. But I do know I’ll keep my mind wide open on all of it, no matter what anyone else thinks.

I’ve always held a candle for the truth, and that’s all I want out of this. I don’t need the lies or emotional fallacies anymore. I want the truth. I want what’s real. I think we’re all due for that, regardless of where we stand or how many sticks of dynamite we’ve thrown at one another. Too much has been covered up for far too long, and what once could be swept under the rug now has a burning bright spotlight on it. Just like one can’t hide his or her feelings forever, the big bomb has no choice but to detonate.

But fear not. When all is said and done and we’ve recovered from the initial blast, we’ll all be standing together, stronger than ever before. That’s my hope, anyway. You won’t catch me lighting any fuses purposefully. I’m here to bring my own spark to the table, no matter what the news may bring.

anchors aweigh

There’s nowhere for me to turn. There’s no course I can chart that comes with an endpoint. Even if I did find a harbor, I fear no one would offer me safe haven if I asked. I am completely alone in all this primordial ooze.

And yet, I don’t feel lonely. Why is that?

Nothing is sticking in the old world anymore. We’ve exhausted all our options and tried everything we possibly could. The tactics the people once fell for are now being questioned at an alarming rate. And the powers that be can’t stand that it’s happening. They’ve sailed through life without a care in the world because they know the next move in order to stay on top. What I hope is happening is they’ve run out of third and fourth moves ahead, and they’re now just living incident to incident. It’ll get so overwhelming that there will be nowhere left for them to flee. The Hell they’ve created will end up swallowing them whole, sending them back to whatever depths they came from.

All of it is inevitable. You can see the signals from space at this point. And there’s a lingering stillness in the air which I fear is the eye of the storm. We have to batten down for one final shit-monsoon before we can emerge squeaky clean on the other side.

At least that’s what I hope. I’ve been wrong before, it seems. I have trouble telling what’s real and what’s not these days. And I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that. It all seems so futile, so unrelatable and weird, having to watch things unfold as they happen with no one who can turn the wheel and get us back on course.

It’s looking more and more like the only ones who can steer us toward the promised land are the people themselves. We won’t be truly free if we’re allowing others to make our choices for us. Unfortunately, I think that’s happening more than it’s not these days. And I just don’t know if it’s going to last forever. Usually I make hopeful predictions about the future but I’m pulling the brakes on that and instead finding comfort where I’m forced to tread water.

Either way, the end is coming soon. And I think if I felt lonely as I stand at the ship’s bow, then we’d be in trouble. It’s not that way. I’m just letting the spray of the sea wash over me, until the fog clears and I finally see land again. It’ll happen as long as I fix a position on my compass. I don’t have to have a plan. How can I when absolutely anything is possible in current year 2021?

yeah, fight the system

People are not commodities. We can’t just be picked up and thrown out like yesterday’s garbage. People have been doing that for centuries, disposing of those they find no longer necessary. Some even go as far as to take their physical life.

I say no more. I say we avoid that as much as we can. Treat others well. Treat ourselves well, first and foremost. Be aware of what you’re putting in your body. Move around. Be with one another. Never let another hurt another if you can help it.

And that includes you.

Later that eve, she arrived at her favorite neighborhood deli to pick up her order of one Philly cheesesteak and a diet Coke.

is this your floor

“So what’s the over under on Brian?” she asked me in the hallway.

“Who?” I asked, nervous about what conversation I was about to have.

“Laundrie. Brian Laundrie.”

“Oh,” I said, “I have no idea. I haven’t been following it.”

“Ah,” she said back. Then nothing. I thought it was about to be an awkward elevator ride up. I hadn’t seen this person in weeks and I couldn’t talk about the thing she wanted to talk about. It felt like a strange thing to even bring up at face-value, but I wasn’t all that surprised. We work in the news industry after all. I scrambled to find something else to talk about, but luckily a former co-worker saw me, waved, and walked over with her team. We all happened to be getting on the same elevator, and the first woman asked the new group the same question as we piled in. She was met with a huge response. “Oh, he’s dead!” “No! I bet you any money he’s in Mexico.” “But what about the human remains?” “I bet you he cut off his finger!” “Yeah, I think he’s dead.”

“I don’t,” I butted in. No one acknowledged.

I listened to the theories until we got to my floor, wishing I could contribute but knowing I may not have been heard. They broke off to another conversation about where the team was headed and what was next for the day ahead. It was quite an eventful trip if you think about it. But my floor was up. I said goodbye as I exited, unsure if anyone said it back. And as I walked back to my desk, it dawned on me that, for the first time, I didn’t need them to say anything back to me. They were having their own conversation and it was fine. They were all going their own way, I just happened to be there. I wasn’t an interruption. I wasn’t anything. We were all just there. And maybe, that’s how it’s always been.

I think a younger me would have dismissed their chatter as stupid, or somehow “going along with the crowd.” The case of Gabby Petito has gripped this nation, turning everyone into investigators hoping to blow this case wide open. As if they hit the button and the doors open, bringing down the perfect solution that descended from the top floor. While there will always be a part of me that doesn’t want to talk about what’s popular, this doesn’t mean what they talk about has no right to be spoken of. People will talk. They’ll ride to their own floors. They’ll have their conversations and I don’t have to be included in each and every single one of them.

But it’s got me wondering if I’ll actually ever be a party to one.

This feels like the weirdest time of my life. I know everyone is going through it right now, but there’s less and less people on my floor who want to go where I want to go. Sure, I’m there to discuss what’s hot in the news, but I’d love to talk about the deep, dark shit that’s only reserved for those closest to you. And it’s feeling less and less likely I’ll get that. I’m not sure what I did to close any of those doors, but as I get older, I’m starting to not care as much. It’s as if it’s all being left behind. I can walk in a group and be on the outside, not wishing someone would turn around and include me. I speak of solo missions a lot. Maybe it’s just time to hit the emergency break and stop riding a lift that’s honestly been going nowhere. I can move on all on my own, and for once, that doesn’t feel like a problem.

As I get older and “time is running out” so to speak, I’m trying to picture what directions my life could conceivably go. I still think I can do whatever makes me happy and create a comfortable living that way. There’s so many different levels I could visit, and there’s less of an urgency to make sure everything happens before I have to get back on the lift. It’s a nice feeling. But the one thing I cannot do is make someone care specifically about me. People are going to go their own way no matter what, so I have to reserve the idea that I could be alone from here on out. I don’t fear that. It actually clicked the other day as I crossed past my half-birthday. I’m on a ride that’s leaving with or without me, and even if I miss one elevator, another is usually on its way. There’s endless opportunities, worlds to be revealed as the doors open. I could be in a full car or just me and one other person. Maybe I’ve actually preferred being alone. No one can bother me, no one tries to make small talk. I can just be me and find other outlets to go deeper and not keep it all laying waste in a stalled car.

I’ll always want what I want, but can live with where my life takes me. You won’t hear any complaints from me anymore. Have fun. Do your own thing. Be detectives and discuss your theories. We’ve all got an invitation to the top floor at the end of it, anyway. But if you ever want to try to sneak away to gain roof access early, that’s certainly something we could talk about.

guys be like

Babe.

Hi.

::wave emoji::

Please don’t be mad at me.

I’ve missed you so much.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you.

Each day that goes by without you seems longer than the last.

It’s been torture not knowing where you are.

How you’re doing.

What you’re doing.

Who you’re doing.

::wink emoji::

I just want us to be us again.

I can’t stand not knowing who you are right now.

I want to see it first-hand.

I’ve wanted it for a very long time.

And I just don’t know how to tell you.

Tell me what I have to do to make us us again.

I want to hear it all.

From you and from your heart.

::heart emoji::

Please let me know.

I don’t want it to go out like this.

I promise I’ll always be there.

For you.

For us.

But I’ll understand if that’s not what you want.

I hope I’m wrong about that.

Until then, I’ll be waiting.

Until the end of time.

Because it’s been you.

It’s always been you.

And I just want you to know that.

So I’ll just be here, hoping and wishing and praying this comes to pass.

Because I’m there for you.

For us.

Forever and ever.

::eggplant emoji::

inside baseball on the trust network

I love my job. Okay, I like it a lot. All right, I’m just really, really good at it. Great. You got me. No, actually, everything is fine. I’m doing something I never dreamed I would do. I produce a morning show on a cable news network. Been doing it for almost three years at this point. It’s been a good time, I’ve learned a lot. It’s a good step in my career, and they’re giving me more and more responsibility to where I can really make a name for myself. While I don’t see a news path taking me to the end of my life, in an industry that potentially has no limits, any new method of journalism can come out of it. Right now, I’m up to bat and going with the flow in what’s becoming the most exciting news cycle in the last half-a-century.

I’ve had a good run,and I know the run’s not yet done. 

Today, I line produced the show, meaning I kept time for my host during segments, wrote the show teases and banners, and put together bumps with pop music that takes us to commercial break. The bumps are my favorite thing to produce. I just love choosing my favorite music and making all the songs match up with the stories I’m teasing. I played the John Mayer song “Gravity” after a tease about a satellite company. Not the most upbeat song for a morning show, but sounded beautiful against a set graphic I chose with the show logo against a view of Earth from space. I watched the show back when I got home from the office, carefully assessing each block I produced today. I played a lot of music, twelve songs in a three hour show means some really careful timing took place, just what I wanted on a Monday morning. And, surprising myself a little, I felt a bit emotional watching each and every bump, delighted at how they must have looked to the viewer, wondering if someone I wish would see my work actually saw what I’m capable of doing.

I’ve been feeling more pride in the work I do as I advance in my career. I don’t know where it’s taking me, but for the first time in my life, I am giving myself credit where credit is due. I’ve not had an easy time with myself these past thirty-five years. I never feel like I’m good enough at anything. It’s like I want to criticize myself after each strikeout instead of wondering what I could have done different. Or better. But what I’ve also always known, is that no matter what role I played or what position I took, these efforts cannot just come together based on one person alone.

There’s an entire team behind our final product, and not just on the editorial side. There’s the director, who engineers the visuals behind everything you see on air. He works with the music director on the cued songs, giving them enough room to breathe so we go to break on a perfect beat. The camera operators float the jib booms over the bump shot, knowing just how long to hold before switching to another set graphic. The tape director rolls cued up video at the director’s request. The graphics operators put up the song courtesies just at the right moment, to switch to a live bug over a bump shot of an affiliate’s towercam, which our tech manager scrolled up in the block before. And none of this happens unless my host and I agree that the block is coming to an end, so s/he listens to my time cues, and gets us out before we hit a hard break. It’s a well-oiled machine. A perfectly crafted diamond. And it relies on the three T’s: Teamwork, Talent, and Trust.

I used to trust easily. I thought everyone was my friend and I could tell anyone anything. It’s taken a lot of growing up find out that trust something that has to be earned, not just doled out by default. And I consider myself lucky; most people give me reasons to trust them fairly quickly. It’s not weird to think that everyone on your team is there to strike a common goal. But sometimes, it’s like I wouldn’t even trust myself to do a good job for myself. I don’t know where this crippling fear of success comes from, but it’s something I’m still trying to figure out. And as long as I keep having these little victories doing something I love to do, that trust in myself can only go up from here, right?

It’s getting other people to trust you is the difficult part. I’ve given people plenty of reasons to not want to even deal with me, and I’ll forever be really sorry about that. But maybe the more I trust that people are not out to hurt me, rather they’re out there to do their job first and foremost, maybe I can start turning that mirror around to myself more and more too. It’s not selfish to want to put the focus on you for a bit, and make sure you’re at the top of your game. If you can’t be your own best teammate first, how can you expect anymore players to join your ballclub?

It’s a push and pull. Frankly, I think if you stop thinking the whole world is against you, it probably won’t be anymore. There’s a lot of mind over matter, especially in an industry where you wield tremendous power to be responsible and tell the news like it is. No bluster, no filler, no editorializing. Just playing ball. Trust that the word you’re putting out is the correct one that can help us find solace and peace for once, not chaos and destruction. We’ve all built a pillar here that stands to crumble if we bring our bats and pitchforks to the stadium. I’m not about that. I’m learning to trust myself first to understand that I know what I’m doing more than I let on. Maybe I haven’t always done it perfectly and maybe my intuition hasn’t always gotten me what I wanted. But it’s at least let me get my head on straight before I go whacking a few dingers out into left field again.

The even keel is okay sometimes. The smooth and steady and the trust that people have your back as much as you have theirs. It’s its own comfort. And it stands to remain strong as America’s greatest pastime.

And if I trust the plan a little bit longer, maybe I’ll soon slide into home and find someone waiting for me, rather than someone who just wants to tag me out. Crazier things have happened at the old ballgame.

the age of making the grade

I’m thirty-five today. It’s okay if you didn’t know. It wasn’t that exciting of a day. I took off work and have just been lounging around the house. I slept in, ordered way too much Dunkin’ that I ended up refrigerating like an old lady, and watched the world go by. I did some work too, using my half-day at school to prep the trip I’m field producing next week. But in the grand scheme of things, today was just like any other day. I did get HBD messages from my friends and family, but it didn’t hit as hard for me this year. I’ve been treating myself like a thirty-five-year-old since 2021 began. If anyone asked how old I was, I’d answer, “I’ll be thirty-five in April.” So now that I’ve actually made it to graduation day, I wondered if I would start treating myself differently when I hit what I consider a milestone age.

And I think I just might.

There’s a lot going on right now. Too much, sometimes. We’re just a bunch of students carrying our already-full backpacks, huddling off to class to learn how literally every single human being on earth feels about something. We need to be prepared and taught how to speak with someone we may to meet who happens to meet certain criteria we’re told is absolutely necessary to know. Whether that’s race, gender, vaccination status, I mean, I don’t even know anymore, virginity? No matter what it is, everyone has to tell you absolutely everything about themselves these days. Some people cannot go one conversation without reaching for their encyclopedias and listing off all the problems that arose when that subject came up that one time. I went on Instagram for the first time in ages today, only to see a guy I used to work with posted about 4/20. “Smoke ’em if you got ’em!” he said, “Only don’t forget marijuana prohibition is racist and only serves to marginalize our most vulnerable. Hashtag, legalize it.”

I mean, holy jeez, way to make the chillest day all year sound heavy as f*ck. While what he wrote may actually be true to some extent, who in the star-studded hell asked for the reminder? Can’t you enjoy one thing without feeling the need to tell everyone how sucky it is for someone else? Whatever happened to just enjoying something and fighting the power when necessary? Is your schoolyard fight with the bullies really that never-ending?

Sorry, guys. I’m thirty-five today. I don’t have time to fight every single battle you think I should. I’ve got my own core curriculum to deal with. I’ve signed up for, like, so many classes this semester, I’m just too swamped to pour as much care into the same things you do. Not a slight on you, keep fighting the good fight, but do us all a favor and relax about it for a second. It can’t be good for our psyches to be this inflamed all the time. Never mind the added pressure of surviving a pandemic; quarantines, cabin fevers, and endless in-school-suspensions couldn’t possibly have done us any favors either.

I encourage people to learn about those who are different than they are. I think that’s a good thing we have these differences. At least it gives us something to talk about. But the hope is we approach these subjects respectfully. If you give respect, you’ll usually get it back. And if someone doesn’t play by those rules, you move on and find someone who will. It’s a lesson we learned all the way back in Kindergarten: treat others how you would want to be treated. It seems so lost on us lately, but weirdly understandable. After one-too-many late-night cram sessions, your brain can seriously turn to mush.

So I’ve done another year around the sun. Another year older, another year wiser. Or so they say. But I’m feeling good about it. There’s plenty of positivity out there looking for the proper lecture hall to speak. But we’ve really got to try working together, and not doing so under the threat of force. You’ve got to make people feel welcome in the group project, or else nothing is going to get done. And here in the good ol’ U.S.A., our back to school welcome wagon has taken some seriously weird and perverse turns as of late. But that’s not in the lesson plan until next week.

I wish I could wax poetic about the future right now, but I’m finding more and more how much I enjoy being in the moment: anticipating what’s on my agenda, but not forcing anything into a place it doesn’t belong. I’m just sitting here at my desk just being me. Thirty-five-year-old me. The girl who hated school growing up but never for a moment doubted its importance. And she’s ready to matriculate into the next chapter of her life, praying to God she discovers why she’s really here.

Though I am holding out hope that maybe one day I’ll be surprised by a note on my locker asking me to prom. Wouldn’t that make for the best birthday ever.

the necessary evil

I do feel like there’s an “us versus them” battle going on. Perhaps it’s something that’s been there since the dawn of time. Two sides of the aisle will always occur, and they’ll always find ways to be in conflict with one another. My idealism tells me that one day, those two sides will be able to work together in harmony. They will find a way to look past the differences, not squabble over nonsense, and locate the hinge points and find way to smooth out the dents together. The “versus” comes into play only sometimes, and is never the constant at the forefront. Differences occur, and they are resolved in unison, not unilaterally. I realize I could be describing a utopia to some, but I feel as though we as people always have the option of letting it play out this way.

We just choose not to.

And I’m starting to understand why.

In a fight, it makes perfect sense for you to want to back the side you’re on. You’ve collectively chosen your ‘general’ of sorts, someone you feel you can follow until the end. They’ve said enough to get you on board, their tenacious battle plans and execution of the formation lends you to believe they know the best strategy to lead us all to victory. It’s trust. It’s comfort, in a way. Someone else will shoulder the responsibility of the cause in which you so strongly believe in. And they do so with a smile on their face. They’re doing it to fight the evil on the other side of that portal to Hell. We fight with them, they just lead the way, and are happy to do so. It’s the path to righteousness as we all hope it would be.

But maybe they’re leading the charge right off a cliff. The door opens and we find we’re on a mountainside, with a thousand-foot drop the moment the door flies off the hinges. It’s a long way down. There’s nowhere to go but down. And as we fall, we notice Our Fearless Leader hovering above us, suspended in midair as they watch their loyal followers plummet to their deaths.

What went so wrong? Were we so blind as to follow a false prophet? Were we so desperate for an answer and a validation to our feelings we allowed a shyster to lead us off the beaten path?

Honestly, this has become a real possibility in my mind.

There are those in this life who I see and feel like I believe everything they tell me. They offer an explanation into my confusion and my queries about how the world really works. It often borders on trusting everything they tell me. I just don’t announce that to the internet. I take in what they say and go about my day. That is, if I don’t fall down a rabbit hole or two. But this unflinching trust I feel I have does tend to worry me. I barely trust myself not to order chocolate cake at 2AM on a Friday, how can I put my 100% trust into someone who is simply telling me information? I’m not sure. I still listen, but I reserve an eyebrow raise. I somehow put it into my head that this person is not leading me into salvation, and that they could have far more nefarious dealings on the backburner. It remains one option of many on the table. It’s the only way I feel I can protect all my bases, retain my own sense of self and keep from falling completely off the deep end.

And yet, something keeps me listening.

When I think of the evil ones among us, I tend to think they’re only on one side of the many dividing lines society has drawn for us. Pick one, I don’t care. There’s only evil on the other side. Not my side. Never my side. Except maybe probably definitely on my side too. Why wouldn’t there be? What makes me think I only pick the best and brightest? Why can’t I implement checks and balances for my own side?

I think there always needs to exist those who fall into the “necessity” category. They’re those who can be classified as evil or say and do heinous things. But if they didn’t make their presence known, we might never know they exist. We need to see all facets of humanity, the good, the bad, and the evil, in order to know what to avoid, where to step, who to follow, and who to dodge. I’d rather have the blind leading the blind instead of the evil overpowering the stupid. I hope I have enough sense in me to know when I’ve been duped. Luckily, my presence is so small and stealthy online I can grieve in silence at my own stupidity instead of requiring a public mea culpa to those I’ve helped lead astray.

At this point, I don’t even know if “one side” can “win” everything. All I know is I don’t need a heap of bodies at the base of the mountain. I just want the good to prevail. And good can’t exist without evil always waiting for its next opportunity to strike.

Is this just something we’re also going to have to learn to live with?

the freedom to create

It’s often said by some that we create our own realities. This is something I’ve been told since I was a kid. I never really understood it. Mostly I just assumed I had the power to control everything around me. But as I got older, I realized that wasn’t necessarily the case. It took a long time to figure out, and I mean a long time. Things began to morph from “I can control” to “I can create,” which is an important distinction. You can’t always control what happens to you. You can control how you react to what happens, though. And the theory goes, that if you strive for positivity and tranquility when life hands you a shit sandwich, things may begin to unfold for you as you wish they would.

So what happens when people’s realities all begin to line up?

No one can be 100% sure of what’s going to happen. If you try and tell me that something is going to happen with certainty, then please pick six lottery numbers for me to play. I’m nice, I may even share some of my winnings with you. But I can’t take someone seriously if they’re trying to tell me, with certainty, that an event will happen or that if I do X then Y will absolutely happen. I live in a grey area. I have no idea what will happen. Like I’ve said in previous posts, I’m operating under the assumption that anything is possible, even though not everything is probable. And so far, it’s worked for me (and unfortunately pissed off a lot of people along the way).

But then there’s this hope. This mad hope that exists. This thing I see in “my” reality of people calling upon the name of God as the one who is truly in charge here. He’s the one who has our backs, He’s the one who knows what’s going to happen. He just doesn’t tell us until we can see it ourselves. There’s this sweeping religious imagery keeps taking hold as we creep closer to Inauguration Day. Many say no, while others say yes. Some realities say to “trust the plan” while other realities tell you to “give it up.” Throughout it all, as it unfolds as it should, we’ve got some on both sides telling us to ignore our realities, ignore what we’ve built, ignore everything we’ve seen and everything we feel. And it’s the “feel” part that always gets me.

I’m a very feel-y person. My feelings are hard for me to put on a shelf, and it sometimes takes an act of God not to wear my heart on my sleeve. But although I can curb it when I need to, my reality is presenting a feeling that can no longer be ignored. We’ve heard the term “woke,” but I submit we’ve moved into present tense: awake. We’re all presented the same information from multiple different sources. We can’t argue the facts (even though we sure as hell try), we just digest them differently. But we’re all seeing the same thing essentially. And at this rate, enough people are seeing the same thing. They can see past the bullshit and watching the powers that be at work. Realities are colliding in the best way possible. We all know something is up, we just can’t put our collective finger on it. But maybe that’s how it’s designed. Maybe we’re not supposed to know. Maybe the feeling we’re helping create is enough.

All in all, the only thing I truly hope is that what I’ve created resonates with those who choose to follow me. I’ve had an internet following for over a decade at this point, with many who’ve stuck with me since the beginning. I don’t have all the answers, nor do I pretend to. I’d rather provide questions instead of answers to allow the discussions to come. That’s my reality: one where I’m the center of it all, where people approach me, ask for advice, then go. They enjoy the banter and the laughs along the way, but at the end of the day, I’m here alone. I sit in my chair, ever waiting. That’s not even something I created. That’s objective reality. I’m alone. But the feeling tells me that won’t be for long.

I know what is up and what is down. I don’t live in delusions, and I hope you don’t either. I just think the collective creation is something none of us can ignore. Maybe this really is how God speaks to us. He asks us to trust in him, not some man-made “plan.” The faith lies in the unexplainable, and maybe that’s enough for now. After all, they don’t call Him the Creator for nothing.