I’m overwhelmed by the number of things to fight for
Don’t try to tell me that we’re not gonna run out
Escape is unfulfilling but it warms the willing
— Only Living Witness frontman Jonah Jenkins
These words by Jonah have been running through my thoughts this morning as I quietly walk along the half empty streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, listening to a song from one of my favorite bands, Only Living Witness.
Simply contemplating a seemingly simple phrase is blowing my mind. I have been at war with my self over thoughts of conflict and serenity, inspiration and burn out, truth and deception. I find my self loosing sleep, drinking more than I usually do and this morning (after a night of no booze; need more of those ha ha) it all hit me like a ton of bricks…BOOM, inspired and electrified!
It is so easy to ignore and suppress what we are uncomfortable with or perhaps afraid to face in life. Escapism, apathy, “ignorance is bliss;” we are all guilty of it at one time or another. I am thinking lately it has infected me and made me swallow some of that feeling or unfeeling, as it were.
I can’t put my finger on it, but this morning’s realization has caused me to reflect and sit with my thoughts which, for me, is always the start of a period of sheer inspiration!
I think back when I was younger I walked around with a chip on my shoulder. I was a pretty “tuned in” teenager; I watched the news, I read a lot of books and even though my hormones were all over the place and girls occupied a lot of my thoughts, there was some thing else to it all.
I knew there was more than meets the eye with the way of this world, the lies we are told through the media, my own dissatisfaction with my life feeling misunderstood (as most teenagers do). I would look at my peers and wonder how we could all just go about our lives knowing so much messed up stuff was happening all over the world. I was a raw nerve ready to explode and thank God I found punk and hardcore music or rather, it found me (that’s another story altogether that may be told sooner or later).
I know you may say that is intense thinking for a teenager to feel that way, but believe it or not I wasn’t the only one. In fact, I guarantee there is a kid right now sitting in his or her room or on a street corner with pent up rage just waiting to be the next revolutionary, musician, artist, or activist.
There is still a part of me that has that raw energy bubbling under the surface but as I get older, the more I find I am seeking balance. I am unable to keep that anger or any emotion constantly in the forefront of my mind; it will enslave me and even stifle me. However, I know it will always be a part of me and I know some of you reading this know exactly what I mean.
I have been paying attention to what is going on in other countries, from Russia, Ukraine, Various countries in Africa (Liberia is pretty shocking), Israel and Palestine; the atrocities in Venezuela and Brazil; the far left and right protests in Sweden, North Korea and all of it’s insanity…the list goes on and on.
What strikes me even more is what goes on in this country on a large scale and that is straight up apathy, fed by a deceptive and agenda-ruled media.
I used to take strong stances on certain issues but I truly feel it has all changed. I find it hard to really get the whole story on everything. There is so much manipulation it is maddening (if you’re paying attention), but that doesn’t stop me from digging, learning and digesting. As a writer, at least I have a way to express my self and vent some of that frustration and I am so thankful for that.
That being said, recently, I have been going through a pretty rough patch in my personal life and I am now realizing it as I am coming out of it slowly. Anxiety and depression (as some of you know) is a familiar friend; I am constantly learning to control and work through it. I have to come to terms with how much I am effected by the world around me and the people I am surrounded by. It is so easy to slip into the mentality of seeking pleasure and escapism when you are dealing with it; intense mental states of mind, or on the road, away from home, in a band, or perhaps you have a tough and demanding job or maybe an unhealthy relationship or marriage.
The point is we have a choice on how we respond to situations. We have a choice on what path we go down, whether we maintain our course, change course or stop dead in our tracks. The hope I have for you (as I have learned much through all my trials and tribulations is to grow and adapt) is that you recognize harmful or unhealthy situations or people, or vice versa, and rise above it and make a change.
Sometimes, a small change in our life can open up a while new radical way of thinking thus transforming life as we know it. Some have called it a “Eureka” moment; Eureka, of course, coming from the ancient Greek word εὕρηκα heúrēka, meaning “I have found (it)”…in case you were wondering.
So how does this all tie in with this larger picture of the world abroad? It reminds me of words my 22-year-old self wrote “Building a revolution to heal the nations, It starts within you.”
It only takes a spark to set off a fire! I’m not saying start a full-on revolution, I’m saying it could be as simple as making a conscious decision to free yourself from a damaging situation or person or kick a bad habit. Don’t take the easy road by numbing yourself or settling because you are afraid of conflict. Fear is a friend and an enemy; it makes us blind and apathetic but it also inspires us to be aware and determined to fight and overcome! Then and only then will you be able to achieve greatness or inspire others to do so.
You can not escape this life, your life, the world around you, your situation. You can run but you can not hide, because eventually, things catch up to you.
This article is a “note to self,” in a way, but of course, having an outlet and people who thankfully care about what I have to say, I had to share it with all of you. My hope is it inspires something positive within you! Life is too precious to waste escaping, running, numbing or suppressing who you are and how you feel! The more you allow yourself to grow and experience pain, anger, and frustration the joy, satisfaction and peace of mind will come.
This balance is key to us as humans we need those hard times to create good times and visa versa. It is unrealistic to think life is easy, if it is then you may be missing the point. If you are comfortable in life, perhaps challenge yourself to step outside of that “comfort zone” and look outside of yourself to the world around you. It is not about YOU it is about US. People can change and reform themselves by the power of positive thinking, the power of God or sheer determination.
“Either you’re a part of the solution or a part of the problem.”
— Eldridge Cleaver (an interesting character indeed but a GREAT quote nonetheless)
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