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Saturday, March 2, 2024

It's been a Bit of Everything

Credit where credit is due. And I do believe that it’s better that I do this sooner rather than later.

I’m an artist. I love art. I love artists. And I would be lying if I said I owe it all to myself to have the wonderful life that I do now. It may not be as flashy as others, but it sure is filled with art.

Although I’ve always been quite critical and selective, that hasn’t closed me off from considering and integrating from others what could resonate with me in essence and continue to elaborate on it. Yes, I’ve been wary of being too impressionable, but you should also be wary of being too stubborn. As artists and other great individuals can expand your horizons and enrich your worldview. Possibly also help you in very practical ways on your path - artistic or otherwise. Art cleanses, mends, patches, uplifts, and empowers.

With that said, some of the major influences on my journey include these iconic people:

Yes, I did have a boyband craze phase. And no, I’m not even ashamed of it. These guys are amazing. They’re sweet, funny, witty, and overall lovable along with being talented and skilled at what they do. They are a part of what made my childhood so good and the driving force for me to learn English sooner rather than later (sometimes being obsessed with stars yields benefits). Obsessed with their choreographies and trying to go along with them too. And not sorry to say that my one and only celebrity crush, in which they didn’t even know I existed, was Lance Bass. Other celebrities, I’ve liked you but not that crazily.

He is quite the problematic character, ain’t he? I might never be fully sure how seriously he should be taken, but I’ve always appreciated how he exposed hypocrisy and vanity in others, as well as how shamelessly crass (& gross) he could be. Why? It’s quite raw. Could relate to his inability to nicely tolerate people for long, too. How he would make up characters and enact horrible or just terrible behaviors with them is something I found genius and worthwhile. I wanna see this side of life too and it’s best brought to light.

 Linkin Park
I worry about the generations growing up without these guys. And it still pains me that Chester Bennington is gone. But at least there’s still his legacy and the rest of the band around. Their work made me think and feel beyond what I otherwise would. To further question myself and all around me. To better spot injustices and lack of integrity. All while being hardcore badasses that could rock the world. It also offered solace and guidance for times I felt lost and alone as someone who didn’t quite fit in. And frankly, didn’t want to either.

 My Chemical Romance
Sometimes you hit rock bottom, and you’re so sick and done with everything that you can barely get up, let alone strive for much. And who’s there when that happens? Someone who gets it because they are or have been there too. You may joke about how “nobody understands me” is such an emo line, but there’s some truth in it. There are things you can only grasp when you go into and dwell in darkness. Then you’re so thoroughly unimpressed by all the shallow and trivial things that most others seem to care about. And somebody has to tell them that they ain’t that special. I needed this band during my worst years and I’m fortunate it was there. Excuse me as I sort myself into the emo faction, where some of the most wise and compassionate ride-or-dies are. (Hey, as a new generation of emos arises, we now have a new name: The Elder Emos.)

 Within Temptation
At some point, it all became too much for me to bear and I was saved. Yes, there is a reason why I so viscerally despise the phrase “nobody is coming to save you”. Because, taken out of context, not only is it pessimistic and excuses indifference, but it is also factually incorrect (you don’t know that). I was saved and I continue to be saved in different degrees. And try to be there for others as well. Somebody I literally owe my life to introduced me further to these glorious metalheads and they became the epic soundtrack of the soul-searching I was due for. Their music isn’t only insightful but also charges your spirit up so it won’t die, crushed under the weight of a meaningless reality. And don’t even get me started about symbolism!

 Taylor Swift
Well, this is an unexpected turn of events. I didn’t expect to like her this much, but then I did. After being sapped of my innocence and along it my sense of wonder, it was pleasant to see it still existed somewhere. Though, at first, I could resent it (how dare she have the support and safety I lacked), it eventually swept over me, instead bringing a valuable message: kindness is extremely important and love doesn’t have to be taboo or even a myth. I’ll indulge in her stories, whether because they’re relatable or because they show how it could have been different. Also, let’s not forget how resilient she’s been. Not to undermine others who have endured much, but she did have to face and overcome what was probably the worst time to be a popular topic - whether that accomplishment can be attributed to how cared for she’s been or not, it is quite the feat. And that I’ll forever applaud.

Now, as I moved on to more commitedly making content, I inevitably came across:

 Mr. Beast
This freakin’ kid is putting adults to shame. And you could argue that his deeds are only for the clicks, views, and follows, as they proved to work for him. But they’re still deeds that are helping others. I imagine he can just fan himself with all the money he makes despite - or because of - the controversy he causes whenever he does something that seems too good to be true. Not to mention all the fun he seems to be having while putting himself in different situations for his content. Hence, I’m not concerned… I don’t know him personally so I can’t speak much against or in his favor, but I’m glad he is at the top of the game, moving money around and actually getting stuff done. It made the whole scene more tolerable for me. And while I will not rival him, I too want to contribute to making the world better.

And yet, I believe everything would have been so much harder or even impossible if it wasn’t for the existence of:

Been a customer since the first day I could be. It has saved me money, time, and effort as well as opened up possibilities for me to pursue my interests beyond what I had available around me. It is a relief to know that whatever I need or want I can quickly and easily find in that store without fearing something will go wrong. I can enjoy wandering out and browsing local stores, but the convenience of online shopping is undeniable. Some of the Prime Video originals have been heaven-sent, too. And all the books made accessible, no matter how niche, have been a blessing to me. I still aspire to sell digital and physical products through it and I’m thankful that they facilitate that and more. Kudos to Jeff Bezos for what he’s built and what he shares.

I still wonder what really possessed Elon Musk to take on the challenge of championing the (seemingly lost) cause of free speech, but regardless, it benefits me. Even while I’m not doing much with the paths he’s opening up for truth-seekers and truth-tellers, it is alleviating. The way things were going, I could have been forced out of what lets me breathe. Maybe spiraled down into oblivion. I can only go against the current so much before drowning in it. And I’m sure that’s also the case for plenty of others. With the whole ordeal, many have been showing their true colors and it can be disappointing and discouraging, but also comforting as those who also honor truth, as uncomfortable as it can be to get to it and find it, come out from hiding and join in. I stand for it in part because, to me, without it, art wouldn’t be the same.

Last but not least:

||| I’d be so thoroughly damaged still if it wasn’t for the people who, despite having little to no incentive to do so besides being purposeful, have devoted themselves to helping others heal and grow. Spotting and tending to wounds they, themselves, didn’t cause. You can be quite a pain, but a worthwhile one at that. Your dedication to see it all through, even when it is hard and difficult, is rare these days and I wish you get back as much as you give out and more because you deserve it. Addressing everything from the environment to what makes us human at our core, respecting and embracing nature while cutting through illusions. Your attention to detail is unparalleled and it is fundamental for a diverse and inclusive ecosystem where more organisms can thrive and not succumb or perish by the force of the less symbiotic ones. I hope you are always around and I’ll do my best to shelter and promote you whenever I can and you require me to. Please never give up! It may not seem like it, but you all are miracle workers.