Forever Hold Your Peace

“Among those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress.” -Napoleon Bonaparte

It’s a form of oppression to tell someone that if they have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I do not understand when the sensitivity of the masses dictated whether or not I can have an opinion became the norm. I am not an outwardly malicious person, but I am honest. And I honestly think some hairstyles are ugly and some outfits make you look fat. And there is absolutely no reason to tell a child who is not the best that they are the best. A false sense of security will harm someone more than growing a thicker skin and working harder.

This generation is the master of participation awards. When little Jimmy came in last place because he was the worst player, he should take the constructive criticism and practice harder. Failing is good for character and for innovation and improvement. Not many succeed in their first try. But if we keep telling each other that trying was good enough, then we are creating a generation that is merely “good enough”.

We are trapped in a world of formalities and wondering if we offended anyone in the room. We are too politically correct, and we tip-toe around every topic. It’s common knowledge to not talk about religion, politics, etc, at social gatherings. But why? We are afraid to argue and to offend. I would personally love to attack someone’s political beliefs at a party, because then they are forced to defend their opinion, or god forbid learn to understand someone else’s adverse views. Arguing is healthy, opposing opinions are healthy. It allows new ideas to be formed. In fact, our entire social and political system can be based all the way back to Socrates when he questioned a common passerby in the Greek Agora about any and anything under the sun–and didn’t hesitate to tell people they were wrong or disagreed. He incited change and individuality. Now, none of us share adverse opinions, we can agree on that, yet whenever we voice out separatism, it’s taboo and rude. So we’re taught to give everyone an A for effort and swallow our “impolite” comments. It’s an autocratic principle in a society who prides themselves on being unapologetically themselves.


Oh Baby

“I believe that sex is one of the most beautiful, natural, wholesome things that money can buy.”          -Steve Martin

It’s not uncommon to say you would do anything for money. The uncommon part is actually doing anything for money. It’s the same story: young women struggling to pay for college, let alone pay for drinks or cute outfits so they can hangout with their friends. It’s easy to forget how expensive a social life can be, when you can afford it. It is almost impossible to forget when you cringe every time you spend even a mere three dollars on a sandwich. That knowing ache in your stomach when you have to tell your friends you are busy when you just can’t afford a cab fare to hangout with them. Life is hard when you’re young and working for everything you have. Then wham someone tells you about being a sugar baby. What is a sugar baby? You’re young, beautiful, fun and smart—now you hear that you can charge people to be in your presence. And they will pay. Upon my research into some common sugar baby connections websites, the average pay for a single date is $500. You are only required to go to dinner and be a nice companion. Combine that with the aching desire to have an open bar tab to treat your friends for once, and it’s a recipe for a life-changing decision. And there is no lack of old, rich men just itching to treat you. Maybe this seems a little weird, but it gets weirder.

If the arrangement simply ended at paying a young girl to go on a date, people may think twice, but it’s not that alarming. But these women who are in the mind set of doing anything for cash and vulnerable to the men that have the cash, are at risk of falling into a deep hole. It only takes the offer of maybe $2,000 to take the relationship to the next step. Not only is prostitution illegal, but it’s sad to know how popular high class prostitution is becoming. I am a college student and I know it’s not uncommon among my age group. Times are changing but I think it’s important to understand the difference between sexual empowerment and selling yourself. Blurry lines never result in a happy ending.



“Exotic dancers, your instant key to a blissful vacation of the moment.” -Wayne Chirisa

I was a smoker, and I somehow still found myself fighting the urge to cough by the amount of putrid smells and impure air. Clearly the stage people here did not get the memo that fogging the place up makes the ratings go from classy to trashy– and quick. Then again, the cheap colognes and perfumes coming from the girls and their customers didn’t help. I felt like I just walked into a Tarantino movie.

Allowing my lungs to get adjusted, I looked for a front row seat. The arrangement of seats was clearly planned. The options were set up in what I saw as layers. The first layer was around the stage, relatively close, for those who were overzealous and over ready for a lap dance. Or in my case, ready to take notes, though I would not turn down getting up close and personal with a beautiful woman. (I’m straight, it’s research). I assumed this was not the first show that the people in the first row had been too. I doubted the number of visits was under 100 by the way they loosened their ties and sat back, as if they were relaxing into a regular routine. You could also find an occasional group of horny 18 year old boys celebrating a birthday with wads of one dollar bills. Peeling back to the second layer, there were scattered tables. I think these were for the people who thought they were too good to go to a strip club, so they started by looking at everything but the dancers. I imagine they were discussing the recent stock numbers and what Kim from Accounting wore to the last meeting until they got drunk enough to admit they aren’t getting any from their wives and turned around to see the dancers. The last tier was the stools at the bar. They came alone for the most part and just drank and watched the dancers gyrate from a more than safe distance. I truly did not understand their reasoning for choosing this club over the everyday bar— and didn’t plan on asking. It’s worth noting that all but one of my fellow customers were men. I drew a few eyes, as if a woman appreciating this form of performance art was strange. I understand why, but it did nothing to ease the anger brewing form the clear prejudice. Until I realized I had just judged them for the same reason. Two wrongs definitely don’t make a right, they make it awkward.

Upon my second visit to the club, I found the courage to talk to one of the other patrons. He seemed like an easy target: alone, drunk and already leering at my miniskirt. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t on purpose. I didn’t beat around the bush, I questioned his reasoning for being there. Cameron Hemmings, my new friend, stated, “It’s obvious. Not your business. I do like the price of drinks and there’s nothing wrong with it.” Not the response I was hoping for, but one that I was totally expecting. My fingers had been crossed that the miniskirt would do the trick but not quite. I guess people weren’t forthcoming with things they were ashamed of, surprise surprise. That was the closest I figured I was going to get to an interview that night, so I moved on quickly.

Just as I saw the stage and the fog as a fixture in the atmosphere of the place, the manager was just another part of the club. I compared him to furniture in my head. His name is Ricky and his hair looked like Pauly D’s form the Jersey Shore, but that is where the similarities ended. He was only overweight between his sternum and button of his pants. His shoes were as shiny as his hair and over white teeth. His thin lips and average face made him seem like one of those sex offenders that no one accuses but isn’t surprised when they’re arrested. At our first meeting, my friend Morgan had my back and we easily convinced him my project was legit. A little flattery will get you anywhere, but I knew that when I mentioned I might one day want to interview him, I was lying. There was no way I was going anywhere alone with him.

The girls were kind, even when I could tell I was in the way when we were backstage. A few of them, Jen, Yvette, Kristi and Lizzie, were the first ones I introduced myself too. I asked Lizzie if she would tell me about the facilities from her point of view. She shot back, “Well, the shit here (backstage) is small. I have no room for all my makeup.” I immediately liked her. She also told me she used her real name because, “I have nothing to hide. It’s not like they can take a picture of me and won’t recognize my face, they’re not looking (at my face).” I ran out of time to interview the girls when they had to start getting ready, but I did get to do Jen’s eye makeup. Lizzie was right, there wasn’t enough room for the amount of makeup they all had. The set up was just a dinky long table with chairs in front. The girls had to bring their own mirrors and supplies. They were surprisingly playing Bon Iver. I asked about the music choice, expecting a meaningful answer about finding their center before they went to perform but they all just looked at me funny and said because they liked it.

I walked back out to the main area to watch them dance from the front row again. I realized that the name strip club is completely misinforming, seeing as very few strip. They simply walk out in just their skimpy lingerie. Some leave it on, others take a piece or two off but for the most part they walk in as they walk out, missing the key “stripping” ingredient. I winked at Lizzie and stood up to leave after a little while, having had enough of the dense air and thick, blaring music.



I’m Back

I’ve been away for quite a while, mostly due to issues with domain ownership (yada yada) but now that I’m finally back, I am decidedly changing things up. I used to write more so in the form of rants and streams of consciousness and I realize this only entertains a small percentage of topics that can be discussed. I am hoping to write more articles about various hot topics (still taking requests) and post photography and art that I come across in my adventures. I am trying to get back to the amount of comments I got while I was away, which was over 5,000 so thank you!




“Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, “It might have been.”- Kurt Vonnegut

There is no worse feeling than knowing you could have done something better, something different. You could have avoided the situation you so desperately hate. A similar feeling to disappointment but a conundrum since the displeasure is towards yourself. Not a misdirected sentiment, simply one that is hard to forget. It sits there in the pit of your stomach, constantly nagging. It creeps out of your subconscious and manifests until it actually hurts. It hurts to know you messed up. And while it is easy to understand that you will learn from that mistake, that doesn’t mean you stop paying for that mistake. I continue to pay the most burdening of taxes everyday when my regrets creep into my thoughts. And as easy as it is to say “No Ragrets”, I fear I will never have to ability to take my finger off the trigger that is my past.



An Infinite Battle

“It is in our nature to destroy what we create.” –Paul Kramer

Human nature is a conundrum. The strangest thins will bring us together and then turn us around and rip us apart.

For example, music. When at a concert, personal space blurs, thousands dance the same beat, and there is certain camaraderie. Yet the next day someone makes fun of your favorite band. Personally I would get offended and an argument ensues. Two different situations involving the same topic evoke such different reactions.

The same goes for war. Take World War II, a war that brought everyone together. Business boomed, women entered the work force without opposition, people stood together against the enemy. We sacrificed brothers, fathers and husbands for the greater good of the people, no questions asked. Fast forward 30 years to the Vietnam War that tore families, governments apart. The same idea applies, but it is met with different reactions.

Religion even falls into this category. One American family reads the Bible and goes to church. Another American family reads the Bible and protests a soldier’s funeral. One Iraqi family reads the Qur’an and journeys to Mecca. Another Iraqi family reads the Qur’an and journeys into the twin towers.

Human nature destroys and then rebuilds, endlessly fighting itself, ignorant to the lack of a winner in this useless battle.


Ignorance is Bliss

“Living is easy with eyes closed.” –John Lennon

In my English class today, we had to discuss the response to a thought-provoking idea: why are people becoming happier? When we first saw this question, other students chortled from their high-horses at the simplicity of the answer: life is just better. But I laughed for a different reason, being that I didn’t believe the quote.

Where was this study taken? My school or people in the real world? Because from my point of view, the world is not becoming happier. We have more social issues and disasters and wars and death than ever before. I never thought of myself as the person to be overly emotional and motherly, yet I still weep for the suffering people and the people who are too ignorant to notice this devastation.

Whether the media or our parents are at fault, it doesn’t matter. The bottom line is that our generation ignores these terrible crimes against humanity. It is pathetic that only 1/20 people would even be able to tell me one valid current event.

But before I fall into this ignorant category right with them, let’s look at their perspective. They simply don’t care because it doesn’t affect them and they couldn’t do anything about it even if they wanted too. I get that, I really do, but it doesn’t mean I want to accept it. We should educate instead of accepting ignorance. If we were to educate, maybe we would get a better answer to why we’re happier: we choose to cut out sadness when it’s unnecessary.

We ignore sad situations because the pain they entail is overwhelming, but we must imagine being on the other side. Imagine being the one ignored in your darkest hour on a clock that never ticks, frozen, alone. That recipe, my friends, is intelligence, a little empathy and a dash of perspective.



Why do you have to be a nonconformist like everybody else?” -James Thurber

I don’t understand our generation. We’ve all heard the term “hipster” and know it means the kids who are just way too cool to associate. But I question the validity of the competition in the first place. I catch glimpses of people my age grappling for the most maturity, caring the least, being the coolest, more intelligent, etc. But if we’re advocating to be ourselves, then why do we struggle towards the same goal? I see it every day; the battle not only with others but within ourselves to become this person that defies all societal norms. Pop culture’s influence became so terrible for us that to compensate, we have pushed ourselves to become “different.” The problem lies within the essence of this goal. We are still aiming to be something, so we lose sight of ourselves. Everyone is different, everyone is unique; we mustn’t force upon ourselves this image of what we should be. Our current status of overcompensation to not fit in is nearly as appalling as the previous push to fit in.

I liken this to a story. My art teacher had been discussing his younger art students. He had a challenge for them one day. They had to scatter themselves about the room and sketch an image of their interpretation of their personality. They were not allowed to look at anyone else’s. He had fantastic results full of color and life and true individuality. His later class of kids the same age had a different challenge. The students stayed in their seats next to their friends and had the same assignment. My teacher saw that the pictures and colors were similar, yet the projects were more extreme. Where there was a flower in the first class, there was a meadow of intricate daisies in the second.

The dilemma of the lack of eccentricity is alarming, but we also look to the idea that competition is our world now. And to fall into the category of optimist, maybe competition will lead to enhanced products. To fall into the category of pessimist, maybe competition will lead to a hostile human race. Or to even fall into the category of realist, maybe competition destines this beautiful world to dull monotony.


All By By Lonesome

For the life of me, I cannot remember where I heard the words that have affected me in recent months. It went something like: if you’re not fun enough to have a good time alone, you need to reevaluate. This, for some reason, resonates with me. I feel as if our generation is obsessed with love and being loved. To never have to be alone. To always have someone to cuddle with or talk too. To go to giant parties with all of your closest strangers. When in reality, you should all be content to be by yourself. We talk of these great plans to go on vacation with our best friends, or to travel the world with the love of your life. I am the only true love of my life. I am my own best friend. No one else will ever have identical music taste. No one else will ever have the same favorite movie. No one else knows what I think. I smile to myself on a regular basis. I dance in front of my mirror.

So I challenge everyone, to simply hangout with you. If you don’t think you’re cool or fun enough to hang out with you, no one else will either. So instead of calling someone in your contact list on your next lonely night, turn on your favorite song and put on your raddest outfit for the best one-man party around.


Question Love

I believe in love. But I also believe that there is more gray area than we assume at first glance. From my experience and observations, I have come to the conclusion that there are three types of love: falling in love with someone else’s personality, falling in love with the idea of love, and falling in love with how someone makes you feel.

The first is the traditional, together forever bullshit from romantic comedies. This is where my suspicion rears its ugly head. How can someone fall in love with another’s personality? You can never know for sure what is going on in their head. Also, thinking of this as a scientific equation (romantic huh?), we have to look at the fact that there are 7 billion people in the world. Even “unique” mannerisms that we find so endearing are probably repeated once or twice. So when people say that there is “one true love”, they are scientifically incorrect. And for that matter, there’s the theory that you can fall in love with anyone as long as they let you see the real them. But hmm let’s see here, my cat doesn’t hide anything from me, does that mean I could fall in love with her? Where’s my Macklemore “Same Love” for that situation?

The next is the cliché that I have absolutely no experience with. I’m honestly curious how someone could fall in love with the idea of love when we have grown up to learn that it hurts no matter how romantic. I am definitely a hopeless romantic; don’t get me wrong, it’s just that I also want to protect my heart fiercely. It’s like wearing a condom over my heart while I’m dating. Efficient right? I recommend this. Falling in love with the idea of love is not a smart idea, you’re only going to hurt yourself, because there is virtually no other participant in this love story.

The last is the one we have all cried into our pillow over. If you say you haven’t, you’re lying. The single worst feeling in the world is wondering why you aren’t good enough. But here’s the kicker, you never had this feeling before this significant other came into your life. He/she made you feel amazing and when he/she left you’re not mourning the loss of the relationship, you’re mourning the loss of feeling amazing. Now you feel as if you’re not good enough. But the only thing that changed over the situation was the other person, you were always amazing. That’s why I think before you fall in love with anyone for real, you have to fall in love with yourself, because they are probably the only one that will ever truly understand your messed up mind.

I am not a cynic; I am a hopeless romantic with a realistic edge. Don’t bury your head in Nicolas Sparks, question what love actually entails.