Animated Change

wallup.netPhoto From: 5 Centimeters per second.

It was the 1980’s, a time of great change in music, movies, and media. You see, up to that point, this small art style coming out of Japan was starting to make headway with western audiences.  An older generation appreciating the art from the 50’s and 60’s huddled together at small expos and cons to collect as much of this foreign delicacy as they could. What they didn’t know is that a few short years this would all change, and change quickly.

The first change came fast, a new popular show called Sailor moon came out with a roar, bringing young girls flocking for more from animators across the sea. It was such a hit that the transition period between the old and the new felt more like a crash than a movement. Gradually as the 90’s pressed on Americans were introduced to a variety of styles, artists, genres, and stories never seen on home TVs.  These pieces of Anime as is was called presented new ideas and spun the idea of exactly what show could be like. Shows that weren’t afraid to tell a story where the hero dies at the end, where the send-off is bittersweet, and you’re forced to think about yourself and the world around you a little bit differently. Masters of their craft illuminate the halls of an art form that continues to shift and changes with each passing year. New stories are being told, new artforms being discovered, and new people finding this glorious cacophony of beautiful minutes shared across millions around the world.

Why am I telling you all this?

I discovered Anime a little over 12 years ago.  One night, sitting quietly in a room watching a marathon of a show I have never seen before got me hooked.  A show about a soul reaper and a boy with the power to see the dead.  It was easy enough to pick up, even read, and that’s saying something from a boy who never read.  It consumed me and held me it’s magical embrace, so when the opportunity arose I went to my first convention and I hadn’t looked back since. It has a staple of my early July, more regular than my schooling and in some way connects me to the craft I grew to love.

This year demarks my tenth year of going to Anime Expo, and something is different this time.  Year after year, as I’ve gotten older a little less comes with me each time enter those grand halls.
Sometimes it’s friends, I’ve seen my fair share move forward and on from the con.
Sometimes it shows, I’ll feel a little more out of touch with what people are excited about.
Recently it’s been the focus,  what everyone seems to want and buy there doesn’t interest me as much anymore.  It could be from the familiarity from many years attending but it all feels repetitive, distant.

It’s a combination of all these things that makes going back a little bit harder each year. This by no means is it a bad convention. It’s a great convention, with some growing pains but people still get excited about all the new and wonderful things they are experiencing. It’s just me, I’m changing, and my relationship to the fandom is different now.  Like an old man coming back to a schoolyard years after he graduated, it’s more reminiscent of times past than times present.  Things have changed, people have changed, places have changed as they should. It has to adapt to the people it’s still serving, long after we make use of it.  But is it my time to graduate, to move forward onto something new? It’s this conflict that weighs heavy in my heart. When I leave, it may not be forever, but if I ever return it will be different, for different reasons and a different me.

This fight with my personal obsolescence hits me because this con is part of me, my childhood and adolescence.  Giving it up means part of me has changed, that young kid inside though always with me is pushing me forward beyond him.  He’s telling me to let go and find my next adventure.  Let go and choose a new path beyond, whatever it may be. Live life with these memories as wings on my back, not as a tether around my neck.

It’s hard to give up and put away these things.  Truthfully, I will always read manga, and watch anime as its part of who I am now. But I have to pursue my next adventure.

Thank you Anime Expo, for all that you are. You helped introduce me to the heroes who showed me how to give it all I got, no matter the odds.

 

The World In The Life Of A Guy: Part 11 – Talk And Listen and Lessons On Intention

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It’s easy to imagine the difference between how men and women talk to one another.  It’s thought that men speak directly, get straight to the point and don’t mince words with one another. Whereas women, speak more, and in a less straight to the point manner, but in a way that will explain the whole circumstance and scenario.  The strange thing is the thing I learned from one of my psychology professors in my undergrad, that men and women speak the same amount as one another.
How is that possible though, if men are so “direct” than how is it that we talk about the same amount as women.  I am probably not a good example of this because I talk too much but where there do these extra words go and what exactly do we talk about? In my experience, a lot of the same things, the same worries about the future, and personal interests.
There is, however, a disconnect between these words and who we talk to.  Men talk to women more than they will talk to other men and are more willing to reveal personal information to women.  The strange thing is that this paradigm doesn’t work both ways, women talk to other women about personal things.  I think this has bothered my a lot of my life, being left out of these conversations by my mom, sisters, and female friends.  With my love of people, I am always fascinated by the comings, going and stories of others, but I am at times restricted because of the nature of these paradigms. I think it’s also that we let men off the hook when it comes to emotions, never giving the chance to find that emotional outlet through works or expression, leading conversations of that sort to be taboo or considered a nuisance which also points to the difference in the way we speak to each other.
Why is that, why is there such a divide? I think for guys, we are looking for the point, the reason for the story. We tell stories to make a point about something and are taught to do it this way as a mechanism to save everyone’s time and effort. Where for women, the point is the story itself, the way it twists and turns, there may not be a problem to resolve but this something conveyed by the story that would lose it impacts if it was not told. This becomes a problem when these two types of speaking mix. When women talk to men, men lose themselves in the story because they are looking for the singular purpose, and women start to feel like they aren’t being listened to because men will give up after a time of not finding what they want.  Men talking to women, women feel as though they are not conveying the feelings or the full extent of the story, just the highlighted details which are not enough to get the full picture, and men get frustrated after the story is told and women ask for more.  All and all, it can be frustrating to talk when it appears that the other person isn’t on the same page as you.
There is a benefit to both of these types of speech and are useful in their own ways, but it’s essential for us to bridge the gap, learn each other’s language and be patient with how the other person speaks.  We learn and find ways to communicate in this world and though we are different, we can celebrate our differences, especially because it allows us to get a different perspective on the world.  Coming together and communcating is what gives us a leg up in this crazy world of ours, so lets talk.

The World In The Life Of A Guy – Part 8 -Growing Pains

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I’ve been told my entire life that guys mature much slower than girls, that we as a couple steps behind in growth and willingness to accept responsibility for things.  I’m tired of hearing it as often as I do but maybe it’s true, that we don’t mature like girls do.

I think part of the problem is the level of expectation for men to mature tends to be a bit delayed in general.  Girls, by the time they are teenagers and already going through puberty, are expected to bear the responsibility that growing up female entails, both body and mind wise.  Where as guys, even though we grow and go through puberty later, they are treated as if the changes are only sometimes cosmetic. Through our actions carry more weight we are not treated to the same standard, partially because what I had brought up last month about the level of fear for men and women deal with and the need for girls protect themselves from the dangers of the world. I think it’s this lack of responsibility for oneself creates a situation where men fall behind women in this area.

If you learn anything from these posts is that I believe that there really shouldn’t be a huge difference between men and women in how they are treated and are accountable for.  There is though a sort of necessity for women that doesn’t appear in men. The need to settle down. By far, I am not saying this is something intrinsic to women, there are a lot of social and cultural pressures for women to marry earlier than men, to have children sooner than men, and to generally have their life together sooner than men. Why is that a burden placed on only one of the sexes? Why can’t both either worry or not worry? Be told they are too old or their clock is ticking.
I am figuring part of the reason being is because of the timing of it all. For men, they still have the ability to have children later, and in some ways are suppose to be established before doing so. This doesn’t necessarily happen but once children are involved, people, for the most part, turn their attention to providing or settling down.

There is also the idea that is a bit ingrained into the minds of young men to sow their wild oats before settling down.  To let all the craziness out before deciding on something. This isn’t a bad philosophy, I think people should really try and live the life they want especially when the amount of responsibility is negligible.  Girls don’t get that message though, they are always told to be protective, not to go wild by to stay in control.  They are told that they need to be looking for that next step, working towards it because they only have a limited time. Both have their own benefits and drawbacks, but again they should be closer together, a balance of both.

Ultimately, people will learn to meet the expectations that are set for them, and as a culture, if boys are treated as if they should be just as responsible and mature as girls from a young age they will meet that standard.  For now, I just have to deal with the stereotype that I am a few years behind the maturity of girls and hope I am doing my part to prove it wrong.

The World In The Life of A Guy: Part 6 – The Nod

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There it is, a small gesture that goes on with only a moment. This is a part of being a guy that I really kind of enjoy. It’s this little thing we will do when two guys pass by each other. A slight nod to the other person. It doesn’t matter if it’s on the sidewalk, in a car, while running, sitting, or doing numerous other activities it comes quickly, and it’s gone. It’s just a gesture, but it says a thousand words.

I was never outwardly taught this, it didn’t come up for classes or lessons. It was just understood that this needed to happen.  To acknowledge each other’s existence, regardless if you know them or not.  A small sign of respect for a person you may never see again. It’s like saying, “You are here, and see you” It doesn’t really matter what I am doing, I can elicit a nod from another guy as long as we make eye contact.  Now, this doesn’t mean this is actually going to lead anywhere, it’s not any sort of invitation. No one expects people to act on the nod, the nod itself is a self-contained precept.  It just feels nice to be acknowledged, to be honest, and I’m happy to do it.  It’s the perfect way to end awkward looks.

A nod can happen between friends too. Pass one in the hallway but don’t really want to stop, just nod.  Find yourself in a situation where you see someone you know while with a different group of people, just nod.  It’s easy, and even though it seems like there is not much to it, there is a whole layer its complexity that just fills the gap in social relationships that would otherwise cause unneeded drama and harm.  Letting it go with a nod signifies that everything is okay, that there is nothing pressing, and its okay to just be on your way. Though things can change and a nod can turn into a conversation or a connection of some sort, it being there is a good place to start without having to worry about the stepping on people’s toes.

The last part of the nod is much less of a nod but fall under the same family of things. When I had my motorcycle and was learning to ride, there was a small norm I had to follow.  Every time you pass by another bike, you would throw up a peace sign or a wave depending on your preference. It was a nice sign of respect, and it just feels like your part of this wider community of people that are in some way connected through a shared experience and expression.

I don’t know where the nod came from, but as a practice, I find it an ultimately positive one.  I think the nod is something that helps create a society in which we feel as if we exist together. So if you have the opportunity, nod at someone, when you get one back you’ll understand where I’m coming from.

The World In The Life Of A Guy: Part 3 – The Cost Of Connection

Back at the end of high school, I remember how beautiful the day was when I asked a girl to be my girlfriend for the first time.  The rosy moment was dampened when I was informed that some of her friends had thought I was gay.  I laugh about it now, because of its ridiculousness but it highlights a whole can of issues about being a guy.

You have to understand, I grew up surrounded by women, let me tell you, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns.  I remember coming home from school on a regular basis to Pride and Prejudice playing on the tv.  It was my sister’s favorite movie at the time, and she played it every day.  Now whether she watched it or not is an entirely different story, but it was always playing.  She would get mad at me if I turned it off or changed the channel, so I ended up learning to enjoy it.  Though it makes for a great story, it doesn’t actually work toward my “man points” when I can name all the major characters from all the Jane Austin movies and quote some of the lines. I have stories and anecdotes all throughout my life like this, ones that without context make me sound very strange or somewhat effeminate.  I have struggled with that balance, at times hiding these things that I might be part of my past or who I am just because it doesn’t make me out to be a tough guy.

With that, there is a lot of pressure to forgo things that are seen as girly, a lot of pressure to act tough and harden your skin.  As a guy, you’re supposed to take it, shoulder it, carry it, deal with it. That’s what you grow up with, pressure to stay strong and stern.  It shows in our relationships, girl talk about their feelings, how they’re doing, and confide in one another.  Guys, at least in my experience, don’t talk much about feelings and emotions, and there’s a struggle to finally divulge information to one another. There are many things are left unsaid, hell, my father and I don’t even end phone conversations with I love you (I know he does so that’s not a problem).  The point is there is a barrier to connecting with one another on that level. It permeates our activities and even if something crosses that line if both people aren’t willing the event will leave a hole in the friendship. It’s seen as strange to act that way and only when special times arise are you actually allowed to connect on that level.

I just remember watching the show Scrubs back in the day and relating a lot to the main character JD.  He was a bit more effeminate and was treated as such because he was in touch with his feeling and acted with some “girly” mannerisms. The thing I liked about him is that he was unabashed at showing that part of himself, unafraid of going in for a hug, talking to people about what they meant to him. Sure some of his likes weren’t really tough or strong, but that didn’t really matter, he was who was he was.  It was a very different type of strength that he showed, a strength of character.

The point being that we’re not all wood working, car fixing, super outdoorsman like Ron Swanson, nor should we be.  Just because I know how to cook and at somepoint want to be completely and incandecently happy with someone doesn’t make me strange or gay it just makes me different.  There are things I do like fix electronics,  and being handy around a house that would be considered much more manly but what I find is that these labeles we give things only get in the way of us being who we want to be and limiting outselves.

After many years being this way I’ve come to accept these differences in perception of who I should be and am okay with how I am.  I just hope that these labels and pressures don’t drive people to the edge and that that people know its okay like both westerns and flowers but what do I know, I’m “just a guy”.

The World In The Life Of A Guy: Part 1 -Sex

Written on my wall since high school is a simple question printed on a label maker. “What Makes A Man?” it says.  This ambiguous question, with no clear answer, is something that I come back to regularly as I contend with realities of the world. Hearing stories about what men are capable of both good and bad makes me question what type of person I want to be. Over the last several months I’ve been posing questions to people around me about their interactions with men. The answers I received were confusing and at points horrifying. I want to show you what it’s like for a regular guy out there in the world, one who doesn’t necessarily know if he is an outlier or the rule.

Sex, it always starts with sex. A stupid place to start but a grand motivator for most men.  Guys will usually have a story about something they do or have done because of girl. I among them found my love of running because of a girl in high school telling me she liked guys with runners bodies. As I get older, this departs from the much more innocent motivations of young; a desire to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible is found. Guys are motivated by sex.  I can’t honestly deny this, what changes is willingness fight against this all-consuming emotion to find a higher ground to stand on.  In our mind, sex it presses up against us, invading our thoughts and without strong mental fortitude it wins out the day. It whispers fantasies and delusions into our ear, denying that reality in which we are for one that could possibly be if you were to play the game right. That is no way to condemn us to being sex fiends, but something we must contend with.  That inner strength is what I find as being the man is all about.  The ability to put these thoughts and feelings aside for something that is much greater than the hedonistic vices of sex can provide me.

It’s that relationship, though, between guys and gals that so intertwined with this dynamic that it becomes bogged down but the tension between friendship and sexuality.  From When Harry Met Sally, a movie about a man and woman attempting to have a friendship that eventually turns into a romantic relationship, even the one of the protagonists clearly states that he doesn’t believe men and women can be friends because sex will get in the way. This idea was foreign to me, why can’t we foster and hold relationships with people of the opposite gender?  It’s within the expectations that are held, the way we picture things when I say I have a relationship with a guy friend versus a girl friend. Not to mention the amount of narratives I’ve heard from women of always having to be wary of ulterior motives when entering a friendship with a guy.  With all I’ve heard, the hesitation is warranted.  Love is a drug, and we are addicts, so if you need a fix, you’ll try to get it from anywhere. 

Do I believe we different from the previous generations of human beings in such a way that we can deviate from this cycle of sexual magnetism?
No, but I do believe in the human spirit, which can look create the world we want and I do believe in values and the ability to motivate ourselves to relationships that go beyond sexual attraction.

In this regard, I find to be the best way to end this conversation about being a guy in this sexual environment is talking about what I strive for. This comes from many hours thinking about the kinds of relationships I want to foster along with listening to troubled tales of the lost souls out there in the world. My truest goal is to find a place and strength to be able to say no to sex.  With the ability to wait and find a sense of truth beyond the physicality of it all. Don’t get me wrong intimacy has a place in every adult relationship, but I don’t want to be under the control of these feelings. It’s not to deny them,  but to find a way to curb them appropriately. The world does not revolve around sex and I shouldn’t either, I want to enjoy the world and people for who they are and not have this lingering thought in the back of my mind. It’s what I am working towards, and something I want for my relationships in the future…but hey, at the end of the day I’m “just a guy” right.

The Meal

This time of year people makes a big deal about a meal. Why can you have a holiday that revolves around the act of eating? The reason is that it brings us together to recognize what only a meal could, connection.
Now, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Before you say it’s just because I like food and to cook, that’s only part of the reason.  See unlike Chrismas, birthdays, Holloween, and other holidays it requires you to give time and effort with a fleeting return.  Thanksgiving is based around an idea of giving thanks for what we have instead of receiving something extra.  It’s a holiday the requires us to sit down together in unity and forces us to suffer through being in proximity of people we may only be able to handle in small doses.

It forces us unabatedly back together regardless of the state of being and distance.  For someone like myself who is keen on keeping a casual distance from most people and my head in the clouds, it’s an opportunity to ground myself and forces me to reconnect.  I find all the trials and tribulations of planning, getting people together, preparing the meal, and finally sitting down together soothing. With so many gears chugging away and all the ways things can go awry, I find it’s a perfect personification of life.  I find this perfect disaster the very reason I give thanks on that day.  It is in this chaos of moving parts that we are reminded that life has a lot of ordinary things that pass us by, significant roadblocks on the path, and small happiness along the way and they are all things we should be thankful for.  SO this is my message to life, thank you for being the beautiful, crazy, perfect disaster that you are.

My (Millennial) Generation

I was in Personality Psychology class when the teacher had a little musing about California choosing a quite confusing piece of legislation that attempted to do away losing and make kids have better self-esteem which now has adults accusing this (my) generation of cruising.

Now, I have never been one to associate with a lot of my classmates but regarding this debate of how we equate to generations that tend to throw hate,  I have to take the bait and state that we may frustrate all those who wait for us to integrate and domesticate. The thing is our trait is to try and deny fate and operate in the way that will allow us to navigate the society that we create.

Though I can’t deny that we amplify the problems we have and that we do magnify the things that don’t seem to matter. On the other hand, we do not stand idly by to when it comes to demystifying and indemnifying the problems laid upon us.   Though we are young, we at least work to clarify all that we need to rectify to in some ways we purify the system and all of its problems.

We are a young generation, filled the brim with electronic temptation. Our biggest complication is our unwavering desire for confrontation with the previous generation. We want a type of reformation to occur in this great nation before we can even think about respiration.

I am afraid that we deny aid and when we make progress things will simple retrograde. It is foolish to try and barricade ourselves in a crusade that involves nothing more than a tirade. What we should do is sharpen our blade in the art of persuading so that we evade the cascade of the dismayed.  We are portrayed as little more than a charade, and until we dissuade that notion, it will be like eating nightshade.  It’s more about working on wading through the masquerade so that others will be swayed.

I know what we do seems silly, but really, we are working towards a better future.

No one knows how the future will juxtapose what we do with what gets done.  So I suppose that we have to wait for life’s dominoes to disclose how it goes.  So before I exit the throws of prose I want to enclose my woes about lows of my generation. I would personally dispose of all the complaining that arose over not being superimposed when we reached adulthood. I feel like we hit it on the nose the economy froze, and we composed a story about the close of our future opportunities. I propose we impose new ideas that will help everyone at the end of the day.

My (Millenial) Generation is coming to play.  Now I know we usually don’t stay in one place but if I can keep the complaints at bay when I say, that today we are trying to light the way so people won’t have to pay for the problems of yesterday.  Please all this little display to grant leeway for us to purvey the dreams without delay.

 

 

Child Of The World

My sister and I were born as an amalgamation of an amalgamation.  Born unto parents who were combinations of two very different cultures and ethnicities.  Ironically the mix of cultures led to a weakening of a culture’s hold on our lives.  We lived at the crossroads of many different ways of life, which prompt us to learn many different things about many different people but not live fully one way. In its wake, it confused me about what I am and who I should I identify.  In some ways, I was washed clean of the burden that accompanies tradition and practice, but left on the barren shore of what was left.

There are no accounts that I say I am not American, though my level of patriotism is nothing to be envied. Living out the common traditions, and American holidays entirely, I, for the most part, have always identified as white (because I look, act, and sound that way).  I don’t know if I was ever given much of a choice in the matter, but I have nothing to complain about because it’s a good position to be in.  There is an unequivocal pull, to understand my Latin roots and in some part identify with them. Though that is a bit harder, because it involves much more than blood, it is experience, a way of thinking and acting.  My sister had always been much better than I was at pulling this off, having been willing to plunge herself into the customs and traditions of the groups she wants to identify. To me, on the other hand, I choose just to surprise people when I tell them that I am in some part Hispanic. This extended into sporting events, never feeling impassioned to root for the home team, or really pay any mind to sports I learned enough to get by and I do enjoy them but I will definitely not live and die over the a loss like some greater sports fanatics.

Strangely enough, I have always enjoyed the role of observer. Seeing culture and learning from them as a way to accommodate part of them as part of myself.  It is an interesting road to follow, a way of life that certainly has its trials and tribulations.  By not being born with a deeply ingrained cultural background I can become a chimera of culture.  Implementing what I would like from what I experience.  Though it can be a lonesome road, being never fully part of one group so not benefiting from the community that culture a lot of the time employs, it is the one I choose.

My goal for this is to become a child of the world in which I reside.  Someone who can walk all the planes of this planet and feel at home.  To collect culture within myself so I can pass on a wisdom about how out there in the world there are a million ways to live life.  Learn about how the people make do with that they have and most importantly learn how to live a good life.

It is my hope that this combination with my amalgamation will lead to the creation of culture beyond limitations.