How To Be Human, Find Peace, and Stay Alive

I am a fan of Saturday mornings, the kind where you’re greeted with rays of warmth and sunshine, to the tune of songbirds that imbue the morning sky. The discreet smell of the lilac bushes is my caffeine before the caffeine. My trajectory includes the bathroom that goes direct to the coffeemaker, where actual caffeine picks up where the sweet smell of lilac bushes left off. My mornings are hard enough as it is, so these are not pleasantries I take for granted.
I don’t know why, but I have this ugly habit of turning on the TV and go straight to the local news. This is where my peace ends, as I seemed to be stuck in a loop of stories that contain shootings, murders, and political corruption. These stories went on for 15 minutes, given by attractive female reporters in tight-fitting, sleeveless dresses. That ought to propel the #MeToo movement to new heights.

I finally gave up and switched to Bill Nye the Science Guy, hoping to reclaim my state of consciousness of tranquil megacosm. Unfortunately, TV stations that carry retro shows like this contain doleful, depressing, dispirited TV ads that are constant reminders of your mortality, exploitation of animal cruelty and drug addiction, and show old people falling in their bathtub. Switch the channel and you’re back the to the news of doom and gloom, and a TV ad shows up starring Big Pharma. There, you’re greeted with piano music of sadness, with a voiceover that reflects the same and cardboard cutouts of sad faces are with you at every turn. Hints of happiness coincide with the suggestion of taking their medication and idyllic melodies begin to flourish. These commercials are the inventions of advertising executives who bring brainwashing to a whole other level. Advertising firms make well damn sure to dwell deep into your soul and remind you that your life sucks more than you realize.

Television is very depressing. In addition to local news and commercials, there are TV shows aplenty that focuses on crime, murders, shootings, and forensics, and they seem to outnumber shows that truly gives its audience an escape from our mundane lives. I don’t mean the bullshitty soap opera types like “The Bachelor,” (I call it “soap opera” because that’s exactly what it is. It’s soap opera for the 21st century. And yes, it’s all scripted.)

Stumble upon social media and you will find bias, bigotry, the passive aggressive status updates, narcissism, clickbait, fake news, and paid promotions disguised as a trending topic on Twitter. (Don’t bullshit me into thinking THAT many people are talking about #recruiting….come on, really??) By the way, shortly after the news of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, Twitter was flooded with hashtags filled with hope and empathy. One of those hashtags was #YouAreNotAlone. My immediate thought was, I know for a fact I’m not alone, but as soon I admit I’ve voted for Trump, people are gonna be dropping like flies. They will eventually ignore your calls, remove you from Facebook and Twitter, any and all other communication methods. You’re a beautiful person until they find out you don’t fit their agenda.

(Side note: Not that’s it’s any of your business, I did not vote for Trump. You probably assumed I did because of my opposing views on the #metoo movement, and that I’m just plain “mean.” IF that’s the case, then I’ve just demonstrated why people don’t want to be bothered by other people. Humans are obsessed with labeling and it’s wrong).

Then, come out in the REAL world where you will encounter more boorish behaviors. Open yourself up to your pals and become vulnerable to an interrogation of questions about what you’ve been doing with your life (exhausting). Or, you can spend some of that time chatting with customer service reps to correct constant billing errors that just won’t seem to go away because of HUMAN error. Or, you can spend precious time arguing with your partner for no reason other than they had a shitty day at work. Then, at the end of the day, you go to bed with a plan to try and fall asleep, then worrisome thoughts enter your mind over bills. The mortgage. The kids. Your opioid addiction (or, you think you have one. You’ve just taken a Norco four hours ago because your back really does fucking hurt, but TV ads tell you otherwise). All the aforementioned raises the stress levels to alarming degrees. There is NO PEACE anywhere you go! This sucks.

That’s because your life really does suck. It may not suck as bad as Big Pharma tv commercials intimidate you to believe, but I’ve yet met anyone where life has gone perfectly their way all the time. In fact, I recently read an interesting article on the clinical perspective of suicide. It reads,

“the list of warning factors for suicide reads, in part, like a catalog of everyday modern ills: lagging self-esteem, depression, loss of relationships or economic security, insomnia.
‘When you look at those lists,’ says Eric Beeson, core faculty member at Northwestern University’s Counseling@Northwestern, ‘it almost seems like who’s not a candidate for suicide?’”

The list evidently forgot to include illness, which is an entity all on its own. At any rate, I should have found a bridge and jumped off when I became an adult a long time ago.

When it comes to celebrities, society often expresses the lack of empathy; an expression of shock typically ensues because celebrities seem to have it all, with a crowd of people that surround them and bask in the beauty of the shared spotlight. How can they be so miserable when regular Joes want to be them?

As much disdain I have for the entertainment industry, I know better to assume celebrities live the perfect life. While the regular Joes assume celebrities aren’t lonely, the reality is celebrities are most likely the loneliest entity on this Earth. Famous folk don’t always have that one-in-a-billion confidante who’s there for them on a genuine level.
I would hate to think that Bourdain and Spade didn’t have that one-in-a-billion confidante. I can understand why maintaining relationships would be hard for people at this level: you’re always surrounded by “friends” with ulterior motives, even if it’s something as simple as bragging rights simply because you personally know them.

Even in the real world, for the rest of us, longtime friendships have its flaws. An example: if your “bestie” has kids, you’re no longer on the top of their list. Children should always be a priority (which is why I chose not to have kids), but someone who has known you the longest should be able to recognize the warning signals (whatever they may be) and follow through.  And when I say “follow through,” I don’t necessarily mean dishing out the number for the Suicide Prevention Lifeline (866-273-8255 by the way) and hope for the best. I hate it when Hollywood on social media does this because 99% of them don’t even manage their own accounts. Their expressions of “love and empathy” are channeled through a third party, and I don’t doubt most of them don’t realize…..or don’t care….what’s being posted as long as it fits popular thinking of the masses. Anyway, the flaws remain because your bestie isn’t there in the way you had hoped. When these expectations aren’t met, there’s disappointment.

Speaking of following through, I mean follow through with no ulterior motives. NONE. I said….NONE. Don’t be there for someone on the basis you’re getting VIP seats in heaven; don’t get involved if you think your acts of kindness ought to be mutual; don’t get involved just to give yourself an ego boost; and don’t get involved if you’re sending someone to do your dirty work, a crappy technique I refer to as “fishing” (not to be confused with the hacking kind). I personally know many people who fish me and it infuriates me.

I am not here to suggest any warning signs to look out for if you suspect someone may be on the brink. I will suggest, however, to never assume. For example, just because someone have put themselves in isolation doesn’t always mean they’re plotting. If you assume, that doesn’t come off as caring….you come off as an asshole with a labeling obsession.

I recently read a fascinating book (this is not an endorsement of ANY kind so don’t get it twisted) about the story of Christopher Knight, a self-proclaimed hermit who lived in the woods for over a quarter of a century. He made this radical move after high school, where he took a drive and kept driving until the car was nearly out of gas. It stopped near the woods and that’s where he spent his life for the next 25+ years.

He lived off food that was stolen from nearby cabins, but he only stole food considered to be staples i.e. bread, veggies, milk, and yes, some booze. He never took items of interest such as jewelry. News didn’t interest him but he was fascinated with a couple of TV shows such as Everybody Loves Raymond. He took a tiny radio and only tuned into talk radio. The only word that came out of his mouth the entire 25 years was a mere “hi.” He spoke to no one. He had no friends. Did not keep in touch with his family. He didn’t get tied into the atrociousness of society. His post-secondary education came from books. Lots and lots of books. When Knight was arrested, they found him in perfect health and extremely cooperative. He never caught a cold the entire time. He was at peace with himself. He was healthy. Only until he got arrested, the afflictions of society started to affect him.

In addition to Knight’s story, it also describes three categories of the hermit lifestyle: those who yearn to escape the idiocies of society (Protestors); strictly spiritual agendas (this is where the Monks would fall under; and I forgot the third one. I guess you’ll just have to read the book.

Negative energy is closing in. It’s everywhere. So….how can one manage to find peace in a world full of affliction? Rise above. The “how” is up to you. Do what makes YOU the happiest. I mean, laugh out loud happy. Even it is just TV (thank goodness for DVR) and for the love of God: STOP.WATCHING.THE.NEWS.

This super long post demonstrates how we are now living in a real shitstorm. Negative energy is everywhere: on tv, the internet, and real life. When you’re surrounded by that much negative energy, it’s no wonder society is so pissy all the time. Spade and Bourdain probably didn’t have that one confidante to bring them the peace they needed. They became consumed by negative energy, as no one was there to stop it.

Don’t let the negative energy consume you. Construct and maintain your peace by way of nature, books, movies, comedy….anything that makes you smile and laugh. Don’t let anyone near your peace, or you will risk contamination. If they do, have them killed. I’m just sort of kidding.

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