Some people are unsure, or even scared, of a person with a stand-out outfit. Imagine someone dressed in drag asking around for directions in a random neighborhood. They're bound to get more negative reactions than someone dressed in plain clothes and a face covered by a beard or sunglasses.
But I'd be more suspicious of the second person. The harder it is to pick someone out of a line-up, the more comfortable they may feel doing that could put them in one. It's similar to the logic behind people in the military having the same outfits and haircuts: to minimize individuality and therefore lower their sense of personal accountability. Then they're more likely to follow orders with fewer questions. Even if those orders are violent and horrifying.
I see someone in a generic, hard-to-recognize outfit, and I worry about their sense of accountability. I worry if that'll affect how they act towards others, society, or even themselves. If doing something horrible won't bother them nearly as much as those around them.
This long-form comic about how style can normalize ideas of force and violence, called "About Face," goes into this with far more detail I could ever hope to know myself. It's a long but worthwhile read.
A book I read hit me with a hard truth that in most things I, and everyone else, try to do, we'll just be average.
That's not a big or new revelation, which shows I'm not above average when it comes to wit or observation. Even if I am above average with how bitter this all makes me feel.
But I'm mostly relieved to know this. Embracing my average-ness takes away the societal pressure to be a superstar at whatever I do. I can be just okay at something, and that's fine.
It's also not an excuse to do nothing. Someone who doesn't try unless they're great wouldn't last on their own for a week. An average plate of home-cooked pasta is better than an empty one.
The next time someone claims that a pandemic policy is similar to what "Germans were put through in Nazi Germany," I'm asking for more details. When was this policy implemented? How specifically was it meant to discriminate against German Jews? What was the public's reaction? Are there records of any Nazi officials formally establishing this policy? Was this before or after the hundreds of deaths in the Night of the Long Knives?
Why? I have a hard time believing Hitler's rise to power and the start of WWII and the Holocaust involved slowing the spread of a virus, wearing face masks, or waiting a few more weeks for a haircut. If they're serious, I assume they care enough to base an accusation this heavy on evidence. If they're not serious, why should I listen to someone who makes such stupid comparisons?
In a pandemic, video games aren't the only good time-murdering diversion. Sometimes a little drawing is great to lower the buzzing in our heads. Colored pencil drawing is a favorite of mine, even on a tablet.
A bonus (for those of us with button makers and lots of free time) is the final drawings can be put on buttons. What fun is art if it can't be needlessly shown off?
The way American society functions, it's easy to feel more like disposable assets than citizens. That makes it tough to develop a durable sense of self-worth. It also makes it harder to put effort into anything, knowing it could all be wiped away for profit at any moment. Human misery be damned.
We can't do much about that. Few people have any real control over how society sees its people. We have more control over if any specific people in it see us that way.
But if society sees us as disposable, aren't we more likely to see others that way too? Is it worth trying to change how others see us?
I'd say it's worth it, even if it's not easy. But the first step if not seeing yourself as disposable. Or what reason would others have to think differently?
The quarantine has kept me away from my anime laser-cut artwork, which has made me sad. I'm happy to say I finally found the time, courage, and momentum to make some more. With two helpful quotes as I'm stuck inside for most of my time.
The local craft store may be closed, but I have lots of wood scraps saved up. They laughed at me when I hoarded it all, but I'm laughing now.
Granted, I'm crying at the same time, but still, I'm laughing!
Our society's values affect our own, whether we like it or not. It's all part of being human. When people around us repeat the same message, eventually we say them back as our own.
I guess this is one of our mind's tricks to make us feel more in control. It's scary to think that we can be manipulated like this. To avoid that fear, our unconscious mind spits out the same ideas as if we thought of them. We think our chosen beliefs happen to agree with what's told to us, instead of us mirroring them. In other words, it's the Bandwagon Effect.
People want to be right. They want to be part of the winning side. Part of the reason people conform is that they look to other people in their social group for information about what is right or acceptable.
This is tough to accept. No one likes thinking their deeply held values are a mere reflection of what they've been told. I've seen people get so defensive at this idea it's scary.
But it's important to accept this weakness in our thinking. Acceptance is the first step to better defining our values. To see where they line up with society and where they diverge. They should be because we chose them for our reasons, based on our integrity and morals.
I'm proud to live in one of the only countries to see coronavirus cases spiking in over half the states, yet continue the reopening process. To be so attached to its unequal, overworked economy that it willingly sacrifices the health of the exploited.
Wait a minute, I don't think "proud" was the right word..oh, "ashamed" was the word I wanted! I'm ashamed of all that.
Thankfully, that mistake isn't getting hundreds of thousands getting sick and possibly dying. I can't say the same for some of America's other screw-ups, like deep-rooted racism and housing inequalities, sadly.
But for many, an outdated national identity is worth more than our strength and survival.
Here's a reminder to all the bloggers out there: it's healthier to be a selfish blog writer. Writing for others over yourself has many damaging effects, like diluting your real voice. But the worst is it needlessly gives other power over your happiness.
Fame and attention always go away, so relying on it never works in the long term. But knowledge and self-expression always stay with us and make us better.
If others happen to enjoy it, that's a lovely bonus. But it's never the paycheck.
My apartment protects and suffocates me.
My mask protects my face and mutes my self-expression.
The isolation keeps me safe physically but frail mentally.
My distance keeps away vulnerable people and our shared humanity.
My hand-washing cleanses me of germs and washes away my self-assurances.
My television numbs the spiraling thoughts and the comforts of my daydreams.
More and more I want to scream. More and more my hand touches a pen and freezes.
More and more my anxieties creep from the corners. More and more they tower over me.
More and more I see the damages tear at me. More and more I see them hurt me a tad less.
More and more I see my anxieties in a harsh, new light. More and more I see the light illuminating the paths around them, even by only a few steps.
To truly feel like I'm living life, it takes something that gives me meaning. Makes me feel I'm creating. Lets me build a new part of my internal world. These are the facets of existence worth defending the most.
Yet I feel my television call out to me and threaten to take them all away. With the entire Avatar: The Last Airbender series, no less.
Stay strong in the face of temptation, everyone.
I used to think that "who we want to be" is less important than "who we are." But why wouldn't it? Isn't who we want to be an expression of our desires, goals, motivation, and the path we choose to walk?
Maybe we won't ever become that person we want to, but chasing it will make it better. That desire changes "who we are" for the better. It's still a major part of our identity.
So if you're chasing something and think you'll never reach it, I recommend chasing it anyway. It's always worth getting a little closer.
One big effect quarantine has on me is making it harder to write. Inspiration and focus are a lot harder when you're stuck in one apartment all day. So the hobby I rely on for learning and self-expression is also harder. Quarantine is turning me into a rock - stale, gray, and covered with an unknown but disturbingly high amount of bacteria.
So I twisted this struggle into a lesson. Quarantine gives me a harder time expressing myself, but also more awareness and acceptance of who I am in the first place. I'm stuck with myself, but I'm more comfortable with that person.
This all still hurts though, I can't deny that. But this buys me time to figure something else out. You can learn all the lessons in the world, but sometimes you just need some grit.
I'm not too scared of death. No amount of panic will let me avoid death, so I may as well accept it. I'm more scared of having a boring death.
To me, a worthwhile death is either memorable or one that helps others. If my death is both spectacular and considerate, I'll have few regrets. Even if it's painful, the pain is temporary (I hope) while the legacy lasts much longer.
Not to say I want to die anytime soon. But I may as well know how I'd want it to happen.
Recently I tapped into my evil side and recommended Doki Doki Literature Club (DDLC) to someone. For those unfamiliar, it's a visual novel that starts cute and fluffy before eternally scarring you. So I highly recommend you, the reader, to play it now. Go into it knowing as little as possible for the best effect. I'll wait.
But when I think about it, doesn't DDLC reflect the current pandemic? It started mostly fine with some unsettling elements we couldn't quite pick out. Then there's a jarring shift full of death and insanity, with everyone getting picked off one by one.
I suppose the big difference is the game has tea, poetry, cupcakes, and cute girls. I never thought DDLC would be an improvement over the real world. But things are that crazy.
Now, are they crazier than Yuri? Let's hope the planet doesn't come to that.