Civility Requires A World That Truly Believes in it

Disclaimer: Before I actually start talking about the title subject I want to state two things to make it clear where I’m coming from. The first thing is that I am not black(something that should be obvious if you see the picture of me in my about page) I am a light skinned Hispanic person and have never really had a bad experience with cops. Secondly this post is about understanding why people are feeling the need to turn to rioting and violence and how we need to acknowledge and work on fixing the problems that are causing the rioting and protesting before we can start asking for civility or even worse attacking the very character of the protesters and their movements. This blog post is not trying to encourage or support violence. Also this is merely my view of things as they stand along with a few sources I pulled things from if there’s any mistakes here feel free to let me know. With all that out of the way I can start talking about the subject at hand.

So if you’ve been paying to current events at all you have no doubt heard about the murder of George Floyd by police and the riots that this has caused. This isn’t the first time that police have abused their power to take the life of a person of color and I highly doubt it will be the last. The officer responsible Derek Chauvin has been charged with third degree murder and second degree manslaughter which is rare to see in a case like this usually despite clear evidence of wrongdoing the officer(s) in question would usually get suspended or retire and not receive the kind of sentence the crime they performed is supposed to get but that’s another problem entirely. The thing is that as I said police too often get away with murdering, harassing and just generally abusing their power against innocents(mostly people of color). This has created movements like Black Lives Matter and right now Justice for Floyd. Sometimes people in these groups can commit acts of violence in the form of things like rioting, smashing windows and other actions. Whenever an act of violence happens no matter the context or level of severity there’s usually calls to be civil and people accusing the people responsible and by extension the group of being thugs and ruining the message they’re trying to get across. For now I want to examine these calls for civility and how while I’m sure most of them mean well they can come across as tone-deaf and distracting from the real issues here.

So let’s start off with the fact that we are all exhausted and angry. I’m not usually one to use absolutes since there are always exceptions to them and there’s a lot of gray they don’t account for but this is one that I feel I can make in total confidence without anyone being left out. We’ve gone through disaster after disaster in this year alone and police brutality has become so sickening common that A.C.A.B( All Cops Are Bad) has become a common saying on social media. It has become bad enough to ruin the character of a job that employs 800,000 in the U.S. alone. Police Brutality has always been an issue but with Donald Trump and his ilk empowering people to become more openly racist and hateful along with social media allowing anyone with a phone and internet able to share videos of and comment on police abusing their power, harassing people, worsening situations and just generally being a danger to people instead of protecting and serving them. There is also the list of people that have been hurt and killed by police over the past decade that has not only gotten longer and it feels like the reasons and defenses of these deaths has only gotten worse. That’s the thing for years people of color have been talking about how bad police can get and how there’s systemic racism as well as systemic corruption in the police force that needs to be addressed since it keeps causing black people’s deaths but most of those concerns usually get brushed aside or are underplayed and simply acknowledged as a thing that happens sometimes but it’s not that bad. A perfect example of this dismissed concern that has led to people being exhausted is the aforementioned ACAB. It’s a statement that usually comes with an example such as police being overly aggressive to a black man who’s surrendering on his front lawn scared or attacking protesters who did nothing to them. There’s plenty of examples of cops proving why people believe they’re all bad and that there are systemic problems with the police and not individual ones. Cops have been getting away with terrible things for years and whenever someone tries to bring that up there’s responses of “there are more good cops then bad ones”, “blue lives matter”, “what about …”, “all lives matter” (when Black Lives Matter is mentioned as well), and just various other responses that either misunderstand or disbelieve the issue. After all the news articles, protests, statements by numerous people, pained pleading of people of color it’s starting to feel like the later rather than the former. The problems with police that makes people say ACAB are systemic and is not fixed by any individual good cop. I can’t overstate this enough one singular cop or the amount of good or bad cops are not the problem. The problem is the very system that allows cops to abuse their power, get away with their crimes with a figurative slap on the wrist, and makes protection and avoidance of issues from cops dependent on your skin color and how well you praise them and treat them rather than their duty to protect and serve us. When you have a broken system that gets constantly defended and has people in and out of it that not only ignore the issues but continue to do the things that are the problem and then pretend like they’re not as bad as the people who acknowledge and want to fix the system say they are then it becomes a problem that you need to solve at the root as well as everyone being held accountable till the issue is solved. Because ultimately defending or going after only a few bad apples in a corrupt, broken system only serves to slow the progress of fixing that system. People say ACAB, take part in Black Lives Matter protests and demand police reform because the way to fix the system is to demand a complete overhaul people have wanted a better system for years but have been slowed by apologetics and people simply dismissing the reasonable requests for police reform and the peaceful Black Lives Matters protests and statements so they can focus on the violence ( I’ll touch back on this in a bit). Couple being ignored and disrespected for years with a pandemic that has really exemplified all the problems of the world while we wait things out and adjust to a new way of living and something had to give. There’s also the aforementioned death of black people by police continuing even in these trying times and yeah we’re all dealing with these issues either directly or indirectly. These protests, riots and violent responses are the product of a righteously angry movement having had enough after years of trying to get people to listen to their message. George Floyd’s death as well as the death of Breona Taylor and others that I could list were just the straws that broke the camel’s back.

So I’ve given the reasons for people’s anger and exhaustion with the system which are what are causing and escalating these protests to an extent. Now let’s talk about how these were intended to be peaceful protests and the way the world works. So below this I linked an article as well as a video showing how peaceful protest is hard to maintain when you have things like police cars trying to run you over or the mayor of your city more fixated on scolding people then addressing the issue simply saying this isn’t the way to honor George Floyd and to a certain degree he’s right people shouldn’t be just looting stores and smashing. However all this protesting and chaos has led to one of the few times I can remember that a cop got a murder charge instead of a suspension or them being laid off the force. The fact that it took this long and this level of chaos to actually results when you have people who have made books about police brutality, numerous people saying Black Lives Matter and ACAB with examples of why they’re saying it as well as them saying it as civilly as they can, and years of peaceful protests that speaks volumes about how society works. When Colin Kapernick took a knee during the national anthem and got mocked, kicked off the NFL, threatened by the President, called Un-American and just mistreated for taking as peaceful a stand as anyone could it shows that it’s not the violence people take issue with but the message. When you laugh off almost every type of peaceful protest until violent protests start happening and then the message is received you shouldn’t be surprised when people start considering violence as an answer. It’s not the answer but it’s working and it shouldn’t have taken violence for change to be considered. Of course there’s also self defense to consider since along with the example I linked below of police apathetically hurting protesters there’s plenty of other examples to be found if you look for them. There’s also the National Guard and their rubber bullets. People are dying at these protests and usually it’s by cops who started attacking first. The protesters do want peace but between facing the national guard, the police, and looters who have tried to take advantage of the movement(proof of which can be searched for) it should be clear that most protesters aren’t starting the violence but either defending themselves or dealing with people who are taking advantage. Are there protesters who are overzealous and want to just get revenge through violence? Probably but almost every instance of these protests I’ve seen and words from the protesters themselves show that most want peace but it’s also hard to fight the system through peace alone when it wants to murder you. There are still plenty of people peacefully protesting despite how hard that can be.

So by now I hope it’s clear how not only are there obstacles and drawbacks to civility and peaceful protest(although that doesn’t mean we stop pursuing these things)but also how that these calls for peace and civility can down out the message of what’s being said. As shown by how the Seattle Mayor’s comments(linked below) on the intended peaceful protests he mentions “they’re showing no courage around the real issues that the killing of George Floyd highlights in our country” regarding the violence that happened amidst the planned peaceful protesting like looting, setting fires, and breaking windows. There are also comments by another official Seattle Fire Chief saying he supports people’s right to free speech and protest peacefully “but this is not they right way to do it” and how he’s trying to keep people safe and “we’re all in this together”. These are noble sentiments but notice there’s no mention of the actual issues just eluding to them in an attempt to stop the violence and then simply acknowledging peaceful protests before saying things got bad. There’s also the state of emergency being declared, the curfew, the banning of weapons, and Mayor Durkan saying “those who do not follow the order, enforcement action can be taken”. If you’re wondering why I’ve spent so much time discussing this article it’s because this is the exact kind of response that shows everything wrong with. Barely addressing the issue, focusing more on being annoyed at people committing minor acts of violence than the message and context of the situation, statements that seem noble and like they mean well but are really tone-deaf and you’ve heard them plenty of times, and then there’s the actions they’re taking which might only make things worse. Of course I get that the duty of officials like this is to defend their cities and by extension innocent civilians and buildings first and foremost but this is not only sending in the troops as well as initiating martial law against citizens most of whom haven’t done anything wrong beside protest but also ignores that this is a pretty harsh response when there have been other protests where this kind of response didn’t happen. Protests such as the one barely a few weeks ago by people going against pandemic guidelines. Those people despite being just as aggressive to the cops, carrying guns, and fighting for a much less admirable cause of simply not being inconvenienced by following proper safety guidelines in the middle of a pandemic. When you consider that a protest like that with people fighting for a selfish cause while rightfully mocked by the public got more respect from the cops and the president and while ultimately nothing was accomplished by that protest as opposed to this one it’s clear that’s more because of scale and righteous anger as well as being unable to be ignored anymore. There is a clear difference between how these two protests were treated despite being similar in terms of threat even if it’s in different ways. Ultimately the fact that a different group of protesters who were just as loud and rowdy but simply fought for a different reason along with the fact that other protests by Black Lives Matter haven’t been able to get results like this until the anger, scale, and unfortunately violence were too powerful to ignore shows that at the end of the day civility isn’t what gets results which is a painful truth. We live in a world where in order to bring change you have to reach the boiling point of your anger and show that it’s impossible to go back to the status quo. Change doesn’t happen when people are being peaceful and reasonable but when they’re being angry and making too much noise not to be heard. One of the things these last four years have taught me is that victory goes to the person who can scream their point the latest and there are plenty of examples of this. It shouldn’t be this way but it is. To fix this we need to acknowledge the point when people are saying it the best way they can and not when they’re angry and tired of explaining it simply because someone likely unknown by them got a little violent. We need to acknowledge the point and that we get it before we acknowledge the violence and that it is wrong. Everyone has been taught that violence is wrong this is not a new lesson to anyone and when “I agree with the message but can you really support x act of violence?” is said it shows that you care more about putting down some random act of violence and having the movement need to disenfranchise every mistake it makes. Yes it’s important to acknowledge the violence and mistakes of a movement so it can improve like anything else and not have festering problems but if a movement has a valid message it’s good to prioritize listening to that message before fixating on the violence that might have a context behind why it happened(is happening) and could be a very small part of a bigger movement that is needed. When you don’t it comes across like you care more about maintaining the status-quo and scolding people’s mistakes than helping solve the issue(s). That might not be what was intended by what you’re saying but with all the bad faith actors out there and the fact that you’re regurgitating a point that is repeated ad-nausem regardless of current events and that most protesters aren’t trying to be violent especially against innocent people it can across like you don’t really care especially if you’ve spent more time talking about the violence than the issue that makes people feel like violence is a possible answer.

Conclusion: So I know this is long and that I might have repeated myself a little but I hope my point has come across clearly through this whole blog post. While the violence is an issue and isn’t something that should be happening it’s proving to be an answer in a world that took years and the reaching of a boiling point to truly listen. I can’t stress enough that I don’t support or encourage the violence and in a more just world I would be truly against it but in the world we live in now. The one with systemic issues that have these protesters defending themselves from cops that will deliver the first blow, officials not addressing issues until violence becomes a part of a formerly purely peaceful response, and bad faith actors and apologists who will fixate more on the violence caused by random individuals(some of said violence done in self-defense)fighting an issue they ignored beforehand rather than fixing or even fully understanding the issue I get it and can look past it to see the issues that need addressing. We need police reform, we need to listen to people of color and their issues, we need to stop all the police brutality, and we need to make a better system. Before we address the violence in a world that makes violence and victory by screaming the loudest feel necessary we need to make a world that truly believes in civility so violence not only doesn’t feel necessary but doesn’t happen because the system let’s everyone be able to have a voice and be the peaceful, reasonable protesters the world claims it wants despite a lot of evidence to the contrary.

Brief Update: So while I was writing this the cops who killed George Floyd actually got their charge changed from third degree murder and manslaughter to second degree murder. This is an important win and something that is the result of protests that wanted this since the evidence does point to his death being no accident. It’s something Black Lives Matter was fighting for that I forgot to mention before and something that actually happened as this post was being written.

https://mynorthwest.com/1900080/peaceful-protests-planned-in-seattle-for-george-floyd/amp/

https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/29/us/minneapolis-george-floyd-friday/index.html

https://mobile.twitter.com/tony45th/status/1266541894915497984

Traditions, ridiclous standards, and how they hurt all of us.

By: A.X. Bueno

You ever see a story that just reminds you how unfair and stupid the world can be and it just makes your blood boil. Well today I did and that would be the story under this post. This story from LGBTQnation is about more or less exactly what the title says a rapper known for being homophobic and transphobic hired a sex worker to give his underage sons and nephews blowjobs and then making a video stating he did so. This is already sickening enough as is being the story of a man hiring an adult sex worker to sexually assault not only his children but his nephews too and then proceeding to brag about it in a video on social media. However what’s even more disgusting is that not only is he going to get away consequence free from this but he’s also being defended by people and has people who think he’s right. The reason is tradition and this being “normal in the hood” according to youtuber King Kaschez(whose video will also be linked below) and that it is was mostly white commenters being offended.” If you’re wondering why I’m quoting and summarizing this article it’s for two reasons. One is to establish context and that I’m not misrepresenting anything and the second is to lay the whole situation out so I can dig deeper into everything wrong with it and dissect the multiple layers of messed up here because this story is indicative of larger problems.

Layer 1: Traditions and the boxes they can make for us

So let me start off by saying for those who don’t know that yes King Kaschez is right that this is a tradition not just with black people but with spanish people as well. Though usually people wait till the kids are older(usually around 18 or late teens in general). This is a tradition between fathers or father figures and sons. However tradition is not and should not be free from scrutiny. Traditions can become outdated, incompatible with the way society works, they can be re-analyzed and be found as more harmful than helpful, or simply be forgotten as there are simply less people who do them or know how to do them. Traditions can or in some cases should disappear for a variety of reasons. In this case I think this tradition is simply outdated because it represents a way of looking at sex and sexuality that honestly feels outdated by more modern standards. For instance the idea that sex means maturity or manhood. Of course if you’re at the age that you are ready to and understand making the decision to have consensual sex you’re most likely mature and have reached manhood. But the problem is that sex should not be the benchmark for maturity or manhood and there shouldn’t be any pressure or push to have sex even from well meaning people like family. Sex is something you should be ready for and shouldn’t rush into but this tradition makes it so that your family can decide when you’re ready and probably the age you’re ready too. Of course you’ll have some agency but I’ve been in this situation before(though nothing ended up actually happening and I was an adult when the choice was presented) and while you may be given a choice and have some input on how things will happen with the way society works it won’t feel like you do and it’ll be hard to say no. Of course what I’m taking about is this pressure to lose your virginity as soon as you’re able to at least if you’re a man. There’s also the stereotype that man are constantly horny for women and are trying to sleep with as many as they can. I’m slightly exaggerating both these points but they are expectations thrown on men to have sex because it’s the manly thing to do. Of course that is ridiculous because there are reasons to not want sex and just wanting nothing but sex doesn’t make you a man it makes you a one dimensional horndog. Thankfully society is starting to realize that there is more than one way to become a man and that some of the expectations put on men especially regarding sex may not be healthy and actually be pretty toxic. There’s also the fact that heteronormativity which means straight as the default is starting to change as we realize that sex and sexuality are more complicated than we thought they were now that society is more open to actually accepting and exploring how these things work rather than just be disgusted or sweep under the rug that people can simply not be straight or cis. Hence another reason this tradition is outdated is because it might not be what the person wants and they should be able to explore what they do want. Maybe they’re gay and are looking for a boyfriend to settle down with, maybe they’re asexual and simply aren’t that interested in sex much less sex with a stranger, or maybe they’re just not ready yet and don’t want to be told when to be. With this case I think the man here pushed for this simply to make sure his sons and nephews don’t grow up confused or gay, of course I’m speculating but between the video and the homophobia I have a feeling I’m not far off. The fear of being labeled gay if you don’t do this tradition is another reason it should go in my opinion because there is a need to prove yourself as straight or gay in a society that loves to label thing and this decision could be something that makes or breaks that perception and that’s just wrong. You’re not gay if you decide not to have sex with a woman and you’re not straight if you consider it. All these factors make this tradition have a lot of weight that it shouldn’t. There don’t need to be trials of manhood anymore like this since the way we view what makes a man has changed even if some people are slow to see that change. The point is that because of all the societal and familial pressures this isn’t a choice you have full agency on like a lot of traditions. Couple with the fact that this tradition is rooted in an outdated sense of masculinity and sexuality and it’s clear that this tradition isn’t one we need anymore at least in my personal opinion. We should be feel free to do the traditions that still make sense and fit with today’s world but traditions should never feel like obligations we can’t say no to because we’re afraid of doubt or disappointing people who won’t understand why we say no.

Layer 2: Homophobic Double Standards

There’s this association between homosexuality and pedophilia that homophobes try to make whenever they can, this also applies to transphobes as well. It’s horse crap obviously but they try to bring it up for two reasons one is to try to make an argument that’s basically a no-win scenario since if you respond to it seriously you’re giving it some measure of legitimacy when it has none and if you don’t respond or don’t give the right response it can come across like you don’t know how to refute this nonsensical claim. The second reason is when the topic of teaching or introducing kids to lgbtq history and topics comes up. This second reason relies on the faulty logic of gay relationships and gay people being inherently more sexual than straight people which is just obviously not true. Gay people are not inherently more sexual and the belief that they are stems from outdated stigma and the way gay people had to be in the past not being allowed any long lasting relationships in the fear of being outed and all the hardship and pain that came with and in some cases still comes with that. But there are no inherent differences between a straight person and a gay person aside from sexual preference. This should be obvious but to some it isn’t and that’s a shame. I’m bringing up this attempted association because a story like this shows how that attempted association is and has always been bullshit and how a story like this really exemplifies why and the double standards needed to be a homophobe. If a story like this happened but with gay people instead this would be an incident homophobes would never stop pointing to as an example of why they’re right. Even a subject as seemingly benign as marriage equality something that’s an important topic for lgbtq people being shown in an episode of the children’s show Arthur sparked enough controversy that it was banned in Alabama last year. This episode had no sexual content, didn’t feature anything risqué to my knowledge other than two men getting married but a network in Alabama thought it would simply be too inappropriate for children despite being a typical wedding episode just with gay people in it simply being there. If something so trivial could spark controversy you can bet that people would be fuming about a situation like this and there would be outrage aplenty if it was gay people doing it instead regardless of “tradition”. In reality however this was done by a straight man(who is homophobic) to his own children and nephews through a sex worker and not only did he know what was happening but bragged about how it happened and while there are some people rightly calling this the sexual assault it is and there’s backlash there’s also defense of these actions. The fact that something like this could happen and be defended despite being so much worse than most of the times when people complain that teaching LGBTQ topics to kids is inappropriate really shows that it isn’t the content itself that they deem as inappropriate necessarily but the fact that the content is simply about gay people or mentions them in an even vaguely positive light that makes it inappropriate. I’m sure you’re saying “well obviously” or something like that but there are still many people who either don’t understand this point or just don’t care since double standards and all. This story while disgusting by itself as I already stated becomes so much worse when you add these double standards and the fact that the man who did this is a homophobe who pushed for this tradition to happen probably earlier than it should have been to ensure he didn’t raise or help raise anybody gay(this is based on what he said and what happened it’s possible I’m off the mark). One of the most disappointing parts of this whole thing is how because how he’s straight and this is a tradition primarily for straight people to experience their first time he’ll get away with this without much in the way of consequences. It won’t because he’s right or that this was even remotely ok but rather be a it would mean challenging a firmly in place tradition and admitting there are problems with that tradition that need to be addressed and those problems have a few roots in how society works. Rather than try to fix issues though it’s easier to let someone off the hook and forget this happened and that’s just wrong. And I know I’ve talked a lot about straight people and I know it might sound like I’m just complaining and using this story as an excuse to do that and I kind of am but this whole story just has so much wrong with it and is a pretty good example of straight privilege. I know some people who’ve made it this far are internally groaning at this phrase because I know privilege is a word that gets thrown around a lot but please allow me another moment of your time to make my point and maybe it won’t seem so groan worthy a phrase then.

Layer 3: Abuse of Privilege

First things first there is a difference between having privilege and being privileged. I want to make that clear because I’ve seen people bring up all the adversity they’ve faced in their lives when the topic of privilege is brought up to act like privilege isn’t a thing because they wouldn’t have had any hardship if it was. This is a ridiculous claim since privilege is defined as a special advantage, right or immunity granted to or available to only a particular person or group. In other words it means that you simply have an advantage not that your life is automatically easier even the most privileged people can have problems. There’s nothing wrong with privilege itself since it’s not something that can be controlled usually and it can cover a disadvantage in another area of life. Even the most privileged people can have problems. Privilege becomes an issue though when it gets taken advantage either intentionally or unintentionally and makes life harder for those with less privilege. Here is definitely a case of privilege if you ask me because this is a man taking advantage of tradition, familial connections, his status, and him being straight following tradition, a questionable position that he did in an more questionable potentially damaging but we’ll get back to that. I’m sure you’re wondering by now how is he taking advantage of the privilege of him being straight and the answer is something that needs to be considered and part of the reason I decided to make this blog post in the first place. Him being straight means there are less eyes on him and less concern over him since he’s not a part of a community that would need to fear him being an infamous example of them or something like that. Allow me to explain further. Members of minority communities such as the gay community have a lot of pressure placed on them to be the best they can be so they don’t drag down the rest of the community. After all a chain or community in this case is only as strong as it’s weakest link and no body wants to be the weakest link. Of course this comes with higher standards that gay people have to live up to that straight people don’t since there is no true straight community since straight people are the majority. Higher standards in say the writing of gay characters or in regards to relationships and other aspects of life. Thanks to gay people being part of a community and in some cases the only examples that people know of, of said community we have to carry the weight of the community and all the standards, stigmas, and stereotypes that come with it. Gay people can’t simply live their lives in the same way straight people can and it’s frustrating and this story is the perfect example of why. This man is the kind of person who would leverage all these stigmas and stereotypes against gay people while not needing to follow the same standards and can get away with stuff that would make any gay person a subject of mockery and infamy if not land them in jail. Of course he’s a known homophobe but for some that’s a badge of honor and not the source of shame it should be. He’ll get away with this because this is the norm and it’s easier to let this slide than challenge the way things are. I should note that there are exceptions to the things I talked about here like there are exceptions to every rule. There are straight people who do acknowledge there privilege and do hold themselves to a standard and there are gay people who aren’t as concerned about the standards society tries to place on them.

Layer 4: This should be considered sexual assault

Let’s start off with the fact that if you remove Boosie Badazz(the father/uncle) from this story it would undoubtedly be statutory rape considering that this is an adult sex worker giving blowjobs to several underage boys none of which are older than 13. Considering their ages they probably had some idea of sex but I have little doubt that the sex worker and Boosie were the ones that ensured this happened. I’ve already covered all the reasons why this tradition doesn’t truly give you much of a choice but this is a case where the illusion of choice isn’t even there given the age of these kids and the likelihood of Boosie not allowing these kids to say no given how much he bragged about this being the right way to raise them to paraphrase his words. If they did say no he might have thought them gay and given his homophobia who knows what would have happened to them in that case. Since there was parental supervision here and I’m sure they were told beforehand what was going to happen and prepped for it presumably this isn’t technically rape but this should be considered sexual assault since all these kids were under the age of consent and were coaxed by a legal guardian into having sex while being underaged. It probably won’t be however because there’s a lot to untangle here and there are gray areas here like how I said before this isn’t rape because they knew beforehand and were being watched by a parent. There’s also the fact that the only person who could press any sort of charge is either Boosie or the sex worker but since they made this happen they won’t and the parents of the nephews probably knew and gave their consent for this presumably so they won’t do anything either. He’ll get away with this because he made this all happen and there’s no one who could actually do anything to him here given the circumstances. All we can do is be angry at a man that is happy with his decision and probably will face no consequences for this and be even madder still at how society and the way things are will let him get away with what should be a crime. I wrote about this because it hits a little close to home and it shows how while homophobia and it’s unfair double standards do get pushback they’re still there and have people willing to defend them. We as a society still have a lot of work to do in regards to stories like this and the unfairness of it all.

https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2020/05/anti-gay-rapper-boosie-badazz-says-hired-woman-sexually-assault-12-13-year-old-sons/

https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/alabama-public-television-refuses-air-arthur-episode-gay-wedding-n1008026

Life is shaped by spontaneous decisions and that can be great

By: A.X Bueno

So this Saturday that just passed I was part of a gaming tournament in Smash Ultimate. It wasn’t a professional tournament though there were a few prizes and it was set up in a professional way. It was more just a tournament for fun. It was also something I’d never done or considered doing before maybe a few weeks ago(this was a tournament announced and set up in advance). So I forgot about it for a bit before the actual date and time for it we’re announced. So now I had to get ready for this tournament. I made a discord account, set up the required game type, and set up an account that allowed me to participate in the tournament and know and talk to who I was facing in it. Point is I had to do a few things to be able to be part of this tournament not anything that required money but still things that needed to be done. Being part of the tournament itself was pretty fun even if I only made it to winner’s round 3(there were winner’s rounds and loser’s rounds). I got to talk to new people, do something new I’d never done before, have my love for a game I hadn’t played in a little while be reignited plus I have another story to tell people so overall a pretty good decision. It gave me something to look forward to for the first time in a little while and while it was a little stressful making sure I was doing everything right and fighting other people in a game I hadn’t played in a little while but it was fun and I’m glad I did it. It’s an experience that I can remember fondly and left a lasting positive impact. I suppose the point in me rambling about this is that this is an example of a spontaneous decision that’ll stick with me for a while and heck maybe I’ll be part of another tournament. It’s important to plan things and make informed, thought out decisions(I can be impulsive sometimes but I do make those decisions too) but your life can also be made up of random, spontaneous decisions too and those can lead to fun times. This isn’t close to the only spontaneous decision I’ve made. I’ve made friends, important choices and more through those kinds of decisions. This blog post and a few other posts in this blog are spawned from spontaneous decisions. Originally this was going to be an angrier, more venting style of blog post but because a random decision led to something more fun happening this weekend I decided to make a blog post to reflect that. After all in times like these I think we could all use a little more fun.

Unrequited Love of Country

By: A.X Bueno

I love my country 

But I’m not sure it loves me back 

Despite everything it’s given that it says I need to payback

There are times when it makes it very clear

That it didn’t want me and I don’t belong here

At least that’s what it feels like when there are people who view your very existence as some sort of attack

There are some who have the idea planted in their minds 

That there are those seeking help who are less than the rest of mankind

They can be overly loud and they can be cruel 

Even if they’re only a few fish out of a very big pool 

There are times when the country itself doesn’t make it easy 

It can amplify and seemingly believe those hateful voices despite them being sleazy 

It’s usually not targeted directly at someone like me

But god dammit they’re talking about people in my family

They expect us to just take it when they try to hide behind the law

Using it as an excuse to spew weak bile from their miserable maws 

You try to keep cool while they pretend that they care 

Saying if they just hadn’t broken the law while ignoring the inhumane conditions there

It doesn’t matter how hard you work or if their assumptions were wrong 

They just don’t want you here, they want you to be gone 

Of course they aren’t the country but the country usually isn’t helping 

The amount of apathy this country can show is sometimes overwhelming

The opportunities it won’t provide or sometimes will snatch away

The families that will get ripped apart for an ounce of security 

It happened to mine and it’s happened to many others

How can I believe this country loves me when it treats me and so many like a bother

Despite all that I still love it here

Even if my country doesn’t fully respect who and what I am

I’ll keep fighting and waiting for the day that it can  

The many uses of silence

Something that’s happened to me recently got me thinking about silence and it’s uses. Honestly it’s something I definitely think about now and then but not something I’ve ever really written about. The definition of silence is the complete absence of sound or to prohibit or prevent from speaking if you were to use silence as a verb instead of noun. The definition is simple and doesn’t really need anything added to it but it lacks the many nuances of silence. Silence has many uses and many reasons for it’s existence. Silence can be used to show and can be caused by anything from a moment of clarity to tranquility. Personally I consider silence a tool to convey messages that wouldn’t be as strong if I used words or that words simply weren’t necessary for. I’ve used it to end uncomfortable conversations, give me extra time to think of responses to things, to show I’m angry, to be considerate of others, remain unpredictable, show contentment, etc. Point is I like to use silence for a lot of things and so do many other people clearly considering how often it’s included in the titles of too many things to list from books to songs and the many different ways to describe silence. I think it says something about silence that it can be considered not only a valid form of feedback but one of the worst forms of feedbacks by a place like Harvard(yes The Harvard). Too much silence can be a bad thing and silence can be used to hurt and cause pain both intentionally and not but silence is definitely something people want and need to varying extents. Being more an introvert and someone who deals with social anxiety I tend to prefer the silence but definitely grow sick of silence and loneliness same as anybody I just have a higher tolerance for silence then some people. A little silence and alone time certainly help me recharge to have more social interactions. Yeah sometimes silence can simply mean that someone needs time to recharge from the events in their life which is what I think happened to me though I can’t be sure. I guess the point of this long rambling blog post on silence is that it has power and that you should consider how and why you’re using it. After all silence can communicate many different things and sometimes multiple things at once and trust me you want to be sure you’re sending the right message with your silence.

The costs of a seemingly never-ending job search

There’s no shortage of people telling others to get a job but what it seems some don’t realize is how unforgiving the job market can be and how the job search can be a job in itself. A hard, frustrating and mostly costly, rarely rewarding job. To start with there’s the rejection. You’ll apply to hundreds of job and only a fraction of those will turn into interviews. Most places will never give a reason they rejected you leaving you to wonder about it while you move on with your life and continue to apply on the chance one place out of the many you’ve applied to that never got back to you will finally notice your potential. Then there’s the interview. You give the best answers you can and present yourself as best you can but having to compete against so many others means that the chances are slim. You can try your hardest, bring years of experience to the table, have the learning experiences of dozens of interviews and still lose the opportunity because of someone who had a better resume, or better connections or a random requirement or even just a simple mistake. It’s frustrating and demotivating dealing with all the rejection and possibilities of rejection for that one lucky chance that could be months away and come from anywhere. Then there’s being perpetually broke and the effects of that. Having to constantly budget yourself and save rarely having the money to have fun and when you do you have to worry if you have enough money a lot of the time. You have to prioritize a lot and turn down offers to do things because you don’t have enough money or sometimes because you have an interview and need to put that money towards transportation. You won’t have the money to buy what you want or fix what needs fixing. Saving and budgeting helps but people have a lot of needs and wants and you can only save and budget so much when you have no source of steady income. It becomes depressing and you feel stuck without the means to help yourself. Then there’s the feeling of inadequacy. After all if you’ve studied or trained to do something for years and so many places denied you the opportunity to do it because apparently there’s so many other people who are better qualified it hurts after a while. You knows it’s not meant to and that’s it done more out of business sense and practicality than any kind of malicious intent but it’s still a little painful. There’s watching most of the people you know live their lives and prosper while you’re still stuck. You should be happy for them and you are but there’s also a bit of resentment and you hate that you feel that. You should be further than you are but you’re stuck because no one will you give you a chance. I could go on a bit more like how the job search can be even harder for autistic people especially those without help but I hope my point is clear that unemployment sucks and the job search can be aggravatingly and sometimes depressingly difficult. The job market is pretty unforgiving so if you’re feeling down about being unemployed or the fact you’ve been job searching for too many months remember all the odds you’re beating and have still to beat and don’t be too hard on yourself.

Rediscovering the solace of cooking

So with everything that’s going on it’s important to keep busy and one thing I’ve been doing is cooking. I’ve been cooking since high school though it’s definitely a skill I’ve honed over the years and am still honing rather than something I was just gifted in. Since cooking is something that requires time and patience it’s something that can be hard to make the time for sometimes. Being in isolation naturally means more free time and less distractions so now there’s plenty of time to cook and honestly having the kind of time I haven’t had since high school has helped reignite my love of cooking. Trying to make a new recip for the first time and that feeling of accomplishment when you finish making it. Sharing the food you made with friends and family and them telling you that they like it. Recapturing the magic of a familiar dish. Cooking is just something that can make you feel better and when you find the time for it, it can actually be easier than you thought. We’re all going through a lot of crap right now and things might get worse before they get better so it’s important to find happiness in whatever you can. Whether that’s an old hobby that you forgot about for a while, trying something new, or just relaxing while waiting for this all to be over.

Bustle

By: A.X. Bueno

The city in the morning   

Always full of buses and subways rustling 

It becomes too easy to get lost 

Among all the hustle and bustle of the city 

The street vendors hustling,

The busy man rushing to work,

The crowd all unpredictable in the morning rush

It never gets dull but somewhere there’s always some kind of fuss 

You eat breakfast, make it through the day and it’s quickening pace

Somedays it feels like you’re running a very cyclic race

Not all of this is exclusive to the city I’m sure you know 

But it sure feels that way sometimes when 

It feels like all you see is the important landmarks and the busy people 

And everything you’d expect from the big city 

It’s hard not to get lost in all the grandeur and the noise  

But if you maintain yourself and look for the cities many joys 

You can keep your sanity when dealing with anything that annoys

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