Tag Archives: Self-esteem

We’re Not Gonna Take It Anymore

Ah, the 80s in all of its absurd pageantry. What a laugh riot that was. This isn’t to diminish the acoustic contributions of Twisted Sister, rather laugh at our zeal in exploration. There comes a point in discovery when you are so eager to do everything that you may blush about it years later. I never thought Zubaz were a great idea. Ever.

The theme is quite old, a rebellion of new desires versus the established norms. Every generation wants a voice. Everyone wants to be noticed. This isn’t new at all. America was established because a handful of people said, “we’re not going to take it anymore.” Peter Finch in Network gave us the unforgettable line, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” There has, and always will be, a breaking point in the tolerance of others and other beliefs.

This leads me to think about all of my past relationships. I’m not an old timer here, but old enough to consider myself a veteran of the arena. I’ve met all sorts of people in many situations. Sometimes people would frustrate me to the point of misanthropy, but these days I think I’ve been able to adopt a philosophy of de todo ha de haber en el mundo, or “there must be all types in the world.”

Norman Douglas once said, “to find a friend one must close one eye — to keep him, two.” I find this statement horribly misleading and the gateway to being a doormat. If there was ever a situation where I had to look the other way, it better be something small like picking one’s nose in public or breaking wind on the ride home.

There’s definitely a line between accepting people for their faults and overlooking toxic behavior. If people want to benefit from my company, which is indeed a perk (I’ll explain later), then they’re not going to use me for their own gain. That’s where I draw the line, even if it is merely saying an insult to elevate your self-worth. That’s it; you’re done.

As previously mentioned, there are perks to having good relations with me. I’m one of the few that move my friends. I’ve moved roughly 15 friends on 20 different occasions in my lifetime, and it probably won’t stop there. I’ve been known to jump start dead car batteries, pick up dinner tabs, donate goods, taxi friends to and fro, and other things people need an extra hand with. This isn’t behavior to be taken for granted. Unfortunately, there are some people who do and others that will go beyond that.

I can say in my experience that I have never, not even once, regretted walking away from a bad friendship or relationship. There are plenty of toxic people just waiting to steal your time and use your good nature. There is absolutely no need to be a doormat to them. As a friend of mine once said, “people are either flowers or weeds, and you should only water the flowers.”

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From Baloney to Bull Oni

#1795 Namahage

As we see here, the Vince Neil oni is predictably guarding a row of bottles.(Photo credit: Nemo’s great uncle)

The concept of Japanese oni (demon), a subset of the Yōkai (ghost), are very endearing to me. They have such an identifiable image when displayed. It’s always a wacky, outlandish, grotesque figure ready to be menacing any moment. They’re traditionally evil, but I can’t help finding them simply adorable. Does that make me a strange person? Probably.

Modern representations of oni portray them more like wards against evil. It’s the same concept as gargoyles, and are displayed similarly on houses. Wild how society adapts tradition to suit its needs, isn’t it? It’s even wilder how cultures can mirror each other. Humans being human beings, or Human Beinz as the case may be.

The Japanese have a saying, “oni ni kanobo,” which translates into “oni with an iron club.” At least my primer material suggests such. I don’t specialize in much, and like a little variety. Most of the time I read introductory material and move on. So sue me; I’m not going to major in it. At any rate, this adage was meant to mean “invincible.” None of us are truly invincible, but I know a few times where I felt like I picked up the Super Mario Brothers star.  Others know what I’m talking about, I’m sure.

This post from Andra Watkins reminded me of a rumination I had back when I was trying to explore my life’s path in New York City. It was about success and progress. I was an unpaid flunky (intern) at an indie record label that operated out of a spare office in the co-owner’s family business. It was cool for a lot of things, like understanding the moving parts of the music industry and soaking in a New York way of life. It also had terribly horrifying, scruple-crushing events that may not seem much to others as it does a good kid from the rural Midwest. Some of them weren’t my fault, but some were.

Being outgoing was, and still is to some extent, a circumstance that would make the blood drain from my face. People are unpredictable. People are judgmental. People do not serve me with the level of respect they should, and this is regarding episodes like getting shouldered out of the way on the sidewalk. Basic respect, in my mind. I never asked anyone to believe in me, take my ideas seriously, or like me. I just wanted a little cooperation.

All of this fear and anxiety seems to manifest itself into a structure of defeat, a Berlin Wall of the soul. Concepts like these have an ethereal nature about them, and as such, there truly is no wall. Barriers happen to everyone and are the mind’s way of  taunting, intimidating, and scaring the person into inaction. The reasons will vary from person to person, but mine certainly were borne from a lack of self-esteem. I had been put through the wringer at school, and was left to drift about for the rest of my life. For once, I grabbed the paddle and moved somewhere.

Channeling the anger and desire from within my core produced a spirit wind. My metaphysical being would take the shape of a ram or bull and pummel the barrier with a force only revered by the intangible block. This ram batters and batters and batters the wall until it yields. Through experience, more often than not, that wall will break. It will buckle and groan, and your face will bloody and bruise, but it will give way eventually. Some mountains take longer to topple than others, but that’s where patience and persistence come in real handy.

As a caveat, I would like to acknowledge it takes brave soul to know when to try a different route. It’s decision requires discretion, though, and shouldn’t happen too often. With that in mind, be the oni ni kanobo. Be the bull, and give your barrier its reckoning!

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