Category Archives: growing up

Learning New Things: Or, Learning To Soar And Never Giving Up

 

albb

So, I’m picking up some hobbies. I’ve grown tired of feeling stale and boring. When people ask what I do in my spare time, I’m like… “I read, write, go to the gym, drink tea at cafes as read and write…and I eat….and stuff?”   And then I sit there and I’m like… my god, I sound like I’m 90.

 

I need a little more magic in my life. I need something that takes me away from the constant cycle of “reading and writing”. Which, don’t get me wrong, I love to read and write…but sometimes I just need something else.  Anything else, really.  I love writing and It’s a great creative outlet. But it’s so silent, so isolated. I want something performative and exciting!

 

Years and years ago I bought a banjo. A banjo I have hardly touched ever since because when you’re consumed with depression you don’t feel like you have the energy or brain power to do anything. But, I’m better these days. And it’s time for me to start doing all the things I spent so many years not doing. So, I’m gonna’ pick that bitch back up again. I love music and I wish I was better at being able to make it. And then I was like…

Well, I own a fucking instrument!!! Why don’t I do something about it????

banjo.gif

 

I’m working on this huge project right now at school where I’m writing a podcast episode on Drag. And even though I’m gay and have had a few experiences where I’ve seen a drag queen walking down the street or something, I’ve actually never been to a show, nor have I ever watched Drag Race or anything. So I’ve been doing a crash course in Drag lately and have been discovering a whole bunch of really talented people. The crash course is what’s gotten me into the UK Big Brother season that Courtney Act on it (who thank god won, cuz everyone else in that house was a bloody cunt to her)

Anyhoo, there is this drag queen named Trixie Mattel. She sings folk/country/alt/singer-songwriter something type of music or something? I’m not sure how I’d classify her style, but anyways, she’s super talented. She can play instruments and sings really well.

trixie

I had reached out to her for an interview for the podcast episode I’m working on, and she totally blew me off….which kind of sucks….BUT I’M NOT BITTER AT ALL..….WOULD A BITTER PERSON TYPE IN ALL BOLD CAPS????? I DON’T THINK SO!

But anyways, I was like, look: If this sassy cunt has the balls to put on a dress, wig, and makeup and then rock an autoharp on a stage….then god dammit I can learn a fuckin’ banjo!  And so, learn a banjo I shall!

 

 

On top of that, I’ve also started learning Mandarin.

ni

 

I have an internship in Shanghai this summer, and I’ve also been selected to do some travel blogging while I’m there, which is insanely cool!

The internship says I don’t need any experience speaking Mandarin, but fuck that. Goin’ to a foreign country without knowing any of their language is white-fuckin’-trash.   Ok…actually, I take that back. If someone is going to a tourist place for a week, then I can see them not needing to learn the language.  I don’t think anyone going to Cancun for Spring Break would have any need to learn Spanish (however, America is rapidly changing, so learning Spanish is becoming more and more useful in our country and I may argue should be a mandatory secondary language taught in schools).

Anyways…. what the fuck was I saying? … Oh right. So yeah, I’m going to be in China for the summer. And when you settle and live someplace for a while and have a chance to really just get into a groove there, knowing the language and culture is key. Especially since I’m going to be venturing out on my own to explore the city to write these travel pieces on top of the internship.

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So, I’m doin’ this! 

I’m living my life. I’m done sitting passively as life passes me by. Any of you, go back to my early blog posts. Read some posts from back when I was agoraphobic. It was insane! I literally let my youth slip by as I struggled and fought against the issues I was having. It breaks my heart when I go back and think about my years in California, Australia, and New Zealand. I was running and searching. I was looking for myself. I was trying to find who I was. But I was so hurt from my past and had nobody there to help me move forward, so I just stumbled tumbled and crashed.

But, that’s growth right?  Growth is moving forward and learning from the past so you can become better for the future. I remember a great line from one of my favorite movies, The Time Machine. The main character keeps trying to go back in time to save his girlfriend who dies, but no matter how many times he goes back and tries to change the situation, she always dies in some way. The past is cemented. There’s no changing it.

At one point he says “The only way to go is forward”.

~ The Dark Horse

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KANT’S RULES OF HAPPINESS

KANT'S RULES FORHAPPINESS

 

So, I came across this quote the other day,  and I’ll admit, it’s sad that I just found this because I was literally in a philosophy class last semester and we talked about Kant!  Not to mention the fact that I’ve been blogging about depression and my lonely life for 4 fucking years now.

Anyhoo, so Kant has famously said:

Rules for happiness_ something to do, someone to love, something to hope for.

Have you all heard this before?  Because seriously, this is like life changing for me… and yet I’m worried that this quote may be common knowledge for pretty much everyone but me.

 

Anyways, let’s dive into this shit.

 

1.) SOMETHING TO DO

 

For a very, very long time, I lacked this. I mean, even to this very day I’m still pretty weak in this department (But I’m making progress). But I completely agree that this is so true.  When you’re doing things that you hate and that bore you, how the fuck are you supposed to be happy? 

For example, I’ve spent so many fucking years working in restaurants and in retail. I was bored.  In fact, I was bored to death.  I was so bored that I was horribly depressed, and would break out into panic attacks just thinking about how meaningless my life was.

What made it even worse is that I would try to reach out to people.  I’d try to be like, “I’m so unhappy, I know I can do more with my life…I’m meant for more than this.”

and that was always met with:

“In this economy you should just be thankful you have a job…”

or

“Oh well you know, everyone gets bored with everything they do eventually…”

or

“What other kind of job do you think you could even get???”

 

It’s sad that people don’t try and life you up, they just try and keep you down at their level.  The lesson here is that if you’re doing something and you feel like your stuck and bored and miserable, then switch it up!  Get out of that place!  (Granted this is something that can take time…but don’t let that deter you from doing it!)

 

 

2.) SOMEONE TO LOVE

 

I think it’s pretty obvious that this doesn’t just mean love in a romantic sense.  I think this is more about having people in your life.  Friends, family, and romance.

I’ve talked about this with a lot of people.  I never had anyone there for me growing up, and it totally killed me inside.  Living in social isolation is absolute hell.  And what’s even worse is when bad things happen to you.  In general, most people get through the bad times by being surrounded by those who care about them.  They use the shoulders around them to cry on.

And when you don’t have any shoulders around…when it’s just you vs. the universe, the world is a horribly crushing place.

Having people in your life…people who actually care… is life changing.

In fact, something pretty amazing happened the other night.  I’ve started to make some friends here at Harvard.  We met through a board game club on campus.  And last month it was brought up that when Star Wars came out, we should all go see it.

SW

And sure enough, on Thursday, opening night for The Last Jedi, we all went and saw it.  I was standing in the T, with seven of my friends around me… I looked around and I thought to myself… “Wow, this is the first time in my entire life that I’ve ever gone somewhere with a group of people!” 

I don’t want to sound stupid, but it was a completely profound experience. I, at 27 years old, had finally done something that I’ve always wanted to do ever since I was a kid.  I was hanging out with a group of friends.

We did all the things that people with social lives do.  We were all texting each other about where to meet and stuff, we all sat in a group at the movies, and we even had an issue where the car broke down, so we had to flag someone down to jump the car at 1am… look at that, a night complete with wacky surprises!  This may seem like normal stuff you guys, but for me, this was a totally new experience. It’s crazy how something that seems so meaningless to most people can be so moving to others.

I actually really like how Star Wars has a way of bringing people together.  It’s almost like it’s mankind’s favorite story.  It teaches us to be better people and to never give up.

 

3.) SOMETHING TO HOPE FOR

So, I see this as also meaning something to look forward.  Something that makes you want to keep living.  Something that makes you believe fun and happiness is on the horizon.  That something will better your life. 

And… hmmmm… this is becoming a Star Wars post now.  Because you know, Star Wars is all about HOPE. The entire plot-line of Star Wars is the hope that good will overcome darkness.  That is the rebellion.

And I don’t know if any of you have read some of my earlier posts throughout the years, but there have been times when I literally have had no hope.  There have been times where I was just wishing that I’d die through the night so I wouldn’t have to go on living another day.

But now…things are different.  Since starting at Harvard, it’s like my life has turned around.  I have internships now… I have a sense that I will actually make something of myself… I think I could become a good writer at some point… and I even have friends now (wtf right?  How did all this happen?)

Well…I needed hope.  I needed hope that my life could become better.  I needed hope that things weren’t over yet.  I needed to believe that I could do it.

And now, that small sliver of hope, that small flame in the eternal darkness… It’s lead to more hope.  And now, hopefully this post is bringing about more hope.  Because like Kant says, we all need hope.

 

 

So, what does this mean?  …. good question.  This post was not put together well at all.  My writing professors would be annoyed, but you know what fuck them.  This isn’t being written for a class, this is being written for catharsis.

But here’s what I can say for you.  If you have people who are bringing you down, well then, you gosta’ slap a bitch.

slap

 

Cuz you got this.  You can do it.  Yes, this world can be unfair, and sure, some of may be missing some or all of Kant’s 3 sources to happiness, but this is the only life we have.  And so we gotta rock shit out.

Go for it.

Never give up.

And may the force be with you.

lightspeed

 

 

Light speed bitches!

~ The Dark Horse

 

 

I Long To Be The Younger Me Again

Feb 2010 Campus Scenes

 

Does anyone else out there look back on their past and wish they were young again?  I mean, I didn’t even like being young.  My life has been a raging shitshow since about age 10

But at the same time, there was the spark back then.  This magic all around me. 

I believed that everything was going to work out.  I thought that one day I’d fly away and be surrounded by people who loved and cared for me.  When I was 20, I was so much more jaded than any other 20 year-old around me, but now, at 27, I’m even more bitter and jaded than I thought humanly possible.

 

This one memory has been popping back into my head for about a month now.

It’s the memory of being twenty years old and being back in undergrad.  Back at a school called Loyola Marymount University.

LMU1

Loyola Marymount is located in sunny Los Angeles and it’s campus is beautiful and pristine.  Being from working class Ohio, I always felt completely out of place surrounded by all the kids from the OC and the Bay who drove their BMWs and Range Rovers around campus.

Back then I hated that school.  I had no friends.  I didn’t connect with the coke-snorting millionaires from Laguna Beach who partied in WeHo rather than did homework like me.   It was so isolating and lonely.  I remember it was so bad that I moved to Westwood to live with UCLA kids.   Then I had about a 2 hour bus commute every day there and back on the Santa Monica 3 bus line.

 

lmu3

 

And yet, these days, I look back and miss those days.  I miss being in undergrad. I miss being that young.  I miss looking out my classroom windows and seeing palm trees and the LA skyline.

But you know, what I really miss is being surrounded by peers.  There is an experience in undergrad that you’ll never get in anything else you ever do in life for as long as you live.  Its you, being young, and being surrounded by a bunch of other young people.  There is just this feeling like a new friend could be around every corner. Maybe a potential boyfriend is sitting next to you in class.   You just always think that something good may be coming.

So that’s what I’m remembering.  I keep thinking of sitting in this history class I had.  There was this really cute straight guy who sat next to me.  I used to sneak looks at him when he wasn’t looking.  And sometimes, he’d catch my looking and I’d smile like as I was just looking around the room and happened to make eye-contact with him.  He’d give me this bro-like “sup” motion with his face.

AudreyMa_LMU_2015_1520

I’ll never have that again.   I’ll never feel like a new friend is around every corner.  I’ll never feel like I’ll fall in love ever again.   I just rot.  I just got older and more isolated and my body crumbles and fades with age.

You’re only young once.   After that it’s all over.  Now, everyone is settling down, getting married, getting fat, plopping into their 9-5 (which in America has quickly turned to the 8-6), and they wash their adulthoods away at bars on the weekends talking about life as “grown ups” as they discuss buying homes and other such bullshits.

I think I actually hate them more now.  At least back when we were 20 and they didn’t have anything in common with me, I could still have some eye candy.  But now, that glow of youth that all the hot guys used to have has been replaced with a growing belly and back hair.   I wonder how they look at themselves in the mirror everyday without wanting to commit suicide.   How far they’ve fallen.

lmu6

But despite how awful life becomes, I will still have my memories.  At nighttime as I sit in my bed unable to fall asleep, I close my eyes, and think about my past.  I replay those days at LMU on loop in my head.  My bedroom provides an escape from my present.  I’d rather be lost a delusional fantasy of what my life used to be, than sit in bed at night and dwell on how it only continues to get worse.

lmu7

Anyways, does anyone else feel that way?  Does anyone else feel like even though life was never good, it was somehow less bad when you were young?

And where do we go from here?

~ The Dark Horse

(This was…perhaps 30% proofread?)

Life Really Can Get Better. You Just Need To Try (God, It Sounds Cliche, But It Works)

dave

 

So, this is super annoying, but my life is quickly getting better.  Like, so quickly it’s actually making me mad.  I’m mad that I sat in a shell for so long.  That I feared life.  That I doubted myself.  That I didn’t take risks and go out a limb simply because I believed others when they said I was worth nothing.

 

So for anyone who is reading this blog for the first time, I just started taking classes at Harvard last month.  Im brand new to Boston.  And yet in this one month I have started classes, Ive started writing a novel, and I just got offered a job to write the social media for a company here…. WHAT THE FUCK PEOPLE?  

WHAT

THE 

FUCK?

 

Why Didn’t I decide to start writing a novel sooner?  Ive been blogging for like 3 years.  It isn’t like I haven’t had the desire to write.   In fact I’ve had story ideas just sitting in my mind for years.  What have I been doing?

 

Is it possible that things can go well?  That maybe the world is colorful? 

dave1

 

 

That maybe the bad guys don’t win at the end?  

I’m still just so fucking annoyed that I sat and believed for so long that nothing good could ever happen to me.  I believed with ALL OF MY HEART that I wasn’t worth anything.  That I failed because I deserved to fail.   That I was just better off dead.   That was the only reason I could think of as to why people kept telling me I was worth nothing.

But you know what, maybe there are other reasons?

~ Maybe because I decided to be myself and not follow the norm, the road wasn’t paved with signs telling me where to go… well the road wasn’t even paved.   Thats just part of being different.

~ Maybe people felt jealous or threatened that I wanted more for my life than a boring 9-5 where I had to drink my weekends away just to cope.

~ Maybe all those failures kept showing me what paths not to go down.  Maybe they were learning experiences?  Maybe thats just life process of anyone who follows the beat of their own drum?

So what can I say to you people who are reading this? 

Well for starters. Don’t give up.  NEVER EVER GIVE UP.

Don’t listen to the people who put you down.  This world is full of hateful people.  They have their issues and reasons as to why they’re such assholes, and none of them should matter to you.  let them go rot in their own filth.  Don’t become one of them.

Remember that you’re talented and smart and can do anything.  Any of us who go trough the day with depression, anxiety, or any other mental problems are so strong.   We have to deal with the shit the common man can’t even comprehend. So remember, if you have the strength to get out of bed, you have the strength to change the world.

dave3

This world can be bright and colorful.  Just like the picture above.  We just need to remember to rock shit out, and never take no for an answer.

dave4

 

 

Life is short, don’t waste anymore of it.

~ The Dark Horse

 

 

 

Dear Mom and Dad (A Letter They Will Never Read)

cab

 

Dear mom and dad, Im writing this because I know you’ll never read this.    I just wanted to let you know that yesterday, after leaving you at the airport, I arrived safely in Cambridge.   I will begin school next Monday and honestly, Im so excited.

 

I know that I never ever tell you this, but I love you both so much.   You guys have done so much for me and have made so many sacrifices.    Granted, we rarely see things eye-to-eye, and I know you guys don’t get me and my dreams.   But I don’t blame you.   We’re just different types of people and thats fine.

As you both know, I move around a lot.  And Its because I’m trying to find myself.   I have this deep need to be better.  To achieve greatness.  To try and take the world by storm.    But at the same time, I’ve been deeply hurt in my life.  From people who don’t get me.  From people who don’t want watch me succeed.    And in part, I suppose I have left their words and actions affect me to much.  Furthermore,  I can tell you both that it does get lonely when you constantly restart in new locations.  And I do miss you.   And I do have times where I just want to hop on a plane and come home.

 

The reason I never mention any of that to you is because I have too much pride.  I don’t want you guys worrying about me.  Fearing for me.   I don’t want you to know that Im not superhuman.   They say that every child has that moment where they realize their parents are only human.  Merely two flawed Earthlings.   When I found that out about you guys it broke my heart, and so I never want to make you two go through that same thing.

 

 

However, there is good news too.  I have really good hopes for this!  I think my intentions of going back to school are pure.  I almost feel a sense of innocence again.  Kind of like how most kids must feel when they start undergrad.  A blind-hope.  Some kind of just pure happiness and a thought things are about to be awesome.   I think I’ll learn a lot at Harvard.  I think I’ll be challenged.  Be bettered.   I have this sense of optimism and hope.  A feeling that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be right now…. a feeling I haven’t had in a very long time.

 

 

One day I hope that I can make you both very proud to be my parents ( I know you already are )   But still, I don’t feel proud to be me yet… Maybe thats what Im really hoping for.  And thats something Im never able to tell you.  That I feel like a failure.   I feel like a pathetic and complete failure.   I thought I would be so much more at age 27 than what I am.

 

But again, right now I’m feeling good.  Im feeling hopeful.   Im feeling optimistic.  And I just wanted to let you both know how much you mean to me.  How much I miss you every time I leave, and how grateful I am for your love and unending support.

 

~Love your son, The Dark Horse

The After-Christmas Blues

ch

 

Ugh….  The Christmas music is gone.  The family has all parted ways… The presents have been opened… and now here we are.  Stuck with the post-christmas lows.

 

Its always weird for me.   Everyone always acts so busy at the holidays.    Like, “Oh I just couldn’t possibly stay any longer, I just have so much to do I have to go right now!”

Does anyone else feel like thats how everyone is?  Even at the family Christmas there are people who come, eat the food, and then are like, “Ok everyone we have to go, bye!”.   And I’m like… Where exactly is everyone going all the time?

If you’re going to come into town Christmas eve night and leave at 8am the day after Christmas what exactly are you even coming home for?     Like, seriously people… if you’re lives are so full-on that actually breaking away from your job for JUST 1 DAY  is now a chore, don’t come home!

ch1

 

But as I grow older thats how life has become.   Christmas is this whirlwind now consisting of 1 day.  Where I hear nothing but family complaining about how tired the holidays make them, how busy they are, how quickly they have to rush out right after Christmas…. and then before you know it, its December 26.  Everyone is gone.  The mad dash to go somewhere else is in full-swing.

We spend 2 months putting up lights, listening to Christmas carols, buying presents, baking cookies….. all for one day where EVERYONE ON EARTH just complains about how tired these two months have made them.  How they’re just too stressed right now… and how they have to leave immediately.

Well human population:  You’re negativity, lack of enthusiasm, and commitment to your jobs which must be working you 60 or 70 hours a week with how much you complain about them, has left me now tired, depressed, and empathetic.

Your Christmas has ruined mine.  I hope you’re happy.  

And now you’re all gone.  Back to your jobs which you hate so much.   Back to paying off your mortgages, your kids, your cars, and the presents you couldn’t afford.    You’re back to living your lives you complain about so much.     And Why? 

ch2

Now don’t get me wrong.  Im not some unemployed welfare muncher.  I work as well.    And no, I don’t like my job.  But you know what people, I’m doing sometime about it.  Im going back to school.  Ive never invested in things that would keep me tied down to consumerist culture like buying a house, buying the newest car, or  the crappy gadgets that don’t do anything (talkin’ to you fitbit and apple watch people).     Because without having any of that hanging over my head I’m free to switch up my life.  Im free to change things.  Im not tied down.  I don’t have anything looming over my head.   I am not happy with my life, and therefore I am changing it.  You people are not happy with your lives, and yet you just sit in your filth.   You tie yourself down.   You get stuck, trapped, and captured.

Then this one time of year comes around meant for family, fun, and friendship.   It could be so beautiful.  The lights, the trees, the time spent together….but no.   Instead you’re so frazzled that the holidays have become a pathetic spectacle.   Christmas is now just one more day in your life that has clearly become so boring, so routine, and mundane that you just could’t give a fuck anymore.

And thats sad.     And it makes me sad.    And what makes it even worse is that you’re all convinced thats just how life is.   Working a job that doesn’t really make you happy is something you believe everyone just does.    Buying too many presents for people who don’t actually need them is just part of the season.   Getting fatter and fatter every year is just part of getting older…and so on and so on.    If your 15 yr old self saw you right now, what would they think?

Apparently to most of you, adulthood is the end of your life.   All you have is the memories of your youth now.

I don’t want that as my life.    And I’m sorry that so many of you have let that become you.

Sorry for the horribly negative post, just something Ive been noticing.

~ The Dark Horse