Category Archives: life

What is a Disenfranchised Student?

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So, with this whole scandal and debate about college students and admissions, it has got me thinking a lot about my time in college, both in undergrad, and now as a grad student.

On top of that, because of the scandal, I’m hearing a lot of the “White privilege” argument. So it’s got me asking myself a lot about my time in school – This article is not going to try to say that white privilege doesn’t exist, because it does.

This article is actually about me asking, What is a first generation student?

Who deserves resources?

What groups are being forgotten?

Let me explain my situation with college. I am not the first generation of my family to go to college. My parents were the first (which is rather normal in America, so I’m going to make this about my parents being “first gen” or anything)

I am, however, the first in my family to go to what I’m going to call ‘real college’. My parents went to the local university in my hometown. This university is what’s considered a “not ranked” school. Meaning, it’s not competitive and it lets anyone in. Your ACT and SAT scores don’t matter, they don’t require any essays to be written, no recommendation letters – nothing. This university will even have billboards up during the first week of classes that saying things like “Classes have only just begun! You can still enroll! Call now!” 

Students and tourists rest in lawn chairs in Harvard Yard, the open old heart of Harvard University campus

Back when my parents were in school, college was also much different. They paid their way through full-time school with their part-time jobs – Something that can’t be done today. They both lived at home as they attended school (as many in my hometown do) and after graduating, their part-time jobs turned to full-time and so they never had to deal with internships and applying to jobs “within their field” and all of that.

In recent years, this particular school admits tons of low-income and minority students. To make sure that these students don’t drop out, the university has instated a massive grading curve. So a B- student becomes an A+ student leading the class.

So, my point is this: Yes, may parents wen to “college”. But they had never gone to anything that resembles what Americans think colleges are.

I was the first in my family to have to save up for college while in high school. I was the first to take an ACT test. I was the first to write admissions essays. The first to need letters of recommendation. The first to leave my hometown. The first to live in a dorm on campus. The first to compete for internships. And now, the first to attend graduate school.

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I had no help or guidance on these things, because nobody in my family had ever done any of it before. So, am I a first generation student? 

And if not, what am I?

I think of all the mistakes I made while in school. All the things I didn’t know. I went from being harassed for being gay every single day in my hometown by my peers, to suddenly living in a building with hundreds of them. My parents had never had an internship before and had no idea what and internship actually consisted of. I didn’t know what entering a job market looked like. There’s so much I didn’t know. So much I didn’t understand. And so much I did wrong, out of ignorance.

But because I’m a white male who’s parents technically attended college, nobody ever paid a single ounce of attention to me. There was no help. No resources. No programs. No groups.

Nothing.

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And it’s still hard. It’s hard that in this 2019 environment, anytime I open my mouth about a difficulty I’ve been through, everyone just moans and groans, and gives you this “UGH, ANOTHER WHITE PERSON WHO THINKS THEY HAVE PROBLEMS….”

So, the question becomes: Are we still forgetting about students? 

Is there a group of young people out there that society is assuming is doing fine, but is actually lost? Are there people out who need help but don’t know where to go, and feel as though they have no options?

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I think we can all admit that my college situation is very different from Felicity Huffman’s daughter. So why is it just assumed that all white people are the same?

Our society needs to focus on race. We needed affirmative action to get people of color into schools and jobs. We need groups for minority students who are disenfranchised. We need funded programs for first gen students, I am in no way saying that needs to stop. 

What I am saying though, is that there are disenfranchised white people too. Liberalism and #Wokeness has seemed to become just as blinded by anger against whites as the racists they claim to hate. The world isn’t as clear and simple as “White people get everything, colored people get nothing.” We won’t solve real problems that way.

Oppression comes in various forms for different people. Oppression, discrimination, domination can come in forms beyond race – there’s age, wealth, sexuality, gender, history of abuse, mental illness, religion, and more. It’s complex. It’s messy. It’s shitty.

But it’s reality. 

Harvard campus with brilliant fall foliage

So, I pose this question to the world.

What do we do?

How do we ensure that we’re helping all people who need it. How do we help prevent people from falling through the cracks of society?

How do we help make things better?

 

~ The Dark Horse

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Can The City You Live In Impact Your Mental Health?

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The short answer (In my opinion) is yes. And in multiple ways. Let me explain:

 

For starters, if you’re living in a city where you don’t fit in, then right off the bat, you will have problems.  For example, I’m from Ohio.

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I am gay, very liberal, loves travel, and have always wanted to do something in the arts and in media, and have always wanted to somehow impact the world in a big way.

Ohio is a lot of blue collar people who don’t have passports (and who rarely even leave the state), they’re mostly republicans who fear the outside world, and life consists of going to work to make money to start a family and go to church to pray to God to let you go to heaven because you’ve spent your entire life only half-lived, because you’ve been suck in the social norms that your too afraid to ever step away from.

Ohio also has a very bad crime problem, and is part of the opiod epidemic, along with having a bad meth problem as well, but that’s a whole other story… 

ANYWAYS, the point is, someone like me just doesn’t fit in there. It just wasn’t ever going to work. My life in Ohio would always have been un-lived because there isn’t anything there for me.

And the same can be true for the other side of the spectrum as well.  If you’re a Protestant who thinks homosexuality is a sin, and loves Trump and wants him to build the wall, and you genuinely fear and hate people of a different skin color from you…  you’re probably going to have a horrible miserable life in cities line New York, LA, or San Fransisco.

And as much as I’m terrified by the idea of some Protestant with so much hate and fear inside them, part of the trick is just finding where they fit.  Just like I needed to find where I fit.

 

But there’s also more factors:  

For example, Los Angeles, is car-centered city.  When you walk out to a road, it looks like this:

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You don’t see many people out walking the streets. For America’s second largest city, you sometimes wonder if you’re in a suburb somewhere.

And don’t get me wrong. There are some very beautiful, fun, and lively parts of LA. Sunset Strip, WeHo, Santa Monica, Venice.  You’ll find busy areas.

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But if you ever live there, you’ll soon realize that this is a very small percentage of LA. Most of LA, on the street level, is a barren wasteland.

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And I used to find that emptiness absolutely crushing. I used to walk around, trying to shake off my depressive episodes by being in public, hoping to gain some energy from the outside world.  And I’d wander around and be like… Holy crap, do people actually live in this city?  So, if you’re like me and find yourself lonely a lot… find yourself in desperate need of some good company… try major cities like New York, Chicago, or even San Fransisco, where the streets will be full of pedestrians, mass transit is packed, and everything seems more alive.

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But perhaps you’re not like me. Maybe you’re not a guy in his 20’s. Maybe you’re a middle-aged woman who wants a garden. Or you’re parents who don’t want to raise their children in Manhattan (which, does have it’s problems for kids… the other day I watched a couple of 15 yr olds buy drugs…. it was insanely depressing.)

Then a big hustling city might cause you stress. Whereas it’s great for me, it might make you miserable. Then you gotta go and find where you belong!

 

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Maybe you need a place like Burlington, VT? A good school system, some large corporations, but also the quaint, small, safety of a little New England City?  We all need different things.  And we all need to be where we feel comfortable and happy. Because that is the first step to good mental health. 

 

Speaking of good mental health… perhaps you’re like me and you need sunshine.  Avoid Places like Chicago and Boston, which sit at the easterly end of their time zones, and the sun sets early. Word of advice from someone who has lived in both of these cities. In the winter, it will be completely dark before you’re out of work. You will spend a few months in eternal darkness.

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But time zones are the only thing to worry about. Locations like Portland and Seattle are covered by clouds most of the year. And how far North you are will also have a huge impact on sunshine….So, you can rule out Alaska.

 

Obviously, there are huge factors that make a lot of this not possible. For example, if you’re a surgeon, you probably couldn’t go live in Manning, North Dakota. No matter how desperately you want to live in a rural village, close to the great outdoors… you just won’t find employment there.

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Or if you have kids who are in school. Or if you have sick parents that need caring for. Or allergies, or skin conditions, and the list goes on and on.

 

Being able to move is a luxury that I have because I’m young, and have no spouse, or children. I understand that. And I understand that not everyone can go and try and find where they fit. But still, where you live has a huge impact on your mental health. So, if you’re in a position where it’s possible (and Im not just talking about fear… don’t ever let fear be the thing keeping you stuck where you are.)  A dying parent, sure. Then you have a srepbsobilty to someone and are needed. And you’re stuck. sadly.

But don’t hide behind excuses either.  Yes, moving away may put you further from your family, and from what’s familiar. But don’t ever let fearing the unknown keep you somewhere. Don’t hide behind the excuses of “Oh but what if one day my parents happen to get sick…” or “How will my friend group go on without me…” That’s just you hiding behind excuses because you’re afraid. If you’re truly unhappy somewhere, and you have the ability to take the leap… then honey, you gotta’ go full-blown Thelma and Louise and just gun it!

 

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~ The Dark Horse

Was this proofread?  I’ll say this. It wasn’t not proofread. But it also wasn’t “proofread” per-se. Does that make any sense?

 

You’re Never Too Old, And I Have Proof.

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So, I’m home right now.  I got back from China last week and decided to have a little time in my hometown before I go back to school in a few weeks.  I visited with my grandma the other day and she told me a story that I loved and that I wanted to share:

 

She told me about her friend. Her friend is 93 years old, and still walks, talks, and even drives! Apparently, her friend’s grandson owns a tattoo parlor, which I find really funny because my grandma is a “church lady”, and the friend she was telling me about is someone who she puts on church events with. So the idea that this little old church lady has a tatted up grandson makes me smile.

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And apparently, her grandson does more than just own a tattoo parlor… he’s a straight-up tattoo enthusiast. One of those types who’s covered head-to-toe and believes that everyone on Earth should have at least one tattoo.

So, he bugged her, telling her that he would give her a tattoo at some point.  But of course, being the little old church lady that she is, she said no.

For her 70th birthday, she said no.

For her 80th birthday, she said no.

But finally, on her 90th birthday she said, “What the hell, I’m 90.”

 

And, at 90 years old, she got her first tattoo, drawn on by her grandson. It was a butterfly.

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When she told me that story, I couldn’t help but smile uncontrollably. I always fell like my life still hasn’t begun, and I fear that I’m going to die before I ever accomplish anything or before I’m ever happy.  So, to know that people are out there having new experiences at 90 years old makes me feel really good.  It makes me feel like maybe my life isn’t over yet. Like maybe there are still some new experiences down the road for me.

Also, it kind of puts things into perspective.  I’m 28. And I’m sure that if I were to talk to this 93-year-old-tatted-up-rockstar-church-lady, and told her that I feel like what should have been the best years of my life are behind me and have been wasted, she’d probably laugh. She’s probably done a lot in her life between the ages of 28 and 93. Hell, she probably did a lot between the ages of 50 and 93, or even 70 and 93!

 

I guess I liked this story so much because it showed me that it’s never too late to do things. You’re never actually too old or too whatever you excuse is. We all have the chance to be our best and have fun everyday. Regardless of age.

 

~ The Dark Horse

(This was maybe 10% proofread, and I’ll admit, I proofread while sipping tea so I had a giant mug covering most of my view of the screen…but hey, it was a great cup of tea!)

We Need To Relax, Right Now.

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Ok everyone let’s all take breath and be real here:  For those of us who are already prone to depression and/or anxiety, the current world is too much.  From Donald Trump, to North Korea, to Russia.  Even things that are supposed to be helpful like #MeToo is incredibly stressful and exhausting.

 

 The world right now kind of feels like Singapore in the Independence Day sequel.

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And I don’t know about you guys, but I’m totally torn, and it’s killing my energy.  Part of me says, “I need to know this shit!  This is important.  This is the work we live in.  I can’t bury my head in the sand”

But then the other part of me is like, “You’re one person and you’re prone to depression and panic attacks.. TAKE A NIGHT OFF FROM THE WORLD AND DO SOMETHING THAT MAKES YOU SMILE YOU DUMBASS! 

 

And you know, that second part of me is right.  Yes, this is the world we live in.  And yes, a lot of people are saying a whole lot of mean and stupid shit right now.  But stressing myself out by thinking about it every night and asking how can I fix this isn’t going to fix the it.  In fact, all it will do is make my life worse.  So, what to do?

 

I think a balance is good.  Balance is always good right? So say most religions and philosophies least.

So, I’m working on a few articles that I want to try and pitch to HuffPost or something, or at least put on Medium (I’m like 99% sure they’ll all be rejected).  But that way I can at least try to have my voice out there.  But I also need time where I simply turn off.

This week I’ve been taking time before bed.  For 30 minutes I read Eat, Pray, Love (don’t judge, it’s actually a great book), and then the other 30 minutes I watch an old show called Strangers With Candy.  It’s insanely hilarious and offensive, but in this way where you always know it’s a joke. It’s one of those beautiful examples of something that can shock you but also make you feel really good inside.  I find myself laughing out loud when I watch it, and damn that’s life saving.  

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If any of you are interested, it’s about a 46 yr old high school drop out, ex-hooker user, boozer, and loser – who goes back to high school to pick up right where she left…

good times!

 

So yeah, I guess that’s it for now.  I’m learning to not stress myself out.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor was it built by one person.  We can all only do so much, and allowing the current global crisis kill us with stress won’t help anything.

 

So let’s do what we can.  Write to your congressman, write editorials about your views, volunteer to help the needy, and for god sakes get and out vote in November and again in 2020!!!!   In the meantime, do what you can, and remember to relax.  Life is hard, so let’s not make it any harder on ourselves.  We’re a lot more useful to the world if we’re not paralyzed and exhausted from depression and anxiety.

 

~ The Dark Horse

The After-Christmas Blues

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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!

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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? 

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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

Living A Life With Purpose (And Not Letting The Common Man Bring You Down)

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Alright bitches lets talk about rekindling our dying flame.

If you’re anything like me, then you’ve probably stumbled across this blog because its tagged under depression, anxiety, or panic.  Or maybe you’re looking for inspiration because you feel different, or have suffered trauma in you’re life, or perhaps you’re just a good ole’ fashioned outcast who doesn’t fit in.   Well honeybabies lets talk about being better and rising about the clutter of the commoner.

Im sure a lot of you see life a lot differently than other people.   You probably have a worldview thats vastly different from normal people.   And I’m guessing a lot of you have probably experienced a lot of pain that the common man won’t understand.

Is this good or bad?

Is this a blessing or a curse?

Whats the point of seeing the reality of the world if it means you’ve had to achieve this knowledge through years and years of pain?   Well I guess it all depends how you intend on using it.

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For me I’ve kind of been growing into myself lately.  And Ive accepted one thing I’ve always known but have never really admitted until recently:

I Value Power.  Fun Is Pointless Without Having Power

 And I don’t mean that in a crazy Hitler-type way. I mean that I want to have an impact on the world.  I want to add value to it.  Like this blog for example.  I love writing these blog posts! Its one of the highlights of my day!  And these blog posts have value.  I love being able to make people smile.  When I get responses from people thanking me for writing a post and saying I made their day its probably the best feeling ever!

So you see, I have fun doing it, and its something that impacts others.  

The problem is that normal people these days value one thing:

FUN.

Especially people who are in their twenties like me.   They just want to get fucked up on drugs, or fucked up on alcohol, or get fucked by a hot person, and then snapchat and instagram the entire night because they also love the sweet sweet drag of a social media-induced high.

Anyone else feel like me and find that lifestyle to be the most depressing miserable existence possible?

Well here’s what we need to do:

1.) We Must Tell The Commoner To Suck It.

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Yes thats right.  We must gain the confidence within ourselves to say fuck this.  Fuck it all straight into the ground.    Most people these days have easy lives.  Very very easy.  Have you noticed how between about 2005-2011 everyone played the “oppression olympics”?   And all the annoying millennials were influenced by rap and hip hop which were very popular at the time and all wanted to relate to the music and everyone wanted to feel like they’ve really “been though shit”…. Yeah… that was a fun time wasn’t it.

And now we’ve been blessed with hipster culture. And suddenly all these people went from playing the oppression olympics to being the “P.C. Bro”.   Now you say anything even remotely controversial and you get a non-stop onslaught of “How dare you disrespect the blah blah” or “Im actually really offended by blah blah” and so on and so on.

…which is really funny because all these insanely mature hipsters are the same people who get piss fuckin drunk, do drugs, and have sex with strangers they met on Tinder or Grindr.

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So yes people.  It is totally ok to say fuck it to anything these people deem as normal or right.  In fact, I encourage it!

2.) We Must Follow Our Own Dreams And Not Be Afraid, Or Fear Failure, Or Feel Our Goals Are Weird.

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I know its hard.  Trust me, Im right there with you.   When so many people tell us were weird, or we do things wrong, or that were weak, or whatever you hear them say about you….it becomes hard for us not to believe them.   I mean, when a majority of people think  it then there must be some truth to it right?

Wrong.

Remember everything we talked about in Step 1.  The commoner is just that, a commoner. They will literally do and believe anything that popular culture tells them to.  Pay no attention to the mindless drones who slave away 9-5 (which really ends up usually being 8-6) Monday through Friday.  Then come home and have a drink or smoke a little pot to “relax”, and live for the weekend.  Those 2 days in their week they can finally act like the children they actually are and can go to the clubs and snort some shit, fuck some people, and gossip about their lives….. and these people have the fucking balls to consider themselves “weekend warriors”.  In reality they’re not warriors of any kind, they’re sheep.  Going with the flow.  Moving where the Shepard tells them to and not questioning.

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Don’t ever let them tell you that you’re bad or wrong or weird or will be a failure.   Seriously, tell them to go fuck themselves.

3.) Discover Ways To Handle The Obstacles That Will Happen

Shit will go wrong.  Lets all be honest here.  Taking the road less traveled will obviously never be easy at the beginning.  We have to learn how to pave new roads before we can travel on them.   Finding ways to cope and grow from the negatives that will happen in our lives is so so so so important.  Because otherwise we become vulnerable to just giving up and falling flat on our faces and staying there.

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See look at this great advice being given to this insanely cute guy…. who is that, Chase Crawford?  Whoever it is ill take his advice any day thats for damn sure.    And if an insanely attractive guy who was born into a rich family can do it, then so can we right?

(crickets) …..

CMON PEOPLE!   YES YOU CAN!

4.)  Never Give Up and Never Surrender

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Remember Galaxy Quest?  Great movie, you should watch it.   Also remember, we’ve only got one life.   Why make it a miserable one?     Never ever give up.

Remember, if you ever feel alone, I think you can do it.   So you’ve got at least one person on your side!

~The Dark Horse