Category Archives: progress

NEW YORK, HERE I COME!

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So, as I mentioned last time, I had an interview in New York last Monday for a television company. Not even joking, on Friday, just FOUR DAYS after the interview, I received a phone call.

Ladies and gentlemen, it appears the Dark Horse has had a victory. I will be going to New York in January!!!!! WOOOOOHOOOO!!!!!

And this got me thinking about my journey here in grad school. When I first arrived at Harvard, I had nothing. I didn’t know a single person in Boston. I had no internships or connections to professors.

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I picked up a job at Whole Foods to pay for rent (and luckily I have federal grants for tuition). I had no real skills that I knew of, although I knew I was smart, and I knew that I knew how to survive. But nobody had every cared about me, or had ever given me a chance in life. Mostly, I just felt alone and stupid.

Essentially, I had no real skills to speak of that would make an employer outside of the food industry think I’m worth investing in. I had always taken the first job I could find somewhere, completely terrified of the idea of being unemployed and homeless. This means I’ve lived an entire life slogging through whatever restaurant or retail chain would give me a job. And thus was the cycle. Restaurants lead to restaurants. Retail leads to retail. My brain slowly rotting away with boredom in the process.

I always knew I wanted more. I was never one of those people who could work their 9-5, bored out of their fucking minds, and then justify their horrible life by going to bars and drinking it all away every Friday and Saturday….just to then have to repeat the cycle the next Monday.

 

But, growing up in Ohio during recession made me afraid.

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I watched as adults with college degrees applied to work in the diner I worked in. I thought it was so strange and scary that I, a high school student, was working the same position as someone with a college degree.

I watched my mom lose her job due to a merger, then lose her next job due to a merger, then the next due to the company going bankrupt. By the time America had finally climbed out of the hole, she had been through 5 jobs.

 

But the whole time…I knew something was wrong.

Everyone kept telling me to be thankful for what I had. They kept telling me to get my head out of the clouds. They kept telling me about the dangers of big cities (which actually, is hilarious, because my hometown has a worse crime rate than cities like New York, Los Angeles, and San Fransisco). But, when you’re 16, and everyone around you keeps telling you that being a waiter is better than being homeless, it’s hard not to let it get to you.

 

And so, I worked and worked, and the depression, the misery, and the boredom grew until it was intolerable and I lost my mind.

Flash-forward to being in grad school. I knew I needed to make a change in my life. I knew I had what it took to achieve my goals. I knew that if I could just have some way to prove myself, I could show the world that I was a force to be reckoned with.

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And what better place to do it right?

And so, the job at Whole Foods turned into a job on campus, giving me more flexibility to get involved in school,

which led to me joining clubs,

And then I picked up an internship with a nonprofit where I created Facebook posts to help inspire students,

Which then led to another internship managing social media for a literary magazine,

which led to editing for that literary magazine,

which led to me getting an internship at a second literary magazine,

which led to me getting an internship with a podcast,

and then my internship with the literary magazine started paying (woohoo!),

and then I created and hosted a huge event at school,

and there was that paid job I had in Shanghai over the summer that I never would have gotten without all the other experience from being back in school,

and now, the real fuckin’ deal. Working for a big TV channel in New York City.

Is this the fabled American Dream ? 

Have I just made something of myself ? 

 

giff

 

Am I about to be a writer living in New York City? Just a small-town boy tryin to make it in the big city?

(Also, (Groans) Im sorry for using yet another Sex and the City GIF… God, Im such trash…)

 

 

Anyways, I’m excited for my future.

I’m excited and I think my writing talents have grown. I believe in my writing now. I believe that I can get published.

I also believe that my life can be filled with adventure.

and most importantly, meaning and happiness. 

 

Are there people out there who are happy living in Ohio or Iowa or Indiana? YES.

AND GOOD FOR THEM! THEY CAN DO WHATEVER THE FUCK THEY WANT.

But just like they’re allowed to work at H&R Block in some city like Dayton, you’re also allowed to go big, and want to work a big city, doing whatever the hell you want. Never let the people from where you’re from try and tell you you’re not allowed to dream big. Because changes in this world only happen when people dream big.

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~ The Dark Horse

(#NotProofRead. Proofreading is for your grandma! Live on the dangerous side!)

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The Highs and the Lows: Riding The Emotional Wave

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So, I just got back last night from New York City. I was there for an interview.

Yes. Someone actually thought I was good enough to be interviewed in New York City. (I can’t believe it either, trust me)

So, anyways, it goes like this. I was here alone for Thanksgiving break. The entire city clears out because Boston is one of those places where people move to, not someplace where they’re from. So the city is empty. It’s 10 degrees F, everything is closed. And I’m alone.

I feel like shit.

Until….

I get an email. 

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This email is to inform me that I have an interview, for a very large company. A media company. A media company whose offices are in a very trendy building with other very trendy companies in a very trendy part of town.

So, my dread turns to intense anxiety and joy, and I head to NYC as fast as I can…

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So,  wind up in a hotel, next to Bryant Park,

during the holiday season

in New York City.

It was like a movie.

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I ate sweets as I watched ice skaters while Christmas jazz played, with the Empire State Building in the background.

I got donuts, I went to New York delis, I got amazing Chinese food. I walked fifth Ave. and Central Park.

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It was like life had gone from zero to hero. Finally, I had a real tangible piece of evidence to prove that I was making something of myself. An interview. (This was actually my second interview…the first was via phone). So, it was like a MEGA self-esteem boost to see that someone thought I was good enough. And not just someone, but a fuckin huge awesome company.

 

So then the day came. The interview. OMG people it was amazing. The office was amazing. And it was located in an awesome building. As someone who had grown up working retail and restaurants, and being told constantly that I’ll never get anywhere… THIS WAS FUCKING HUGE!!!!!

I hope the interview went well. I would love the job. I would love to live in New York. I would love to have a chance to show the world my skills. To show the world that I do mean something.

So, I walked out of my interview, and got myself a tea at a trendy little cafe.

bakery

(I couldn’t write a post about NYC and not reference Sex and the City….cmon people!)

 

 

But now, Im back in Boston. The interview is over. The whirlwind is over. And It’s like someone has slammed on the brakes again.

And I have this feeling in my throat. Like a weight, pulling me down. A weight saying YOU KNOW YOU’RE MEANT FOR THAT LIFE. YOU KNOW YOU’RE MEANT TO TAKE ON THE WORLD. YOU DON’T LIKE YOUR LIFE BEING SLOW BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT A SLOW PERSON! YOU WANT TO LIVE IN THE FAST LANE AND THAT’S OK! YOU SHOULD! 

I’ve spent too long listening to people. Too long listening to anyone and everyone who’s willing to spend their time putting me down. Telling me I can’t. Telling me I have no talent. Telling me I’m worth nothing.

But GOD FUCKING DAMN I CAN’T ANYMORE.

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Every time I get these little tastes of a life I like, the voice in my head gets louder and louder. It keeps telling me this is where I belong.

It keeps telling me that I AM ALLOWED TO DREAM. That I am allowed to fight for a good life.

I’m allowed to have friends

I’m allowed to fall in love

I’m allowed to have a career I love

If I feel like I want a high profile job then listen up MOTHERFUCKERS… I CAN!

AND WE ALL CAN. FUCK ANYONE WHO TRIES TO KEEP YOU DOWN.

I read a great quote the other day that said something like, “The only people who try to put you down are those who are already beneath you.”

So boys and girls, let’s find out nicest clothes, polish up our self-esteem, brew a little confidence and rock out our best Carrie Bradshaw

carrie

 

PS – Ive never actually watched Sex and the City…is it even good?

 

~ The Dark Horse 

 

Another PS- I also never proofread. Oh well.

 

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.

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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

INFJ and Emotional Intensity

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Hello my fellow INFJ’s!

So, today let’s talk about something we all experience: Emotional Intensity. 

 

Emotional intensity has been described by Imi Lo as:

“Emotional intensity is a form of neuro-diversity that is most often misunderstood by our culture. It is characterized by heightened and intense feelings, a constant stream of both positive and negative feelings — pain, distress, despair, fear, excitement, love, sadness or happiness — sometimes a mixture of many at the same time.”

For those of you out there who like images, I’ve made this:

HAPPY

INFJ types are known for our strengths. Such as being creative, insightful, inspiring and passionate.

These come from our intense sensitivity, which we get from this emotional spectrum.  We can see such beauty, but also such pain. We can see the light and the dark, and we can see them with a sharpness that others can’t.

 

For example, have you ever been talking to someone and they’re going on and on about how great their weekend was?  They’re sitting there saying things like, “OMG we went to this bar and OMG we were there till like 2am…and I was like…OMG I have work Monday, but whatevs right, it’s the weekend?!?!  OMG it was so much fun!” 

And you’re staring at them blankly, almost in pain. Wondering how something so insanely boring and trivial could bring them such joy?

 

Well, that’s the emotional spectrum in play. Normal people can really only feel so much joy and so much pain. They live in a relatively constant stasis, unaware that there could be anything more. And for the most part, not even caring if they ever have more. Because as far as they’re concerned, they’re happy.

But not us. When we hear them talk, our stomachs sink and our palms sweat. When you’ve felt intense joy and intense pain, the idea of spending your entire life only 60% switched on is scary.  AND IT SHOULD BE! For us, living that lifestyle would mean that we aren’t letting ourselves flourish. We need more because we know that there is more. 

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For us, living that kind of life would be like being locked in a cage for eternity.

 

That’s why INFJ types are natural artists, travelers, philosophers, teachers, and preachers. We need more.  We need to feel like we have a cause. Like we have a purpose. 

And sadly, a lot of us don’t get nurtured and supported the way we should. A lot of people don’t understand us or refuse to help.  Then, our sensitive nature, which could have been there to push us to be the best we can be, ends up devouring us.

We wonder why nobody gets us and why nobody cares. We wonder why we’re so different…why everyone says it’s so wrong for us to just be…us. And thus, we fall to the dreaded INFJ dark side.

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But, we don’t have to.  We don’t have to hate ourselves. We don’t have to feel like crap. We don’t have to let society tell us that we’re bad for feeling such intense emotions.

Will people always tell us that our head is in the clouds?    Yes.

Just remember you’re not alone. There are other INFJ’s out there.  We are few and far between, but we are here. And we get you. And we don’t think you’re weird. We think you’re awesome!

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Let yourself bloom!

~ The Dark Horse

 

This World’s a Bitch, and Don’t Let a Bitch Hold You Back!

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So, life is insane, ya know that?  I mean like… it’s really fuckin’ crazy.

One of the craziest things is how your life can change.

 

When I was 22 and graduated from undergrad, I was lost and broken.  I had no friends, I didn’t take advantage of an University resource (because to be honest, I didn’t believe that my University cared about me.)  I left college with no internship experience, no references, and no plan.

The only thing I managed to do in undergrad was manage a Pinkberry so I could I could afford to pay for college.  However, 14 an hour doesn’t go very far when you combine living in LA + college tuition (even with the financial aid i received).  And furthermore, when you spend 50hrs a week at Pinkberry, you don’t really have the time utilize the school you’re working so damn hard to pay for!

This, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the biggest problems with America.  This “meritocracy” is fake as fuck.

It’s a hard-ass world out there if you’re not born into money.

 

But that’s a different blog post for a different day.  The point of this post is talk about how, despite the fact that the odds are stacked against the common man, we can still overcome them.  We can still thrive.  We don’t have to bend over and blindly let the world fuck us silly.

It’s time to rise up and fight back, after all, this is our lives.  We can’t give up and accept defeat that easily.  They may have more tools and resources, than we do.  But some spunk and moxie can go a long way!

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So the past few years I’ve been wandering around the world, doing random jobs and being bored to death and feeling like no matter where I go in this world, I’ll still be bored and lonely.

I was mad because I knew I was smart.  I knew I was intelligent.  I knew I could do all the things that I wasn’t getting the opprotunity for.   I knew I just needed a chance.  I just needed some symbol that showed others to take me seriously.

So I had an idea:  The prestige of the world have more resources and reputation… so why not use those too?  So, I applied to Harvard.  I was going to FORCE this world to take me seriously.

Elle Woods became my hero.  She was a symbol of someone that the world didn’t believe in.  But she believed in herself.  She knew was smart.  She knew she could do it.

elle

 

Anyways, lets flash-forward to right now.  I’ve been at Harvard for about a year now and I’m absolutely loving it.  And no, not every second has been daisies and lollipops.  Just like anywhere else, sometimes you get professors who don’t like you, and sometimes you do bad on a paper, but overall, I think it’s been an amazing experience.  The people I know here are, in general, awesome.

 

But most importantly, I’m growing as a person and the doors of opprotunity are finally opening up for me (which for a good number of years there, I genuinely thought would never happen).

For example, I just got word that I got accepted as a summer intern in Kuala Lumpur!

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And now, next week I have an interview for an internship in China!

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Ok, also I realize this post is bordering on sounding like I’m bragging.  I promise that’s not the case.   Don’t get me wrong, Im proud of myself and Im so fuckin excited for the summer now.

But I’m writing to show an example that even raging shit-shows can work hard and make something of themselves.  It’s never too late.  You’re never too old.  You’re never too stupid.

As my therapist always told me, “Stupid people don’t know they’re stupid and even if they knew, they wouldn’t care…that’s part of being stupid.  If you’re fearing that you’re not good enough it’s most likely because you are in-fact good enough.  Usually it’s the smart people who have the ability to question their abilities.”  

 

So cmon people.  Let’s rock this shit out.  Our lives can be so meaningful.  And if you’re someone who already feels like your live has meaning, than that’s awesome!  I hope someday we all can.

 

And remember, when the world’s being a bitch….

bitch please

…put on your shades and give em’ hell. 

 

~ The Dark Horse

I do too my proofreading for school…so no, i didn’t proofread this post 🙂

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.

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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