This is not America

I’ve never felt more compelled to write something; I’ve never had this much trouble writing anything.

America is where I made my first friend. America is where I met my first love. Both of whom are children of immigrants, myself included.

My mother and my sister are refugees who escaped the war in Lebanon. Both are green card holders who’ve been living in America for over 20 years. Together they’ve built a utopia for hundreds of children in the form of a home daycare, right here in California.

Having to tell my mom of the executive action that donald signed into law hurt my soul. The idea that she would have to even think twice about visiting her parents for fear of not being able to come back home is incomprehensible.

That this poor excuse for a human being can become the leader of one of the strongest governments in the world is also incomprehensible. I know 5 year olds with more compassion, empathy, heart and wisdom than this guy.

And I know that this is a dark hour. And I know that America is so much better than this.

And I know that the future is bright. If not because of the millions of people across the world standing up for love, and for acceptance, and for peace and positivity– because of time spent, and conversations had with some of my best friends: the children at my mother’s daycare.

Children are wise. They’re closer to their inherent genius. Children are brave. They stand up for what they believe in without fear of being judged. And children are full of love. They don’t know hate, they haven’t been introduced to it yet.

They – Children – are the future, and I trust them with it– so long as we play our part.

Our response to donald and his regime is so much more than what it is. Yes, it is imperative we resist such ugly ideologies, as if our lives depend on it, because they do.

But it is also imperative that we set the right example for the millions of children all around the world who are taking note of how we choose to respond to such hatefulness. Because, children are also sponges– they absorb, and ultimately become what they see as they figure out how to navigate this space in time we call life.

This very moment is shaping the worldview and future actions of millions of children.

And whether or not we choose to participate in the resistance, whether or not we choose to speak up for what’s right, whether or not we choose to put our ‘cool’ on the line– is going to invariably set a precedent for how the younger people in our lives will choose to respond to similar situations in the future.

We have a duty to the human race, and especially to our younger brothers and sisters, to fight this hate with an abundance of love. To stand up for love. To spread love so FUCKING hard and so FUCKING often that people with hate in their heart don’t know what the fuck to do.  And to stand up for the beautiful utopia of one human race living in perfect harmony that I know we will one day reach.

why i love the rain

in high school i fractured my neck playing football.

I spent the next 6 months mildly to severely depressed. that, and i was hyper introspective. a doctor had just told me i was supposed to be dead. and looking back on those 6 months, i didn’t feel much alive at all.

I didn’t talk much-i spent 90% of my time in solitude. i didn’t do much-i spent all of my free time sitting alone, usually in deep thought.

I didn’t know it then, but i was in a rut. and more specifically, i was in a rut because i wasn’t embracing my yin.

but that was before the real rain came.

I remember very distinctly the day i had a very visceral paradigm shift. one that made me love the rain.

class had ended and i had to walk home, as my newly-fused neck could not yet handle the bumps of a car ride.

but it was pouring rain.

but i didn’t have the same inherent reaction that i normally had to rain-to stay out of it. instead, i was awestruck by it. I felt an innate connection to it. I stepped outside and just stood there.

and i felt so alive.

and i looked around at my classmates after standing there for a few minutes listening to music in my headphones and realized that they were missing out. that they were letting the hassle of being wet get in the way from this amazing, unexplainable feeling of being completely at one with the yin of nature.

and from that day on I’ve looked forward to the rain. I’ve looked forward to getting soaked by mother nature. I’ve looked forward to being drenched in her love and beauty. and to this day i feel a special sense of connectedness with the world around me on rainy days.

[so i was really happy when i heard Joshua Waitzkin say on Tim Ferriss’ podcast that, when it rains, instead of telling his son that it’s an ugly day like many do, he instead says “look how beautiful it is today!”– and they go out and play in the rain.]

just like we shouldn’t judge the weather, we shouldn’t judge life and it’s ups & downs. it’s all an experience. our job is to embrace it all equally.

rain, sunshine, happiness, sadness, fear, depression and anger are all equally valid, equally important, and should be equally embraced.

and rain helped teach me that.

and that is why i love the rain.

leading by example

Google is set to be powered solely by renewable energy in 2017. Elon Musk made the blueprint to a powerful, beautiful, fully electric car, and gave it away to his ‘competition’ for free. My amazing friend Osa captivates everyone he interacts with because everything about him is in agreement with his words–he does what he says and he means what he does.

I never understood why my college pushed health consciousness as an agenda, yet never had anything but sugary drinks and snacks in its vending machines. I never understood why my father constantly tells me to never smoke cigarettes, yet he smokes himself. and i never understood why politicians scold minorities for destroying their communities when that’s the one of the only times they ever pay attention to said communities.

leading by example is the right, not easy thing to do. It’s also the more influential and more effective way to lead.

but it takes bravery.

if my father was brave, and backed his advice with quitting, i would buy into it a hell of a lot more. If my college was brave, and backed its advice with healthy alternatives, i would’ve bought into it a hell of a lot more. and yes, if politicians were brave, and backed their words with policy, said communities would buy into it a hell of a lot more.

the power of leading by example is not in the action itself, but in the message that the action inevitably communicates. It tells people that you believe in your message, that you’re coming from a place of authenticity, and that you’re committed to the realization of your message.

thank you Google, thank you Elon Musk, and thank you Osa.

Dad, UCSB, Politicians, I hear you, and i believe in you, but I don’t believe you–yet.

how to (not) judge people’s importance

the other day, on my way out of the office I overheard a woman say to another (as they walked past homeless people sleeping on the sidewalk) “[Name] saw him and said ‘hey! good to see you — how’s it going!?’ so yeah, he must be really important.” — followed by laughter.

I didn’t find this funny, I found it sad and unfortunate.

the concept of applying varying degrees of importance to people in general is a counterproductive act, especially so if the basis is something as arbitrary as a person’s occupation — this is a gravely dangerous mistake that most of us are guilty of.

in my world, no one is more-or less-important than anyone.

everyone — from children to adults, bosses to those working ‘under’ us, homeless people to family, loved ones to strangers — deserves the same respect, love and compassion. ranking people’s importance based on any sort of social status is a breach in the social contract of life.

if we must rank importance, let it be based on the degree of one’s understanding of the following:

we are one family. no one know why we’re really here. no one actually knows what’s more important — instead we choose what’s important to us.

the more fair and generous you are in your distribution of importance, the more important you are. 

to be important is to understand that we are all one family, and to treat people as such.

streams of consciousness, explained

this section of the website is the most special to me.* i often think and talk and write in a way that is not necessarily professional or grammatically correct or politically correct or anything like that but i embrace it because it feels better and more pure to me. i think the message or idea or feeling that i’m trying to impress onto people is actually better received if i do it in this way. the ‘way’ being writing as i go forgetting about everything that i learned in school and just flowing from the heart. like a 5 year old.

i often find words getting in the way meaning

two things one being i don’t necessarily have the proper lexicon to choose my words precisely enough to perfectly word the thing i am trying to communicate. which is frustrating. sometimes I get stressed when trying to find the right words and just give up and so the thing I wanted so badly to communicate never even gets put out. also sometimes on a word level i am in agreement with people but we aren’t actually harboring the same feeling or idea that I was originally trying to communicate. because we can’t simply transfer what we are trying to communicate from one brain to another and we have to instead try and use words to the best of our ability —- there are problems. one problem is that some people have less communicative means i.e. they did not get the proper education and those people are not heard or listened to as much by people that can help them SOLELY because they don’t have the proper lexicon or they can’t put sentences or thoughts together in the right way BUT it is so so so important to remind ourselves that that should not and does not diminish the meaning behind the words. One person can have a beautiful thing that they are trying to communicate but they do not have the proper words or approach so the beautiful idea doesn’t get heard because people aren’t listening/won’t take the extra time to sit with the message. think Kanye. that idea or feeling could have cured cancer or saved someone’s life. Other people have really shitty messages like scams and stuff and also manipulation and things like that —— but say they use really eloquent words and in just the perfect way and so the shitty message or idea is heard and the importance was placed on the delivery not on the substance that was behind it. The reason i want to make this and do this often is because i think it is so important to express exactly how you feel with no external influence and that’s what this is. the second reason words get in the way and I love writing like this is because when I don’t have to worry about grammar and how something is going to be perceived it is easier to write, more enjoyable to write and it is so much more honest.and also a free-er experience and it gives me the same feeling i felt when i used to live and talk and draw in preschool – with no judgement. It is a more honest representation of the concept I am trying to communicate. all of which are more important to me than being in alignment with how school told me to write!!! So what?

When do children become adults? At what exact age is it no longer acceptable to wear crazy clothes and dance in public and speak your mind and make bad art and fly??? The answer is the age when we’ve had so much criticism from the outside world to be quiet or not wear that or not say that or not do that or don’t think like that or don’t feel like that. It’s when we’ve been dehumanized so much by the uncomfortably of adults that we don’t even wanna deal with the criticism anymore or we remember what someone said to us last time we did something like this so we just don’t even do it because we don’t wanna deal with it. every criticism is another hit of the nail in the coffin of our youthfulness and innocence and purity. enough hits of the nail and we don’t wanna be made to feel that feeling again. that feeling of rejection or criticism or people being annoyed by us or making us not feel welcomed or like we matter. Kids grow up when we’ve stripped them from their innate genius. It’s actually one of the gravest mistakes we make as a society. Adults think they know everything and kids are naive and clueless when in reality it’s the other way around!!!! If we let kids be kids indefinitely for 100 years so many social problems would be solved. A girl from my mom’s home daycare came to daycare one day pointing out people’s ethnicity and telling them they would have been a slave 100 years ago. Two days earlier she didn’t see color and now because of a stupid exercise her KINDERGARTEN teacher did with the class she see’s her friends no longer as just her friends but as her white friend’s and black friends.

Who the fuck actually likes grey????? What the fuck is actually wrong with colors??? Who really believes that if someone wears colorful clothes they are less professional or capable or anything even remotely like that? I think the best company would be a consulting firm with kids ages 0-10.

This is what this section will be like. I imagine it’ll be polarizing either you love it or you hate it but I hope you read it because it will give you the most realistic insight into how my brain works and way more importantly the core of the ideas and the why of the ideas and the thinking behind the ideas I hope to communicate to you in the most authentic way possibly if you read this I love you!!!!!!

*this is my art