fear

The Inequality of Art

Notworld in my eyes all art is created equal; just like not all men are created equal. Amongst us, there will always be those who succeed and those who will remain on the couch.

Not all art should be free; just like not all rights should be free. Some rights are given willingly because of its worthlessness, and some rights you have to fight for because of its potential for real change.

Now among many of our modern, comfort lies, there is a saying that never fails to bring out the inner serial killer in me. And that is the saying that, “art is subjective.”

What a load of dirty dicks! (more…)

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Learning to Unlisten

sweetmadness2We live in a noisy world and a noisy time. Even the silent moments of today are filled with noise—filled with a stream of videos, podcasts, blog entries, updates, tweets and texts. Most of our everyday lives are guided by councilors, classes, and curriculum. Our outlooks are influenced by forums, workshops, groups, guides and gurus. Our decisions are ruled by opinions, options, suggestions, and education. There’s all sorts of schooling, training and guidance out there. In fact, there’s an instruction manual for everything even on how to live your own life.

The only problem is: it is written by someone else. (more…)

Addiction to Acceptable Emotions

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Forget your flaws! Forget the haters! Do what you like! Do what you feel! Don’t just be a customer; be a happy, delighted, determined, excited, enthusiastic, pleased, proud, peaceful, obedient, and satisfied customer! Why? Because you’re perfect just the way you are!

Yeah, except that I’m not. (more…)

The Fundamentals of Failing

kumite2Edward backhanded me in the face, making me step back. I was stunned but not because of the blow; rather it was because it was illegal. Hitting in the face during sparring was not allowed because the school was afraid of parents suing them (which didn’t make sense since tournaments allowed a good bashing in the face).

I looked at the coach but he didn’t see. He was too busy looking at the other fighters who were also sparring.

“You sonofabitch!” I said, smiling in surprise and anger. I felt a twinge of self-hate for looking to the coach as though I needed help, as though I was a rat. (more…)

Roun’s Rants vol.4: Roasting Your Weaknesses

.kitty rageYou got the blueprint in your head, the dreamscape in your heart, the unquenchable thirst in your bones.

You’re tired of living as a dignified paragon of self-moderation. You think a touch of Ebola is a blessing-and-a-half compared to spending another minute as a cubicle-dwelling non-entity. In fact, despite your mannerly appearance (your conscious compliance to become a lonely nothing), you’d like nothing more than to shake things up, to call attention to yourself, to run around giggling like an elf and go too far and feel like a goddamn boss.

And yet what do you do?

Nothing. (more…)

Working Through Pain: Principles of The Relentless

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My face hurt every time I turned to look at something. My head harrowed like a bitch if I made even a slight expression. Exiting the freeway, I turned into the gym’s parking lot with my brain feeling like a sore testicle.

No parking spots.

Suddenly the lies began speaking to me again: Look at that. The gym’s full. You’re hurt. You’re tired. You’re hungry. Besides you fought well last night. Why don’t you just use this day to rest. You can come in tomorrow and train twice as hard.

Bullshit! I told myself. Don’t listen to the lies!

I saw a car’s reverse lights come on and immediately my hand clicked the turn signal to claim the spot. Are you really gonna do this? You can’t spar today. Look at you. The wind felt its way into my spine despite the sun. Global dimming or global warming, they’re never there when you needed them.

As I reluctantly waited for the car to back up, my thoughts drifted to last weekend, when I visited my friend, Nazy, in Fremont.

I knocked and the door opened.

“Hi, Roun,” Nazy greeted—tiny and sweet—peeking out with her smiling Persian eyes.

“How are you Nazy,” I said, leaving my shoes outside before entering. I gave my friend a hug and then we went through our routine. First she complained that I hadn’t visited her in a long time (even though it really wasn’t that long), and then she accused me of completely forgetting about her. To this I responded with my usual, “of course not,” and, “I would never do such a thing”—just a few of the many counters I had come up with over the years.

“How’re the kids?” I asked, referring to her twins—two twenty-one year old boys, whom I had become familiar with through our acquaintance. Nazy was older than me, but for some reason we became very good friends. In fact, by this time I was somewhat part of the family—a stepchild of sorts, a bastard that only comes for dinner and leaves without washing the plates.

“Oh, you mean those little shits?” Nazy said, her smile quickly turning into a gathering menace.

I laughed at her sneer. “You love them,” I teased. “They’re your babies, remember?”

“Yes, dumb babies!” Nazy shot back. “What is they do all day? Eat, poop, sleep?” Then her eyes turned to their pet, a little brown dog walking in a red t-shirt. “At least that little shit doesn’t ask for money.”

I laughed again. (more…)

The Danger of Holding Back

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There was a flash of leather in my face and suddenly I was looking at the ceiling. When I looked back down, the bastard was already moving to my right. And when I turned to follow him, he just stabbed me again with another jab to the face. I felt something burst behind my front teeth and then something warm leaked down my nose and into my mouth. Ten seconds into my first fight at King’s Boxing Gym in Oakland, CA and I was already on the rag.

Served me right.

Two weeks after joining the gym and I was already salty. I wanted some action. But the coach wasn’t letting any newbies spar. Nevertheless I insisted. In my arrogance I figured, “hey I fought for my high school’s karate team and I didn’t do no pussy kata’s either (the display of posture, patterns and movements), I did kumite (competitive fighting)!” But this was not karate where fights lasted in two to five second blitzes; this was boxing, a three-minute, all-out, fast-paced hell with just you, your opponent, and your inadequacies. Needles to say, I wasn’t ready. I lasted two rounds because my opponent (this “white boy” I thought I could bully) bestowed mercy upon me.

Sitting in the corner—heaving and humbled—this little black girl came and began wiping the blood off my face. “You did good,” she consoled me. She was probably one of the gym residents because she obviously knew what she was doing. And she knew what I was—a beginner, an amateur. At the time all I had was ego, not pride. And there’s a difference. Pride is earned, ego is for free. (more…)

Denouncing Innocence and Deferring My Childhood

Because_it_s_summer_III_by_incrediPeople always say, “protect a child’s innocence.” But then I ask, at which point does innocence become ignorance?

You see, nobody tells you that. Because every teenager knows that at some point, their once encouraged and tolerated behaviors somehow turned into shameful and moronic offenses without notice. It usually happens when you go through the mutation phase—when you get zits and pubes, when you sweat excessively and you start to smell, when you develop breasts, skin oiliness, voice fluctuations, vaginal discharge, ass hair, menstruation, large teeth, disproportionate nose, and hanging testicles. In short it all happens when you cease being cute. (more…)