One More Day

Naps are an essential part of a good day.

July 9th, 2019

My only goal is to put one more good day between me and the person I used to be.

This may sound brutal and typically too honest from me, but sometimes I really understand why Bradley Cooper killed himself at the end of A Star Is Born. To wake up every day with the memories of everything you have ever said and done is heavy. And sometimes it makes you lose sight of the truth that it’s not all you are. You were never always bad. You were never always a burden. You were always more than your worst.

Like Natasha and Clint acknowledge in Endgame, you should never judge or be judged solely by your worst days.

And when you make that decision to burn the soil, to start removing the weeds and pests underneath, you can’t expect to find new grass growing tomorrow. Whenever someone still doubts me or my honesty, my initial reaction is, “Can’t they read my mind? Can’t they see inside my head, and see how honest I’ve been for a long time now?”

Of course they can’t. And it takes humility to understand you put them in that place to begin with.

To anyone who is doing things to change their lives for the better in any way, one day at a time: even though I’ve been at it for a while, the only medallion I keep in my pocket is for 24 hours. Because that’s the most important one. Because that’s all it takes. And I collect each good day and keep it in a place between me and the person I used to be.

The New Normal

It’s normal for your dog to be your best friend and accountant.

June 28th, 2019

What is normal?

I think a better question is: what is normalized, and what should or shouldn’t be? Without even realizing it, a lot of us normalize behaviors in how we interact with people and how we present ourselves online.

I was talking to a friend yesterday, and it made me think about how we don’t always need to point out other’s defects and flaws in order to inspire positive change. For example: calling out a racist for being a racist rarely leads a racist to stop being a racist. However, leading by example — in this case, not participating in or encouraging racist behavior — can be more than enough to affect actual change, even if it’s gradual.

We all have a role in normalizing things that we want to see in the world.

As a straight, white dude, I share a lot about myself that I don’t think society has dictated as normal for straight, white dudes. By doing so, I hope to normalize healthy, “not normal” behaviors.

I’m a recovered alcoholic. I watch and obsess over the television garbage fire known as The Bachelor franchise. My dog is my best friend, and not in a controlled, trained manner. I regularly dress up in costume in my thirties. I am unabashedly passionate about pop culture, and comic books especially, and believe it means more than most people think it does. I very much so try to be an ally for people who are not exactly like me.

These things don’t seem like a big deal when they’re typed out on a list. But by living these behaviors and sharing it daily, we show that not everybody wakes up in the morning, puts on a red MAGA hat and walks out the door.

We can oppose things by being what we believe in, and by encouraging people who believe in the same things.

If you want what we have, normalize it. And if you want change in your world, then be it.

A Meditation On Worry

Why don’t you slide?

June 25th, 2019

I heard a wonderful concept today: if you can worry, then you can meditate, because worrying is just meditating about all the wrong things.

Hell, yeah, it is.

Instead of finding my inner peace and shit, I repeat things like, “I am such an awkward loser” in my head until I believe it to be the truth. I replay things I didn’t do right today until the needle on my memory record is worn out. What if I just replace those words and ideas with better ones?

It seems simple, and that’s because it is. We’re the ones who complicate them. So while my meditation may never be sitting on a pillow shaped like a whale and moaning like a monk, I think I can get in the habit of thinking things like: “Well, nothing today caught on fire in my life, so I would consider that a success.”

And the day something does catch on fire, I hope my moments of meditation will give me the strength to put it out.

“The Most Boringest Ride Ever”

The happiest place on Earth.

June 24th, 2019

“I do not want to go on the most boringest ride ever.”

My dad didn’t let me live this one down for a while.

We were at Disney World, which, in my young heart, was the most perfect place a person could imagine. Heaven was a distant and possibly fictional second. I had always wanted to be an animator and a writer and I was obsessed with everything Disney (and am, to a much more controlled extent, still today). There were so many things I wanted to do, and so little time, and my dad stood right in the way of that:

“I want to take you on the studio tour.” It was a slow-moving train that traveled behind-the-scenes of the park, and normally I would have been really excited but there were just SO MANY OTHER THINGS I REALLY WANTED TO DO. I said no. My dad insisted.

I bitched and moaned the entire time in line, and even though my parents are deaf, it spared them little. I was adamant that I did not want to go on “the most boringest ride ever” (my words, because I was as dumb a kid as I am an adult).

We finally got on and I was SO RIGHT. IT WAS SO BORING. IT WAS — wait, something was happening. We were brought to an area that was allegedly an old part of an Indiana Jones set. It had been inactive for a long time when all of a sudden boulders started rolling from the sky, with high waves and hot flames and I legitimately thought I was going to die. And my parents, those lovely, kindly folks, knew to take this photo at this exact time.

I was wrong. It was not the most boringest ride ever. It ended up being one of our favorite stories from the trip, and like I said, not one I lived down any time soon.

So don’t assume. Don’t assume today is going to be lame or dumb or boring. Because a lot of life feels like a backlot tour, and you never know when you’re going to find the adventure of your life during it.

Check Your Intent

Anchored man.

June 20th, 2019

I don’t have my strong point of view because I think I’m always right.

I’m not. I’m just doing my best with the rest of you.

No, I have a strong point of view because if you want to read something bland or vague or generically inspirational, there are a million other places I could point you. I reread some of the things I write, and I ask myself, “Am I being too harsh? If a person isn’t hearing this the way that I’m saying it in my head, or the way that I feel it and mean it, is it discouraging or too sharp?”

Ultimately, I don’t think so. I really don’t hope so. I try to let one thing guide every decision I make: am I making this choice with love? Because if I am, then I can’t be wrong. I’ll explain why.

Did you know that selfies aren’t necessarily gifts of ego? It’s true. In my studies last week, we were digging deep into intent. Ultimately, I don’t think that everyone who posts a picture of themselves do it out of narcissism. In fact, I don’t think a lot of people do at all. I think sometimes you want to show instead of just tell. You want someone to see that awesome thrift store find you came across. You want them to feel that crazy cold morning with you. You want them to see the garden you put long hours into, not just because you’re proud of the work, but because your garden makes you happy, and you share it because maybe it will make other people happy, too.

It’s all about intent.

And my motto is Always Love. Even when I miss the mark. Especially when I miss the mark, because that’s my bullseye, that is my constant.

So just know that my intent is to always share my experiences and observations, and never to judge people whose ideas differ from mine. I get things wrong, and I learn, and hopefully we grow together through it.

I stand on my tippy toes for things because it feels like humanity is too often always sitting down. Not fully asleep, but not ready to run, either.

Always love, Squirrels. And check your intent.

Legacy

FrankieCon 2019.

June 16th, 2019

Because I spend a lot of time thinking about death, I spend an equal amount of time thinking about legacy.

Not necessarily the big things. The scientific discoveries or philanthropic donations. No, I mean stuff like how you treat people.

And how you post things on the internet.

If you died tomorrow, the way that you presented yourself on the ‘net would be a topic of discussion at your funeral. If you’re the type who shitposts or stirs the pot, just because — that is what people will remember about you.

Forever.

It sounds dramatic, but it’s not. If I would have died ten years ago, I would have died an angry brat with potential but a whole lot of petty problems. And that was on me, as much as being in your twenties is.

I hope if I died right here, right now, I would be something different than that. That the words and wake I leave behind are better than that. And I know it’s easy to click and share — you’re reading this, so you know I do — but I hope you always remember that everything you do is an extension of who you are.

Every day, every minute, every second — that’s your legacy.

For better or worse, make it yours.

The Climb

She’s my Tetris piece.

June 15th, 2019

Some people wonder why climbers do it.

Why would somebody put their life at risk for something so stupid?

Until you really stop and think about it and realize that at least once in your life, you are going to be obsessed with, possessed by and insanely passionate about something, or someone.

And nobody but you will ever know why.

But thanks to the sane people who document things of this nature, like in the film Free Solo, we can begin to understand, if not ever truly comprehend. I have never been so gripped (pun absolutely intended) by what is essentially a guy climbing up a rock in my entire life. My body ached through visual osmosis and my soul stirred just the same.

Why do humans do crazy things? Because knowing better is what makes us essentially human.

You Positive?

The fuck is so funny, Barkley?

June 11th, 2019

I saw some people today and they reminded me of a simple truth that needs to be repeated.

Positive people do not have better lives than negative people do.

Bad things happen to them: they fall down, they get set back and they get hurt. They have sad days and mad days and days where they just want to give up, too.

But they don’t. They take the things that most of us complain and whine about and they see growth and opportunity. They take the unsalvageable garbage of existence and they see what can be saved and recycled. They don’t force others to smile — but they know the importance of doing so.

Positive people do not have better lives than negative people do.

But you would never know it if you asked them.

[Start The Clapping]

In brightest day, in blackest night, this dog gives me the will and light.

June 4th, 2019

I help run a thing on Tuesday afternoons. To do that, they give me a folder that tells me what to say and what to do. Today, I noticed that after one of the statements, it read [Start the Clapping].

And I thought to myself: “Hell, yeah.”

That’s what we need to do. It’s so easy to join in on celebrating someone else’s accomplishments; it’s another thing completely to be the first one. So, be the first to tell everybody about your friend’s new business. Be the first to text or call them when they get a new job or a promotion. Be the first to ask how their new project is going. Be the first to tell them how much you love the work they’ve already done. Yes, celebrate with everybody else, too, but it really takes strength and guts and heart to be the first one.

Start the f&@Ă—ing clapping.

Vogen, The Creator

Books & books & books & books.

May 31st, 2019

People ask me what it’s like to create a world.

Well, it looks like this.

This stack of notebooks is hundreds of pages of life. It’s doodles, and sketches, and ideas, and timelines, and sharp words, and broken hearts, and gender-swaps, and intimate connections, and things that seem like but can’t be coincidences.

In here are people and stories and lives and a world that has taken years to actualize. It takes work and imagination and stupid passion and even more work, and even even more paper, ink and blood.

As I reach the end of writing this first volume of The Weirdos, I sit back and watch the world fight back against its creator.

It’s exciting, it’s terrifying, and it’s life.

So what is it like to create a world?

If it’s ever done, I’ll tell you.