Tag Archives: philosophy

Hello World

It’s me again. But, who else would it be? It’s always me when I speak, I think it should stay that way. As a fledgling student scraping off the digital rust of programming languages from my previous go at the university, I find myself getting excited at the prospect of my future.

“Hello World” is pretty much the first thing that any programmer learns in any language. Sure there are exceptions and getting a program to simply post those words on a screen is no large feat, but it is the most basic step towards understanding. Many teachers and professors will still include this, if for nothing else, then for tradition. It’s also kind of beautiful I think. Look at the simplicity and motivation of saying “Hello World”. When you learn a foreign language, probably one of the very first things you learn is how to say hello or greet someone. You know, usually before the “me llamo Guillermo” (USUALLY).

As an aside, I thought it was weird that sometimes in learning Spanish my teacher went out of the way to explain things were not direct translations or that we had to practice talking to each other after assigning ourselves more Spanish like names, hence my Guillermo. I can’t tell you how hard my teacher reinforced “me llamo” is not “my name is”, it is “I call myself” though it is of little consequence because we use them exactly the same way in Spanish, maybe the distinction was just there because she wanted us to verb better. Additionally I was proud that I irritated the teacher so much that I got to miss the Justo Lamas concert because even though I didn’t get to go on the school field trip, no one was at school for the rest of the teachers to do anything so it was just board games all day. Anyway…. I accidentally switched rails there. Let me find where I was again.

Hello World, I lost you for a second. Maybe you were just compiling. Hello World, I can’t wait to see what I can do. Hello World, it’s time for me to imagine and create. Hello World, I’m going to work to solve your problems. Hello World, this is me, discovering my place in you. Hello World, I just found you and found something inside me.

Hello World.

I’m going to be a programmer. Hopefully work in cyber-security, saving the world or you know, some irresponsible man’s identity so he doesn’t get his life ruined. My mom needed someone like that. Maybe if she had one that heart attack wouldn’t have happened so soon. So I feel like I have a personal vendetta against these people who brick businesses for hostage situations. Many of them hide under the guise of thieves with anonymity so tight they won’t be traced. Maximum profit for minimum effort. These hackers start off with small things and work their way up believing they aren’t really hurting anyone. They rationalize that money can be replaced and that attacking businesses is better than harming individuals. Then there are those who outright will sell individuals information to people who will take advantage of medical records to fill prescriptions or make claims to fill their own pockets, and somewhere along the line all these people sort of shrugged at the thought of people’s lives being ruined.

I wonder what they would think. The people who bricked the business where my mom worked. It was just her for the office staff. The other person owned and ran it. But she relied on my mom to be able to stand straight in the morning and keep her life together, even sometimes after work. My mom helped. She was loyal to a fault.  So when all of their files became encrypted and held hostage, she was incredibly upset. She didn’t have any offline backups either, so it seemed like a dire situation, very stressful for her. But I really wonder, if I somehow met those people what they would say if I told them they effectively killed my mother. Would they plead ignorance? Maybe rationalize how it wasn’t their fault? Assuming they moved past my confrontation, would they do anything different with their lives? Does their anonymity allow them to simply shrug and believe that people don’t really matter on the other ends of their attacks because they never see them?

Hello World, I’m learning about you, I’m building skills to engage you in a way to protect others. Hello World, maybe you can help me build a better you. Hello World, thanks for getting me started.

 

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Why You Are Better Than Me

The author weaves a story with voices, both in out of the characters awareness. The narrator may bring much to the table, lest the characters exclusively take his role.

Even so, the character’s mind brings more to the scene than we might in our own. Are we the characters in our story? The heroes and champions of our novel like non-fiction? Or are we the writer, putting much of our heart into what happens, subtly manipulating events in hopes to achieve a goal. Do we reach that goal? Or perhaps our audience misunderstands and under-appreciates our efforts, instead casting their own ideas, blanketing all that we prepared. Or. Perhaps we ARE the audience, interacting with this entertaining display to reach our pleasures. Or, perhaps we feel the narrator is more in keeping with who we are someone else dictating our thoughts and impulses, feelings and motivations.

Maybe we like move around. I think people are fluid like that. But even so, when we change from author to audience, how much really changes? Don’t we have something characteristically “us”? Don’t we bring our own inescapable perceptions with us no matter the role?

I’m…. inadequate. I have an inferiority complex. I need to show others why I am smart, and then act humbled when I am complimented on my efforts, ideas, and results. I need that constant validation to remind me that I am who I want to be. I don’t look down on others, most of the time I truly feel that they are worth more than me. When I dissent with people, I am frustrated, but often relent, both because that feels the right thing to do and because they may have more value in this world than I.

An example: We have a very strong-willed and agitated neighbor. She has a couple of children, one of which is autistic. I don’t rightfully know the age of these children, but the autistic one seems to probably be around 3 years old. We ran into a huge confrontation with our neighbor, our yard was continuously being flooded. This was because the water would run in their yard directly from the faucet for hours at a time on occasion. It did not appear our neighbor was consistently watching her kids, seeming to rely on the older child to keep the younger one safe.

During our first confrontation with our neighbor, we did not know the child was autistic though we had suspicions he might have some sort of special needs because of the sounds he made while playing. Finally when we were enduring the immense flooding (our entire yard and spilled across to the opposite side into our driveway, hard to really explain, but it was an extreme amount, not just along the fence we shared) for the fifth time I think I politely asked whoever was out there to keep the water in their pool because our yard was being flooded. My glasses were off because I had just finished setting up a bed frame and was under it, I could not see who was out there clearly but I got a nod and thanked them. When I first started requesting the water be turned off, I had not reached the fence either and was instead assuming an adult was out there watching the child (at the time I also did not know there was another child). So I go inside and say to my fiance I am not sure if that was an adult or an older child, but the water was turned off and I felt relieved that a solution seemed to have been reached.

A few minutes later our neighbor, the adult one, walks up to the fence we share and starts shouting at us, and yes we are inside at this point. She yells about how dare we talk to her kids that way and how they can run water all the way to Japan if they would so like. My fiance went to confront her after enduring a few minutes of verbal abuse and the situation didn’t really improve. I freaked out because I felt like I did something wrong. “How dare I talk to her children. She’s right, I didn’t even CHECK for an adult first. Shit, I messed up.” My brain is stuttering trying to right itself, reminding me that I was extremely polite. “But I really messed up, fuck.” “No, children are just easily intimidated, I you remember being a child right?”

All this time of this panicking and mixed dialogue, my fiance is engaging this wrath. I finally realize that I need to go address and say something, anything. I can’t leave her out there. That’s also messed up. I go out and the first thing I say is an apology that falls apart because I start tensing up again. I try to explain I didn’t know an adult was out there. The situation de-escalates a smidge and we go inside finally. Following day, my lovely fiance delivers cookies and little plush cows, “mini moos”, from chick-fil-a. They seem to be accepted and so we feel our olive branch mended the situation.

Fast forward a couple weeks, the yard is flooded again. HUGE confrontation. Way worse than last time. At this point we are informed by the woman that her child is autistic and this is the only way he really seems to have fun. Although that information is disseminated quite violently and with a great deal of vulgarity. I somehow remained calm, I don’t know how, God gave me some sort of stillness in the moment. Our neighbor seemed to punctuate her insults and exclamations by pounding her hand on the brick wall. She insisted she was pregnant or she would be “beating the shit” out of my fiance. Also if my fiance’s man (that’s me) weren’t here, same thing. I keep trying to return to the issue of compromise. We don’t want to take her son’s playing in the water away, but she will interpret this conversation as nothing else. Amidst her rantings and screaming about how my fiance should be “fucked up the ass with no Vaseline” she laments that she doesn’t have the money to regularly take her kids to the pool.

Rationally I feel that was a deflection, because that water bill can’t be less than trips to the pool. My fiance storms off while I try to calm our neighbor down. But afterwards I felt like I still owed my neighbor something. Rationally I knew this not to be true. Anyway, to shorten the story, I bought summer passes to the city’s pools. $100 out of my pocket to give to this lady who may not even use them. But it brought me peace of mind. I felt I went out of my way to right a wrong, which didn’t even exist. We truly did no wrong. But also, it felt like I was called to do that, as Christian/good person sort of thing.

But in the end, I remind myself, she’s just a person, like me. I laugh about how my neighbor is crazy. And then internally chastise myself for saying (and thinking) that. We are all the same I force the idea on myself, sometimes more easily than others. We are all the same, except that I am a little less.

I am the author, not the hero, I have an active role in the story, but I have no glory. I merely aim to keep the character’s stories alive. I don’t like sad stories, but things often turn to sorrow. It’s the little details that I cherish and make it worth it, the ones that other characters don’t observe or understand. The intent behind the writing, the motivations, not the actions. I aim to fill my heart with goodness and love, and spread that to others. I find myself relying on the author more and more. It’s okay that the characters are better than me, I enjoy this part of life more often than not.

Accountability

Accountable is a positive word right? People like to hold someone accountable when the person takes on a responsibility or error. But so few like to be held accountable.  Something simple like that can make a large difference.

If I own up the blame and don’t deflect it, what am I compromising? The fear is of loss. We don’t like being held accountable because in the event of mistakes, we fear the worst, not the reasonable.  I’ve done a lot of jobs. I’ve seen a lot of pointing fingers and a lot of people never say “that’s my fault”. Even I avoided it when I felt intimidated.

But in the workplace we fear demotion, loss of respect, and even termination. Scary things, and there’s more than that too.  But people hear me more often than not approach them with two things in mind. Honesty and integrity. I’m in sales now and my trainer more or less wants me to hide things. Some call it lie by omission. For me if it’s relevant, I will bring it into play. No job will compromise my integrity. If you tell me to have integrity and honesty as part of our cultural values, you better be ready when I call you out for not doing it.

In the job area, when I have made a mistake and fessed up or even volunteered info before it was discovered, I’ve never been rewarded, but honestly the largest reprimand I’ve ever had is being told to fix it, and chances are I already have or have a plan to. But then I work for a company (previously) where I wear a name badge and on the back is our culture statement, our values. And when we screwed over our customers (and boy how we did) I became a customer advocate over whatever they actually wanted me to be. And I would challenge them. I would tell them how our integrity shouldn’t be compromised or at least not touted as a value when no one values it. That’s when I got face to face chats about how we do screw people over, but that’s “above their head” and to be fair a lot of it was. But they were still taught and programmed to try to divert me from calling them out on not following company values, so I should hold them accountable. But just face to face chats, no email or instant messenger trail, that might be dangerous.

Maybe that’s why we won’t be accountable. It’s a thing people say they value, but then don’t embody themselves. We all like to hold others accountable, but not be held ourselves. I know I frequently get complimented by those observing my accountability. Whether it’s the customers I help or the observers of such. But no one above you ever thanks you, they just tell you to be. I’m frustrated and philosophical tonight. I want to be the change I want in the world. But I also know that our cultural values as a whole are headed in the opposite direction.

 

The Good Decision…

So much we think about how we got here. Or there. Or will be somewhere someday. I think when you’re someone with a lot of burdens in your life, or someone with a lot success, you may find yourself asking these kinds of questions more.

I had a hard time, still do, with people saying the homeless have made poor decisions and using that as some sort of argument why they are lesser people, why they don’t need love or care. I don’t think most people intentionally or considerably make what we would all regard as a poor decision.

Recently another novel idea occurs to me. Most of those, for one reason or another they thought it was a good decision. Their morals and philosophy led them to believe that, even if just for a moment. I feel that everybody in a position that would be considered less than enviable, abusive relationship, homeless, jobless, or maybe physically impaired. I think we could all consider there to be one decision that begun it all. Even if it’s far back.

I’d like us, as a species, to consider our “one decision” that got us here. Wherever that is.

I’ll go first. I’m Grant, I’m a drop out, who’s trying to get his act together to eventually develop a career. I have bipolar disorder, and some other health issues. I’ve got a pretty great girlfriend though, who helps me grow as a person and in my faith.

So. Not too bad right? I’m enviable to some at least I bet. That’s a summary of where I’m at. So what got me here? Now. We can consider this in means of comparison, how did I get from point A to point B. We can also consider a generalization. I feel either is fine as long as you are honest.

What got me here? Desperation.

Now for me, I’m seeing the large part is the last turning point was my suicide attempt. That’s when everything started changing for me. Interesting right? I got to a good place out of desperation. If you want to pin it on one decision, that’s to say my suicide attempt. And I don’t condone that one bit. I came out of it with a better mind set having survived, not because death was so close. I can’t even convey how important life is. But that was my personal turning point. It’s more complex than the one thing, I know, but it hinges on that.

Now here’s the lesson I want to really impart. A bad decision led to good things to come. Just as a good decision can lead to bad things to come. At the time my bad decision seemed like a good one, it certainly wasn’t. But I encourage people to think about their one decision. Is it good? Is it bad? What were the outcomes?

I see a homeless person, I don’t immediately jump to they did drugs and don’t deserve help. I embrace my empathy and hope. I think “Who did they trust or love that it ended up this way?”. It’s time we started loving one another regardless of difference and background and beliefs. There is time for anger. But it’s so tossed around eagerly in our society, I don’t think we even understand the difference between anger and hatred anymore, the two are hand and hand. And we justify it as being necessary. No.

Next time someone says they aren’t bad people, they just make bad decisions. You tell them, “Or maybe it was a good decision that got them into trouble”.

 

Back to the Old (In perhaps the best of ways)

I’m here. Doing well, time for some more introspective, doesn’t that sound delightful? I got my music blasting a mix of nerdcore and 8-bit sounds (chiptunes (also Anamanaguchi is great, look em up if you like the old arcade style music)). I am on solid ground if only for the moment, I’m not letting this abate easily, nor am I choosing to waste it.

Trying to write more on here since it feels it has been a great direction of my recent misgivings, thoughts, and ideas, and does wonders for my attitude. So I have a few things jotted down on a list to start tacking away about.

Tonight? How people live their lives. I’m of the opinion there are 5 major ways a person can live out their life. Not sure what I’m going to write about this beyond that, that’s all that’s on the list. The 5 ways? Well, let’s just jump into it.

There’s the Escapist. The escapist usually hates their current surroundings or situation, and does what he or she can to flee to another world. Sometimes this is represented in a slacker or bookworm who has nothing more than a astounding number of stories committed to memories to show for his life. Maybe the Escapist has formed an addiction of sort, whether it’s drugs, love, porn, or something else. The Escapist just dreams of a better place in whatever way he can find it.

There’s the Hedonist. She loves life and is willing to try anything once. After all, one’s all you got. She might be a daredevil or someone who doesn’t make heavy commitments and just tries to live in the moment. She also probably has traveled or tried lots of food and is definitely a good friend to have when you want to know if something is authentic enough. Essentially, she just lives life to live it believing that a life not lived is not a life at all.

There’s the Afterlifer. He might be a “bible thumper” or a legitimately good Samaritan. This person is likely to do his best to live his life in accordance with some set of principles, likely religious, that indicate his quality of being after he dies. He is likely to have a solemn life, but believes his riches will come later and that “this” life is rather fleeting and without reward on its own.

There’s the Legacy Author. She lives her life to leave something behind. She likely is a very idealistic person, and has some ultimate goal of accomplishing or setting the bits in place to accomplish. She may want to leave her family a vast fortune to not worry about the harsher side of life, or she might be very socially aware and be trying to manufacture solutions to problems that she felt needed to be overcome. She lives her life with a constant goal in mind, and though may deviate from this on occasion, it usually is still playing some role in her decisions and actions.

Then there’s the Ambitious. I would argue he is the same as the Legacy Author in his style of living, but is more motivated by personal glory, fame, or power. He can be very similar to the Legacy Author, but may approach problems differently if the interest in it does not impact his own coffers or ability to progress forward. He’s probably the one a lot of idealists will refer to as power hungry or greedy.

Really there is no one correct way to go through life and chances are you position yourselves differently between these five roles depending on your current situation. I can imagine a few more that should play an important role in the way someone decides to live, but I think I can squish them into one of those 5 roles above for the most part. I think it’s important to reflect that my goals and your goals or anyone’s goals and motivations are different and that’s not inherently contradictory. We can all live a better world if we better understand ourselves and others.

This was a light version of the mildly tumbling philosophies that roll around in my mind. I hope it’s a conversation starter for anyone who reads this and more importantly to me, this is a sign my head’s doing well enough to consider other problems or thoughts that aren’t related to me being bipolar, and that’s an awesome thing even if no one else finds this post interesting. I would like to end this with saying I believe I shift between a Legacy Author, Escapist and Afterlifer depending on what’s going on in my life, right now I’m wanting to leave the world a better place than when I came into it, so I’d argue it’s legacy author for the time being.

Why I’m awesome (amongst other things)

Yeah, that’s a kickass post title. I’m diggin’ it. Perhaps it’s mania, perhaps just a good spell of energy, who knows? Not me. But, let’s go with it, let’s keep up the positive energy on my behalf.

Why am I awesome? Because I have heart, I give people honest and raw words, and I think that they appreciate it. And if they don’t, then they’re just not my kind of people. As I reflect on what I am, I only see it positively when I’m considering through other’s eyes. Much of this is based on feedback I receive from them.

I’m the treasured friend. The one that a lot of people want in their life. And it’s not because I give gifts (though I do that a lot!) but because I’m real, and a good guy to boot. And Hell, I’m not even hard on the eyes for the most part.

I’m a catch, it’s dumb of me to think otherwise, even briefly. I have my downs, yes, I sure do, but I’m not letting those be my defining attribute any longer. Even if I can never sway her, there will be love in my life at some point, because I’m awesome. My good is more impactful than my bad, and my bad is a lot less now.

I could spend some time sitting here and listing positive things about my character and reinforce this energy I got, but, I have this vague notion of something to write about.

As though I have weight on my mind despite the repelling medicinal side affects otherwise.

I’m not normal, the “odd one in” as I have recently stated. I oppose a lot of parts with social media, but I’ve been reforming my thoughts on the matter of my philosophy regarding people. For the most part, I’m very withdrawn, I don’t like people, as much as it looks like it, because I treat everyone with dignity and respect, regardless of my disposition towards them. They get that as part of being my species.

The reforming bit is making this less absolute. I can dislike people and not judge them/still respect them. But, there are plenty of people I can like, I just have to be open to finding them, in whatever hiding places they hole themselves up in. This is part of the catalyst effect introduced to me in my latest lovelorn special.

And I gotta say, I’m diggin’ it. I don’t have to be friends with everyone, just the people I like, I can still be a good person if I dislike somebody, I’ll still respect them, it’s just a matter of preferences, I’m not wasting what time I have in my life trying to befriend people that rub me the wrong way.

Maybe I’ll write again soon with something creative, more poetic or some sort of prompt. I should start finding writing prompts. Until then, I’ll be kicking my own ass, working back towards getting into school again and spilling my heart out to strangers.

Identity

This is an issue I feel I have a lot of the time and might be easier to write about.

Right now, as per usual, I should be laying here, eyes closed, listening to the serene hum of my mind putting itself at ease drifting towards rest. I’m not, needless to say. As for why, that very answer often eludes me.

Often, something perturbs me. In this instance, I have a vague grasp of it, much like one would try to cup water trickling from a faucet. It’s something loose and fluid, not too well shaped or with a clear purpose. Tonight, I want to question who I am.

Who am I?

Name is William Grant Murray, son of Neva and Hugh Murray. Probably an idiot child if it weren’t for my birthday postponing my education for nearly a full year. From my best recollection, my father sought mostly to provide a future for me while also making sure I spent enough time with him, by his side in whatever form to properly rear me as it were. My mom, a worrier since I can remember, was always strict and if I would misbehave would sit me at the table, scoot my chair in a bit too rough (it would briefly and slightly wind me) and tell me to wait there til my father got home.

At an early level in school it was indicated I was smart. Something my parents had done their best to cultivate, I remember clearly. But my mind would wonder. I don’t remember any of the assignments, I remember lots of boredom. Through the 3rd grade I often just drew cartoons on my homework. But, I still remained a consistent academic performer. I awaited the class day every week for gifted and talent in elementary, where real challenge and interest stood. I remember being fascinated with my classmates in there, they knew a lot of things that I didn’t, but everything they said, I did my absolute best to retain. I still have a good amount of it up in the old noggin. Maybe that’s why I’m “smart”.

Always, I stood in awe of these people, only characters to me, and never felt that I was on their level, much to everyone’s insistence that I was. In the 4th grade, my father had his accident. Opened a door to a many varied experience as well as one of stress, torment, confusion, and emotional abuse. I acted out. A lot. In class after spending nights crying I would just sleep. Mr. Folds (4th grade teacher) would send everyone to their bathroom break and leave me in the room after checking with me before hand. When everyone was gone, I would pull my head up and just stare at the things around the empty room. Even then, I can recall wondering about purpose and normality. How many of these kids would experience something painful soon? How many already had? Individuality meant we would all show it differently. Of course I had friends I liked to talk to more than the others. Those friends were typically in GT as well.

Still, I wasn’t on their level, now in fact I was measurably behind, grades slipping, a lack of concern for homework setting in. A mom not at home regularly for me to do reading assignments or much of anything. I spent a lot of time at the neighbors, I slept in a wicker chair or in the guest bedroom sometimes, but it was frequently hot and I didn’t like it in there because the acoustics when I would start crying. They were wonderful people though. I hope they’re doing ok now. I had other people step up to try to help in the academic department for completion of assignments. People from the church and things like that. One family had a daughter in high school preparing for college and she was always really nice to me, she would let me play her NES when I went over there if I finished and we had already eaten dinner.

But, even with all the assistance, there was a lot of time at the hospitals, then at the rehab/nursing home. Then no more rehab. It all went by so fast. I remember a lot of things, I don’t even recall the order they happened in. I remember my family coming down to be with us after the accident. I remember my cousins lined up in a sort of hospital lobby, waiting for news. I remember adoring Patrick, who was reading Lord of the Rings books. I remember on occasion being out there alone and pulling chairs together to swing between them to expel my cooped up energy. Until I slipped out from them once and slammed the back of my head into the floor. I remember the doctors took me into some sort of office to show me pictures of equipment and explain things to me to evaluate if I could see my father. I remember then being escorted to him. Not knowing or understanding what a coma was.

Seeing him lying there was a terrible feeling. It was both horrifying, him looking like he was dead, and relieving, knowing he wasn’t. I said hello to him. Heart rate shot up. My mom crying grabbed me and said how much dad loved me and that even his coma couldn’t stop that…

Maybe all these things I made up. I don’t even know anymore. My brain feels so gone at this point. And I just keep learning. I can’t talk about my dad right now, those memories are much more clear than I realized and also a lot more painful. He was a good man he was. That’s all I need to rely on for now.

Identity. Mine was lost when my childhood was stolen. When, as a kid, my dad was not taken from me, but put beneath me in terms of capability, in a way, I took care of him. I never saw myself as the smart kid until looking back on things. I began to see it in the year after my dad’s accident. I scored a perfect score on the state TAKS (or whatever it was then). Only two of us had done it. I still remember the other girl’s name too. I remember her pretty well in fact. I remember it being announced that two perfect scores happened
and our teacher wanted us to stand if we thought it was us. I didn’t stand. Not for a long while. She kept insisting that she didn’t see both of us standing. After most of the class was standing or had begun to sit down because it wasn’t them, I stood. “There they are!”

I remember the rush of pride and confidence I had. My face probably as red as a rose. I sat down after the round of applause for myself and Kayla. A couple friends patted me on the back. The rest of the year wasn’t so bad, I had a friend, Vincent, I started to be pretty good friends with.

That year 9/11 did happen. Of course at the beginning of the year. I remember that pretty clearly. Mostly confusion and concern with all of the adults. I slept in my mom’s bed twice shortly after, afraid for some reason that there would be further attacks and my dad wouldn’t be there to help protect me. I was smart, but numbers/math/logic was where I really could beat anyone I found out as we started to handle signed integer operations in the 5th grade. I was the only one catching on in GT, and every now and then, my GT teacher would just pull me out of class to work on an assignment with all of my attention, she’d offer a soda or something as a bribe, it usually worked. She talked to me about what was going on and things like that. Sort of a role model amongst teachers, she’s what I think teachers should strive to be. She knew the issue wasn’t in my abilities, but in my drive and emotions. If I had not been in GT, I would probably have had more issues.

Throughout growing up, I began to emulate certain things others did that I liked. Still do. Classic conditioning as it were. Just recently, I have picked up shouting in text with exclamation marks instead of using an abundance of capital letters. I do this so much that for a while I had to wonder, how much is my original thought, and what’s leftover copy from trying to emulate somebody?

I was almost always a nice kid. One kid, my childhood best friend was pretty mean to various kids. And I would often join him in his snide remarks, even though it kind of hurt to do so. After one cub scout camping trip to little rock, we got in a “moss fight” and he threw moss at someone who was intellectually deficient. Retarded. However you know it, just know them as people. And I made the mistake of joining him. Immediately, it felt wrong. He cried. I got angry at my friend, and told him to knock it off. He wouldn’t. He hit me, I hit him, we fought, kids fight. Kyle still cried. Someone was alerted nearby and we were ushered off to the showers.

My friend was stubborn, lying about what happened. I came clean right away and revealed everything. I felt so bad. I didn’t think I could ever be ok with myself again. Maybe that’s when I decided bullying was not cool, that very moment I was one and couldn’t stand to be. He wouldn’t shower off, he was scared someone would come in. I volunteered to watch out for him and be his “guard”. I had to help him get some shampoo, and talk to him to keep him ok. I used that time to apologize a couple times. I remember telling him I didn’t know why I did it. And he just kept saying it wasn’t very nice. Which, it really wasn’t.

I begun to harbor anger towards my other friend after that incident and within the year I stopped requesting to see him entirely.

I was just a kid, I know. But I let someone else’s decisions dictate my actions, even when I didn’t feel good about them. A lesson that’s impossible to forget. Maybe that’s why I help people now. I don’t know. Your guess is as good as mine.

At this point, identity is irrelevant, in a culture where individuality is praised over some things that are good in general, such as a solid baseline for material to be learned, your identity is just what you make it. Which, in its truest essence, is what it is. Should I be concerned that I laugh a certain way tailored after someone I admired? no. Should I be concerned that I picked up on a word someone said, and used it a lot because it sounded cool? No, not really. Or what about now? My recent example, is using an exclamation more often going to ruin or better my world? Nope. It doesn’t matter.

I didn’t always see myself as the smart kid. Now, maybe I am. Enough people believe in me, that it must be true to some extent. I have scores of evidence to show that. Maybe I’m still naive and ignorant of some things, but that’s not bad, so long as I am open to learning something every day.

My identity? In the end it’s what I want I guess. What I want is to be a guy solving problems for people. I want happiness and peace. Often even sacrificing my own. I have greed, lust, envy, or wrath on occasion, but those must be pushed aside for better avenues of exploration. I’m Grant, and I want you to know that I’m an alright guy, cause it’s high time I knew that.