As 20 somethings at the helm of our global society, poised to take over the reigns in just a few years, we ought to be in the know. Take the time to read thru the bullet points to get a better understanding of the legal ramifications of the recently judicial approved Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act otherwise termed as Obamacare. Do yourself the favor and do the research independently before you go taking sides. Know the facts!
You don’t have to be a classical ballet dancer to know that this is daring. But the woman wearing the converse must be a classical ballet who has to know that this is daring and she’s made the decision to challenge the norm anyway. Sure it could just be a random picture and perhaps no one did any real risky ballet-norm-challenging business, but a picture is still worth many many words. Dare to be who you are, even if no one else is doing it.
As an artist, I consider everything I do to be art. I create a dance, I call it art. I write a poem, I call it art. I organize a spreadsheet in Excel, I call it art. I give someone advice on how to take advantage of mentors, I call it art. I explain the difference between affect and effect, and hell, I call that art too! The wonderful thing about the world of art is that it is entirely and absolutely subjective. The only thing that distinguishes one masterpiece from the next isintention and process. If you are even the least bit interested in becoming an artist, you have to explore the contexts of both intention and process for every masterpiece on a case by case basis.
Intention: What are you trying to accomplish, create, communicate or try? Why does that thing you’re trying at compel you to act towards it? Figure out the what and the why because it will drive you through the process.
Process: The duration of the time it takes you to navigate your way thru a beginning, a middle, and an end. Have you ever felt your way through something, figured out directions on your own, troubleshoot, improvise, change the plan, and go against the grain in order to get something done? It’s called being creative. It’s called innovation. It’s called taking a leap of faith, a risk, trying new things, tossing what doesn’t work, and improving what does. It’s called keeping your eye on the prize, but maintaining an open mind for fresh new ideas to help you arrive at your masterpiece.
Before you can even get to the value judgment moment to deem something good, bad or worthy, you have to first explore the story, the context, the drive of why your doing what your doing. It’s exactly what I do when I make a dance and it serves as the basis for understanding life and work as a canvas.
If more people began looking at themselves as creative, artistic human decision makers, how can our societies be different? It’s not about using bright colors, or embracing words like modern and abstract; it’s not even about beauty. It’s about understanding the human drive as one that requires inspiration and agency in the pursuit of fulfillment.
If I was an accountant and loved it, I’d be an artist of numbers. If I was a lawyer and believed in my ability to serve as representation, I’d be an artist of doctrine and perspective. If I was a school teacher and sought to share in the exchange of knowledge, I’d be an artist of growth and nurture. If I was a city government employee and enjoyed administrative oversight, I’d be an artist of big picture logistics. If I was a loving, caring, flawed human with dreams, hopes and jokes, I’d be an artist of reality. Find the art in your life, stake a claim in it and seek out outlets that inspire you. If you want to be an artist, you have to give yourself permission to be inspired and to be bold.
I’ve fallen for all stripes of human beings in this world. I’ve fallen for straight men, I’ve fallen for gay men, I’ve fallen for straight women and gay women. I really have. I had crushes on really every single kind of person in the world. So there was this period of time in my life when I had this sort of romantic idea that everybody was like that, that we’re all human beings and that a person is a person and if there weren’t these sort of societal ideas about gender and sexual orientation, that anybody could fall in love with anybody. Making Humpday was really the experience that showed me that that is not true — that some people really, truly are straight. There’s a spectrum, and some people are really at one or the other.
You want a job, a vacation, heath insurance, validation, a back rub, a scalp massage at the place where you get your haircut, people who are jealous of you, an ex who won’t stop texting you when they’re drunk, Twitter followers, happiness maybe sorta, someone to buy you lunch at a fancy restaurant, a mentor who can tell you what the hell to do with your life, a reliable internet connection, a reliable human connection, a gift card to the grocery store, dinner parties with friends where everyone will pretend to have their crap together for just one night, a nice flirty text message to wake up to every morning for the rest of your life, for everyone to like you even if you don’t like anyone, and one of those nights that doesn’t end till 9 AM and reminds you what it feels like to be young and alive.
I’d be remiss if I denied that at some point in time, I’ve wanted every single one of those things. No matter how silly or fleeting or irrational or fundamental each of those things may be, I proclaim to the world that I have indeed yearned for every single one. Now, I must run and hide.
This photo features a group of 5th graders at Waterberg Primary School in Namibia. It was taken November 10, 2009 shortly after the new computers arrived and the desks and painting had been completed. Along with teachers from my school, I solicited and created a relationship with a nearby local German NGO which ultimately donated 22 new computers to Waterberg Primary School, while the school fundraised for and built the tables and desks. The new computer lab that resulted was used by the school faculty and staff, students and surrounding village community and I held daily training courses for teachers, adults and students. When I left Waterberg, the Internet had not yet been set up, but my explanations and lessons for computer use had registered and made an impact, because 10 months after my departure from the school (and to this day), I received an email from my principal (and several from eager former students), I knew that the computer lab was being used and valued.
- Peace Corps Education Volunteer Melissa Becci
If you could make a difference, anywhere in the world, in any setting, what would you do?
For starters, I’d grub. I’d eat til my big little heart’s content. Then I’d be ready to make a difference. I’d hang around with the locals, live days in their shoes. I’d work at their jobs, sleep at their houses, do chores, attend the local house of worship. I’d offer to help out with the little ones, I’d find out how to prepare an average meal, I’d walk miles to the well and till the garden until dusk. I’d go to Namibia or Romania or Turkey or Chile. I’d put myself in the village and live among the people, as much as I can possibly blend in, and I’d learn to live their way of life. I’d live a simple local life because that would make a difference — in my own life.
It isn’t until we understand what it is to be touched, that we can truly and sincerely touch others. It’s less about saving the world, or changing people, or making a difference…If you really wanna be an agent of change, goodness and justice, you have to first take long deep looks at your own image in the mirror. You have to challenge everything about who you are, what you believe and what you stand for. You have to painstakingly explore who you are and what kind of statement you want to make in this world and proceed to take humble baby steps from there. For me, that means dropping me off anywhere in the world and feeling my way through an existence of which I have no prior knowledge. Then I’ll be ready for change…I won’t have a choice.
I used to say I was a perfectionist once upon a time…I also have a laundry list of ideas that have never seen the light of day.
Fear is a paralyzing tricky little booger. For 20Somethings, fear can often mean feeling as though we’re not qualified enough, smart enough, have enough experience, or have enough money. If I had a dollar for every idea that I never moved on — well let’s just say I’d have quite a bit of chump change.
What this quote reiterates is that being a perfectionist is also code word for ‘being too afraid to make mistakes and/or take risks’. It justifies our refusal to try and excuses our lack of action.
What do I say about fear and perfectionist-like obcession? Kick fear in the ass. Mess up til you figure out what works. And take a risk on trying something new. Dream with your eyes open so you can see how much the world stands to gain from someone who’s unafraid to move beyond the fear of inaction. You only get good at something by trying your hand at it.
With standup, it’s more interesting to hear about people’s failures than their successes. You don’t want to hear a story, like, ‘I went up to this hot girl and everything worked out fantastic. We’re dating. Everything worked out great. Good night!’ … People would be like, ‘I hate that guy.’ It’s much more endearing to hear someone going through the same struggles we’ve all gone through.
As a 20Something, we often feel like we’re groping around in the dark trying to find our way on the road to success & achievement. If you’re a person who can find your way all alone, than maybe this isn’t for you. But for many of us, we absolutely need to have people in our corner.
Having a mentor means having people who believe in you, even when you don’t believe in yourself; having people introduce you to new opportunities you otherwise would have never known about; and being a resource to you during what feels like a tumultuous time of having minimal resources. Having a mentor and being a mentor is about building mutually beneficial relationships with people who see your talent and respect your ambition. Don’t ever sell yourself short by thinking you can do it all alone. Reach out there into the world and find people who will help you get to where you wanna go.