Philosophy, Social

Masculine Feminist

I’ve been wanting to write this blog for a long time and I keep putting it off and for some reason half-awake on a Sunday afternoon seemed like a good time.

I’m deficient. I have no qualms with admitting that. I’m just as broken and confused as anyone else. And it is with this open heart that I start this conversation.

I know there are many schools of Feminist thought. However, when broken down to its most basic parts, as far as I can tell, Feminism is the idea that women and men should be treated equally. Right? I mean, if I’m wrong tell me. But I think that’s it.

When phrased as such, and I have done this as a small less than scientific experiment, nobody opposes Feminism. I live in a very red state and even the most conservative, southern-fried, good-ol-boy ain’t sayin’ that women should be treated as inferior. Now *cough* they may say that men and women have different roles, but that’s a separate topic.

What? Of course women should be treated fairly... Wait. This ain't a trap is it?

What? Of course women should be treated fairly… Wait. This ain’t a trap is it?

Anyway, my point is if Feminism is merely the belief that women and men should be treated the same and most people find this to be basic and assumed. Why is there even a term for this belief? Shouldn’t this just be something implicit in our society? For instance, there’s not a word for someone who believes that both running and cycling are viable exercises. You may have people argue which one burns the most calories or for what purpose each serves; but, you’d never hear someone stand up and say, “HEY! I firmly believe that running and cycling both count as exercise! I am a Cyclinist” If anyone said that people would think they’re absurd. People wouldn’t really even understand what that person was getting at. Yet, despite most people believing that men and women are equal, when a person stands up and says that they’re a Feminist it is understood.

Why?

Well, I think it’s because even though we theoretically treat women and men equally… Practically? We don’t. Feminism is a word because the world we live in doesn’t practice what it preaches.

hippo crisis

However, since most people would SAY they’re feminists why is this so hard to change? I really can’t figure it out. It seems like all we need to do is  simply act on our beliefs.

And where does this leave the modern American male? Equal means equal, being a feminist is just as much for women as it is for men. I want to live in a world where you’re not surprised when your doctor is a woman nor when your nanny is a dude. See? It works both ways. I know from experience most people have some kind of reaction to seeing a woman in a stereotypically male role. BUT people also have visceral reactions ranging from amusement to disgust when a man is in a stereotypically female role. Think of most movies in which a man is taking care of children; no, not protecting/saving children, merely caring for them. That man is the subject of ridicule in some way shape or form. Whether it’s “Haha, look at him struggle” or “Haha, look at how much of a wuss he is” the whole idea is that he’s either less of a man for it or TOO manly for it. I.E. – he has to do some kind of “manly” task by the end of the movie to make up for his caring compassionate dare I say… feminine side.

Ok, well yes it's funny... but mostly because of the skullet.

Ok, well yes this is funny… but mostly because of the skullet.

My point isn’t to say that men have it just as bad. My point is that men need to be part of the conversation as well. That’s why I understand why people would rather use the word “humanist” over feminist because the feminist argument, as I understand it, isn’t saying that females are inherently better. It’s just that men and women are both humans and that suggests that the exact same rights should apply to all. (Naturally, we need to also consider transgendered people’s part in this convo as well)

My naughty bits have nothing to do with my humanity.

My naughty bits have nothing to do with basic humanity.

But as a man, I’m part of the privileged side of the argument. So, I am still trying to figure out how my voice should be added to the conversation. But I have decided that it should be. I’m not even sure if men should even be allowed to call themselves Feminists! (Before you think the answer is obvious, know that I have heard compelling arguments for both) But I do want to call out to men and ask them to let their voices be heard because despite terminology we need to be part of the convo because we ARE part of the convo. And, I ask women to help and encourage thoughtful dudes to speak up.

Oh and… just in case this needs to be said. Dudes, be a part of the conversation WITHOUT trying to dominate it. In other words, men do need to realize that despite some struggles they aren’t the marginalized ones here, so when you speak up: Ask questions, Don’t justify, Shut up when you need to and be willing to learn. I know I’m still learning. I still don’t exactly know how to add to the conversation effectively and tactfully, but that comes with time. With that said, I’ll leave you all with Ryan.

Oh Ryan... *swoon*

Oh Ryan… *swoon*

Much Love,

-Brandon Holly-

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Growth, Life

You Are Super!

You have super powers and I can prove it!

Photo Found: http://www.dailydot.com/culture/hawkeye-initiative-superhero-poses-tumblr/

Um… well… there that is.

Life has gotten unimaginably hectic lately. I work full-time (and a lot of overtime), I film, I write, I exercise, I’m going to grad school, I have friends, I have family, I have a girlfriend, I’m helping to edit an awesome anthology, I’m participating in nanowrimo, I’m inexplicably going to a Rihanna concert tomorrow that I do NOT have time for but I was inspired by this post and though I feel like I’m wearing myself very thin- I’m loving my life.

Photo Found Here: http://www.mycelebrityfashion.co.uk/2013/04/queen-bey-a-right-royal-diva-beyonce-bans-press-photographers-from-mrs-carter-tour-due-to-unflattering-shots/

Rihanna is also shocked by my hectic schedule.

Part of the reason I can love my life is that I’m starting… keyword STARTING to use my super powers!

Photo Found: http://timesync.gmu.edu/libnews/?p=1076

Finally found a way to get enough experience points, yo!

I think we’re all born with some kind of super power. It’s just up to us to figure out what that power is and to use it to its full potential. Unfortunately, our super powers seem boring, so we don’t tend to see them immediately. We have to have others see them and on top of that, we have to acknowledge that this thing is something peculiar about ourselves.

My peculiarities are: being able to wake up early (even though I’m actually more of a night owl when given the opportunity), having an especially high amount of energy and endurance (traits you probably share if anyone has ever called you a spaz) and an intense desire to see improvement in the world (I’m driven).

These traits are meaningless if I don’t use them, however. I wasn’t for the longest time. I got to work early and got off work earlier than most to just spend my time napping or watching cartoons. Adventure Time and Regular Show are some shameful SHAMEFUL addictions of mine. Yes, yes I am in fact an adult… you can shove it.

Photo Found: http://www.gamepodunk.com/uploads/5239fa7b36ce8d83ce1335668bd80172.png

Ohhhh!!!!

Anyway, I have only started to recently use my superpowers; but, the results have been tremendous. I’ve found myself getting much more done and still having time to do the things I love; like writing in this blog! I’ve used my ability to get up early to take care of e-mails and clutter at work. I’ve used my time more wisely when getting home which has given me the ability to exercise more, which makes me feel 100 percent better about myself and my general state of being. On the flip side of that, I’ve used my innate energy to focus more on my writing right before bed instead of just mindlessly scrolling through web pages when my body is tired but my mind is not.

Photo Found: http://media1.fashionfreax.net/outfits/4f674f7381504_f528764d624db129b32c21fbca0cb8d6

Seriously… if she had some extra fingers she could add Reddit and StumbleUpon and have good documentation of my productivity killers.

So seriously, give it some thought. What are some things that your friends or colleagues have complimented you on or even been annoyed by? (Remember having a lot of energy makes me a spaz, but I can still use my spaz-powers for good!) Use those things to your advantage! They’re things your naturally good at. Instead of wasting them on mindless pursuits, use them to further your career or to pursue your passions! I did and though I still struggle- it has truly made a big difference in my life; and hopefully, by extension, the lives of others.

I hope this post helps you in some way and as always…

Much Love,

-Brandon Holly-

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Growth, Idealism, Philosophy

Gandhi Nation

Graduate School makes this blog extremely difficult to keep up. Nonetheless, I will try to at least post a thought or two each week. Ya’ know, something to chew on to tide you over until I can start blogging with a bit more abandon.

With that said, I was listening to Joe Rogan’s podcast and the conversation he was having with his guest, a Canadian with a French sounding name Stefan Molyneux, gave me a thought…

There IS no Canada like FRENCH Canada. I've never had this, but I'm highly interested.

There IS no Canada like FRENCH Canada. I’ve never had this (Poutine), but I’m highly interested.

My blog is mostly about self-improvement, but with the angle that enough self-improved individuals can in fact get the world to change into a better place. I call it selfless-self-improvement. ;-) I’m just kidding!

But, in all seriousness.

Gandhi is often paraphrased as saying, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”

[His actual words were: If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.]

Either way, it is an interesting statement, right? It’s the basic idea that fuels this blog.

Well, what if governments ran by those rules? Do they already and it just so happens that the change they want to see is selfish? But, even selfish intentions can benefit everyone. In order to thrive and prosper, the people living in the world must thrive and prosper as well. Economies only work when everyone contributes, not just a select few. So, I again postulate; what if governments applied the rule of inward change for outward progress to themselves?

Just think about it…

I know one thing, nations would be a LOT cuter if they became more Gandhi-esque

Just look at that punim!

Just look at that punim!

Much Love,

-Brandon Holly-

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Growth, Idealism, Life

Pain

A lot of things have happened to me as of late that have caused me discomfort. I personally felt a LOT of pain, but I understand that pain is relative and I refuse to try to quantify it as a lot or a little.

Problems...

Problems…

This is one of the things that have caused me pain as of late. I can’t say a LOT of pain because let’s face it., there are people all over the world who would KILL to have a car to wreck in the first place! My life is not bad. I have nothing to complain about. However, I have always said that emotions are valid.

One look at the twitter @celebscomplain_ and we’re all laughing at how petty and simple the problems of the other half are.

The Miracle of Flight, Apple Products, and Rumors?!? ... Tell me again how hard your life must be...

The Miracle of Flight, Apple Products, and Rumors?!? … Tell me again how hard your life must be…

But, at that moment, their life was hard. Pain is pain. Humans are extremely adaptable. Whether you’re adapting to abject poverty or garish excess, your entire world is filtered through that. Your actions are indicative of it and your life is unfathomable to those who are your other.

The two sides are at odds all of the time.

“Um.. why are you so dirty?” – Because they work in a field for 12 hours a day and the nearest water is an hour away.

“You have NOTHING to whine about!” – Well, they’re actually STILL human and humans feel pain regardless of their socio-economic status (Though I will admit that a step out of a certain limited worldview might be in order)

Now that I feel properly pre-vindicated allow me to go on…

A lot of things piled up on me at once. The accident, a few career issues, plumbing issues, housing issues in general, and the whammy is something personal, but I will say it has to do with losing something you thought you’d always have.

You wouldn't call this little guy pathetic, would you?

You wouldn’t call this little guy pathetic, would you? – THEN DON’T DO IT TO ME! ;-)

Anyway, when things stop going your way you begin to feel like a failure. You feel as if you have the opposite of the Midas touch.

Midas: What you touch turns to gold - Negative Midas: What you touch turns to crap - B. Holly - What you touch turns to golden crap...

Midas: What you touch turns to gold – Negative Midas: What you touch turns to crap – B. Holly – What you touch turns to golden crap…

Failure is not an easy feeling. You feel worthless. It makes you feel as if you deserve nothing and that you are just a cancer to everyone else that you’re around. Failure is hard. But, as I said in the previous blog. Failure is necessary. Success is impossible without it. Failure makes you stronger. I wonder if we’ve forgotten that.

And failure… well, it hurts.

It’s hard because people will come after you either way.

Our society is so obsessed with non-failure, that taking risks has become taboo! What?!? Move to New York City or Los Angeles to try and make it?!? Are you out of your mind? Most people fail and come back home. This may be true, but at the same time, if you don’t try you’ll never grow. Why take an AP Algebra class when you can just take the general class and pass? Why should we even bother pushing ourselves?

At the same time, we often look at people who try to better themselves as being full of themselves or we belittle their attempts. Which, by the way, if you find yourself scoffing at someone’s diet/exercise attempts or saying things like, “Ugh, why do you always eat Salad? always Study? always Exercise? always Pray etc…” Just… stop. Why would an attempt to self-improve ever be a bad thing? I’ve done it… you’ve done it… and we all need to cut it out. Don’t try to be better than others. Just be better than you. And CERTAINLY don’t allow your road to success to be making everyone suck a little more than you.

Anyway, taking risks and failing and growing- That’s where our greatness lies! A fellow PCV and a very good friend was interviewed recently and I believe he said it best during an interview with SoCal’s Public Radio station 89.3 KPCC.

“The beauty about games is that they encourage failure. They are predicated on kids trying things and failing and trying something else and trying it again,” he said. “That’s a skill that we need to impart on our kids. This fearlessness in just doing stuff.” – Dan Thalkar

d&b

The only decent picture of us. He’s the bearded not black guy!

I think we can all take a lot from that. We need to impart the spirit of failing and trying again to our kids, yes. But, we also must lead by example. As I mentioned in the blog before this one., failure is necessary for success. However, I left out an important thing we all need to accept. Failure hurts.

Pain equals growth and I refuse to believe my trials and tribulations are anything but small road bumps on my road to self-actualization.

Dan’s Minecraft Blog!

Much Love,

- Brandon Holly -

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Life, Writing

Success Is…

A lot of friends and I have our eyes unswervingly fixated on “success”. We forego hanging out with friends, watching tv, using the internet, and just having a life in general to chase after our passions and goals in life. It’s noble and good and we should ALWAYS be working our butts off because nobody should walk around life thinking anything is granted to them. You have to work for what you get.

With that said, I do have socialist leanings and I believe we should help one another.

Caring about people doesn't make one a communist. Sheesh! What's that comrade? Do I want another vodka tonic? DA!

Caring about people doesn’t make one a communist. Sheesh!
What’s that comrade? Do I want another vodka tonic? DA!

Anyway, I know many people spend a lot of time reading about how to become successful and how to become better people in general. I do! I have many self-actualization books both in my cue and mental library. I’ve learned a lot! But, the question I always ask myself after reading the wisdom of those smarter or at least more tenacious than I is, “What did they read?” Also, I feel as if it’s always important to understand that things change! The formula for their success won’t necessarily be the formula for mine. For instance, your uncle and cousins could be fairly(and wildly) famous directors, actors and film producers. That’s not to say you still didn’t work hard for where you are.

Jason Schwartzman just got added to your list of things to do today...

Jason Schwartzman just got added to your list of things to do today… (Yes I know the quote is out of context)

Anyway, your formula for and path to success is going to be necessarily different from the guy who was raised by a couple of modest Jehovah’s Witnesses in a small town in Georgia. Your mother worked at a daycare and your father was a postal worker. You also had a plethora of foster children in your home. Oh, and you are now an actor, writer, comedian, musician and one of my greatest inspirations.

Black Nerds Unite!

Black Nerds Unite!

This focus on success came after I started reading this book:

I've been watching a lot of Parks and Rec, so I definitely noticed Amy Poehler in the background before anything else... No offense, Ian Roberts I like you too!  If you're interested: http://ucbstore.com/the-upright-citizens-brigade-comedy-improvisation-manual

I’ve been watching a lot of Parks and Rec, so I definitely noticed Amy Poehler in the background before anything else… No offense, Ian Roberts I like you too!
If you’re interested: http://ucbstore.com/the-upright-citizens-brigade-comedy-improvisation-manual

I was lying on my bed reading a book teaching me how to be better instead of just being better. I stared at my four wood-paneled walls and felt.. inadequate. What was I doing wrong? The answer was and will always be nothing. Never feel like you’re doing something WRONG. (Unless you are, but if you are you know it and you don’t have to ask yourself if it’s wrong. That’s the kind of thing you FEEL and you ask yourself WHY.)

You’re just living. There’s nothing wrong with surviving. Our ancient ancestors would be mad jealous of our ability to just keep on living. Be proud of life.

Naturally, I haven’t “made it” yet. So, what am I personally doing?

I’m just trying. I know for a fact that I could be doing more. I could be putting myself out there more, spending more time writing and reading, exercising more and whatnot. But, I know I am trying and trying leads to failure, but failure leads to success.

And on success:

Dictionary.com defines success as: The favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals.

That sounds terrifying to me. The termination of attempts or endeavors?!? Yikes! I never want to reach some point in my life where I feel done. For my gamer nerds, I want to constantly Level-Up! Success seekers, it’s cliche, but remember the journey is the fun part. Enjoy being on it and don’t forget that you’re lucky to be where you are. Never. Be. Done.

And now for some quotes from the people I mentioned:

  1. I just find that the harder you work and the more effort you put into yourself, the better you’ll be. – Jason Schwartzman
  2. The secret, I don’t know… I guess you’ve just gotta find something you love to do and then… do it for the rest of your life.  – Max Fischer
  3. Writing is a very strenuous thing – it’s like banging your head against a wall. – Donald Glover
  4. I really like playing Leslie (Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation), because it’s like the Sisyphean task of trying to get a park built is very emblematic of what’s happening anywhere someone’s just trying to make change happen while everybody tells them it’s not going to happen. – Amy Poehler

I’m so excited to fight for what I love! You should too! And never EVER be afraid of failing. Instead of being afraid of failure, think of it this way… (MAYBE, it’s not true for a select few but for the most part it’s true) you HAVE to fail to succeed. You have no other choice. If you want to become better, you have to fail. There is no other way!

 

NOW GET OUT THEIR AND FAIL AND FLOP AND CRY YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS!!!

Another uplifting message from Brandon Holly,

me

 

Much Love,

- Brandon Holly -

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Idealism, Life, Philosophy

Run Away…

Sometimes, it seems like our issues come from nowhere. They’re these gigantic tremors that lay in wait underneath the ground. And, at any given moment they will erupt forth and attempt to drag us down into the pits of despair. We didn’t know this was a big deal to us until something triggered our emotional response. For instance, you’ve told your Significant Other that you don’t care about material things or silly greeting card holidays. You truly believe that until.. “Hm… apparently I do care about V. Day. WHY DIDN’T YOU GET ME A CARD AT LEAST?!?”

Tremors was one of the first movies to kinda freak me out!

YOU COULDN’T SHELL OUT THE CHANGE FOR ONE ROSE?Tremors was one of the first movies to kinda freak me out! 

Sometimes, our issues are right out in the open like a big gross pimple. Whether those be mental issues, social biases, pet peeves. They’re the blighted parts of ourselves  that we can’t seem to hide very effectively.

I'm a closet racist! A raaaacyyyyyst! ;-)

I’m a closet racist! A raaaacyyyyyst! ;-)

We have these problems and they manifest themselves any random way they will. Whether it be at bed late at night keeping you from getting any decent sleep or during grandma’s 80th birthday dinner. These things require attention and must be dealt with with tact and understanding. How do we reconcile the beautiful parts of ourselves with the ugly parts?

Yargh!

Um… Maybe some people just don’t. 

How can Brandon the pacifist reconcile himself with Brandon the revenge seeker? And yes, I do say reconcile because I don’t believe Brandon the revenge seeker is evil. I think the way in which he goes about things is wrong, but that is also the part of me that fights for what I believe in. The pacifist Brandon is a little too chill. I need both parts to function as a fully formed human. However, I will not be the most effective person I can be unless both sides are functioning PROPERLY. In other words, the passive pacifist needs to shake hands with the motivated menace to come up with a mutually beneficial way of solving problems.

Life is just a great balancing act.  I’m really trying to find mine. I fail a lot. But, I feel like I win a lot too! :-)

Keep trying to find yours!

Even when some of us seem to have it all figured out...

Even when some of us seem to have it all figured out…

Much Love,

-Brandon Holly-

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Idealism, Life, Philosophy

How May I Help You?

I enjoy making people happy. There is literally no better feeling in the world than doing something for someone and looking at them sincerely expressing gratitude. I don’t feel like I’m unique. I feel as if most people in the world have good intentions. We don’t typically do things for the sole purpose of upsetting others. I don’t even think that comes from an especially thoughtful place; (even though I DO feel like people are more thoughtful than we give them credit for) rather, it comes from the fact that people tend to use their energy making themselves feel good, rather than actively trying to make you feel bad. But, really think about that the next time someone does something that grinds your gears. Especially if the person is a loved one.

Harold! THIS IS THE LAST TIME I TELL YOU, "THE BEANS GO IN THE LEFT CABINET AND THE SPICES GO IN THE RIGHT!"

Harold! This is the last time I say something, “THE BEANS GO IN THE LEFT CABINET AND THE SPICES GO IN THE RIGHT!”

Before you go punch the lights out of the person who did something that you personally found inconvenient; realize, that it’s highly unlikely they did that just to spite you. We get upset about things because we feel personally wronged. But nine times out of ten, that is not the intention of the other person. And, in fact, if the person knew they could’ve avoided a (in the context of the universe) meaningless argument, they probably just would have done whatever you wanted. Yes, some people are less mindful than others. But, I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt.

This makes me think of something C. S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity that I think rings true whether you’re a Christian or not.

“But in reality we have no experience of anyone liking badness just because it is bad. The nearest we can get to it is in cruelty. But in real life people are cruel for one of two reasons – either because they are sadists, that is, because they have a sexual perversion which makes cruelty a cause of sensual pleasure to them, or else for the sake of something they are going to get out of it – money, or power, or safety. But pleasure, money, power and safety are all, as far as they go, good things. The badness consists in pursuing them by the wrong method, or in the wrong way, or too much. I do not mean, of course, that the people who do this are not desperately wicked. I do mean that wickedness, when you examine it, turns out to be the pursuit of some good in the wrong way. You can be good for the mere sake of goodness : you cannot be bad for the mere sake of badness.”

Ya Dig?

Ya Dig?

I’m writing this because I felt wronged the other day and truly upset. I fail more often than not, but when I’m upset with someone I try to ask myself why I feel so frustrated. Typically, it’s because they did something that made life SLIGHTLY more difficult. My day was a little less convenient because of whatever thing they did. Now I’m upset. But my annoyance is MY problem not theirs. I’m trying very hard to always keep in mind that nobody can make me feel any certain way. I’m also trying to keep in mind that the things that annoy me on a day to day basis are typically not a big deal.

mountain-or-molehill-350x280

Let’s say someone leaves a piece of paper on my desk at work. I could see an improper response building up. These types of things happen all of the time. We’ve all heard things like, “What? Do you think this is YOUR desk?” or “Oh? So, you’re the only one who needs to use the toaster?” or “Why didn’t you invite me out to lunch or AT LEAST ask me what I wanted?” or “How many times do I have to tell you?” etc. But typically the answers are, “No, I’m sorry I just forgot…” “No, but it’s just taking me a minute. I’m sorry…” “Sorry, I was just hungry and left…” “I don’t know, just please help remind me…” People aren’t out to get you. Yes, some of the things people do happen because they forget that the universe doesn’t revolve around them. At the same time, sometimes we get upset because we feel like WE’RE the center of the universe.

Most of the time... Sorry should cut it.

Most of the time… Sorry should cut it.

Anyway, back to making people happy. I HATE when I do the things that upset people. I am guilty of staying too long in the bathroom, or spilling water on someone’s desk, or leaving my computer cord lying around. But, my desire is just to make people happy.

At the same time, maybe my need to make others happy makes them unhappy. If you’re like me, you try desperately to make everyone feel good, but you can’t. You fail them in some way shape or form and somehow you’ve made everyone upset rather than joyful.Which, in turn, makes you unhappy. And, I guess I’m just not sure what that balance is yet.

How do I go about it? I can’t clone myself (yet), so sometimes I am going to have to sleep or drop obligations, but deciding who has to wait is hard. One of my goals in life is to reduce the amount of suffering people have to feel. I wish to reduce my own suffering of course, but I also want to make YOU joyful as well. When I try too hard to make everyone happy, I end up hurting everyone. I haven’t figured out how to be ok with just not pleasing people sometimes.

Hm… I haven’t quite figured all of this out yet. But, I hope you’re happy today. And if not, maybe this puppy can make you smile.

No Pasa Nada...

No Pasa Nada…

Much Love,

- Brandon Holly -

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