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, 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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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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Life, Philosophy, Writing

All Shapes All Sizes…

I try very hard not to do this, but it seems nearly impossible. I do this on a daily basis. If you’re reading this and we have had a face-to-face conversation, I have most definitely done this to you.

I compare myself to people constantly. Am I making as much money as them? Am I as happy as them? Am I as adventurous, intelligent, healthy, attractive, strong, cool, patient, humorous, thoughtful, creative, kind, etc… as them?

The answer is always no.

Ho Hum...

Ho Hum…

Seriously, anytime I attempt to make myself  feel good by comparing myself to others, something like this happens…

Hmm... I notice that I am more physically fit than that person...

Hmm… I notice that I am more physically fit than that person…

Dang... but they are loads smarter than I am. They pick up analytical concepts at a MUCH faster rate than I... I suck...

Dang… but they are loads smarter than I am. They pick up complex concepts at a MUCH faster rate than me… I suck…

So, I’m constantly living in this world in which I am “winning” or “losing” some fake game that I’ve created in my mind. I’ve just recently come to terms with the fact I do that. No, this blog isn’t about how we shouldn’t size each other up. I believe we’re made to analyze and make adjustments accordingly. It makes sense. When we (humans) were out in the world without shelter or safe places to hide, we needed to be able to assess legitimate obstacles. This animal is bigger than me, but I’m smarter, but it’s faster. Ok, I’ll sneak up on it or hide.

That deer knows how to analyze threat assessment...

Threat Level: Human…

But, as far as sizing up other people go… I’m learning that every single person has a skill you don’t have. And, every single person lacks a skill you have. I find that beautiful. What that reveals to me is that we truly need each other. Human beings are highly mutually dependent. I’m not sure what that says about altruism, but it doesn’t matter. We don’t just help people because we want to. We help each other because we NEED to.

Anyway, I was writing this because I felt down on myself about what I’ve done so far in my life. And the thought that talked me down off of the ledge was that… I’m needed.

And I need you.

Much Love,

– Brandon Holly –

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Idealism, Life, Philosophy

Ten Thousand

I think I’ve finally figured it out. I’ve come to the conclusion that we all have too much to lose to be outstanding. I’ve been listening to Macklemore lately and the song 10,000 hours came on. Coincidentally, I currently received the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell from a good friend.

Malcolmore or... Mackle Gladwell... YOU decide!

Malcolmore or… Mackle Gladwell… YOU decide!

Malcolm’s book and Macklemore’s song reference a popular expertise theory that suggests that the greats of our world didn’t become great just because they won some kind of genetic lottery. Rather, they became great as a result of hard work, grit and diligence.

The study suggests that in order to become an expert at something, it takes 10,000 hours of practice. That’s an unusual time statement. It’s annoying. It’s like a mother saying her child is 29 months old… He’s TWO you freak!

Yep, she's only 238 months old! That's why we DIDN'T buy the Chemistry Pop-Up book this year.

Yep, she’s only 238 months old! That’s why we DIDN’T buy the Chemistry Pop-Up book this year.

Anyway, a different study suggests that as numbers become bigger they become less comprehensible. So, I like to break things down. Let’s say that I want to become a great writer. According to the 10,000 hour theory I would have to practice for a little over a year straight. And when I say straight, I mean I would literally need to be writing 24 hours a day. That’s impossible. Let’s break that down a bit more. If I were to divide that time into two years, I’ll be great by just practicing 12 hours a day. Still a bit egregious, eh? Well, let me put it in terms that I can understand.

If I consider the theory to be correct. I am saying that if I were to devote my time to picking up a new skill right this moment and I vowed to practice 2hrs everyday, I would become great after 13.7 years. That’s a long time. That’s quite a commitment. Worth it? Yes. But can most of us do that? No.

My day today: Wake up at 5am, go to work, work till 3pm, need to go to the grocery store to buy food for dinner, cook dinner, mow the yard, exercise, eat dinner, and finally relax at about 8pm when all is said and done. The last thing I want to do is hone my craft at that time. I’m exhausted! Is exhaustion just an excuse? Absolutely, but it’s a valid one.

Then, I imagine how realistically it would be for me to become great when I think of potential children. I don’t have time to become great when I’m feeding my kids. They can’t get neglected just because I have a passion.

Well, I hope someday I will become a great writer. But, until then, I’ll just keep putting my nose to the grindstone when I can and maybe after 15 years I’ll get a call.

The point of this post wasn’t to be pessimistic. Actually, quite the contrary. Knowing that greatness is within my reach makes me just want to practice more! Even if it takes forever, I have to try!

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Life, Philosophy

Celebrity

I was thinking of posting more than once per month.

No, in all seriousness. I was thinking about celebrity. I have ranted about celebrity quite a bit to my friends and family. In The Philippines I got a taste of celebrity. I was “famous” in my town merely for being the black guy. People wanted me to go their parties, be a ninong (godfather) to their children, break bread with them, etc. They wanted me around for no other reason than the fact that I was different. There were many well-intentioned people who were mostly just curious and intrigued by this foreigner that (as far as they were concerned) randomly decided to settle in their otherwise homogenous community. But, there were other people who were “out to get me”. I put that in quotes because of the fact that I understand why they would be compelled to try to take advantage of a foreigner. Now, that does not mean that it is right. However, I can empathize.

I say this because of the fact that I just don’t quite understand celebrity. We’re all just people trying to get along in this world. When we get down to the core of things, there really aren’t that many things separating me from oh… let’s say Kobe Bryant.

I see no difference

I see no difference

Except for the fact that he is a world-class athlete, makes millions of dollars every year, may or may not be a rapist, etc…. ok ok so superficially we are quite different.

HOWEVER!

When you really break it down. He is just a man. And I am also just a man. Just another dude. He eats, sleeps, breathes, and will die just like every other single human being before him. So will I.

But… there is something very interesting about celebrities. It’s not that they aren’t human. But… somehow they seem so much more than that. They seem larger-than-life. They seem SUPER human. I’m not immune. I would babble like a baby if any of these men just happened to show up on my porch…

Rudy!

Rudy!

I studied at Julliard! (Seriously, give the man more respect)

I studied at Julliard! (Seriously, give the man more respect)

Yes, I picked this picture.

Yes, I picked this picture.

This. This is a man.

This. This is a man.

(Yes, they ARE all comics… ;-))

And naturally, I could keep adding people to this list. People I respect. People I look up to. People I emulate, for no other reason than the fact that they either make me happy or are doing something I want to do. I inexplicably care about these people. I want good things to happen to them. I respect them. I IDOLIZE them.

But honestly….

Why?

I don’t know them. They have never done anything for me (other than entertain me and it’s not like they were doing that specifically for me. They get paid a lot of money to be amusing.), they have never spent one moment in my air space, they do not even know I exist.

Yet… I care about them. Albeit, in a very shallow way.

Why is that? What makes celebrities so different?

I don’t know. I really don’t. All I really do know is that celebrities have a lot of INFLUENCE.

And… well, that is a whole lot of responsibility. So, maybe we should cut them some slack when they slip and make mistakes. Because… well, we make the same mistakes too. It just so happens that we don’t do them while the entire nation is staring at us.

But more importantly. The point of this blog is….

even if you’re not a celebrity, you have influence.

At any given moment, SOMEONE is looking at you. Someone is curious about you. Someone is watching you react to situations. Someone out in the world is waiting to call you out… (I need to stop using these ellipses… dammit!)

or praise you.

So, my goal is to try to sincerely be a hero. I might not have the sphere of influence as say:

This guy will show up at your party and will F. S. UP!

Bill Murray will show up at your house party just to F***. S***. UP!

But, I have influence. And I want that influence to be positive.

I want to use my influence to inspire people to be more than they think they could ever be. I want: To help people. To make the world more loving. To make the world more peaceful. To make the world more beautiful. And to influence others and to INSPIRE others to do the same.

I started by helping Nicki Minaj out of the snow earlier this week.

nicki

You’re welcome, Nicki.

Ok, so she wasn’t REALLY Nicki Minaj, but the resemblance was striking.

I guess I could use my celebrity just to inspire people to look cool…

I don't usually care about celebrity fashion, but...*breathes in* baHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA!!!

I don’t usually care about celebrity fashion, but…*breathes in* baHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Anyway, the new year shall be much more bloggier than this year I hope! I love you all! And…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Much Love,

– Brandon Holly –

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