Monday, December 31, 2012

Not Resolutions...Guidelines...

Good news! The Mayans didn't kill us. What a relief. I must say, I was so concerned. I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas / Kwanzaa / Hanukkah / whatever it is you choose to celebrate around this time of year. We're about to start a new year, though. It's the last day of 2012, and I must say this year has been rather interesting. There have been some good times, there have been some great times, and I've had some of the best memories come out of this year. Despite the fact that 2012 isn't ending quite how I wanted it to, I'm going to take it as a challenge.

Last January I posted the things I wanted to change in my life. They were as follows: 

- I want to work on being a nicer person. It's safe to stay I still have a lot of work to do. 

- Eat healthier. Uhhhhhh... we'll skip that one. #TeenageBoyProblems

- Start exercising. I actually stuck to this one for a while. Going to the gym was some of the most fun I've ever had.

- Post on here more. Check.

- Live life for me. Yeah... that's not happening anytime soon. Oh well.

- Volunteer more. I went on a mission trip over the summer that was full of volunteer opportunities. I've also volunteered a lot this year with StuCo. It's fun and gratifying. 

- Spend more time with friends. In the long run that may have been more hurtful than helpful in some instances. 

- Start taking school seriously. If you can count taking easier classes for your senior year to boost your GPA as taking school seriously... then mission accomplished!

- Censoring myself. Well... I'm not a miracle worker. So... 

I'm not sure how smart it was for me to set up so many resolutions at once. Scratch that. It was really dumb of me to set myself so many resolutions at one time, because I managed to stick to like... three. 

So I've decided to try a new approach. Instead of setting a resolution I've decided to institute guidelines for me. Basic rules that I am going to live my life by in order to well... not f*** stuff up. 

So here they are. My guidelines.

1. Think before I react. Shit undeniably happens. Issac Newton said it best in his Law's of Motion when he claimed that "every action has an equal and opposite reaction." I must admit I haven't been abiding by that law very much. It's been more like "for every action Tyler will have available a reaction that is over the top and over dramatic." Yes yes, I know. My bad. I want to work on it though. You see, at first I didn't care if I upset someone with my dramatic tendencies because typically the people I upset were people that I really didn't give two shits about. I stepped over that boundary too, though. My diva-ness has started to take a toll on a relationship that I and another have put a lot of time and effort into... again. It's a miracle that they've put up with me for this long, and I'm praying that things can go back to the way they were. 

2. The rule of Karma. It's pretty simple. I should not dish out crap and not expect people to not throw crap right back in my face. I figure a three-fold system would apply nicely here. Whatever I do is going to come back to me three-fold. Sometimes it's better to just hold your tongue... or so I've heard. 

So there they are. My New Years guidelines that hopefully will last me more than a year. Feel free to remind me of them whenever I seem to stray from the path that I have created for myself. 

Now that I think about it, though, I don't like the idea of New Years Guidelines. Why wait until the new year to start applying them to my life. Why not start...

... now?


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I Take Back Everything I Said... Everything 'Till Now...

Do you remember the post I made where I expressed all of my fears for college?

I take it back.

 At this point in time I can't wait for college. Anything to get me away from this house. It should say a lot about a family who manages to fight on days like Christmas and birthdays. I would love nothing more than to move 3 hours away and live in a dorm so I don't have to put up with these people on a daily basis.

That's really all I wanted to say.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Roller coasters...

So I have All-State Orchestra auditions tomorrow... yikes. Despite the fact that, yes, I made it last year, I'm still about ready to pee my pants, dry heave, or sit in a corner and suck on my thumb... or maybe a combination of the three... we'll see how much sleep I get.

Moving on!

Life's a roller coaster. And I, despite the fact that I don't seem to be your typical teenage guy, am somewhat of an adrenaline junky.

I wasn't always so into roller coasters though. The first time I rode a roller coaster that wasn't contained in a theme park's kiddy section was easily one of the most traumatizing experiences of my life. Why was that hill so big? You mean we were going to get in a tiny car and ride all the way to the top of THAT? Why was everyone screaming like they were about to die?! This couldn't possibly be fun. If anything it was borderline suicidal. What if my seat belt breaks? What if the car derails? What if I get stuck next to some fat guy and he falls on me and crushes me? What if the ride camera took my picture and I looked like an idiot?

All of those nagging worries passed through my head while I was waiting in line for what I was sure was going to be my imminent demise. Doomsday had come, boys and girls, and its target was me specifically.

Eventually I got to the front of the line and the ride attendant was like "Hold up, little man. I need to make sure you're tall enough." Everyone in line probably rolled their eyes. They probably thought I was some brat that was going to waste time in line and then not be tall enough.

"Looks like you're too short." I was relieved. I wasn't going to die today.

"I'm only kidding. You're tall enough. Go right on ahead." F*** my life. I started saying my prayers. I didn't even have a will written up. Who was going to inherit my Nintendo 64? Or my Gameboy? WHO THE HELL WAS GOING TO TAKE CARE OF MY POKEMON?

Next thing I knew I was sitting in a roller coaster car, making a slow ascent to the top of a 200-something foot hill. You could see until forever from on top of that hill. It was awesome. I was on top of the world. And not like Jack and Rose when they were on the front of the Titanic. No iceberg was going to sink this ship.

Until we went down the hill. My ass left my seat. My stomach flew up into my throat. Everyone was screaming. This was it. The moment I had been waiting for. My short short life was over. Done. Finished. We were going to fly off the track. We... we...

Started to go up the second hill. I was on top of the world again! Still no icebergs in sight.

And then we went back down the hill.

I don't know how many times this process repeated itself. I just remember getting off the ride and thinking "I'm alive... and that was actually pretty fun."

All of that worrying had been for nothing. My seat belt didn't break. The train didn't derail. Not one fat person fell on me during the course of the whole ride. Yes, I looked like an idiot in the picture... you win some you lose some.

I've gone through my whole life over-thinking and worrying about everything. Even if it's things that I can't control. I was once told that life is too simple to be so damn difficult. I think that phrase has a lot of value and meaning to it.

Maybe people who live in the moment do have it better. Why worry about the past? It already happened, you can't change it. Why worry about the future? You can't guarantee what's going to happen and you'll only be wasting what could be a very nice moment.

It seems kind of odd that I would be preaching that mantra. Biological predisposition made me a worry wart by default.

Why waste the time though?

When you're on the roller coaster you don't worry about the next hill.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I have officially conceived a food baby...

Thanksgiving. A time for being thankful. A time for being with family and other people you love. It's also the one day during the year where you and your dinner plate can have an intimate relationship that results in you conceiving a food baby. Just me? That's cool.

This year I feel like I appreciate the situation life has graced me with more than I have the past few years.

Maybe it's because this is my first Thanksgiving that I spent as a legal adult. Maybe it's because I hit my head one night while I was sleeping and now I'm just a much perkier person. Maybe that last possibility is a little far fetched. I don't know. Sometimes I feel like the status of my life at this moment is a little too good to be true. Then again, I don't want to bury it over its head in questions either. Instead I'm going to list things I've been thankful for recently:

- My music. Both the music that I've been blessed with the ability to create and the music formed by other people that I've been blessed to hear. A lot of people don't understand exactly what it feels like to play a piece and make it yours. Sure, some other (probably dead) person wrote it. You get to add your personality to it, though. What you feel when you make music is you. Not the potentially dead person that wrote it. It's similar to the artist finishing their masterpiece. The athlete scoring that game winning touchdown or dominating that race. The actor delivering a killer monologue. The singer (who are musicians... but I'm trying to cover all of my bases) being solid on every note and bringing a crowd to their feet. Making music sort of feels like that. It's just so instantly gratifying. Revoke my man card (as if I ever really earned the right to carry one) if you want, but it's pretty awesome and there's nothing in the world I love to do more.

When it comes to listening to music, though, it's just as satisfying. Just in a different way. Have you ever heard a song and felt chills because of the way the sound strikes the pleasure center in your brain? If not then you're really missing out. For me it's movie soundtracks mostly. Howard Shore (Lord of the Rings), Harry Gregson-Williams (Chronicles of Narnia), Alexandre Desplat (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2) and Hans Zimmer (Holy shit... uhh... The Dark Knight, Inception, COD MW2, Pirates of the Caribbean, Sherlock Holmes, Kung Fu Panda, Black Hawk Down, The Da Vinci Code... you get the picture) are my personal favorites. Pardon me for sounding like an extremist, but their music seems to give me some kind of high. Odd way to phrase it? Maybe. But I can't think of a better way to word it. The way they can manipulate sounds to fit into the plot line of a movie and actually add to the movie instead of distract a viewer is incredible. And on top of that their music can still stand alone and be listened to sans movie. It blows my mind.

- My huge ass family. No, I can't name 9 out of every 10 people I see on Thanksgiving. Yes, they all seem to know who I am. No, it's not fair. Oh well. I make progress on facial recognition every year darn it and at least I'm putting forth an effort. Granted at these shindigs I don't really say a whole lot (crazy, I know) because they all really like to talk about football and, for anyone who knows even the tiniest bit of information about me, I know absolutely nothing about football. The atmosphere, though, is awesome. It's sophisticated but borderline chaotic. There's a good chance we've exceeded a building's maximum occupancy limit on a number of occasions. And the food... don't even get me started on the food. You will never taste ham or roast beef as good as what I get to eat around Thanksgiving every year. Unless we're related... then you might.

- Quality bonding time with friends. The first thing I wanted to mention was the Student Council lock-in I just went to a few days ago. Dear God it was insane. Do not give my council a ton of sugar and very little sleep because it gets the tiniest bit loud and the tiniest bit hectic. I'm incredibly thankful for this lock-in though. It gave me the opportunity to chill with a few people on StuCo that I probably never would have bothered getting to know otherwise. Before long we were answering questions about each other on a mock dating game (which was weird), hiding together at the top of the bleachers in the gym (we were playing hide and seek... and getting down was a little dangerous), and talking about crotch odors (don't ask). It was exactly what StuCo should be... tons of fun yes actually pretty productive... or at least I heard it was productive. I fell asleep. My bad.

And as fun as that lock-in was it didn't hold a candle to the amount of quality time I got to spend with one of my favorite people in the whole damn world. I've heard before (and don't ask me to remember where... because it's like two in the morning and if this blog turns out to be halfway coherent I'll consider myself accomplished) that there are friends in your life who become more than your friends. They become a defining factor in who you are. They're the people that you can sit around and do absolutely nothing with and still manage to create the moments that you will never forget. I talk about how little time there is left before I go my own way and head off for college (God knows where that'll take me) so every moment I get to spend with any of my friends means more than the world to me. And over the past week I haven't done anything that an outsider looking in would consider to be very extraordinary. Actually the only things I've done with friends this week is A) sit on my ass and watch Criminal Minds and B) go out on Black Friday. Given the time of year that's some pretty normal stuff. Get this, though: Watching the show wasn't the best part. Being in the mall on Black Friday wasn't the best part. The best part was watching my friend become attached to the show. The best part was the ride to and from Independence Center and the crazy stuff we talked about. To use the word "friend" doesn't seem to do the relationships I've been blessed to have any justice. There isn't any other word for it, though. I would never voluntarily stay up until 3:00 AM or go ugly Christmas sweater shopping for just anyone (and the vest I bought is hella nasty). I wouldn't trade these moments for anything. Gah, I just want to go hug the crap out of my best friends right now. Would that be weird? That'd be weird. Screw it I don't care.

I have a lot to be thankful for. Music and people, mostly. I'm also thankful for the fact that I now own TWO Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers shirts (the Blue and Green rangers... holla!) and the fact that I have been well equipped to deal with life's daily bull shit (sarcasm is a powerful ally). Mostly my music and the people, though. Those two things are the high points of my life. They always have been and they always will be.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and managed to create a nice food baby or fall into a food coma. Or both.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Can we lower the speed limit...?

There are a lot of things I'll never understand in my lifetime.

I'll never understand why people in school insist on walking right in the middle of the hallway.
I'll never understand how a camera captures a photo.
I'll never understand why the people on the Titanic didn't see that monster ass iceberg. 
I'll never understand how people get those model boats inside of a glass bottle. 
I will NEVER understand how the Kardashians became famous. 
I'll never understand why I'm not a part time model... I mean... let's be real.

I also don't realize why people have this perpetual dislike for high school. I mean I look like a zombie every morning just like everyone else, but I think it's awesome. There's no need to be a diva about it. You can look like a hot mess just like everyone else, dammit. 

 The idea of college scares me shitless. Life is just kind of flying by at this point. 

If my life was a car and I was the person that decided the speed limit, I'd have it set at a comfortable 35. But my life's all like "Nah, bro. Let's go 70." What? NO. That's not what I said. Okay, life, now you're getting a ticket. Too bad you can't write up life and make it pay for tickets and make ridiculous amounts of money. 

I've expressed my fears of going to college to people before... but they always just seem to brush it off and make it sound like it's not a huge deal. What nobody seems to realize is that we're talking about the REST OF OUR LIVES. 

I can't stand the thought of not seeing my friends every day. Why do you think I wake up so early every morning and go to school looking like the living dead? It's not because I love learning. I could get home schooled and wake up whenever I damn well pleased if I had any love whatsoever for textbooks and homework. However, being a normal human being, I find juggling 7 classes a day the tiniest bit tedious. 

I go to school to see people. To interact with friends and to laugh and actually have a bit of a good time. I would think it would be perfectly rational to maybe worry about missing that once we've walked across that stage and received that diploma. 

But people are like "You'll make new friends in college. It's not a huge deal." The hell it isn't a huge deal. I have worked very hard to get my friends accustomed to my dry and sarcastic personality. I've emotionally bonded with a very small number of people that I've actually grown to really really like being around. And if you're one of those people you should feel pretty proud, because I typically don't like people. 

Nothing pisses me off more than when I express this specific fear and people that I thought I was really good friends with just blow it off. I mean... hi. You've had a major impact on my life in one way or another and I'm telling you "I don't want to not be around you." You blowing it off tells me either A) "Well I just don't want to be around you" B) "Despite the fact that I seem to have made a significant change in your life, you haven't made one in mine and I'll be just fine without you later on in life" or C) "We were never really good friends to begin with, and you shouldn't have let yourself think we were." 

Talk about a downer. I'll admit that I don't get along with a lot of people because a lot of people are annoying and I have the horrible misfortune of being easily annoyed. However, the people who don't annoy me have a very special place in the spot where my heart should be. Sorry for being the tacky "heart on your sleeve" guy but I just needed to get that off my chest. 

It sucks that I can't seem to express with words what some people mean to me. It's also kind of nice to know that there are people that I am close enough to to be able to be in that situation. 

I'm hoping that this post will open some people's eyes a little more. 

For some of my favorite people, whom I care about more than anything in the world, there's a good chance our time together might be limited, depending on where our separate lives take us. 

I can't make life follow a speed limit. It's going to go by as fast as it chooses to. I hope we can appreciate the time before it passes. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Unwritten Rules of High School You're Still Expected to Know...

Since I started my high school career I've noticed that there are some general rules that, though they aren't documented (at least I don't think they are), you're still expected to know them. Some of said rules are as follows:

1. When walking through the hallway you must walk on the right side. If you're driving down the road do you drive on the left side of the yellow line? No. That would be stupid. Pretend the hallways have a big yellow line going down the middle. Don't be the kid driving towards oncoming traffic. That would make you dumb.

2. When you are walking up a narrow staircase and it's crowded you must walk single file. Otherwise any harm that comes your way you as a result of you potentially falling down the stairs is nobody's fault but your own. What did elementary school teach you about line basics? 

3. When in the parking lot and leaving the school YOU MUST TAKE TURNS. No ifs and or buts about it. Don't be that douche bag that doesn't let the kid who was patiently waiting into the line to leave. You're just asking for your car to be keyed the next day. 

4. If you go to school with the expectation of being treated like a princess you will be treated like a peasant. No exceptions.

5. Athletes have no right to make fun of musicians. When was the last time your sports team took second in a national competition? I didn't think so. 

6. Likewise musicians should not treat athletes as intellectually inferior. 

7. If you see one of your good friends in the hallway YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THEM. They might be having a rough day (commonly known as "Monday") and you could easily help turn their day around. 

8. There is no reason for you to be wearing full camo to school. Contrary to popular belief it just makes you stand out more. All of our walls are bright shiny colors now. 

9. If your favorite bathroom is across the school it is perfectly okay to walk across the school to use that bathroom. You should be able to tinkle in comfort. 

10. There is no excuse to leave dirty clothes in your locker. That is nasty and EVERYONE can smell it. Either take it home and wash it or burn it. Whichever one the situation calls for.

11. That being said, please don't clog the school's oxygen supply with a plethora of fragrances. I like smelling nice smells, but not a bunch at one time. Chill with the perfume, ladies. And guys Axe body doesn't smell good. It just tells everyone else "hey... I'm kind of a douche bag." 


13. If it went to the lost and found you'll probably never see it again. Just sayin'. 

14. Nobody goes to school to learn. You know it and I know it.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Glass Sculpture...

GUYS. I've been going to school this week. I'm so happy.

Yes, I said I went to school and it made me HAPPY. You don't understand what sitting at home alone for a whole week does to your mind. My family's awesome but I mean... come on... I was quarantined for like 168 hours. Nobody else wanted to get sick, and I don't blame them.

My main source of company was my dog... and she farts... a lot. Thank God when one of my friends decided to grace me with their presence. I was going insane, and seeing someone that didn't live in my house brightened my day like you wouldn't believe.

I've been thinking about the topic of trust a lot lately. I've been thinking about whom I trust, whether or not I'm trustworthy, what makes trust, etc.

What I realized is just how valuable trust is.

You see, I view trust as a glass sculpture. It's incredibly complex. At the same time it's beautiful. Creating a beautiful glass sculpture takes a lot of hard work and time (at least I'd guess it was... I haven't had an art class since sixth grade). Glass, however, is fragile. It's breakable. It doesn't matter how long you spent on making that glass sculpture. One mistake and it's gone.


Shattered beyond recognition. Maybe not even by any fault of your own.

I've built up my glass sculptures before to the point where I thought they were almost finished. They were almost perfect.

And then they came crashing down around me. Uh oh.

What happens then? Do you fix it? Do you think "oh well" and move on?

In my life I don't have a lot of fully formed glass sculptures. I can only think of two right off the top of my head. I like to think that this means I'm careful with whom I trust. Trust isn't something that I just willingly hand out to people. That piece of art takes time to be turned into a masterpiece (my "sculpture making" record is like six months... but who's counting?).

I visualize my personal sculptures of trust as being organized in a gallery of sorts. Most of them aren't finished. The one-on-one trust that I form with the people that I've met isn't something that builds overnight.

Completely trusting someone is hard. Former English politician (and I mean very former... the dude died in like 1748 or something) Isaac Watts said that "Learning to trust is one of life's most difficult tasks."

I couldn't agree more. To give someone 100% of your trust is crazy scary... or at least it is for me. It means keeping no secrets. Telling them absolutely no lies. It means letting them get to know you to the point where they can read you like a book.

That's a  pet peeve of mine, now that I think about it. It bugs me when people just assume they know someone. Personally I don't care who claims to be able to read me. Chances are you can't. You don't know everything there is to know about me. I can still lie to you. Chances are I don't trust you entirely yet. That's not a bad thing. It just means you have to be patient. Patience is a virtue... or so I've been told.

Trust is delicate. As delicate as the most pristine glass. I take a lot of pride in the glass sculptures I've completed. I take more pride in the one or two that I've managed to hold on to.

I didn't build them alone, after all. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

In A Perfect World...

I'm sick. I've already seen this episode of Full House. I'm bored.

Thus, this blog post was born. So today during 1st hour, I did some thinking (which is really impressive, by the way, because I was barely coherent, and if you asked me what I did during first hour I couldn't tell you). 

I present to you "In A Perfect World." Written by... well... me. 

In a perfect world, the petty drama of high school wouldn't exist.
Geek and jock would live in perfect harmony. 
The school slut wouldn't be pregnant... again.

School wouldn't totally stress us out. 
"Grades" wouldn't be a word that makes the typical teenager cringe. 
People wouldn't fight. At all.

In a perfect world, your differences wouldn't make you a bad person.
Politics would be a figment of the imagination.
Religion wouldn't cause the fights that it does. 

In a perfect world, we would have no worries.
We wouldn't worry about money.
We wouldn't worry about fitting in.
We wouldn't worry about impressing other people.

In a perfect world we wouldn't be defined by what we have.
We wouldn't freak out over the newest phone.
We wouldn't worry about what other people think of the car we drive...
Or the clothes we wear...
Or who we hang out with.

In a perfect world I wouldn't be sick.
Nobody would be sick. 
Everyone would get along.
Nobody would starve.
There would be no war.
Or crime.

In a perfect world the relationships I was so happy to have...
I would never doubt them.

In a perfect world, the occasional silence wouldn't bother me... rip my confidence to shreds...

In a perfect world my damn shoulder wouldn't hurt (owwwwwwwwwwww). 

In a perfect world Tyler Perry wouldn't be in an action thriller movie. 

But the world isn't perfect.

High school drama exists.
School still manages to stress us out. 
We have plenty to worry about.
What we have still manages to help define who we are. 
People still get sick.
People around the world are starving.
Politics still has an iron grip on the nation.
So called religion still provokes fighting across the globe. 
I still doubt the people I'm blessed to have as friends... sometimes. It's not their fault, though.   
My confidence could use some help at times. 
My shoulder still hurts.
And sadly Tyler Perry IS in an action thriller movie... 

The world is far from perfect. 

Sometimes we just have to make do, though, and look at what makes the world good.

What makes your world good? 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

College Admissions Counselors Will Love Me...

Sweet and simple. This is my college admissions essay.


Honesty is Brutal
                The truth, like being stabbed with a hot rusty knife and falling from great distances, can be quite painful. However, unlike a hot rusty knife, the truth is something that people could potentially want, no matter how brutal it is. The problem is that the truth, like Osama Bin Laden, seems to be very hard to find now a days. It isn’t impossible, though. Just ask Seal Team 6. The problem about honesty comes from both ends, though. People don’t want to hear it and people don’t want to deliver it. Kind of like a new born baby.
                The first problem with obtaining the fantastic treasure that is the truth is that sometimes people don’t really want to hear it. Especially if the truth has the potential to be a little upsetting. Questions like “does this dress make me look fat?” have the potential to result in answers that people probably don’t want to hear. But hey, they asked right? I think a life lesson that society as a whole needs to learn is that it’s better to hear the brutal truth than it is to be lied to. Sure, you could tell the potentially large woman in the potentially too small dress that, no, it doesn’t hug her skin a little too much. Then she’d be really happy… until she got to whatever event she felt the need to dress up for. Then the whispers start, and you know the whispers are never kept a secret. She’ll hear about it, and boy are you in trouble when you get home.
                “Why didn’t you tell me I looked like a stuffed potato in my dress?!?”  Don’t deny it, the little voice in your head that is letting you read this essay read that as a shrill, yet feminine, shriek of rage. If you’re a guy, you might have cringed a little bit too.
                The other problem with being honest is that nobody seems to feel the need to be honest anymore. They don’t realize that if you don’t tell the woman that the dress is not for her body type, you’re going to hear about it later, and it will probably be louder. People need to stop digging themselves a grave and realize that honesty is going to save you from a whole lot of crap later on. You might have to deal with someone being upset with you for a few minutes, but in the end they’ll be glad you were honest. Nothing sucks more than being lied to by someone you thought you could depend on to be honest with you. So next time, before you tell someone a lie, ask yourself: “is the amount of rage I’m going to experience if/when I get caught in this lie worth it?” If the answer is no, tell the truth. If the answer is yes… please reevaluate your life choices.
                The truth has the potential to be slightly painful. Being lied to is significantly more painful. If you lie to people, you are destroying any trust they had in you. If they didn’t trust you to begin with then congratulations, you blew your chances. The compulsive lying that society seems to think is acceptable is going to end badly. If you don’t believe me, I’m sure Hollywood has done tons of movies on the consequences of lying. Go rent one, and then I’ll say “I told you so.” 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Friendships Are Mutual You Derp...

WARNING: This is one of my "I'm slightly pissed off so I figured I'd blog about it to release some frustration" blogs. So if you don't want to read anything like that... you should probably close this tab now.

I have a lot of pet peeves. Calling me by my last name is a pet peeve of mine. Being a hypocrite is a pet peeve of mine. Not following through on promises you make is a pet peeve of mine (it's a policy of mine to automatically be annoyed by any and all politicians).

The one pet peeve of mine I wanted to talk about, though, is people who try and successfully pull off what I like to call "one sided friendships." I think that it's within the realm of possibility that I could write a book on how much one sided friendships make my blood boil. If I could rate it on a scale of 1-10 for how much they make me mad, I'd rate them at a 19398293. True story, bro. If one sided friendships were a person, they'd be the ugly red-headed step child that nobody ever really wanted. If they were a day they'd be Mondays. Specifically Monday mornings. FACT: Mondays are notorious for being the day that heart attacks most frequent. Does that put it into perspective for you? I really hate one sided friendships. Like... if I could turn them into a person I would probably murder that person. But I wouldn't get in trouble. It would be labeled as justifiable homicide.

Maybe I'm just going about life all wrong, but I seem to encounter one sided friendships a lot. Usually I end them before they have the chance to begin. However I'm a firm believer that if you are going to be "friends" with someone, the feeling should be mutual. As in both of you should probably put in an effort to be friends. That's where the term "one sided" comes into account.

I will admit I am probably guilty at being the bad friend in a one sided friendship. A lot. This is me giving you permission to call me out on it. It is absolutely not fair to anyone to be in this situation.

However I also know that I have been and still am the person that is putting the effort into a one sided friendship. It freaking sucks. It's kind of like you'd jump in front of a bullet for that person without hesitation. But if it came down to them jumping in front of a bullet for YOU, you're not entirely sure they'd do it. If you're in that situation...

Signs you're the victim of a one sided friendship:

- You always have to start the conversation.
- If you want to hang out with that person, YOU have to ask THEM to hang out. They never ask you to hang out.
- You always seem to be giving the effort to maintain the relationship. The amount of effort put forth by the other person: goose egg.

If this applies to you, I'm sorry. Together we can find a cure. If you just realized that you're the douche bag in a one sided friendship... freaking fix it or stop leading that person on. Friendships aren't a light switch you can just flip on and off. If you were real friends, you'd go through some tough shit together. Not bail out when it gets tough, and them come waltzing back when the tough part is over.

In regards to the other end of my one sided friendship... 1. I hope you know who you are. 2. I hope you're reading this. 3. If you are reading this, we need to talk. 4. If you're not sure if it's about you, please ask. Because I do want to talk to you about it. Badly. To the point that it kinda hurts.

That's all.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Life: A Race... With Hurdles... Crap...

So I didn't really expect to learn another life lesson while I was on my float trip. So guess what... I learned a life lesson. Crazy how that works, right? Right. You go on a float trip with two of your best friends and you expect to have fun and relax and life is like: "Lol, no, it's time to have another epiphany Tyler." It's a conspiracy. I swear it is. I really did have fun on the float trip, though. And this is me saying "thank you" to my friends who decided to deal with me for a whole weekend in the middle of Nowhereville, Missouri. In an empty raft, on an empty and slow moving river. The best part, though, is when the radio called us beautiful and told us we have that one thing that shot them out of the sky. OH! And if you need a good movie to watch, go watch The Client. It's an older film, but it's SO GOOD. I'm getting off topic, though. I could write a book about how the float trip was pretty much perfect in every way.


Most of you that know me know that I tend to think a lot. A lot of thinking leads to over thinking and in my case over thinking is bad news because 99% of the time those thoughts aren't what I'd like to call "balls of sunshine and happiness." Not even close. Well... bad habits die hard. However, this time my over thinking allowed me to arrive at another life conclusion:

Life is going to throw you a TON of shit. It's like you're running a race at a track meet, and the hurdles are the difficulties life sets in front of you. Now, you may be a great hurdle racing person, but for nonathletic kids like me, the odds are you tried to jump the hurdle and you face planted. Hard.

Now in this race that I like to refer to as "life," everyone face plants at some point. I don't care how good at running or how Kenyan you are. You're gonna face plant. An example of a "life hurdle" is over thinking. For some reason, I was blessed (cursed, but I'm trying to sound grateful) with the horrid fact that I over think EVERYTHING. Boom. Face plant. Times sixty-seven.

The fact that you're going to face plant and trip over a few hurdles is inevitable. How you deal with tripping over that hurdle is key, though. You can sit there and give up. That'd be the easy way out. Whine and complain because the big bad hurdle got in your way. Go run a different race, an easier, one without hurdles. Where's the sense of accomplishment when you finish though? You could also just lay in the middle of the track and become another obstacle others have to watch out for while they run their race. I did that. I hate to admit it, but I did. I still do on occasion.

OR you can get back up and keep running. Find some motivation. Give yourself a reason to keep running that race.

My reason is because every time I fell down, someone cared enough to help me back up. Especially here recently. I know I talk about them a lot, but I have four of the best friends you could ever have. EVER. Since I started my junior year of high school at least one of them has been there to help me up every time I fell down. Every time.

I have the friend who shares my love for music. We can fan boy/girl hard over classical music and Sarah Chang together. Nobody else understands our love for classical string music quite like the other does. But on top of that I can still count on her to have my back and exchange fears of upcoming chair auditions (THOSE ARE THIS MONTH, BY THE WAY), or contest, or other non-music related things. So whoever said a guy and a girl can't be best friends... you are an idiot... and I'm guessing you lived with your mom until you were 30. At least. So HA.

Then there's the friend who I can be totally loud and obnoxious with and we don't judge each other. We usually just try and be louder than the other person. Whether we're quoting Spongebob, Mean Girls, or talking about how we're going to be ready for the Zombie Apocalypse, it's just so easy for us to have fun around each other. We were probably related in a past life. Not siblings... we get along too well to be siblings. Close cousins is probably accurate.

I have to group these last two together. They're like the brothers I always wanted... but it would be unfair to any one set of parents to have the responsibility of watching after all 3 of us for any extended period of time that lasts more than 3 days. "LET'S GO ON A NATURE WALK, GUYS!" We then promptly get chased by what sounded to be like a rather massive and vicious dog. I don't actually know what the dog looked like. It was dark and I was hauling ass in the opposite direction. These two remind me, though, that I don't have to live life being so wound up and stressed all the time. They do a very good job of just mellowing me out. It's like an emotional massage... I just get to relax. And when I do start over thinking stuff they kindly tell me that I'm being an idiot and I need to just stop thinking for a little bit.

See, I never said you had to run your race alone. I definitely would have given up a long time again if these people hadn't cared enough to tell me to get back up and get my butt in gear. They serve as my motivation to keep running. And if I trip over another hurdle, they'll help me up again. Of course, as friends they're entitled to laugh at the fact that I fell down first. That's how it works.

Life, in its own way, is a race. There is no set distance. You just run. Hurdles are a part of the race. I hope you jump over most of them and they turn you into a better person with killer calf muscles. Some of them are going to pop up unexpectedly and knock you down though.  The stadium is jam packed with people. Some of them would love nothing more than to watch you fail. Why would you give them that satisfaction? You will fall down. People will be there to see it. I hope you have the motivation to get back up, though. Keep running, so that way when you do finish the race, you can look back at everything you accomplished and be happy with the race you ran. The only person you're competing with in this race is yourself.

How can you lose?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Chicken, Double Standards, and a Whole Lot of Stupid...

Normally I'd take a stance on this issue that sides with the gay rights activists. I'm firmly against discrimination because of things like sexual orientation, race, religion, gender, etc.

Let me just say, though, that I think the people that are totally flipping shit against Chik Fil A are way out of line. They've created a double standard.

From what I've read and heard, it sounds to me like all the owner of this chicken restaurant did was state that he is against gay marriage (and keep in mind, the dude IS a Christian, so yeah, there's a good chance he's against gay marriage. It's in the Bible... you know that book CHRISTIANS READ).

The gay community and their supporters have marched on the WHITE HOUSE. And now they're angry because people are gathering at a CHICKEN RESTAURANT? What?

No, I don't think Chik Fil A needs to be funding anti-gay movements. Not because it's wrong, but because there are better things that the money could go towards. You could help the poor, which is also Christ like, and actually benefits society.

But the fact that people of the gay community and their supporters are throwing a fit over people gathering at Chik Fil A is absolutely stupid and hypocritical. The right to assembly was guaranteed to everyone. So sit your overly righteous selves down, and get over it. Your rights were never taken away by a chicken sandwich. This whole issue was stupid from the beginning, and it needs to stop escalating. Agree to disagree and move on with your lives.

I think if people were actually being discriminate against, I'd be a little more sympathetic. This isn't discrimination though. I'm sure that a gay person could go into Chik Fil A and still BUY some chicken nuggets. And if Chik Fil A is like "Nah, dude. You can't have any nuggets." Take it up in court, not on my Twitter feed.

This is an incredibly pissed JewFro. Stay in school.


Monday, July 30, 2012

That Llama Was Rad... Those Pews Are For Sale... And if Mother Nature Let's It Rain This Weekend She's Going On My Bitch List...

This summer. I don't even... gah. A warning of how much I was going to learn this summer would have been helpful. I wasn't prepared at all. Which is fine. If you like fighting monkeys with flame throwers.

Okay, I didn't fight monkeys with flamethrowers, but that's definitely what I'm going to tell people I did on the first day of school when teachers are like "what did you do over the summer? Share it with the class. NOW." So much for confidentiality. Jerk. However, I figured I would share with you guys what my summer has consisted of so far. And if you don't want to hear about it... well that's too bad. It's my blog. I'll do what I want.

Let's start with the end of the school year. I took tests. A lot. I flipped my lid because I was stressed. A lot. I skipped classes. Twice. One of the times was for Chipotle. IT WAS JUSTIFIED. The other time was for a nap. Who cares if it was justified? I chilled with some friends and Chinese food and reinforced the theory that I can't throw objects with any degree of accuracy. Unless you count sarcastic insults as objects. Heh. BULLS EYE.

Then I started working. I really ruin the whole stereo typical lifeguard ideal. Muscular I am not. Hawt blond surfer I am not. Chiseled I am not. I sit in a chair for six hours and blow a whistle when little children get the idea that it might be okay to run. NO. Stop running. I love it.

The first huge event I had this summer was StuCo camp. And to all of the poop faces who say that StuCo camp sounds lame... well I'm sorry that you were never held as a child. Don't take it out on us. StuCo camp literally is the most life changing experience I've ever had (sorry mission trip friends. Silver medals are purdy, though). When you get 500 of the most outgoing kids in Missouri and you put them together for a week on a college campus... dear God. I don't know how I lived through that. First you have to learn a crap ton of camp songs. Let me share with you the lyrics of one of those camp songs.

Dough - the stuff they put in twinkies
Ray - the guy who buys me twinkies
Me - The guy Ray buys twinkies for
Fah - a long, long way from twinkies
So - I think I'll have a twinkie
La - La la la la la twinkie
Tea - no thanks I'll have a twinkie
And that brings us back to dough
Twinkie, twinkie, twinkie, DOUGH

What? WHAT?! Who is Ray? And why is he buying me twinkies? I don't remember asking Ray to buy me twinkies. I don't even LIKE twinkies. This song doesn't even make sense! But singing it in an auditorium at the top of your lungs is fun. It's fun because every other person in that auditorium is singing along. Nobody else cares that you look like an idiot. Everyone else looks like an idiot too. StuCo camp is the one place I have been to where our differences meant nothing to anyone else. White, black, skinny, fat, gay, straight, smart, not so smart. It didn't matter who you were. It didn't matter where you came from. The only thing that mattered was that you were there, and your life was going to change with everyone else's. I assure you that I have never been to any other place EVER where you can just be you and not one person judged you. Not one. The acceptance that we showed each other that week was incredible. I wish everyone could go to Fulton. It changes your life.

Another thing I learned about at StuCo camp is the word Gusto. Living with Gusto and how important it is. I'll explain that later though.

P.S. ...

MASC HOW DO YOU FEEL?! I've missed screaming that. So much.



Oh and if you've ever told me that StuCo camp sounds stupid... I've probably visualized pushing you down the stairs... multiple times. Good day.

The other event I got to take part in was a mission trip to DeSoto Missouri. I think there should be a limit on how many life changing weeks you can go through in one summer. I was so overwhelmed. I learned a lot on the mission trip, too. No I'm not going to preach to you about how awesome God is (although He is undeniably awesome). I'm probably not the right person to do that. I'm still new to the whole religion thing, and I'm working those kinks out.

I think the thing I liked the most about DeSoto was the people. I went with a youth group full of people that I love (dear friend, thank you again for forcing me to spend time with your youth group... you were right and I was wrong and this is the ONLY time you'll witness me admitting it. So HA.) so I was already prepared to have a blast. What I didn't expect was for our youth group and the First Baptist Church of DeSoto's youth group to get along so well so fast. Holy friendship Batman!

The most significant lesson I got out of the mission trip to DeSoto was that you only get to live on this earth one time. Just once. Don't waste it.

I don't think they intentionally tried to teach me that, but that's what I got out of it. Now I want to take this lesson, and I want to pair it with the word I mentioned earlier: "Gusto." Personally when I hear the word Gusto I think about just enjoying life, but at the same time giving 110% at everything you do.

Those two weeks combined taught me that, because you only live once on this earth, you need to enjoy your life and give 110% for everything you do. Otherwise you're just wasting your time. It's a simple lesson, but it's a significant one.

My two big trips for this summer have come and gone. They're over. That makes me a little sad. The last thing I'm getting to do is go with two of my best friends on a float trip for a weekend. I'm so ready to just float down a river and relax. It'll be good thinking time. But not my usual kind of thinking. Only happy thoughts. So friends going on the float trip... I'm counting on you to make me think happy thoughts. Not the usual negative bull shit that runs through my head. Please and thank you. Let's float.

This summer has been freaking crazy (in a good way). I'm so glad I got to meet and grow close to so many new and awesome people. I'm even happier that I got to grow even closer to people I already knew. I feel absolutely 100% ready to take on senior year, and I'm kind of excited for school to start.

I hope all of you have also had a satisfying summer.

Don't do drugs.
Don't have sex, or you will get pregnant. And die.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Junior Year: Reflections and Final Thoughts

This post means that my junior year of high school is over... I couldn't be happier. My junior year has had some major highs and some very low lows. In hindsight, I don't think I would have traded this portion of my life for anything in the world. At all. I have grown into a stronger and arguably different person in the past 9 or 10 months. I've had experiences that have been incredibly life changing (both good and bad). I've met people, reconnected with friends, and I've refortified relationships with people that I was already blessed to have been friends with before this year started.

If I've learned anything in my 17 (almost 18, hallelujah) years of walking this small piece of the world, it's that you're never going to just have rainbows and smiles in your life. There were things that happened this year that were not so great. Hard classes, a lot of stress, depressing moments, among other things. However, I'm a firm believer in the theory that the sucky things in your life are there to make you stronger.

I've concluded that there were too many important things that happened this year, so I need to keep record of them, because these are moments I can't afford to forget. So here it goes. My list and analysis of the good and the ugly things that happened during the '11-'12 school year.

PLEASE NOTE: Not one of the things I'm about to discuss are being directed at any single person.

I prefer to start with the ugly things, so I can end on a good note.

The ugly:

-Stress. Stress stress stress stress. I don't think I've ever had so much stress in the course of one school year. Orchestra, youth symphony, grades, student council, people, myself. All of it was a contributing factor. Did I handle it well? You tell me. I don't trust myself to evaluate my stress management skills accurately.

-Silence. This was probably the hardest thing to deal with. More than once I endured (and caused) the silence and creation of barriers between me and other people. It sucked. Luckily I think most of those barriers were torn down. The silence left wounds though, and even though the wounds healed there are scars to serve as a reminder. Those experiences are a part of me now, and I'll carry them with me for the rest of time. Things probably won't ever be the same, but they're better than they were, and I'll take what I can get.

-Depression (not clincial... I don't think). I was depressed this year. A lot. My biggest enemy has always been my own thoughts, and the things I say to myself in my head. For the longest time I've constantly told myself "you're not good enough," "your friends don't really like you," "you'll never be the best," etc. It's a lot to recover from, but a lot of people have helped me do it, and I don't think they realize they did. So to those people: thank you. A lot. Now I know better. I am good enough. If my friends didn't like me, they wouldn't stick around. I'll always do my personal best.

The good (let the record show that I have no idea where to start):

- Youth Symphony. Hot damn. It all started with a 2 day retreat. I became a part of a group of incredibly talented and incredibly fun people. Sundays are so much fun, it's crazy. Whether we're talking about how badass Team Badass (that's the name of our group) is, or stabbing a certain someone's name-tag, we're having fun. It makes putting on that damn tux and playing in those concerts (which are fun, Kauffman Center waddup?) that much better. It's practically perf... ect (see what I did there, Sarah? HA!) Every time I hear the Tanhauser Overture or Scheherazade my breathing stops. I got to be a small part in making those pieces come to life. I'm so blessed.

- Student Council. I can't express how awesome it is to work with a group of leaders like the Liberty High School student council. There isn't a lot of groups that I would willingly get to school at 7 AM on a MONDAY for. We've all worked together to put on Homecoming, Courtwarming, Prom, and countless other events throughout the year. You're all fantastic. SPOILER ALERT: Next year is going to be off the hook, and a lot is changing. It's a good change though, I promise.

- Orchestra. So many good things happened during orchestra this year. I'm going to have to break it down even further.

* The viola section is doooooooooooooope. In a good way. Every piece for every concert the viola section gave 110%. On top of that we all got along really well, which was very very nice. I've never been prouder of a section. We took the Holberg Suite and made it our b****. Measure 21 was no match for us. HA. I'm so pumped for chamber orchestra next year. It's ridiculous.

* The quartet. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh quartet. Who gives a poop what that judge said? We sounded awesome... because we're awesome. We overcame the difficulties of rehearsal C and rehearsal D. Even if we don't do contest next year (sad day), I still think we should do something.

* Contest. After a dismal solo performance at state sophomore year I redeemed myself. I love Suite Hebraique. It's going to be a significant piece for me throughout the rest of my music career, I think. Yes, it's Jewish. Ernest Bloch was a genius. Thanks, Mr. Bloch. You're almost the best. My loyalties still lie with Max Bruch, though. That's next year. I'm excited.

* All-state. If you asked me if I thought I would qualify to All-state orchestra at the beginning of this year I would have laughed in your face and said no way would that happen. As first semester progressed I realized that I really wanted to make it, with a passion that was arguably unhealthy. I'll admit that everything besides viola took a back seat come November. Things like eating and breathing became insignificant. State was my goal. I don't know how I did it, but I did. I qualified to play a piece that I'm convinced was symbolic to a dead Russian composer's acid trip and spend 4 days living off of Burger King. Add that to the fact that I think I had the most obnoxious room mate possible, and I can attest to the fact that it was quite the experience. Would I do it again? Yes, in a heart beat.

- Religion. So for anyone that's known me for a while now probably knows that I claimed to be a hard core atheist. Ha. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Anyone that's bothered to continue to know me  would know that all of that stuff changed recently. I think I've finally discovered God. I'm not entirely sure what that means yet. I know that I'm a lot happier and my life feels a lot more stable. I know that I've been introduced to a youth group that has taught me a lot about what religion and a relationship with God means, as well as indirectly led me to discover a lot about myself on a more personal level. Hopefully I'll learn more over this summer. That's the plan, at least. Wednesdays are one of the days I look forward to the most now.

- New people. I've made quite a few new friends this year. Some have changed my life in a way that I don't think they'll ever quite understand, and I can't even begin to explain it. I owe you people a huge thank you. From the very bottom of that place where my heart is supposed to be, thank you so much.

- People that I already knew. The people that I knew before this year started... I feel like I've gotten a lot closer to some of them. There's not much else to say about it... heh.

- I've changed as a person. I'm not sure how many times I've said it in this post yet, but I'll say it again. This year I have changed a lot, and not just physically (my man boobs are gone, I've been told). I used to be a total people pleaser. Last year I became that sarcastic ass hole that was only concerned about myself. I think I'm starting to find a happy medium. I'm living my life for me still, but I've realized that my happiness comes from the happiness of the people I care about. I'm pretty much killing two birds with one stone at this point in the game. Winning.

Honestly I could sit here and write for days about how my life has changed this year, but I think this post is getting long enough. This year is probably the most influential year I've ever lived through... at least that I remember. As I'm sitting here writing this, I'm listening to the conclusion of the finale of Bruckner's 4th symphony, and I think it sums up what I'm feeling better than words can. So please, feel free to take a listen. It's honestly one of the most beautiful pieces I've ever heard and had the pleasure to play.

Check it:

Like I said, it sums up this whole year in a little under four and a half minutes, and it was written way before this year even happened. It's like magic or something.

I can't help but feel like this year was a major turning point. A door in my life has closed, and another one was just unlocked. I'm absolutely terrified to turn the handle and see what waits on the other side, but my only option is to continue moving forward, because I refuse to be stuck in limbo.

I don't know how to end this, because I think this signals the beginning of something new. I have a lot to learn still, and I don't think I'll ever stop learning.

 Here's hoping that this summer and senior year are everything we want it to be. It's a time for loving deeply, laughing often, conquering challenges, and spending time with the people we want to be around. A time to grow, make mistakes, and learn from them.

A time to have fun.

Our time.

This has been your friendly (usually) neighborhood Jewfro, signing off.

Stay classy.


Monday, April 30, 2012

With Arms Wide Open

It's been my experience that you make two kinds of friends in your life. The first group is simply friends. People you share common interests with. You might hang out occasionally. Play a game together, go to the pool, or whatever it is you and you all do. That's cool. This group, though, isn't a group that you open up to. It's not someone you would share your deepest fears and desires with. For me, anyone I'm friends with automatically gets thrown into this group until we have some magical moment of love and friendship (sorry if that's cliche) that moves them up to the next group...

The next group doesn't really have a word to describe it; at least there isn't one I can think of. They're your friends... but they're also a lot more than that. They're the people you can go to for anything. They're the people you share your thoughts with and they don't tuck tail and run away from you screaming. For me this group is tiny. Minuscule. On the atomic level. It consists of one maybe two people. Now don't get me wrong, I didn't just meet these people and think "hey, I'd like to confide in that person whenever I need to get something off my chest." Nope. Tyler tests the water before he swims. It takes time to connect with someone on that level and build up that kind of trust.

The biggest problem is that sometimes people are afraid to open up to another person because they'll realize that they belong in the "just friends that have things interests and go to the pool together" category. Hey. S*** happens. Either way you win because if you open up to someone you'll realize that either A. they're a person you can confide in or B. you can cross them off the list.


You should have established a level of trust with the people you want to confide in first. Otherwise all of your horrible little secrets aren't exposed to the world. Friends don't make secrets, but real friends break the rules for you. Right? Right.

I think it's important to know that not everyone you confide in is going to open their arms wide and just let you right on in. Been there. Tried that. Doesn't work that way. Sorry. Meeting the people that do though makes it worth it. It offers a lot of support and structure for you mentally and emotionally to know that you have those people you can just fall back on.

Hopefully you already know someone that you can trust entirely. Personally I like to put that trust in someone I'm not related to and is closer to my age. They're a lot less likely to be biased or sugar coat things for you.

Yep. That's the end of my post. Not a dynamic ending, I know, but I got lazy and I really need to go to bed.

Don't do drugs.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Little Things

If you found a quarter every day for a year you would have $91.25. I know that doesn't sound like a lot of money to accumulate over a year, but I think it's safe to say the little things can add up. I don't think people appreciate the little things in life as much as they should, because they're trying to move through their day too fast. A poem that was sent to me via e-mail back in middle school said something like this:

"Have you ever watched kids
on a merry-go-round
Or listened to the rain
slapping on the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly's erratic
Or gazed at the sun into the fading

You better slow down
Don't dance so fast
Time is short
The music won't last

Do you run through each day on the
When you ask "How are you?"
do you hear the reply?

When the day is done,
do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
running through your head?

You'd better slow down
Don't dance so fast
Time is short
The music won't last

Ever told your child,
We'll do it tomorrow
And in your haste, not see his

Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
'Cause you never had time
to call and say "Hi"?

You'd better slow down
Don't dance so fast
Time is short
The music won't last When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting
When you worry and hurry through your
It is like an unopened gift....
Thrown away...

Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over."

The little things in life matter. Personally the little things in life are what get me through some of my craziest days. That punch to the shoulder when I'm on my way to lunch, that ridiculous handshake after 6th hour, the jokes we tell at lunch, the sense of family and belonging at 7 o'clock on Monday mornings and during 2nd hour, all of those things seem small when viewed by a person who wouldn't understand. To me though, these incredibly small gestures are actually quite gargantuan. These things are what I focus on when things happen to start spiraling downwards. Now I want you to try it. Think of the little things that make you happy. The things that most other people would find insignificant. When life seems to start pushing you and telling you to move faster, slow down and start to appreciate the little things. They do count. Observe the world around you and take it in for what it is. I think we'd all find that there's more to appreciate than we first thought. 

Happy Easter! Stay in school.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Life Is Moving Too Fast

First off, let me just say that the Hunger Games was beautiful... and by beautiful I mean incredibly intense and action packed. It was a great movie.

Moving on...

So I was watching Lord of the Rings today and if you haven't seen the ending allow me to spoil it for you. THEY DESTROY THE RING AND ALL OF THE PEOPLE FROM THE ORIGINAL FELLOWSHIP BESIDES BOROMIR LIVE... well I mean... Gandalf died but his best friend GOD was like "sure bro, you can come back to life and keep doing what you do." So he did. I'm getting off track. At the end of the third and final movie (I can't say I ever finished the third book...) Frodo leaves Middle Earth with Gandalf, Bilbo, and two elves whose names really aren't important mostly because I can't spell them. So Frodo and his friends are just sitting there and they're crying and stuff because Frodo is leaving. Heart breaking.

While I was watching this incredibly touching scene I was thinking about how here pretty soon we're all going to graduate and I got this sinking feeling that there are people I'm either A) never going to see again or B) see very infrequently. Talk about depressing, because there's some really cool people that I get to spend time with every Monday through Friday from 7:45 until 2:50.

What I'm trying to say is I think my life is moving way too fast, and I would greatly appreciate it if it could just slow down a tiny little bit. It seems like just a little while ago I was some oblivious 6th grader who had absolutely no responsibility and not a care in the world and then all of a sudden BOOM. I have my driving permit and I'm learning how to drive. BOOM I have my licence and I'm driving alone. BOOM I got a job over the summer. BOOM the stress of Junior year just punched me in the face... metaphorically. Now it's March and after this summer I'm going to be a Senior and a legal adult. Then just one short year after that I'm going to be in some college located God-knows-where studying God-knows-what and I'm not sure how I feel about it. What if I go to college and my room mate is some stranger who eats bugs or enjoys Justin Bieber or something? What if I only get to see my best friends on some holidays and the occasional weekend because I had to come home and beg my parents for money because I'm a poor college student? What if I hate college?

What I'm trying to say is, everything is changing so fast. My life is flying by and I'm barely keeping up and I am scared. I am so scared it's ridiculous. I only have two summers and a school year to try and squeeze in as much bliss and memorable moments as possible before I'm thrust into the world of adult-hood.

So for everyone that is saying they can't wait to graduate from high school and get out of this town, think about the things here you love and ask yourself if you're ready to leave them behind. I'm not.

I'm not sure how to conclude this post because the events I'm afraid of haven't even started yet, and maybe I have nothing to be afraid of, but thinking about the future and all of the possibilities is incredibly overwhelming.

Here's hoping.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A 2001 Piece Puzzle

I am convinced that one of the nicest things you can do for a person is make them feel like they belong. From experience I have learned that testing the water around a new group of people can be truly frightening because you don't know what they're going to be like and you don't know what they expect you to be like. I experienced this situation this past fall. A very good friend of mine invited me to go with his church to an event called Fall Brawl. First off, if you don't know me, you should know that throughout the majority of my seventeen-and-a-half years I have not been a religious person. At all. So when my friend asked me to hang out with his church, the sirens in my head started screaming: "WARNING, WARNING, DO NOT ENGAGE. I REPEAT, DO NOT ENGAGE." It's not because I dislike religion, actually I feel quite the opposite. I was afraid because I thought that the differences between me and this group of people would make things awkward at best.

I was wrong.

This group of kids may be one of the nicest, funniest, and most entertaining groups of people I've ever had the pleasure of getting to be around, and I'm glad to say that I still do get to spend time with them almost every week. Why? Because they made me feel like I belong. They didn't treat me like some friend of a friend that they had to tolerate. They welcomed me into the group and treated me like I felt like I belonged.

The point I'm trying to make here is that everyone should be able to feel like they belong to a group because nobody deserves to be alone. Feeling lonely sucks. Feeling like nobody cares also sucks. Feeling both at the same time royally sucks.

I want you to imagine a puzzle (you're about to see where I got this oh-so-clever title). Let's say it has... oh... I don't know... 2000 pieces (I like a challenge). But oh crap! The manufacturer made a mistake and gave you 2001 pieces. All 2001 pieces still fit together to make the same picture, though. Now are you going to A) do what the box says and only use 2000 pieces or are you going to B) make the extra effort to find the place where that 2001st piece fits? If you answered A then that's very unfortunate. You are such a conformist. Go hang your head in shame. If you answered B, however, congratulations. You are a gracious human being and if I had a gold star I would totally give it to you, because being piece number 2001 is not fun if it's only supposed to be a 2000 piece puzzle. But if the other 2000 pieces are nice and make you feel included it's one of the best feelings you could possibly imagine.

Moral of the story: Make the new kid feel welcome. Being around a group of total strangers is weird. Really weird. Weirder than Lindsey Lohan weird. Going that extra mile to include the new kid can really make their day brighter.

And to anyone from that church I mentioned earlier (you know who you are): Thank you so much. You have no idea what it means to me.

This has been your favorite non-Jew with a Jewfro (I like to think so, anyway), signing off.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

It's My Opinion... I Don't Care If You Like It

An honest person is a person who tells the truth consistently. Here's the problem: as a society we like to block ourselves off from things that we don't want to hear. When someone asks for an opinion (such as, "what do you think of Rick Santorum?" or "what do you think of [insert name here]" or more recently "didn't Lindsey Lohan have a s*** show of a performance on SNL?" ... ok that last one isn't up for debate) and we don't like what they tell us, we get a lil' snippy... and by a "lil' snippy" I mean a crap ton o' snippy. We call that person "mean" or "rude" or (insert another name to call someone that didn't tell you the "right" opinion here). WHY? In today's society our opinions define us. Now you might be thinking "Tyler... you couldn't have made a dumber statement." Hear me out.

Why should our opinions take a toll on what people think of us? I'm not talking about stupid stuff like your favorite color or things as extreme as... I don't know... the opinion that kicking a small puppy should be socially acceptable. There are standards. I mean obviously navy blue is the best color there is... and of course it's socially acceptable to kick a small puppy... totally kidding... about the kicking puppies part. All joking aside though, I want you to really think about how much our opinions define us in this society. Things like religion and politics are creating a huge divider between people. It is quite honestly one of the most disgusting things I think I've ever had to witness. Personally I don't care what you believe. You can be a liberal, conservative, libertarian, communist, anarchist, whatever. I don't care. You can choose to believe in Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Atheism, or Jedism (maybe). I don't care. As long as you are a good open minded person who doesn't try to forcefully shove your political, religious, or other beliefs onto others we'll probably get along... unless you can't take a joke. Then we might have a tiny bit of a road block.

Now I know that me saying not to shove your beliefs onto other people may have shocked some of you... calm your cardiac related issues and keep reading. I am a firm believer of there being both a good way and a bad way to tell the world about your beliefs. The bad way would consist of you being a very stubborn person and flat out telling people their beliefs are wrong. Don't do that, I will personally beg of you not to do that to people because it makes me sick. The right way to tell someone about your beliefs is just to inform them. Don't tell them what they believe is right or wrong, try and reach a level of understanding with each other. When it comes to talking about beliefs I've found that it makes it a whole lot easier if you try and learn as much as you try and teach. I know this is possible because I am blessed enough to get to hang out with a lot of really cool people who have this concept down pat.

I won't sit here and pretend to understand why having an opinion is such a big deal in this generation. However I think that making an issue out of differing opinions is twelve different shades of stupid. Thinking that you can make anyone and everyone believe exactly what you believe (or even come remotely close to it) is a fool's hope and a waste of time. Sometimes you just have to agree to disagree and move on.

Thanks for reading, I hope it wasn't a ton of senseless rambling.

Stay classy,

Friday, February 17, 2012

I am my own worst enemy...

Do you remember an adult figure in your life ever teaching you how to deal with a bully? They would always say "the best way to get rid of a bully is to ignore them." I think that is the biggest pile of crap someone has ever tried to feed me.

Before you go and get all mad about how I just took a shot at one of the biggest pieces of advice we were given as kids, please allow me to explain myself. Yes, the occasional verbal insult from an insignificant person is something we can easily ignore and then continue on with our lives. Minimal to moderate verbal bullying is something that we can brush off. This is high school, it's something we've taught ourselves (I hope) to put up with. What about extreme verbal bullying? People say that if you ignore a bully eventually they'll get tired of teasing you and move on. Now, maybe I just have bad luck, but I've rarely experienced a situation where this is true. To me (because I am a very prideful person), extreme verbal bullying is worse than even physical bullying. I've found that words can hurt far more than fists (I'm ashamed to admit that I have used this to my advantage) in some cases, and I think I can easily say that it sucks. Being degraded by another human being really, truly, and forever will suck. Does this make me a hypocrite? Probably, and I wish people would call me out when I say things that are truly mean, because I'm too narrow minded to realize when I say it.

Better question: What if the person bullying you is you? Has a teacher or parent taught you how to deal with the bullying that comes from yourself? Can you truly ever ignore yourself? I know I can't. I frequently tell myself things like "you're annoying," "your friends are only hanging out with you to be nice," or, my favorite (sarcasm) "your friends are getting sick of you because you're so annoying, and only stay around you because they're too nice to ditch you." When it comes to me, I am by far my own biggest bully. I constantly put myself down and tell myself I'm not good enough for something. If you haven't experienced that... let me tell you, fighting against yourself... now THAT sucks. It hurts more than any punch or hurtful word you could receive from another person. If you have experienced this before, please know that you are by no means alone. One thing I've found that helps me stay positive is to make a list of ten things I genuinely like about myself. The list can consist of anything. My love for music, my awesome friends, and my can't give up attitude are all on my list. Keep this list in a place where it's easy to access and you'll see it every day (in your wallet, on your mirror, etc.). Those ten little items can make it so much easier for you to tell the bully inside of you to "shut the f*** up."

Monday, January 2, 2012

Things are going to change

Cheers to the new year everyone! I hope 2012 is treating you well so far, and I hope you're sticking to your resolutions if you've made them. That's actually what I decided to write about. With every new year people seem to make these "resolutions" about something in their life they're going to change, however people seldom stick to their resolution.

According to an article from Time Magazine titled "Top 10 Commonly Broken New Year's Resolutions" (I'll post the link at the end of the post, if you're interested in reading more) the top ten broken resolutions are:

1. Lose weight and get fit
2. Quit smoking
3. Learn something new (like a language... not just any random little thing)
4. Eat healthier and diet
5. Get out of debt and save money
6. Spend more time with family
7. Travel to new places
8. Be less stressed
9. Volunteer
10. Drink less

Now, because I am undoubtedly mainstream, I too have told myself that there are things that I will change about my life, some of them are even on the list of top ten broken resolutions. I hope beyond hope that I won't break these resolutions, because they are things that I think will allow me to live a happier life and benefits others. Fingers crossed.

Things I really want to accomplish in 2012 are as follows:

- I want to work on being a nicer person. I will be the first to admit that I am a sarcastic jerk 95% of the time. The other 5% of the time I'm sleeping. I really want to work on that. More for the benefit of others than for my own benefit (that's a nice thing to do, right?). Maybe smiling more will help.

- When it comes to food I want to eat healthier. While I'm not necessarily trying to "shed a few pounds" I've finally realized (after several bags of chips and tons of candy) that this is my body and I need to take care of it. Besides... carrots don't taste that bad.

- I need to start exercising. While I don't aspire to be a body builder (you can laugh at that, I did too) I would like to not look like a walrus this summer. No pain no gain, right?

- I will start posting on this blog more. I made the dang thing, I need to use it. So if you've been following along (bless you), here's me saying that hopefully I will start writing more.

- I'm going to start living my life for me. Pretty self explanatory. I'm no longer going to kiss the butt's of other people.

- I want to do more volunteer work to help those less fortunate than myself. I got to go package food to help feed starving kids with the most incredible youth group... ever. The feeling of knowing that you're going to make a positive difference in someone else's life is the most wonderful feeling ever. Volunteer work is such a pleasing thing, and I want to do more of it.

- I solemnly swear that I will spend more time with my friends (sorry, friends), because they're the coolest people in the world. Period.

- I'll start taking school seriously. I don't think anybody whines and complains about high school more than I do. I do admit that it's important, and I'm going to start working harder on getting better grades.

-I'm going to watch my language. Cursing like a sailor probably never helped me get anywhere in life (please not that there will be the occasional slip if, say, I stub my toe, cut myself, or get jumped by a gang of thugs).

Yes, I do realize that I just sat here and listed off things that I "promise" to do. If you're reading this, please feel free to remind me to do any of these things as soon as I neglect them. That would be super helpful. For example, whenever I cuss, please feel free to call me out on it and tell me to stop. Sometimes hearing something from another person instead of that little voice inside of your head can be good for you.

Well, here's to 2012. I hope this year is fantastic for all of you! Stay chill.