Local Resident Identifies as Adverb [SATIRE]

BISBEE, AZ -Local resident Arno Yesman made news when he came out as a porgskal and openly declared he now identifies as his own adverb and any other parts of speech that would not him put into a grammatical box or allow for any sort of conversation without him feeling personally offended.

“Claiming your own pronoun has gone too mainstream; I’m trying to stay ahead of the curve by identifying as my own adverb. Depending on my mood and the day of the week, I could even identify as my own preposition. People shouldn’t assume my part of speech and try to start conversations with me.”

When asked for clarification by a reporter, Arno explained, “Today I was feeling very snoghspy, but sometimes I woppsikally jazz it up. Wait, is today Bjoursdey? The sknoooban festival starts soon.”

When told he just said a lot of nothing, Arno called for cancelling the reporter for being close minded.

Transgenderism Is Linguistic Bait-and-Switch

Language is the basis of communication, for without language, there is no communication. However, whenever language is coopted or perverted, miscommunication and chaos are inevitable. These are not mere pitfalls on the evolution of language; they are the destination. When people can’t agree on what something means or find common understanding of terms, communication becomes difficult, if not impossible. This is even more so when simple words are deemed undefinable. If you say “cat” and I picture a squirrel, dog, or pylon, we’re not referring to the same thing. If I keep pressing that we are referring to the same thing, dialogue becomes problematic.

We’re living in an age of subjective science based on feelings, rather than objective observances. If I were to say gravity doesn’t exist because I don’t feel it, one need merely point out objects falling to show gravity does exist as something specific. But if I claim falling is when things go up, one can either accept my truth that falling is when things go up or counter this by dropping an object and possibly be labeled a “graviphobe” for disagreeing. Congratulations, gravity now has two opposite meanings. Add more definitions or non-definitions to “gravity” and multiply that by a big enough magnitude, conversations about gravity require excess steps of clarification that might not even clarify.

People can identify by identifying.

At some point in the recent past, people decided certain basic biological words don’t really mean what anyone thinks they mean or have no meaning at all. Now others just have to accept non-definable terms as reality without question or risk being labeled a “phobe” or worse for objecting to being forced to accept this distortion of language as truth. (Incidentally, “phobe/phobia” used to mean fear of something specific; now people use it when someone else disagrees, while elevating that disagreement to fear.)

These days people can identify as the opposite sex merely by identifying as it. People need not describe what it actually means to FEEL like a man or woman or why they feel that way, but simply to stand on it as such and force others to accept it as reality. What does being a man feel like? What does being a woman feel like? What does feeling feel like? These are not questions explored, but declarations shouted from the Twitter tops that “hey, I’m a woman now because I said so!” Asking what the word “woman” means is often met with “someone who identifies as a woman.” I am a circle; therefore, I am a circle. One can either accept this as truth or counter with the biological understanding of woman and be labeled a “transphobe” for disagreeing with this assessment. Congratulations, “woman” is now an empty, meaningless shell of a term.

One of the effects of emptying these terms of definable qualities or features is that if “man” and “woman” are amorphous terms, then claiming to change from one to the other doesn’t mean anything. Conversely, if the terms have set distinctives, changing is impossible. Either way, it’s a self-defeating premise. The irony is that this supposed change affirms that men and women are different; it just doesn’t know how.

Unrelated but related

Supposedly, gender is unrelated to sex; some people will tell you gender changes, but sex does not. However, those who claim this view either fail to realize or fail to acknowledge the immutable gives way to the mutable. In order to accommodate gender change, biological physiology gets modified, terminology gets unnecessarily wordy, and/or clarity gets murky. Instead of using biology as the de facto understanding of what a man or woman is and helping people come to terms, word usage is manipulated to enhance the confusion. Biological woman is relegated to such terms as “vagina owner*,” “person who can get pregnant and bleed” (excessive wordiness good for a 2,000-word paper), or “gestational parent.” While these words are technically-correct descriptors of women, they sound more clinical than personal and come across as condescending. However, the implication in their usage by people who do so without a hint of irony is that men can fall under the umbrella of womanhood just by looking like a woman, while overlooking the fact that man cannot do these things anyway. Also, for things that aren’t related, descriptors of sexual function are still used to make distinctions.

https://genderinstitute.anu.edu.au/sites/default/files/docs/2021_docs/Gender_inclusive_handbook.pdf

For something that’s unrelated to sex, transgenderism is also couched in the numerous acronymic letters, the first three (at least) dealing with sexuality, not genderality. We’re told there’s a spectrum of genders, but if there aren’t only two genders, the first 3 letters are rendered meaningless or broadened into nonsense. Transgenderism undermines and rejects homosexuality as a concept; otherwise, it requires an inconsistent logic to maintain itself. Additionally, it implies people are really attracted to shallow abstract ideas represented by people, rather than people themselves. If someone is attracted to a specific sex and not simply someone else claiming to be a specific gender, that person becomes the bad guy in a lot of people’s minds. One doesn’t have to look very far online to see people get offended because others aren’t interested in entertaining this distortion of terminology or biology.

Switch-and-bait

If sex and gender use the same word but one has to distort the other into confusion to validate itself, this reveals the reality. In essence, this view that men and women don’t have set distinctives, one can become the other simply by declaring it so, and anyone who disagrees is reduced to a negative label is psychology gaslighting biology, telling it to take a back seat.

Men and women are different biologically, but transgenderism sees people as nothing more than interchangeable parts and empty terminology. Being biologically different doesn’t mean men and women shouldn’t be viewed as equals. Women have fought hard just to be recognized and taken seriously irrespective of their biological designs. If a woman can be easily replaced with a biological man who claims to be a woman, it’s hailed as a breakthrough in the name of progress by many; however, it demonstrates men and women are not truly viewed as equals. Why have someone who could get pregnant and might be away from a job for months when you can get someone without the capacity to become pregnant because they look superficially the same. Why pick for a sport someone who’s not as physically strong/fast as someone whose biological structure gives a physical advantage, if he just claims to be a she. Conversely, if a woman is only respected because people thinks she’s a man, she’s not actually respected. Just look up female authors who used male pseudonyms to have their work recognized.

This substituting one sex for another and calling it legit is nothing more than linguistic bait-and-switch. In any other line of thinking, bait-and-switch is frowned upon; if someone tries to sell you one thing that is really another, they are (or should be) called out on it. This is not the case with transgenderism. People are expected to bend over backwards trying to accommodate something that isn’t definable and even warps language into incoherency and apparent contradictions.

This is where we find ourselves today. Confusion and chaos. And people are just supposed to accept it without question. Those who oppose this line of thinking or point out its flaws are labeled as “phobes” in order to shut down opposition.

Image result for joseph goebbels the lie

*Body part ownership makes them sound detachable and/or transferrable like pieces of property. I don’t own my body parts; they’re part of my whole.

Addendum: transgenderism breaks gender stereotypes by reinforcing gender stereotypes. Rather than saying boys can play with dolls, people have decided dolls are for girls. If a boy plays with a doll, people claim he’s a girl, which reinforces only girls play with dolls.

Ode to Mike

(Originally published June 2, 2010)

Has it been so long?
A year has past,
Since the time
We saw you last

But you would not want
For us to be sad,
But rejoice in the Lord
And to always be glad.

Quite a character,
You’re one-of-a-kind.
No one else like you–
Oh, not that I mind.

You were warm and friendly
And always around.
Right where we left you,
You’d likely be found

You were hard at work
There was just no slowing.
You didn’t seem to stop.
What kept you going?

Though some look at you,
Might see half a man
Bad leg, sight, and sound
And lacking in hands.

While we take for granted
All that we’ve been given,
You didn’t complain.
You were too busy livin’.

You’d give God the glory
And all of the praise.
Though hand incomplete,
You’d still have it raised.

So with a fond farewell,
I bid you adieu
Until up in Heaven,
When I’ll walk with you.

Michael “Video Mike” Pyzdrowski
R.I.P.
June 2, 2009

For My Father-In-Law (On His Birthday)

I mentioned previously that my father-in-law passed away earlier this year. Today (Dec 7) marks what would’ve been his 70th birthday. In honor of his birthday, I wanted to share the full text of what I wrote for his memorial service.


I’m not holding onto You
But You’re holding onto me

These lyrics from a Casting Crowns song that remind me God is holding on and not the other way around have been a comfort during this sad and difficult time; the day I learned of Jim’s passing, those words kept playing in my mind while I was driving. I don’t cry very often, and I like to think the light rain falling that day was for the tears I felt unable to shed, but listening to that song and being reminded that God is holding on allowed me an opportunity to cry for Jim’s passing. 

The day I heard he passed, I knew I wanted to say something at his service, but I didn’t know what at the time. I only knew him for not quite three years before he passed, so I don’t have any deep, meaningful, or funny stories to share about his life. In the time I’ve known him, his health limited his travel ability, so almost the only time I spent with him was when Jaimee and I would visit Denton. The most meaningful one-on-one conversation we had was the day I talked with him about marrying Jaimee when I asked him about his life, but there were things I still didn’t know about him until Jaimee and I were sorting through photos for his slideshow.

Jim, or as I had started calling him “J-Pop” in recent months, was by no means perfect; he was a man rough around the edges. He was stubborn with a sarcastic sense of humor; we connected over that shared style of humor and a love for his daughter Jaimee. There’s a special place in his heart for Jaimee, being his only daughter, his only child. Both are strong-willed people, and they had their disagreements, but at the end of the day they loved each other. I know he wanted to see her happy and was glad he lived long enough to walk her down the aisle, even if it was only part of the way. 

Before we met, Jaimee was his primary caretaker, so he came to depend on her for a lot. I never said it before he passed, but there were times I felt as if I took her away from him, but sometimes change motivates growth. When Jaimee and I first got engaged and she was getting ready to move out, Jim went into denial that his little girl was growing up, but he eventually came to terms with what was happening. Once he accepted she was moving out and getting married, he started to do more things for himself for a while, which improved his demeanor, but at some point his health began to decline again. Because he had health problems, lived alone, and was a bit of a distance from us, we wanted him to think about living in a retirement community, but being the stubborn man he was, he didn’t want to leave his house or his cats. He loved those cats and took care of them, often at the expense of himself and his health. I’m not sure if he loved Jaimee or his cats more, but he didn’t have pictures of his cats around his house or in his wallet.

Since he didn’t travel much, there wasn’t a lot we could do together, but after Jaimee and I got married, we would go to Denton to visit every few Saturdays, spend some time together, and maybe play Spades or Farkle with Jim and Janet. You need four people for Spades, and Janet wasn’t very good when we started playing, but Jim taught her to become a much better Spades player and a more-formidable opponent. Even though we didn’t do much together as a family, those visits would brighten his day.

We also liked to joke around together. While playing games, he would jokingly tell me to watch out for Jaimee as if she was trouble. As we would get ready to leave for the day, he would jokingly tell her to take care of me like I was helpless, and we would tell him we take care of each other. We shared other jokes and sarcastic quips together over the last couple years. Jim may be gone, but his sense of humor lives on through Jaimee.

God’s timing is never our timing. Jim was months away from turning 70, a milestone we would’ve liked to celebrate together. He may not have lived as long as we would’ve liked, but he lived longer than even he expected and got to see his only daughter get married. We wish Jim could’ve lived a few more years, maybe one day get to see and hold a grandchild, but God had other plans. We may never know why Jim was taken from us when he was, but I am reminded that God is still here; he is in control and has His reasons, and He is still holding onto us, and this has brought me comfort as we mourn Jim’s passing. We’re told in 1 Thessalonians – which the pastor read for us– that we who are in Christ don’t mourn as those who have no hope; hope in this case is not a wishful longing, but an assurance of what is to come, that we will one day see our loved ones who have died in Christ; though we grieve now for Jim’s passing, one day we will see him again.

We may never plan for the day we lose a loved one, but that day still comes.
We may never expect to say that last goodbye, but those words will be spoken.
We think we’ll see someone tomorrow, but sometimes tomorrow comes alone.

If you love someone, don’t neglect to tell them so.
Always say goodbye when you leave the ones you know.
There will be a time you can’t, for tomorrow will one day come alone.

Jim, we love you and miss you. For now we say goodbye, but someday we’ll see you again.

jim

Sometimes Tomorrow Comes Alone

(In honor of my father-in-law, who passed away in early June)

We may never plan for the day we lose a loved one, but that day still comes.
We may never expect to say that last goodbye, but those words will be spoken.
We think we’ll see someone tomorrow, but sometimes tomorrow comes alone.

If you love someone, don’t neglect to tell them so.
Always say goodbye when you leave the ones you know.
There will be a time you can’t, for tomorrow will one day come alone.

Ten Years Later…

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It’s been about ten years since my life first took a change for the better. I didn’t know how much could change in that length of time, but looking back I can see how different my life looks compared to what it was.

The short version is my life was going nowhere. I was stuck in empty routines and living with untapped potential. I was somewhat self-enclosed and shut off from people around me. In some ways, I struggled with depression and didn’t have much sense of self-worth. I felt as if no one knew the real me or cared. I had what I call “hello, goodbye” relationships.1

I grew up in the church, so I know what it’s like to live in a “church world” bubble and not see or understand what’s going on in the rest of the world, to not care about what’s going on around me.  It eventually became a place I went to, something I did, a mindless routine in a week of nothing. For a little over 24 years, I stayed at the church I was basically born into and the place I got saved, but I finally decided to leave a place I had grown up and venture somewhere else. By the time I left, there was a generational gap between most of the people and myself; my brother and I were the “young adults.” It’s hard to feel a sense of belonging if there’s no one to relate.2

Prior to leaving I had felt little real world connection and instead retreated into an online world where I had connected with people I didn’t know in person. Ironically, I developed some lacking social skills by interacting with people online and being part of their virtual community. I was (still am sorta) part of a LEGO forum that allowed me to express myself and connect with others in ways I hadn’t previously learned.3 I’ve since had a chance to meet some of these people and develop some friendships with them.

Before stepping out of what we knew, my brother and I were invited to visit a few church locations, one of which we chose to become members. There were plenty of people around our age, and there was some activity for such people, the first such event for us being June 17, 2009. So we settled in, though I stayed for about four years. In that time, I began to cultivate friendships with people my own age and more or less left the online forum for real world relationships. (This was also when Facebook and social media started taking off.) While I was part of this community, I did have a chance to travel to Hungary a couple of times and teach English at a summer camp, which was something I’d never done before. (It was also my first flight… two birds, one stone.) Eventually the number of young adults began to decline– along with other changes, and I again started to feel as if something was missing.

Before leaving there, I had been part of Bible study comprised of people I didn’t at first know but grew close with. It was led by a couple who became like mentors to me; they taught me things about myself and helped me grow into adulthood like no one else before. Under their guidance, I got my first “real” job, bought my first car, and moved out of my parents’ house. But then came the time the couple moved to California. It was bittersweet. We were sad to see them go but happy for their new beginning. Also, we had become somewhat insulated within our group, and after they left, the group kind of fell apart for various reasons (not necessarily all bad ones). We each branched out in different directions; some of us still keep in touch, but for the most part, people have since gone different ways.

That job I mentioned was not the greatest thing since sliced bread, but it did allow me an opportunity to grow as a person and develop some work skills, but it was a night job, so it also severely isolated me more than I had been previously and made me really feel the need for other people in my life. For five-and-a-half years, I worked nights and didn’t have much opportunity for social interaction outside of work. Since I worked nights, I was perpetually tired and miserable; I learned how much I had taken sleeping at nights for granted.4

Once the Bible study group dissolved, I felt more and more alone. I was living by myself and still working nights, and there weren’t a lot of people my age around me. Several months later, I wound up at a new church community with people around my own age, which was cathartic and helpful. For a time in my life, being around older people made me feel sad and somewhat depressed. But I was able to overcome this difficulty by building that missing connection of peers. I eventually found myself having no problems with being around people of any age group. However, due to my work schedule and living arrangement, there was so much I couldn’t be a part of, so I still had very little social life.

As I mentioned, I lived by myself part of the time I working nights. I managed for two-and-a-half years, and I learned more about myself. Unfortunately, due to circumstances, I opted to find a roommate and ended up in house with some other guys. Within a year of moving, my life took a few more major turns, and this was again for the better. I managed to find a job that is better in so many ways. After several years of working nights, I was finally able to work days and soon began to feel alive again.5 Soon after starting my job, I met the woman I would marry within a year’s time. : Since I began my daytime job, I was able to get better transportation (and I drove happily ever after, right?).

Aside from connecting with other people, being part of my current church community has allowed me creative opportunities like never before. During the time I felt little connection to the real world, I would write for myself in a journal because it seemed no one paid attention. Then I started relating to people online and in the real world, then began writing for audiences beyond myself. Eventually I figured out to some degree who I was as an artist and learned to write and share more openly. I’ve had some public performances, which I’ve enjoyed.

As I look back and reminisce, I see how my life is different. During the past 10 years, my life has had several changes, major and minor. There’s a lot more I could write about: of celebration and loss, of new places and experiences, of things learned, and the list goes on. But there are decisions I regret and mental reminders I’d rather forget, things I wish could’ve gone differently, but that is the past and cannot be change. 

I may not have always seen God’s hand during my circumstances or understood why at the time, but I know He has brought me through for a purpose, even if I don’t know what. I may not have always focused on God during these last ten years of transition, but I know He’s watching over me. All I have to do is look back and see how my life has changed from someone who basically wanted to be left alone to someone who is learning to love other people and enjoys being alive.

Who knows what the next ten years will bring.


The kind in which people ask how you’re doing, and you say “fine/okay” and they say “good” and move on.

There was one older guy I talked with about stuff, but he had passed away shortly before I left.

The Internet is such a wonderfully-interesting tool.

I have a perpetual reminder of my job via tinnitus in my left ear.

I still have issues with sleeping at times, but for the most part I feel more energized than I once did.

Captain Marvel Reminds Us the MCU Is Still a Thing

Captain Marvel is an okay entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It does a good job of reminding us it is part of this universe more than it tells us about Captain Marvel.

BEWARE! SPOILERS!

Before the movie released, people were complaining about the actress. The problem with Captain Marvel has less to do with acting/actress and more to do with overall story/plot. It feels like an obvious piece of the larger MCU more than a standalone movie. It is a bridge between Avengers 3 & 4, the character having been “introduced” in 3’s credit scene, and it contains more than enough components that are best understood if you’ve seen enough of the 20 other films. (I haven’t seen them all.) While it’s building this connection to the rest of the universe, not a whole lot more is known about the character by the end of the movie than at/near the beginning.

I get these movies are all part of one universe, but a self-contained story on its characters is doable (see: Black Panther, Ant-Man, or Guardians of the Galaxy), especially if it’s an origin story. However, Captain Marvel doesn’t spend enough time explaining/developing certain plot points without moving on, but it repeatedly lets the viewer know it’s part of the MCU, serving as a reminder all these movies are somehow connected. This includes, but is not limited to, having a major character from a “future” movie playing a minimal roles in this movie (Ronan) and revealing Cap’s powers originated from the Tesseract (because why not). We even see how Nick Fury loses his eye (“Cat Scratch Fever”? Seriously? Why?) and comes up with the name for Avengers Initiative… bits that are minor to the movie and maybe minor to the overall MCU. Seriously, if we never found out exactly how he lost/injured his eye or decided on Avengers Initiative, there would be no impact on the bigger picture. Maybe the only thing that had significance was how he got the pager, since it was the key to the lock.

On the other hand, there are certain elements of this movie left unexplained or that felt unnecessary. How/why did Carol lose her memory after she gets her powers? (Other than we get to learn as she learns through chopped memory sequences, making her origin story Bourne Identity meets Luke Cage)*. Why did Dr. Lawson/Mar-Vell change sides? The first half of the movie spends so much time focused on finding her to advance the plot, but then we learn she’s not really fighting with the Kree. Or is she? Was she fighting against her people the whole time? Did she learn something that made her switch sides?  All we get is “here’s a disc so you’ll stop attacking us” and blind acceptance to what the Skrull leader says. This could’ve been resolved by the hidden Skrull revealing in a few lines why she hadn’t been working with the Kree, but by then it’s forgotten.

I mentioned the cat, which was basically a plot device, showing up inexplicably in multiple scenes until the one scene it’s revealed the cat is not really a cat. Instead it’s really a tentacle-mouthed creature that can eat the Tesseract, the MCU MacGuffin that can’t be touched by human hands. (For the uninitiated like me, Google explains this “cat” is something called a flerken… I think it’s Kree/Skrull for “plot device.”) I suspected early on it wasn’t just a cat, since it did keep showing up, so the reveal was bizarre but anticlimactic, as if they just needed to wrap up the story and relocate the Tesseract for “future” MCU purposes. (End credit scene shows it coughed up, conveniently tying up another loose end.) Then the cat suddenly scratches Nick Fury, just so we can have an answer to how he got his eye messed up… was it surgically removed after this? It was just a scratch, right? Not a clawing out? Why did it even turn on him?

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t hate this movie, but there was nothing that particularly stood out to make this movie its own story apart from being a part of the MCU. Since it is less of a straightforward narrative and more of choppily digging through memories (Carol’s and the MCU’s), it’s difficult to get a sense of who the character is or why I should care. As someone who knows little about the character, I would’ve liked to learn something about her that makes her who she is and not just another cog in the machine. It seemed more of a CliffsNotes version of Captain Marvel’s power (and maybe Nick Fury) to set up the next MCU domino than much of anything else. I didn’t know what to expect from the movie going in (other than 90s nostalgia from the trailers). I mainly went to see it because of its place between the Avengers 3 & 4, but I thought this would tell me something about the character. However, I feel as if I could probably watch the next installment without having watched this one and not have missed anything important. I guess we’ll see if there was any payoff when Avengers 4 rolls out next month.

*Forgetful character trying to remember. Flashback reveals overdose of power source leading to invulnerability.

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Creativity Is What I Am

NOTE: This is adapted and modified from something I wrote on Facebook a few years ago.

I’ll say up front that I am a Christian, and I believe people were made in the image of a Creator; subsequently, all people possess some form of creativity. In some way or another, each person can be creative, given the right circumstances. Granted, creativity is not limited to artistic expression, as creativity is the very essence of life; creativity is what transforms some cloth and poles into a tent, sheltering people from the elements. But for the sake of simplicity, I’m making the distinction between those people like me who live for or gravitate toward creative outlets and those who are less inclined to be creative as a means of self-expression.

The first thing is to ask, “What is creativity?” Google’s dictionary defines it as “the use of the imagination or original ideas, esp. in the production of an artistic work.” Creativity is essentially the ability to produce something new or different, usually intriguing, using whatever resources are accessible. Creativity turns an ordinary cardboard box into a fort, race car, spaceship, or even a non-ordinary cardboard box.

But how are creative types different from those who seemingly lack creative self-expression. What makes a person creative anyway? What qualities do creative types possess that link them together yet at the same time make each person different? I’d like to share just a few qualities we have in common. This is based on personal experience and knowledge of other creative types, not meant as some scientific or groundbreaking discovery. For the sake of needlessly using an acronym to emphasize points, I’ve used each letter in “creativity.” Creative types are

  • Curious
  • Resourceful
  • Emotional
  • Adaptable
  • Tenacious
  • Inspired
  • Varied
  • Imaginative
  • Talented
  • “You-nique.”1

  Curious. Creative types are by nature inquisitive explorers; we venture where others are not willing to go or try things others are not willing to try. When it comes to being creative, we overtly or subconsciously ask the question, “What if…?” or “Is this possible?” Creativity is not about seeing things and the world as they are, but seeing them as how they could be; it’s about considering possibilities or looking at potential. A canvas is but an unstarted painting, a sheet of paper but an unwritten poem. Curiosity is but a starting point, for while not all curious people are necessarily creative, all creative people possess some sort of curiosity within themselves. “If you have ideas, but don’t act on them, you are imaginative but not creative.” — Linda Naiman

People less inclined toward creativity may think us curiosities or just plain weird for not seeing things as they are or were; conversely, we may think non-creative people are dull or rigid for not seeing possibilities.

  Resourceful. Within the creative process, you may be restricted by resource limitations, but in creativity, the only true limit is one’s own imagination. It’s not about what you don’t have; it’s about what you do have or can access. Basic economics teaches us that resource limitations are a part of life, which means we do not always have what we need to accomplish what we want. But we work with what we have. Creative types like to find ways to get what they need by using what they have available in order to accomplish a goal. If what we have does not help us directly accomplish our goals, we like to find ways to indirectly reach them. For example, you want a new costume idea but don’t have money to afford anything, so you look in your closet and start piecing together old costume parts to modify a creation of your own design.

  Emotional. This is twofold, for it speaks of how we relate to what we do and how we relate to other people. When it comes to being creative, there is sometimes an attachment to what we design, especially when it is for whom or what we care about most. When we really get into the creative process, we may figuratively and/or literally pour our blood, sweat, and tears into whatever we are making, sometimes at the cost of basic necessities. Simply put, we can get proverbially lost in a project, but it might be how we best express who we are deep down. Whenever we design anything that requires much effort, it becomes a part of who we are; it tells others, “this is what I do because I want to” or “this is something important to me.” Think of the author who spends hours inside a room with just paper and pen, until words form sentences, characters, and worlds; these are the ones who truly understand how a story takes on a life of its own. Because what is produced is an extension of oneself, there can be an emotional attachment to the process or the end result, and in that process is found a kind of joy or happiness.

Relating to people can be different than relating to what we produce, but it is through creating we connect with other people.  When it comes to people, some creative types may seem emotionally distant on the surface, but they really do have emotions that might not always be easily expressed with physical or verbal gestures. Emotions may simply be better expressed through one’s work or even by giving one’s work freely to others. Other creative types may be more emotionally-expressive than others, lashing out and “unleashing their wrath” should their work be disrupted (or perhaps it’s an immaturity on their part), but it does not mean they only care about themselves or their work. If you don’t think they can be given to emotions, think of children who are often proud to have their “masterpieces” adorned on the fridge by their parents.2

  Adaptable. Humans have an inherent need for a sense of stability or consistency; without such things, life’s problems will overwhelm a person. However, life is all about change, for change is inevitable. The only way to survive and thrive in change is to be adaptable.

Because creative types possess a willingness to try out new ideas and methods or to explore new places, new situations do not necessarily scare or intimidate them. If forced into strange or uncertain circumstances, creative types will eventually find a way to work within the situation. Adaptability allows us to become who and what we need to be for a given situation in order to survive. Our ingenuity, which is a combination of adaptability and resourcefulness, allows us to find ways to work within new settings and thrive when resources are limited. Since we cannot always control our circumstances or have resources readily available, we learn to work where we are and with what we have in order to accomplish a goal. Of course, end results are not always as expected, but adaptability also allows us to change the goal to match available resources.

  Tenacious. It may seem counter-intuitive or contradictory, but creative types are flexible yet stubborn. While we may be willing to accept change and work within our circumstances, we are not so easily willing to give up on a project or idea, especially when so much time, energy, and/or thought processes have already been personally invested. When one method or idea does not work, there can be a willingness to try a new approach, albeit sometimes reluctantly. While there are times we want to quit, our determination may compel us to keep going toward some perceivable goal. This drive for project completion can result in sleep deprivation; we sometimes will spend countless hours trying to get “that one thing” just right.

  Inspired. While creativity does require imagination, our ideas are probably inspired more often than we pull anything from our own imaginations. Almost any idea you can think of has probably been thought of by a thousand other people who lived before you. This is why creativity does not always mean completely original and why similarities of other ideas or concepts may often be recognized in different people’s work. Being inspired is different from blatantly copying someone else’s work. Appreciation of someone else’s idea, which too may have been inspired, can be noted by the joyfully-exasperated question: “Why didn’t I think of that?” Appreciation is not to be confused with begrudging an unspoken idea being somehow stolen or that someone else beat us to the proverbial punch.

  Varied. “Variety is the spice of life.” Creative types are likely less drawn to the “same old, same old” and may become bored or uninspired doing such tedious tasks others are more comfortable doing. There is a joy found in learning or trying something new or creating something different. Creativity is also not limited to one design, one area of expertise, or one avenue of self-expression. A really creative person can produce different designs in the same area or function in different areas; in fact, some individuals may thrive better with multiple outlets of self-expression.

Additionally, the thinking of creative types is probably less linear than other people who only see results, for we might be seeing the beginning, middle, and any number of endings all at the same time. We might be considering many ways to get to a destination, noticing the details other people miss, or perhaps dreaming up ideas others can’t envision. While mechanical routines can feel boring or wearisome, the internal thought processes of the creative mind can generate excitement. Creative types may seem to lack “one-track mindedness” in some areas, coming across as less focused on the mundane or more absent-minded, mechanical processes, but they could simply be lost in their own thoughts and/or creative processes.

  Imaginative. Creativity requires imagination. Imagination is the only true limit to being creative. You will hardly lack for ideas if you possess and exercise your imagination, even if you lack the resources to accomplish your goal. An original idea may not necessarily come from one’s own imagination, but imagination is needed to put all parts together, to envision the final outcome before a project is started and as it is going. When everything is pieced together, it can result in a truly remarkable and memorable piece that started in someone’s imagination. Granted, while creativity does not always mean something completely original from start to finish, in some cases it can, yet this may be what is most considered when people say something is creative.

A huge part of who we are, imagination is a piece of our childhood we never truly gave up nor wish to give up. Side effects may include getting lost in thought easily and/or talking happily about things which might not actually exist.

  Talented.3 While anything or anyone can inspire ideas, no amount of lectures, book-reading, or knowledge increase will make someone creative. These things can and do spark creative ideas, but they do not make someone creative. Creativity cannot be taught, but it can be cultivated.  The ability to really express ourselves creatively is something we either possess or we do not, but even if we possess it, it must be cultivated to grow. Even the most creative people you know probably have works that they look back on and would disown, if not for their emotional attachment and how much they have grown since then. Once upon a time, some of us only knew how to draw stick figures or Tic-Tac-Toe boards.

  You-nique. This is the crux of creativity; it separates originality from carbon copy.  Uniqueness is the difference between making something our own and just simply imitating what someone else is doing. While similarities are normal, each person’s style, method, medium, etc. of expressing ideas is as different as the person who generates them. If two creative people are given the same assignment and tools, each could conceivably produce something completely different.

What makes someone creative? There’s not really one set thing that separates us from those around us. Creative types are curious about the world around them, and they use what they have available to make things happen. They may become attached to their designs, but they are not emotionless robots or self-centered sociopaths. They roll with the punches but do not give up easily. Their ideas are inspired by others. They like variety and may often imagine things differently than how they are. Creativity comes naturally to them, but more than anything, they are unique in how their creativity is expressed. In short, they are not all that different from less creative types; really it’s only that they engage the world that isn’t with the world that is.

I am creative, and I embrace this.

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1Because why not.

2There are some drawings I did when I was a little boy, and they are in my dad’s office at home. Sometimes I see them and think, “I can’t believe he still has those things.”

3Talent is not to be confused with skill, for skill level does not necessarily negate nor confirm creative ability. One can master the mechanical, but still lack the drive to be creative.

My Year in Review 2016

As another year comes to a close, I thought I’d take a look back and briefly summarize how my life has changed in 2016. 

I started this year by working a night job I’d been at for over five years. I was feeling more and more burnt out as time progressed and in some ways losing touch with reality. But for a few anchor points, I could barely keep days straight, as one bled into the next. Also, due to my awkward sleep and work schedule, I missed out on opportunities for social interaction, which helped perpetuate feelings of isolation. I felt trapped and didn’t know how much longer I could take it.

Things began to change within a few months, as I started looking for work elsewhere. In mid-April I found a different job that seemed a good fit, even though it was a line of work I wasn’t familiar. From my brief interaction with some of the employees while interviewing, they seemed to enjoy what they did. In addition, it was better pay and hours. After accepting the job offer, I soon began to feel a pending sense of freedom. I think I’ve spent the past several months still recovering from the physical and mental damage of having worked nights for so long, but that time shift alone was enough to begin recovery.

After being there less than a month, one of my coworkers tried setting me up with her kids’ former nanny. About a month later (this was June), I was meeting up with a wonderful woman for what would become the first of many dates. By the end of October, we were engaged and are now looking forward to our wedding in April.

What started out as a somewhat bleak year in my life has ended up becoming one of the best. There were high and low points during this year. Some bad decisions and some good decisions were made along the way, but by God’s grace I made it.

Onward to 2017! It’s going to be an interesting year.

What’s the Point of Giving Gifts?

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What do I want for Christmas? What should I get my family? Which store carries what I’m looking for?

This is the time of year when many of us ask those and many other similar questions. From the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve each year, people spend so much time and energy looking for that perfect gift, fighting crowds and traffic to find “the one present they’ll never forget.” But I bet if you ask enough people, they’ve forgotten more gifts than they can remember, especially if they’ve lived long enough. Sure, a gift here or there might stand out in memory, but think back five or ten years. Do you even remember who gave you what or what you gave to other people for Christmas?

Every December, people get so caught up in the madness of the season, but how many people ever stop to ask themselves WHY? Why do we give gifts? What is the purpose of this annual tradition that puts so many people into debt and causes so much stress? We spend so much time hunting, buying, wrapping, giving, opening, and then quickly forgetting the presents, and in that there’s a hollow emptiness. You can go through the same ritual year after year, but you’ll always find yourself with things that eventually break, disappear, gather dust, or just leave you feeling empty when you finish. In the gift-giving process, it’s so easy to lose sight of what’s important, or rather whom.

When gifts are given, they should point us to something greater; they should remind us of the relationships we have, rather than being an end in themselves. It’s a far greater gift to have meaningful relationships you can’t buy than to receive the most expensive things someone else can. We can give gifts to people we love and care about, but then as recipients, we might get so caught up in the gift itself, we quit thinking about the person who gave us that gift and quickly become ungrateful. Just go online and you’ll see people making big stinks about the gifts they didn’t get. They’re even willing to take out their rage on the people who didn’t give them the gift they wanted or supposedly deserved, all to the amusement of others, instead of being grateful for the gifts they did get or recognizing that someone else loved them enough to want to get them something at all, perhaps at great expense, just for a trinket the recipient won’t remember in a few months. And that’s a great sadness.

But it’s not just the world who does this. How often do we who are Christians forget the ultimate Gift Giver, while seeking to enjoy the gifts we’ve received? We can get so focused on the gifts themselves, instead of remembering the relationship with the One who gave us those gifts. When we get some gift we didn’t ask for or want, or when we don’t get what we want, we throw a fit and get angry at God or other people in our lives. Or we get the gift we want, but then we lose focus on the One who gave us that gift, and we turn the gift into an idol that eventually leaves us feeling empty.

So this holiday season, as you spend time trying to find gifts for other people or trying to figure out what you want yourself, take some time out of the seasonal chaos to remember giving gifts should not be about the gifts themselves but about the relationships you have. Whatever you get someone else or someone else gets you, those gifts will likely be forgotten or go unused in a few years or months time. Instead, remember it’s about the people you have in your life; besides, sometimes the best gift you can give someone else is time.