Here’s the issue with Sarah Jeong. For those who don’t know, she made racist posts about white people in the past, and despite this, the New York Times has hired her as an editor. Like the author of this video, I agree that people shouldn’t be fired or have their careers ruined for things they said in the past. People change. They improve. And i’m not on board with the mob mentality.
The problem is…this is the New York Times. Right now, journalists and the publishing industry are taking a beating battling the accusations of being biased and unfair leanings. If you’re in charge of a company like the New York Times, why would you hire someone who clearly has a racist past? And then go so far as to defend her by doing as so many have done, just pull the victim card.
This affects me directly because as many of you may know, I’m an author. Since I was 23, I’ve been trying to break into the publishing industry and have made huge gains. I’ve long since seen how the publishing industry has increasingly become left-wing in their politics. Most of the Literary Agents are women and if you look at their wish-lists, most of them are in search of stories with “strong female protagonists,” stories about LGBT characters, and intersectional conflicts.
I have no complaints about that. These are the cards I’ve been dealt. So I accepted the challenge and rose to the occasion, producing stories with a strong female protagonist that tackle many social issues. I’ve seen books published with horrible proses and age-old tired premises. These make the best-seller lists. They make the bestseller lists based on advertising, online marketing, and reviews. Therein lies the rub.
The New York Times is one of the most influential entities when it comes to that advertising and the reviews. Yes, some conservative authors have made it onto their lists, no doubt much to their chagrin…but its a small percentage. And if companies like the New York Times are hiring editors, basically the gate-keepers to commercial success, with clearly racists, misogynistic, gynocentric ,…basically anyone who has proven that they can’t possibly be perceived as fair and impartial…what’s the point?
That saying comes to mind. “If you’re so smart, then why aren’t you rich?”
To me, the answer is clear. It’s because I’m not willing to do “just anything”. I won’t stoop to bashing others for shock value, I won’t pander to an audience and contribute to the illusion that’s continued to keep the young and impressionable blinded from the truth. And more importantly, I won’t jeopardize one of the few things I actually love about being alive. And that’s writing about what I want, because I want to.
That’s why I’m so glad I’ve been able to reconnect with my heavenly father. In my twenties, I was so distant from him. I cared so much about being seen as great and wonderful in the eyes of “the world.” But I’m not part of the world. Ever since my parents embedded me with a Christian foundation, I never have been, no matter how much I tried to run from it.
The Lord is my salvation, my shield, my king, my shepherd, my judge, my refuge, my fortress, my vindicator, my creator, my deliverer, my healer, my protector, my provider, my redeemer.
Thank you Jehovah for stretching out your wings and bringing me back to the fold.
Well, Rock! If you endeavor to do what is good in God’s eyes, then why do you care about the New York Times and Sarah Jeong?
…I never said I stopped caring. I still want to be a published author and until the day I die, I won’t give up on that dream. But I no longer care “so much”. It isn’t a priority. Now, I seek first the kingdom of heaven. If you don’t know what that means, send me a message and I’ll happily point you in the right direction.
With the conflicts squashed between Majestic and Sailor Jupiter, G-Force and the Sailor Scouts are finally able to finish their movie together. However, Majestic soon learns that Chris’s future doesn’t just depend on their success in the entertainment industry, he’s also depending on Ken and Ryu’s help in future battles. Turns out, Chris comes from a clan of Mortal Kombat warriors with the powers of Sub-Zero…. He’s destined to become Sub-Zero.
Chapter 4: Sub-Zero
The first week of the movie shooting went well. The second week started off good…but ended with a fight between Serena and me. I had enough of her complaining and gave her a piece of my mind. Ken intervened with a kick that bruised my ribs something fierce. Ken…he was usually a cool dude, but I saw from his eyes that he’d mess up anyone who messed with Sailor Moon.
Ken also started teaching Chris and I proper Shotokan Karate. He taught us to utilize the body in self-defense. His style used an array of kicks and powerful punches as well as these crazy acrobatic moves.
Our schedule was hectic. It was hard to ever find time to relax and just have fun. Chris found it easy to have fun, while I’d focus on training. I remember Chris throwing water balloons at the girl one time. He could always be depended on to lighten the mood.
Every morning since we started shooting the film, Chris and I would run as fast as we could to school as part of our training. During class, we’d do push-ups as quietly as we could without disturbing everyone. Chris out would tire out and quit before me. But I was more determined.
From three to eight, Chris and I would join the other cast members to film the movie. At about seven, mom and dad would occasionally visit us on the set and serve us dinner. When I got home, Chris and I would spar for a while, using techniques Ken taught us. Of course, Chris would pucker out early so I’d have to practice by myself. I didn’t stop until Dad made me. The next day we’d wake up and do it all over again.
“Hey, Rock. Can I ask you something? When will black people ever stop…”
Alright, let me stop you right there. *frustrated chuckle*
Before I begin, I have to introduce an idea that probably goes against the popular opinion. When people use the word, “ignorant,” to describe those who make racist or even sexist remarks, I don’t believe the word should have such a negative tone. Some ignorance is innocent. Some people honestly have no idea what is offensive because they haven’t been exposed to diverse cultures.
It reminds me of this 16-year-old kid from my days working as a pizza delivery driver. He jokingly told the manager, a playful dark-skinned man from Africa, that he reminded him of a monkey. Understandably, the manager was upset. But I saw the remorse in the kid’s crying eyes. He was truly innocent in his ignorance. He didn’t mean to offend. He just didn’t know any better.
If you were raised in one city, one culture your entire life with very little diversity, it’s understandable why you might be ignorant to the hardships, stigmas, or stereotypes of another race. I don’t think those individuals should be slighted for their ignorance. I don’t even think we should look down on them for being raised with that lack of diversity.
If you’ve ever been to some of the lesser-known areas of the United States, you’ll realize why minorities are called, minorities. In Colorado, I attended my cousin’s graduation. He was only one of four black students graduating amongst 200. It’s not White People’s fault that large groups Blacks haven’t migrated to parts of Wyoming or regions of the Northwest.
And when people say, “Well white people should learn the plight of (insert race)!”
I say, why should they? Unless they really want to know of their own volition or have a friend or loved one who’s of a different race that they want to draw close to, I don’t believe anyone should be morally coerced into learning the hardships of another race. I think those who do shame others into learning, either want others to feel their pain, or use their victimhood as some kind of badge of moral superiority. There could be other reasons I’m sure, but its something to think about and just cause for self-reflection.
On New Years Day, I watched Dave Chappelle’s latest Netflix specials. It was highly anticipated. I enjoyed his last two and lamented his absence from the entertainment industry. Chappelle’s has a disarming voice, his comedic tones aren’t forced and he presents a discussion in the midst of his levity that prompts people to think, not out of guilt, but curiosity. I applaud him, truly I do.
But sadly, my elation turned to horror when he started talking about Colin Kaepernick and the whole issue of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem. As an American, I respect their right to protest, I even respect the fact that it is essentially a peaceful protest. I disagree and dislike their protests, but as an adult who is taught to love thy neighbor, I understand and respect it.
However…when Dave Chappelle told his Los Angeles audience that Colin Kaepernick “took a knee during that anthem for us…” and that “everyone who takes a stand for somebody else always gets beat down…”
I was utterly disappointed. By “us” is he referring to relatively rich black celebrities, athletes, and public figures? I suspect not. I’m reluctant to put words in his mouth, but I believe its safe to assume, by “us” he’s talking about Black People. If he was specific and went so far as to say “Colin Kaepernick took a knee during that anthem for the racial injustices in America,” I wouldn’t have had a problem with it.
But when Black Celebrities take it upon themselves to tell a general audience, what Black People as a whole do or don’t want, this is a very big problem.
Allow me to explain.
The best way to understand this is to use the logic Dennis Prager had when he explained why you shouldn’t take God’s name in vain. During a question and answer lecture he gave with Ravi Zacharias, Prager clarified that people shouldn’t “carry God’s name in vain.” Meaning, one shouldn’t commit murder in the name of God, or steal in the name of God. Basically misrepresenting God’s name for your own self-interest is the sin of taking God’s name in vain.
Furthermore, he goes on to explain that if “an Atheist commits torture, and a religious person commits torture, it’s actually worse if a person tortures in the name of God than if an Atheist tortures. Because the Atheist has done pure evil, but has not ruined the possibility of taking God seriously.”
Do you see the correlation? I know gears are beginning to grind upstairs.
Prager says, “There is a direct relationship between all the murder in God’s name taking place in our time (referring to Islam), and the ascent of Atheism. Because nobody does the case for Atheism like the person who does evil in God’s name. And nobody makes the case for God, than the one who does beautiful things in God’s name.”
“Rock, are you seriously comparing Black People to God?”
I’m comparing race to religion, my friend. And I think the logic holds water. My biggest fear is that a majority of White People who aren’t racist, who don’t care about the color of your skin will eventually get fed up with being made to feel guilty or bad over something they never even did to begin with. I say that, because I know how it feels to be oppressed into caring about an issue that doesn’t apply to me one way or the other.
You don’t realize that you’re being forced to care about an issue out of some misplaced or exploited guilt, not at first. But eventually, the tactics lose their potency. You grow up. You hear or read logic that combats that which shamed you in the first place. Then comes the resentment. And if you’re not careful, that resentment can either fade in which you return to neutrality and love everyone regardless. Or…it can turn to animosity and a need to stand up against that which oppressed you to save others from falling down the same traps you fell for. That animosity can turn to hate. That hate can be passed down to your children. And so, the cycle never ends.
It wasn’t until I heard Mr. Prager’s reasoning that I was finally able to articulate my problem with Black Lives Matter.
You see, I’ve always said that my main problem with Black Lives Matter is the freaking title of their movement. They’re carrying the name of Black People. And when they do bad things like call for violence against whites, or disrupt an intersection, or applaud the murder of cops, they are essentially making a case for those who would and could be potentially racist against us.
More importantly, what if you are Black and you don’t agree with the Black Lives Matter movement? What if you’re Black, and you don’t agree with Dave Chappelle, or Jay-Z, or the dude from Grey’s Anatomy? What if you’re Black and you don’t believe in the idea of institutional racism? What if you’re Black you see how the media lies and manipulates the facts just to drum up racial tension. Meanwhile, a white father of three can get executed by a cop in a hotel hallway and the media just glosses over that.
When Dave Chappelle took it upon himself to tell a Los Angeles audience that a NFL player was standing up for “us”…I think educated individuals would see this and say, “We know what you’re talking about all Black people. It’s a bit misleading but we know you’re not saying that Kaepernick is representing Black people as a whole, just those who have faced racial injustices.”
It’s the same with those videos that start with “Dear White People”.
I see that and I’m shaking my head like, “Dude…you guys are pushing your luck.”
Or are they really so thirsty for a race war that they forgot what happened on Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1921.
Unfortunately, and I suppose this boils down to the crux of the matter, we live in a society where people don’t like to think, either for themselves or critically at all. Even on Facebook, it’s gotten to the point where one has to make a picture out of a statement just to get others to read it.
It’s difficult to discern what is true. More than that, if you’re of another race, living in a community that isn’t so racially diverse, and all you have to go on is the sayings of your favorite comedian, celebrity, or athlete to teach you about Black People, its very easy to be misled into thinking ALL black people agree with that public figure.
Diversity isn’t just about race or the color of your skin, it’s about the culture. Cultures have sub-cultures. Think about the 1950s, where you had the Greasers and the Socs. Think about the high school stereotypes, the jocks, the cheerleaders, the stoners, and so forth. Even when we grow up and develop our own interests, there are always different cultures and groups springing forth from a larger group.
It’s the same with Black People. Growing up, my favorite group was the Backstreet Boys while everyone else was listening to Juvenile, Masta P, and DMX. I was tormented relentlessly by my own race. The way I dressed, the way I talked, my mannerisms, and the fact that I saw beauty in all races, not just black girls, I was bombarded with slurs like Oreo or a Carlton. Black students would accuse me of wishing I was white. Some girls would accuse me of thinking I was better than everyone else.
I didn’t think I was better than everyone else. But clearly, I was different. Which is why I get a little bent out of shape when I see commercials and people romanticizing that notion, as if being different is a cool thing. It isn’t. When you’re really different, you’re not accepted. You begin to feel like something is wrong with you. And if you’re like me, you start to get angry. Some people pity themselves and get depressed. I balled my fist and threw down.
And you want know why I was different? Because when my parents told me to “just be yourself no matter what…” for some reason I took that to heart. The only time I ever fit in was when I was pretending to be someone else. I hated that. I was fake and sometimes, my friends could tell. This isn’t freedom.
So when black students in middle school would ask, “Oh, Rock wishes he was white.”
I’d deny it. At the same time, I wanted to tell them, “I wish I wasn’t black.”
Why would I? Black Pride? Pride in one’s African heritage? Pride in the fact that our ancestors were beaten, tortured, and forced to slave labor? What pride is there in any of that?
It wasn’t until I grew up and learned about the struggles of the Civil Rights movement that I understood what it meant to have pride in my race. I already had pride as an American. But pride in being an African descendant came later.
It’s easy to follow the trends and stand up for the marginalized opinions these days. Try doing it when buses were torched, churches were bombed, the KKK pulled off hits like the mafia, and whole communities rose up to lynch men for f**king whistling at a white woman.
There’s my pride. In the face of death and permanent bodily damage, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, John Lewis, the nine students attending the high school in Little Rock, Arkansas, Medgar Evers.
Even before that, the abolitionists, many of whom were white, like William Lloyd Garrison, Angelina Grimke, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and of course the eloquent former slave, Mr. Frederick Douglas. These are my heroes. They fought for equality. They fought for liberty.
So why has it suddenly become popular and apparently acceptable that people are calling for segregation? I suppose that’s for another essay. Allow me to end with this.
“AMERICANS ARE MORE DIVIDED THAN EVER!”
We’ve all heard this vitriolic rallying call by individuals from both sides. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a tactic they use to make others feel bad for not jumping on the bandwagon of any given ideology or agenda.
Personally, I like that America is divided. I think we should learn to accept this. How can there be this call for diversity, yet the same ones expect unity? With the advent of the internet, more Americans are exposed to philosophies and concepts from around the world. It would be nice if we were united at least on one centralized theme, but I think the more secular we get, the lesser the chances of that happening.
AMERICA IS DIVIDED!
When have we ever been united? On what are we divided? What country on earth, would you say, is united? And if we should unite, what should we be united about?
This is the United States of America. I believe we are united by the laws of the United States Constitution by which we are governed. But that’s it. Our preferences, our ideologies, how we choose to live our lives, and who we choose to worship, that is our freedom. That is our liberty.
Just because you were born of a race or ethnicity, it doesn’t mean you have to live your life according to the most popular culture associated with it.
“The Literary Tempest and Combative Seas” A Stage in the Sky Update by Rock Kitaro Date January 23, 2017
DNA ft. Suzanne Vega – “Tom’s Diner – Long Version”
If this is your first time here allow me to introduce myself. My name is Rock Kitaro. I’m an author specializing in the themes of revenge, rivalry, and rebellion. However, I’m thinking about adding romance to that list because “love” is almost always the main source of motivation for my characters. They just don’t know it. Neither do I.
I haven’t reached my goal of signing with a traditional publishing house yet, but I will. And when I make the best-sellers list you can look back on this piece as a proof of perseverance. I hope it encourages others who are coming up to plan on running the marathon, don’t quit after the sprint.
Allow me to begin by saying that the reason why I’ve exercised restraint in posting so much this past year was because I thought it would be prudent to say as little as possible. Ever since I was 23, I’ve committed myself to succeeding as an author in the publishing industry.
I’ve sacrificed weekends, holidays, vacations, money, and heart-felt relationships to get this far and I don’t want to ruin it by shooting myself in the foot. I thought that being an artist meant freedom and liberty through self-expression, but that’s a problem if your opinions aren’t welcomed by those whom you need to progress in this industry.
It’d be one thing if I was a non-fiction writer in which my platform was built upon provocative opinions as if that’s exactly what you were going to pay for with my books. However, I am a fiction novelist. I have to present myself to agents and publishers as someone worthy of investment. Allow me to explain.
“Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan” – popularized by John F. Kennedy
They say that silence is a sign of consent. I don’t think so. I believe that a wise man knows when to exercise patience, bide his time, and strike when the time is right. At present, the scene is chaotic. The waters are rough. Those who sail these seas are bound to get lost, stranded, or shipwrecked. Some have made it though. Some because they had head start. Others, because they don’t mind riding the waves created by the first adventures. And there are those who have emerged because they’re that damn good, far better than myself. Like, Roshani Chokshi. Her writing is ridiculously beautiful. And that’s alright. That’s okay.
With so many every day bravely joining the fray, I can’t help but wonder if my patience is really a sign of cowardice. As I get older I see my peers entering the next stages of their life while I continue on this road I’ve been traveling for seven long arduous years. Then, I think of the scene from HBO’s “Rome” where a young Octavian says, “The graveyard is full of middling swordsman. Best not to a swordsman at all than a middling swordsman.”
When I started self-publishing in 2011, I had no idea what I was up against. I didn’t think of trends or what was in-demand for the market. I simply wrote what I wanted in my own voice with the hopes that others would like it too. I had no idea about the highly selective nature of agents or publishers. I assumed that if you created a great, original story and show them something new, you’re in.
I won’t go so far as to say I was naïve, but I will say there’s more to it than that. It appears that after the success of books-turned-movies franchises like “The Hunger Games,” “Twilight,” and the “Maze Runner” everyone and their mothers have flocked to the publishing industry with the next best idea.
In 2012, when I self-published“The Three Kings of Ybor,”my e-books were just seven of 300,000 published that year on Amazon Kindle. I predict the number has only increased over the years as Hollywood continues to blast trailers that start with that deep husky voice saying, “Based on the best-selling novel.”
This isn’t a complaint. To realize what you’re up against and state it clearly shouldn’t be considered complaining. It makes things difficult but not impossible. In fact, it only makes the reward of success that much sweeter. If Lord Byron’s climb to success was but a hill on the beach, then mines will be to the top of Mount Everest. And beneath my feet will be the millions of books published by those shipwrecked, stranded, and lost.
But still…just as one wouldn’t climb Everest in the middle of winter, it’s best not to join the arena when destruction and obscurity is certain and swift. Until then its best that I build my ships, fortify its defenses and stock up for a voyage in which I might not reach land for many years. And build, I have.
By the end of 2015, I finished my flagship masterpiece called, “The Pierce Syndicate.” I promoted it to Literary Agents for a just a little over a month. This isn’t nearly enough time for me to call it a viable campaign, but something happened to me.
I confess, I became doubtful. Not because my story wasn’t ridiculously awesome but because “The Pierce Syndicate” is a huge project, well over 46 chapters and separated in two volumes. I put myself in the shoes of an editor at a traditional publishing house and asked “why would I take a chance on such a big project from a new author?”
The answer is, I wouldn’t. Not without recommendation. Especially these days where the entertainment industry leans heavily towards pop culture, an area I don’t like to be associated with.
Thankfully, God took pity on me. In the depths of my doubt, I honestly feel that the greatest creator noticed me standing alone under that single lamppost in the night’s freezing rain. He saw me look up to the sky and ask him, “What should I do?”
I think he smiled. Because in the span of a three-day weekend I dreamt of a new story in its complete entirety. I couldn’t believe it. The entire story, beginning, middle, and end just hit me like an epiphany. If that’s not a blessing, I don’t know what is.
In February of 2016 I set about writing “The Slave Quarters,” a crime mystery featuring my characterCloud Beaudry and his bundle of sunshine, the conniving ghost Maggie. I’m afraid of writing the plot here because it’s never been done and I don’t it to be stolen. But the coolest thing about this story isn’t even the plot. It’s the first-person narrative in which you’re put in the shoes of a very manipulative (for a good cause), misanthropic detective who’s chalk full of hidden agendas and ulterior motives. I think that’s what makes him so human though. Because I believe almost everyone has ulterior motives. The only difference between Cloud Beaudry and most people is that he’s aware of it. It’s very entertaining, just wait and see.
The “Slave Quarters” took me only three months to write from beginning to end and it was the coolest thing about 2016 by far. I enjoyed it so much. I’ve never been on a cruise. I’ve never been to Disney World. But if I had to pick between a cruise, Disney World, or spending three months writing that book, I’d gladly choose writing the book. Because I am able to travel through time and space. I smell, hear, and see things that don’t exist, that haven’t happened. My ability is that good. Articulating it is always what I have room to improve on.
By July 2016, I started querying it to Literary Agents. This was a campaign that lasted from July till the end of October. And while I know this is a process that every author has to go through, it wasn’t enough for me. The period of July through October is four months. To spend four months of my life just mailing query letters and receiving rejection after rejection (which is to be expected) would drive me insane. I needed to keep creating, keep writing, keep building more ships! I needed more cowbell!
Thus…by the end of July and after reading the “wish-list” of over 100 literary agents who clearly want strong female protagonists or stories centered around women as the main character, I revisited a dream project that I conceived back in 2009. Lol, again, this is an original story that hasn’t been done and the last thing I want is for someone to read this and steal my characters, thus ruining a genre that I’m hoping to resurrect.
I will say that the title is called “The Knights With No Lords”. The main character is a strong female protagonist, but if you know me, then you know I’m a practitioner of the Byronic model. My characters struggle with a sense of what’s right and wrong, mainly because their dark selfish desires are obstructed by the knowledge of what’s good and decent.
I confess, “The Knights With No Lords,” is probably the toughest project I’ve ever worked on because the female lead is seventeen. I already told you about my imagination. Sometimes I have to go places I don’t want to go in order to write emotional dialogue that feels true. When it comes to the romance, I drew on my own personal experiences. While frustrating, it’s also funny as hell. There’s always some virtue or personal conflict preventing me from being with the woman I want. Again, not pleasant, but still entertaining nonetheless. It’s led to thoughts like this:
“If good girls fall for the bad guys, then who do the bad girls fall for?”
I’ve presented that question to a friend of mine and he said, “nope. The bad girls still fall for the bad guys.”
Haha, I don’t know. Either way, “The Knights With No Lords” explores the idea. I’ve finished it just before Christmas and I’m now in the process of editing it. I’ve even enlisted one of my closest friends to help on that endeavor. By April, I plan to have it copyrighted to start sending it to query agents.
We’ll see if my female protagonist is good enough to win the hearts of those agents. And I do feel a little sad in saying that. Part of me acknowledges that I wrote this book for agents more so than the reader. But maybe that’s what I needed to do all along. Either way, I won’t stop building my ships. My android and thumbdrive is full of premises and projects just screaming to be developed. It’s all a matter of patience, diligence, and perseverance.
That’s the main thing I wanted to share with you. I haven’t been posting on this website in a long while because, as you can see, I’ve been a busy man. And I know there are producers and agents who would say, “But still. You gotta keep giving people something. You have to keep your online presence known.”
And to that point I won’t say I that disagree…but more so I just have a greater deal of self-respect for my work. I’ve come a long way from launching vessels that wind up lost at sea. Twitter and Facebook may have been a viable marketing platform in the past, but now it’s
oversaturated with peddlers of their products.
If you tout your own work it doesn’t have the same strength as someone else saying on their feed, “You gotta check out this author!”
In my seven-year journey I’ve been through the trials and errors. I’ve marketed myself through social media for at least two years and you need money to advertise and draw customers to your books. You really do have to spend money to make money and I’ve racked up a debt. I’ve done crowd-funding campaigns. I’ve reached out to my family and friends. I’ve contributed to other blogs, supported other authors, and made myself a part of writer communities.
Again, these aren’t complaints. Football players practice in the sweltering heat to prepare for Sunday. Olympians train and sacrifice so much just for one summer to reach gold. Singers and actors exercise discipline and practice for their roles. If you make up your mind to do something and fully commit yourself to it, you’re going to have to work hard and it won’t happen overnight unless of course you know someone or wore born into money.
There have been so many times I’ve thought about quitting. The pressures of life, commercialism, societal expectations, familial responsibilities, devotion to God, intimate relationships, and the tense corporate ladder that I’m expected to climb. It’s like they’re all a bunch of Apaches firing arrows at me as I ride my steed with no cover in sight.
If you were to ask why am I trying so hard…because there are a multitude of authors who have succeeded and maintained healthy relationships with spouses, children, and cool circle of friends. They’ve attained that proverbial balance that people keep telling me about. So why can’t I?
The easy answer is that I’m just different. I wrote another article about that so I won’t get into it. I will tell you there’s a quote from Pres. Theo Roosevelt that resonates deeply with me. He wrote: “Dark care rarely sits behind the rider whose pace is fast enough.”
Pres. Roosevelt wrote this after his first wife and his mother died in the same night. To cope with the pain, he ventured into the Wild West and kept himself busy with the rigors of frontier life.
I dare not compare my pain to Roosevelt, but there is pain in my heart. That’s why I can’t even go on vacation for more than three days before the angst surfaces. I wonder if this is the case with other workaholics. For me, keeping my mind focused on a story or project keeps my mind from wondering about old flames. It’s morphine to regret, loneliness, and despair.
I recently told one of my exes, someone who’s still one of my best friends, that I see her face everyday. I know that sounds creepy by today’s standards, but she understood and was touched. And I wasn’t lying. When I think about my exes, or enemies, or failures and embarrassment, the emotions rush over as if it’s happening all over again.
Oddly enough, this doesn’t work so well with the positives for some strange reason. For the positives, I have to seek in the real world what I’ve done and remind myself of how far I’ve come, or those who do support and love me. I’m not sure why I’m like this. But it doesn’t matter.
At this point, I’d like to point out that I’m not a miserable person. In spite of all the pitiful sad stuff I just told you, I really do like the man I’ve become. I’m tall, strong, caring, and generous. The few friends who have stuck with me over the years, I treat like jewelry because they are rare and extremely valuable. I laugh at just about everything and I have a strong relationship with Jehovah our heavenly father. I started reading the bible from start to finish about a year and a half ago and I’ve just started 1st Timothy.
Also! I’ve taken up boxing. It’s tough but I enjoy it. If you scroll down, you’ll read one of my essays about how I used to weigh 378lbs. Now I’m down to 215. I can run, jump, and fight like a son of a gun. So don’t pity me. I have my scars just like everyone else but I wear them like a champion! Not to mention, God’s blessed me with the ability to turn my negatives into a positives. Even when I step into the boxing gym, depleted and fatigued from the work-out the night before, all I need to is think about certain group of people and I’m Mike Tyson in his prime if only for an hour.
It’s like my life is a steamroller. To keep going I have to chuck coal into the furnace. With all the times I’ve stumbled and fallen down, my fuel supply if infinite. I have no doubt that I really am going to live life till the wheels fall off. But still…I plan to live life my way, seeking first the kingdom of God. We can’t all be party animals and thrill-seekers. Not all men are in it for the thrill of the chase. Some of us like to stay put and build.
There’s one other subject I’d like to discuss. It’s about Facebook and I’m sure I’m not alone in saying what I’m about to say.
Facebook has become a platform of pictures and political correctness. In 2016, I’ve posted hundreds of thought-provoking questions and theories that get little to no interaction. But let someone post a picture of their vacation, their material things, their visage (as if we forgot what they looked like yesterday) then people flocked to that with likes and comments.
People say, “You shouldn’t expect praise or likes or…”
All of that’s bullshit. Why post anything if not with the hopes that someone in this expanded universe would see it? There’s nothing wrong with admitting you hope people will like what you put out, and what’s worse than people not liking it, is people completely ignoring it. And as an artist, I refuse to rehash old gems once I’m published as if I just thought of something new, when in reality, I’ve had it for years. For that matter, I’ve decided on my 30th birthday to stop posting on Facebook. I’ve decided to stop scrolling down Facebook to see what my friends and family are up to. And dude, I’m telling you…it’s done wonders for my health.
If you try it, you’ll find yourself washed with that nostalgic freedom, to a magical time where you only found out what people were up to when they friggin told you. Ignorance is a bliss! A magical bliss where you can walk to work and smile at other humans without worrying how they feel about some stupid current event/fad/trend/movement.
It really was one of the best decisions of my life and I’m lovin every minute of it. So while everyone is riled up on a daily basis about what’s going on in Washington DC, New York, or Los Angeles, I sand down the rails of my ships and check the hulls for leaks. I smile knowing that I’m drawing closer to God and wait patiently till the day that I cast off.
“But Rock. What if that day never comes? What if the seas stay rough and only continue to get worse? Don’t you think you’re wasting time? You’re going to waste your life waiting forever. There will never be a perfect time. You need to just go for it!”
I smirk, wipe the sweat from my forehead, and peer outward to those dark stormy clouds.
“You might be right. Knowing me, at some point, I am going to say fuck it and just go for it. Maybe I am wasting time building all these ships that might never see the open seas. My ambition isn’t so dulled that I’m contempt with having these magnificent pieces linger away despite the immense pleasure I’ve derived in constructing them. I guess that’s what you should look out for.”
“In the thick of the chaos as ships become tangled with ships, and cannons blare, and the torrential downpour becomes so heavy that you can barely see the light of day, look out that you’re not caught in the way of my formidable fleet. At least you’ll be able to hear me coming. I have a tendency to laugh out loud when I’m scared out of my mind.”
An Obvious Flaw with Democracy – A Romanticist Point of View Date- Jan 21st 2016 By Rock Kitaro
NOTE – Stage in the Sky is not a political blog, nor does Rock Kitaro pretend to be an expert in political science. These are just the opinions of a Romanticist philosopher based on what’s observed.
As much as I try, I cannot ignore the news. Its so obvious, the agenda of each news outlet. Fox News absolutely hates Hillary Clinton. CNN abhors Trump while putting Clinton on a pedal stool. And the general public supports Trump behind closed doors, according to his polls, while the popular opinion seems to be in favor of Bernie Sanders. Feel the Bern, they say.
America is divided, as it’s always been. Only in times of a common enemy do we stand together like our favorite heroes. Some examples of this are The American Revolution after the oppression of Great Britain, WWII after Pearl Harbor, and most recently the Iraq War after 9/11. But on social issues, economic issues, and issues relating to nationalism and religion…we differ.
And that’s alright. Such is a democracy and its good that everyone’s coming up with their own opinions…or do they?
This election, like the last one, touts a certain presidential candidate as a racist, bigot, who hates specific groups of people the same way they said Mitt Romney was launching a war on women.
What I believe is happening is that the news, Hollywood, and everyone in a position to influence a following are culprits with perpetrating a narrative, a conclusion, or in some cases a fiction in which the masses mindlessly swallow it up and regurgitate. Just today, I was checking my facebook messages when, in the side scroll, I see Kerry Washington and a number of celebrities calling for people to “Stop Hate Dump Trump.” Of course when I clicked on the link to see if Washington or the other celebrities had a solution by supporting another candidate other than Trump, there was none to be found.
This is a problem when it comes to Democracy…
The problem with Ms. Kerry Washington’s campaign is the same problem I had with Samuel L Jackson’s commercials in the 2012 elections where he shouted “Wake Up” in favor of voting against Romney. I believe these are forms of manipulation or propaganda, quite similar to the popular kids in school promoting some fad and calling others lame if they don’t jump on board.
It would be one thing if the general public took their campaigns for what it is, that being their own personal opinion. However, in our society, people are afraid to be alone. If there isn’t a “popular” celebrity promoting an opposing opinion to the likes of Ms. Washington’s…people may feel like they’re alone on an island in their own thoughts. So they abandon those thoughts and join in with the crowd just like that.
Another problem with democracy is that in today’s society, you’ll be hard pressed to find people who both love democracy and have a strong sense of national pride. It may be just me, but I get the feeling that people these days care very little about the collective community, but focus more about themselves as an individual when they choose to vote.
Well Rock…People have a right to their opinion. Democracy succeeds because people have a right to let their opinions be known. If you don’t like Democracy…what system of government would you propose? Are you a communist? Gasps! Are you a communist, Rock?
Hahaha. No. I’m not a communist. To be honest, I don’t know much about any alternative types of government. So you know what I’m going to do? EDUCATE MYSELF! It’s as I always say, the best part about being alive is self-improvement. Thus, I adjusted my glasses, drank some ice water, turned on some Nujubes, and dove into research.
First thing I wanted know was whether or not I’m alone in thinking there’s something wrong with the picture of Democracy. My friends at Wikipedia helped me out. Yes, I used Wikipedia. Give me alternative resources and I’ll take consideration to amend my thoughts because unlike many, I adjust my views based on what I learn. Here are some excerpts I found.
“The 20th-century Italian thinkers Vilfredo Pareto and Gaetano Mosca (independently) argued that democracy was illusory, and served only to mask the reality of elite rule. Indeed, they argued that elite oligarchy is the unbendable law of human nature, due largely to the apathy and division of the masses (as opposed to the drive, initiative and unity of the elites), and that democratic institutions would do no more than shift the exercise of power from oppression to manipulation.”
Hmm…Manipulation. You don’t say.
In the essay “Federalist No. 10” by James Madison, he contended that republics “were superior to democracies because republics safeguarded against the tyranny of the majority.” After Shay’s Rebellion in 1787, Madison openly argued that government ought to “protect the minority of the opulent against the majority” and that unchecked, democratic communities were subject to “the turbulency and weakness of unruly passions”.
While I agree with James Madison’s essay, because it in fact has come to fruition the way citizens vote for representatives who then vote for laws, it seems to be human nature for people to come together to create a majority…you know. Like a gang. Not to mention, senators and congressmen can keep running till their heart’s content. It may just be the folly of congregations that this will always be the case. A popular and unpopular…
I just came across an opposition to Madison’s article that I’d like to share with you. According to Garry Willis’s “Explaining America” he argued that Madison’s framework does not necessarily enhance the protections of minorities or ensure the common good. Instead, Wills claims: “Minorities can make use of dispersed and staggered governmental machinery to clog, delay, slow down, hamper, and obstruct the majority. What Madison prevents is not faction, but action. What he protects is not the common good but delay as such”.
I can’t retort Willis’s thoughts on the matter, however, I will say that I failed to come across a solution. It sounded as if Willis’s position was just to shoot down Madison’s idea without offering a solution himself. Maybe he has offered a solution and I just couldn’t find it. If he didn’t, I hate that. Yeah, I get that pointing out flaws in an idea can help stave off from bigger problems the solution has the potential to create…but give us your grand idea as well. Bring something to the table. Again, it brings me back to Ms Kerry Washington’s campaign of “Don’t vote for Trump” while at the same time refraining from publicizing who to vote for in his stead. I wonder what campaign they’ll come up for Cruz if he gets the Republican nomination, but I digress.
Also, I want to point out that when I say “Majority,” I’m not necessarily talking about a race as I’ve found on many articles that broached the subject. For me, the majority refers to popular opinion and the mob mentality that seems to dominate our airways, social media, and cultural census.
It brings me back to a facebook post where I asked if it’s true that “There is no right or wrong, only popular opinion.” People responded that it’s not true. They said there is a right and wrong and its defined by the Bible. The problem is that more and more it seems like the majority of America is turning away from religion and the word of the Bible.
Thus, one could argue that Christians are increasingly becoming the “Minority”. Of course, I could be wrong. It could be that the United States is still dominated by Christians who have been dubbed, I think pejoratively, “The Silent Majority” or simply “Conservative Christians.”
Finally, I’d like to bring Plato to the forefront as I’ve come across and article in which he lists the top five forms of government from best to worst. It goes
In Plato’s Aristocratic State Plato idealizes is composed of three caste-like parts: t
The ruling class, made up of the aforementioned philosophers-kings (who are otherwise identified as having souls of gold);
The auxiliaries of the ruling caste, made up of soldiers (whose souls are made up of silver), and whose job in the state is to force on the majority the order established by the philosophers. T
The majority of the people (souls of either bronze or iron), who in contrast to the first two classes are allowed to own property and produce goods for themselves, but are also obliged to sustain with their own activities their rulers’ — who are forbidden from owning property in order to preclude that the policies they undertake be tainted by personal interests.
Essentially it stresses the importance of education, for leaders to be selfless and upright individuals. Two qualities, you’d be hard press to identify in our politicians today.
Plato states that “Wealth, fame, and power are just shadows of the Good and provide only hollow and fleeting satisfaction. It is only the knowledge of the Good in itself that gives man enduring and real happiness. Thus, the philosopher who is exposed to metaphysical contemplation is not tempted to abuse his power in his pursuit of material goods, and his state policies are therefore dedicated to establishing only the Good in the state, not his personal interests.”
When talking about democracy, Plato goes on to say, “Oligarchy then degenerates into democracy where freedom is the supreme good but freedom is also slavery. The democratic man is the son of the oligarchic man. Unlike his father, the democratic man is consumed with unnecessary desires. Plato describes necessary desires as desires that we have out of instinct or desires that we have in order to survive.
Unnecessary desires are desires we can teach ourselves to resist such as the desire for riches. The democratic man takes great interest in all the things he can buy with his money. He does whatever he wants whenever he wants to do it. His life has no order or priority.”
I’ll end my essay on that note. I really like the idea of Plato’s Aristocracy, but at the same time, something tells me there’s more to it than what I just read. My thoughts are not cemented and I’m open to discussion if you have any thoughts on the matter. I suppose I mainly wrote this essay to convey my frustrations of living in a society where the media’s manipulation is so freaking obvious…and when I read the comments on published articles, it feels like the manipulation is only obvious to me.
That’s a dangerous sentiment with deep-thinkers such as myself. Because my interpretation of “crazy” is exactly that, when reason and logic only makes sense to yourself.
In this essay, I attack several popular opinions, mock those who are surprised by the silent majority, expose the code ruining courtships, rip up the race cards, and encourage people to think for themselves. There. You were warned.
There is no right or wrong, only popular opinion.
A while back I asked my facebook community if there was any truth in that statemet. For a majority of those who contributed, they said it was false. They said, there is a right and a wrong and the distinction between the two is defined by the Bible.
I want nothing more to agree with them, but here’s the thing. What if a majority of society isn’t reading the Bible anymore? What if Christians and Bible reading scholars have become the minority in American mainstream? I’ve only recently turned twenty-nine, and too many times, I’ve seen comments and heard arguments from adults decades older than me who often pose questions with the prefix of … “Did the Bible ever say..?” or “What does the Bible say about…?
You know…as if they have no clue. Which is sad? But at the same time, misleading. Because I refuse to believe a majority of Americans don’t read the Bible or follow Christian principles. I believe they’re just keeping silent. I say that, because for the longest time…I’ve kept silent.
Why have I kept silent? Probably for the same reasons as everyone else, but my situation is a little more delicate. You see, I want to become a famous author and succeed in the world of publishing. I could be wrong, but it seems that even the literary world is part of the entertainment industry. It’s a business where the potential to make money is more important than art, creation, and presenting new stories to the masses.
The masses…the general public. Thanks to the internet and social media, an author’s personal beliefs and lifestyle is taken into account. It’s important that the general public likes who you are and what you believe in. Publishers value whether or not you can sell yourself, if you’re marketable to a mainstream audience. If I came out with some “outlandish” thought that’s against the popular opinion, it can seriously hurt my chances of either getting published or selling books.
Another problem I face is the reluctance of the silent majority. When I say, silent majority, I’m talking about the general public that makes up the majority of Americans, who have their gripes, complaints and suggestions about improvement, but they don’t take a stand to do anything about it. Yeah, you’ll hear them down at your bar, on the basketball court, or around the water cooler at work. But if it’s to get anything down on record about how they truly feel about an issue, they really don’t care to go through the trouble. If all they had to do was show up at a meeting to put in a ballot, nope. They got better things to do, which is mostly true especially if it doesn’t have an immediate or individual effect.
A good way to get that silent majority to move is to provoke them. And when it comes to provocation, yours truly turns out to be a pro at it. I know “provoke” or “provocation” seems to come with a negative context. When you think of someone who’s provoked, I’m sure someone bumping into your shoulder or calling you names comes to mind. Don’t worry, I’m not like that. Even when people call me condescending or insulting, that’s really a matter of interpretation. It could just be that they’re too sensitive or they grew up in a world where they were taught that everyone owes them an apology for every little thing they find offensive. ☺
What I do is toss out a grenade in the form of a hypothetical question or theory that goes against whatever the headlines are trying to brainwash you with. The questions or ideas are usually subtle, but potent. I aim to penetrate your subconscious and dig through the useless things to pull out what you really need to think for yourself.
But even “thinking for yourself” might not be enough. I say that because of the many recent news events in which the public seemed “surprised” by the outcome. Adrian Peterson spanks his child? The guy from Duck Dynasty doesn’t believe in gay marriage? People in Baltimore are rioting after a black guy died in police custody? What the hell is going on in America?
If your circle of friends, if your associates, if you opened your mind to learn about cultures outside of which you’re already familiar with…none of this would come as a surprise.
This is America. We have multiple ethnicities, multiple religions, dozens of cultures and subcultures and we were founded by rebels and free-thinkers. I have associates who are liberals and conservatives. Republicans and Democrats. Religious and Atheists. Homosexuals and Heterosexuals. I have associates who are for gun-control, and those who are against it. I have associates who are even racists or make fun of stereotypes. Some of them are even my friends.
Why is this a good thing? Because it broadens your horizons and widens your perspective. I don’t necessarily agree with all of my associates, but it helps me to understand who they are and where they’re coming from. It gives me the ability to comprehend how others feel or how they would feel about a given issue. Not to mention, there are so many nuggets of useful information that you can take from even the most ignorant individuals. All of it helps shape who I am and builds me up. That’s why I hate people who jump into conversations and criticize the opinions of others without offering their own stance on the matter. Not just because that person’s an asshole, but also because I learned absolutely nothing from the person other than the fact that he or she likes to belittle others.
Most played song during the creation. – Piano Guys “Moonlight Sonata” –
Around this time last year…I came to a crossroad where I presented myself with two options to take in life. I could have gone to Afghanistan to work for a private contracting company and made a lot of money, obviously from hazard pay. My second option was to stay in Tampa, Florida and commit myself to finishing a novel that I’ve been outlining for two years.
After writing my first novel, “The Three Kings of Ybor,” I knew how difficult this task would be. The difficulty, mostly coming from the fact that I knew I’d have to isolate myself. As difficult as isolation is to myself, its even more difficult when you have to explain yourself to people why you can’t hang out with them or visit. They look at you like you’re weird and hit you with cliché lines like “tomorrow isn’t promised and we may never get the chance to see you again.” They’re of course oblivious to the fact that I’ve considered this when I was weighing my options.
Two circumstances happened that aided in my decision. The first was the sudden emergence of ISIS that heightened tensions in the Middle East. The second was the amount of vacation days my current company finally provided. With the vacation days I was afforded, I knew I’d be ten times more productive on consecutive days off. Its takes time to fully enter one world from another.
Thus, I took the path of finishing a novel that I’d already written six chapters to. It’s called “The Pierce Syndicate.” Here’s what I’ve accomplished.
This is the Pierce Syndicate Synopsis:
In the year 2210…Three years after the Kennedy St. Massacre, the imperial government has taken notice of the lawlessness and organized crime that infests the largest city in the American Empire. Major Gideon Rose of the Sedona Unit has been dispatched to infiltrate the syndicate with permission to eliminate the worst offenders. He soon finds out the bloody way that this is easier said than done.
Tampa Bay has become a powder keg of rival clans, genetically enhanced enforcers and corrupt corporate figures with their own horde of bulletproof cyborgs. In a volatile world where the various criminal factions control nearly every aspect of commerce, all enterprises are taxed and governed by the board of directors of the Pierce Corporation with CEO Isaac Pierce serving as the head of the syndicate.
The criminal empire Isaac has worked so hard to build hangs in the balance as his health begins to deteriorate. This sign of weakness is just what his enemies and disloyal allies have been waiting for. If that’s not bad enough, the cutthroat Eliza Christie is still using August the 18th as a vigilante militia to wreak havoc on syndicate affiliates in a devastating war of attrition. Despite having an ambitious heir apparent who’s eager and waiting to take over the Pierce operations, all eyes are settled on Isaac’s more popular and feared nephew, Braden Pierce, the syndicate’s most prolific assassin.
Contrary to all of the hype, Braden is actually a calm, respectful, scholar who only comes out of his shell in the heat of intense combat. The fragile peace and stability that’s kept the clans from going at each other’s throats over the years goes up in flames when someone tries to kill millionaire socialite, Alma Monteiro. Aside from being one of the most beloved philanthropic figures the world has ever seen Alma is also Braden’s sole love interest.
Thus, Braden is placed in the middle of a bloody power struggle where he’s forced to choose between leading figures in a splintered syndicate and protecting the ones he loves. In this action-packed epic that spans three months, the body count racks up as eccentric billionaire, a rogue mob boss, and dangerous fugitive comes out of hiding, all with their own agendas to replace the Pierce Syndicate.
I knew I was committing my entire 28th year of life to finishing this book. I accepted it, embraced it. And I tell you…it was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. I’ve cried so many times through out the year from pressure, through personal failures, and tragedies I’ve witnessed in the book and outside of it. I’ve fallen to depression and daydreamed about how this world would be without me. With my other books, it wasn’t so difficult because I had already written the outline and scripts for them years before I started working two jobs. I was more or less translating a piece of work from one medium to another.
But with the Pierce Syndicate…for nearly an entire year half of my mind was in one world, the other in this one. Every waking moment where someone didn’t demand my attention, I was in the shoes of another character. When I walked the halls in a mood, I wasn’t angry or sad…but I had taken on the persona of one of my characters and hadn’t snapped back to reality yet. I felt exposed and possessed. I did wonder from time to time whether I was going insane. On my best days was when I was conflicted the most. It was usually after I attained a bit of knowledge that made me feel superior over my peers, yet battled myself to hide that superiority and appear meek and humble. It made me question whether or not simply thinking of a bad deed was just as bad as acting on it. It was so silly. But its what I had to do.
And throughout such agony and ecstasy, I created this 669-page masterpiece. On August 3rd when I finished…hahaha! I know it sounds crazy, but I really did imagine myself getting off a train at Grand Central Station. It’s like I’ve been gone for so long and I’ve finally come back. I know its hard to believe how much of an impact this story will have on the world. Perhaps…by reading me declare it, every fiber of your being will deny its greatness. I’m sure you’re thinking that I should probably keep my high opinion to myself and let the readers decide…but modesty in regard to my work has never been one of my talents.
On August 3rd when I finished…hahaha! I know it sounds crazy, but I really did imagine myself getting off a train at Grand Central Station. It’s like I’ve been gone for so long and I’ve finally come back. I know its hard to believe how much of an impact this story will have on the world. Perhaps…by reading me declare it, every fiber of your being will deny its greatness. I’m sure you’re thinking that I should probably keep my high opinion to myself and let the readers decide…but modesty in regard to my work has never been one of my talents.
What I learned this past year…
Everyone is blessed in his or her own way. No one on earth has everything. Even a man born rich will lack the sensation of starting with nothing and building himself up. I know when I share my literary accomplishments it might seem like I’m bragging, but that’s only because I’m probably the only one doing what I’ve done. If you knew a lot of writers who were posting about their written accomplishments… it wouldn’t seem like I was bragging. It would seem normal.
Think about it. I don’t post selfies of concerts and events I’ve gone to. I don’t even hang out with friends nor do I have a girlfriend who I can post photos of. I’m sure you do. And I’m sure your friends do. So it’s normal. It doesn’t seem like they’re bragging or boasting, does it?
The truth is I’m deprived of what so many are blessed with, and yet it seems people still…let me put it this way. A girl once told me that I complimented myself so much that there’s no need for her to do so. That truly made me feel sorry.
My accomplishments don’t come with trophies. I don’t have spectators for my triumphs. My creations won’t pay off for years to come, but it will pay off. Of that I have no doubt. I can’t doubt myself because doubt is venomous to me. Being an author, I don’t enjoy the luxury of instant gratification that other jobs have. If a farmer plants seeds, he reaps the harvest in a matter of months. Most jobs of a 40-hour work week enjoy the reward of a paycheck once or twice a month. But as an Author…and a single/unmarried author at that…I won’t see the fruits of my labor for years.
All I have to go on is my passion and confidence. These might seem like strong qualities, but if anything, this past year has taught me how fragile I really am. I had no choice but to remove myself from anything and anyone who could be perceived as a threat to that passion and confidence. Cynicism, skepticism, and opposing expectations about what I should be doing with my life are all threats. If it sounds like I’m being sensitive…you’re right. I am extremely sensitive in the textbook definition of the word. Nothing escapes my gaze. Your choice of words, your expressions, your enthusiasm or lack there of…I receive it all. My mind focuses more on the “why” than the “what”? I wish I could ignore it but I can’t. Accepting it is the best way I can hold my head up and smile.
The reason why I’m writing this is to reach out to you. My friends, family and associates. I can’t blame you for not comprehending if I don’t at least try to explain why I’m so odd. I want you to know that if I go out of my way to avoid you, to avoid speaking with you r to avoid making eye contact with you…its not out of hate, but the love I bear thee. It’s because I care too much about what you think. Seems I was deprived of the ability to “brush it off the shoulder” when it comes to those I want to impress. Unbeknownst to these coveted ones, their opinions can create obstacles, obstacles that take time and a great deal of mental effort for me to get over. That time is precious to me, time that I could be spending creating, building, progressing.
I go where I’m needed. I stay where I’m wanted. Life’s too short. This was me in March of 2009. 340lbs. And determined to better myself.
Rock Kitaro – Age 22 –
Starting in 2007 at the age of 20, I weighed a maximum of 378lbs,
I signed up with Anytime Fitness. Going to the gym at 1am where there was no one else in the gym but me, I was able to work out without feeling the pressure of being watched. Without the feeling of being watched, it didn’t matter how ugly or grotesque I looked…I hustled. I sweat. It hurt. But I pressed on.
My motivation was my dream of growing up to be famous and marry the most beautiful girl in the world. They say, its what’s on the inside that counts, but from my appearance, I can testify that being a glutton showed on the outside. I aimed to change all of that. I used what I’ve always used to push ahead. I drove on anger and animosity, the thoughts of everyone being against me, is what made me smile. I know that’s weird, but its how I operated.
For four years, with the encouragement of a few friends along the way, I kept up the hustle. I started out on the bike for 45 minutes, five days a week. Gradually, I stepped up to the treadmill when I found out that working the treadmill burned more calories than the bike. I started out at 45 minutes. But whenever I got comfortable… I increased the difficulty.
I increased the speed. I increased the steep incline. I increased the amount of weights I could push. I pushed myself to try the exercises that I once could not to when I was so overweight. I stopped drinking sodas. eating so many carbs before I went to bed. I reduced my portion sizes. I counted my daily calorie intake and found healthy substitutes for what I once indulged on.
I started out like this…
2007 – Age 20
To working out to this –
Trimming down to this –
And by the time I turned 24…I abstained from taking new pictures.
I began to see the changes, but didn’t want to buy new clothes and reveal my new body, otherwise it would be difficult for me to notice any changes. I’d be discouraged. Moreover, the people around me wouldn’t tell a difference. And yeah, impressing the people around me is important to me. So I kept wearing the size 48 pants, the 3XL shirts to hide or conceal the changes.
So finally. In August of 2012…I turned twenty-five. Went shopping and tried on new clothes that actually fit me. It was an amazing feeling to know where I’ve come from. To now see me in this. I was in JC Pennys…
I had my photographer friend take pictures of the new me and it shocked my friends and family.
After four years of hard work and discipline. I dropped from 378lbs to an ideal 230lbs.
This August I’ll be 29 years old. It’s been three years since I’ve reached my goal and I’ve managed to keep it off. My dad told me recently, “Rock. If you don’t have a kid until you in your 30s, then you might not be able to play basketball with him.”
I laughed at the thought. With my memory and ability to jump back in time on dime, I know there’s no way I’ll ever go back to the way I was. For the rest of my life, I’ll always be in athletic condition. Because that’s the beautiful thing about life. That no matter what, there’s always room for improvement. Till the day I die, I’ll never stop doing just that.
“The Ability to Forgive…A New Practice for Me”
By Rock Kitaro
Date: December 26, 2014
Primary Ft. Yankie and Double K – “I’m Back” –
“Forgive but never forget…”
For the longest time that statement has seemed mature, wise and innocuous, but for some reason a brooding glare of retaliation washes over. I’ve just come out of a personal phase over the past couple of months in which I’ve taken a lot of time to reexamine the kind of person I’ve become. To better myself, from this point on I think I’m going to try something new.
Ever since I was 17, the driving force behind my wanting to succeed has primarily come from the negative energy instead of positive. When we think of positive energy, we typically think of encouragement and support from friends and family. I didn’t have a lot of that growing up when it came to things that I enjoyed and wanted to do. I’m sure a lot of teenagers can relate to that.
Well into my junior year of high school, it was my drama teacher who encouraged me to use the abundant amount of negative energy that I was submersed in as motivation. She told me that she saw so much potential in me, that I had stage presence and talent. She told me to use those negative emotions as motivation to be productive and succeed.
But is that healthy? Is that how I want to continue to live my life? Is that what I want to run on when I get married? Is it what I want to pass down when I have children?
In 2206, Tampa Bay has become a paradise for organized crime. Isaac Pierce, the billionaire CEO of the conglomerate Pierce Corporation is also the kingpin to the largest most dangerous syndicate the world has ever seen.
Eliza Christie is a fifteen year old, spiteful and impulsive. When her father, Det. Emil Christie begins to theorize the existence of a possible syndicate and that Isaac Pierce is indeed its benefactor the good detective is murdered. Eliza bore witness to this murder. Only, she views it as a theft. The syndicate has stolen from her the only man worth staying out of juvie for. The only man worth exercising restraint. The only man who could be called family.
She doesn’t run and hide. She doesn’t go to the police. She doesn’t think to ask anyone for help. Instead, Eliza Christie takes up the sword and rides the train out to Ybor City in search for satisfaction. To Eliza, “Revenge is a dish best served when I serve it.”
No one is safe from the wolves of the syndicate. In the four years that the vindictive Eliza Christie was sent to live abroad, the syndicate’s power and influence has only continued to increase with bolder more public acts of terror. Young up and coming enforcers become superstars of the underworld. Forrest is a dagger-wielding maniac who revels in up close and personal kills. Sean Pierce is a sharp shooter whose swag and careless attitude belies his serious gift for precision and accuracy. And Braden Pierce…the deadliest of them all. The mere mention of his name sends a paralyzing chill down the spine of those who oppose his uncle. Unlike Sean and Forrest, Braden lacks a criminal record and his physical appearance has never been officially documented. He’s managed to avoid the press with many believing his existence was just a myth created to scare opponents to submission. But at least one person believes he’s real. Eliza Christie has seen him. Braden Pierce was the teenager standing over her father’s dead body with a bloody sword in hand.
Welcome to Ybor City! Over the better part of the 22nd Century, this downtown Tampa club district has prospered as the American Empire’s new obsession. What happens in Ybor City doesn’t just stay in Ybor City but chances are they’ll never find you again. Whether you’re caught in the crossfire of some turf war, entranced by the abundance of sexual indulgence or swallowed whole by the fortune to be made on fights and street races, Ybor City is the world’s favorite addiction with the common side effect of death.
Violence erupts when the vindictive Eliza Christie finally confronts her father’s murderer in the VIP section of a packed nightclub. Pandemonium ensues as the crowded sea of flesh and revelry bear witness to the spectacular swordfight that gives birth to the urban legend of the “Three Kings of Ybor”. After unleashing her fangs for the first time, Eliza enlists fellow freshman Robby McCloud to help her create an underground militia to take on the Pierce Syndicate. Of course that’s easier said than done, which Robby explains as he educates her on the history of the Five Pillars of Minority. The Five Pillars of Minority were the last legitimate threat to the syndicate’s supreme authority. They came close to destroying everything the Pierce set out to accomplish…but in the end…
Everyone remembers the killers. No one remembers the victims. August the 18th stands to change all of that.
Comprised of battle hardened ex-military and off-duty police officers who have lost all faith in the constitution, August the 18th is an underground militia in which every soldier has suffered from the abrupt murder of a loved one. The dearly departed all have one thing in common. Whether they were in the wrong place at the wrong time or sacrificed themselves in the line of duty, the husbands, wives, sons and daughters have merely become a statistic in the body count attributed to the infamous Pierce Syndicate.
With the cutthroat Eliza Christie leading as their commander, August the 18th finally takes a stand to unleash destruction and disruption on the terrorizing world of organized crime. This of course, starts with raiding a notorious casino, exposing a corrupt police superintendent and rescuing a political prisoner from a Haitian hit squad over freezing waters. In spite of their impressive start, August the 18th Captain Priest Edwin voices his understandable concerns toward the longevity of their merry little band. With the overwhelming presence of a modern day Caesar, Eliza Christie declares that she is the 1st Generation Commander of August the 18th. The idea of future generations continuing on through the sands of time sparks an undying fire in her men. If there are to be future generations…none shall surpass the first.