I read many years ago that juxtaposition is a tricky word to understand. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Juxtaposition as - the act or instance of placing two or more things side by side often to compare or contrast or to create an interesting effect. Over the course of the last decade, I've remembered this word and how vital its meaning truly is within our daily lives, in fact before I knew it's definition, I was already living the meaning each day.
We NOW live within a world where not much is hidden from the eyes of others, one can whisper something so random and by the end of the day said thing will appear within search engines, Facebook, Instagram, random text messages, or spam mail. Yes, yes, yes, I've whispered the words, short legged Siberian potato sheep and received the image of said creature; it's real try it.
In all seriousness, our world is forever evolving into more of a complex shape where technology/data are being compiled at such alarming rate and we the regular folk are being farmed for our intelligence. Each new generation of kids are adapting to technology/data at such alarming rate. The average two year old can identify that a phone has games on it and those games hold the future to their happiness if but even for a moment in time. The endorphins which should be utilized for other aspects of life are now being spent on eyes being glued to our phones and computers, which leaves daily interaction at a minimum. When was the last time any of you sat in the home of a close friend or loved one with zero interference from your phone or the TV?
The growing up which I did some thirty plus years ago are nothing more than a distant memory BUT memories no less. For me, my childhood was one of escape and adulthood has been more of a trying time; I imagine one could insert the word juxtaposition here, the creation of an interesting effect.
My parents have always been the most influential people in my life and without their guidance I'm unsure where I'd be at this present time. The pressures of being a good child have always been a burden to some degree but one which I've been able to bear at times with a grimace upon my face and many a times with an awkward toothy smile.
The examples of the importance of hard work and dedication were and still are prevalent on the faces of both of my parents. My father was a successful businessman in the early to late seventies and his hard work continued here to the United States where he completed a PhD and Masters while also being present for a couple of munchkins and my mother. The strength of my mother has always been her personality and unwavering heart to help others. My mother was a nurse for damn near close to thirty years with her shifts being mostly from evening to morning. As a younger man, I would think and hope for the ability to have the means which would allow her to simply rest.
I share these quick examples because they're real and also help to shed some light on the family unit which I come from. The pressure of not failing has always been great but through much failing, I've learned that it's how one gets up which counts the most. All of my siblings are successful, nursing, commercial real estate brokers, education, and project management; I'm definitely the black sheep who has grazed the same field and grass for far too long, I'm also the one whom my parents lose the most sleep about too.
A few years ago, five or six now, my father caught me on the steps of their house and he questioned me about a trip to Mexico which I had just returned from. To be fair, I think it was my second of three international trips that year and he felt as though I was wasting my time. "When are you going to buckle down and stop all of this traveling", he asked and without blinking my eyes, my retort was concise and simple, "You're the person who spoke to us of the world, I've chased your stories, walked in cities that are in our picture albums so instead of you being proud of me, you're asking me to stop... Yeah, that's not happening, I want to leave stories too for whoever will be willing to cherish them". Needless to say, he just stared at me and shook his head and I stared at him and didn't shake mine because I was living my life not his.
It's strange to think that our parents have this sort of control over our lives at times which they attempt to wield like a light saber and I'm out here like hold on, I'm a Jedi too! The funny part is I'm at the age where I'm slowly turning into the parent as they're slowly relinquishing their rights, well mom more than dad, I'm sure he feels as though he's going to be the main chief until he dies but little does he know, little does he know I've been groomed for the crown.
The greatest mistakes which I've made haven't been met with angry words or some type of weird attitude, instead always with love, though at times it has been tough love but in the end love nonetheless. The most disappointed that my mother has been in me was due to the fact I was crumbling/hurting over a relationship which in hindsight was nothing more than me liking someone for the first time and then having my heart ripped from my chest. My mom wasn't having any of that sit in dark places and cry BS and at that very moment, I thought, "Damn, my sweet mom is sort of a gangster". Now, my dad has been disappointed in me often enough for me to now sort of laugh at these days. When I graduated from high school, he picked my major and workload, he went and spoke with my guidance counselor at the time, he made sure I was doing the work, etc.
There was a time when I felt as though I knew the entire Fresno State University campus because I discovered my voice and stardom, I also pledged a fraternity and partied for a semester too! My father and me would bump heads and I would tell him that it was my life and he would tell me I wasn't old enough to have a life (haha). Y'all are lucky you didn't have an African dad, there were times in my head where I felt like punching him square in his chin just in order for him to see how much of a man I truly was, I mean real men punch each other right. In retrospect my father failed to see that I shared his heart, spirit, and mind, his fire was and has been my fire just on a whole other level.
My father to this day has never made me think or feel as though I was or am a failure, he has expressed that his worry for us kids being gobbled up by the world was/is his only fear. At this age, it's comforting to have my family to lean on when things get tough.
In the wake of how our world is setup at the moment, I think of all of the parents who are so fucking weird to their kids especially when their kids need them the most. NO one is perfect and if they act as though they are, there's probably someone who can remind them of their imperfections. I've attempted to live this life remembering that I'm not too far removed from a 600 sq.ft. 2bd, 1bth apartment which raised me for close to twenty years of my life.
To me juxtaposition is tricky because there are some who point fingers, hurl insults, and think ill of others when they've forgotten who they were before they seemingly "made it" in life. I've sat quietly as some people have insulted me, I've sat quietly has some people have insulted my culture, race, etc., however during these moments of absolute Zen, I can't help but think to myself... "You'll find out the meaning of juxtaposition and think uh oh".
There are so many funny words in this world, just as much as there are "funny people"; I rather focus on the words than the people. IF you stick close you might see my special air on this blog within the coming weeks, SNARK Week.
Keep it classy and remember to lighten up, we only get one of these lives and only so many chances to make things right.