Deal with it, FT.

Sometimes I do like scrolling through anonymous advice articles. The writers you can relate to in their situation at times. I think this is the first time I feel like I had to do a double take to the author who responded to the letter. The “TL;DR” version – The first quote is a person who bullied people early in their life. Amy (the columnist) responds with a fairly neutral response in the second quote.


Dear Amy: I was a very unhappy person up until my 20s. I’ll spare you the melodrama, but I didn’t grow up in the best home and had very poor social skills. After learning to manage some real anxiety and depression issues and a lot of therapy, I’ve been in a much better place for a long time. I’m now in my late 40s.
After a recent class reunion and re-engaging with some old acquaintances, I have heard about a number of ways I acted back in the day that range from insensitive to downright terrible.


It pains me to realize that I was apparently an insufferable jerk. I don’t think I’m that way anymore (at least I hope not). But what do I do with these revelations?
I’ve tried apologizing, and some will listen, whereas others just apparently want the satisfaction of telling me off.


With one man who says I bullied and harassed him (I don’t remember it that way), I even tried saying, “I wasn’t a happy person then,” on top of apologizing.

I am left not feeling very good about myself, which is not a good path for me.
It’s like I’m never going to be able to redeem myself in the eyes of a large swath of people I grew up around.


I’ve thought about a universal, wide-ranging apology on social media saying, “Look, I know I wasn’t a great person to be around, but I’m not that way anymore.”


Thoughts? Suggestions?


— Formerly Terrible

Dear Amy, Local Sun

You can almost feel the desperation of the writer. After I read this, I was fuelled up to see how Amy could bring this person around. Some articles I read really put an “in your face” approach to people with problems. Usually they have a small hopeful positive, but it’s always something realistic in the end to put people in the now. I like articles that make people want to accept the situation they’re in and to move on.

At the same time, Amy responded.


Dear Formerly: I don’t suggest a wide-ranging apology on social media, mainly because it might lead to a piling-on, as people recall episodes and incidents from over two decades ago.


Mainly, I want to offer you a high-five. You have changed. You have tackled your behavioral problems and are now quite appropriately trying to acknowledge, as well as somehow manage the fallout. It’s a reckoning.


Acknowledging your behavior is huge. Apologizing to the people you have wronged is appropriate — and also huge.


There is an additional step, however, that you may have missed — and that is asking for forgiveness.


You say, “I did this to you. I know I hurt you. I am ashamed, and so sorry.”
Then you let the person vent, respond or recount the consequences of your behavior.


And then you say, “I’ve worked very hard to change. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.”


That’s it.


Some people will forgive you immediately. Some will ponder your sincere effort at making amends, and will forgive you later. Some may never get there. And some will be inspired by your honesty and authenticity.

Dear Amy, Local Sun

So Amy does show some sympathy. Offering some sound advice by telling the writing (I’ll call them FT), don’t go public for something that happened in your private life. There are stipulations, in my opinion, on going public.

Acknowledgement and acceptance to the offending behaviour is a major step. To understand why people see it as offensive and the consequences that can lead to a bunch of closed doors.

Asking for forgiveness after bullying everyone around you is futile. The relief is the one that were bullied to submission will forgive you but it was you that bullied them to that position. They still see you as a bully but not a sincere person. You have not earned that apology as a person, you are still the child that demands attention from others.

I feel Amy was never really bullied as a child. I hope Amy or whoever respond to FT take it from someone who was bullied for over a decade with no support from anyone.

Amy, being harassed as a child is a heavily scarring thing that only we are beginning to realize. Those that say things that dismiss less than this, were the problems in our lives. They never aided anyone positively to fix the problem. Consoling in the victim does fix the problem alone. We are social animals, meaning we have the ability to grow and heal as a group but have the capacity of aggression like any other animal. When you realize these people exist in the world as your grow up, something riles up in you. There is a reason by violence and suicide in teens was highly publicized in the late 90’s to 2000’s, these kids snapped. Those kids who were bullied and without nothing to hold on to, they broke. I’ve had ideation to shoot up an institution. I’ve had ideation of suicide. I’ve had both, murder-suicide style. These are symptoms to bullying and much like a mental illness, these are symptoms to a bigger problem. Healing symptoms does not solve the main issue.

As an advice column, this answer is a very 90’s approach to bullying which is why we still have kids who are as messed up as they were. Little to nothing to really help FT in this situation. So my response:

Formerly Terrible,

As a personal who has been bullied by people like you, I don’t forgive. Your actions are irreversible to your victims as a consequence, you must live with that guilt and you must live with it as a sobering reminder. This reminder: always weigh your personal actions.

I hate people like you because people like you kept my life a living hell for years. My life is the way it is because of you turned me into the person as I am. That is something I can’t have back and if that disturbs you soul, then it is you that disturb it.

At the time, you did not think about because of your predisposition of whatever happened to you as a younger self. You have grown up, hopefully more self-aware than before. This is the path you chose and no amount of grovelling can take you back.

Your peers may not forgive you for your past, but now you know better you can lead the change to end the same problem for someone else. With age should come wisdom and knowledge of the world. Our ability for hindsight is what helps society change, if we don’t understand that hindsight then we are to repeat our mistakes.

Go on in your life knowing this is where it ends, no one can forgive you. However this is where you will begin to make amends to those mistakes.

nawkcire, Personal Blogger
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Insta-ntly Persuaded

Well, add more account I have to maintain. For now anyways.

This year has been the year where people keep asking me “When are you going to get Instagram?” Haunted, I might as well do it and give it a shot. Then if anyone starts copying my content, I might just delete it and let it be.

I’ve held off getting an account because I have an invested interested in my talents. I like my work but I don’t want to work in an contractual confines that would stop me from developing. In this case I would have create photos on a smaller scale, closer to cell phone screen size when I have over 3000 pixels to work with. On a screen like an iPhone, details aren’t distinct and broad shapes and colours are the only thing that captivates. Until 500px which I’ve done well for myself, I liked to create confines to challenge. An example is choosing 7 photos a week for the 500px website. It doesn’t feel like it’s a popularity contest where the best looking or the best trend wins the day. Thus why I feel Snapchat and Instagram feel more like social media platforms than a pedestal to put my work out there. Everything is temporary unless it’s exhilarating to the mass body. For me, it’s no different than Twitter besides being a visually centred social media platform.

Also it’s an entirely mobile platform! As a camera user, I can’t do anything about that besides taking photos of photos. Of course, there’s a round about way in Chrome to use it on PC. However I can’t upload from my PC but I can view. Really discourages anyone but a cellphone to use a platform like that.

Artistically when you want to make money, you have to sell something about you to really open it up to the world. This isn’t something I approve but I am trying to build my amateur skill to a professional level.

Even if putting @nawkcire on Instagram and saying it’s moving forward.

 

Radio Is Dead

I’m starting to see why people dislike radio nowadays. I don’t think the internet is the problem.

Locally according to my new MP3 player, a SanDisk Clip Sport, I have about 20 stations playing music. Not just pop music but a bit of a cultural mix aside from the occasional talk shows. However most of the stations do play top 40’s from the present or yesteryear. Which is the realization, I remember back in the day there were hardly any new top 40’s. Now it seems like there’s a hit every few months or so.

Back in the day for you to discover new music, you had to listen to the radio or from background music at a store. Then you would just have to buy the CD or a cassette (if you’re as old as me). Different to now, where you can discover music through an endless stream. Then you just buy the single or the album – digitally. In a way, radio is playing catch up and playing more of sports recap of all the best music that has graced people’s ear. Then depending on your country, they have to abide with  censorship laws. So songs with profanity are edited for radio or it won’t be played. It’s unfortunate because some songs are great with the profanity. There is an upside to this.

Most of the tunes chosen by the DJ are usually great to listen most of the time. Though in the recent trends, the new urban hip-hop and R&B is kind of producing lacklustre songs. Catchy yes, but you can get sick of it so quick.

With all it’s flaws, I don’t think radio would go away. In it’s limited way, it’s an amazing free way to listen to some good music. Even as diluted as it is, you can always have  chance to discover a new song. Here, we have an indie station and usually it’s  hit or miss because it’s all music I’ve never heard of but that’s a classic trait about radio.

I’ll still listen to the airwaves but I’ll be station surfing.

Google Map Reviews

It’s been awhile that I signed up as a Google Guide, a service that allows you to participate in editing and reviewing locations on Google Maps. Recently (though I don’t want to brag) I reached by 100th review and I’ve seen some good and bad reviews.

Full disclosure of how I rate and review, Google uses a 5 star system. With it, I base all ratings on the following:

  1. Does the place physically exist? Kind of mandatory for most of the places I’ve been.
  2. How’s the customer service? How was my personal experience?
  3. How was the services and products offered? Were they everything I expected?
  4. How does the physical location look? Optionally, how’s the washrooms?

I don’t usually offer a 5 star rating which means from me, 4 stars is the most. However 5 stars just indicates I’ve had an exemplary time and experience. Meaning 2 through 4 were exceptionally greater than the places I’ve been. This is fairly hard since a lot of restaurants and shops provide the same amount of service and usually meets a pseudo-standard which seems professional but accommodating.

In terms of a written review, it follows a personal standard. First beginning with a preamble about the general location, nothing bias here. Then I move on to atmosphere of the place, products and services, then customer service. Along with it, I put down anything I’ve observed to be interesting to me and the last paragraph is for if I want to recommend this place or if I would visit again.

It’s likely not the best way to be labelled as a useful review however I’ve seen some really ridiculous reviews on there with a bunch of users saying they found it useful. On Steam it’s the same thing but that’s another story. Usually these reviews have no content besides from a star rating and the phrase “not bad”, “great”, or “would visit again”. If I was a stranger, I would like to know why people enjoy this place and something to really be convinced on going. The idea of a review is not to just let people know what’s going on here but to provide people a reason to go there or should not even bother. I know some people can be extremely critical (some of my reviews sound like that as well) but the idea is to be honest to provide feedback to a place while giving something a potential customer needs to go there.

Regardless I found a lot of places over Google Maps because reviewers have provided some good feedback. Then there are places with those 2 word reviews that turn me away because I don’t feel like going there. With a lot of users, I think Google should extend this Guide program to products. Perhaps a joint product review with Amazon but the Guide program does offer a somewhat credible system for folks.

Four out of five, will review again.

A selfie is not a self portrait…

Sure this topic isn’t hip any more but when the term “selfie” came around to pop culture, there were a lot of opinion writers.

At the gallery there is a fantastic painting of an artist painting themselves as they’re painting themselves. It’s kind of interesting to step closer and seeing the detail into the scene within the painting. Even with their back turned, it’s a very interesting self-portrait. Fast forward to the digital age of the late 2000’s and 2010’s, the “selfie” is a self portraiture; usually associated with a cell phone and a mirror. I have to admit looking at the comparison between this piece in the gallery and everyone’s Instagram (I don’t have one but I like to peak at others), we’ve come so far that I feel the concept of a self-portrait has degenerated. It’s one thing to make the “I was here” statement when you want to selfie  in the moment but when people stage selfies, I do feel it’s a bit self-absorbed.

In a recent walk to witness the Sakura blooms, I saw a lot of selfie sticks. A lot. Enough to really conclude people are really selfish to really equate to those people who take chunks of the tree for themselves or those who disobey signs to get the right selfie. I really don’t think a jpeg from a cellphone could really out compete with a RAW file from a DSLR or even a png/tiff image from a point and shoot. I regardless, a $100 point and shoot will have a timer function. Meanwhile I’ve seen people reaching out to a stranger for a photo. I, for a few times, was the stranger. I usually do my best to take the photo. I quite understand to entrust someone of your phone when you’re so shy to ask. That’s obvious but there are some very outgoing people that apparent don’t have time to get a photographer as a friend.

I do find in modernity, the self-portrait has become more abuse of an artistic craft to a social media eye sore. And for those who rarely take them; rare being once in many month, then I think you are more observant of the world than looking for a narcissistic reward.

Mental Health

This is one thing I have to be mindful of when I live my life. I take pills, apply therapy techniques and do my best to live my life. With the recent going-on’s in Toronto, I feel like underlying issue is left ignored.

During times like this when an incident on this scale happens, people get immediately angry and resentful. Myself included when I first heard the news, I was shocked and wanted nothing more for the suspect to serve his life behind bars. It is unfortunate knowing I walk the same streets and at any time, someone like this person would get behind the wheel and commit murder on this scale. Knowing one of those pedestrians can be anyone regardless of age, race and gender, it disturbs me to think I could be one of those unnamed and soon forgotten by the public.

Life – a fragile thing. Not only in preservation, but in keeping all the smaller things in perspective. Things like emotion, stability and clarity. To feel without overstepping while taking a stride with meaning without being led by emotions. Which is kind of why I’m brought to write this week’s post (though it feels I do this more bi-weekly).

The real question when crimes like this occur, I ask myself “What’s really going on here?” A lot of people focus solely on a person then blame a niche outside the norm. It’s equivocal if a hipster committed genocide because carnivores are destroying the Earth and veganism is the way to go. The way I see it, crime is a social issue. The question from “What this person has done?” to “Where did we go wrong?” Channelling the proverb “it takes a village” does reflect what happened and what has changed. From the restraint for the officer ending the situation non-violently to the tolerance to not accuse the suspect for terrorism right off the bat. We’re changing but there is niche groups that are still victimized because of radicalized individuals. It is sad people died because we live in a society still dictated by a toxic masculine point of view which objectifies men as much as it does for women. In a sense the recent pro-female movement has weaponized feminism into hating men than raising an equal society. This mirrors much of the recent movements started with good intentions and lead by those radicalized by them. Dissidence is important for a democratic society but the values we pass on must be of those of tolerance and critical thinking. To be objective and to ask questions beyond what we know to get a bigger picture.

If we can at least achieve this, perhaps things like this wouldn’t necessarily happen.

NIMBY

First time I ever heard of this acronym was in Cities: Skylines. In the game, this is a policy you can enact to prevent loud noise at night. In reality this is much more as a phrase for anyone who opposes a service within their neighbourhood.

Living in the big city, whether people say it or not, has become a bit of an oxymoron. Here homelessness and public transit are the top two people like to address but don’t necessarily want to physically change.

The transit system here is fairly archaic, most of the system was developed in the 60’s. With a sprawling city without an upgraded transit system, it has been crowded. So now with old stations being updated, a lot of people are really against the stations from expanding to accommodate more routes or making it more accessible. With a lot of people throwing opinions and hate for every plan, I doubt any meaningful progress so far.

The homeless issue is a bunch of sociological problems; drugs, shelter, food, safety. A lot of local NGO’s  try to keep these people alive while the city tries to find ways to bring these people back into society. The biggest problem especially in winter is shelter. Recently, my local city wants to open a new shelter near my neighbourhood. However Once that hit the news, everyone went ape about not wanting it near them. That goes the same with safe injection sites. I understand both sides of the stories and I honestly don’t know who’s in the right because both arguments are valid.

“No In My BackYard” has become something I want to avoid personally. It’s a phrase that doesn’t progress an issue and usually throws an issue to someone else.