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We are all Danish, tonight.

warpaint

I began this drawing a week ago, inspired by Fall Out Boy’s ‘The Phoenix.’ It had been a emotional time for me–I was leaving my previous company, leaving the kids I’ve grown to love for something else. The song struck me.

Hey young blood
Doesn’t it feel like our time is running out?
I’m gonna change you like a remix
Then I’ll raise you like a phoenix
You’re wearing our vintage misery
No, I think it looked a little better on me

I checked out the song, and while I didn’t find any explanation to what the writer was thinking when he wrote the lyrics, this particular part stuck to me. I’ve always felt like my time to do something good for the world was too short–our time is too short. If I can’t do anything to leave this world a better place, then maybe I can impart the same desire to the younger generation. Leave the charge of making the world better to stronger, smarter, and hopefully wiser kids. Let them rise and burn change into this world. Vintage misery– I hope they never make the same mistakes and complaints as we did. I hope they change things. Let our generation keep it’s misery–the new generation shouldn’t have to deal with our consequences.

This morning, while reading the local paper, I happened upon the gunning in Denmark. As per the paper I was reading, the gunning might’ve been inspired the Charlie Hebdo shootings in France.

I have never considered myself an artist up until lately. I felt like I was never good enough–I’ve always been frustrated that I can never draw how I feel. It was only lately that I decided to screw it–I was going to draw what I felt, even if no one else understood it. I had to let it out. It wasn’t for the whole world to see–it was so I could get rid of that gnawing feeling of the unspoken inside me.

The shootings in France are suspected to be done in retaliation to the controversial art that the magazine published.  As an artist, this struck me to the core. We are artists–we are simply people who want our message heard through our art. I do not condone or condemn the message their art had, but i think the act of shedding blood just to quiet people is inhuman. Inhuman, wrong–I am out of words as to express how wrong it is. It is one thing for some species of the animal kingdom to kill their own, but it is another thing for a species with a consciousness to kill their own.

Were all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.

– Charlies Bukowski

I sympathize with those left behind by the dead. Je suis Charlie. We are all Danish tonight.

I write to those who use the pen or the brush to voice themselves out.

Put on your war paint.

Bully-Proof.

I work for a school that is proud to call itself Bully Proof. We are only accepting 500 students this year because we want to make sure that we get to know our kids, know if anything or anyone is hurting them. We have an open-door policy for them. Thus, I have gotten to know a lot of our kids.

I love these kids. They are insecure of themselves–they’re not perfect, and they’re scared they won’t ever be good enough. They are scared. They are scared about their grades, they are scared about their future. They are misunderstood–they do many things people misinterpret and react upon. They want to be loved. Some of them are worried that they won’t ever be loved. They sit around in school, trying to juggle the pressures from home, school, peers and worst of all, themselves.

But god, I love them.

I know exactly where you are. I know what it’s like to feel inadequate. I still feel that way sometimes. I know what it’s like to feel unsure about your future. And it’s okay. I love you for it. I see you everyday, going through all kinds of things and keeping it all in. Some of you are lucky–you have friends to help them out. Some of you aren’t that lucky. I know what it’s like, and that’s why I love you.

I write this as a call, a challenge to you guys. I know you have enough on your plate, and I’m sorry to tell you the truth: it won’t get better. Beyond each day, there be dragons. You will face bigger dragons, bigger problems, more complicated webs. You can only get stronger.

This is my challenge to you: I want to see you be brave.

Many adults might call you idealistic. Many of them will call your passions misguided. Many of them will tell you to ‘tone down.’

I say hold on. Hold onto your passions. Do not hurt others, do not step on others, but hold on to your passions. What you cannot stand in this world is what you are meant to change. I know some of you don’t believe in a god, but I do, and if you could look at it my way for one second–I believe that God created you just the way you are because you need to change specific things in this world, and only you can change those things.

HOLD ONTO YOUR PASSIONS. Do not learn to turn the other cheek. Do not become callous. Do not become bitter just because the world around you is mean. In this world that we live in, where people are so rich they could buy the stars, I urge you–do not sell your fucking soul.

You weren’t meant to live just to get through each day. To paraphrase Jack London,

Choose to be ashes than dust.
Choose that your spark burn out in a brilliant blaze than let it stifle with dry-rot.
Be a superb meteor, every atom of you in magnificent glow, than a sleepy, permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not exist.
Do not waste your days trying to prolong them. Use your time.

Be who you are. Show me how big your brave is–show me who you really are. Nothing will hurt you more than letting unspoken words settle in your skin.

It doesn’t matter what your background is–who loved you or who didn’t love you. What matters is now. You have a choice to choose who to be. No scars of the past, no monsters of the future can stop that. You can choose your own story here. Show me how brave you are.

Stand up for what’s right. Stand up for those who are being bullied. Love–my god, love each other! We are all going to die–we don’t have very long with each other–love each other like brothers and sisters. Don’t ever forget that in the end, it doesn’t matter if you were right or wrong. What matters is who’s going to be left standing by your side.

When you stand up and speak up–do not let your words be empty. Say what you have to say, say what you mean, say what you feel. I promise you, there is always a proper way of saying things. Find it. Say things to build each other up, not to tear each other down.

I am not teaching you anarchy. Or maybe I am. The roots of the word ‘anarchy’ are ‘an archos,’ ‘no leaders,’ which is not really about the kind of chaos that most people imagine when the word ‘anarchy’ is mentioned. I think that anarchy is, to the contrary, about taking personal responsibility for yourself.

Take responsibility for yourself. Do not play the blame game.

I can’t wait to see you all being your wonderful, unique selves. You are amazing. You are wonderful. You are lovable.

Lastly, let me remind you, that you really don’t care about something or someone unless you do something about it. I care for you. Here’s my number: 09278359211, and here’s my email: lafrago.lf@gmail.com.

I will always listen to your problems. I will always hear you out. I hate replying to text messages, so it might take sometime, but I will read your story. I will hear what’s going on with you, I will know, and I will still love you, no matter what happens.

If you don’t believe me, believe us–the people who put together the words I put together here:
Jack London. Sara Bareilles. Poindexter. Jesus. Charles Bukowski. Alan Moore–and I’m sure many others will say the same things I’ve said, just in different ways.

This day and age has given you everything. Technology has given you power. This is my charge to you. You have no excuse not to be brilliant. You can be brilliant. Take care of each other–love each other. Make the world bully-proof.

All the best,
Lanz.

Free

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.

-Albert Camus

Free. Everybody wants to be free.

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You see the word peppered allover–t-shirts, walls, graffiti–everywhere. Yet what does it really, truly mean to be free?

I’ve seen lots of people defame the word by associating it with the fast-rising YOLO epidemic.

Kids, YOLO is not an excuse to do stupid stuff.

But what does it really mean to be free? How can your very existence be a rebellion in an unfree world if one cannot define what ‘free’ means?

In my younger years, I read somewhere that breaking rules did not mean that you were free. The lack of rules does not mean freedom. It only means that there are no rules. Being able to break rules also does not mean that you are free. Au contraire, ma cherie, it means that you are even more un-free because despite your adamant repetition that you don’t care about the rules–you are forever looking over your back, checking for those who would condemn your rule-breaking ways.

I cannot pretend that I can fully define freedom, but I can say that I have found freedom in love.

I know of only one duty, and that is to love.- Albert Camus

I urge you to love. It doesn’t have to be romantic. Love. To accept people with all their flaws, to embrace their mistakes and shortcomings–to forgive the person they were, to like them for the person they are, and to cheer on the person they can be. Whichever does them best.

Too many people fear that other people will take advantage of them. Too many people hurt others, believing that this is the only way they can keep themselves from being hurt. Too many people lock themselves up from others to ensure that no one can hurt them or take advantage of them. Too many people are not free.

So how are we then to be so free that our mere existence is an act of rebellion? I think we should love. I think we should love the unlovable.

“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.”

-Kurt Vonnegut

I’ve always loved this quote as it is the most rebellious thing I’ve ever seen. The world will hurt you. The world is harsh–but don’t let it mold you into something you’re not. The world is hard–remain soft to those who are weak and in need. The world will hurt you–do not hate–love! Love even more. The world will try to turn you bitter–be as sweet as ever. No matter how much it tries to convince you that it’s ugly and mean– give it a damn hug.

Go tell the world to fuck itself–it can be as mean and as horrible as it wants, you will not yield to it’s efforts to turn you into something mean and horrible.

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.

-Albert Camus

Go be a rebel. Go love someone.

All the best,
the intern.