To Be Cynical is to be Human

Hello, dear readers and happy Monday! I know, I know, Mondays aren’t happy. Mondays are for being tired, and grouchy, and remembering all the things you don’t like about your life. Mondays are for wanting to crawl back into bed.

But, let’s try something different. Let’s think of Mondays as a chance at a fresh start, every single week. Each Monday is our own personal reset button. Let’s take this opportunity to do it differently. Let’s make the changes we want to see in ourselves and the world, okay?

“Show me somebody who is always smiling, always cheerful, always optimistic, and I will show you somebody who hasn’t the faintest idea what the heck is really going on.”

― Mike Royko

We are living in the age of positivity. We are living by the rule of mind over matter and the fight fight fight for hope and optimism. We are walking around smiling, hoping, and telling ourselves and everyone we know that it’s all going to be all right, and it’s exhausting.

Yeah, it’s nice to always be positive. I am always trying to be positive too, but honestly, expecting to live a life where you wake up every day full of optimism is not going to end in anything but disappointment. You can’t do it every day.

It’s good to see the best in people, and it’s good not to be blind to the worst. It’s good to know you can make a difference and it’s ok to be exhausted and infuriated by how hard it is. It’s ok to see all the pain of the past and worry that we’ll go on repeating ourselves into the future. It’s ok to have a less than perfect view of our future, and it’s ok to feel overwhelmed and discouraged too.

And yeah, it’s nice to want to change the world for the better every day. I want to do that too but honestly, sometimes I want to step back and just worry about myself for a while too. Expecting to give yourself day in and day out to other people without ever wanting to give up or give in lead directly to exhaustion and disappointment too.

The fact is, no person can sustain one emotion or one way of feeling or expressing themselves forever. We do our best to keep to the middle when we can but often before we can recognize it, let alone stop it, we are swinging wildly from one end of the spectrum to the other. This is normal. This is okay. Being positive all the time sounds nice, but that does not mean it is the best way or the healthiest way to live. It might not be the right way for most people. And that is okay.

We all want to believe the best of the world, and every day so many of us are fighting to make the belief into a reality, but sometimes we have to take a break. Sometimes we just have to be real with ourselves. The world is shitty, people are shitty, and the whole damn system is set up so that you have to work so damn hard just to feel like you aren’t going to your grave feeling useless and forgotten. It’s a hard life. It’s unfair, and it hurts, and no amount of positivity changes that for everyone. I might not even change it for you.

Here at Zen and Pi, I advocate for feeling the full spectrum of human emotion in ways that are heathy for each individual. That means sometimes being angry, sad, and yes, even cynical. Sometimes, because we are human, no matter how hard we try we want to feel bad, and we want to express that too. Sometimes we are mean, or indifferent, or unforgiving. Sometimes we just can’t be the bigger person. It’s understandable! We are hopelessly flawed. It’s okay!

They say cynics can’t learn, can’t grow, can’t change or help anything or anyone, and maybe that is true, but the perpetually positive are just as blind and stunted if you ask me. Each one lives with only half the story, half the human experience. Each condemns the other, and both are fools.

To be human is to hope, and to be human is to be hopeless too. Both stem from having an accurate view of the world and the people inhabiting it.

So, this week, if you can’t always smile, say nice things, pay it forward, or let it all slide, it’s ok. Do your best and fuck the rest, you know?

I know I’ve had a pretty hard time keeping my chin up, putting one foot in front of the other, and smiling while the world seems to be burning all around me. There is so much going wrong in the world, and there doesn’t appear to be a whole lot we can do about it right now. Some days I’m pissed! I’m disappointed! I’m fucking tired! And I’m going to be, off and on, forever because that’s what people do.

So, I’m buckling in and turning on my frown y’all. I may have to sit through this, but I don’t have to like it. I don’t have to be chipper, and I do not have to start every morning with telling myself that it’s all down to my attitude because sometimes that is nothing but a dirty lie and here at Zen and Pi we do not lie to ourselves.

I’m not saying give up hope. I’m not saying give up the fight. I’m not saying happiness is impossible or that real change will never happen. I’m just saying it’s ok to let your cynical flag fly because the world is a shitty place sometimes and being a human is hard. It’s ok to be less than enthusiastic about society and human potential at the moment. We are all disappointed, still, and we will be for a long time. Let it out. Express it, share it, and don’t feel bad or apologize for it.

Give yourself permission to be a Negative Nancy if you need to until you don’t need to. Don’t let the world tell you how to feel about whatever you are going through. Don’t let the world tell you that suppressing or denying emotions they deem unnecessary, or “wrong” is in your best interest. Just feel, and be real, that’s all I’m asking.

Fight when you can, smile when you can, and step back and curse it all when you want to too.

It’s all human, and it’s all right.


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Featured image via Unsplash


Monday Motivation // Hustle Baby

It’s Monday lovelies which means we all have to our collective asses in gear and get motivated. Yes we are sad to see the weekend go but good things can happen in those days between Sundays and Saturdays we we get out there and hustle hard!

Historically the word hustle has been associated with shady ways of making money, like selling drugs. Nowadays though the hustle is just something you do to move yourself forward and make money. I think of it more like something you do outside of your day job so that one day you can quit that B.S. day job. At least that’s what I’m doing.

Writing here is my hustle. I don’t make money doing it now but one day, if I learn to write well and focus on doing something good in this world, maybe my hustle will become my day job. Until then I stay on my grind. Meaning I write and write and write. I write before my route, I write when I get back, I write in between the tasks my boss gives me. I find minutes to steal from other places throughout the day so I can give more to writing.

This week I encourage you all to try to pin down exactly what your hustle is and I want you to focus more time on it. I want you to keep it in mind no matter what you are doing. I want you to be planning and plotting in you mind no matter what you are physically occupied with.

Not only that but I want you to always be thinking to yourself “how can I take a moment to work on this?”. If you are in a meeting at your day job and your boss is going on about something that doesn’t pertain to you, jot down some ideas on another sheet of paper instead. If you are waiting for a client to show up think of ideas for a drawing or a story or whatever it is you do on the side.

I’ve read many stories about famous writers who wrote in their free time while working other boring, tedious, thankless jobs. That gives me hope that by utilizing my time in between the tasks that I don’t care much care for, maybe one day I will, slowly but surely start to spend more and more time doing what I like and less of the boring, tedious, thankless stuff.

I know this is late, I was stuck in boring meetings all day :(

Monday Motivation, Goals, and Plans

This week I am going to distance myself from the negativity in my workplace. Last week wasn’t so great at work and I allowed myself to get angry and frustrated. I never want to let other people affect my emotions that way. What they do or think doesn’t concern me, so I need to let it go.

I want to focus on getting things done and having fun. I have friends here who aren’t into bickering or being complete assholes so I’m going to stick with them for now.

This week I want to get outside for a bit. While New York is projected to get upwards of 3 feet of snow, here in sunny Colorado we are going to see temperatures in the 70s! I am tired of stale air conditioning and harsh fluorescent bulbs, I need sunlight and warmth! I’m going to soak up all the good weather I can, just in case we don’t see it again until April.

I’d like to take a walk but I’m not sure I’ll be able to work it in. I can however notify my team that I will be working outside in front of the building. The Wi-Fi is still good there.

This week is the last week of January and I want to evaluate where I am with some of my goals. I already know I haven’t done as much as I’d hoped to but that’s ok. February is a new month and a new chance to begin again. I have a new set of goals and I want to take time this week to prepare myself and get together a list of supplies.

I have a craft project, an art project, and two Blogging U. courses going on. Plus a higher work load. I’m going to be busy!

Other than all of that, I’m just trying to make it through the week. If I do nothing else but make it in to work on time and put one foot in front of the other the rest of the day, everyday, then I’ll consider it a good week. I am feeling a bit burned out and I don’t want to push myself to hard. Getting shit done sounds nice but we all need a break too. I may need one this week.

I want to try to do everything I can first but I will be ok if I just survive until Friday. Sometimes that’s all we can do.

Monday Motivation – Blogging 201 Edition

It’s Monday again, the hardest day of the week to love, but I’m alive and I’m grateful so it can’t be all bad right? Monday’s are for starting fresh and setting the tone for the week and for me, this week is going to be good. I want it to be anyway so I’m going to make the happiness happen!

I’m starting up with Blogging 201 and today’s assignment is to come up with three goals for your blog. I’m not sure I like the idea of goals per se but there are some things I’d like to try to do in the future to improve my writing, make better connections with people, and to be more creative.

For one, I’d like to reach a wider audience by interacting more on social networks. I love Twitter but I’m just not very good at it and I’ve only just now made a Facebook page for my blog. I’ve been on Tumblr for awhile and I have a good following there but it’s all been pretty passive. I enjoy talking to new people and sharing useful and thought provoking content, but I get nervous and don’t join the conversation as much as I should. I would love to have a better sense of community but it’s not easy and I’m learning as I go along.

I’d also like to start creating some original images for this blog, and for my other social network pages. I have image editing apps and access to a decent camera so it is possible for me to start doing this right away. I want to have a specific look and bring everything together, have more of a brand like everyone says I should. Mostly though I just want to be more creative and this isa good reason to make something and showcase what little skills I have.

And third, I’d really like to set up an editorial calendar. I do my best to post everyday, and for being new to all of this I think I’m doing really well, but I admit it’s hard to come up with ideas everyday. If I could have post ideas laid out in advance than I think I could not only wrote more easily but write better and more interesting content.

Surprise bonus goal #4 is to narrow my blogging focus. I’ve only been blogging for 7 or 8 months and at first I didn’t really know what direction I wanted to go in. I’ve been pretty random lately just trying to find a voice and figure out how all of this works. I like to think I have a better handle on things now and I think it’s time I focused more on exactly what it is I want to say here. I’ll be making a list of topics I’d like to cover and doing my best to stick to it.

Outside of this blog I’d like to try to take it easier this week. I’m still working on trying to quit smoking so I want to keep the stress levels as low as possible. I won’t be able to control everything but I can control my reactions, I just have to remember to relax and breathe.

I hope you all have a great week. I wish you luck in everything you want to accomplish. Remember to stay mindful and look for the good in every moment.

It’s Monday People, You Know What That Means!

It’s Monday and that means, like so many of you, I am back at work. I have been trying my best not to complain about Mondays anymore. I realized it was a waste to start the week so negatively. I hear so many of my coworkers saying the day sucks simply because it is the first day of the work week. I used to do that too, until I realized that Monday isn’t the shitty day we all think it is. Monday is a fresh start! So this week, don’t complain. This week start fresh and go out and hustle hard!

I have another long week ahead of me but I will do my best to stay positive. Yeah this job isn’t my dream job, and yeah this job can sometimes be both boring and frustrating, but I should make the most of it and learn what I can. I also can’t let anything at this job get to me. All I can do is my best, after that I have to just move on. I also have to stop stressing myself so much over my job too, especially when I’m not seeing any benefit for all my stress.

So, I will not work above my pay grade or for free. This week I expect to get some overtime because I am no longer helping fix people’s problems without getting paid for it. I feel like when I don’t timecard things because it seems like a nice thing to do I am not valuing my own time. And if I can’t work on my side projects because someone needs help then I for damn sure better be getting paid!

I also won’t be fixing problems that aren’t my job to fix. My boss gets paid the big bucks to fix big problems. I don’t get paid what he does so I shouldn’t be working as if I do. I also shouldn’t take on more responsibility than I am paid to. When I do that I am allowing my boss to take it easy while at the same time making a substantial amount more than me. This is not fair to me! So not I will pull back a little and just do MY job and then focus on me.

Outside of work I am going to be generating some ideas for larger art projects to work on. I have been sticking to working in an art journal daily, although it is very basic and plain, at least it’s something. Now I think I’m ready for something bigger, something I could spend a couple of weekends on. As soon as I get started expect some pictures and blog posts on my progress!

And now for my big news, this week I am going to try, yet again, to quit smoking! I have tried many, many, times in the past but nicotine has a strong hold on me. This time around I think I have a quitting buddy though. One of friends who also works with me is quitting too so hopefully we can encourage each other and hold each other accountable. I hope you all will hold me accountable too and I promise to update you on my progress.

So yeah it’s Monday, and the work week has begun. Is going to be rough but we can do it! Just relax and remember to breathe and be awesome :)

Monday Motivation and Goals

It’s Monday again and we all know transitioning from the weekend into the work week can be hard. I want to do my best today not to complain that it,s Monday and I want to try not to complain the rest of the week that it isn’t Friday. It seems like such a waste to be miserable for four days while waiting for one. Every other day of the week can be good, yes, even Monday.

This week should be less stressful than the last but there is still a lot of work to be done. I will have to step it up at my day job and really show my bosses I am motivated and taking initiative. I also want to help my team do the same. Hopefully we can all pull it together and get everything done. We might even be able to get some overtime pay out of it!

This week I also want to get back to going analog for a few minutes everyday. I was really enjoying it before work took over and I had no time. I had forgotten how good it felt to put pen on paper and use my hands to make something. I have started trying to do some newspaper poems and even bought some glue sticks to try collages. I feel like a kid doing craft time at school. All I need now are popsicle sticks and some dry macaroni :)

So yeah its Monday and that means a new start and another chance to do some good and grow. I hope you all have a great week. I hope you all get shit done. I hope you all remember to breathe and be mindful of every moment. It will be Friday again soon don’t worry. Until then though, love yourself and be happy.