This is Me: Take it or leave it

Once I heard the song This is Me for the first time (in church of all places) it instantly got stuck in my head. After looking it up and playing it on repeat for a few weeks, I finally sat down and watch The Greatest Showman. It was a great movie and in some ways reminded me of Hamilton. They both channel that whole this is me, this is who I am, and I’m not changing for anyone. Strong, powerful lead characters who are impossible to take down. And these characters fuel me.

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As a writer, I’m a lot like Hamilton. I could see myself writing pages and pages, the words flowing out of me. Actually, I’ve had days like that where I just write and write in my journal. Some stuff almost no one will ever read. But today I feel like sharing just a little bit more about me and why I no longer give a f*ck.

Growing up I had a lot of f*cks to give. I cared a lot what others thought of me. I’d go out of my way to dress a certain way, brush my hair, and try my best to be nice to everyone. I actually found myself between a rock and a hard place several times in elementary school as I tried to be friends with everyone, including the nerds and the populars. At the end of the day, I just wanted to be accepted and feel like I belonged. But I also didn’t want to make anyone else feel alone.

Most of my life I’ve been really nice. Actually I am still really nice. So nice that it’s been painful at times. But I always have and always strive to see the best in people. It’s both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because I’ve been around some of the best of the best. The people who I’m so glad I gave a chance. The people I love to love. It’s a curse because there are people who have and will stomp all over my heart for their benefit. I had someone who after I pushed past all of the barriers and obstacles only to choose him, over and over again, used that same blind love to stab me in the back and still demand a quick and low-cost separation. Of which I granted, out of kindness not only to him but also to myself.

So I am nice, but after crawling through flames I’ve decided to be nice to myself first and foremost. This is not to say I’m not nice to others, it’s just to say that I have to consider how being nice to others affects my niceness to myself.

In other words, I ask myself how much of myself do I want to pour into someone before opening up. I’ve been singed a few too many times to just openly love and pour on strangers. But I also still have the ability to love on the right people. The people who are there for me no matter what. The ones who show up in the middle of the storm and at the top of the mountain peak. I try my best to be as warm and kind to those who are there for me. And I give my standard kindness to everyone else.

But for those who shun me or judge me, I have nothing for them. I don’t have the time or energy to waste on draining individuals. Instead, when one person leaves, I tend to take that energy I almost wasted and pour it into myself. This way, with every person I encounter, I grow spiritually and emotionally. Whether they’re terrible or great, they bring with them a lesson that I learn and grow upon.

But never will you see me chasing after the wrong person. I would rather watch them walk out of my life than be anywhere near them. And to be honest, I’m running low on f*cks to give. I gave a lot of them to who I thought was the right person. Now, I’m taking the time to step back and breathe as I try to figure out what went wrong and how to avoid making the same mistake again. (third times the charm?)

Holding on to these last f*cks for the right guy. For now, they’re in the vault until the time is right to let them shine.

 

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Let your sweat shine!

Is it me or is this gym extra-shiny? Not sure if it’s the warmer than normal weather, or the new years resolution’s, but the gym has been pretty busy lately. With the extra bodies comes the extra sweat. Many of the regular gym-goers aren’t that happy to be waiting for equipment that ends up being a little stickier than usual. If this is your first time at the gym, or your first time in a long time, you may be embarrassed at just how much sweat is poring out of your pores. But don’t sweat it! Literally.

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Whenever we begin something new, we have to learn (or re-learn) how to become proficient at it. This applies to our bodies as well. Think of it this way, the first time you rode a bike were you doing wheelies? Likely not. Instead you were likely trying to stay balanced on 4 wheels (thankful for training wheels over here!) while also trying to actually move forward. Fast forward to now, you don’t even have to think when riding a bike. It’s second nature.

Our bodies are similar, but unfortunately unlike riding a bike we lose our conditioning when we put the activity away for awhile. Like a runner who stops running for a few years. They can’t just up and run a marathon out of the blue, they have to train and condition themselves to get back to 26.2 miles. And that doesn’t happen overnight. Our bodies are the same way when it comes to sweating. At first, when we’re out of shape and out of breath, we are sweating profusely. It’s our bodies way of regulating our temperature. And since we haven’t worked out in (XX) number of days, weeks, months or years, our bodies are just trying their best to stay alive. “For what reason do you torture me?” – Sincerely, your body.

But the more you exercise, the more adjusted your body becomes. And with that, the less you’ll sweat. So until then, shine on with your sweaty-ass self! And don’t be ashamed, since everyone starts somewhere. Sweaty and all.

Do you even riot, bro?

Riot Fest Chicago 2017 was this past weekend. It was only my second time attending Riot Fest, but I’ve attended similar music festivals (i.e. Lollapalooza) many times. This past weekend was a blast!

Friday night opened up with amazing acts like New Order and Nine Inch Nails. Saturday I took it easy, and Sunday I partied the hardest with The Vuluptuous Horror of Karen Black and Prophets of Rage. Overall, an amazing weekend of talent and entertainment. Before the fest, I ran 20 miles on Thursday morning for Chicago marathon training. I hit the gym twice (Friday & Saturday) and I made it to church on Sunday morning. I had 4 days off work and I feel like I definitely got the most I could out of my time off.

The only bummer part was Paschen being sick and missing Friday & Saturday of the fest, but we made up for it on Sunday. Epic. I also ran into my cousin on Sunday after we kept missing each other on Friday and Saturday. Enjoy the photos, and if you’d like to see some videos check out my instagram @tanoshii66

 

 

At first, because of the crowds, I was tentative to go next year, but I think it’s worth it to attend this festival again in the future. Did you go to Riot Fest? Did you enjoy it? Would you go again? Do you like concerts? Do you even riot, bro? πŸ™‚

Aladdin the musical

For my birthday, I saw Aladdin at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago with Nathen. Β I had heard it was amazing, but had a feeling it may be a little corny (you know, Disney corny). I also wasn’t sure how they would portray Abu the monkey and Iago the parrot, which could definitely be distracting if done wrong. ButΒ it surpassed my expectations!

 

 

First of all, instead of Abu the monkey, they gave Aladdin three human friends with three different personalities. This made a lot more sense than a talking monkey. And Iago was also a person, basically Jafar’s sidekick. Iago was funny, and so were Aladdin’s friends. They still kept the overall personalities and didn’t soil them. Good move, Disney.

Beyond that, the Genie song “Friend Like Me” was hands-down the best part of the entire musical. You can tell they put a lot into that song production, and it was amazing to watch. Also, the magic carpet ride “A Whole New World” was really well done. The visuals were entrancing. I would highly recommend this musical to everyone, young and old included.

Have you seen Aladdin? Or any other musical recently? Comment below your favorite musical! What should I see next?

Eyes to the skies

This past weekend I went to the Eyes to the skies festival in Lisle, IL. It’s an annual hot air balloon festival that I’ve always heard about but had never attended before. I had fun but was unfortunately a bit disappointed and technically it’s my fault.

I was under the impression that the balloon glow included the balloons being released into the sky. This isn’t the case, the balloons are actually released at 6:30pm and the glow is later on at 8:15pm. I thought it was all at the later time, so didn’t arrive until closer to 8pm. While the balloon glow was cool, it was hard to see since the balloons were still on the ground. And the field where the view was clear was very crowded as everyone was making a mad dash to get into it. We decided to sit on the nearby basketball court thinking the balloons would go up. My bad. πŸ™‚

The only other thing that sucked was parking. The parking lot was a few miles away from the festival and they had school buses shuttling people back and forth. At the end of the night, the line for the buses was about two to three blocks long. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Overall, a fun time and now that I know the actual timing may consider going back some other year. But I’d take a motorcycle next time to avoid the parking hassle. πŸ˜‰

I hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th of July! What are your plans? Fireworks? BBQ? Comment below your favorite part of the holiday.

Community = love

I’ve been in Oak Park for just about 3 months now and I can’t even begin to describe how much I love it here. I came for the church that I fell in love with (Free Church) and I’ve discovered so much more in Oak Park inside and outside of church. The community in Oak Park is amazing and has made me feel like I’m exactly where I belong.

There are many fun and free events in and around Oak Park. Every Thursday is Thursday Night Out where families go to listen to music and enjoy local food and drink. They close down about two blocks of Marion street and set up tables and chairs. It runs from 5pm to 9pm every Thursday night and has caused me to start taking rest days on Thursdays (but wait, no gainz!).

 

Also, about once a month, there’s a movie in the park. This past week was Star Wars: Rogue One which I went and saw a portion of with my friend Nathen Mixon. That was an enjoyable evening at Scoville Park. πŸ™‚

In addition to these staples, there are also many other summer festivals happening over the next few months in Oak Park. So far, I have yet to be disappointed in anything happening in my town. Some notable upcoming events are listed below:

July 9 Church party in the Park (Free Church) (Lindbergh Park: link coming soon)

July 20 Field of Dreams movie in the park

August 19 Microbrew review

There are also free concerts. Looks like I have a busy summer ahead of me. I’m blossoming in Oak Park. What types of events does your town offer? Have you been to Oak Park and any of these awesome community events before?

Original crush circa 1995

Last weekend, I saw DREAMCAR at the Vic Theater in Chicago. This is a new band consisting of Tony Kanal, Tom Dumont, Adrian Young, and Davey Havok. So basically No Doubt, minus Gwen Stefani and plus lead singer from AFI. The cool part is that they have a completely different sound from No Doubt or AFI (check out some of their songs HERE). The concert was amazing and I had an amazing time, but it rekindled my old crush that I’ve had onΒ Tony Kanal since 1995 when Tragic Kingdom debuted.

While it was instant love at first sight, my love for Tony has only grown over the past 22 years. He has truly grown into an amazing man and now is a father and husband (unfortunately for me haha!). He is also vegan which just makes me love him even more.

I’ve seen Tony Kanal perform with No Doubt three times, and now with Dreamcar once. While I greatly enjoyed the Dreamcar concert, I did notice that there was something missing that I greatly enjoyed while seeing No Doubt. The energy of Gwen and Tony is something that can’t quite be replicated. While Davey is amazing, he brings a different energy to the group. Different but not bad. At the end of the day, No Doubt is and always will be my favorite band so I will be biased when I say they are better, but Dreamcar has a special spot in my heart.

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I got my fair portion of Tony this past weekend. Yum. He stared right at me and we had an entire conversation with our eyes. The best part, though? Tony liked my post on Instagram! That made my weekend. We’re pretty much friends now. πŸ™‚

Enjoy the photos! What’s your favorite band? What type of music do you like?