Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Most Misunderstood Word – Depression

March 11, 2011 Leave a comment

When most people think about depression, they view some person who is just a negative thinker and wants attention.  They look at that person and think, “why doesn’t he/she just shake it off? Life is too short to be depressed!”

Now, there can be those types of people that may have a tendency to crave attention, but depression is a whole other story.  There is a HUGE difference between being sad or down for a day or two and then feeling like pure shit for two months STRAIGHT.

If you have never experienced depression, then it might be extremely hard to understand what is really going on, and that is ok.  In order to do so you have to be in a very open mindset and be willing to vividly visualize this scenario.

What is the worst thing that has ever happened to you?  Vividly imagine that feeling.  That feeling of not having an interest in doing anything, of not feeling pleasure from eating or walking around the block, and that life just isn’t worth it.  Now try to vividly imagine feeling like that for two months. Not two days, but TWO MONTHS NONSTOP. Now imagine feeling like that for TWO YEARS.

A depressed person may only have one or two days of relief during those two months, or they may go eight months depressed and then two months of normality.  Can you even imagine feeling like that day in and day out?  They may be depressed for so long that they forget what it is even like to feel good.  They may not know they are depressed and just conclude that something is wrong with them.

Yes there may be aspects of life that need to be improved on to feel happy, but a depressed person will not even be able to feel the joy of improving those areas of his or her life.

What angers me the most is when people who have never been depressed in their entire lives talk about it as if they know what the depressed person is feeling and that the depressed person must simply be a wuss or melancholy person.  The funny thing about this anger is I mainly feel it when I’m not depressed.  When I was depressed, I felt the same thing.  But now that I feel normal, I realize just how messed up that view is.  That is like telling a cancer patient to just suck it up and be cheerful while they are going through chemotherapy, and that isn’t a far stretch of a comparison.  People talking about depression, not simply feeling sad, when they have never been there would be the equivalent of me writing a book about what it is like to be a schizophrenic.  I can’t, because I have never been there.

Depression is so misunderstood in this society that if I was elected president, I would honestly make a mental health awareness class mandatory in high schools.  We are taught to pretend to be happy, that if someone does not feel good they are simply faulty and messed up, and that depressed people are downers and weird.

So the next time you feel depressed, know that it is okay to feel that way.  For some people eating healthy, sleeping right, and exercising is enough.  For other people, no matter how much ass they kick, they will still be depressed.  They may need medication, to fix a nutritional deficiency, or learn to express their emotions.  But the bottom line is that for some people depression cannot be controlled with willpower alone.  I know because I was one of those ass kicking people.  I ran a marathon, I went skydiving, I went 150 mile per hour on an R6, and I still felt lifeless.  If going skydiving and still feeling like shit afterwards doesn’t prove that depression isn’t simply a problem that a person can “shake off” then I don’t know what is.

I want to honestly say to anyone who may be reading this blog, if you suffer from depression I feel you.  I know what it is like to will yourself up everyday, to go through the motions, only to go home and sit there feeling like a walking zombie through life. To feel the anger and grief of how much life you lost when you finally step outside of depression for a quick glimpse of time, almost shitting yourself when you suddenly feel as if you lost a year of your life.

I am going to write about my story with depression and link to it here when I am done. I have suffered bouts of depression for about 11 years.  I’d say the scariest of those was when I didn’t believe I had it, or simply forgot that there was light on the other side.

Categories: Uncategorized

The Art of Looking Stupid

September 19, 2010 Leave a comment

The Art of Looking Stupid

Looking stupid is one of the greatest things you can do.  I recently discovered just how great looking stupid can really be, but before I tell you, I’d like to post another option to reading this text.

In correspondence to this blog, since the original idea was to make myself vulnerable, I posted my speech up on YouTube I gave about this topic.  I am not a professional speaker and would like to improve, so if you have any criticisms, lay them on me.  I was mainly trying to give a speech without letting my nerves get the best of me, and overall I believe I did alright.

Before I get started, raise your hand if you enjoy looking stupid (yes, raise your hand even though you are at your computer and I cannot see you).  Let’s face it, none of us enjoy looking stupid. We are human beings.  We thrive off putting up the good ‘ole persona and acting how we think we should.  Looking stupid in front of others is suicide.

Or, is the opposite suicide?

After doing some serious thinking, I realized that if you are able to embrace looking ridiculous and making mistakes, you are able to embrace life.

Taking a risk, and risking looking stupid doing it, has many great benefits.  The three most important ones are finding new passions, the gift of a beginner’s mind, and the fact that not taking risks, is risky.

Finding New Passions

Do you currently have any hobby or activity you love to do, that you didn’t have to go out there first and try it?  You probably looked pretty awkward when you first started partaking in that activity didn’t you?

If you somehow answered no (and thus lied), are you a skier or snowboarder? >-)

The fact of the matter is, if we want to find out if we enjoy something, we basically have to get out there and do it.  There is no other way.  You could think about what the experience is like, but that will never be exactly what the experience will really be (often times the experience will be the complete opposite).

A personal story of mine is when I bought a drum set in High School.  I played a bit, wasn’t anything special, but I could dish out a few beats and provide a good base for a guitarist.  A friend of mine asked me if I would like to join his band.  I said, “why not?”  I joined up, we practiced a few times, then we had our first show.

In front of about a total of 15 people, I was a nervous WRECK.  I dropped my sticks, I changed to rhythms of completely different songs in the middle of another song, I stopped playing a few times (leading to band members looking at me with WHAT THE F*** faces), and basically raped the show.

People were STANDING UP and leaving in the middle of our songs.

People were coming up to me and telling me that THEY HATED ME and that MY FACE WAS UGLY.
**OK, that was a lie, but it sure felt like it!

Five or six shows down the road, I started playing better in front of a crowd then when I played alone in my room.  We had a show where everyone asked for an encore and didn’t want us to stop playing.

So what the hell happened?

What happened was that I had to get completely destroyed and blown out that first time, in order to get to the point where I had an amazing time playing on a stage in front of people.  Let me tell ya, it is a pretty sexy feeling to have your sexy bass drum miked up to the point where you know a little sexy tap of your toe will send sexy deep vibrations that rattle people’s sexy ribcages.

I had to risk looking like a complete fool in order to push past that point and find out how much I enjoyed playing on that stage.  This shows that going out there and making a fool of yourself is an amazing thing to do and well worth the risk, and be honest with yourself, do people really think you look that stupid (or are they secretly jealous that you are doing something they wish they had the balls/ovaries to do)?

There may be things out there you have been wanting to try but have been afraid to go out there and take a swing at because you are afraid of looking dumb.  Go out there and do it anyways because you are going to look like an idiot eventually no matter what you do. You just might find a new passion.  Plus, when you go out and take on something new, you get…

The Gift of a Beginner’s Mind

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities.  In the expert’s, there are few” -Shunryu Suzuki

What this means is that when you are forced into a beginner role, it humbles you.  It takes you off of your pedestal and reminds you that you are human.  You suddenly admit you are a rookie, and are open to new ideas.  You start asking questions, looking at things from different angles, and begin learning like crazy.  This also means that you begin growing like crazy.

By putting yourself in a position when you feel inadequate, it feels uncomfortable, but it does put you in that frame of mind where you feel like learning.  By constantly going back to this state of mind, we can learn to keep it with us at all times, so we can constantly be growing as people instead of saying, “well, I’m an expert now, looks like I can just kick back, sip my coffee, and wait for the grave.”

Another personal example (I’ve looked dumb quite a few times in my life) is when I went to South America over the summer.  Before I left, I had no classes in Spanish (which I don’t recommend taking anyways, at least at most schools/Universities in The United States) and taught myself.  I felt like a pro sitting in my room listening to slow, easy tapes and reading easy passages.

Then I landed in the Chilean airport (I love Chile, but for a beginner in Spanish all the differences can be overwhelming).

Long story short, I got my ass brutally kicked in Spanish.  I suddenly realized how foolish I was to think I knew anything about the Spanish language with the studying that I had done (and no conversational practice).  I couldn’t even finish my first meal because of how shocked I was with the whole situation.

Then, I accepted that I was indeed, Spanishly speaking (yes I made that word up) sterile, and needed to learn A LOT.

One day I was in Santiago, and I mistakenly made eye contact with a street performer.  He instantly took advantage of this and yelled, “YOU! GRINGO! COME HERE!” and I went inside his circle of doom.  He was having me say and do things that I had no idea of what was going down, and about 50 Chileans were having the best time of their life.

A week after that, I started getting cocky again with my Spanish.  I thought I was kewl, and went in to a Café/Bar and was talking to three Chilean girls.  I told them, “Yeah the other day, I was in Santiago and this guy screwed me over.  He put me in front of this big group of people and completely screwed me.”  What I really said, in Spanish, **WARNING VULGAR LANGUAGE UPCOMING DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED** was that he took me in front of a big group of people and inserted his c*ck into my @$$.  In a literal sense.  Not the way I was trying to describe it like we would in English.

So much for being a pro at Spanish, eh?

I am glad that happened, because it brought me down a notch and reminded me that I was a beginner.  I went back to my humble beginner mind and started looking at all the things I could learn.

I made mistakes without giving a damn.  I went all over the place and spewed out phrases that probably haunted and woke people up in their sleep because of how horrible it sounded.  I was getting corrected quite a bit, although I made so many mistakes I even noticed that people simply let them go because they were growing tired of helping me with every other sentence.

But then I realized, I was learning a ****load!  Compared to the other students, who were in Spanish classes WAY higher than my basic class, I was progressing MUCH faster.  In fact, towards the end of the program, I was becoming far better then them at surviving and having conversations in Spanish.

I cannot even BEGIN to describe how much more Spanish I learned while looking like a complete idiot and speaking like a 4 year old compared to sitting in my room listening to tapes and reading easy passages in Spanish.

And by the way, I will never forget that word I used in that Café.

Before you stop yourself from going out there and risking looking like a dumbass, remember that being a beginner is a good place to be.  Everyone who is an expert where they are now were once beginners.  Einstein failed out of a math class.  Michael Jordan cried like a little bish when he got cut from the High School basketball team.  Get it?

View beginners as being experts at growth  😀

If that doesn’t convince you to go out there and trip yourself up, remember that

NOT Taking Risks is RISKY

Risk = an action that has potential negative consequences (which includes looking like a dumbass in front of others).

The thing about risks, is that if you don’t take risks, you are taking the BIGGEST risk of all.  (I originally got this idea from Tynan)

If you don’t take any risks, you are putting your future at serious risk.

  • To get what you want, you have to take risks.
  • If you don’t take risks, you won’t get what you want.
  • If you don’t take risks, you won’t have the future that you want.

You simply can’t have the future you want without taking any risks.  That, in essence, is a bigger risk than to not take risks!

Also, if you don’t take risks, you are risking that you will feel regret later on in your life.  It isn’t what people did and screwed up on, that bothers them the most, it is what they didn’t do.

  • The job they didn’t apply for.
  • The girl/guy they didn’t go up to.
  • The opportunity they passed up.

If you are someone who doesn’t enjoy taking risks, sit back and remind yourself that by not taking risks in day to day life, you are actually taking the LARGEST risk of all in the long run!

To Sum It All Up
If you haven’t looked like an idiot lately, you could be taking the biggest risk of all.  You aren’t getting out there and throwing yourself in new situations that will allow you to grow.  Get out there, pickup that guitar, give a speech (and then post it up on the internet), get made fun of in another language, and most importantly, go out there and have a blast making a fool of yourself.

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How To Give Your Self a Sense of Freedom with a Secure-Base

September 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Give yourself freedom by giving yourself unconditional emotional support.

There are studies that magnify the impact that a secure-base has on childhood. Secure-base access and coherent family relations are significant sources for security and emotion regulation in children.

What is a Secure-Base?
What secure-base means is that an infant has access to a caregiver that provides them with the sense of “I’m alright.”  The baby can always go to the caregiver if something happens, and that caregiver will provide them with a sense of love and emotional comfort.

As the baby receives this, they go on to venture away from the mother more and more.  They start to try new things and see what happens.  If anything startles them, they can run back to their mother for support, then go back to exploring the world.

When babies, such as in orphanages, didn’t have this sense of a home base of security, they had significant struggles and negative consequences.  They become severely depressed and inhibited.  They show retarded growth and suffer in other areas of life, such as learning, in comparison to other children.

Secure-Base is Relevant Across the Lifespan
Studies show that having a secure-base is relevant across the lifespan.  This means that adults who lack a secure-base will also be more reluctant to go out and explore, try new things, and know that if something bad happens they will have something to fall back on.  They will also be more prone to depression, and all those other nasty symptoms.

Although we don’t technically need a “mommy” when we are adults, as we tend to form secure-bases with intimate others and friends, and there are plenty of other sources of security such as money, brains, beauty, and status, one thing that occurred to me is, what if I gave myself my OWN secure-base?

What if every day, I told myself, no matter what happens at the end of the day, I will still love you?  This may sound a little out there, but how many of us honestly give ourselves the credit we deserve?

How many of us actually accept who we are, instead of beating ourselves up for what we aren’t?

I sat down and thought of ways I could provide myself with a secure-base from which I knew I could always return to.  Since I am technically trapped with myself and can’t really get away from me (that cute bastard), talking positively to myself is an obvious way to do this.  There are also other ways I can return to a calm state of mind, where I get my head on straight, and realize that failures, embarrassments, shortcomings, are all nonsense and in the grand scheme of life, when I die those will not matter.  What will matter, is if I lived life as best as I could, and not limiting myself from trying out new things due to fear and a lack of security.

Some possible ways I came up with to provide myself with a secure-base include:

  • Talking to myself positively
  • Meditation
  • Exercise
  • Writing (Just Barely Discovered This One)

Within those areas, I have found that I am able to stop and realize that life is a gift and I shouldn’t worry obsessively.  With the knowledge that I can return to these areas whenever I need to, this will allow myself to go out and live life, knowing that no matter what happens, I can return to things such as writing to clear my head and know I am in fact alright and not a rare human being who is exceptionally flawed compared to the rest (6,868,221,253 as of 22:23 UTC (EST+5) Sep 11, 2010).

Also notice how I said I just barely found out about writing.  I recently have been writing my feelings down and they sometimes evolve into poem like passages, and have found that this helps me immensely.  This means that by giving yourself a secure-base from which allows you to explore the world, you may find even more sources for security, or even find a new passion.

What things in life have brought you equanimity?  Do you allow yourself to participate in those activities at least a few times a week?  If not, why?

This is life.  A crazy experience that none of us can really figure out but instead look on in wonder.  If you find yourself stressing about your job to the point you are causing your heart to want to seize, take a break and realize you will be alright.  You deserve it to allow yourself to have a good time every now and then, to unwind, and give yourself a secure-base from which to work from.  Losing your job will not kill you, but worrying about losing your job, will.

Waters, E., & Cummings, E. M. (2000). A Secure Base from Which to Explore Close Relationships. Child Development, 164-172.

The World’s Population from

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The Most Important Thing I (and Maybe You) Should Study

September 10, 2010 Leave a comment

The Most Important Thing I (and Maybe You) Should Study

After all the reading and absorbing I have been doing, I have finally reached a point where I can’t hide from it anymore.  I need to figure myself out.  I want to further deepen my relationship with myself and find out what I want.  I feel as though I have reached a point where I need to achieve another level of becoming vulnerable to myself. I’m ready.

If I don’t understand myself, what exactly am I doing?  I’m wandering around aimlessly through life.  It is the equivalent of being handed a stringed instrument and having no idea what you are playing, whether it is a guitar, violin, banjo, or sitar.  Sure, you can play the instrument and make some noise, but if you knew what instrument you had in your hands, if you studied what made it tick and shine, what chords are sublime and what patterns and scales work here and there, you could do a hell of a lot more with it!

So why not do that with myself?

I’m going to begin the journey of serious self-reflection.  To find out more about who this dude named TJ is and what is going on in that head of his.  For at least 2 weeks.

I am going to dive into myself every day and write.  I am going to notice what gets me going.  I am going to constantly ask myself, what do I want?  What are my strengths and talents?  What can I give the world?

I’m going to meditate and fully immerse myself, in myself.  Accept myself for who I am, discover who that is and what he wants, and then go from there.

This also means going out alone.

I’m going to begin the challenge by going up to an empty cabin up in the mountain, all by myself.  With nothing but a notepad.  To be completely honest, that kind of freaks me out a bit.

Oh, and also keep updates on this post about it, to help keep myself accountable, and to see how it goes so I can possibly give someone advice about what I personally experienced.

So here’s the deal…

  • -NO self-help reading on the internet, or mindless information.
  • -Every day, ask myself in writing and in a mirror, “What do I want?”  “What can I offer the world?” and “What makes me come alive?”
  • -Figure Out My Standards
  • -Write every day, looking at past experiences, current experiences, when I have been happy, when I have been sad, etc.
  • -Go out and have fun by myself.
  • -Continue with the 30 day positve thought challenge (looking at my positive traits, etc).

Day 1:  Went up into the mountain all by myself.  I sat down and felt something crazy.  Five minutes later, I started crying and letting out my pain of past experiences, then I started laughing with happiness.  I wrote down poems, thoughts, and overall had a good time with myself.  Realized in the end, my relationship with myself is the most important, and to treat myself as if I was a valued friend.
Day 2: Felt grounded.  Accomplished an extraordinary amount of work. Felt as if I had more of a drive, and respected myself more to the point I wanted to accomplish more for myself.  Had a fun night.
Day 3: Accomplished a fair amount, was very tired.  Will come in with more focus tomorrow.
Day 4: Failed to Accomplish Task
Day 5: This process has turned into me sitting with relaxing music and meditating for about 15 minutes, to writing in a notebook about who I am, what I want, and what my purpose is.  I noticed a big difference when I did this today.  I felt grounded, relaxed, and although I haven’t exactly found out my definite purpose yet, I feel as if I have more purpose throughout the day.  So far, this seems like a very beneficial exercise.
Day 6: Lived unconsciously

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How To Feel Compassion For All Things

September 8, 2010 Leave a comment

How To Feel Compassion For All Things

As I show my Pearl Export, with Evans C2 Heads, PDP double bass, Zildjian cymbols, sexy Gibralter, Floating tom, Sabian B8 Ride, to a man who wants to buy, I suddenly remember just how much, I loved that guy.

The Wine Red color seeps deep into my memory.  I remember playing shows, hearing my bass drum miked up to a PA system so when I flicked my ankle my ribcage shook.  Where every sound made would surely be known.

The feeling of being in a band, being yelled at, having the lead guitarist sweating in my basement claiming he didn’t go out of time, but then smiling and laughing about it after playing in front of a crazy crowd.  Those experiences are hard to find.

Remembering the band practice right before a show, where I chose to make up a “semi-song” for “just in case they ask for an encore.” And they did.  And we lied and said we didn’t have a song, but could improvise.  And played the song we made up till they didn’t want it anymore.

I haven’t been able to play the drums in over 2 years, due to neighbors in apartment complexes having functioning ears.  I never really thought about what it would be like to play again, until it came time to sell this thing that had suddenly become a friend.

I feel an urge to hold on, but quickly remind myself there is no point in that endeavor. They won’t be played by me for a long while or so, they might as well live on with another drummer.  One must always go with the flow, even if that results in a temporary bummer.

So why do I feel, such compassion for this drum set?  This group of connected objects, that provided me with more memories than I thought I was going to get?  Could I go on, without it? Or is it necessary to hold on?  Neither is exactly true, but to keep the memories and sell it without a further due.

How to have compassion for any and all things, is to realize that they are temporary.

It isn’t until our grandma is turning 85 that we start to realize we should have spent more time with her.  It isn’t until we are halfway through college that we suddenly realize we didn’t go to enough parties and our time spent there was a blur.

It isn’t until we brake our arm that we find out its utility.  It isn’t until we have been beat at our own game that we gain some humility.

How would life be different, if we truly reminded ourselves the true nature of every one thing.  That to live is to eventually die and there is no point in trying to cling.

To treat our parents, as if they too, were starting to develop a relationship with the Grim Reaper.  To treat our first year in school or on the job, as if it was our last and enjoy it deeper.

Life is a gift, one that can be taken away.  And that goes for every item, breathing or not, that we see each and every day.

Remember the good, and that this will one minute all be a dream.
And the next time the Starbucks cashier messes up your latte, you’ll think twice about being mean.

How to have compassion for any and all things, is to realize that they are temporary.

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A Video That Ignited Me With Passion

September 8, 2010 Leave a comment

I just watched a video (alright I actually only made it to 32:45 before I had to stop because I was blistering with energy) that just motivated the hell out of me.  I almost just dropped out of college, started seeking out a motorcycle, and traveling the world.

To be honest with you, I haven’t felt like I should be in college for a while, but to be honest, I’m probably going to still finish it out.  Why? Because I don’t have the balls to drop it.

I have a GPA of 3.9 and a full ride scholarship.  I basically get paid to go to school.

But it isn’t what I really want to do right now.  I want to travel.

This video somehow punched me in the balls and made me realize, all I need to do is follow my damn passion.  It is that simple.

If I am following my passion, it doesn’t even MATTER if I am making money, because I’m doing what I want anyways!

It is a video by Gary Vaynerchuk.  His passion is contagious.  So contagious I just had to share it with you.

You can watch it here.

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How to Realize that Nobody Cares (in a good way)

September 8, 2010 Leave a comment

Nobody Cares (in a good way)

One thing that I have to admit I have let myself fall victim to is caring what others think. By caring, I mean worrying and constantly feeling as if I was being watched by 10 snipers, as if my head tilt to the left side at an angle of 4.6 degrees was being  judged and deciphered to find what my true character was.

I read an article on another blog not too long ago about the fact that nobody cares.  This is actually a good thing.  This illlustrates that ultimately there is only one person responsible for going out and making life happen.  It also illustrates to me the fact that people really do not think about me that much.  I never think obsessively about someone I see for 10 seconds somewhere and niether does anyone else.

Recently I went to a party, which consisted of many different areas but the main attraction being the dancefloor.  The first half of the party I was having an alright time, kind of dancing, kind of talking to people, kind of participating in activities.  It wasn’t bad, but wasn’t amazing either.

I went other places, then found myself on the dancefloor again, feeling awkward while dancing.  During this slight awkwardness, I started looking around at everyone.  I then thought about what I had read, that nobody cared that I was there.  I kept dancing around half-assed, observing to see if this was true.

I started to dance only in the way that would amuse myself, and started to have a blast. I finally realized during this experience that, I didn’t really care all that much about the other people there, and nobody gave a damn that I was there.

I started going up and doing all sorts of stuff to groups of girls dancing by themselves.  The catch is I was only doing it to have fun myself.  I was shoving my ass in the middle and shaking it, bumping people with my hip (and sometimes with quite some force) and dancing around to whatever I felt like.

I entered a group of asian girls and danced right in the middle of them, then started dancing around and telling them it was their turn.  Everyone started going in the middle and made fools of themselves.  We started having a great little time and then others started coming over and joined us.

Realizing Nobody Cares is an Easy Way To Have a Good Time

I left that night feeling satisfied, and that is only because I realized that nobody cared I was there.  I was there for myself, to amuse myself, and have a good time.  If others commented about me or acted nonchalant, I moved on to the next fun group.

This is my first experience of finally starting to consciously realize that other people do not care or look/judge me as much as my mind would lead me to believe.  To further test this out I walked around the next day with my shirt unbuttoned in public places so that my chest and body were exposed like I was some cocky bastard.  Nobody cared. I went inside a movie theater, still half naked, nobody said a single word to me about it.

The next day I was wearing funky sunglasses and was going to the grocery store.  I felt odd and uncomfortable for some reason wearing them inside, but did so anyways just to test it out.  Again, nobody cared.  Even if they did, I was still being amused, so it didn’t really matter.

Of course I am not advocating walking around with your wang out just because you think it is funny, but simply to start thinking only about having a great time.  A great time means letting other people in on your fun, not making them have to suffer for you to have a cheap thrill.

If you find that you have some social anxiety or for some reason feel very self-conscious when you are out in situations like these, try just going with the flow and seeing what people do.  Some people will be in a fun mood like you and will want to join you, while others may try to bring you down to their level of unhappiness.  Ignore the latter.

So how can you start putting this habit into place?  My suggestion would be to go somewhere where there might be dancing and just letting loose in whatever feels the most fun to you, trying out a little odd detail while walking around in public to prove to yourself you won’t die by wearing that funky hat, or to simply go out and have your only goal to amuse yourself.  Or you could *gasp* express yourself and see what happens.

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