Punk Rock & Fashion

‘Dead where we stand; yet you concern yourself with such things as your status and what’s in fashion.’
– Keith Buckley

Ever noticed how we tend to focus on the unimportant? We spend more time fretting over how we’re dressed when we should care about telling our family we love them. We worry about working tirelessly at a job we hate rather than searching for something that makes us happy. And we focus so often on the future or the mistakes of the past that we forget to live in the present. We care so much about our online presence and how many followers we have yet we couldn’t give a shit about the man or woman standing beside us who is desperate to feel loved.

We are so concerned with being in fashion that we forget to be human. Then, when we become that man or woman who needs to feel an authentic human connection, we fail to comprehend how we can have thousands of followers, yet struggle to find a true friend. It’s as though all of these wonderful applications we’ve created to bring us closer together have in fact pushed us further apart then ever before. Your friends look so close when they are displayed on an illuminated screen in the palm of your hands. But when you dare to look up you realize that they’re all so far away.

We care so much about our online presence that we are never really present. Relationships falter; dreams die, and lives are lived unfulfilled because we’ve grown so accustomed to presenting an illusion of happiness and success that we’ve forgotten how to truly be so. We’ve become brands. All of us. Whether you like it or not you are a product that is marketed every single day through the hashtags you use, tweets you post, or pictures you upload. We pin things to a board, or use a repost application to show that we give a shit about a cause. We’re walking human highlight reels, yet so many of us are lost, tired and alone.

As a writer in this modern era of technology and online profiles it’s more important than ever to market yourself. Every day I’m asked what my Twitter handle is, how many followers I have on Pinterest, or Facebook, or Instagram, or a half dozen apps I’ve never even heard of. I’m told that I should be constantly marketing myself, or networking with different groups. I should be uploading a never-ending stream of posts so that my friends and followers never lose interest in what I am producing. In fact, many writers and social media gurus believe that I should be climbing through your screen and force-feeding you post after post until you’re choking on the words of a world eater.

But I disagree. To answer the questions above: I don’t have twitter. I have zero Pinterest followers, a Facebook page that is largely abandoned, and an Instagram account with a limited number of followers. Why? Because rather than force-feed people an endless stream of moderately legible (and largely unintelligent) bullshit, I’d rather craft posts with meaning and become successful in my own right. Society has become so lost in its own desperate attempt to be in fashion that it can’t even see that good artists, musicians, writers and humans are dying in its arms while it worries how it will be judged in the eyes of others. Neglect kills creativity. But it can be reborn again through the admiration of a single man, woman, or child.

A few followers have recently told me that I am rebellious and the idea has really stuck. My siblings and I have always had a saying when we admire a musician, writer or artist. We smirk at one another and call them punk rock. We admire that the art they create is raw. Great artists aren’t concerned with being in style or fashionable. They’re too busy creating trends all of their own. No best selling author has ever accomplished such a feat by imitation. Innovation creates success, wins hearts and achieves dreams. So if refusing to be just another writer, questioning everything and trying over and over to free my mind and revolutionize myself and my work is rebellious, then so be it. If that makes my work a little bit raw and a little bit punk rock than I couldn’t be happier.

If you gave me a choice right now between standing before a thousand people who knew my name and were loosely interested in my work, or ten people who believed in me enough to cause an uprising I would take the latter in a heartbeat. In a world where everyone seems concerned with numbers of followers and carving out an illusion of success and happiness, the truly successful learn to differentiate. As a writer and as a man it’s more important than ever to focus not on amassing multitudes of people who pass by your book or website on a daily basis, but in creating amazing content to capture the hearts and minds of those who take the time to read, listen, or watch what you have produced.

Oh the irony! (Social media & whingers)

Here it is; the post where I wallow in my own self-importance and hypocrisy and take aim at well… pretty much everybody. See I’ve got a bit of a bee in my bonnet at the moment and it’s all because of a little thing called social media. Now before I start my completely one sided degradation of the entertainment medium, I will acknowledge that a great deal of my followers have come from social media, and that in its own bizarre way social media actually has a place in modern day society. However, there are limits to what social media can offer society, and it’s only so long before mankind takes a good thing and devalues the living shit out of it to the point where it becomes just another soap box for us to preach our own ignorance and self-indulgence from.

There’s a lot of rubbish associated with social media. There always has been and there always will be. From people’s continuous need to post endless torrents of pictures of themselves, or to update their status so that the world knows every miniscule detail of their (mundane) day to day lives, and I can deal with that. I’ve resided to the fact that we live in a very superficial world where people can justify their own existence by gaining the approval of others through likes. But the thing that really frustrates the living shit out of me is people who feel the need to air out all of their problems on a platform where the whole world is privy to their self-pity and babbling bullshit.

The thing is… I don’t care about your problems. If you are fighting with a significant other or an ex-lover, or are just having a bad day, then that’s not my fucking concern. So stop force feeding your miserable updates down my throat every five minutes. It really is that serious. Sometimes my life is so overcome by the incessant whining of others that I feel like my eyes are on the verge of bleeding out, and all it would take for them to do so is one more ludicrous post. Social media is a form of entertainment. We check our Facebook, Twitter, or whatever else as a means of amusement, meaning that when we venture into the world of social media we are searching for light hearted posts and pictures. We want to see our friends (and I use the term loosely here) enjoying themselves so that we in turn can feel good about our own lives. But lately there are more and more moaning whingers taking to social media in an effort to have their opinions heard. And what’s worse is that other serial complainers are actually justifying the existence of these fucking depressing posts by liking them or commenting with even more heinously pathetic shit.

I do realise how hypocritical and ironic this all sounds. I take to this blog every so often in a fit of rage and unleash my frustrations at the world through a tirade of words that leaves the reader feeling like I should probably seek professional help. But I justify my own rants by following the train of thought that what I do on this blog is creative and a form of art. The readers who view my posts actively seek out my page and settle in for a thousand word slice of what’s on my mind at any given point in time. When I post an update I aim to provide posts of substance rather than merely producing useless entries that are only skin deep. More often than not I pour my very heart and soul into what I post and at times I can be left shattered by the lack of response from my reader base (although more often than not the response does surpass my meager expectations).

So why do people do it? Why do they feel the need to take something like social media and turn it into a fucking soapbox where they can hang their dirty laundry for the entire world to see? The answer is never going to be simple. But one of the biggest reasons behind this is mankind’s own insecurities and yearning desire to feel accepted. In days gone by when we felt down we would call a friend or seek them out to talk through our issues. Nowadays we live in a world so vain that we no longer feel satisfied to divulge our hopes, dreams, frustrations, and angst to our closest associates; we need the acceptance of the world as a whole. We need everyone to know just how miserable we are so that they can offer their condolences and justify our desires to be heard. And we have created the ultimate platform to achieve this: a little thing we call social media.

But the truth is that the only people who respond to these trashy posts are people of the same intellectual mindset. Damaged is as damaged does. Life is what you make it and if you choose to whittle it away complaining endlessly on social media in a desperate attempt to be noticed than you’re probably going to end up a sorry state in your later years. Take it from a guy who has been through the whole depression rigmarole; life can be hard at times but all in all it truly is an enjoyable experience. For those out there who feel the need to constantly clog up social media walls with their petty gripes against the world I want you to really stop and think for a moment…. Right now there are children in third world countries who are starving. There are countries at war, where the constant threat of death has the population in a state of perpetual fear. Even closer to home there are men and women sleeping on the streets within a five kilometre radius of your comfortable house because they don’t have the means to support themselves. Your problems: your fights with your partner, your inability to afford that holiday you want sooner, or your overall stance that the world is out to get you, are so insignificant and often so self-centred that if you were to view them from an impartial viewpoint you would probably laugh at your own shallowness.

Life is a gift and social media is just a form of entertainment. So next time you wish to take to your keyboard to bitch and moan about your life I want you to remember this: shut the fuck up, turn off your screen and if you have a problem go and face it head on. I know that sounds ironic for me to say, if it wasn’t for this blog I’d probably still be the emotional wreck that I was twelve months ago. But the truth is that I just don’t care about your depressing posts and updates. Show me light hearted, show me life. And please, for God’s sake stop force feeding me your negativity.

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