Back In Black

A month off of social media has been a beautiful thing.

I feel lighter, more creative, and I produced a ton of work. The relationships that truly matter have strengthened, and the relationships that were inauthentic have been put to rest. Time was spent with beautiful, powerful people and places.

I also finally had some space to look at my relationship with myself. Was I being authentic or not? I had gotten so caught up in the race for likes and love that I had lost sight of the part of myself I enjoyed the most.

I created. I created. I created. I’m creating and it feels great. Especially considering I give a bit less a f*ck what other people think. That’s a big win for me.

Below are some thoughts I wrote prior to what I wrote above.

Disrupt and Stay Woke ya’ll.


During my subway ride to work I counted 8 people - 8 human beings with their neck’s craned forward, backs rounded, shoulders hunched up high, all eyes on their phones. The awareness corrected my posture as I sat up straighter. Their were only 10 people on the train.

Same thing on the elevator ride up, everyone on their phones.

When was the last time you stepped away from your phone? Is it next to you right now?

Mine was. Now it’s hidden in my bag.


 Follow me on  pinterest

Follow me on pinterest

Do you need your phone to work? Can you work on your computer, or tablet, or anything else where you are able to sit up straight?

Or maybe you’re just on your phone because you’re bored?

I get it. We are ALL in a codependent relationship with our phone. And doesn’t it fucking suck when you drop it and it cracks…. Grrr.

Equally, doesn’t it FEEL incredible when your phone belly flops on the cement and its ok. A wave of relief washes over you and you thank the digital gods for their mercy.

Or that shit breaks, or you lose it…… What then. What then. That first thought, that initial mental state is so unpredictable. Rage. Sadness. Worry. Annoyance.

It’s still just a ‘thing.’

One that has way more control over us, the collective us, than we know. Too personal? Don’t believe me? I bet you just wondered where your phone was if it wasn’t sitting in front of you already.

We are in a relationship with our devices, specifically our phones, even more specifically, social media platforms. Earlier, I wrote that human’s are in codependent relationships with their phones but that’s only half true. Our phones are smart, maybe too smart, but they don’t need us.

They are still expensive, intricate but inorganic, pieces of plastic.

Not only are we fed to believe that we neeeeed our phones. We are also fed to believe that our phones need us. They don’t need us, not really. Yet they chirp, they ding, they call to us constantly. FOMO is real, my dog has it.

The point I’m trying to make is keep your head, and your heart, up! Use the tool, don’t let the tool use you. Check the news, listen to dope music and podcasts, look at art, read more of my blog posts, do what you need to do…. and then put this thing away.

If you’re outside, appreciate the sun. If it’s raining, appreciate the rain. If you’re around people, appreciate them. Us. If you’re alone, appreciate your self.

Keep Moving Human Heroes

#godark

"Addiction is a condition in which a person engages in use of a substance or in a behavior for which the rewarding effects provide a compelling incentive to repeatedly pursue the behavior despite detrimental consequences." -Psychology Today

At least a few times a day, I pick up my phone exclusively for validation. 

Something triggers me - whether externally from a person or experience, or internally, where my mind is jabbed with a mistake from the past or distress over an unwritten future. 

In those moments, possessed by some hungry creature, tethered to my ego, I pick up my device. My fingers flick to instagram, or whatsapp, or facebook, often scrolling through all of them until I get the "bump" I need. 

Someone, somewhere, has emailed me, or messaged me, or acknowledged me. Someone likes me, somewhere. And my ego is satiated until the inevitable shifting of my current mental state. The validation is a distraction from what I'm trying to process internally. I've struggled with my mental states my whole life and for all the others out there that can empathize, I think social media can often do more damage than good. 

Social media is a tool, no doubt. In a world where arguably the leading desire of young people is fame, I think its safe to say social media isn't going to disappear. However, I believe we need to check ourselves, take occasional breaks, and untether our worth to how liked we are on our digital platforms. I believe we need to re-evaluate what matters to us as a species, and that begins with the individual. 

We've all heard the phrase that we are more connected than ever because of technology yet more disconnected than ever because of technology. I often find myself comparing my life to someones I know absolutely nothing about besides what they post for the world to see. 

Is this the life I'm supposed to have? Is this the body I'm supposed to have? Are these the places I have to go, and visit, and explore... to experience happiness? Why is their following growing so quickly while I'm losing followers? Do I have to follow in someone else's footsteps to be liked? I become a victim. 

I often put down my phone feeling worse about myself than I did before I picked it up. 

 Figure 5. Tether. The Hater

Figure 5. Tether. The Hater

I'm not ignorant to the fact that there is some bitterness creeping into my current relationship with social media. Like any relationship, or conversation, when it stops feeling good, it's time to take a break - it's time to step away and see the bigger picture. And the bigger picture exists in front of you, in the real world, not hunched over, neck craned to swipe, like, comment, and repeat. 

I recently moved back to New York- Brooklyn to be exact. Two weeks ago, I took a break from building furniture for a bike ride around Prospect Park. I left my phone at the apartment after a quick mental deliberation. 

The park was quiet, beautiful, and filled with something I can only understand as God. My hat and helmet created a tunnel of vision that enhanced every rain kissed leaf, tree, and blade of grass. The park was emptied of people, minus the occasional cyclists and runners enjoying the gods of rain and thunder as they danced and drummed above. 

I remember thinking during the ride how a phone on my hip could have potentially pulled me from the magic of this present I've been given. "If it's not on instagram, it didn't really happen." One of the worst quotes ever imo. 

The best things in life happen with your head and heart up. When you are so immersed in the present that anything captured with your eyes and your heart is more than enough- that is content that lasts forever. 

I'm grateful for social media - especially instagram. It's connected me to incredible individuals. It's allowed me to share my message with the world. And sometimes, I get some pretty cool shit. But I control it, it does not control me. 

Everyday, since that bike ride, I've gotten one step closer to a full on detox.

It's not easy, especially when you have a following that people envy. It's a challenge to step away from something that has brought you recognition and praise, and lean into the pieces of yourself that ultimately matter the most to you, and seemingly little to everyone else.

Everyone wants to be liked, including me. I wish I could say I don't give a fuck what anyone thinks about me but I do. With each word I type, and image I create, I get one step closer though. So I'm going to #godark for a bit. One month, no social media - just email and text. Time to put the digital content aside for something I can touch.

I challenge you all to do the same. A day, a week, a month. Start small. Take a step back, leave the phone at home, and enjoy your life. Notice what comes up, notice what comes out. Use all of that free time to journal, meditate, take a pottery class, something creative... or perhaps simply appreciate the act of being, and less-on doing. 

Much love to you HumanHeroes. Keep moving.  

Still not convinced? Take it from the man, Mr. Washington.  

Rest in mind. 

 

 

...and beauty rules the world.

Write just to write. It's almost 12:30, writing that as if 12:30 means its too late for something... as if something should have been done by now. Done what? What is there to do? 

Yoga was good. Modo is full of memories, some that I left in puddles on the floor around me, some I mopped up and threw in the dirty laundry. 

I keep coming back. There is something undeniably New York, about New York. What that means? I guess simply that there is no other city like it on the planet. I guess you could say that about every city, every place, every person - none quite the same. I'm grateful to be here. 

Art has been the main focus, often sole focus, or my energy this past week. God has been speaking to me through meditation, putting Lord Narasinha in front of my face - the body of a man with the face, claws, and ferocity of a lion. 

Two Indian men are sitting behind me in WeWork. A sign from the universe or simply a coincidence? Its the first time I've seen any Indian men in this place, along with other people of color. 

"...And beauty rules the world." Not my quote, not my roommate's either-- though one he uses frequently. I pause to look around at all the people in this giant communal room. The people of color are the ones that catch me, the ones that lift my curiosity, from the keys to the eyes. Life is better when filled with color. A clear mush of same same only aims to drown us all and the planet along with it. The melding is happening around me. Waysians on the way. 

I'm drawn to color. I'm drawn to learning - culture, music, rituals and rites. God has been finding me -- scratch that----I have been finding God, with ease and trust, in the beautiful moments of clarity and trust as well as the suffering found in the unfinished and letting go of control.  

We are never finished. As the tide ebbs and flows, emotions come and go. Change is the only constant. A grounded masculine sense of purpose must be able to pick up its roots and move when the ground falls away. And he must not chase the shaky ground. His responsibility lies with him self, his family, and his service to god --- not spread thin, trying to gather the crumbling debris of dishonest dust. 

What happens next, only God knows? I've got some work to do - charcoal to spread, words to write, challenges to create, and a life to build. Much love Human Heroes. 

ps. I have so much more to add now after selecting the title. When I was a chubby preteen getting heavy into the gym I never would have thought that physically what I was creating could work against me. People have judged me my entire adult life, surprised to find I have creative depth. We all have creative depth. Why would I be any different? 

Now, with a firm grasp on personal truth, its not the judgement of the other that matters, but the judgement of the self. Atma. We are all mirrors to one another - the challenge navigating between kindness and honesty. Ahimsa and Satya. 

Hatha yoga has brought me this far- following the branches back to the source. Thank you for leading me here. Thank you for joining me here. "Work" is quickly becoming synonymous with devotion. Much love HumanHeroes. 

Keep moving. 

 

 

Build it. 6/16/18

Good morning from home. 

It's starting to feel like home. 

I'm starting to feel like home. 

That's progress. 

It's Monday. New week. New challenges. New opportunities. Lots to do but please don't forget to be... kind, present, strong, light-hearted, soft, expansive...

I trade the pen for a set of keys and things get fuzzy. The concert last night has my head still spinning- full of hard truths and a beauty that pushes through them all. Gratitude is to be found in the ups and the downs. 

Rebel she said. Rebel. What does that mean to you? Build a home within yourself. When the big bad Zero knocks down the external, you'll always have your foundation. You'll pick up what you want to carry, you'll leave what you don't, and you'll rebuild elsewhere. Somewhere better. Somewhere brighter. Somewhere free. 

I keep jumping back and forth between 'I' and 'you' because sometimes this feels like my voice, and other times it comes from a voice deep inside that we often hide. That universal voice we share. 

So much to do. So much to acquire. So much to love. So much to hold. 

Too much to do. Too much to acquire. Too much to love. Too much to hold. 

You're thinking too much. Just let it go. Let the past go. Let the people go. Let the present be what, and when, and where, and who, and how you are, NOW. 

Today is fortifying HQ...

For the friends that will need to rest and recover.

For the family that will encourage and empower. 

For the storms that will question the questioner. 

For your own mental health and wellbeing.

This is your home. It doesn't require anyone else. It's not dictated or decided on by anyone other than you. You deserve to have a home. You are worthy of a home. You belong to yourself. You belong to God. Build it and she will come. 

 

 

 

 

 

Home

It's been a little over a week since moving back to New York. This will be my third time living here, now in Brooklyn. 

It feels familiar yet completely foreign. Lots of emotions are are being stirred up. Lots of responsibilities. Lots of reflection and realizations that I've been a spoiled, entitled, self-centered, half-man in too many moments of my life. 

Last week, I went for a lengthy bike ride before finding myself sitting along the Hudson River. I wrote this:

You're back.
With grease on your face
and grease on my fingers.
This city is yours.
Just as much as
anyone and everyone. 

As much as the millionaires and money men.
As much as the rose sand on the Hudson.
And the lone sea birds that cross the crystal candied sky. 

You have lived
nowhere else
longer. 

Tycho and garbled english, 
pulling directions
rom either side of your face,
mixed with familiar sounds and songs that
don't belong
to anyone in particular. 

You rode past old homes.
You rode past old haunts. 
You rode past old moments
that take on
new life. 

You're back in the city
that takes it all
and gives it all. 

If you give your all. 

Youth flys by
with sounds of joy.

Why do you have to love this city?

Because its dirty,
and rough? 
So are you. 

Because it can feel so empty
and filled with soul
at the same time?
So are you.

You
hate to love
this city
as much as
you
love to hate
this city. 

Because you
hate to love
yourself
as much as you
love to hate
yourself. 

Every moment
you die. 

Every moment
you're born again

Every rotation of the sun
is a pump of your legs. 

Climbing the bridges
on two wheels
that connect
the old
to
the new. 

The spit of the kids,
the bite of an apple.

The glub, glub, glub, 
of the water
on which floats
this magic isle. 

It's as much yours
as you want it to be. 



 

 

 

 

Outline work for Stage One of the The Human Hero Movement....

Stage One

The Wasteland

 

Stage Description- 

The Wasteland is where most humans live, comfortable and content to just get by. The human’s eyed are veiled to their superpower, the unique expression of self that is meant to be explored and shared with the world. Blinders placed on by society, or parents, or teachers, or friends, or partners… all manifestations of ZERO. Both well and ill intentioned ideas of who one should be, the job one should have, the relationship one should be in, projected onto one from another who ultimately doesn’t know what is best for the human, because they are a different person. Some are unaware they are living a half-life, others stay here by choice because it is easy. No risks, rewards are small. Its the rat race, the hamster wheel, the I am this, I am that. This is where ZERO lives and where he aims to keep the human. 

 

Sample writing-

I’m excited to tell you this… you are not perfect.  You were born with flaws and limitations. There will always be someone more talented than you, more beautiful than you, more dedicated than you. Even if you practice, and practice, and practice (and you should) you will never be the best. And even on, that one magical day, when some person of authority who holds just as much value as you,  designated by some other person of authority, finally hands you the prestigious title of #1…. Someone else, someone younger, faster, stronger, smarter, will come and take the it from you without thinking twice. 

 

I remember when I was about 12 years old— there was this video online, even before youtube, where Cookie Monster was singing a song titled “The Internet is for Porn.” That’s basically all he said, over and over. The Internet is for Porn, The internet is for PORN. I believed him. I was hooked. 

 

Sub-stages-

-Ownership

-A False Life

-Super-Zero Culture(Wasteland manifestations in the world) 

-Against the Grain 

-Perfection Does Not Exist 

-Media Monster

-Cookies and Porn 

-Super-Hero Culture 

-Zero-Fuel 

-Removal 

 

Tether- The Dependent

Any relationship that does not challenge the human, promote growth, cultivate his/her gifts, and push them towards their potential, and/or is necessary for feelings of self-worth and validation. The human could be tethered to a job, a person, an idea of themselves, a false belief placed on them, a conditioned story- this it the first and nastiest Tether- the false belief that the human is not capable of achieving their dreams unless validated by an outside source. 

 

Challenge- Morning Rituals

1) Body- Hold yourself up in upper push-up plank 

(movement first thing everyday-beginnings of a movement practice) 

2) Mind- Make your bed first thing every morning

(Starting the day off with a sense of accomplishment)

3) Spirit-Create a mantra 

(power of words and Hero-Talk)

 

Reward- Boots of Responsibility

Partnered with a mantra, the human laces up their Boots of Responsibility every morning. The physical act of lacing up the Boots pulls the human into the present moment, a habit that can be applied to any situation as a reminder that the human can handle whatever life throws at them. 

 

 

Visual Description- 

The Wasteland is the outermost piece of the map, furtherest away from the center of the mandala. Humans are contained in comfortable orbs that roll along the dusty ground.  It is a post-apocalyptic desert that is ruled by SuperZero, a global fear that looms over all, hidden in pain sight through the media, the food we eat, the products we buy, the people we idolize. The color scheme is grey, beige, the colors of hard cracked clay and dry dirt. It’s what the world will become if we continue to ignore our impact on it. 

 

Images- 

-Stage

-Tether

-Reward

Acceptance

It's 9:41PM on a Tuesday night and I'm tired as fuck.

Yet, here I am, compelled to write. 

I think I've finally accepted complete responsibility for where I am in my life, my choices, my actions. Up until a few weeks ago, maybe even a few days, I believed I could return to a previous life- if I only believed it hard enough. I believed I could run back into the arms of someone who closed themselves off to me before I was even gone. I was holding on to hope when there was no hope present. And it was slowly killing me. 

I gave away my power- putting way too much of my energy into a past that no longer exists. 

Books, articles, google, etc.... all say this is the last stage of grief. 

Acceptance. 

It's a feeling that is equally terrifying as it is exciting. It means there is no going back. It means the only way is forward. And it's going to be tough, but it can't be worse than living in the past, where there is absolutely no room for growth. 

I am being challenged. Modeling jobs are less frequent than ever before. "Free time" to work on HumanHero is now a precious commodity- in between teaching, training, caring for Yaya, and everything else involved in maintaining a home as a single adult man. 

The best part, is that these words are not spilling forth as complaints. With my acceptance of the present, comes an acceptance of my faith. It feels like reconnecting with a family member that has passed away. My faith in myself partnered with my faith in a higher power is all I need. This challenge is being presented to me because it's part of my journey. 

I can hear my neighbors outside, laughing, probably drunk on wine and beer. At 31, I'm one of the younger people living in this complex. Most of them are retired, or have online businesses, or just... have... money, somehow. There existence here in Miami seems to be one long vacation.

Yet I am not envious... this moment in my life is primed for exponential growth. That growth will not come unless partnered with action, and hardship, and decisions, and failures, and movement, and a fuck load of hard work. 

I'm ready for it. How do I know that? Because I have to be, because I MUST be, because no one else is going to do it for me. HumanHero isn't about me, HumanHero is about Us.  These are steps we all must take to get to the next level. Before, what seemed like taking a step backward, I now understand as a massive jump forward. Writing, creating, teaching, training, saying yes to opportunities that scare the shit out of me... that is growth. Leaving a relationship that was unhealthy is growth. Putting these words out into the universe, giving zero fucks about how they are received, is growth. 

So when I do have those precious moments to create, to share, to connect with the higher power.... I will do so with more energy, and appreciation, and love than ever before. I truly believe that MOVING in the direction of your dreams, MOVING on after what at first felt like failure, MOVING from self-loathing to self-love....

Its all good
because
its all growth. 

So no matter what life throws your way....

Keep your chin up, 

keep faith alive,


and


always keep moving. 

 

Racked magazine piece about my experience with Bruce Weber

Original story here

 

The first time I met Bruce Weber was eight years ago. I can still remember the initial exchange so vividly. I checked my email and there it was, the original casting from my agent at the time, labeled “by photographer’s special request.” I’d heard Weber described as a “god” in the industry, a man who could make or break my career. I was a 23-year-old model, with a rough idea of who I was and what I was willing and unwilling to tolerate. I’d met and worked with other famous photographers before, but no one was ever described as a “god.” The pressure was on from the start.

 

When I first spoke up about my experience with Bruce Weber and sexual harassment in the modeling industry, I chose to remain anonymous. I was scared — I’m still a working model, and until I can support myself as a writer and artist, I wasn’t willing to risk losing my main source of income. And honestly, I was a victim of the stigma of what it means to be a man in today’s society. To have another man abuse his power and take advantage of you can feel like one of the most emasculating experiences that a young man can have.

 

But when I saw Weber’s Instagram post denying the accusations brought against him by other male models, I knew it was time to speak out, leaning into the fear instead of running away from it. And I believe myself, and my fellow male models, would not have had the courage to come forward had it not been for the female heroes that started this movement.

 

---

 

The casting took place at Weber’s studio, Little Bear, located in Tribeca. The entire space felt like a shrine to the man and his work, laid out like an old rustic factory, assistants — mostly all young attractive men — quietly moving about, carrying giant prints of Weber’s work. I’m an artist myself and thought it would be nice to bring Weber a piece of my own work — a print I had done during my BFA at UArts in Philadelphia.

 

Another 15 or so minutes went by before the woman who’d greeted me came back and told me Bruce was ready to see me. She walked me over to a large vintage freight elevator and told me he would be waiting for me at the top. This whole “god” description, partnered with a literal physical ascension to meet the man, caused warning bells to ring in my head.

 

Up went the elevator, opening up into a beautiful space with vintage furniture and more of Weber’s work, featuring much more nudity that what I had seen on the floor below. He was seated on a couch, slowly got up, and walked over to greet me. He’s what I imagine Santa Claus would look like dressed for a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert. He had a kind face. I offered him the print I had brought for him. He thanked me and put it aside as he walked back over to living room-like set up of chairs and couches facing one another. He offered me a seat and then sat down across from me. There were some pleasantries — where are you from, how long have been modeling, etc. — that probably lasted only a few minutes.

 

Weber then leaned forward and told me he wanted to do a breathing exercise with me. Our knees were almost touching as he began to describe what was about to happen. He explained that energy was going to build between us, a gauge that would be used to determine if we could work together or not.

 

I remember him asking me if I felt it, the energy. I nervously laughed, unsure of what to do or say. He then took my hand from my lap and held it out in front of me, and did the same with his own. He placed his hand under mine and told me that I was going to move his hand around until the energy came to a climax. He began to move his hand in a circle, as I tried to follow. At the “climax,” I would then bring his hand to my body where I felt the energy most.

 

Spiral spiral spiral goes the hand…then very suddenly, he began to bring it towards me, directly down to my crotch. Instinctively, my hand forced his hand up so it landed somewhere on my lower abdomen, an inch or so above the waistband of my jeans, the fingers of his hand seeking the skin underneath my shirt.

 

I forcibly held his hand in place as he tried to slide it down my belly. I could feel him using his strength and he could feel me using my own to resist him. He looked at me very intensely, and when it became clear that I wasn’t going to let him move his hand any further down my body, he said something about my “potential,” thanked me for my time, stood up, and guided me to the elevator.

 

I left feeling very confused and would continue to replay the experience over and over in my head for years, up until the next time I would meet him three years later. During this second experience, I had a different agency and there were several other models around. Weber walked through the casting not long after I arrived and said hello to me. His kind eyes and smile didn’t change the uneasy feeling in my gut, like I was being tested again, this time without the hands, just the space between us too close for comfort, and I quickly turned my eyes away from him.

 

Weber then turned to a model who was immersed in his phone, and asked him to follow him into a private room. I didn’t see either of them for the rest of the casting.

 

Again, I left confused, this time wondering if by simply averting my eyes from his, had I blown an opportunity to work with him in the future? Both experiences played over in my mind for years; I contemplated whether or not my career would have been more “successful” had I allowed this man to “control the energy” between us.

 

---

 

I don’t feel broken from my experience, despite how much time and energy I spent wondering “what if.” And I know that I am one of the lucky ones. Male models are an expendable cog in the hyper-judgmental wheel that is the fashion industry. We are paid far less than female models, which creates a heavier sense of desperation to “make it.”

 

I often think about young guys, 15, 16, 17 years old, coming to New York City for the first time, being thrown into situations with promises of fame and glory. It’s our job to be judged — on our bodies, our sexuality, and how likable we are. This can be a challenge for anyone, especially those dealing with self-esteem issues, which have plagued me and, I believe, plague anyone striving towards society’s idea of perfection.

 

There has always been a grey line between what is acceptable and what is not, and many of these young men have no idea how to navigate that line until they are thrown, often literally naked and afraid, into the lion’s den. From my experience, the more famous a photographer is, the more power he is given — by agents, by media, by anyone within the industry and beyond. This cycle has been perpetuated for far too long, beginning at the top of the ladder, with white men of power covering each others’ tracks, continuing to believe they are untouchable.

 

Where there is power, there will be an abuse of said power. The female heroes of our world have given us the Lens of Truth, and are forcing us to focus it on the dirt that has been hiding in plain sight, right underneath our noses. The courage of these heroines has sparked the fire that only burns brighter and brighter as each new voice comes forward, striving to create a world where every human can feel safe, respected, and seen.

Speak your Truth

Hello HumanHeroes, 

I hope this message finds you well on this beautiful Wednesday afternoon. Better than "well" I hope it finds you inspired, imaginative, and taking action to bring your dreams to life. If you aren't feeling inspired, maybe of beating yourself up, maybe you're straight up having a shitty day.... see this an opportunity to search for meaning. Life is a constant ebb and flow, one that moves between light and dark. As I get older, and reflect back on my life, I understand that suffering is the key to transformation- don't discount the days when you feel like shit. That feeling means you are seeking, seeking, seeking...

I had an incredibly productive day on Monday, working on my book proposal for hours, letting the words flow out with little thought. Then Tuesday rolls around and BAM!, the day is over before I know it. I spent most of the day dealing with things that were important but not how to, or had planned on,  spending my time.

No matter how disciplined we are, sometimes situations are thrown at us and we have to adjust. Life happens. Everything is always changing, especially now as we try to keep up with technology. The challenge is not to beat ourselves up when this happens, but to be like water, go with the flow, and remember that one unproductive or "bad" day doesn't mean life is ending! 

Right now, in my life, I find myself constantly seeking. Not seeking out the next adventure, or partner, or job- but seeking answers internally. Why am I here? What do I have to share with the world? How can I be a better human being, kinder, more compassionate, more loving? Where does courage come from? How can I honor every day as a gift? What the heck does it mean to be a HumanHero? Occasionally it feels like a nudge from god, saying "Hey, pick up those pencils, grab your sketchbook, prep that canvas, and lets create together." I'm doing my best to honor that voice.

The "Human" doesn't come before the "Hero" by accident. We need help- from our higher power, from our friends, our family, from strangers. The more we empathize with each other- understanding that we are all suffer, we all struggle, we all have stress in our lives- the better we will treat each other. The struggle, that's part of being a human.

Then comes the Hero, a word that has universal meaning with so many different definitions-dependent on history, culture, and frankly just how the HUMAN is feeling in that moment. I'm most interested in the feeling the word brings about when I speak it, or write it. It's one of those words than can make you feel empowered and completely terrified at the same time. Humility is something we link with being a HERO, not something we link we being a HUMAN. So to call yourself a HERO sounds contradictory to what the word means. 

It sounds contradictory- but how does it feel? To say, "I am a human being. I have a body, I have a brain, I have a heart. My life is made up of experience and relationships, warm light and dark nights. My life is shaped by the actions I take, and the actions I take are determined by my mindset." It's not all you are, but its a good place to start- whether you believe in energy, karma, fairy dust, whatever--- whatever it is that you are, you are having it through the experience of a human being. 

This is the first truth.

The second truth is that your health- physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual-- is paramount. Like they say on airplanes, please place your mask on first before assisting others. You have to save yourself before you can save anyone else. Saving can be swapped for healing, helping, lifting up, grounding down, reminding, remembering, caring for, cleaning up, getting clear, being honest, powering up, and powering down... or any other feeling that is based in love, promotes growth, and gets you to the next level on your journey. 

Doctors, warriors, teachers, mentors, those who's duty is to do what is right for the betterment of you, and in turn the betterment of all-- this is heroism. Why would you treat yourself with any less compassion, courage, and unwavering faith in yourself? You have a duty to yourself. Its not selfish. Its filling yourself up so you can best be of service to those around you, and the world at large.

I originally started writing these words as an introduction for the Bruce Weber piece I did for Racked Magazine. It's my second time speaking up about sexual harassment in the modeling industry. It required me to lean into fear instead of run away from it. This is how change happens. This is how growth happens. That's what courage is, moving towards fear. And I didn't find that courage, it found me.

The women that came forward before any male model would ever have the guts to do so... They spoke their truth to liberate themselves and free others from a future where it continues to happen. I'm doing my best to follow in their footsteps so no one is ever made to feel less than human. 

Change your mindset, change your life, one day at a time.

January 29th 2018

Sometimes I wonder if the words I write are too heavy. ZEROTalk, we'll call them. A voice that sounds like whining, or complaining,  and I worry if it comes across like I believe my suffering is more important than the suffering of others. I consider taking the words down, because they no longer feel authentic to who I am in this new moment. This push/pull is one of the many challenges of controlling a mind that fluctuates between feeling completely worthless and overwhelmingly inspired. 

Today I severed tethers that kept me attached to an dead shadow of myself. One of the long lost hotel rooms filled with stagnant memories, one of the dusty valleys of the Wasteland- a symbiosis of past regret and raging mindlessness. We talk about mindfullness a lot, but what about mindlessness-- when your mind becomes a ravenous devourer of all the good that can be good in the present moment. I call this ZERO, this mindlessness, this lack of control, and unfortunately that is usually my default. 

But not today... today was a good day. And it started with movement. Good days usually start  with movement, and now it ends with these words. For lunch,  I had a hearty sandwich of HeroTalk, with a filling of inspiring people and conversation. I realize now, this entire day was a day of self-care. I relinquished my hold on people that were no longer mine to hold.  Not because I don't love them anymore, but because I do love them. Then I found myself on my knees, praying in a church. And I cried.

I cried for myself. I cried for the woman in front of me, shaking her head from side to side. I cried for the men in the pews behind me.   I cried for everyone in the church, sitting there, searching for something, that something that initially pulled them through the threshold- to question, to seek, and to bow to a power that is greater than themselves. I cried for everyone that will never make it into a church, or onto their knees, humbly asking for help. And that release became prayer. Prayers for peace. Prayers for abundance. Prayers for courage. Prayers for kindness. And most importantly, prayers for love, for all. 

Surround yourself with people that inspire you and care for you. They don't have to shower you with love, they don't have to tell you that you're great, or pretty, or smart-- they simply just want to see you thrive. In fact, they less they compliment you the better. Those that truly care for you...give it to you straight, they don't sugar coat shit, and they put you in touch with your intuition and whats best for you (just sometimes you need that friend to listen and bounce what you already know back at you.)

Now, its time to shower, and meditate, and set myself up for another positive day with as little influence from ZERO as possible. To the HumanHeroes that showed up for me today, thank you. To those kind teachers that showed me the door to a better version of myself, thank you. Teacher and hero, one and the same. Rest well all. 

 

 

 

Back in the Big Apple-UPDATE 1/25/18

I'm typing these words from inside one of the coolest apartments I've ever seen, smack in the center of New York City, for which I am very grateful. I'm staying with a friend/client whom I used to train when I lived here in New York, a little over a 2 years ago. He has a library, like an entire room, full of books, with a sleeping loft built into ceiling. A sliding ladder, like the kind you see in the movies, provides access to the bed along with the many shelves of books. Aside from the busy city outside, the stories within these books have been my friends during this trip. They are constant reminders that stories can be shared and bring enough value to someone to line the walls of their home in a city as crowded as Manhattan. 

I've only been here for 5 days but it feels like much longer. I came to connect with my new modeling agency, Wilhelmina, which so far, has been a great success. The last time I came to New York, I suffered. A lot. I remember standing on the edge of the subway platform feeling completely empty. My emotional pain manifested physically in my body and I curled down into a little ball, which probably saved me from jumping in front of the oncoming train. 

Maintaining my mental health has been the biggest challenge of my entire life, from childhood all the way up until now. I'm 31 years old and still often feel like a lost kid that tethers his worth to external sources. I'm in love with someone who won't speak to me and I pray everyday for peace.  Being in a city filled with memories makes the whole process of letting go that much more challenging. I did the best I could with the operating system I was working with, and I'm still doing the best I can with the system I have now- handling one day at a time. 

I want to do better. For my future partner, for myself, and for anyone out there that struggles with keeping their light alive. It's a battle everyday. When I moved away from this city, and from this life that had been given to me but not earned, I did so because I thought I had to do everything on my own. And now that I'm on my own, I want it all back. The comfort, the ease, the lack of responsibility-- but I know I don't deserve it. I know that I am being challenged because it's what is necessary for the evolution of my consciousness. 

I've been writing everyday for the past 8 years. Morning pages as Julia Cameron calls them. They've always been just for me, or for anyone who happens to pick up and look through my journals... mistakes were made, and I'm doing my best to see them all as lessons. I've grown a great deal and that growth never stops. There is no finish line. There is is no definitive line that slices through success/failure.

 I dream of a home on a lake, a family- a wife, a daughter, and dogs... so many dogs, running everywhere... I'm not there yet. I have one dog and she is enough for me right now. And there is only now. I have faith in a higher power that is guiding me in the right direction, towards that sense of home internally, that can then be shared and manifested externally. And writing these words... fills me with emotion.... and I start to cry, but not tears of sadness--water from the source that gives my life purpose. 

That home, will be built on movement- physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, cultural- that comes from a reluctant hero who has to show up for himself before he can show up for anyone else. I think I just decided I'd like to build it myself-- haha, one more giant task to add to the list. To you the reader, the human, the hero in training, whether you are in a wonderful place in your life or your struggling to find your footing, count your blessings everyday. Be thankful for all that you have, because it may not be there tomorrow.

We are human, our ego often gets the better of us--you'll take your loves for granted, because you are imperfect, you are human. Strive to be a better human. The people in your life, that you call heroes- your family, your partner, your pet. Be the hero for them as much as you can, because they deserve it. They deserve all the love that you can shower them with, so they can blossom, and flourish, and spill love on everything they touch. See them with more than your eyes, kiss them with more than your lips, tell them they are beautiful, listen to them with your whole body, and hold them up with a strength you didn't believe you had.

 

HumanHero weekly VLOG post up!

Hey HumanHeroes!

I've been writing my ass off on HumanHero: Strength Training From Within and I finally put together my first VLOG talking about the process! 

I'm new to the video editing process so bare with me. :)

Please check out the video and if there is anything you want me to cover for next week, please leave a comment on youtube. 

Much love guys! 

SUPPORT TREVOR LIVE!

Hey guys and gals! 

So this Monday, June 19th, I'll be heading to NYC to attend Trevor Live!

 

I was discussing human-hero with a friend and he told me I had to get involved. Let me give you a little background on how it applies...

Human-hero dives into a lot of issues- a major one being the exploration of your own unique heroic identity. I believe there is a power inside everyone, your own super-power if you will, that the world will never see again. It's your responsibility to unearth, and expose that power to the world. That heroic voice, is your identity, and keeping it subdued within you does a disservice to the world around you. Easier said than done? Definitely.... but as Joseph Campbell said...

The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.

 I struggled with my own identity growing up- never feeling like I fit in through middle and high-school. Dealing with mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and body dysmorphia didn't make it any easier as well. And kids are fucking mean, they don't care what problems you are dealing with, because they have their own unique issues. I felt alone all the time. 

The Trevor Project started out as a short film, produced by Peggy Rajski and Randy Stone. Written by James Lecesne, has now become a massive force for good in the LGBTQ community. Hundreds of thousands of young people in need have looked to Trevor for hope, guidance, and sometimes simply just an ear that will listen to them. They reminded young people, struggling with their identities, that they are not alone. 

With everything going on in today's world, inclusion leads to more separation. Gay/straight/pink/purple, whatever your preference is, everyone should feel comfortable in their own skin, EMPOWERED by their identity, and accepted by those around them.

We are all part of the collective, we all share the same home. And I'm honored to be part of the Trevor Project. 

 

Would love for you guys to join- I believe tickets are still available. Otherwise you can watch via the link below! 

Livestream Trevor Live here!

Much love human-heroes

You are not alone. :)

Update, NYC BOUND!

Greetings! 

Phew, I haven't updated in awhile. Lots going on over here. I got a dog- here name is Yaya, she is wonderful. She's exhausted, collapsed underneath me from this Miami heat.

I've been removing myself from toxic situations, making healthy choices, and becoming the authority on my life once more- one day at a time. 

Aka, I'm feeling great!

I'm heading to NYC for a few projects which I'll post next. Check back soon for my updates! 

Much love Human-Heroes

 

Pick up the sword

 

A distant voice calls to you from deep inside. 
Familiar

Rejoin the fray

Something ignites inside
as
The great battle of life continues on

Wars wage
people suffer
 love dies

The world lives
the world dies
moving towards the Unknown
and so many humans
believe
they have no power
to change
the course
of
destiny

The fate of the planet

The fate of their own
dreams and ambitions
purpose and passion

Are passed off
to others
responsibility is shed
to the words of men
self-serving
 full of fear
building towers
and trebuchets 

to blast their will on to the masses
giving their own lust for power
a name, 
religion
politics
consumption
greed

A system broken

And the world suffers

Pick up the sword

The voice calls out again
known the world over

Rejoin the fray

"I have a dream"
can never be
unheard

 the voice of the heroes
can never be silenced

A human voice
springing forth from a human body
calls you to action

All the great heroes
 human
fragile yet free
weak yet willing
imperfectly powerful 

To break their bones
and
fight through fear

so 

Love
can bloom again

Balance and responsibility

I had all these ideas in the shower about what I wanted to write.
Things I need to do, things I want to do.
Things I must do, things I must leave alone. 

It's a challenge to find balance. 

Everyday. 

When we're walking- right foot forward, left foot forward- how often do we think about all the pieces of the puzzle being put together, simultaneously, to keep us on our feet. 

It seems so easy. Second nature. 

But it didn't start that way. 
We had to learn how to stand on our own to feet.

First on all fours.
Crawling, gripping, pulling, pushing. 

Then one knee at a time. Building that strength and stability. 

We'd fall on our ass, we might even fall on our face. 


But we kept trying because there was wonder in seeing the world from a new perspective. Wobbly heels eventually become rooted in the ground. Toes gripping for a hold, eventually relax comfortably onto the earth. 

And then life kicks into overdrive, and our feet are knocked the fuck out from underneath us. 

I have two scars 6 inch scars on my chin. 

I'm struggling with my Responsibility right now. 

Doing the right thing has a different meaning everyday. 

Knowing when to step away, and knowing when to do the work.

"The universe is under no obligation to be understood by you."

Right now, I think being responsible meaning showing up. 
It always means showing up. Being honest despite the fear. Knowing fear is only temporary. Knowing all feelings, thoughts, are only temporary. 

Standing on my own two feet.
Moving forward, not backwards, and certainly not standing still.  
Arms extended by my sides, walking along that balance beam. 
 

It's raining now. 
Let it rain.