What are your hopes, goals and expectations for this year?
Speaking for myself, I'd like to be more outspoken, at least in my day to day life, particularly about things that are important to me. I don't have any problem opening my big mouth here, but I'm sometimes mum about certain topics offline. I haven't talked about it here--well, to be honest, I haven't talked about much of anything here recently, but that's 'cause I've been busy laying down remixes (more on that in future posts! I promise!)--but I've started a freethought group in my town for atheists, agnostics, humanists and skeptics. While we've made some progress in drawing folks out of the shadows, I'd be lying if I said it hasn't been hard and frustrating getting people to consistently show up to things like meet ups and movie nights.
Of course, part of this is due to the fact we're smack dab in the middle of Louisiana, where there are real fears and consequences that surround "coming out" as a nonbeliever. Several members have told tales of either themselves or others being fired from their jobs once word got out they weren't saved and sanctified; others have family and living situations to consider. Even my own extended family is unaware I'm an atheist.
However, this year I want that to change. In past few weeks, I've been sharing articles, videos and memes dealing with atheism and humanism on Facebook. Some have been provocative, some humorous, and others more informative. And I've also managed to say the words "I don't believe in god" to two people when the opportunity presented itself, without engaging in my usual one-man mental chess game. So far, the online response has been minimal aside from the random like, and the two guys I told were relative strangers, but I'm going to keep doing it. I know in the grand scheme of things, sharing and posting on social media and low-stakes confessions aren't the most radical of acts. But if I'm asking others to step out of the closet and into a brave, potentially scary new world, I need to be willing to do the same. Besides, if I can scroll through my timeline and see a million "If you're a real Christian, share this" memes, why can't I post a picture of George Carlin as a priest? As the year goes on, I'll share more about the status of the group and how this all turns out.
I also want to apply this openness to my creative life. Last year I finally got over myself and made the leap to start making my own music, and it's been one of the best decisions I've ever made. Not only have I been able to find a new outlet for my musical side after leaving church, working at the studio has brought other musicians, painters, writers and other artists into my world. However, I've only shared this turn of events with a select few. Part of this is because I wanted to have some proof that I had done something rather than just talk about doing something, but it was also because another part of me was still afraid--of being judged, patronized or otherwise dismissed. The same thing has happened with my writing. On the one hand I attended my first writing conference and have actively pursued getting a publisher for my manuscript, but still felt the nerves rise up in me whenever someone started to talk about their latest poem or short story. Should I bring up what I was working on at the moment, or would that make me seem arrogant? Or was it even worth bringing up, since my writing couldn't possibly measure up to theirs?
However, the older I get, the more I realize that yes, people can be judgmental, condescending and dismissive. But the harshest judge is more often than not staring back at you in the mirror. True, I still work my 40-hour-a-week, clock-in-clock-out 9 to 5 to pay bills, buy food and afford other things required to you know, stay alive. But I am also a writer, a musician, and a sorta graphic designer, (I do okay with Photoshop, but wouldn't put it on my business card). Whether it was writing my own Goosebumps spin offs or drawing my own cartoon as a kid, pinning tortured poems during my closet case days or getting "arty" with selfies, I've always been a creator in some capacity, and it's time I embraced that part of me whole-heartedly instead of treating it like a red-headed stepchild. Cliche as it is, the only person who can truly stop me from achieving my dreams is me. So with that in mind, I'm going to promote the shit out of my music--Bougie Beats, available for download at afrosensei.bandcamp.com--and talk about my writing to anyone who'll listen. Living life as a full-time writer/DJ/producer/musician is the life I want. And I going to go after with everything I've got.
Aside from those champagne wishes and caviar dreams (where the hell has Robin Leach been? Just a random thought), I hope for good health, peace, love, happiness and all other assorted "We Are The World" emotions.
What do you want your 2015 to be?