First of all, I would like to apologize for the lack of diversity with my posts and the shortage of posts in general. As you may know, I am balancing going to college, working for Gladeo, being a badass boyfriend, and other things happening in my little Joseph's World ( as in my life not the blog lol). I promise that I am working on writing more. I even dropped my math class to take a publications class!
So if you know me, then you'll know that there are 3 things in life that I worship.
1. CHINESE FOOD
3. LADY GAGA
This post, as you can tell, will focus on number 3, mainly because I have not had a proper dose of Chinese cuisine since I moved back to college and I do not want to think about delicious Honey Walnut Prawns and be hungry. Also, a lack of playing Pokemon, which is blasphemy to our lord an creator Arceus, who created the Pokemon world from a single egg. So none of that either.
So with that, let's talk about Lady Gaga. For years now, I have worshiped Stefani Joanne Angelina Germonatta. I remember the first time I heard Just Dance on the radio and broke out of my Green Day/Linkin Park phase (a phase that would come back to haunt me during the early years of high school), it was as if I were transformed. And for years, I kept my love for her somewhat a secret. Because somehow, my affection for her Bad Romance was connected to my weird sexuality that I kept hidden (but not really). I wasn't particularly vocal about loving her for the reason that I thought it would expose my gay-ness all over the place. Eventually, I grew to care less, and then I noticed that it was, in fact, all connected, and people pieced it together and BAM. I was out. And then it was history.
But what is it that made me love The Countess the most? Yes, there's her amazing performances with the outfits and amazing vocals (see video above). There's the fact that she is one of the most amazing people out there, establishing the Born This Way Foundation to help the troubled youth in need. And then there's her sideline talents like being a Golden Globe-worthy actress for her role as The Countess in American Horror Story Hotel. But my love her her transcends all of those. It's something more genuine, in a sense that it feels like we are somehow connected.
I recently came across an essay on the interwebs about the pre-Lady Gaga Stefani. According to this article, the young Stefani Germonatta, a struggling New York artist, had a Facebook page about her- and how she was never going to be a start. Here is an excerpt:
"When I was a freshman at NYU and Facebook was only a year old and people created/joined groups like 'I have dimples' and 'Fake ID, please!,' I remember coming across a Facebook group that broke my heart," Bohn wrote. "It's name, something like: 'Stefani Germanotta, you will never be famous.'
"The page housed pictures of a pretty Norah Jones-esque young 18-year-old NYU student who sang and played piano at local bars. The group was peppered with comments, sharp as porcupine needles, vilifying the aspiring musician for being an 'attention w----e.' Scores asked: 'Who does she think she is?' I also remember one dude posting a flyer for one of her upcoming gigs at a local village bar. He had clearly stomped on the flyer, an outline of his muddy sole [soul] struggling to eclipse her name."
It's her story that makes me so inspired. How she was able to resist the temptation to give up, and years later became a cultural icon with six Grammies, a Golden Globe, and the Woman of the Year title just last year.
So I guess in a way, I want to learn how to overcome that much negativity. People doubt me. We all have our haters, don't we? A few months ago I published a blog post called Insecurity, and discussed the demons that plagued my mind and kept me up at night. I told the story you all may already know; how I overcame homelessness and depression and became a different person for myself. Although most feedback to this post was positive, there is one particular comment on the comments section that will always stick to my head:
"Yo bruh I really love yoa story, I really do, but in all honesty I feel like you overuse this story a bit too much. The most benefiting thing you can do with the experience you had, is obviously to share what you learned. But if you're going to share your story with a message, let it be once and for that singular purpose. I know what it's like to go in n out of those stages of life. And I can honestly say that I really can relate to a lot of your tribulations. With that being said, I'm happy to see you were strong and able to pull yourself through those hard times. Cause it does get hard when you start questioning your identity and your ideals. But in this world now, you don't prove anything to anyone but yourself, including lovin ya self. I'm sharing this with you because you share a great trait of self honesty and being genuine, despite the masses. Which I feel like will be your hold on success, but you should let in more room for experience. Like I said you don't need to prove anything to anyone, which means you don't have to carry the desire to let this story be known. Keep in mind we're still of adolescents and there's gonna be a lot more to understand in our life. I hope to read more on these lessons you find tho."
When I first read this, I guess the first feeling I had was confusion. Was this a supportive comment? Or was it written to bring me down? I did not know. Because I did not understand.
So, with that said, months later, now that I have a better understanding of this comment after weeks of a thought process, I would like to respond to this comment with an open letter to Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous:
Dear Anonymous Comenter on my "Insecurity" post,
First of all, thank you for reading my blog. The fact that you commented means you actually care. That means a lot, because I pay lots of money to maintain my website! Second, I would like to thank you for the positive words. As someone who dealt with a lot of trauma during my teenage years, I have endured a lot to become the person I am. I am very happy that you can resonate with some of my traits. It means a lot when people notice even the slightest of what I am trying to achieve, and it means even more when people respond to what I present them.
My only regret is that you feel that I use my "homeless" story too repetitive. I will admit that I know for a fact that I use this a lot. But I do not use it as a "trump card" or "get out of jail" free pass. Like I said, I have dealt with a lot of negativity in my life. I was in a hole so deep that I thought it was impossible for me to ever climb back up. For years, no one tossed a rope in to help me get back on the surface, and in that darkness, the pit became deeper and seemingly endless. But things like theater and Herban Movement started pulling me up. Years after recovering from this, I now consider myself an "alumni", not only for Junior Achievement, but also an alumni of the state of darkness. I will admit that once in awhile, it is tempting to fall back down that pit with things like college happening, but I have avoided letting myself dive into that pool of blood because I do not know how deep it has become after everything.
Depression doesn't work the way some of us think. The pool doesn't dry up. It's still there. It's murky, covered in dead leaves and bugs, and it reeks of the smell of decaying paranoia and anxiety. The best way to not fall into that pool is to stay away from it as far as you can. How? By thinking of other activities besides swimming in a pit of shit. Things that I find worth while, like joining a new non-profit to help people find their dream careers, going on live TV to talk about the story that I may or may not use a lot, and even meeting the leader of our nation to discuss youth entrepreneurship- the rope that pulled me back up.
You may be confused. Is it a hole, or is it a pool? Depression is the hole. The memories I have is the water that fills it as a pool. It's like a scar. It's there for us to see, but we can chose to cover it up or show it to the world.
I guess, for me, I chose to show it to the world. Why? Because there are more people out there who are swimming in their own filthy pools, digging a deeper hole, and filling it with more filth. I want to be that rope that pulls them out. Like a really inspirational lifeguard, who may not be physically fit for the task but is arguably inspiring with his choice of words.
So, in response, I would like to say that I am never going to stop using this story. It's not meant to be hidden. It's meant to be shared, to be connected with and gain inspiration from. Just like the story of Lady Gaga, bullied starving New York actress turned global superstar.
If you would like to meet, I promise that I will not hold your words against you. Send me a text, tell me who you are. I would love to catch up.
And with that said, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to leave you with a quote of inspiration from Mother Monster herself:
"IF YOU HAVE NO SHADOWS, THEN YOU ARE NOT STANDING IN THE LIGHT." - LADY GAGA