The Settlement

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Gabriel Garzon-Montano

“Keep On Running”

My father was never much of a figure in my youth, which was a shame, but I had other folks to look to, for that sort of patriarchal motivation. A lot of what I’ve carried forward, and what I have fashioned in my own image, originated from the blueprint that they presented to me. The way that I dress, the way that I speak, it all comes from somewhere. Later on, I took a liking to reading and really examining situations connected to comfort and the lack thereof, in order to understand social cues. From there, I realized that I was a bit different. Reason being that I hadn’t encountered anyone that focused, so much, on the minutiae, the way that I did/do. It became apparent, to me, that I couldn’t follow any established blueprints to get where I felt I needed to go, and the folks that had inspired me were always supporting my journey. All of a sudden, indiscernible to even me, there was a shift. I began making exactly what I thought were the right moves, in order to attain my success. There were failures, but I was always on the right path. The issue was that there was a sort of inversion in my relationships with those close to me, that supported. They were always fans but they went from “The Standards” to “The Admirers”. Something seemingly made them think that they needed to accept their realities, instead of daring to continue to forge a path through the unknown. I became the inspiration. When I realized that this was the reality, I was surprised. I’ve never taken issue with this. I am honored to be able to be that, for any and everyone that enjoys it, but to these very specific people, it makes me uneasy. Because they have resigned to what their lives are. Which, in and of itself, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Not even close. There is just so much that they are capable of. It hurts me immensely when I have to stand there and listen to them tell me “Do you know how it feels to know that you’re settling?” I took a second to think about it and, yeah, I do know what the feels like. I’ve done it twice. That day, when that rhetorical question was posed to me, all I could ask was “Is that really how you feel?”, to which the answer was “I feel that way because that’s what I’m doing.”. In that moment, I realized 2 things: I need to help get them where they need to be and if I can’t do that, myself, I need to continue to be an example.

That specific situation put a lot of things in perspective, for me. It just explained a lot of things that I felt but couldn’t properly associate, in my mind. One of the things that I couldn’t quite place my finger on was an occurrence during a pretty big transitional period in my life, a little while ago, and I had been in a true funk. I was trying to figure out how this whole thing happened and why this kind of thing happens to me. I simply wasn’t being myself. It came to a head, one day, and they actually started to show anger for the way that I was being. Many things have happened to me, in my life but they, very seldom, have ever demonstrated any frustration about my sadness. This was different for some reason. It was as if they were saying “You have a chance to do great things now! There’s nothing holding you back, anymore! Do what you’re supposed to do, now!” In this instance, I am paraphrasing, but those words had actually been said to me, on a different occasion. It was like watching a movie with two characters attempting to escape a terrible situation but one of them knows that only one can make it. So that one decides to do all he/she can to give the other the chance. I feel that I am the one that was fated to escape. I want to save them, though. And I believe that I can save them. Save them from simply allowing things to be, and going after that elusive success that comes only when a person puts themselves on the line. For them to have been an inspiration, to me, and for me to simply leave them behind while they struggle with what they should do, would be a sign that I didn’t truly value what had been given to me, regardless of if they had been aware that they had been giving it, or not. I am a leader, now. Responsibilities rest upon my shoulders and I have always been brave enough to carry them. The difference is that I have grown into the man that can actually carry them, now.

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Stop. Chill. Relax.

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I, sometimes, think that we, as guys, need to chill. I won’t exclude myself from this. I have the opportunity to be in the vicinity of both sexes during my day-to-day and I will admit that Montreal has extremely beautiful women, but there needs to be some perspective acquired, and parameters established, here. I make it a habit to be aware of my surroundings, as much as I can be. In doing so, one of my favorite things to do is to spot an attractive person (Male or female) and observe the reactions of the people walking towards or driving past them. I do that because I find it interesting to see how little some folks can control themselves. I won’t speak too much on how women respond to seeing a handsome man, in this particular entry. I will talk about us. The men.

There is very rarely any acceptable reason for a man to ogle a woman as she enters his field of view, and then to maintain that unfortunate display until well after she exits it. I find that offensive and extremely unnecessary. No one has ever said that it is wrong to acknowledge the presence of someone that you believe is aesthetically pleasing, to you, but there have to be clear lines drawn. Too often, what I see us doing makes me just plain uncomfortable. And that’s just me, not even being really close to the situation. I simply couldn’t deal with that nonsense, if I were a woman. A friend of mine told me that, once, while she was in the train, a man pressed up against her from behind and refused to move, even though there was reasonably enough space for him to so. When I first heard that, I remembered being mortified. She continued on to say that she never yelled or screamed out because she was afraid of what might happen to her, at his hands. Very few men, again including myself, have ever had to think in that way which, I believe is a big part of why these types of behavioral patterns still exist. Some of us are truly hypocritical, in that sense. I hear, see, and generally experience men being overly protective of their sisters, mothers, and daughters, but as soon as the context has been modified, some of those morals, with regards to the “object of our infatuation”, are more loose and we, a lot of times, begin to objectify in ways that they would never condone. To be fair, a lot of these situations occur whilst the individual is completely unaware of his actions but, then again, other times, we’re in our right minds.Regardless, I still hold us accountable because I believe that it is imperative that we use our intellects at full capacity when these circumstances present themselves. These women are our friends, our co-workers, the people that, when interwoven within the fabric of our lives, make the tapestry that much richer. We need to remind ourselves of this. Always. My rule is this: If you see a beautiful person walking up to you, and you didn’t have to courage to say something to that person while they are in or around your milieu, forget it. Move on. Don’t stay there, gawking at them, as if you’re trying to undress them with your drool.

I know for a fact that I wouldn’t want any guy doing that to my mom. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t want anyone doing that to my sister. So I make it a point not to do that to any woman. I am aware that there are bigger things happening in the world, but I believe that, in continuing to be respectful in that way, I am making it easier for someone. At the very least. I have made my fair share of mistakes, with women. Whether it was saying something that shouldn’t have been said, or otherwise, I believe that I have been, and will continue to be, genuine in my attempts at atonement. This entry was not written with the intent to bash all men, because “all men” don’t do what I have been writing about. But a lot of us do and I just felt that I should present my thoughts on the subject. To all the respectful men, out there, I salute you.

Feelings that I feel

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Amber – Nils Frahm

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I am a mixture of emotions, below the surface of a stoic exterior… I could easily throw these individual feelings into categories that are all too familiar to us, but I believe that they deserve more respect than a mere assumption. My soul percolates, in search of what it all means, to me. “What are these feelings that I feel? They can’t all be the same 4 or 5 that I always hear about”. The complexity of that search is so enjoyable. It’s also one that requires time and patience, the latter of which I am trying to further cultivate. I liken the search, through the prism of my emotions, to the photography that I have been interested in, for years, by a man named Alan Jaras. Alan developed the technique of Lensless Photography using light, a camera body and a refractive object to form ‘Refractographs’ directly on to film. It’s his explanation of that technique that has my attention:

 

“I have always been fascinated in visualising the invisible. After a long career in industrial scientific research using optical and electron microscopy to image the microscopic world I now explore the strange and wonderful world of the refraction patterns of light.  Working with glass, plastics and resins I capture these unique patterns formed by a single static beam of light after it passes through the complex transparent objects that I create.”

 

It sounds scientific and, undoubtedly, it is but there’s something beautiful in the way that he describes the light and the result of it, passing through the object that he creates. “Vizualizing the invisible”…Man, what a concept. I look inward, at the images that circulate through my subconscious, and I see layers. Layers of my mind and the different things that I can possibly be feeling. My thoughts are certainly less scientific than what Mr. Jaras explained but I want to understand the invisible, rather than “visualizing” it. Learning about those intricacies is such an adventure. The possibilities are endless and the results can, and will, affect your whole world. I am a mixture of emotions, below the surface of a stoic exterior…