Category Archives: This Thing Called Life

“Bare Breasts Are Only The Beginning…”

(First and foremost, I won’t pretend to know the struggle that women face on a day to day basis with regards to inequality, nor do I speak on their behalf when discussing said matter. I do believe wholeheartedly that they should be given every right, power and privilege they deserve (as does every human being, male or female), but until some mysterious alien light beams down upon me from above, giving me the power to change the entire world with a single hand gesture, I can only think the way I think and comment on the things that I see. With that said, I present to you my thoughts on “Go Topless Day”.) 

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(Photo: Scoopnest.com)

For the past few days, I noticed that most of the feeds on my social media mentioned the impending arrival of “Go Topless Day”. As I mentioned before, I’m completely for raising gender equality awareness, but I have to admit I was slightly confused when hearing the news. How could women baring their breasts change the way the world sees them? As I often do when I find myself naive on a particular topic, I took the time to do some research. I studied a little history on women’s rights, looked up a few laws in various countries regarding toplessness, visited several websites which promoted the “go topless” movement, found dozens of write-ups and hundreds of photos encouraging others to go topless in support of gender equality, and saw bare breasts…lots and lots of bare breasts. What I didn’t find, however, was an explanation as to how women around the world taking off their tops could possibly change the…

…then it hit me.

Right smack in the middle of my blind, stupid, male face, it hit me.

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(Photo: GoTopless.org / Scoopnest.com)

Bare breasts were so much more than bare breasts. How could I have not seen it before? It was so obvious! I consider myself a fairly intelligent person, so the fact that such a simple answer had eluded me so was baffling. Then, after a few seconds of quiet introspection, I realized why I hadn’t figured it out earlier.

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(Photo: KardsUnlimited.com)

Regardless of the fact that I was raised in 4-5 different countries with different cultures, regardless of the fact that I was raised by two loving, impartial parents, regardless of my personal belief that both sexes were created equal, the world had subconsciously planted a seed. It was a seed which said “A woman’s breasts are to be seen as sexual, erotic parts of the female anatomy that should be covered up at all times. Breasts are not to used to feed babies in public. Breasts are not to fall out by accident. Breasts are not to be bared when one is hot. And in absolutely no way is a woman’s bare chest to be considered neutral or completely normal, like a man’s.

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(Photo: Twitter – @SheKnows)

No matter how unbiased, objective and feminist I believed I was, deep down inside I was seeing women in exactly the same way that most of the rest of the world saw them…differently! Without even realizing it, I failed to notice that women aren’t removing their tops to raise eyebrows or stop traffic. They’re not holding up “Free The Nipple” signs to cause commotions and turn heads. And they definitely didn’t start the #GoToplessDay hashtag just to have a reason to throw parades.

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(Photo: GoTopless.org)

They’re doing all of the above for one very simple reason…to be the same.

– F

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Filed under Controversy...Ya Gotta Love It, This Thing Called Life

“…Only Human.”

“Another terrorist act occurred tonight. More innocent lives were stolen from us. More religious differences were brought up. More political injustices were mentioned. More grieving was done. More questions were asked.”

“I find it interesting that during times like these, I myself am asked questions; by my peers, family members, acquaintances and ‘followers’. Perhaps this is due to the fact that I am extremely outspoken after such events. Perhaps it’s because I happen to have a way with saying exactly what’s on my mind, and for whatever reason some people happen to listen. For whatever reason, the questions do come. One of these questions I find myself answering is one that always (in one form or another) has been asked on more than one occasion. ‘Why do you seem to mourn certain cities/victims and not others?’ I shall try to answer it now, in the best way that I can…”

“I am only human. As such, I live day by day as a human…it is the only way that I know how to live. As a human I have only one heart and one mind to offer, and along the course of my life I ‘give’ my heart and mind to other humans. I have met new people every day of my life, everywhere that I have gone. Acquaintances, friends, colleagues, lovers. People in passing, people in restaurants, people at work, people on airplanes, people through other people. Every person I come into contact with in every city in every country that I visit on this earth becomes a part of my life in one way or another. Often times these encounters affect me, and in turn the people and places I meet and see are, in a way, affected by me. In essence, I leave a piece of me everywhere I go, and I take a piece of everywhere with me to my next destination.”

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(Patan Durbar Square, Kathmandu / In 2011 when I was there & 2015 after the earthquake)

“So when Twin Towers that I had been in in NYC are hit by airplanes flown by terrorists…I feel it. When suicide bombers detonate themselves in a subway system I traveled in in London…I feel it. When gunmen go on a killing spree on streets that I’ve walked on in Paris…I feel it. When an earthquake destroys temples in which I’ve sat in Kathmandu…I feel it. When a bomb explodes at a marathon in a part of town I’ve taken photos in in Boston…I feel it. When a madman drives a truck into a crowd of nearly 100 people on the same promenade in Nice my parents and I spent my father’s birthday on…I feel it. I’m human, so when lives are lost and destruction occurs in cities that I’ve visited and made memories in, it hurts me.”

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(Nice, France / In 2010 when I was there with my parents, and after last night’s terrorist attack)

“But…being only human, I cannot meet EVERYONE on earth. I cannot be in multiple places at multiple times and share the experiences and cultures that every city in every country has to offer. I do not feel as strong a connection to people/places I’ve never seen as I do those I know and have made a place for in my life. Does it pain me to see other cities of the earth destroyed? Yes. Am I hurt when innocent lives are lost in countries that are not my own? Of course. But I may not write about it and I may not share my feelings on it. This is simply because I have nothing to write and nothing to share…not because I DON’T CARE.”

– F

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Filed under Hear Me Roar, This Thing Called Life, Why I Do What I Do

“The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Looks Like It’s My Turn…”

So yeah, I was recently nominated to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge…to which I responded with a video.

(Click to see the video in its entirety)

(Click to see the video in its entirety)

If you don’t have time to watch the 2 minute video, here’s a written paraphrase:

“I’ve officially been challenged by my friend Jonatan Pitkonen in Sweden to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Basically, I think the challenge was a good idea at first and I think that people did it to raise awareness. I think it’s been receiving the awareness that it needs so I won’t be dumping ice water on my head today. Since the initial purpose of it was to raise awareness I think people should know that ALS is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or #Lou Gehrig’s Disease for short. It’s where the motor neurons that fire from the brain to various parts of the spinal chord (and are re-fired to other muscles of the body) don’t receive those signals and eventually die…which causes the person to suffer severe paralysis and possibly death.”

“It’s not pretty. And for a lot of families that we know, and people we don’t know, they deal with this every day.”

“I think not only bringing awareness to it but also donating what you can to help possibly one day find a cure (or at least to do the necessary research towards that goal) is a good thing, and I’m all for that. Even though I don’t feel drawing attention to oneself by becoming wet on public media is necessary unless of course you are donating money as well…then it’s fun, brings awareness and raises funds. I’m not officially going to nominate anyone, I’ll simply nominate everyone who’d like to donate to this cause that feels that they want to do so from their own hearts and their own spirits.”

“I also nominate those of you that are dumping buckets of ice water on yourselves to donate money instead.”

– F

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Filed under Hear Me Roar, The Good In Mankind, This Thing Called Life

“No Sleep Til…”

Sleep…it seems like such a simple thing.

You get tired, you lay down, you close your eyes and eventually it comes.

For many New Yorkers however, sleep is a  luxury not so easily  afforded. There is so much to see and do in the Big Apple and so little time to do it all. Work gets in the way. Family gets in the way. The everyday responsibilities that end up taking longer than usual get in the way.

So you sleep where you can, when you can…sometimes even on a subway bench.

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(photo: Fidel Amos)

Perhaps that’s why they call this the city that never sleeps…

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Filed under Blog Quickies, New York City, This Thing Called Life

“Deep Down Inside, Shakespeare Is What I Want.”

I find myself writing.

The time is, well, too late to be early and too early to be late…insomnia has struck again.

(Just for the hell of it I throw on “Romeo & Juliet”, the Baz Luhrman version of course. You know, the one with the fantastic soundtrack and colorfully speedy cinematography? Right, that one.)

And then it hits me…the reason I can’t sleep. The reason many of us in the world can’t sleep.

…something is missing.

(I love how Baz Luhrman takes a young, hip, violently elaborate approach to Shakespeare’s words. Because seriously, Shakespeare knew what he was talking about and that was over 500 years ago. I also enjoy how guns replace the swords in not only a metaphorical but also literal sense….fantastic.)

…now where was I? Oh yes, I’m missing something.

Often times it’s simply something to eat or drink. Occasionally it’s throwing in an old DVD, like Romeo & Juliet for example. And every now and then it’s to devour those final few spoonfuls of Pralines & Cream I tried to courageously leave for another day.

But could it be more than that..?

(When Romeo first spots Juliet through the glass of the giant fish tank…classic! And if I’m not mistaken, that song “I’m Kissing You” sold, like, a billion records the year the movie came out.)

…but I digress.

Could I possibly be missing something else? Something not as materialistic as fancy food or films? Something with more meaning perhaps? I mean, could it be that my soul is actually missing something..?!

Tybalt’s words when he spots Romeo at the party: “What, dares that slave come hither to fleer and scorn at our solemnity? Now, by the stock and honor of my kin, to strike him dead I hold it not a sin.” Wow.)

 

What if something deeper inside of me craves more and I just haven’t realized it? What if it’s not just a physical need, but an actual, real to life, “holy crap I should probably feed my soul” need..?

(Juliet: “My only love, sprung from my only hate. Too early seen unknown and known too late. Prodigious birth of love it is to me that I must love a loathed enemy.”)

What if I need to stop my passions of freelance photography, traveling and writing and trade them all in for an actual to goodness job? Or perhaps I should just give up on New York City entirely and move to one of three cities to pursue one of three women that could have very well been “the one”.

(Prince of Verona: “I will be deaf to pleading and excuses…nor tears, nor prayers shall purchase out abuses, therefor use none! Let Romeo hence in haste, else, where he is found, that hour is his last…Romeo is banished!”)

Maybe I should move to California to be a better father for my daughter and stop chasing my own old dreams so I can help her focus on her new ones? Or maybe I should go back to college…I never did finish. It just wasn’t my style. I learn faster than most and I’m intelligent enough…I just couldn’t stand all those strangers teaching me things I didn’t want to learn before I got to the things that I did.

(Friar Laurence: “I do spy a kind of hope which craves as desperate an execution as that is desperate which we would prevent. If, rather than to marry with this Paris, thou hast the strength of will to slay thyself, then it is likely thou wilt undertake a thing like death…to chide away this shame. And if thou darest…I’ll give thee remedy.”)

…so many reasons I have to not sleep.

…so many things that I need to do or could have done differently.

(Romeo: “Let me have a dram of poison, such soon-speeding gear as will disperse itself through all the veins that the life-weary taker may fall dead.”)

…but I guess thinking about the past is just wasting the now.

(Apothecary: “Such mortal drugs I have, but Verona law is death to any he that utters them.”)

…and wasting the now can’t be any good for your future, so what do I do instead?

(Romeo: “The world is not thy friend, nor the world’s law. Then be not poor, but break it and take this.”)

…I toss and turn and think and think some more.

(Apothecary: “My poverty, but not my will, consents.”)

…then I get out of bed and eat Pralines & Cream while watching Romeo & Juliet on DVD.

(Romeo: “I pay thy poverty and not thy will.”)

…after that I wash it all down with something to drink.

(Apothecary: “Drink it all and if you had the strength of twenty men it would dispatch you straight.”)

…then I hop back in bed and thank the Lord for giving me one more day to think about things and one more day to change things.

(A glooming peace this morning with it brings. The sun for sorrow will not show his head. Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things. Some shall be pardoned some punish’ed. For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo…)

Crap.

I’m still awake.

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Filed under This Thing Called Life, Throwback Blogs