Understanding How to Maneuver Through the World

For what we see, is often times, not what it always appears to be at first glance…

Over time, there’s a truth none of us can ever wish to escape. We must understand how we will maneuver through the world. Whether this come as an easy task, or a tumultuous and unfair disadvantage, we are all marked with trying our “best” to “make it” in the world. All jokes aside, this easily translates into: how well can you and I survive in the world?

Failure is a part of us, it’s a part of our nature to attempt, and sometimes fail at it. Other times, we may make an attempt and actually succeed at our end-goal. In the context of life, this can mean a myriad of different situations. It can be the difference between finding “the one”, it can mean the difference between whether you make the varsity team in college or not. It can mean successfully landing a job that you’ve always wanted (it’s obvious none of us want to work, but you get the idea). But what really makes a failure such a “failure” is our reaction to what happens to us.

You’ve likely heard this kind of phrase countless times before, and you might be rolling your eyes right now (or not?) but the truth is much harder to swallow sometimes. If you getting pissed, sleep for days in your bed, or generally just lounge around and skulk at the fact that you didn’t get it your way, you will likely face a life full of further hardship then it already needs to be. I understand we live through hard times, coming from a personal point of view, I’m currently almost 10,000 dollars in-debt. Life happened to me late last year (2016) and I had to find a way to scramble and pick up the scattered pieces. Sufficient to say, I knew I had to do two things. Continue with my college career, and also, work on finishing the absolute last edit of my first book in a series to come. So this reality became my base for a very tumultuous and seemingly never-ending rock bottom. To be completely honest, I still feel as though I am barely getting my life back together (whatever that means, life is never truly stable).

So here I am, sharing this very personal part of myself to a complete stranger who I’ve never met in person. To the unheard voices of many, I stand with the disadvantaged; because I realized how easy it is for those in positions of power to stampede and trample over the “everyday” person in our ever-faltering society. It’s a fact of life that the only way anyone will ever attain a semblance of happiness, is to be in-tune with their spirituality and ultimately, to be in-tune with each other as human beings. There’s no denying that there are countless lost souls in the world, traversing the world and following the rules that rule over our lives. This is good, of course, because admittedly enough, society is the only “good” thing we have left from the creations birthed from western civilization originating from ancient Greece.

We must work together, or fall as one. There is no in-between when it comes to protecting the innocent and naïve; and to allow them to grow into strong adults and productive members of our shared society.

Truth be told, those who are in positions of power don’t care at all what we, as common “everyday” people do with society. Society, in their eyes, is futile and set-up to fail. It doesn’t concern them, because again speaking from a place of honesty, I can see in the eyes of the materialistically wealthy individual, that they feel powerless and helpless to do anything about the situation. Too often we vilify those in positions of power, because it’s easier for us to do so, then to actually question why those people act the way they do, or commit the actions that they do. It’s much easier to just pin someone as evil due to his or her selfishness and egotistical ways.

Surely, I agree that to some degree, it’s quite disheartening to see such wealth distributed to only those who are fortunate enough to wield such “power”. But to be completely honest, I forgive such actions committed by such vile people. I forgive them, because I understand that this world we live in is about greed. We cannot escape it, it has become entrenched into our very livelihoods whether we as a collective want to admit this or not. We are all guilty of this crime, for we are still living and breathing after all. To be greedy and self-centered (to varying extents) simply means one is looking out for his or her assists (see what I did there). How can we get angry with people like this, when truth be told, if they didn’t act in such greedy ways, they too would fall to the wayside of society and ultimately life altogether in our world.

So what does this mean when we look in the reflection of our modern world?

It means that greed and selfishness is actually rewarded in our society. Yes, you read that right. Like many double standards in our ever-confusing society; we as a collective acknowledge and praise those who can successfully grow a business and sustain it over the long haul. If life were in fact fair and justified, this wouldn’t be the case then. But unfortunately, this isn’t how humans operate the world we live in. By nature, humans aren’t evil, we are just misguided and lost; because the truth of the matter is, we are all lost. We may find who we are, and what we stand for – but in the world, we will always be lost in the shuffle. This realization and truth will set you free, and help you realize that nothing is impossible to achieve. The only obstacle getting in the way between you and your desired future is how you deal with your past failures and how you move on soon thereafter. Make your own path, no matter how you manage to do it, and create a piece of worthwhile life for yourself. Don’t be afraid to try new things, and don’t limit yourself based on judgment alone.

For what we see, is often times, not what it always appears to be at first glance…

Forever in Your Debt,

R.S. Noel

Beauty and the Beast (2017, Film Review)

It was that good, to the point where I felt overwhelmed with deep emotions long forgotten.

I saw the live-action rendition of Beauty and the Beast this last Wednesday 22, 2017. I went in with little knowledge on the production for this film, so to say that I went in undermining the whole experience, would be an incredibly vast understatement. The whole film was nostalgic from the moment it began to the very ending act. Of course, with the added scenes from both the source material (and from new concepts incorporated into the film), this also added a more wholesome and completed version of the rendition.

It was so simply done, yet the magic of the film felt incredibly real. The musical numbers were astounding in there effect and it often times left the viewer completely in awe with all of the spectacularly dazzling scenes and eye-catching moments. In particular, my favorite numbers were “Be Our Guest” and “Gaston”. It was such a wind-swept journey, that I can’t imagine anyone not seeing this film.

Now, to weigh-in both the amazing pros, and the still evident cons, I will give a fair and balanced review since it’s been a couple of days since the high of this film has worn off and allowed me to see it for the entirety of its production.

To begin, Beauty and the Beast did a fantastic job of being a contemporary piece, in terms of how life was like in 18th century France. Parts of Beauty and the Beast felt almost reminiscent to the 2012 rendition of Les Misérable. Not to mention both stories take place in different parts of France. Another aspect of the film they did wonderfully was the fact that most of the actors and actresses (minus Belle) were theatrically inclined. It felt like a true harkening back of the play version of Beauty and the Beast on Broadway (starting in 1993). Possibly one of the best qualities to the movie was its astoundingly clear soundtrack over the voice-overs of the actor’s singing. At times, I truly fell into the movie realm of Beauty and the Beast, forgetting momentarily that I was even watching a motion picture. Overall, the casting (for the most part) felt incredibly perfect (even if perfect doesn’t exist).

Now to address the cons of this movie. The cons are actually few and far in-between, but they are there nevertheless. Like everything else in life, no work of art is ever without imperfections. The reason why this is – is because every single person in the world interprets the same thing completely differently, even on a small scale.

The first con is that Emma Watson was cast for the main role. Now I know what some of you are thinking as you read this: But it’s for marketing purposes, Emma Watson has an image that can appeal to the mainstream public. My gripe with this line of thinking is two-fold. The first layer, is that you are saying that the source material itself, Beauty and the Beast, and all of the history that goes along with it, wouldn’t be enough for people to go see it. Don’t forget, in this day-in-age where social media exists and the spread of news by word-of-mouth moves quickly through social spheres; this movie would have been a massive success from the start.

Not to mention the fact that this film was produced by Disney, it should be a no-brainer that this movie would have been a hit. The only purpose Disney had for adding Emma Watson in the lead role, was because they wanted to break whatever record needed breaking for the box office. So in a sense, like everything else it seems in life, this was solely for money purposes. It’s a shame because creativity almost every single time, takes a back seat in our modern culture.

The second problem is that they incorporated a “gay” theme in this movie, where it really didn’t need to be added. I have a gay older brother, and he was slightly confused by that one particular part in the movie. I’m a supporter of LGBTQ people, but that’s why we create new stories, so that that new and original material can be honored. We should not change Gabrielle Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve’s work just for the sake of mainstream society in modern times.

My brother actually made me realize (after the movie was over) the slight issue of this scene. In a way, I would have overlooked this otherwise “Hollywood-esque” move made by mainstream Hollywood. But he said in a way, it felt like Disney altered the source material just to bow-down to mainstream society. Being that Disney is one of the 5 major economic giants who run our economy, you would think they would have realized they have the power to honor such work.

It was as if Disney merely added-in new material for the sake of saving facing, not for honoring the original work created by Gabrielle Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve.

A woman who had written this successful story (Beauty and the Beast) in her time period in 18th century France, Villeneuve did the utterly and nearly impossible. Her story was quickly shared throughout the world and was critically acclaimed and adapted into theatrical plays as well. In a time when women were truly oppressed in a society that had seen it better for woman to just remain silent and be good housewives and mothers.

In all though, the live-action movie adaptation of Beauty and the Beast was spectacular and breathtaking in its execution. There were raw emotions stirred from within, moments of laughter, moments of happiness, of sorrow, and of tears. Through all of the good (and there was a lot of good) and of the bad, this movie earns a 10 out of 10 stars from me.

It was that good, to the point where I felt overwhelmed with deep emotions long forgotten.

Such magic is rare to find in movies, and especially where money is concerned. I’m shocked this movie came out to be as good as it did in the end. The only other thing I can say to end this review off on a good note is this: don’t allow anyone to tell you anything is impossible, for you can create stories, inventions, and history by speaking up and standing firmly for what you believe it.

Forever in Your Debt,

R.S. Noel

LACMA: Self-Reflection on Life’s Quarrel

Yet the truth of the matter is, life is more than just being nice and agreeable.

It was a fine Sunday afternoon. I spent the day at LACMA to complete an assignment for my Humanities 115 class. Nothing too out of the ordinary today happened, but what I did experience, was a small feeling of awe at all of the craftsmanship and artistic creativity housed deep within each piece.

As I walked around, observing the different pieces and the many sculptures dating back to ancient Greece to ancient Rome, I was beginning to question something deep within. A burning desire to know: What happened to our passion? I mean, as a collective. Individually, we are amazing. But as a group, this generation seems to fall flat. Of course, and ironically enough, the answer lies in history.

Our parents didn’t want to raise their children the way their parents raised theirs. Our parents wanted to treat us kindly and equally. They undoubtedly taught us some very valuable and amazing characteristic traits, no doubt.

Yet the truth of the matter is, life is more than just being nice and agreeable.

Life is about challenging yourself, it’s about raising up as a united front. It’s about getting out of your comfort zone and doing things that you might not have otherwise thought of partaking in.

If you look on the past, on our shared history, you can see that there were many different sides to the world. There were groups of people who fought valiantly, and many-a-times  even ruthlessly. But the fact of the matter is, the humans who have long since perished, knew a thing-or-two about living and about how to fight for what was right, even if they lost in the end.

Life is about both the beautiful and ugly experiences, it’s about feeling profoundly with your heart and thinking deeply with your mind. To share ideas and to take action against any injustice taken on us as a collective.

Certainly, I am very grateful I was raised in a nurturing and caring environment. It’s given me the very stable foundation I have today. However, and I say this with true love as my intent: I cannot survive alone on being nice and agreeable all the time.

Do you understand what I’m getting at?

But what I do know is this. Never take for granted the truth of your existence. Never pretend to be someone else that you’re not, just to fit in with the “cool” crowd. Do what your mind tells you to do. Even though listening to your heart is only meant for reckless, enlivened, and foolish people,  that’s the way I live my life. I live in the moment, I live for the thrill, of the rush that comes with living a true human life.

So I say this as a conclusion. Do not let anyone tell you how to live your life. After all, we’re all living in troubling times. How can anyone expect us to live so carefully? Surely, not even the gods would blame us mortal men for our actions of passion and excitement.Our original sin, I suppose you can say. Thus, I’ve found myself at a full-circle moment. Life is strange in this way, isn’t it?

Forever in Your Debt,

          R.S. Noel

Open Letter to the Universe

So I say on this note, the many esoteric words no other human dares speak.

Hello world, just checking in to see how everyone is doing. I wonder…why are there so many possibilities? I mean to say, there is an endless array of choices to choose from. There’s an endless list of items, destinations, and places I’ve yet to venture to – because, I’ve been so enraptured by the things I have already done and accomplished. There are many people who are less fortunate then me, and then, there are many other people who are more fortunate then us. I wonder, what is our lot in this life? To toil away for the rest of our days, to break our bodies down over time due to the natural progression of life? Certainly there is something more out there, or is there…?

Maybe it really is all about perspective. Of course, that’s how I’ve lived my life for the last three years.

But then, there are those moments. Ah yes, those moments of complete and utter bewilderment, confusion, and delusion. I begin to feel myself drifting off into nothingness, but oddly enough in that moment, I feel more connected with the world and the universe then I have ever felt before. In that moment of absolute and ultimate clarity, I see. I see what is and what was. I see the beauty of friendship and camaraderie grow like a wild rose in the plains of heaven. I see the injustice and cruelty of cold, callous hearts, and all of the injustices thrown onto the people of the world. I see the lines of society blur between the lines of humanness, for both better and worse. I see marriage between two souls forever intertwined in a moment of inescapable blessings. I see the mingling of darkness veiled within the expanse of light. I see truth, no matter the mood.

So I say on this note, the many esoteric words no other human dares speak.

Why are you so selfish? Why are you willingly allowing the world to change you. You should be changing the world, not the other way around. There are no excuses, there are no good reasons. You must steady your hand and stand tall for what you believe in. Take your convictions and grow a garden of life, not of evil. Don’t be afraid of the darkness either, for both light and dark create the equilibrium of life. Always remember however, to tread carefully.

Lest you get lost in the void of no-return…

Forever in Your Debt,

          R.S. Noel