Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Amateur Hour

I’d much rather be a passionate amateur more than anything in the world. Don’t get me wrong, being a professional gardener is pretty fucking rad, but I still have to serve other people above their expectations. As an amateur [anything], my inspiration can be as free as the wind and my approach can acceptingly take a lifetime.

The amateur is self-serving, while the professional serves themselves to others for money. I know I know… some money is good, but not at the expense of pimping my genuine happiness. A friend of mine shared this quote the other day that seems to adequately sum up what I’m really trying to say…

“It’s not about being good at something. It’s about being good to yourself.”

Just writing my thoughts and feelings here to share with the world feels good to me. I’ve constantly been battling emotional roadblocks since I was a kid. One of the hardest things still is finding out that some people I look up to, enjoy looking down on me twice as much. My actions and words, in their mind, just insure their place above me and our relationship is really more for their amusement.

Growing up as a husky kid, whose family moved across the country at the onset of puberty, I developed a jester’s mentality at a young age. Sharpening my sense of humor became my defense in what initially felt like a bitter and hostile set of circumstances. Middle-schoolers aren’t the most compassionate age group, so I had to be funnier than people could be cruel. That’s pretty fucking hard considering I was doubling-down as the new kid and the chubby kid.

My heart felt broken A LOT, but somehow someway I laughed my way through the rest of school. I entered the adult world with a heart so full of holes, I couldn’t fill it with love no matter how much I stuffed in there. So… I partied hard to numb the pain, to hide from the depression and used socializing as my escape. Hell I didn’t need to be responsible for my well-being, as long as we were all going to get fucked up together, right??

Then all of sudden, I didn’t feel so youthful anymore. I just felt worn out, lost and pretty fucking creepy. I had reached a dead-end on the road of life and I stayed right there faking every emotion I experienced, except for sadness. That’s right around the time my roommate had lost his mother and right before that, both of his grandparents. Darkness was in full effect at our house, but it was then I started to really realize something about life.

We were suffering from completely different shades of darkness. My roommate had no control over losing his family members and his grief was necessary to cope through all of it. As for me, I had full control of my situation and just got folded into the depths of feeling so damn sorry for myself. Sure we were both sad people, but our circumstances were so different from each other and that’s when I started to write.  

It wasn’t as much of an epiphany, as it was a dense fog slowly lifting over the next few years. As I mentioned in a previous post, I get stuck in these “fork-in-socket routines” where I choose the familiarity of pain over an unexpected outcome of change - 🎶If you’re an emotional masochist and you know it, clap your hands!!🎶  ...and the crowd goes wild - Ahhhh, but I digress. Writing my observations about life was the only thing I found myself motivated to do and everything else I did back then was done in protest… at least it was in my heart.

Eventually all of the writing got me back in touch with myself. It began to detoxify my soul in ways I never thought imaginable. Exercise, meditation and true love all found their own way into my life. I decided to install windows in all of those holes in my heart, not just so it could see the world around me, but so the world could look inside of it too. Life isn’t perfect by any means. Some days are still hard for me to shine my own light, so it’s nice to let some in whenever possible.

In the last few years, I've dabbled in a handful of different blogging projects - RAWdio Podcast, Producers United, Interestingly Human and Michigan Folks, to name a few. None of which I'm currently working on for the simple fact that I haven't felt inspired. I could make a million excuses, but that would only mean I was trying to hide from myself. Instead, my inspiration this winter has lead to writing a "food manifesto" that I truly hope to self-publish later this year. Not to make money, but to creatively inspire others.

Coming back to Brass-Knuckle Love Butter is my way of exploring what's really in my heart. I don’t get paid to write about my life and my observations, but I can’t really put a price on self-exploration anyway - it’s too valuable. This is the true beauty of being an amateur, it’s simply my thing that I do for me. I also cook with reckless abandon, adventurously (and obsessively) listen to music, grow veggies and make love to Mother Nature as often as possible. They are all just the things I do to show myself some love… and without them…honestly...

I would only be a memory.

-Scotty J-

Friday, February 10, 2017

PURPOSE is my New Favorite Color

My intelligence has never relied on your accreditation. I play dumb with some of you because I know you take my silly-heart perspective of the world as a weakness of mine. The funny thing about all of this is that you still rely on me to help you find your smile when it’s lost. I’d probably even help you find your lost dog, a missing set of keys or a better job opportunity too. My silly heart accepts the fact that we’re all lost from time to time, regardless of our I.Q.’s. An ounce of compassion can humble even the most unconvinced smarty-pants in the room, especially when their brain finally steps out of the way of their heart.

Lately with all of the poor political insults being thrown around, it’s made me realize how weak and afraid everyone seems to be of each other. If there are any moderate politicians left in the arena, they certainly aren’t speaking up to the right people or saying anything at all. Americans will not prosper if one side completely eviscerates the other, this is just a cold hard fact. What sucks even more is that there are a lot of us slumping on the sidelines, spewing commentary and pretending it makes an impact. When really we're just being as ineffective as the next guy, regardless of our point of view.

On a truly personal note... I can tell you that it nearly enrages me to think that we have to choose a political affiliation in order to soundly protect our environment. It nearly enrages me to think that neither side of the political spectrum makes education a top priority, coming in second behind our environment. It nearly enrages me that not only does our healthcare belong to those with great wealth, but the wealthy won’t even foot the bill for our veterans - our heroes. It nearly enrages me to know how some Americans are so naive, they truly believe that other Americans will successfully do the challenging work that our immigrants are grateful to do here in this country.

These are only some of the ideas and misconceptions of the truly detached people we have running our country. If there were only a way to collectively exercise our brains and educate our hearts better as a whole population, I would demand it be implemented. Our social progress is instrumental to the longevity of our country and telling certain Americans that they’re less important just isn’t going to cut it anymore. We’re too informed for that bullshit.

A good friend of mine had said that we might not be able to change the system, but we can definitely change who it is that we’re nominating to vote for - and that’s something I really want ALL of us to understand. Our political opinions derive from our social circles and yet we still willingly let the wrong people represent us. I’ve been reading articles about how our elected officials are cancelling events just to avoid questions from the people they are supposed to be representing - IF YOU CAN’T DO THIS JOB THEN YOU NEED TO RESIGN.

Honestly depending on who you ask we probably all have a murky reputation, at best. I know I do, but I’m starting to really realize some things about this place. The actual “American” is a flawed individual with a fearfully selective heart and a strong misguided propensity to feed their own pride. We aren’t broken, but we are suffering from an ever evolving identity crisis and we need people with just enough brains in their head, just enough heart in their chest and just enough sense in their soul who are willing to govern us through these very complex times.

Last week I had a lot of response in regards to finding the different ways we can make an impact. I heard from people with different backgrounds and political opinions, but the one unanimous notion that came across was a genuine desire to be more involved. People shared with me how much they really cared and how they didn’t want to be helpless with their involvement. A lot of people asked me what they should do, like specifically, and that really caught me off-guard.

I , just like you, sometimes spout off without realizing the power of my words. I’m just more of an idiot about it because I write them all out and publish them for the world to read. Which I guess means if I want to make a difference, I better become more responsible for the things I do say here on this blog - and maybe just life in general. This is our awakening… or at the very least, it’s mine. There are great call-to-action movements, petition signings and educational pages via Facebook (links at bottom) that make for a simple start, but there’s clearly more work to be done.

My fiance and I are relocating in a couple of months (not far, but to a new county and city) and we’ve already begun researching different conservation efforts in the area. We’ve also contacted the local farmers market and the center for women in transition in regards to volunteer opportunities. We’re going to create relationships with our new community, listen to others and be a part of what people are actually saying and feeling out there.

In my eyes the only way to ignite a grassroots approach is by being neighborly as fuck, but not nosey. We have to invite people to our ideas and welcome theirs when they bring them along too. We have to create environments that people gravitate towards. The kind of environments capable of inspiring and motivating any willing walks of life. We won’t be seeking out anyone else’s influence, but merely combining all of our own. Music, food and the arts are all interpretations of the imperfect world around us. These are what brings that very simple human part of us together and celebrating them locally is just another way we’ll make an impact.

Urban Roots Community Farm and Education Center - Grand Rapids, MI

We just have to fill in the blanks with a little less Netflix and little more love for where we live. We have to meet with people in our communities and consider the fact that some of them are going to represent us (or maybe even that we might be representing them). We can no longer blindly accept that someone else is doing enough to protect our interests. If we care enough to have outspoken opinions, then we sure as hell should make them count!! Of course another crucial aspect is understanding the who’s, what’s, when’s, where’s, why’s and how’s of our government and of course the people willing to teach others this too, but I digress. One step at a time.

I do really wish this was just as easy as opening an app on your phone and swiping twice to be involved, but for now we have got to do the extra work. As for my fiance and I, we’re still going to plant a garden to feed our neighbors, our friends and ourselves - whatever is left will go to the food bank. We’re still going to go fishing, hiking, swimming and camping because that’s what really recharges our “batteries” in this world. We’re still going to entertain and continue on partying with a purpose…. We’re just going to start throwing a bigger party.

-Scotty J-


Indivisible - "A non-political initiative energizing and informing Americans about the value of potential government."

Indivisible Guide - "Former congressional staffers reveal practices for making congress listen."

Daily Action - "Resisting extremism in America, one phone call at a time."

Urban Roots - "The mission of Urban Roots is to cultivate durable, resilient families, communities and ecosystems through urban agriculture" (Located in Grand Rapids, MI)


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

In Search of a Solution, I Found my Soul

Well... It's certainly been a long time since I've left some thoughts here, but it feels good to be back. Brass-Knuckle Love Butter is solely my creation and I've abandoned it for far too long now. It's a good thing I came back because I've been struggling lately. The not so subtle premise of this blog has always been "For those willing to be inspired" and my inspiration has waned since I stopped writing here. My two-plus year hiatus is done. My heart and soul are full of experiences - personal battles won and lost, transcendent moments, mistakes, deliciousness and a love so intense it makes the earth quake.

Well since my heart's so full, I'm just going to pour it all out right now...

I do personally believe it is important to spend your life with like-minded people, but not to a point where it makes you blind from the other things going on in the world, country, community, your relationships, your family or your home. They’ve always said ignorance is bliss, but anytime that I’ve come to realize my own ignorance (which is a lot… trust me) it’s triggered something in me to seek out an understanding about it... Which with all of the misinformation and propaganda going on right now, is really fucking hard to do. So let’s talk about the world today…

We've had a really shitty couple of weeks here in America. I absolutely understand wanting to protect our borders from terrorists and have even been recorded saying it on a podcast a few years ago. However I do not support our new president’s actions because of his haste and whole general explanation of it all or even more so… lack thereof. I truly believe in my heart that a lack of DIPLOMACY puts us at a much larger risk - abroad and even more so, at home.

Last weekend was dark for me. I actually felt scared to be an American. I can explain it a thousand ways, but I know there are a lot of you out there that have already made the choice not to understand it. Now I’m not a religious person, but I do hold my Jewish heritage and their millennia of surviving persecution close to my heart. Watching Christianity slowly squeeze it’s hand around our government and people supporting it for their own reasons from their religious beliefs to their money, just crushes my spirit.

For all of America’s faults, we got one key component right and that was to give people the gift of individuality. We have the choice to really be ourselves in this country without fear of persecution, but as of today that’s been slipping through our grasp. I know I know…. A lot of you Donald Trump supporters out there are like, “It’s alright Scotty, we love you man. We’re not going to let that happen, but we do need to make sure we ____________ .”, well, fuck. That “blank-spot” to me (and a whole lot of other people) represents the poorest excuse of patriotism imaginable.

So what do you mean you’re not going to let that happen??

IT’S ALREADY HAPPENING. You know muslims aren’t the only people out there that can be radicalized, right? Look at all of the unrest around us, people are getting cagier by the second. Also, I’ve got 2 words for everyone…. Steve Bannon. Wait I’ve got 3… DICK. An extremist who thinks so small of the world around him, he could care less if it exists. Go ahead and look up some of his quotes, he’s a lunatic.   

Look I can appreciate, accept and at times even agree with a republican point of view, but not a fascist one. I also will not be lead by the carelessness of narrow-minded individuals who have a higher regard for more corporations than individual Americans themselves. I sum it up like this, Donald Trump is someone who uses the term “drain the swamp” in reference to his presence in Washington and yet he has no fucking clue how important our real wetlands actually are to the vitality of this planet. He’s made it quite clear that he’s alright with the world ending as long it’s by his hands. Now at this point, as the elected leader of this country he’s openly condemning Muslims and championing Christianity. And it really doesn’t matter where these people resided that he’s talking about because his words pose a humongous threat on our own soil.

A lot of you I’m friends with are really smart fucking people. Yes, he prevented travel from a handful of countries, but not just for the sake of national security. If it was, he wouldn’t have needed to even say those other things. This isn’t one of those “oh he’s just shaking things up” moments either, he’s forcing Americans to draw a line between one another. A line that people live and die by in other parts of the world. A line that our own forefathers had enough sense to keep out of governing this great nation. I can’t tell you why, I don’t know the endgame. One thing’s for sure though, he wants it that way.

When he made those remarks he not-so-subtly empowered Christians as the model American. Not to knock some of the good Christian Americans out there, but this puts every other type of American sub-culture at risk. It is the most condescending swipe at the constitution I could ever imagine a president to make. His reckless words are coming at our social expense and for some of you who I love to socialize with, that really sucks. Which brings me back this magical word I used earlier…


It’s defined as “the art of dealing with people in a sensitive and effective way”. Since the leadership of this country has changed hands, so has our attitudes towards one another. Social media is like the Wild Wild West of communication and The Twitter-Twat-Grabber in command is like the reincarnation of General Custer. There’s little to no repercussions for berating someone online and spreading misinformation. In fact, most of us were already guilty of it well before the election.

Certainly if someone wanted to talk to me in person the way I see people talking online to one another, I’d probably give them one stern warning and if it continued... I’d punch them in their mouth. This just sucks for both of us. I mean, have you ever knocked another man unconscious? Let me tell you from personal experience, there’s about a half-second of awesomeness followed up by a week of nauseating and loathsome depression. It’s unproductive, which is exactly what we can’t afford to be anymore. This form of communication is only working for the people that want to control us.

There's been a lot of political dust-ups in my brief thirty-three years, but the feeling today is unequivocally different. I can feel the negative energy starting to swirl. There's a storm brewing on the horizon and I feel really unprepared for it. Just a couple weeks ago, I wrote to myself - What if it hits? Where are my alliances going to land? Who can I count on for accurate information? And, why can't I shake the notion that "doing what I always do" will only blind me from an imminent threat?

It was that last question that reminded me of how impactful of a person I can really be when I decide to put my effort towards something. I think most people are so stuck on protecting themselves and defending their own words, they do it at the expense of being able to truly help others. I don’t want that and I know there are a lot of you out there that feel the same way.

You know, really I think we turn to social media because it’s an outlet for our feelings and a place where we can quickly gain alliances without having to leave the comfort of our smartphones. Some days it’s like a psychological trap masquerading as a support system though. Fortunately, I am starting to learn from this constant fork-in-socket routine we’re all going through and I’m finding that genuine motivation can overcome fear in damn near an instant, so it’s time to create and mobilize a movement.

However, there isn’t time for the guy on Facebook who pretends to be interested in people’s political views only to bait them into shaming them for having an opinion different than his own. There also isn’t time for the guy who was fortunate to collect unemployment long enough to figure out how to start his own business, but is an outwardly belligerent conservative. I especially can’t bother with the pro-life-science-denier who judges people as if they were God himself and pretends to love them just the same. Plus, I certainly don’t have the patience to sit idly by and wait around to be persecuted... just for being me.

Last weekend my fiance asked me why we don’t start to party with more of a purpose? Maybe it's time we needed to be more diplomatic about how we're contributing to society from day-to-day? It was a brilliant observation considering we love to socialize with our friends and family, which is one of the wonderful things about our freedom we so easily take for granted. Also lately, since our freedom seems a lot more questionable than it ever has before, we thought we should use it to our advantage. Maybe we gather to write letters to our government or other leaders, advocate for educational and environmental programs, brainstorm new ways to contribute to our community, help localize the food supply and just volunteer to do those things we actually want to see change for the better.

So… I hope you stay tuned... but I’m certainly not scared anymore if you don’t because there's too much at stake!!

~Scotty J.~

Please get in touch with me if you’re interested in making something better out of our current situation. I’m open to listening to you if you’re open to sharing with me, so please don’t be bashful!!! We have a lot of work to do, but we’re sure as hell gonna have fun while we’re makin’ it happen!!

Photo by @strickfadenphotography (IG)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Food, Music, Home and Acceptance

I have an obsession with two things - food and music. When I’m dead and gone my life’s work will have been dedicated to the incredibly visceral combination of the two. This is the kind of thing where level of intelligence is absolutely moot. It’s about that deep inward feeling that consumes us when we’re experiencing it. They are truly original forms of therapy. The heart is made up of four chambers and I’m apt to say that music and food are two of them.

Every Sunday, a tiny “Rustic American Eatery & Bakery” known as Salt of the Earth hosts incredibly talented guests for their music series. This restaurant is located in Fennville, MI which has an approximate population of only 1,400 people. You could miss driving through it if you sneezed and you certainly would regret it. This tiny town is the buckle to West Michigan’s agricultural belt. To quote their website, “Salt of the Earth celebrates the bounty of the Michigan farm, beverage, and roots music community.”. They actually partner with farmers, growers, brewers and distillers within a fifty-mile radius to provide a long forgotten quality of freshness in today’s food and it’s perfect partner-in-crime... music.

Last night we experienced, local to West Michigan indie-folk sensation, The Crane Wives for an unexpected feeling of euphoria (at seemingly the world’s best venue). They usually play to much larger crowds, but Salt of the Earth is a very special place. Their genre is outside of my go-to-music, however their enthusiastic passion still invoked something in me. They introduced The Diving Bell as their only “happy” song and then laughed because it starts off by referencing drowning. Their metaphors were raw and perfect as if they were lovingly ripened and picked from the garden of life.

I don’t mean to misquote one of their singers, but she said something to which I directly related. I wish I had it recorded, but I believe it was along these lines, “These songs are from our own personal experiences and anxieties. We interpret our emotions through our music. And that’s hard to do when you’re happy because when you’re’re distracted.”. I’m telling you a huge gong crashed in my brain after she said that and life made just a little bit more sense right then.

Here we were in this perfect sized room with probably less than seventy-five people. On the table sat a bottle of Bordeaux, handmade aged cheddar pierogies with buttered red cabbage, a sweet-smoky wood-fired pizza and the best damn s’more on the planet. The timelessly enchanting melodies of The Crane Wives brought the whole experience full circle, making our toes tingle. Our server said they were “just the cutest band in the whole world”. She may have been right, but they reminded me more of a wolf-pack howling at the moon in perfect three-part harmony. Maybe a cute wolf-pack, though.

The Crane Wives @ Salt of the Earth - 10/26/14 - (photo credit: ShantsBySchantz)
The truth is our food came from the surrounding fields and our music came from our neighbors. This was more than the essence of Americana. This was more than a campaign known as Pure Michigan. This was more than West Michigan, even. This was the pioneering spirit of our home and all of us there accepted that we were a part of it together. Which reminds me, those other two chambers of our heart are exactly that - home and acceptance. Damn, that was delicious.

Scotty J ~ "If we can focus on living and loving locally, we can lead by example globally."

Check ‘em out here on the web...
...and find your way to ‘em in person!!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Mutual Weirdness

For those of you that don't know me personally, I'm madly in love with a woman named Jessica. Aside from how much we laughed, her hazel-green eyes hypnotized me the first time we met. They seemed to sparkle and change shades every time she smiled, it made my heart race. I'm not exactly sure if she caught me staring at her that night, but I tried like hell to keep it chill around her, uninterested even. I didn't want to be overcome by the nearly uncontrollable notions I was feeling for her. It wasn't infatuation. It wasn't love-at-first-sight. I knew it was much much bigger.

That night, I had a forty-five minute drive home and spent it chatting on the phone with a different girl I had gone on a few dates with at the time. She drunkenly talked about herself and eventually stopped making sense altogether. It didn't matter anyway, I wasn't paying attention. I still couldn't get over the feeling from meeting this beautiful green-eyed woman from earlier in the night. A feeling that's only grown since then too.

Jessica and I started seeing each other just a couple of weeks later and I'm not even sure how. My beard was the bushiest it had ever been, absorbing everything it had come close to like a sea sponge - it literally reeked of buffalo chicken dip and campfire. However I wasn't embarrassed by that and she certainly wasn't deterred. It wasn't long after that we realized our favorite view is the one we share together. Since then it hasn't mattered where our adventure has taken us, as long as we experience life together.

For the record, my beard actually did smell like that and I know that sounds weird, but I've learned that true love exposes every part of who we are. It conquers fears, energizes the spirit and feels like flying. Simply put, there is just no hiding from it. True love occurs when two people take off their "cool" with a willing vulnerability and let their naked hearts beat in unison. They never hide from themselves nor each other. I really believe Dr. Seuss said it best...

I knew nothing about love before meeting Jessica. I had only experienced lust, loneliness and lies. All of my prior relationships were just novelties lining my shelves like trophies for confusion and heartbreak. I'm not even mad about it though. All of those mistakes of the past were really quite the contrary (and Jessica's too.). They were exactly what lead us to one another and I wouldn't dare change that for the universe.

She fits perfectly into my big bear-hugging arms, as if we were a two-piece puzzle made to only fit with each other. In fact, she even calls me Bear. Every time we touch, it feels like we melt into one another. Honestly, it's the most selfless and giving feeling in the world. Like me, she loves children's books and the other little things life has to offer - like basking in the sunshine, the waves on Lake Michigan, aromatic candles and fresh cut flowers. From a friendly tennis match to a long walk through a vineyard with a kiss under a shade tree to a night of making dinner with old and new friends - every single day is an adventure worth every moment of our time.

We even share a journal to write each other uplifting notes and reminisce about our inside jokes from each little moment we've had together. I gave it to her for coming to spend my birthday with me, eating pizza and drinking wine on a sunset boat cruise. In my first entry I confessed my heart and told her I loved her. I knew it was fast, but at thirty-one years old I knew even better that life was too damn short. In one of my favorite entries from her she copied a poem by R.M. Drake that read...

We are magic.
We are moments.
We are dreams and we are memories.
We are everything.
And in the depths we swim deeper
to discover that we are not born whole
so we cannot be broken.
We are born in twos, and
we are searching, searching for
the other piece,
that other person to guide us home.
A year ago at this time I had nearly severed ties from everything I knew and took off for an unknown destination. I had thought that maybe true love wasn't for me this lifetime, but I never stopped believing in it. I don't know why, I just couldn't. What I didn't understand then became perfectly transparent the day I read that poem. See, she too had gone through some heavy-hearted changes at the same time. It really felt like braving the darkest storm on this sea of life. Apparently though it was just the wind catching our sails, steadily pushing us "home".

They say... home is where the heart is. Well I don't know who "they" are, but they couldn't have been more right. Though the future is unknown and life is full of surprises, being with her is the happiest I've ever been. Something tells me if you asked her, she'd tell you the exact same thing. True love isn't something we bellow from a mountain top, it's the strength and motivation behind our climb up the mountain. Love defines us, never stop believing in it.

Scotty J ~ "No matter how inexperienced nor how broken, the heart knows best."

I love you Jes!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Gales of November Came Early

Last month I traveled with my girlfriend to Chicago. While she worked at her office in Ravenswood I took the liberty of meandering my way downtown and checking into our hotel. I was tired and needed a nap, but the Windy City was stirring and I just had to immerse myself in it. After a lengthy walk and a salty snack, I needed a toke and casually strolled back toward the hotel.
During my pursuit for a discrete location to "partake" I came across this perfectly nestled courtyard. It was a beautiful hardscape with a massive trellis built out of timbers. The stone planters had hard angles and a checkerboard symmetry to their placement. Their flamboyant green and pink foliage had a majestic vibe among all of the concrete in the city. The shadows from the trellis seemed to be perfectly painted on the solid ground. I looked around and counted..1..2..3..4..5 bums sleeping in the late summer sun.
Not really sure of what my immediate future plans were, I opted to join these bottom-feeders. With my bag as my pillow, I slept for a bit and dreamed of nothing. When I awoke, I looked around and realized that my new acquaintances had not dreamed in years. They stalk the night diving in dumpsters and living off of the scraps of others. It's a lifestyle so grueling they shamelessly sleep it off surrounded by the loudness of traffic, construction and sirens.
Who were these guys? Had their whole lives been on the streets? I thought maybe one of them was a washed-up stock broker who (at one point) had everything he could have imagined. Then after some sort of tragedy he realized all of the things he had were truly nothing. That's when self-actualization set in and he slipped through the cracks. Regardless, all of these guys were fast asleep and I certainly wasn't going to interrupt their much needed rest before another night of urban foraging just to get their story. I slipped my arms through the straps on my backpack and carried on with my adventure.

I don't know why, but as I reflect on this today it came to me that these guys made a gallant abomination of the status-quo. Who am I to refer to these guys as "bottom-feeders"?? At that very moment in their lives that was their destiny. Just as mine was to lay among them then, realize that today and write about it now. Perhaps one of those guys in the courtyard had achieved an incredible level of enlightenment that I may never reach in a thousand lifetimes. They had not given up, these men weren't dead. They were genuine survivors and now I find myself admiring them.
The day we're born we start to die and that's the truth. We live in this society that is obsessed with prolonging our mortality (if we can afford it) and then wonder why we can't find happiness. Abraham Lincoln said, "In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.". There is no fucking point in living longer just to be miserable longer. We actually have the audacity to find a way to be offended by anything and people band together in this sad prideful hatred of the human essence.

It's amazing what you can find under the tracks. - Lincoln Square - Chicago, IL
I love street art because it defies the bullshit to which we're regularly subjected. We are all too shamefully influenced by the diabolical "mad men" of the world with their toxic slogans and fictitious imagery. Everywhere we look there's a creative reference to someone being more productive than ourselves. We try to ignore it all (or at least pretend), but to our avail it catches up with us from time to time. Hence me writing all of this.
Brass-Knuckle Love Butter. RAWdio Podcast. Producers United. Interestingly Human. These are the four projects to which I creatively contribute and channel my soul. In fact, Producers United is the only website that's really all put together with regularly updated content. It also happens to be the only project for which I am NOT the administrator. I know that intention is meaningless without action. I'm not doubting my ability to achieve my heart's desires, I'm just calling myself out right now. Holding back is starting to make me feel sickly and gross. It's like the world's cruelest form of suicide and I think most of us are suffering from it in one form or another.
Thanks to my friends in the courtyard, I realized we all have an unfathomable durability as humans. Though death is always out there lurking in so many forms, we can still live through so many unimaginable circumstances. We are all destined for something and it doesn't matter what the rest of the world thinks of it. Maybe mine is leading a renaissance of new age creators with old souls. Better yet, maybe it's helping people listen to their hearts. Who knows?? It could be creating a jankie knock-off version of Mr. Potato Head called Dr. Pineapple Face or perhaps it will just be impoverished squalor. Hell it could be all of the above, but that's neither here nor there.
Luck, circumstance and timing come and go like the wind. Sometimes it's at our backs helping push us along; other times it's right in our face pushing against us; and occasionally it's just stagnant, nowhere to be found. We have to remind ourselves to put into life what makes us feel alive. See, each day we are living our destiny. It transcends through our experiences, our actions and even our intentions. Destiny isn't something we choose, chase or avoid. It's constantly molding throughout our lifetime. It's a part of us...always.

Scotty J ~


Monday, July 28, 2014

Days To Come

I have been noticing a lot of divorces and break-ups lately. These tend to be rough moments in our lives when we do silly things like make cryptic Facebook posts, have pity parties for ourselves and talk out of our asses way more than normal. Love is a tricky emotion because when it fails, it's counterpart is hate. It's hard to let go of something that had us emotionally invested, we carry-on with the hate when the love is gone. In most cases we feel like we lived for this person and without them, we are nobody. Our lack of identity leaves us feeling empty, hollow and lost. I know...I know... break-ups fucking suck, so here's a little unsolicited advice from a fellow survivor...

Don't hate them for this.

Live through it, to the best of your abilities. Be wounded and vulnerable. Try your very best to not project these emotions, but rather experience them. Learn and let your soul grow. It's not about recovering the person you once were, but living as the person you are today. I assure you it's not selfish to focus on yourself, especially at a time when you need it most. Explore the darkness.
Leave your pride in the burning wreckage of your relationship and be humbled. The world will always be yours even when you're not sharing it with someone else. Admire the little things, always. A perfect cup of coffee, a flourishing herb garden, the sound of rain on a tin roof, the aroma of fresh-baked banana bread, puppies, hugs, sunsets, good music and holding the door open for a stranger are among the countless "little things" that truly deserve your attention.
You must embrace your lows as much as you celebrate your highs. These positive and negative experiences are the foundation to how you relate to other human beings. Minimize your social life during the low moments because the energy you transfer to friends and loved ones will eventually become toxic. Forgive yourself for detaching and know that it's for the sake of preservation. Genuine friends will understand this much better (rather than dumb drunken tirades about your ex-lover...), trust me.
In fact, getting drunk while emotionally bottomed-out is extremely counterproductive. There is no sense in feeling depressed and attempting to drown it with a depressant. This can easily push good people out of your life, but for some reason the booze won't let you see that. You actually have the drunken nerve to resent them for keeping their distance. Find a way to appreciate the space they've given you to explore yourself. Remember, nobody else can make you feel better more than yourself!!
If you focus only on the fact that your pride is broken, your heart will never heal. Don't worry about what you did or didn't deserve in your last relationship, it's over. One of the greatest feelings in the world is falling in love. You haven't realized it yet, but you get this fucking amazing opportunity to feel those highs again. Maybe with someone who feels them the same way you do (even if they aren't the person you're going to grow with for the rest of your life.). Let the love you share teach you about yourself, fulfill your life and shine the light on your destiny.

Love unfiltered.

One thing is for certain, the love we share is the best part of who we all are.

Scotty J ~ Spread the Love Butter!!