Friday, December 30, 2016

The Human Tag by JD Estrada

We are living peculiar times. Some would say bad times, horrible times, or even frightening times. That may be true, but at the end of the day, for all the bad, there is a lot of good in the world and within each and every one of us. We just need to remind ourselves of that.

People ask how we can go forwards after loss, how we can do what needs to be done when there is such darkness… and the answer is simple enough to say, but difficult to put into practice: to be human in the best possible definition of that word and to let our actions and our character speak much louder than words… especially those shared on social media.

None of us are perfect, and that’s a good thing, because not only is perfection overrated, but it would rob us of the spirit of sharing and community that will see us through the darkest times. Social media is meant to bring us together, to share ideas, dreams, goals, and to collaborate. It is not meant to invite people to get offended by any and everything. It is not meant to spread fake news or to bully or belittle others. That’s what it’s used for, but we can and should be better than that. 

On that note, I wrote down some questions to invite anyone who reads this to answer and share, because I believe that the more we share the positive, the easier it is to go beyond coping and to succeed in being the best of us. At the end I’ll also invite some bloggers I hold in high esteem but won’t tag everyone I know because I want to leave some for others to tag.

So here goes

The Human Tag

1. What does it mean to be human?

To be human is to feel, to experience, to live, and learn, and love, and discover. It also means to accept your flaws but to always work towards being a better version of you. Being human means being kind, being tolerant, being understanding, practicing empathy, and moving past fears to define ourselves as best as we can.

2. How do you go about being a better human?

I do my best to not judge. My faith has taught me to be individual in certain things and social or part of a community in other things. We are dual in nature because although we are immersed in a world, virtual or analog, we live within a context and experience life subjectively. I also try and help people that truly want to be helped while not losing faith on those that resist or think there’s no hope. I know a couple of people who struggle on a daily basis, and as such, I have the option to write them off or keep wishing them well. I’m not one to judge, but I am someone to wish well on as many people as possible and to listen when someone has something to say. That’s a big part of what I do to be a better human though, to listen and not judge. To try and understand and maybe even help that person to understand themselves better or maybe to just accept themselves a bit more.

3. What would you hope for the world in 2017?

Tolerance, kindness, people thinking before they share something on social media, people focusing on sharing positive things, recognizing the negative but focusing on the good. People being in contact with the people that matter. People pursuing dreams. People fighting for what they believe in while always respecting our basic human rights. I hope for our expectations to be proved wrong and for all of us to be pleasantly surprised. If that’s not the case, I would hope for people to be inspired to still be kind and generous. To work towards a healthier world. To see people finding a solution to the real world problems we face. For the world to unite to fix Fukushima, swear off oil, and work in favor of a cleaner world. Some people might say that with things that are happening, that’s impossible, but if we take that attitude, then where do we leave hope? I also hope for a year for people to see the power of positive creativity and to do more of that. I also wish for more dialogue and less arguing.

4. What is the best part of being human?

How creative we can be in finding solutions and ways to be kind. There is no limit to the good we can do if we maintain that as our goal.

5. How does your work reflect who you are as a human?

I am always exploring different aspects of humanity in my work, be it in short stories, essays, blog posts, poetry, or novels. I believe in preserving the environment, in being tolerant, in respecting and promoting equality, in exploring our individual faiths, and in finding who we are and being OK with whatever answer we get to that question.
6. What 5 things do you think would help us become better humans?

People reading more, paying attention to celebrities less, being more tolerant to race/ ethnicity/religion/gender, being less offended, and being kinder to the world and seeing what small changes we can make for a cleaner tomorrow.

7. What creative works make up part of your DNA?

Dune, Harry Potter, The Sandman, Albums by Pearl Jam/Tool/Soundgarden/Blind Melon/Elbow/Nine Inch Nails, Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit, Star Wars, Xenogears, Final Fantasy, Secret of Mana, HP Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe, and my books.

8. What life lessons would you like to share with people?

I’ve learned that if you don’t try there’s no chance you can succeed. You have to put yourself out there and give it a go. Fear keeps us from some of the best experiences in life. So does being unwilling to try new things. Try new things. Explore the world through your senses and life will reward you. Also, be positive. Being negative and complaining about everything and only seeing problems will not only rob you of the best experiences in life, but will wear down the people who surround you. Focus on light and apart from what you have to say, focus on how to say it. And finally, the less you judge the happier you are.

9. List 10 good things that happened this year.

  • I published 3 books. I finished another book and two other poetry collections and began work on two collaborations with great people who are not only talented, but great life friends.
  • I went to the Puerto Rico Comic Con and had a stellar show where I even got to interview a successful author in a panel in front of about 100 people.
  • I was able to record 3 songs in a studio for free.
  • I quit a job that although it was a good job didn’t make me happy. I did it without a job in hand and luckily, life provided.
  • I had the support of my wife and family every step of the way.
  • I was able to surf a lot in the first half of the year.
  • I had two additional book events.
  • Two students asked if I could help with school projects and they both did well in their classes.
  • I traveled with my wife twice, once for leisure and the other to visit home for the first time. It was so wonderful to be home and see mom and the family.
  • I got a new job in a new city and took a big chance because in life you have to go for it and so far, I'm very happy with how it's gone and the prospects for the new year.

10. What mantra will you use as your mindset for the New Year?

Enjoy life, pour your soul onto paper, live more, laugh often, and seize the day and the opportunities life gives you.

* * * *

I'd like to tag the following writers to go for whenever they are in the mood to get all human. 

Sarah Brentyn: probably my favorite blogger, although I'm also very much looking forwards to reading her first book. 

Cate Evans: a magnificent friend that's offered me so much support for so long. Her blog is something else and definitely noteworthy. She's also one of the coolest humans I know. 

Stephen Cleath: great guy and a fellow geek, Stephen has a heart of gold and enough ideas for stories to write for several lifetimes. 

Larysia Woropay: an amazing writer friend whom has my respect as a fellow writer and for being a top notch human. Plus she tagged me in a recent blog hop so tag you're it.

Azeez Ahmed: great guy and a blogger just cutting his teeth! one of several Canadian peeps whom I'm fond of. 

Amie Irene Winters: Author of the Strange Luck series and owner of the Golden Cricket blog

Eric Syrdal: master wordsmith poet and a stellar guy. 

Christie Stratos:Author of the Dark Victoriana series and a great friend. 

Hope Denney: Wonderful writer and someone whom I'd love to read more of so go for it!

SM Martin: Lovely blogger and the last person to interview me :D

Kimberly Vanderhorst: Dreamer of dreams and a lovely human :D

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