Golden Hour

A birthday message.

Golden Hour

"I've had my share, I'll help you with the pain
You're not alone
Just turn on with me, and you're not alone
Let's turn on and be not alone
Gimme your hands, 'cause you're wonderful...
Oh, gimme your hands!" —​David Bowie

Yes, I had a flat top. I loved my flat top haircut when I was younger. There was a time where I added a part in the side of it. Straight Kid and Play. I loved my Nintendo. I had a Power Glove (even though I didn’t know how to work it.) I loved reading things. I loved that big ass lion in the background. I loved sports. I loved the camera - which is funny now being a photographer.

Today, I’m a year older. No gray hairs yet (knocks on wood). I’m still as inquisitive and spunky as that kid in the picture. In many ways, I reclaimed what was great about that kid back into my life in the past year. A lot of hard work and healing was needed to get to that space. Many things in this life will try to strip you of the child-like wonder and curiosity of your youth. Keep it alive. Your future self will thank you.

Remember those times that you thought nothing was out of the realm of possibility? You tied a cap on your back and tried to fly. (Warrant, a couple of attempts and bruises would bring you down to earth.) You got together with friends and cosplayed characters, athletes, and made worlds to live in. Yes, as you get older, it comes with needed responsibility - or as Angellica from Rugrats calls it, ‘sponsibilities.’ Don’t ever forget that kid that thought the impossible was out of reach. They won’t even forget you. A lot of us have found ourselves around an ever-changing and crumbling structure around us. Just like when you played with LEGO sets when you were younger - you can build anything from a big mess. Believe in yourself. It may not match the picture on the box, but you’ll get there.

I’m thankful for love, meaning, vigor, blessings, and health…

Health. Yea - that word is a premium these days. The concept of mortality has been a constant ruminating in my head. As I’m sure it all has. As the death tolls go up in the U.S. - it’s nothing that we can necessarily escape. It’s in daily graphics and outside our front door. Tragedy is an unfortunate constant in this life. Even though dark times, there is always hope. I sound like a campaign slogan, but it’s true.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve seen young people given impassioned and intelligent speeches on how they plan to fight for change. We can’t let them down. On my birthday, I went for a hike and I saw people together enjoying the weather. They were having conversations, picnics, and flying kites along the sunkissed sky in small groups. Masks and social distancing, of course. It was good to see some semblance of happiness. Everything is going to be different for a while. Like myself, birthdays are going to be a little different. However, if we all do our part and take the necessary steps to keep each other safe, think of all the birthday celebrations to come.

I only want two things for my birthday:

  1. Please donate to these really good causes if you can: Planned Parenthood, Black Visions Collective, RAINN, The Loveland Foundation, Color of Change, ACLU, The Trevor Project, World Central Kitchen, or The American Foundation For Suicide Prevention. There are many more that I plan to get the word out as the weeks go on. So many people and causes need our help. Let’s do it.
  2. Stand and speak up for somebody that looks different than you. Even when the cameras stop and attention shifts away from the protests and social change that is not in front of us. The lasting change that we are fighting for is going to take everyone to roll up their sleeves and do the work. We have a real opportunity to make a society that considers and works for everyone. Brick by brick. Monument fall by monument fall.

Ok, maybe three. (It’s my birthday. I make the rules here!)

  1. Love yourself in a time where everything is scary. That’s a radical form of rebellion in places that serves to make you feel less than. You are the answer to someone’s prayers. Most of all, you are the hero in the story that you’ve always looked up to. If you aren’t yet, you’re becoming that person. The world and the people you love are going to need it.

Stay kind and positive. I’ll be working on ways to make this world a better place for all of us. During quarantine, I’ve had ups and downs- but I’m still here trying to save the day. I’m extremely grateful, blessed, and I don’t take any it for granted. Hopefully, we can have more to collectively celebrate once I make my way around the sun again.