A few months ago, I watched a Youtube video uploaded by a young boy named Jalen Thomas. He titled it, “Super Saiyans are REAL,” and begins by saying:
This is something that’s been on my heart for a long time. All I ever wanted to be in life was a Super Saiyan. Ever since I was a kid, I used to always look up to Goku, Vegeta, [and] Gohan. I used to look at them and wonder, “How come I’m just a human being?… We are so limited as human beings… When I see super heroes, [I wonder] why can’t we be that exciting, that awesome? Why can’t I wake up and, if I’m late for school, just teleport there and be on time? But… I realized something. All of that is possible and more. It’s all in here. It’s all in your mind.
Think about anything that you ever tried to do. You thought, “Man, I could never do that.” But when you practiced it, you got better at it and you actually achieved it. It’s the same thing with superpowers. Of course it sounds absurd when you first look at it, but if you actually try it, if you set your mind to it and believe [in it], you can achieve it… I feel like anything you set your mind to… your mind can create that force…. Because your mind is… a powerful machine… and [if] you believe [in it], and you work towards achieving it, you can do it, and I believe I can be a Super Saiyan.
So this is the first time that I’m exposing this side of myself to the world and I know a lot of y’all laughing… but [to] people [who understand]… thank you…. I might not turn Super Saiyan; I might turn Super Saiyan. You might just see a glimpse of that power… but this is my first attempt… I’m gonna turn the music on… Super Saiyan Goku Theme Song… this is it.
Although I admit that I then spent the next few minutes laughing hysterically, I was actually very moved by this video. Jalen acknowledged the likelihood that he would receive a lot of mockery, but he bravely went ahead anyways because he believed in his opinions. Underlying the slightly out of the box Dragon Ball Z theme is a perspective on life that will probably take him far – a perspective that doesn’t underestimate the power of the mind and is willing to expend energy on activities that he, and he alone, deems worthwhile. Of course, many other nuances can be found in this. Some people may see this as another Generation Y trend: to seek attention by posting things on the internet; after all, Jalen could have celebrated his beliefs for his own joy alone. Others may applaud the fact that the internet offers a space for those small groups of people who believe they can be Super Saiyans to connect with each other.
For me, this was simply a very brave (and funny) video and it reminds me of many other inspiring people in the world who realize that the odds are against them but still carry on in their endeavors because they believe it is the right thing to do. Specifically, I think about all of the writers on sites like fanfiction.net and fictionpress.net and Rick Santorum (which probably marks the first time in internet history that Santorum was grouped together in a sentence with fanfiction – go me!).
Moving on – Santorum staunchly opposes abortion in all cases, does not support gay marriage, has had rather controversial brushes with racism, started out and finished with very limited campaign funds, and consistently trailed the other presidential candidates in numerous polls. When I first read about him, my first emotion was incredulity. Did he really think that he had any sizeable chance at winning in an America that I see as extremely liberal? All of this energy and money that he was expending, what would it amount to? But then I realized that winning was not his ultimate concern. Santorum (and here I go on to conjecture wildly into the thoughts of a man I never met) entered the race because he had beliefs that he felt strongly about and he believed the world would be a better place if other people saw the logic in his beliefs as well. In order to remain true to his beliefs, he had to make an honest attempt to stand up for them. Now, that extremely general statement may sound like the makings of another Hitler, but let us try to neatly sidestep that for the moment. I don’t endorse mass destruction (with the exception of it being the occasional awesome plot devices), but I do endorse people who lead actively passionate lives and do not need external validation.
Loving something or believing in something does not necessarily equate to being skillful or successful at it. Many of the authors on fanfiction.net and fictionpress.net enthuse happily on their profiles about their passion for writing and produce novels that span over 60 chapters, all without mastering the comma or gaining more than 20 reviews. Likewise, when we first begin drawing, we draw with abandon. Our houses look like bloated cows, our cows look… well, interesting, to say the least. Everyone starts somewhere and our first efforts usually look more like bloated cows than the graceful, pillared house we envision. However, at that point, the process mattered more than the ending.
I think we need to return to the mindsets of our childhoods and live for ourselves and in the moment. Pascal Campion, a really great digital artist once said (and I paraphrase loosely), “There is no secret to art. Just keep doing it every day and you will definitely improve. It’s a straight road, you won’t go backwards.”
Oftentimes, I find that writers (or perhaps I’m only speaking for myself) become paralyzed. We approach each word as part of “The Book.” The perfect, funny, amazingly profound yet at times still shockingly mundane book that will receive international love or at least a cult following. Writing quickly becomes stressful under such high aspirations.
I hope that, at least for a month, we can let go of The Book,” and find pleasure in blue grass, crooked moons, and bloated cows. After all, one famous author once said, “All I ask for is that I don’t cringe when I read it years later.” I’m sure this article could increase its credibility by stating the exact author, but for all my Googling attempts, I am unable to find who said that.
And thus, after much meandering, pit stops for barbecue, and daisy chain making, we have reached the crux of my article, which can be summed up as this: WRITE FOR YOUR LIVESSSS. Somewhere in my brainpan, my past literary professors are screeching at the awful body structure of this article, the prolific use of “something” and “personally,” and for that, I apologize.
Thank you for taking this stroll with me and see you soon! And remember, if you ever want to share any of your pillared houses or bloated cows with Publishing Genius Press, submit them through Submishmash!