Left to right, Shweb, Dan, Charlie, Frankie, Chris, me, and Anthony. I was probably 11. Was one hell of water balloon fight. Anthony’s mom, Sally, took this picture. I can’t imagine an image that better captures how we grew up.
We’d spend our days seeing who could throw what the farthest. Who was the fastest. Who was the bravest, which typically entailed wrestling Frankie. He had such a strength advantage, that anyone only ever agreed to wrestle him if he was on his knees. We were wild and we ran like it, and the suburbs was our place to do it. Couldn’t have gown up anywhere better. Not specifically my hometown, but just the fact that it was the suburbs.
I live in the urban sprawl of Los Angeles now, a long ways from my hometown. I like it here, but didn’t always. It’s the people I’ve found and the girl I love that make it what it is for me. It’s where I belong now, but I couldn’t imagine being a kid here. I don’t know that I could have grown if not in suburban soil. I don’t know that any kid could. Confinement and wild freedom seem at odds. For that, I think some far off day, I may belong to those suburbs again.
My good friend Drew, and about a year ago, maybe less, mailed me a book he thought I should read. I’m not much a reader, but his opinion is one of the few I tend to consider. The book was Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. I finished it a few weeks ago, and since the first page, I’ve thought about it daily. Couldn’t have read it at a more appropriate time. I’ve been in a such a fog. More and more, I watch my actions contradict my thoughts. But the ideas in this book have brought some clarity to me. It has reminded me of the values I’ve already known, and more importantly, believed, but have not practiced.
Countlessly, I have surrendered my time to causes I believed to be less important than my own, for nothing in return. I’ve been taught that this is virtue, to give without receiving. I can say with honesty that I have never felt the “goodness” in these means of trade. Only a feeling of guilt for not enjoying it, as I am supposed to. Ayn Rand has reminded me that value is traded for value, and nothing less.
I could quote some of the writing that resonates with me, but to truly communicate what I took away, I think a question is best. Something that will likely cross my mind, throughout the expanse of my life and help me navigate it. The question being, what would Dagny Taggart do?
Taken at the LA State Historic Park during FYF, a two day music festival during Labor Day weekend. Givers played my favorite set of both days. It’s so inspiring to see and hear such talent. I remember standing there feeling like I needed to be somewhere else. Creating something of my own. Not just watching. But I truly enjoyed the set, and even more so the company. So I’m glad I wasn’t.
But still, I want to create more. I want to inspire.
They were playing Atlantic when I took this and they dedicated it to their lost friend Eddie. It was heartfelt. This girl’s voice could move a mountain.
Atlantic by Givers.