Jen YihComment

Lions and Tigers and Posers, Oh My!

Jen YihComment
Lions and Tigers and Posers, Oh My!

PREFACE: This is JenYih.com, I started it because this space is completely mine. No ads, no endorsements, no brand or paid bullshit. What you may read might offend you, you might look at me different, you might not like me, or it may be the complete opposite reaction and I’m 110% okay with that. This is my free forum & I love you for being here. I love your opinions, disagreements, concurring statements, all the above. 

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If some of you are loyal readers and subscribe to these psychotic rants of mine, I sincerely apologize for going dark the past few months. I hit a point where I looked back on the past two years and realized I’ve been traveling a disgusting amount, to a point of pretentiousness & where I think I was running from my realities & really needed to learn how to ground down. Who am I kidding? I’ve still been on-the-road an assload, but with much more intention, this time I’m not “escaping” from anything - just going places, doing things that I’m hyped on doing. I realized, you can run around the world and back but at the end of the day, you can’t escape yourself or thoughts. Stop, slow down, and tune in. 

I moved away from the city (Portland) and out to a sleepy little coastal town, to be at the ocean. I’ve been surfing, but I don’t even want to talk about that because surf culture is very annoying & everyone around me lately seems to be suckling at the tit of coolness with it. I realized that nothing matters more than my mental, emotional, and physical health - without it, I am nothing. Anxiety & that tightness I used to have in my chest? Gone. Daily stress & spinning brain? Gone. Easy mind & total relaxation, welcome back old friend. I feel like a kid again…

I still work in “advertising”, a lot of people within the industry like to call it a “creative” space, but I disagree. Real creative work to me lies in the arts: musicians, painters, sculptors, writers, composers, screenwriters, poets, thinkers and the like - who do things for the love of it and no other commercial reason. If you’re trying to sell something other than a great idea, it’s not art it’s fuckery as my big brother likes to call it - pushing more sh*t that people don’t need on them, so don’t kid yourself that we’re “creatives”. Picasso was a creative, Bowie was a creative who knew how to play the game, Dali was a mind bender, Frida, Patti, Thoreau, Socrates, Whitman, etc.

Good art, music, books don’t add to to the profit polluted landfill. 

I’m sitting on an airplane on my way to Mexico to host my very first “creative retreat” alongside my dear friend Kelsey Van Patten (I love her & if you’ve met her, you know you love her too), we’re calling it Ninety Collective (1990’s inspired). I’ll be honest, I can’t believe we actually had people sign up. Prior to this, I just wanted a good excuse to go on a surf trip with friends but now it’s evolved into so much more. It’s about getting yourself right - mentally, spiritually, emotionally, physically, and fiscally. It’s about long-lasting friendships, community, sea, sunshine, remembering what’s important, and setting ourselves up to live a fulfilling life. I can’t really promise all that to the attendees because I’m not God but I know that I will do my best to support and love them the best that I can and share/give-away everything I have to give. 

Ok, aside from the personal and professional update, I want to talk to you about something that’s really eating me up inside. It’s posers, fucking posers. (Is that word still a part of the urban dictionary? I’m getting old.) Another friend of mine called them “culture vultures” and that couldn’t be a better composition of words. Look, I get that none of us are that original, like your mom says “each a snowflake, all unique” but I kind of disagree. We’re all just mash-ups of our parents, their problems, societal norms, other uninvited influences, experiences, dreams, daily inspiration or distraction, genetics, and so on - which in the end, yes, does make us all quite unique or extremely impressionable. I know for me, a single song can influence who I am today… Whether it’s some trippy lo-fi rock song or that jazz vibes mellow beat playlist on Spotify that continues to haunt me in every Portland coffee shop. But, the days of Instagram and social media are totally fucked. I feel crazy because I feel like I can scroll someone’s feed and call bullshit pretty quickly, and then even worse, meet them in person and confirm double double bullshit. What it feels like when you meet someone with complete & utter in-authenticity is like hearing your favorite old school classic album or track get covered by someone like, I don’t know, Selena Gomez (sorry Selena, but you know what I mean?). I feel like I’m digging through piles of shit on a daily basis looking for people that are just authentically themselves and not a rip off of someone else with more followers than them. I truly feel like an asshole writing this, but someone’s gotta say it. If there’s a whistle to blow, I want to blow it. Do you know what I’m talking about? 

If you’re one of those people ripping off someone or something, maybe you don’t even know it - is it exhausting? Because I swear, it’s easier to be yourself and not try so hard. It’s easier to just let people not like you and not take it as a blow to your ego. It’s easier to be weird because we’re actually all very weird. I’m concerned. People used to just flaunt their ego & identities with flashy cars, social affiliation, wealth, but now we’ve leeched onto posting all the extravagant places we’ve been (guilty), tagging all the cooler people we hang out (guilty), and some people totally fucking faking it and posting a photo of something they have absolutely no relationship and give other people a false sense of their identity (not guilty). The worst thing is, I think people believe it themselves - that their curated digital identity is THEM and we’ve allowed it to become them. AND, you’ve fooled everyone else into thinking you’re something that you’re not. That is fucking freaky. Are we just a bunch of social media sociopaths now? I use Instagram on the daily, but I don’t feel like an addict like I used to be just feigning for the orange likes & hoping my latest crush just saw the selfie I posted… another god damn selfie. I opened up a private account for family & close friends only because I felt guilty putting my newborn niece, so pure, so innocent in the social media pipeline. 

I don’t know guys… Maybe we should do an exercise, and reflect on who we are and if this facade you’re creating is really in line with what your beliefs, values, and core really are. This thing, it’s always going to bother me, the disingenuous, the fake, the inauthentic, the curations, and ultimately, the lies. I’m not sure what my final point is, except maybe some words of advice. Mom said it when we were little and it still applies, be yourself, be yourself, be yourself. Go sit under a tree, close your eyes and think about it. Everything we need to know about ourselves is in us. INspiration, not EXpiration. Lots of things exterior to us will light our fire: people & places, but be sure it’s igniting from within and don’t steal what’s not yours … and if you do, at least do it with the proper respect, due diligence, and just ultimately, with truth or candor. 

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