CRAFTING POETRY

Hello everyone,

 

Here we are again, with Wednesday coming to a close. Though at the time of writing, my Wednesday has just started. Today, I’d like to talk about writing poetry, mostly because I really like doing it, but also because someone asked me how I write poetry so easily. Typically, a 3-4 stanza poem takes me about 40 minutes to get right, though if my rhythm is working well it can take less time.

In terms of structure, one of my preferred poetry styles is to mimic the style of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s In Memoriam. This follows the pattern A, B, B, A—which means lines one and four rhyme, and lines two and three rhyme. Additionally, each line is 8 syllables in length. These are just aspects I’ve noticed while reading his poetry. I don’t know if it consists of iambs, sorry. That being said, there are a lot more forms of poetry. One I’ve been toying with lately is A, A, A, A, which is a lot harder than it would seem, mostly because the style can feel forced and redundant. That being said, it certainly makes a person rack their brain more.

One of the popular poetry styles nowadays is a Free Verse poem. Free verse poetry typically is more…well, free form. It’s just line breaks. There’s no need to rhyme, or follow a pattern of syllables, and so on. While this can often be interesting, I don’t really like this type of poetry that much. I’ve used it before, and I have no doubt I’ll use it again, but it sometimes feels lazy to me. Maybe this is because I make deadlines for myself, and in doing that I have some inner expectation of what a “poem” should look like. That being said, one of my most “liked” poems, Stand Up Citizen uses this style.

A sonnet is one of the more difficult styles for me, mostly because iambic pentameter can be a bit hard for me sometimes (quick note: iambic pentameter means lines of 10 syllables, which alternate unstressed and stressed. I.E., I like to ride my bike—“I,” “to,” and “my” are all unstressed, where as “like,” “ride,” and “bike” all have more emphasis on them). A sonnet’s rhyme pattern is A, B, A, B, C, D, C, D, E, F, E, F, G, G. Of course, there are many, many, many ways to craft a poem, and it really should come from the heart a lot more often than forced. That being said, any time you write as often as I do, sometimes writing from the heart doesn’t come as easily.

Choosing a topic can often be difficult. I stray toward love poems quite often, but sometimes writing about internal frustrations, or other aspects of society are good as well. Take I’m Looking for My Friend, which another poem that people have received fairly well. It’s about other aspects of society besides romance. The key, I’ve found, is to find something you can cling to and ride it out until you feel good about it. Then reread it, clean it up, and see what people think.

Am I wrong? Do my ideas make sense? Let me know!

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SICK DAY BLUES

Hey everyone,

I’m feeling pretty under the weather today, so I decided to take an easy day. This is my favorite poem, titled Ulysses by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. I recommend looking at it from a few perspectives. First read it and enjoy. Then reread it and realize that Ulysses convinces his men to effectively commit suicide. Then reread it again and realize that all of Ulysses mariners died in previous journeys. Then reread it again and try and see if the poem transitions from location to location at all. It doesn’t. So is it just an old man on his death bed? Does it help that the author wrote this immediately after the death of his best friend?

It little profits that an idle king,

By this still hearth, among these barren crags,

Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole

Unequal laws unto a savage race,

That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.

I cannot rest from travel: I will drink

Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy’d

Greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those

That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when

Thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades

Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;

For always roaming with a hungry heart

Much have I seen and known; cities of men

And manners, climates, councils, governments,

Myself not least, but honour’d of them all;

And drunk delight of battle with my peers,

Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.

I am a part of all that I have met;

Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’

Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades

For ever and forever when I move.

How dull it is to pause, to make an end,

To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!

As tho’ to breathe were life! Life piled on life

Were all too little, and of one to me

Little remains: but every hour is saved

From that eternal silence, something more,

A bringer of new things; and vile it were

For some three suns to store and hoard myself,

And this gray spirit yearning in desire

To follow knowledge like a sinking star,

Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, mine own Telemachus,

To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,—

Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil

This labour, by slow prudence to make mild

A rugged people, and thro’ soft degrees

Subdue them to the useful and the good.

Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere

Of common duties, decent not to fail

In offices of tenderness, and pay

Meet adoration to my household gods,

When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:

There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,

Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me—

That ever with a frolic welcome took

The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed

Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;

Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;

Death closes all: but something ere the end,

Some work of noble note, may yet be done,

Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.

The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:

The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep

Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,

‘T is not too late to seek a newer world.

Push off, and sitting well in order smite

The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds

To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths

Of all the western stars, until I die.

It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:

It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,

And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.

Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

THE DAWN OF RELATABLE SUPERHEROES

Hello everyone,

 

“You’re probably thinking ‘This is a superhero movie, but that guy in the suit just turned that other guy into a fucking kebab.’ Surprise, this is a different kind of superhero story.” –Deadpool

Alright, we’re going to indulge me as I splurge about superheroes briefly. This year appears to be the year the world end, at least for the comic film industry. Look at how many studios are cashing in! Ever since Iron Man released back in 2008 (wow, was it really 8 years ago?), and swiftly followed by The Dark Knight super hero movies have been the blockbuster films of our time. Ok, sure, Batman Begins may have been the real turning point, but it wasn’t really a hallmark movie. Recently, with the release of Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice we were reminded of how far we have come in this movie industry—because of how bad the movie was. Seriously. It felt like the old Daredevil movie. Which was…a really bad movie. Sure, not all the acting was the worst, but it had writing and plot coherence that felt 10 years dated.

All my comic geek friends are just happy that they finally got a Batman vs Superman movie, except the ones who actually watch films outside the comic book ones. A good movie is more than just a fight scene (though a good fight scene can make a movie worth watching). Batman vs Superman had neither. The namesake battle of the film lasted maybe 10 minutes if we’re being generous. But aside from that, it was corny. Superman gets hit by Kryptonite, then he gets the shit beaten out of him, then he recovers, starts winning again, until he gets hit by more Kryptonite. Really? How unoriginal. No laser vision? No grappling between buildings? No super cool tech, just the classic metal suit? Sure, its based on a comic book battle, but this is a guy that could lift something infinitely heavy versus a regular guy armed with advanced science and extreme planning…

Anyways, movie hatred aside, superheroes are today’s topic of writing. Throughout history we have love the idea of heroes. In the present, they are a somewhat geeky thing to be into, but in reality they have been around in some way or another. Seriously, The Hero with 1000 Faces exemplifies this idea. It connects all the similarities in heroes throughout time. But human love heroes. Why? Well, I’m sure there is a lot of reason for it, but I am most interested in the empathetic aspects of heroes. We empathize with heroes—which is why so many people root for Batman over Superman. It isn’t because he is a hero, or even the logical victor in an all out fight (seriously, no measurable power can match up to immeasurable, infinite power, lets just be honest here). We root for Batman because he’s someone we can relate to. He has real world problems. Sure, he’s a billionaire, but that’s more a trope for the comic industry to allow him free time as well as access to all this technology. Seriously, have you seen Daredevil? Look how rag tag his heroic costume and weaponry look, even after season two. There’s no way we would consider him in league with Superman. He struggles to keep up with a few trained martial artists!

Anyways, we love superheroes because they make us feel like superheroes. We look at them with awe, but we also identify with them as being good beings. Sure, they may struggle with right and wrong, and have a variation of moral codes that often times are unacceptable to modern society. But everyone has those issues. Some people don’t think gay people should be able to get married. Some people think that they are entitled to land over foreigners because they were born on it, in spite of the fact that their ancestors stole that land from people who were born on it. Some people are pacifists. We as adults are objective enough to realize this (hence why children often dress up as superheroes and pretend to play as them, yet so many adults do not), but we still enjoy their characters because we relate to them and can apply them to our lives. Hence why Iron Man and The Dark Knight were such definitive turning points for the movie industry. Think about it. If you saw these movies, and then saw Batman vs Superman, which characters did you identify with more? Christian Bale or Ben Affleck? The movies took a direct approach to connecting ordinary people to the main protagonist, whether it was because they had charming personalities that we were envious of, or because they had obsessive behaviors over losing loved ones. Sure, they were badasses doing completely unrealistic things, but that exaggeration of the real is grounded in a person that feels real—which makes the average person feel like they can achieve that same greatness. Even Deadpool had to deal with cancer and what not, and his character is even less believable than Superman in some ways. There was none of that in this most recent comic film, at least not in an effective, believable manner (seriously, they had more definitive exposition of Lex Luthor’s human struggles than either of the main characters). And it undermined the entire operation. Which sucked.

TEA AT 3:00 SHARP

Hello everyone,

 

Welcome back! I’ve just sat myself down with a cup of Earl Grey tea to get the spring in my step back that I will need to meet my work schedule for today. Nothing over tiring—just another 5 hours on top of my classes from today—though my roommates all describe me as “always doing something” or “non stop” which surprises me, because I always look at some of my other friends as being more…active in life. I suppose it is because I am on a schedule—in fact, all of us are on a schedule. It is part of how we can efficiently maintain our priorities without losing sleep time and so on. It’s pretty great. Unfortunately, if you are not active with planning your schedule (or worse, keep your schedule in constant free form) you are probably in what many people would describe as a “slump.”

A slump is something that everybody (trust me, everybody) goes through at some point in their life in which they feel excessively unmotivated. People justify this in different ways—to little time in the day, to little energy for the size of tasks required, and so on. It’s all bullshit. Now, it might be very real feeling bullshit, but lets be honest, you can do it. I know I have had many struggles with motivation myself—part of this blog is to help keep me motivated with writing, because I have been rather uninvolved with the world in the last few months. Slumps usually occur when you are doing something taxing to your mental or physical states, or when there is a sudden change in life. For example, my worst slump ever lasted about a year and a half after I went through my first difficult break up. I just sort of…went to school…went to work…ate horribly…and so on. Life was a drag. My current slump occurred because I had a particularly difficult quarter—not in terms of grades, but in terms of workload.

To conquer a slump, you have to make an active schedule and commit yourself to fulfilling it. Often times people who suffer from depression use a similar method to overcome said depression. Which is effectively what you are doing. But it isn’t as easy as write out a schedule and do it—nothing ever is. Get up earlier. Right now I am getting up at 6:30 am every day. It sucks. I have never been a morning person. But I am doing it. And you can too. Really—you can. Sure, you might not make it out of bed the first time, but hold yourself accountable with a punishment. Not a “oh you’re stupid and lazy” kind of punishment—then you will just talk yourself into a self-fulfilling prophecy, and deepen yourself in slump-ville. Really get yourself in their and say “ok, if I don’t get out of bed when my alarm goes off at 6:30 this morning, I am cutting steak out of my diet for the week.” Or if you’re an outspoken vegan, up the ante—“If I don’t get out of bed, I have to try meat at my next dinner with friends.” Food works for me. Do whatever works for you. Maybe it’s reading. Maybe its’ crafting. Maybe it’s working out. Set a goal and achieve it is not where things stop. Set a goal, work your butt off until you succeed once, and then hold yourself to succeeding every time.

I realize this is not totally a natural thing. It’s a logos and ethos thing. The pathos is what keeps you in bed—it’s your body compensating for whatever damage you are dealing with. And you’ll stay in bed until your upper brain function returns. Which is fine. But once you’re back online, you better be up and active, or else your brain functions are going to get lazy too. Which is not the side of life you want to be on. Trust me.

THE BIRDS AND THE BEES

Hello everyone,

 

Sex is a wonderful thing. Though, with cliché openings like that, you’re probably not very likely to get laid. Who do you find attractive? Do you like big boobies or fat booties? Rock hard abs or a chiseled jaw line? Is there more to it than the just a persons body? I mean we certainly all like to think that it is more than what a person looks like. But then, we also adore the idea of love at first sight. An idea that relies solely on the appearance of people. So either we are all hypocrites or we do not have a clue what makes us fall in love. I love Scarlett Johansson and Mia Malkova, and yet I know absolutely nothing about them besides the fact that one is an actress and the other is a porn star.

But I also love some girls that I’ve known for years (I’m not going to name them! What if they read this?), and most people wouldn’t think they’re anywhere near on par with ScarJo physically. Right? Which leads me to my alternate theory. I think that, much like my discussion about how pathos, ethos, and logos form out of different levels of the brain, so does attraction. Our primeval brains tell us ideal mates through the use of our senses—hence why so many people dress nice, attempt to smell good, and have smooth skin. Our higher-level brains then help us weed through those people to find suitable partners. I’m sure this is…obvious…like…duh. But this isn’t working in tandem, rather its working in contrast because both brains are trying to do the same thing at the same time. So we could say that our lower and upper brains are, once again, in turmoil with one another. Ironic.

At what point in time do we have the most sex with the most partners? Most people would say college! YAY college parties! Just like with anything, to overcome a situation it must be confronted. It’s so obvious, that for our upper brain to overcome its accomplices’ sexual desires, it must appease it’s appetite. Once quenched, the lower brain can settle down. The problematic part is that the upper brain doesn’t recognize this. It fights lower level functions with all its might. It wants to be completely in control, much like a communist government. Complete control is futile. Once the upper brain can sedate the lower brain though, it can at least bypass the emotional strains on a day-to-day level. Which explains the drop in estrogen and testosterone in people as they grow older. It also explains our fascination with college age students as “the most attractive” or “the pinnacle of sexual viability” in spite of the fact that they really aren’t fully developed. College sex has become a coming of age ritual in our society.

Of course, not all people attend college, and not all people that attend college actually fulfill their sexual desires. In fact, most people don’t—I know that I certainly don’t, with rising requirements at work, other interests, and just trying to stay in acceptable shape, I have very little time to go fuck a bunch of people. Not to mention that I’m not exactly the most social person (I mean I’m writing a blog, isn’t that like the definition of non-social?). But we probably want to. I mean given the opportunity between having sex with a person I find attractive and not, I’m pretty sure I would choose to do so. And I recognize that I am making a lot of assumptions about this, but it is not obscene to claim that our sex drives directly correlate to our brain activities.

So if we assume that our brains are functioning at lower levels for our college years, its also fair to connect that our sexual development directly impacts our education. I will go into how at another time, but an idea I would pose to keep in mind is that there are two ways this could impact us. Too much sex would cause for an extreme imbalance between pathos and the other pillars, which would cause for a dilution of the ethos and logos in a person’s being. They would be consumed by pathos. The alternative is too little sex, which would cause a base reaction by the lower brain from being deprived of sex. Think of a damn, with water building up behind it. Without some amount of relief, it will eventually burst, and something will go wrong. In terms of the pillars, this would mean that lack of pathos would cause for a hunger for it, which would eventually overwhelm the ethos and logos higher brain functions of a person.

So make sure you’re balancing yourselves! Don’t go hitting up every fuckboi you know, but don’t close yourself off to people either. Tell that girl you’ve noticed at work your cheesy pick-up line. Tell that guy in class that you would be interested in going to get coffee with him. Just don’t go telling EVERY girl your pick up line. And if people tell you that you’re thirsty, just tell them that everybody needs water to survive.

THE GLASS OF PREJUDICE

Hello everyone!

 

Back at it again with the blogs! I considered leading with “white blogs” but I get the feeling that may come out more racial than intended. I left of yesterday with a pretty strong critique of ethos, pathos, and logos use within the political spectrum. Obviously, it is a really diverse idea, as I argued that Sanders balanced his use of the pillars while Trump relied on the use of pathos to control people. It very easily can be seen from other angle, but I’m going to stick to my guns (ironic, as I am a pacifist) on this one. Today, I would like to discuss political correctness. Not the “Trump” political correctness, but why exactly we have this idea in place of political correctness, and why we are so prone to ignoring that for comedic effect.

One of my favorite jokes of all time is Louis C.K.’s Forklift joke, in which he discusses racism and interpretation of racism. Here’s a link to a video of it I found on YouTube, please watch it for comprehension:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8Nhd3ihoA8

 

If you don’t have access to the video for whatever reason (why are you reading this at work?), I’ll briefly explain the concept of it—though I highly recommend watching it. Basically, his white friend has a racist family that says “the nigger fell asleep at the forklift,” and Louis presents this racial insensitivity, and then juxtaposes that idea with the black interpretation of the situation—disappointment with their fellow African-American falling asleep on the job, and a Greek friend curious how someone falls asleep at a forklift. Now, I’ve taken on a moderately academic tone to my writing, which perhaps is why you flinched a little when you read the word “nigger.” And that’s good—it means you are racially sensitive in your conscious mind. It probably also means that, at least to some extent, you disagree with Trumps divisive rhetoric, even if you are a Republican.

Unfortunately, a large number of people think that the buck stops here when it comes to racism. They think that being angry with Asian drivers when they make a dangerous move in traffic, or when they crack a joke about a women not being in the kitchen, it is totally harmless. Which it isn’t. Despite the fact that you, more than likely, don’t go out of your way and hurt someone, what these passive acts of violence do is script your responses to specific scenarios. It labels people. It categorizes them. As I’ve said before, categorization is the root of all evil. In terms of prejudice and discrimination, it becomes more blatant because we have been raised in an attempt to dismantle the idea of racial prejudice and be colorblind. The problem with this is that we are also told to embrace and promote individual culture heritages. I’m not saying either of these ideas are wrong, but they are ideas that are in opposition with each other.

This creates a weird gray area that nobody really understands and has shifting boundaries. For example, a lot of African-Americans are still called “Boy” in southern states. If I called someone “Boy” where I live, my white friends would look at me bug-eyed at best, and at worst I would probably be jumped by somebody (you thought of a black person attacking me there, didn’t you?). Yet people LOVE Louis CK’s dark humor. And they don’t hold it against him. Is it because he’s on stage? No, Trump is a testament to that. Is it because he is ironic about it? Possibly but no, because he is legitimately telling a story, the irony isn’t about the racism, but rather about juxtaposition about the internal struggles within racial boundaries. Is it because he has been through some systematic amount of racial injustice that has deeply changed his upbringing? No, he’s white—he’s a member of the group that’s been on top for centuries. I think that it is that, because of our mixed cultural ideas, we have come to accept that some amount of racism as acceptable. If I say that I am not going to name my adopted African-American daughter a typical black name like Maya, Leontyne, or Zora because I like a name better than that and it would be racist to name her one of these names, I have still labeled Maya, Leontyne, and Zora as “black female” names. That’s a racist thing to do—even if it isn’t directly racist. Think about it. You have “white names” and “black names,” and even “Hispanic” or “Asian” names in mind.

Again, that’s ok that it happens in your mind. You aren’t a part of the KKK or a neo-Nazi because you picture someone named “Dequan” as a black man. But if you claim that these labels are acceptable to make, then the racial line has been pushed forward. Think about it like a cat. If he pushes a glass too hard, it will simply knock over and break, and his fun is over. That’s what the extremists do. But if the cat knocks the glass lightly, it doesn’t really do anything—it may just move a couple inches. And that’s cool to him. Because he got a reaction out of it. So he keeps pushing it farther and farther, not so much that it knocks over, but to keep getting a reaction. And all is fun and good, until eventually he knocks the glass off the table, and it goes plunging to the floor and shatters across the room. It didn’t matter that the cat pushed the glass lightly, because he pushed it too many times. Be aware of how often you push the glass of prejudice, and how hard you are knocking it.

DI CAPRIO ON ICE

Hello everyone!

 

Or rather, hello random people I have never met before, who are probably small in number because this is my first blog post ever. Ironic. Did you know that to sign up for one of these you have to pick several things, including a theme, a blog “genre,” and a budget plan (I’ve opted for free because I’m uncertain how to consider this, as well as the fact that I don’t exactly know how successful these can be)? I chose “lifestyle” because that seems the most broad subject line for me—and I don’t want to be confined to just writing “How to Lose 30 pounds in 30 Days” or “How to Double Your Sales in Half the Time” articles. I don’t even want to be confined to something like “On Art.” Which is not to say that I will never write something like this, but I really don’t like cliché categorization ideas.

Categorization, in my opinion, is the root of all evil. Anytime someone labels something, even if it is in a positive sense, it has negative associations. Take, for example, the Oscars. “Best Actor” is a category that comes to mind. Let’s take Leo winning this year. He has been claimed “the best actor of movies released in 2015.” What does this imply? Well, obviously there is the positive—that Leo’s performance was far and away above that of the other actors nominated. Which is, in my opinion, completely true. But this division between Leo and other actors inherently creates a comparison between Leo and others, with Leo being the greater of the two.

Now, most people think that this is harmless, and for the most part it is. The problem is, however, that the subconscious does not necessarily have the same filtration system—it is less prone to reason and more prone to innate responses. In Layman’s terms, it thinks like “Leo good, others bad.” Of course, no mature adult is going to wage a war over who the Academy chooses for “Best Actor.” They may, on the other hand, wage a war against the villains that their group of choice deems evil. A modern example is the Democratic and Republican examples.

I’ll start with the Democrats, because the less violent speech seems easier to justify. Bernie Sanders has spearheaded the movement against the income inequality, and he has demonized the entire one percent. This is a scapegoating tactic that is used to appeal to the pathos side of a person’s brain—to incite fear or anger toward a group. He then uses logos (logic) to justify his idea as truth—typical Bernie has used statistics to establish his ideas. Finally, he relies on ethos, his expertize in the field, to make himself the sole reliable candidate for this. Now not all of this is bad—in fact Bernie uses a careful balance between the three pillars of persuasion to not become overly extreme in his rhetoric, despite his ideas being “extreme” for American politics. He doesn’t pressure people to execute the top money makers, but to demand better treatment from them.

Which leads me to the Republican Party. Now I don’t want to attack Cruz or Rubio despite their ideas being an appeal to religious authority. I want to do the popular thing and attack Trump. While the other “more moderate” (less dangerous) candidates are “politically correct,” Trump appeals by being unpredictable. Low-level thought loves this. I’m sorry if you’re a Trump fan, dear reader, but you have been caught with your evolutionary traits showing. You see, my theory is that the three pillars we rely on are ethos, pathos, and logos. Ethos, is the conclusion of high brain activity—the reflection on outcome after years of experience. We can see Martin Luther King Jr. was a great person (publically) because he was on the correct side of the racial equality movements on nearly all occasions. Think of it like the Tip of an iceberg. As you move down to where the water level meets the ice, you reach the second level of thinking—logos. Logic. It’s called the bedrock of society for a reason. This is how people start movements like the Civil Rights Movement. Let’s say Rosa Parks was this person. She thought logically “I’m human, this other white guy demeaning me is human, and clearly less fatigued than I am. I’m going to stay sitting here.” That’s pretty basic logic. It’s still respectful and mechanical.

When you dive deeper though, you’ll notice that humans, just like an iceberg, are still heavily comprised of a reliance on pathos. Emotion. It’s what kept us alive for thousands of years before we had guns and knives and fire. Kill or be killed. In a balance, people can suppress the impulse to lash out at others, and use the passion of emotion to fuel their logical arguments. Unfortunately, when too much pathos is involved, people tend to forego civil behavior for primal aggression. Trump has fed on this idea. He harnesses people’s basic instincts to control them. If I told you, in complete seriousness, that unless you did what I said, you and everyone that has meaning to you in your life would die horribly, you’re going to do whatever it is. Even the slightest example of this can take a person’s imagination for a spin. Especially if its your life or someone else’s.

These matters, while pressing, are not imminent enough to need a response by the end of you reading this essay. Any time a person comes out as the savior of sorts, you should consider everything they say as objectively as possible. That may mean stopping and looking at how it effects other people that are not you. Which can be hard—it is hard to fight natural instinct. But that’s part of what being a “good” human being is. Anyone can kill someone to keep themselves safe. It’s much more difficult to trust another person and work with them for mutual safety. But if you can, in the end, you will both be stronger—because it’s a lot easier to take on oppressive regimes when you’re not alone.