Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Real Me, the Real You

Every few months or so I receive a similar message from a fan of the opinion that I'm not being me.  In general these messages explain that when I wear costumes and make-up, dye my hair, and sing about dark things, that I'm not really being my true self.  Their argument is that I'm too good looking naturally to be playing dress-up, that if I was to tone down who I was I'd be happier and have more fans and be more popular.  In other words if I stopped being Sir JET and was simply Joel, the fitness model, my life would be so much better.  Basically what these people are trying to say is that if I was to stop being different and made an effort to be more like everyone else, I'd be happier.

I understand what they're saying, I understand that people fear things that are different and feel safer when the outlandish can be identified under a category of normalcy, but simultaneously, I know their opinions could not be further from the truth.  For the truth is, I did make an effort to be normal, for many years.  For many years I kept my hair the same color, spent thousands of dollars on head shots, mailing submissions into magazines and agencies, received a gig here and there, but in the end I had nothing. I even at one point spent several hundred dollars on speech lessons in an attempt to sound more masculine when I spoke, because an agent told me my soft-spoken voice and mannerisms didn't match my chiseled face and body.  In all though I wasn't happy, because I wanted to wear fun clothes, because I wanted to see what it would be like to change my hair color, because I couldn't stand trying to maintain the same look day in and day out.

My whole transformation into the real me was the basis for the book I wrote.  My book was about how to overcome depression by finding ways to live your life that make you happy, and for me that was becoming Sir JET.  (Obviously these people who send me these messages never read it). As a gender nonconformist, nothing makes me feel better than putting on a new pair of heels, and just in general trying on clothes that are a challenge, things that as a child I was constantly told I couldn't wear because I was a boy.

In truth I do know what these people are talking about.  I see the Facebook pages of these bodybuilders, porn stars, and fitness models and yes, they do have a good amount of more likes than my page, but at the same time I know in my heart how miserable and bored I was trying to be like them, and I think it's just a matter of time before the right people find me; I do feel Sir JET has a place in mainstream society, it's just taking longer than expected.

Until then I offer this message to you: only you know the version of you that will make you happy.  Only you know if the way you are living your life feels right, and if someone offers their opinion to you saying otherwise, it's because they fear what is different and are hoping to bring you back to some level of normality, not for your sake but rather for theirs.  It doesn't really matter in the greater scheme of things if you are particularly normal or particularly different, what matters is that the way you are feels right.  Always go with the feeling, feelings are the true gateway to your happiness.

Friday, January 24, 2014

10 Ways to Live as your True Self

Happy weekend everyone!  While going through my computer I stumbled upon this top 10 list I created back in 2011 to help promote my book, I'm Enough, and thought I would share it with you now.  Study these points and feel free to comment with any questions or observations you have.
Sir JET’s Top 10 Tips to Living as Your True Self

1. Eat Happily.  Many say eat healthy, but if you are not enjoying food while you eat it, you’re doing just as much damage to your body as eating unhealthy foods by giving it mixed signals, which result in indigestion, etc.  There are enough healthy foods out there that you can choose what tastes good to you.  

2. Observe your Thoughts.  Our minds go a million miles a minute with different thoughts.  If we are not careful, we could spend all day thinking about and analyzing negative things and not be aware of it.  Take a moment every now and then to ask yourself “what am I thinking about?” and if it’s something bad, see how you can find the good in that situation to focus on instead.

3. Feel Good about Your Appearance.  It’s not how you look, but how you feel about how you look that will determine how you will feel in the presence of others.  Do you feel beautiful?  Do you feel confident?  Appearance is subjective, so make your appearance that which you see as beautiful, and feel you look awesome wherever you go.

4. Be accepting of the Appearance of Others.  Just as you get to decide how you look, everyone should get to as well.  Be okay with the way other people look, for it is their decision to look that way.  And remember, we are essentially all one and the same: underneath every costume is a human being just like you.

5. Play Dress-up.  Have you ever wondered what it would be like to try something on?  Then do it.  Now is the time.  Experiment with things that you wouldn’t normally wear and see how they make you feel.  Nothing is off limits when playing dress-up so have fun with it.

6. Practice Your Affirmations.  Say your affirmations to yourself out-loud or silently regularly, as regularly as you wash your face or brush your teeth.  Your life will reflect that which you focus upon.  Focusing on positive things makes you feel positive.

7. Always desire the Best.  You desire to be a great person reaching your full potential, so remind yourself whenever you feel undeserving of something that it simply is not true, for to be the greatest you, you must desire the greatest of all things to come to you.  

8. Give more of that which you Desire.  The universe is built on a give and take basis.  If you desire more of something, try giving some of it.  Want more money?  Give a little of your own to a cause you believe in, such as donating $20 to your favorite charity.  Want someone to love?  Give love to people you come in contact with by being friendly and interested in who they are.

9. Study Inspiration.  Instead of turning on the television or scrolling through updates on your favorite social network, spend your leisure time reading about or watching things that inspire you and makes you feel good.  The more focus you put on the good things in life, the more good things will feel in your experience of your life.

10. That which you desire for yourself, desire for others.  The golden rule of “treat others as you want to be treated” is only half the story.  When you can see someone else receiving that which you are aiming for, it puts you in a place of harmony with how good it feels to receive it, and that feeling good about receiving is what’s going to bring that goal closer to your reality.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My Hope for Gender

 This morning when I was going over a treatment for a new music video I'm working on I was reminded of some childhood memories.  When I was young like most kids I was asked in school what I wanted to be when I grew up, and at the time I said "I want to be a girl."  When I was a little kid I was obsessed with girl toys, clothes, jewelry, and of course I wanted everything my sister had.  The teacher would usually laugh at me because she said boys can't be girls, and because that wasn't an actual profession.  I also used to ask my mother "is there such thing as someone who is neither a boy or a girl?" because I was raised to believe my desires to be like a girl were wrong, and feeling guilty about it because it would make my mom really mad when I expressed myself, and the kids at school made fun of me for talking like a girl.  I didn't want to be a boy because boys couldn't have girl things.  I had really hoped there was such a thing as someone who is neither a boy or a girl so I could escape that feeling I got when it felt like I was hurting my mother.  Instead though I just did what I wanted when she wasn't around.  I used to tell the little girls in my class I was a girl who just looked like a boy so that they would invite me to their houses to play dolls (and so I could wear their dress-up leotards with sequins), and when I was older I used to keep a collection of barbies at the home of a little girl I used to babysit so I could feel like I owned something I loved.  These little escapades contributed to the theories I work with today, that boys can indeed be girls, because what is stopping them other than someone telling them "no."
I also became extremely reclusive as a child because I learned that you can be yourself when you're alone.  When I was alone I could play dress-up, brush barbie dolls hair, and often I go back into that zone whenever I feel unaccepted by the people around me.  I still sometimes spend hours going about stuff around the house in heels.  The thing is though, I shouldn't still feel that way.  We live in a time where "born this way" is a slogan.
Why do I still have these insecurities?  The reason I think is that we still live in a world where a boy can't wear a dress, make-up, or high heels without being told he is cross-dressing.  I don't like this, because if society has evolved enough to allow women to wear jeans and suits, it's time men enjoy the same freedom with their wardrobes.  Men should have a choice if they want to wear skirts, paint their finger nails, and not be told they're doing something contrary to their gender, or that they can only do such if they're eccentric or rock stars.  The thing is, we have gender, but we assign gender to objects as a society.  A high heel isn't a girl, it's an inanimate object, so the only thing that really stops a boy from trying it on is his beliefs on clothes.  The reality is there isn't any reason a boy can't wear high heels from a physical stand-point, it's psychological.  This is my goal in life: I want to make it okay not only for myself, but for every boy who wishes to wear clothes and accessories meant for women to wear them without fear of judgement.
Some people have tried to tell me I'm doing drag, which is nonsense.  The definition of drag is the impersonation of the opposite of one's physical gender.  I do not believe I am impersonating a woman, I believe I am a woman.  I also believe I am a man.  That may sound confusing, but what I've come to understand is that we're all made up of different amounts of masculine and feminine qualities, and in that sense even though we may have physical gender, we're emotionally and psychologically of both genders.  Study the teachings of Deepak Chopra if you desire more information on this theory.
I'm not an anomaly, I know that now.  There are many men out there like me.  Change though, starts from within, not only for myself, but for all of us.  If we are to build a more peaceful society we need to face our own judgments about not only ourselves, but others as well.  My mother is still learning; I still haven't brought her 100% over to my side because she was raised by a father who tried to control her by saying women were inferior to men, and I secretly think our disagreements are based on her own unconscious need to control the men who controlled her (raise your hand if your mom's no different lol).  I encourage you to try this simple exercise, whenever you spot someone who looks different than you, and you have an urge to comment on them, judge them, ask yourself, "what is it that really bothers me about them?"  Follow that with, "Is there a part of me or an experience I've had that they're reminding me of?"  Sometimes the answers to these questions can be scary or painful, and sometimes a relief.  But just know, the answers to why you are judging someone else are extremely powerful to your own self-growth.  As they say, the truth will set you free ^_^.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Handling Bullies

I want to talk about tolerance today.  Specifically, I want to share a personal opinion about tolerance.  This morning via a Gay Star News link on twitter, I read about a male college student in Florida who desired to check out a laptop from the school library to do work on.  The young man had a voice that sounded female to the librarian and he had his hair pulled back in a pony tail.  After checking his ID the librarian refused to let the young man check out the computer because she believed it was not his ID and in fact he was not a boy but a girl.  It took several librarians checking out the ID card before one finally allowed the young man to get his laptop.
The reason this story struck a chord with me so deeply is because I was once that young man.  I will share with you a story I have never made public before.  Some of you are familiar with the published story of my childhood entitled "The Boy Who Talked Like a Girl" (and if you're not simply google the title and the story will pop up), so you know I only whispered until age twenty.  It wasn't a complete whisper, it sort of sounded like a raspy sore throat sort of sound.  One day during my senior year of high school, I needed to get one of parent's permission to go on a field trip as I had forgotten a permission slip at home.  It was a small school and they knew me well, so I just needed to get oral confirmation.  I called home but my mother was out.  My father had just started a new job, so I called the number on the business card he gave me and a woman answered the phone.  I asked to speak with my father and told the woman I was his son.  The woman hesitated, and asked me to clarify "Your his son!? You mean his daughter? Excuse me, is this some sort of joke!?"  At this point my heart was racing, I was confused and didn't know what to do, apparently my voice sounded like a female on the phone.  I insisted I was his son and she started laughing.  She then said, "Sorry Honey, he's at a meeting, good-bye."
I didn't get to go on that field trip.  When I got home that day I went to my room.  I started working on a homework assignment and all of a sudden I stopped and just burst into tears.  I just cried, and not like weeping but I was crying like you see people do in movies after someone has died.  I didn't know how to handle it, all the embarrassment, all the shame, I just sat there and cried it all out, ruining the paper I had started to write on.  I go up from my desk and lied down.  I fell asleep.  When I woke up the sun had gone down and my face was lying in a pool of tears.
The thing is, I'm sharing this story with you because this and the college student's story bring up a good point: be careful with how you treat others because you'll never know how you'll affect them. Those librarians and the woman on the other end of that phone call were bullies.  They were people who were probably having a bad day and decided to take it out on the first victim they could find, or maybe simply they themselves had lived lives where others weren't very nice to them, and so they had to express what they had been taught, that hazing leads to some level of satisfaction.  I often note when I now encounter a bully simply this: every bully is somebody else's victim, and most victims if they do not learn to cope with how they've been treated eventually become bullies themselves.  We can cope with our bullies, and we can prevent ourselves from becoming bullies if we remember this.  As always if we're ever unsure of how to act or respond in a situation, we just need to turn it around, try to figure out what is a rational way to justify bad behavior: the realization that that person was hurt by someone else and he or she is just acting that hurt out.
Although we're evolving as a society, there are still going to be people out there who feel the need to judge, who feel the need to say a man isn't a man if he talks like a girl or looks a certain way.  In time though, as long as we stick to educating our youth, people like this will fade away from society, and we will live in a much more tolerant world.  Until then, do your homework, work on you, work on your own tolerance and understand if you can overcome how a bully affects you, you will grow to be a better, stronger person, and then you can help other people become stronger too.  Forgive your bullies because they were in pain.  You may not be able to forgive right away, but in time, trust me, forgiveness is the most beneficial thing you can do for your well being.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

For Your Interpretation

The world is a beautiful place.  Likewise, the world is an awful place.  It's all in your perspective.  There is no right or wrong, according to our perspectives we can be right, we often all feel sure of what we believe.  That's a little scary when you see some of the stuff people believe, and it also kind of make sense when you see all the pain and suffering in the world.  Naturally though, we all want the same thing, we want to be relieved of pain and experience happiness.  The problem then that arises is that we don't all believe we can be pain free, and sometimes in the pursuit of maintaining our pain, we start to wish others would be in pain too.  Sticking to our sob stories we repeat them to ourselves in our head, and then we tell them to others like a script we've rehearsed for a film, never realizing the birth of our very pain comes from insisting the pain is very real and inflexible.  Alleviating pain starts with being able to focus on that which you would love, rather than that which you feel imprisoned by.
A simple example, July was a really hard month for me.  I had some surgeries to alleviate the pains in my head and feet, and not only did I have to deal with then pains of recovering from those surgeries, I developed muscle pains in my neck and arm from sleeping funny to avoid sleeping on stitches.  Add to that the stress of a snag in my tour I've been dying to get off the ground and running.  During all this I realized though, I didn't have to see this as a painful experience, I could see it as a period of rebirth and recovery, and that is precisely what I did: I took mineral baths almost everyday, I napped in the afternoons, I watched all my favorite hub shows like Littlest Pet Shop and high school anime like Tari Tari, and most importantly, I visualized a better future. 
I came to the conclusion my life wasn't coming to an end, it just was in a temporary hold, and though there were moments when I wanted to just break down and cry, I told myself no, I can survive this pain because pain is an everyday thing, it's simply the attention we give to the pain that determines if we can overcome it.  My body is now slowly but surely healing, and I have started dialogues with new people in hopes that I can still make this tour happen, and all in all, I feel pretty good.  What are you facing today?  Will you break through it?  Sometimes it's just a matter of believing to help the change get started.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Preventing Bad Days

Negativity is inevitable, everyone experiences bad situations: days not going right, reaching out to others who only deliver disappointments and critical responses in return, or worse, no response, and then you’re left hanging onto a hope that they never intended to respond to.  They say when you feed a fear, it grows, and with it, all that the fear brings with it comes stronger into your situation.  The feeling that things are only going to get worse is powerful to the person who can’t seem to shake that feeling off, the reason for that being your feelings are more powerful than your thoughts in drawing an outcome.  Thinking positive isn’t really a solution to a bad situation, the outcome of the situation is determined by how you feel about the outcome.  In other words feeling preceeds thought, though we often think it’s the other way around.  We never say, “I want to think better,” we say, “I want to feel better.”  We’re a lot more connected to our emotions than we realize. 
If you’re feeling resentment for an activity you’re doing, like helping a friend move some heavy furniture, you’re more likely to feel the physical pains of moving that furniture the next day, or worse, injure yourself during the process.  This is because you’re giving your attention to the dominant feeling of pain, of the “lord, I wish I didn’t have to do this” anguish rather than the “I’m helping someone I love better his life” warm feeling.  How do we solve this problem of always seeming to increase the bad of a bad situation? 
We do it by checking into our feelings before taking action with everything we do.  Notice how you’re feeling all the time.  For example when you wake up in the morning, take a moment to check in with yourself, “How do I feel?” “Why do I feel like this?” and finally “Is there a better thought or way I could feel like this so that things will get better rather than worse?”  Breathe during this process, not just simply breathing in and out, but regularly take a deep breath in and out several times, breathing with your mid section (when your belly rises and the chest remains stationary). 
Practice this all day long, when a bad feeling or thought comes over you, check in with yourself.  It’s not always easy to instantly go from a feeling of sadness or anger to a feeling of joy, but just checking in with yourself and asking these questions can raise your feeling tone to a little more positive, feeling a little better bit by bit.  When you can gradually raise your feeling tone, you’ll see things that hurt you before won’t feel as bad, and eventually, won’t even affect you.  Here’s to healthy feeling habits <3

Sunday, March 3, 2013

It Takes more than Lemons

So I haven't been to present on social networks for some time now due to a situation I was in.  I was offered an opportunity that although would have completely changed my life for the better and provided everything I would need to take my career to the next level, it ended up falling through due to circumstances outside my control.  For a while after receiving the devastating news I felt like I had nothing, as if abandoning my prior life to make room for this new one had destroyed everything I had and I contemplated simply destroying Sir JET all together.  It took a lot of negotiating with myself to convince me there was still a chance my dream of being a full-time entertainer could still happen. 
A handful of people during my social network absence were emailing my asking if I was still alive, and I jokingly responded to them the same phrase I've used for years in rough times: "life gave me lemons and now I'm making lemonade."  That's something we say when we're trying to communicate that we're making good out of a bad situation.  This morning though, I thought about it more.
You can't make lemonade out of lemons.  If all you have is lemons the best you can do is squish the lemons and make lemon juice.  To make lemonade you also need water, a knife, sugar, and a container to put all the ingredients into.
All my life I've been saying I've got lemons, lemons being problems.  I never stopped to think that in order to make the lemonade, meaning the good that can come out of troublesome situations, I needed to have these other ingredients and kitchen tools.  The thing is, the ingredients and the tools are your resources, the things you have under your belt that can help you turn those situations around.  For me, my tools and ingredients are things like my current EP, my creative sense of style, my system of entertainment connections in Los Angeles, the love and support of my mother and other family members, and much more.  I realized after looking into all that I had I really could try something new using the contacts and resources I already have, and I'm taking myself out of my problem.
Basically this is what I'm saying: you can't make lemonade out of just lemons.  If you are focused on the problem and all you see is this big problem you have, the most you can do is make lemon juice, meaning more problems. You have to take the time to look in the kitchen to see what you've already got and use what you have to create that lemonade (or maybe you have an oven, flour, and a pie pan and want to make a tart ^_^).  As Mary Morrissey would say, take the good you have and bless it.  You never know just what you can create with what you have until you start searching the cabinets for ingredients.