Friday, May 15, 2015

Real Talk - So this was high school

So this was High School.

This is it.

The end.

This is what we have been waiting for.

I sat down to write about high school. The words came but they all came out brown and bitter, probably because that's all school was to me then. Sophomore year was a dark one.

I sat down to write about high school again, as a Junior and the words came but differently this time. It was hard. I still hated it. Darkness and disgust still dripped from my fingers and stained the page as I wrote but I was humming a different tune. Because even though School was still trying to kill me, I found something else there. Or rather it found me. Something bright. I tried to push it aside because I was too busy fighting with School to pay attention to it. But it kept coming back. And soon I realized that it was fighting School with me. So in an act of further rebellion against School, I embraced it. Not it. Them. My class, my posse, my friends, my gang, my peeps, my nerds, my jocks, my cheerleaders, my artists, my musicians, my geeks, my freaks, my dancers, my lifters, my stoners, my shredders, hipsters, tall, short, rich, poor, all of them. My friends. They were all fighting the same fight as me.

Now here I am. Sitting down again to write about High School. Perhaps for the last time.
And in hindsight I can see it all. School was a mask. Underneath all of the layers of geometry, synonyms, history and gravitation equations was the heart of Lone Peak. Underneath the mask I found the purpose of high school.

Doorsteps, dance parties, proms, preferences, friends, best friends, boyfriends, girlfriends and let's-just-be-friends, birthday parties, slumber parties, all night parties, just-cause parties, camp outs, peel outs, In-N-Out's, burgers, pizza with friends, hot dogs at games, root beer pong, ping pong and sting pong, ball games, screaming to the radio with the windows down, cruising down the road as our hearts beat to the music of high school.

To the students of Lone Peak: It's not the structure of the school, not the number of gyms or the quality of programs offered that makes our school World Class. It's the Class. It's the student body. It's all of you. And I just wanted to thank the students of Lone Peak for accepting me as an outsider. I love you.

The purpose of high school is not to fill our heads with polynomials and lit terms but to fill our hands with other hands, to fill our hearts with people we love, our memories with familiar faces and our eyes with the big, bright, beautiful future that awaits the imaginative.
And if you think for a second that high school is about earning a diploma then you've missed high school. 

Our high school musical is about to end.

And the time has come for the bass to drop and for us to dance as hard as we can to the familiar pulse of Lone Peak for two more weeks.

And then it's all over.

Then comes the part where we scatter in 900 different directions.

Maybe someday in the future I'll sit down to write about high school again. I won't remember what I learned in math. I won't remember my science teacher's name. But I will remember the golden days of high school and the people I spent them with.
I will remember you.

So this was high school.

A Thousand Miles in My Shoes

I've been told that to understand someone, I should take a walk in his shoes. But I don't even understand myself and I've been walking in my shoes for 18 years.
What is my purpose here?
What is my purpose for leaving?
Did I do what I was supposed to do in high school?
If I had just been there for them, would I have less friends who's lives are spinning out of control?
What would Lone Peak be without me?
What would I be without Lone Peak?
Will the only marks I leave be the scuffs and footprints my shoes left in the hallways?

A thousand kind hearted people have put in a thousand thoughtful miles in my tired old shoes.
And that's the mark Lone Peak left on me. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Lion Heart

He has a faithful heart. 
She has a pure heart. 
Some have lion hearts. 
Grandma has a big heart. 
Dad has a kind heart. 
They all have steady hearts. 

I'm your heart.
And everyone says that if you just follow me, you will have peace.
Everyone says that if you follow me, you will have joy.
Everyone says to follow me.
Perhaps they say that because it worked for them. 
After all they have faithful, steady, lion hearts
That seem to know exactly what they want

But I don't.

The truth is 
I'm not a steady
lion heart.
I'm just your battered, lonely, wandering heart.
And although I'm glad that you've finally started listening to me
I'm still a wanderer.
But despite my lack of experience,
I'm a hopeful heart.
Despite the layers upon layers of scars
despite the times you forgot me in our pocket and ran me through with the laundry
despite the days when you came home holding me in your bloodied fist 
and rung the tear water out of me like a dirty handkerchief 
because you were never allowed to cry on the outside
despite the claw marks I left on the inside of your rib cage
despite the long nights I spent pounding on your chest
begging to be heard
despite the times you tried to drown me in ink
despite the times you tried to press me in a textbook 
or iron me flat 
or twist me into something that you wanted
despite our disagreements

I'm still hopeful

Because when you realized that only I could fill the tiny cavity in your chest
You stopped trying to replace me with other things
Because when you realized that you've only got one heart 
Imperfect as I am
You finally started listening to me

I don't know if listening to me will bring us both happiness
But I'm the only heart you've got
So let's work this out together
And learn from each other
And maybe one day I can be 

A Lion Heart

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

From Above

From up here, the world just seems so small. 
I sit looking and think that nearly everything that I know and love is nothing more than a greyish carpet on the valley floor. 
I look down on a child and can see his entire world in a glance, just by looking both ways before crossing the street.
I look up at the stars and think that the Creator of all those stars must see my world in a similar way. 
A speck.
But I smile to know that even though my little world is but an insignificant grey patch in an insignificant little valley,
My world
And everyone in it
To Him 

So I find myself looking down on my little world and smiling. 
Also, happy earth day folks! 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

I Remember Joining the Dark Side

Warning: Contains nerdiness, nostalgia and excessive amounts of fandom.

I woke up.
No alarm clock.
No school.
No immediate chores to do.
No worries.
Blue sunlight streamed in through my open window as the orioles and meadow larks welcomed in a perfect summer day. The roosters had been crowing for close to an hour now and I hopped out of bed.

I remember that.

In a flash of unkempt hair and Robots pajamas, I was out the front door and into the clean, Idaho air.
No shoes.
No breakfast.
No neighbors to worry about.
I spent that morning catching grasshoppers.
It was an eight-year-old's dream.

I remember that.

It was just another day, in an ocean of days. Summer break stretched endlessly into the distance, the same way my street disappeared in an eternal line of pot holes and telephone poles.

I remember my universe being comprised primarily of Legos.
I remember the day my Dad introduced me to Star Wars and suddenly a new universe was born.
I remember the day the world introduced me to Lego Star Wars and I died of ecstasy.

I remember that.

In my mind I created worlds (and later destroyed them with super lasers).
In my bedroom I created speeders and spaceships, enacting fantastic battles and chases that always ended up with Lego pieces everywhere.
In my backyard my best friend and I felled Empires and battled the most formidable of Sith Lords.

I remember that.

We were Jedi. We were outlaws. We were spies. We were Ewoks. It depended on the day but no matter what we always saved it. We saved the day. We saved the universe. We never saved any damsels in distress though; they had cooties. (Sorry ladies)

I remember that.

But then things began to change.
Jedi mind tricks didn't work on long division problems and the force wasn't strong enough to make me good at basketball. The world told me big boys don't play pretend.
Slowly I began to cave to the adults.
My Legos became decorations. My Star Wars VHS tapes began to collect dust. My lightsaber lived in the closet. I began to distance myself from my best friend, my partner in crime, my wingman. His imagination was stronger than mine so he held out longer. But a few months after I put my childhood on the shelf, so did he.
With no one to save it, the Universe died.

I remember that.

Looking back now I see that the Empire won. They infiltrated the adults and convinced us that hero work was for pansies. Imagination is reserved for kids. Big boys don't play with Legos and lightsabers.
I didn't realize it then but the day I put my lightsaber down, I joined the Dark Side.
I joined the ranks of those who live in fear of critics, crayons and creativity.
The Death Star we live on isn't a battlestation but a massive complex of little, grey cubicles filled with people who are convinced the critics are right.
They want us to believe that only other people are allowed to live their dreams.
That science fiction will forever be fiction.
And as for imagination, that stuff's for kids.

I remember when my imagination spanned the length of the Universe. Now it barely spans the page.
But it wasn't too late for Anakin so it's not too late for me either.
I will fight this Empire of fear until the day I die.
Writing. Music. Photography. Crayons.
I want my lightsaber back.

And eventually, when I have a son, I will make sure that he grows up with a lightsaber in his hand. I will raise a Chosen One. Then I can relive my childhood as I watch him save the Universe again and again.

Ps: My best friend is still my best friend to this day

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

To the Girl Who Didn't Get Asked to Prom

Perhaps this title isn't entirely fitting. I should have called it, "What makes you beautiful." But that sounds cliché. 
I wrote part of this from the strip in Las Vegas and another part in Newport Beach California and can I just say: I LOVE MORMON GIRLS! Ok I'm rambling done rambling now. 
Bad Kai. Stick to the script

To you lovely ladies who didn't get asked to Prom, I sincerely apologize. And to you who got asked by one of us simple minded creatures (aka: boys), I also apologize. I'm sure your mothers or your young women's leaders have told you that you are beautiful but perhaps it's about time you heard it from a boy. So for what it's worth. 
Here goes. 

Things that make a girl beautiful. 
True beauty comes from the inside out. The way she talks and laughs, or hangs back and watches. The way she throws parties or curls up in a quiet corner to read. Whoever she is, she is comfortable with herself (or as comfortable as one can reasonably be). 
She knows who she is and doesn't spend her time trying to be something else. She wears makeup but doesn't hide behind it. She applies herself to her art, whether it's a sport, dance, music or whatever it is that she enjoys. She works hard at it and loves it and so becomes good at it. 
She has high standards and keeps them for the right reasons. 

Many of these girls go largely unnoticed by the male population because we are too focused on the superficial. The outside, face value. The cover of the book. The cover is usually a good indication of the story inside but the cover is not the story. A good girl, a girl who's soul shines out of her eyes, a girl who's heart makes itself heard at the corners of her mouth, that is a beautiful girl. It is easy to spot a girl who just tries to be good. You can see it in her eyes. Perhaps her cover is worn and stained, the pages torn and faded. Some of the pages in her story may be burned a little at the edges from the fiery ending of a hard chapter but her story is no less beautiful. Her triumphs, failures and trials slowly bent and shaped her into a rose. A rose that can't be seen from the cover of the book. A rose who's petals are woven from flaws  and challenges that failed to cripple her.
 Beauty is not measured by the fairness of her skin but the depth of her soul. 
A pretty face will attract a crowd of boys but a rose will win her a knight. 
So when I study a girl, for that is what courting is, a chance for two people to study eachother, I let her eyes do the talking. I study what her eyes say. I study her heart.
In search of a rose. 

So to you girls who didn't get asked to Prom, please be patient with us boys as we learn to look for roses and read deeper than the cover of the book. I apologize for the fact that many of you mature sooner than we. 

Perhaps my interpretation of beauty is inaccurate. Perhaps this doesn't apply to all girls in general. Perhaps none of this actually makes any sense. 
Or perhaps I've been rambling about a certain rose I've found. 
Perhaps I'll rewrite this someday with her name on it. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Who am I? Yeah I don't really know either

Who Am I?

The truth is, I'm not entirely sure. I guess I'll get back to you on that.
If you are expecting some deep, artistic, thought out piece of writing then you will be disappointed. You are about to get a face-full of ME, not some deep, artistic, thought out piece of writing.
So who is this me person anyway?
For now let me introduce myself as the person who I think I am, as accurately as I can with my limited knowledge of myself.

I don't really fit the Lone Peak demographic. I'm not from Utah and I'm not a huge fan of city life (yeah I consider this a city. Weird, I know). I miss the giant trees in my yard, the beautiful sunsets that I enjoyed from my second story bedroom window and even the birds who built a nest in the roof right about my room and would always wake me up at some absurd hour of the morning with their squabbling. 

Also, I didn't get my Disney fix as a child. I grew up mostly on weird Japanese films instead and watched them while eating rice crackers, the floor littered with my little Ultraman figurines. Only later did I realize that normal Americans don't do that. I feel like I've been robbed of my childhood.

Half of the time, I have no idea what anyone is talking about. 

I sometimes wish I belonged, like everyone else. I sometimes wish I had grown up watching the same TV shows, listening to the same music, complaining about the same junior high teachers, enjoying the same rides at Disneyland and whatever else it is that normal Utah kids do. I wish I could be popular and cool. Maybe I will someday. Probably not. I dunno. 

But I do enjoy being different. 

I'm too white to be Japanese, I'm too Japanese to be white.
I'm a farm boy from Idaho but I drive like a Utard.
I don't belong anywhere and I don't care.
I love the city but I hate living in one. 
I love people. Especially female people.
I wish I was brown. 
I'm afraid of the cool kids just a little bit. 
I love old fiddles, guitars and things with strings. 
I can and will eat anything that holds still long enough. 
I've never kissed anyone. 
My name is originally Polynesian but it means a variety of things in different languages such as ocean, clams, food and puke. 
I am a photographer, not much of a writer and sometimes I play music. 
I believe that you only truly live when you don't let life happen to you. You happen to it. 
Oh goodness look it's midnight. I just hiked 7 miles, washed the dog, sat down to write this and now I'm boring you and rambling about life instead of introducing myself.
So if you must know, this is me. Sortof.

This is Facebook me. If you like Facebook me better, friend me on Facebook or Instagram.
My IG handle is life_of_ka1

This is Real Me. If you like Real Me better, add my blog to your reading list :)
(The other asian is my sister)

Oh yeah, and my name is Kai Johnson. Almost forgot.