I’ve gone through quite a lot in my twenty-five years here in Memphis, Tennessee, and every year I’ve found some new uncharted waters. In some cases, I feel those who go to school to study certain things tend to forget there are those out there, like me who happen upon, invest in, and/or back into what they went to school to learn. We say what we say and others will criticize because they take us less seriously, all day, every single day, but overall we are the unafraid individuals.
Online, we see no faces. Well, you may count a profile picture but that is the face we want others to see. We more or less invest in something we never admit we take seriously because we only respect what is human. If it is not colorful, or personal, we burn out. Looking at other people’s fishing trips and their kids’ classroom dioramas with their kids smiling beside them in their school uniforms, it is no less unnatural because they were posted on the individual’s own accord. We don’t see the way a person smiles with bliss, pauses in shock, or feels the satisfaction of seeing you succeed. Mostly, we see only a digestible sum of sentences or a silly string of words from a person urged to make a quick discussion.
We can say hello and approve of what you say with a little effort. We can defend another and hope to help them get through whatever hurt them that time. Not to say we cannot use social media for creative purposes, but deep down, we all know the majority of modern technology is telling us, “Turn away from what is natural or pure. Devour the natural world.”
We forget there is a human being on the other side, and at times there is one on our own side.
I’ve learned quite a lot in my quarter of a fruitful lifetime… I have broken bones, broken cars… seen iconic box office-topping once in a lifetime films…Bowled, biked, boarded. I’ve collected cards, comics, animal booklets, video games and records. I taught myself skills like drawing, singing,(with the help of my musical heroes) researched famous painters and composers, I’ve acted dramatic and funny scenes and written songs. I’ve always been known as the guy who draws. In my teen years I had come to develop my voice, developed countless characters and given them worlds to inhabit, and I threw it all away, cause I was ‘conscious’ very conscious of who I was becoming, and I wanted to be a whole new, cooler, hipper version. Joined the Air Force. I’ve gone and walked off the razor, gotten into drugs and alcohol, depression, insanity, woken up unsure of my very self, all that noise. I shed all of that it one point when I realized that acting would be the new skill that drew me up and unearth from the rusty covering I made. I had been acting all along. I had made music a sort of beautiful chasm that at times, felt I have mined all the ore from.
I have been the guy that women have called, I ran to, knowing would never come of too much of anything, and quietly gave up on. Been the first a few adorable ones called after their divorce from their husbands, hoping I would be what might have been there at one point, per chance, one day at long last. One, very much the classic, bright-eyed, wide smile, my ideal image of adorable. The other, a more personalized, hodgepodge sort-of way. Both told me straight-up that they needed a father figure for their little ones. I’ve had friends who I knew each of their dreams, favorite songs, clothes, the girls they dated, insecurities, and favorite quotes and jokes leave me two-thousand miles away from home with a backpack of smelly clothes. I have left the country to get to know my biological mother, who I only have vague memories of.
I have tackled quite a lot in my twenty-five years on this big blue ball. Physically, mentally…Yet when I think about it, I wouldn’t give those memories away to redo things because I know that there is no real way to do that, and I should either let what comes my way hit me however hard it will cause most of it is going to either pelt you till you cut and bleed a little or make you move, but moving is what counts. I see it like this: When it’s cold outside, doesn’t it help to keep your momentum up and to keep your mind focused on stepping on and finding a shelter? Like our minds need a place to put focus on. How about those strange bruises we mysteriously find on our shins? Anyway, I think you see my point… We need to protect our outlook on life and be free to wander, be free to seek peace, to conduct yourself patiently with what comes naturally to you. What whips your cream. Otherwise, no telling how stressed you feel day in and day out. That’s all that the non-physical daily dilemmas are going to do to you. You have to be strong. Either way. Physically or mentally.
If I may leave you with something to ponder personally, things I believe that no one normally tells you directly: YOU HAVE accomplished some great things so far, if the spirit you were born with aligns with your efforts then you WILL be noticed, so give yourself a moment to stand back and appreciate the practice, before and after, every day. Your life is a sacred and special thing, far too special and short to be waiting for another to get back to you with a ‘like’ when luck comes your way, like some warm hairdryer in your face… Hoping someone is watching you suffer whenever you can’t find your back scratcher, or your lucky scarf, or what have you. That you worked hard to fight for anything you believe in, and there is strength in numbers so lock arms with those who feel the same and see what makes life beautiful.
In the next twenty-five years, I want to see—at least in this country—getting back to what is important. Art is important because it imitates life, which means realizing new ideas, new sense one another. Inventions are important because they are tools that allow us to hack life.
Positive leadership is important in waking people up and young people are clinging to a sense of reality today, so it is even more paramount that they see what life is made of! Let us not let them be distracted by trash that makes reality look like it was never needed. We just elected a new leader in America, someone who was evidently elected by the kind of people who are invigorated by and invite ideas, because they shape this country. People who bring out the joy in life, rather than point out fault and label others…People who bring about real progress, but are not labeled ‘progressive’… domination over the ones who manipulated our information to rise to the top, by those who learned through trial and error and earned it. Let the condensed statures of Republican or Democrat be left to those two people on election day, ‘cause at the end of the day, that’s all we are, are people, and we should have the good of all at heart. We should not be sitting behind our computers, our tablets, our phones, judging someone else’s lives, especially when we know they can really show us something special.
My name is Zachary Steven Wheeler. I draw, I act, I sing, and motivate myself to inspire progress and tell stories. If you want to label me, and in the next twenty-five years I plan on making waves in and conquering all of these.
Photo Credit: Getty Images