GRINFLUENZA

smack talk

things i may, or may not say out loud.

people change...& dats coo

its summer now, and i finally have time to just chill, breathe and listen to music that i was never able to catch up and vibe to.  jay-z’s, 4:44, just became available on one of the chinese music streaming apps a couple of days ago (some releases are a few days delayed from the actual drop date). there have been a few things on my mind recently and was debating whether or not to have one really long update or separate them into two, or multiple posts. i don't think it really matters based on how inconsistent my posting tendencies seem to be. so we’ll just ride the wave see what kind of posts follow. plus, i'm the b0$$ around here so i can do whatever i want. HA. 

i was fortunate to head back to japan and meet up with some friends back home. i saw them during christmas but this was the first time i’ve been able to see them on this side of the globe since moving three years ago. needless to say, it was really dope to add to our list of experiences and memories on the other side of the world. back from where i’m from and the people that i grew up with…traveling outside of the country wasn’t too common or ordinary. so i feel fortunate to have had the chance to kick it in east asia with them. i didn't take too many pics of all of us simply because i just wanted to be with my mangz. i wanted to live and experience life in the moment with them, without feeling the need to document or prove how much fun we were having. we got a couple memorable pics that won’t ever be shared so we good, LOL.  osaka was cool, i can’t lie. i was really feeling the vibe and could definitely see myself spending extended amounts of time there if the opportunity ever arises. 

one topic of conversation that had surfaced with them, and recently upon arrival back to shanghai is the notion and idea of people changing, evolving, and developing into someone we can or cannot agree with. my friend john said something in the past that has stuck with me ever since.

 “i would hope i changed, i don’t want to be the same person i was in high school…”

i read and hear all about it, how getting older empowers someone to be more comfortable and secure with their time, identity, choices and decisions. and as much as i’d hate to admit i’m getting older, it’s funny how with time comes wisdom. 

the most challenging part of picking up and moving abroad was starting new, meeting new people, making friends, and trying to encourage and motivate myself to be a better version of myself in comparison to the person i was back in texas. naturally, socializing is a bit…unnatural.  it takes a concentrated effort for me to be social and feel comfortable enough to engage casually with people that i’ve just met. even now i’m pretty terrible, just not as terrible as before. i stay steady taking L’s, trust me. u can call me L-phabet soup because sometimes it seems like that’s all my spoon is scooping from the soup. but you can’t go 0 for 100. and as the following novel describes, it doesn’t and didn’t have to stay that way. the idea was that i didn’t have to be the same person i was in the 210, and in order to get the most out of my experiences i’d have to overcome my insecurities and make things the way i wanted them or else nothing would change. it had to start with me. granted, i still have a long ways to go, but i’m making strides, i’m making progress, and i know for a fact that the person i am today, is not the same one that showed up wide eyed and stiff in thailand a few years ago. am i the person i want to be? naw…but there are things that i like about myself now than before, and even more awareness about what kind of person i want to be continuing to move forward. and as always, shoutz to my mangz don fran and ceo mike for always putting me back on track whenever i fall into a funk.  

bounce if you don’t wanna keep reading or just scroll down to the pics and skip the sunday confession if this is getting too long lol but my point and example is this…yo, if i’m trying to meet and find real people and connect with them on some true friend, you my mang type vibez, but i’m struggling to find those types of people. is it them or is it me? am i being honest with myself? is it my approach and my attitude that needs adjustment, or do i tell myself

“i’m not changing for anyone, only real gonna recognize real…if it finds me, it finds me; in the meantime i’m just gonna do me and forget all the fake ones. “

so if the approach doesn’t change and i’m going weeks, months and possibly years of failed connections and relationships…what is the root and cause of the continued failures and let downs? is it everyone else, or am i the crazy one? if my approach and attitude is the exact same as it was when i first started searching, up until the point where i am still searching, and the results haven’t changed…then…let’s be real, where is the problem? i’m just saying i’ve been there; both sides…going months at a time becoming frustrated, irritated, annoyed and at times helpless with the idea of finding some "real" people. but something has gotta give, something needs some fine-tuning. as much as a lot of us would hate to say/admit, the small-talk, the chit chat and the pretense is unavoidable. we can hate it as much as we want, but its a starting point. i was always very resistant and against the idea of engaging in what i thought was meaningless and superficial conversation. but the way i see it, thats the way the world works. just like racism, social class, wealth and poverty. but in the midst of that despite some of our reservations and intolerances to that, we can use it to our advantage. sometimes that requires change. and for some of us, we turn it into a really big deal as if to say we'd have to swallow our pride and go against everything we stand for. but it doesn't have to be like that, if we don't make it like that... and it’s not easy, but from my experience is it worth it? well…it’s produced and yielded results that weren’t being produced for me prior. so whether good or bad experiences...at the end of the day they're all experiences that i can take and roll with for what they're worth. the bottom line being, more experiences than before

part 2 of this rant derived from two people; a male and a female for whom i thought had parallel experiences. this probably deserves its own post but naw! this my space so ima do what i wanna do with it yayayaya!!! 

it sounds obvious enough, that open and clear communication is the only way to keep things real and unwrinkled. but for whatever reason be it fear, pride, ego, ignorance or difference of opinion, sometimes its much more easier said than done. recently i’ve been kinda feeling like i’m being caught in the middle of friendships that have taken a slight detour because of some loose ends that remain to be sorted. all i’m saying is that it’s easy for things to get complicated and ruffled when people think one thing without being approachable about their feelings and what’s on their mind. guilty as charged. for whatever reason, i feel like i’ve had to confront my passive aggression in order to overcome and set aside misunderstandings more in the past few months, than the past few years. it has been really uncomfortable at times lol no doubt, but i know it’s part of the growth and change. plus i feel much more at peace and ease after saying what i need to. i might have waited too long to address the situation but nonetheless, i said what i wanted and needed to say to squash the psuedo-beef and keep it steppin. if theres one thing i can take away from all this, its that relationships take work, communication and commitment. we have to be real, and keep it real with ourselves first before we can with anyone else. that means being our own biggest critic and evaluator. we have to grow up and take ownerships of the responsibilities necessary to harbor positive relationships. if you can muster up the courage, come at the issue head on and get ready for the beating. it probably won’t be pretty, but nothing great or worthwhile ever came from comfort zones. so as i talk all this shit, i remind myself that sometimes i am full of shit and i still don’t know everything…BUT i try to keep perspective and take my own advice and practice what i preach. i write it down in my journal as a physical reminder but it's still tough sometimes to stand toe-to-toe with the things that make you uneasy. always easier from the outside looking in but i think awareness and consciousness account for something. so that’s that…

thanks for making it all the way down here to the end of the novel. here are a few pics from june, japan, and the beginning of july. you can also CLICK HERE if you wanna see a compiled collection of photos from all my trips to nippon. life is funny…but always living and learning and learning to live. holla.

JOSHUA VANTA