Why The Try Guys are exactly the channel we need right now.

I heard about The Try Guys when I saw a BuzzFeed video featuring guys contouring their boobs. Naturally, I was convinced that it was some kind of joke, but I clicked and was excited to see adult males being open to trying new things. This is what I’ve been wanting from YouTube. I’ve been watching every video that these four guys make since then and I couldn’t be more satisfied. This is what we NEED to be watching and it mostly has to do with the level of representation on this channel. Take a read.

Firstly, this group of men is 3/4 white. This comes across as being not diverse when you look at the stats, but it is completely okay in the context of their brand. Ned Fulmer, Keith Habersberger, and Zach Kornfeld are three white men who frequently comment on how bland they are. They want to learn about certain topics that would usually go in the hands of coloured people and I think that is perfectly legitimate. If our society is dominated by white men who stereotypically live through their day, we aren’t making any progress. It is awesome to see white men trying to change the racial norms that currently stagger us. Examples of these videos would be when they try K-Pop, cosplay, BDSM and more. 

Looking at sexually orientation, again, it is three-quarters straight. When the men discuss topics like fashion or body image, it is clear that they look to Eugene Yang, the one racially-diverse and queer member of the group for guidance. Eugene helps to tie up all the loose strands when it comes to videos that need representation of all groups. He offers insight of what it actually feels like to be from a minority group so that it doesn’t just look like the other men are making fun of these topics. For example, on December 7 2014, BuzzFeedVideo uploaded “The Try Guys Try Drag For The First Time”. We see the process that these men go through of getting tucked, putting on full face make-up and working the runway—all things that many gay men are doing for a living. With help from professional drag queens, The Try Guys learn about this intense kind of job with complete openness. Videos like these and many others help to break the stigma of who can appreciate drag and why it doesn’t have to be labeled as “a gay thing”.

Now, it is true that they are all men. This wouldn’t seem acceptable in the context of today’s MeToo movement, but like I mentioned before, it is part of the brand they are trying to put out. They want other men like them to experience what women go through including labour, fashion expectations, and even boob weights. In my opinion as a woman, they do a really great job of trying to make it an authentic experience. Kudos to them! 

All the other videos that they produced and continue to create take from all aspects of society and politics. Keith, Zach, Ned and Eugene keep the internet from being one-sided and narrow-minded by simply trying new things. It really doesn’t require a lot of effort to go into a new experience with the mind-set that it could be the best experience of their lives. We are all allowed to be whomever we want, and try whatever we want. This is why I am grateful this channel exists on YouTube and I hope more people gravitate to their videos. 

Three domains

If my mind isn’t working properly, my body tends to decline into not functioning the way it usually does. I’m off my centre and my muscles get tired quicker.

If my mind isn’t working properly, my heart tends to decline into negative self-criticism so that my energy is low. I feel sad and hopeless even though nothing is actually wrong. The people around me seem like enemies even though they are angels.

If my mind isn’t working properly then, my mind is not a part of me.

If my heart isn’t working properly, my body starts to deteriorate into doing things out of spite. I am forced to walk towards something rather than wanting to run towards it with open arms. I feel anger for the fact that I have to get out of bed. My breath patterns are quick and abrupt.

If my heart isn’t working properly, my mind finds ways to hate myself. It works in an unproductive way to negatively critique every desire I have. It brings out my anxiety and then I forget what I actually want in life. The bad chemicals are flowing everywhere in my brain.

If my heart isn’t working properly then, my heart is not my own.

If my body isn’t working properly, my mind overheats with having to work overtime. Too many thought processes come and go inside my mind in attempts to reach my nerve system. I have to constantly be alert or else I could walk into a speeding car. It’s happened before.

If my body isn’t working properly, my heart is heavy with depression. It’s not sadness. Instead robotism is the mask I wear. My body has always been my life raft if ever I needed saving from the scariness of life. If I can’t use my body, I feel nothing at all.

If my body isn’t working properly then, my body does not belong to me.

For Pepper, my cat.

Pepper, Pepperoni, Peps, THE FAT CAT.

We love you. Your fur was like a bionic black sheep that I could pet all day because it would never move. Yeah you were fat. But that didn’t mean that you weren’t beautiful.

I NEVER FORGAVE YOU FOR NAILING ME WITH YOUR CLAWS. And why were you so afraid all the time? Like my friends didn’t know what the hell to do with you.

But seriously, you were a staple in my life. I always knew you were there if I needed you. I’m sorry I barely did the same. I never wanted to do the dirty work with your litter box and food. It’s pathetic to me now, because if I want to handle responsibility in my life I need to be able to take hygienic and nutritional initiative. Your health could have been better if I had been more caring. I am sorry. I learned a lot from having you in my life.

Your silent presence kept our house from blowing up. I knew that when I saw you peering at us during a family argument, I should stop yelling and chill out. In some cases, you were like a therapist for me. Your eyes had millions of years deep inside them, and when we had our staring contests, you always lost because you knew you were WAY above it all. A true queen.

I remember getting you from the animal place (was it a shelter or pound or store…? Can’t quite remember) and your terrified sprints once we showed you your new home for the next 16 years. What a scary moment for you. It’s funny to think that you became royalty in our house… owning your spot above the couch in the living room, meowing even at 4am for food, scratching the couches, and hissing away trespassing cats through the patio door window… We all could sense that your spot in our house was indefinite. You needed to be there or else we were doomed.

Thank you for using your sneaky skills for good and for travelling with us. I know the cottage wasn’t your favourite place, especially once it got rebuilt, but your mouse-trapping abilities were killer. Let’s hope you can run and play in heaven just the same.

Sweet dreams my kitty cat. Your legacy lives on.

Today, he…

Today, he grabbed by hand and we ran like monkeys across downtown. His grip never faltered, and I knew I could let go of my worries. Like a rollercoaster, he brought me to the best parts of the city. We hid in between walls and alleyways, faking our excitement for the other people around us. We were only interested in each other’s happiness and how we could help each other find it. Alex held his warm energy close my heart the entire day. 

I can’t figure out why I am unable to describe his face, but I know his hair was black and swoopy. But, what good is that when I need eyes to drown in, a smile to wrap my legs around, cheeks and a jaw to brush with my fingers, and a neck to admire. 

Oh, that’s right! I’m dreaming.

My grandmother.

The influences in my life that are humans are as follows (in no particular order):

Bo Burnham, Kaelin Isserlin, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Miley Cyrus, Linda Garneau, Evan Peters, Julie Andrews, Lady GaGa, and my grandmother.

I will attempt to explain my reasons for why these people have a greater influence on me than others. Hope it functions properly.

A super-heroine butterfly who cooks like a BOSS.

My grandma has every right to brag about herself. Her culinary skills could swipe the whole competition. She has the most caring heart for everyone around her and always puts her family first. Funny thing is, she has NEVER been one to talk highly of herself. All of the goodness and love that encompasses her presence never seems to turn into greediness nor hate. I have come to be so inspired by her and I am still wondering how I got so lucky to have her as my grandmother.

I never met my Nonna—my Italian grandmother on my mother’s side—and I often imagine if she was as amazing. My dream is to live my senior years in Italy somewhere so I can be buried close to my heritage. I think it would be so ideal if the bright, white lights of heaven’s gate appeared in front of me and right there is my Nonna, making pasta. Pretty nice. While it is amusing to craft a dreamy picture of what you think your family would act like, I am humbled by the fact I can personally witness my grandmother’s life while she is alive. I feel attached to her successes and discoveries and hope that she stays on the Earth for a long time.

Her absolute selflessness reminds me that every human has so much kindness to share. We are all wrapped up in our individual lives and that can turn quickly into arrogance. My grandma remains so giving with her heart, and I know she will continue to have an unlimited amount of positive energy. Whenever she smiles, I just have to join her.

I want to give back to her all the fresh cookies, clean sheets, clever jokes and warm hugs that she has provided me with for the past 20 years. Spending time with her is one thing but it’s not enough. She deserves the world and the moon. I try to visit my grandparents once a month or so to ask them about life, the future and theatre (they brought me to my first musical). Their knowledge and overall patience with my horrible ignorance helps me to reset and ground myself. I have vivid memories of our family cottage in my childhood and both my grandmother and grandfather shaped my experience in such a profound way. I think the most memorable would be the times when my grandmother would let me set up the “cookie plate” for dessert. She knew it would be so exciting for a big-eyed girl like me to organize and display treats for my family, and I’ll never forget that.

I have to mention the fact that my grandparents have been married for over 50 years. Through thick and thin, they have stayed by each other’s sides and still, to this day, are the only representation of real love that I have seen. Since we are talking about my grandmother as an individual, her unmitigated love for my grandfather gives me hope that it is possible to unconditionally love another person. Of course, I love my grandpa too, but I think he would agree that my grandma is an angel who makes everyone a better person.

Grandma, I love you and admire you to no ends. I hope one day to be as incredibly strong as you are.

Re: The Stories We Tell by Jack Harries

I’ve been following (also in love with) Jack Harries since he started posting Youtube videos seven years ago. At first, I saw him as the ideal Brit with a fantastic accent and funny views on living. His twin brother Finn also caught my eye and from then on, these brothers were the British Zack and Cody for me. However, as I grew up, as they grew up, and as their video content started to change, I found different qualities in them that I respected. It wasn’t just that they were easy to look at, but they had real talent and intelligence about the world. I stayed close.

I’m going to only talk about Jack for right now, because he is the one who continues the channel. Finn, I see you. I see you.

When Jack posted the video I linked above that discusses the up and downs of his life, I immediately connected with his honesty. His perspective on social media and mental health inspired me to reflect on why our internet appearance can ruin our real-life experience. Key-word is “can” here, because I don’t think this happens to every person with an Instagram account; it only applies to the group of users that have trouble functioning with the on-going rise of online interactions. I think I am a part of this group.

Jack speaks in the video about how when we click that post button, we are telling a story. Not necessarily the most truthful story but a story nonetheless. He recognizes that as each of us build an online profile for the public to analyze, our perception of close friends, family members or other people we interact with changes. They are not separate worlds. Our reality in society and the reality on the internet have direct links to one another now that so many people use social media. I often feel weirdly grateful for the times that I meet someone who I haven’t yet met on Instagram. It’s almost as if that never happens anymore. If I didn’t rely on social media for research on other people’s lives, how different would my friends group be? Would I know less information about them? Shouldn’t that scare me? My brain is combining all the stories from the accounts I follow with the encounters I’ve had in real-life to construct opinions on other people. So, we’ve added a second variable to the equation of how I perceive a person. While this could potentially augment our personal relationships, I am weary of the fact that it could also destroy the potential of a strong relationship. Stories can now be told through posts and updates rather than sitting down and hearing/reading a story.

Another incredible point to Jack’s talk is that he opens up about his mental health and how working too much on our online appearance can be exhausting. He admits to needing to take time off of his YouTube channel and neighbouring film company. While this is of course very honest of him, I can’t help but wonder why something you love to do can tire you out. I can see that Jack is passionate about capturing stories and visiting places that are new to him and so, I find it so sad that he felt overwhelmed by it all. The pressure of constantly creating is terrifying. Perhaps we all need a break, even from activities we find most enjoyable. Perhaps there could be a happy medium. This is something every human has to figure out during their life.

Another thought that popped into my head after watching this video was that maybe the like button is the villain rather than social media itself. We press a button and our judgement is publicized. Anyone can see the posts you like and the ones that didn’t get your approval. And I think it’s true that when you don’t redden the heart on a post, people will think you don’t actually like the post. This small action of pushing a heart creates another story within itself. I’m curious about why there is no dislike button on Instagram but there is on YouTube, Facebook (the mad and sad emoji’s are very similar to disliking a post), and Reddit. Are we not allowed to dislike something? Does everyone need to love and be loved? Twitter has an interesting take on the dislike button by making your downvote a private matter. It won’t directly show up that you don’t like a tweet but it will cater your timeline to what it thinks you would like instead. That way, it is your business if you want to see something pop up on your timeline. I think this is very smart. You go, Twitter.

Jack’s creativity continues to inspire me and encourage me to tell stories. Whether that be through a picture of my cottage or filming myself exploring dance, my social presence will create another version of me. Let’s see in the next 10 years where it goes from there. There is so much more to discuss about social media’s influence on our everyday lives and so I want to extend my gratitude to Jack for filming this chat he gave as a part of Mental Health Awareness Week.

Thank you, Jack!

Self-destruction, schedule overload, silence

This is a short phrase I conceptualized in my Creative Performance Studies class on Sept. 24, 2018. Our professor, Kate Hilliard asked us to determine if we are using narrative, abstract or task-based processes. I used all three.

I gave myself the task to try and reach my left hand to my right hand while my right hand is stuck behind my back. From there, my narrative instincts created a plot with a clear beginning, interesting middle and emotional ending. Lastly, I analyzed my movement to be abstract in the sense that it mimics what my depression feels like.

Clip located here.