Abigail Foster's Photosynthesis Machine, Benson Memorial Library, Family, Libraries, Library Director, Life, Management, Titusville, PA

Where Are We Now?

About a year ago I hung up a bizarre painting in my office at work. To me it was perfect and just familiar enough that I thought it warranted a place in my life. As a person who always thought it would be neat to have an office and fill it with interesting things, the painting, when mixed with the Lego creations and drawings that Finn and Aero have created for me over the years, helped me establish this place my home away from home. When I feel comfortable at work, I usually am able to some really good and meaningful work. On the other hand I could also see how the average “I shop for my groceries at Walmart every Saturday at 1pm and have to watch the game and/or my sitcom at the same time every week” American person would be appalled by it.

One day I came into work to find that my painting was taken down. My coworkers took it down because, yes they were terrified and appalled by it. I guess right now would also be a good time to explain that due to limited space we’re all basically working on top of each other and that we’re surrounded by glass. It’s like a packed fishbowl in here. But to fully admit my feelings, I was pretty let down by their actions. It felt passive aggressive and overall it felt unkind. But in the moment I didn’t react. I just went on and say “oh, well that happened.”

You see as a Gemini I feel a duality to everything. There’s this part of me that always sees things from my point of view and then I almost immediately put that aside and see it from how others may have seen it. In this case: Justin likes the painting and hangs up the painting, Justin feels disappointed when someone takes that painting down, but then Justin instantly forgets about that and says “well I bet they didn’t like the painting so I understand that and what I thought about the painting shouldn’t matter because that’s selfish to only think about myself.” Over time, I’ve taken that approach to even more of an extreme: I guess in a way that by my coworkers actions I was able to put the painting to a much better use. It became the cover for my album Prozac Is The Dam And I Am The Dynamite, and I think it fit really well for that album. Having the painting taken down by my coworkers made me take it home, where I stared at it more and through those hours of staring it gave the painting more meaning and purpose. It became a visual representation of my life at the time, and when it merged together with the music I was creating it became a complete package.

You take all of these things together, stretch everything out by a few months, sometimes years, and what happens? You start to think about the first part (yourself) less and less until it almost becomes silly to even think about it in the first place. I think that’s where I am at now…after awhile of doing this here I am, a person that may be very capable about thinking of others but at the same time a person who doesn’t think of himself as much as he should. I’m overwhelmed right now and a bell goes off in my brain to remind me that this may be part of the reason as to why I feel this way. When you neglect yourself in some way, it all adds up. I stare at a lot of spreadsheets these days, and I like to think that my soul has a spreadsheet where it has been keeping note of the times I’ve put myself aside for others. It’s finally getting to that point where the spreadsheet is just too long and unruly and it becomes a hassle to scroll down the page because there’s so much data.

I’m on the cusp of something here. It feels exciting and at the same time it fills my soul with great fear, but I know that as with everything in this life it will come, it will go, and the next thing will happen. I feel lucky to be able to share this journey here and to have others be able to maybe understand and maybe feel like they may be in the same holding pattern at the moment.

Music: David Bowie “Where Are We Now?” As long as there’s sun..As long as there’s rain..As long as there’s fire..As long as there’s me..As long as there’s you

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Libraries, Life, Music

Destroy Your Idols

I will destroy your idols and your sacred stones from among you; you will no longer bow down to the work of your hands. -Micah 5:13

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The bible has some amazing quotes about destruction. This is a pretty good one.

Think about everyone that you’ve admired at some point in your life, be it a relative, a musician, author, a friend, or someone else. Now think about yourself. Think about all of the times you’ve fucked up. Maybe you’ve said or done something wrong, or maybe you’ve put something out into the world that just wasn’t up to your standard level of quality. There is a chance out there that someone looks up to you. Now think about your idols. Smoosh all of this together and what do you have? You have the realization that idols are false and that we should destroy our idols.

Simply stated, we are all just hunks of flesh and DNA that are randomly smooshed together. We do some good things and we do some bad things. At no point in time should we believe ourselves to be greater than others or that there are others out there that are greater than us. Sure, Brian Wilson wrote some of the best goddamn music on the planet (IMHO) but at the same time all that I can think these days is that this dude is the same as me and the same as you. We all breathe, we all piss, we all shit, we all go to sleep, we all laugh, and we all cry. At no point in time should any of us be put on a pedestal and worshiped as something more than a typical average every day human being.

When we create idols, what we’re really doing is creating a false reality where some people are better than others and that it is the goal of those “lesser” people to become “as great as” those idols. This goal is unrealistic and totally unnecessary. We should be ourselves and go about doing our things without comparing ourselves to anyone else. You’re not better than this person or that person, nor are they better than you.

Destroy your idols. Live in the moment. As KISS says in their 1983 song “Lick It Up” It ain’t a crime to be good to yourself

Life

I EYE

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The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. (a Bible quote I learned all those years ago in Catholic school that stuck with me)

I am Justin William Hoenke. I do not know who you are. I mean, I know your name and some other things, but for the most part I don’t know you. I will never know you. And this is OK. This does not mean that I do not like you or I am a horrible human being. I think it just sums up a simple fact about human beings who live on planet Earth: we really can only know ourselves in our short time here. We can acknowledge others and understand that they too do exist but we can never really know them. All we can really know is ourselves.

The concept of self is often made even more confusing when you see it through the lenses of modern society. Modern society wants you to think and feel a certain way and to also adopt an “approved” set of words, phrases, and ideas about what it means to be a human being. It gets confusing!

This is a good place to put things that are in my head, so I will make a list right now of the things that I have come to understand that are part of Justin William Hoenke. Maybe it will help you understand me a bit more, but honestly this is really so I can understand myself a little bit better.

  • I am a human being.
  • I am a husband.
  • I am a father.
  • I am a son.
  • I am a nephew.
  • I am a cousin.
  • I am a friend.
  • I work at libraries.
  • I enjoy Nintendo video games.
  • I enjoy listening to music.
  • I enjoy reading non fiction.
  • I enjoy waking up naturally without the aid of an alarm clock.
  • I enjoy pajamas.
  • I like to eat pizza, tater tots, french fries, cucumbers, bananas, rice, and zucchini.
  • I enjoy drinking Guinness as my beer of choice.
  • I like to stay inside of my house/on my property as much as possible.
  • I do not like to schmooze with others.
  • I do not believe that “getting political about things” helps us solve problems.
  • I think we may have done this whole “modern society” thing the wrong way and would like a do-over.
  • I hope more for a shift to an open minded mass consciousness.
  • I like it when people work together.
  • I do not like it when people use each other to achieve their goals.
  • I do not want to be engaged in any “pat my back and I’ll pat your back” kind of situation.
  • I like gritty, dark, and kind of evil movies and TV shows (think Martin Scorsese)
  • I think that “have fun” is a good way to approach every day.
  • I struggle with depression.
  • I go from high highs to low lows.
  • I have not been diagnosed as bi-polar but I think there may be something in there.
  • Most times I just kind of want to be left alone.
  • I could play Animal Crossing all day every day.
  • I am beginning to enjoy physical work over mental work.
  • I wanted to create video games as my profession when I was growing up.
  • I originally went to college to learn animation.
  • I was once in a band that released two albums of music that can be streamed/purchased on pretty much every single music platform out there.
  • I chose librarianship as my profession because I wanted my career to be something that gave back to my community.
  • I am afraid of the idea of starting up a business (see this) but at the same time very excited about it and aware that this is indeed the path I must take in life.
  • I enjoy eating at the Imperial China Buffet in Erie, PA.
  • If I had to pick a favorite fast food, it would be a toss up between Taco Bell and White Castle.