Call to Arms

“All of us seem to have something to rebel against. For most of us, it’s the East Texas bubble that we grew up protected by for so long. It’s the conservative viewpoint that refuses to acknowledge the other side might have some answers as well. It’s our parents and striving to be nothing like them. We might have our failures, but they won’t be the same ones as theirs. We’ll accept our failures and attempt to learn from them. We’ll be open and honest and willing to share our sad experiences with each other instead of hiding them from the world in shame.

We’re learning that everybody makes mistakes for nobody is perfect. So we don’t strive for perfection. Better to celebrate our imperfections and enjoy how we can all be different but still enjoy the mad dance we’re all caught up in. We spin and twirl and we don’t know where we’ll end up, but it’s a beautiful experience while we’re all together.” -an excerpt from my Day 8 of Write Yourself Alive, an unedited stream of consciousness prompt

My mind works in an interesting way. I get really focused on one idea, but instead of just thinking about that specific topic, my thoughts wander all over the place and somehow tie everything else that pops into my head back to the original idea. This idea recently has been the emerging culture in Tyler, and how my generation, the collection of young creatives that are starting to band together, can help change and grow that culture.

There is so much talent I’m surrounded by every day. On top of the talent though, there’s a thirst for change. There’s a desire for creating inspiration. The issue is that we are still going unnoticed by many in the area we live in. We’ve got musicians, writers, inventors, entrepreneurs, creators of every kind, and it’s only a matter of time before we start making a real difference in our town. We live in an old town mostly run by old money and old ideals. I’m not saying we need a 180° turn from that, because we do need to take the time to learn from those generations, but our time is here. Opportunity is waiting for us to just reach out and grab it.

There’s a coincidence I find quite funny. My blog name, Knocked Out No Longer, came about from my divorce. Both my previous blog and my jewelry business had “K.O.” in the title because those were my initials at the time, and I always liked that they also stood for “knocked out”. When my marriage ended, it was if I was coming alive again- like there wasn’t the constant badgering and hurt causing me to live completely checked out from what was going on around me. Now, as I start writing more and more about the life I’m growing in this place I swore I would never return to, and as I see all of these people around me, I feel like this blog (or at least the title) is somewhat of a battle cry- a call to arms that our generation won’t be knocked out or knocked down any longer. It’s a way of standing up and making the older generations in the town notice us and appreciate what we have to offer and bring to the table.

So, I suppose this is mostly a call to those friends who support these ideals and want to see change happen. Yes, we make mistakes. Yes, we’re young. Yes, most of the people around Tyler don’t take us seriously yet. But we’re the generation that will create the change needed in this town. We can have a different outlook than our parents, our grandparents. We can take ideas and run with them. If we make mistakes, learn from them and continue. We’re resilient. We can do this.

MMK, Frankfurt, Germany - April 2014
MMK, Frankfurt, Germany – April 2014

listening to: Father John Misty, Portugal the Man

A Rising Light

I wrote a few weeks ago about the emerging underground culture in the city I’m in at the moment. I continuously get more and more excited about being thrown into the middle of what’s going on, and I’m not sure if I’m going to want to leave it anytime soon.

See, I’ve always wanted to live in a place where creativity is abundant and has a strong support from the community. When I lived in Arkansas, I was surrounded by people who were involved in music and intertwined with small local businesses. It was enthralling. I saw all of these people fired up and supporting each other in creative ventures. It was a new kind of support system to me.

One of the main reasons I dreaded moving back to East Texas was it was almost the complete opposite to the atmosphere of where I lived in Arkansas. There is a ton of money in this area of the country, but people are geared much more toward big business and appearing as “polished” and put together as possible. There wasn’t much transparency in the people that I knew or the places I spent my time. To be quite frank, it’s exhausting to live life like that, and I feared that moving back to this town would slowly kill the openness and creative drive I had been discovering in myself.

Coming back to this area, I only had a few friends. There are three guys in particular who I’ve known since my early teen years who have always been like family to me. Most of my extra time when I’m in town is always spent with them. They haven’t spent much time outside of East Texas, so they’ve built up a large network of friends and acquaintances. Having a lot of free time spent with them in the past few months means that they’ve introduced me into this network, and for that, I owe them so much.

The people that I’ve met since the end of October are the types of people I’ve always wanted to be involved with growing the culture of Tyler. They are passionate, incredibly talented, and most importantly, transparent with their lives. They are genuinely interested in helping others and being there for their friends. The support I’ve seen them give each other in the short amount of time I’ve been here is so surprising because it’s a selfless kind of support. They want to see each other succeed more than anything, and the joy that crosses their faces when there is a success in the community is brilliant.

Most of all, the atmosphere surrounding all of the people I’ve gotten to know is a living and thriving one. It’s exciting and raw and real and fascinating. This isn’t the dead Tyler I left in 2007. It now has electricity pulsing through the heart of it, and this light of this new community will continue to burn brighter and brighter.

Frankfurt, Germany - September 2014
Frankfurt, Germany – September 2014

listening to: The Kooks