When approached by a stranger, a reader, a friend, or loved one about my addiction to phenomenology, I lack the proper words to reach that point where one person understands the other. At an alarmingly sad average.

Phenomenology, the study of structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view. The central structure of an experience is its intentionality, its being directed toward something, as it is an experience of or about some object, has always been the core lens at which I burn my ants. It helps me, and gives me a place to stand where I can -- at times -- relate to my peers.

To have someone, anyone, explicitly not understand you or the dealings which you internalize -- for fear of sparking this exact moment -- is just fuel for the idea that our fears and differences should part us like the sea.

Many times, it is this seed that grows into the worm inside our heads. Something different in the way we function becomes something we do that is "wrong" or worse, broken. The fidelity of a mind in the state of teetering over the edge is a terrifying place to be. I'd gladly give up every night of sleep I'm left to have, to know that no one would ever have to be "there" again.

What we should be doing, is growing that seed with confidence. The nurturing of our artists only ever benefits the world. I know countless artists, struggling to get over the mentally abnormal function that makes them creators, when it's the only thing in the world that makes them feel like adequate human beings.

Remember: It costs nothing to encourage an artist, and the potential benefits are staggering. A pat on the back to an artist now could one day result in your favorite film, or the cartoon you love to get stoned watching, or the song that saves your life. Discourage an artist, you get absolutely nothing in return, ever.- Kevin Smith

Yet we still shut them down. People put up a nasty taste, with the whip of a tongue, spitting words at will like wisdom. Words like "Weird", or "Foolish", or "Off-beat" spoken from the mouths of idiots, patronizing our creators, and using a tone ill-fitting the terms. None of those words should have a negative connotation. Ask Alfred Yankovic, he's been called all three of those things, and it doesn't show any signs of affecting his construction of genius. Be like Yankovic, unapologetically you.

The rest of us should work on opening that door between themselves and others. Let us be weird. Let's be weird.

As a writer I feel full. As an eccentric I feel shunned. As a man I feel raw. As a cynic I feel at odds. As an over-thinker I feel isolated. As a being prone to panic I feel scared. As an artist I feel lonely.

I pledged to #


and speak up about mental illness, and mental health. Many of us live/strive with is, and some of us need more understanding. Don't bite your tongue, speak up, you're a beautiful human being regardless of which way you function. Visit

for more information on the cause, or what you can do to help.