Leave Katy Alone!

Before I start today, I should preface by saying that I have gotten inspiration for this post from a number of other sources–first from my sister, a fellow blogger who recently defended Keira Knightly; and second from a psychotic androgynous person who couldn’t stand all the hate Britney Spears was receiving a few years ago.

Does everybody remember this guy?

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I was seriously shocked, frightened, and concerned after seeing this the first time because it reminded me just how much raw anger there is in this world. But that is neither here nor there.

Today I will be defending the likes of Katy Perry. If anyone doesn’t know who that is, I would be very shocked because the very fact that you have internet and can read this blog suggests to me that you should know who Katy Perry is. Anyone who doesn’t know who she is has probably been living under a rock and/or has not had internet access in the past three years.

And perhaps that is one of the reasons why she gets so much flack. I have heard a lot of mean things about my dear friend Katy.

She’s a slut!
Her songs are
annoying!
She’s overrated!

Indeed, the best way to put it is that Katy Perry gets a lot of crap.

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How dare you, sirs. Don’t you know that the whole slut issue is just a matter of perspective?

So what, she lied on a cotton candy cloud naked? We have all thought about doing that at one point or another. 

OK, maybe not…

But the truth is that we’ve all done ridiculous things. Committing a single murder might make you a murderer, but for the most part, I don’t think things we’ve done in the past should define us. So you say naked cotton candy frolicking makes Katy Perry a slut? OK. Well, I jumped out of a moving golf cart once and broke my foot… which means I did a stupid thing. And I’ve done many other stupid things in addition to that. Does that make me a stupid person?

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Wait… Don’t answer that.

Are some of her songs a tad on the risque side? Sure. But whether we’d like to admit it or not, we all have risque thoughts. Katy’s just singing what’s on her mind! And not all of her songs are about tasting a girl’s cherry chapstick or having a ménage à trois on a Friday night.

Sometimes Katy has a softer, even inspirational side. Do you remember Firework? Do you remember Wide Awake? And what about the recently released Roar? All inspirational songs, in my not-so-humble-opinion.

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You shouldn’t dismiss a singer based on a few of their songs. You are not expected to like every song, just like you are not expected to like every food, book, or movie. And if all of Katy Perry’s songs have just grated on you, perhaps you should open your heart and mind to the possibility that ONE DAY she will release a song that you enjoy. Closing yourself to an artist could prevent you from a song that you can relate to, be inspired by, or even just sing along with.

Plus, let’s not forget something of utmost importance. Katy Perry is hot! Looks aren’t everything, sure, but come on… just look at her!

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Think what you want about her music, but I will say one thing: I wouldn’t kick her out of bed! I mean… um… I’m just saying, if she needed a bed to sleep in–that wasn’t mine–I wouldn’t kick her out of it. That’s all I meant by that.

Also, if she came to my door and asked me to marry her, this would be my response:

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But, barring the possibility that Katy Perry will just randomly show up at my door to propose, I’ll just have to support her from afar.

As for her being overrated, what does that even mean? Everyone is overrated because everyone is the worst. Have any of you gotten five number one singles from a single CD? Unless you are Michael Jackson reading this from the beyond, then I am confident in saying that no, you have not done this. But Katy has!

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Some people also use the argument that Katy isn’t even a good singer because her live performances leave something to be desired. My defense to this? Try singing and dancing at the same time and still sound perfect! Try singing in front of thousands of thousands of people without missing a note or two. And if you do enough internet snooping, you will find that Katy has had good performances in addition to the bad ones. Oh no, she’s human! How dare she have bad performances?!!! Also, her most recent performances have shown massive improvements, which goes to show that she’s doing what we’d expect from any person: improving! Let the past stay in the past. There’s no need to judge someone based on where they were. It is better to judge them based on where they’re going.

And besides… Katy Perry just released a new CD, so she’s not going anywhere anytime soon. My guess is that her songs will continue to dominate the radio stations whether you like it or not! So you’d best start being nice to Katy Perry, lest you suffer her wrath!

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I kid, of course. We are all free to choose who we like and don’t like, especially when it comes to the music industry. I just thought it would be fun to post about my love for Katy Perry, and it was!

But in a last-ditch effort to convince you to give Katy a chance, I invite you to listen to this new song of hers, in which she sings about struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts:

Looks like Katy Perry has a deep, vulnerable, meaningful side. Hmmm…

Not to mention these lyrics from other songs:

You know who I, who I think will win? Are the ones that let love in…

Acceptance is the key to be, to be truly free. Will you do the same for me?

I’ll be the one defining who I’m gonna be…

These are real feelings of someone just trying to get by in life, just like the rest of us. So I ask you, please, please leave poor Katy Perry alone! Am I the only straight man who openly supports Katy Perry and admits to liking her music? Perhaps. Even so, I think there is something to be said about cutting someone a little bit of slack.

So the next time you want to judge Katy Perry, do something more productive instead. Run a mile or two. Eat a vegetable. Read a good book. Stop wasting your time on hating someone for being risque, annoying, or too popular when there are much worse things happening in the world. For crying out loud, people are dying. Children are starving. The economy is collapsing. Right this moment, someone somewhere in the world is having to wake up before the sun even rises to go do hard labor for a meager salary that barely supports their family. A couple is cuddling and expressing love to one another–this, above all things, is definitely something much more disgusting and deserving of criticism than anything Katy Perry has ever said or done.

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23 Goals While I’m 23

I’m happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time.  It’s miserable and magical…

Those are the feelings that, according to Taylor Swift, come with “feeling 22.”

And I must say, I’d have to agree.  That is exactly how 22 felt.

But as of today, I am done feeling 22.

So what does that mean?  Well… nothing, really.  Honestly, how different can 23 be from 22?  On the other hand, a new year marks new beginnings, and since I “forgot” to make new year’s resolutions at the start of 2013, I thought I’d take this opportunity to come up with 23 goals I have while I’m 23.

23

  1. Tell people what I want, and do what I can to get it!  I’m tired of being that passive guy who never lets his opinion be heard because he doesn’t want to step on anyone’s toes.  Over the years I have had a difficult time getting people to read my mind, so it’s about time I’m more forthright with people in expressing my opinions.  If I don’t like the way you’re treating me, then I’m going to tell you.  This may cause some people to be offended, but as a wise man once said: “Are you offended?  I don’t care.”  I’m not going to let people walk all over me anymore.  And that brings me to my second goal.
  2.  Be more direct.  I tend to beat around the bush like no other when I’m trying to express something that might qualify as being even slightly uncomfortable.  But there was one glorious night a couple of years ago when I was able to be direct and to-the-point, and it was awesome.  I would like to be able to do that all the time from now on.images
  3. Enjoy my alone time.  This year, I want to reacquaint with an old friend.  He’s someone I’ve known my whole life, and when he’s at his best, he’s pretty cool.  His name?  Matthew Gilliland.  When I was little, I loved to be alone.  I could entertain myself for hours and hours using just my imagination.  In recent years, however, I have found it more difficult to get along with myself.  But since nobody likes you when you’re 23, I need to learn to like myself better in preparation for turning 24, when people will start liking me again.  (I’m aware that this last paragraph must sound really depressing, but it’s all in good fun, I promise.)
  4. Keep up with my blog more.  I have already kind of started this one.  I think I must have already written more blogs in the first two months of this year than I did all last year combined.  And if I had planned things a little bit better, this could have easily been my 23rd post, which would have brought things together quite nicely.  Anyway, I hope to continue my consistent blogging as the year continues, especially considering major upcoming events like my Europe study abroad and my wedding.  OK, I’m not really planning on getting married.  I just wanted to see if you were paying attention.
  5.  Catch up with old friends.  I want to be better at keeping in contact with my friends, especially my friends from home as well as those from my mission… even if it is just through Facebook.  
  6. Go to Europe.  Even if something freaky happens and I end up not continuing with the study abroad program, I am determined to go to Europe this year!  Even if it means losing a ton of money, which makes me anxious just thinking about it.
  7. Simpsons_couch-1-Spend quality time with my family.  Ugh, I wish there was a less cheesy way to say that.  Cue the Full House music, please.  I’m in somewhat of a difficult position to do this right now, seeing as I’m living in Utah and my whole family is currently in Arizona, but I will definitely go back as much as circumstances allow… even if that’s just a couple weeks in the summer and then the Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays.  I see my family as one of my most reliable support groups, and I will do anything to maintain that… even if we are actually not so much like the Tanners from Full House but more like the Simpsons: violent and dysfunctional.
  8. Give myself to the Lord.  This is kind of broad, but honestly this is as specific as I feel I can get at the moment.  I have tried most of my life to just do things my own way, but after almost 23 years of doing it, I must say that I understand what Taylor Swift means when she says “This is exhausting.”  It’s time to quit trying to drive myself down the highway of life and let Jesus take the wheel!
  9. Keep my Taylor Swift blog references to a minimum.  As of this post, I have decided that I have quoted/mentioned Taylor Swift far too often in my blog.  It has to stop.  I think I need serious help… an intervention, maybe.
  10. Serve the crap out of everyone.  Not literally, of course… that would be awkward and gross.  But all stupid jokes aside, I really do want to serve more.  Maybe then I can stop focusing so much on my own problems.
  11. Exercise… all year this time.  It seems like I’m always good at exercising during the summertime.  But then the winter comes along and my exercising comes to an end.  But since I will be living much closer to my school’s free gym next year, maybe I can actually motivate myself to exercise during all four seasons while I’m 23.
  12. Write in my journal at least once a week.  Whether my future kids like it or not, they will be able to read a detailed account of what their dad was like at the age of 23.
  13. Use my disappointments to my advantage.  I will not let myself be affected by the disappointments in life.  Instead, I will turn those disappointments into opportunities.  For example, in the not-too-unlikely scenario that I get a C in one of my classes this semester, I will celebrate my first-ever C by having a C-party.  Included will be C-shaped cake and foods that start with a C (chicken, carrots).  And then I will hang a banner that reads: “C’s get degrees!”  Actually, that sounds like too much effort… effort that would probably be better used trying to make sure I don’t get a C in that class.  But you get the idea.
  14. 100_5710Work, work, work.  No two-month breaks from work this year.  If I want to survive the financial toll this study abroad trip is going to take on me, I need to work as much as I can (and maybe even take a second job).  Also I need to do an internship or two before I graduate if I want to impress prospective future employers.  If I were to adopt a motto for this year, it would be this: work hard and play hard.
  15. Make a bucket list.  This may sound morbid, but for a while I’ve been wanting to make a list of things to do before I die.  After all, I’m not getting any younger!  Literally… I actually just recently aged a whole year.
  16. Maintain/improve my Tagalog.  Once upon a time, I lived in the Philippines and spoke Tagalog every day.  Now that I live in America, I rarely speak Tagalog more than once a week.  I am finding that my Tagalog skills are suffering as a result.  So I am going to do everything I can do to use my beloved second language, including speaking, writing, and praying in Tagalog.  I also want to finish reading my Tagalog Book of Mormon.    Ayaw kong makalimutan kasi ang aking pangalawang linguwahe.
  17. Go on another camping trip.  My twelve-year-old self would have literally thrown up at such a suggestion, but I actually like camping now as long as it doesn’t last for more than a night or two.  And as long as it’s nice outside.IMG_0261
  18. Quit hiding my true self from others.  I once had a companion point out that I was “good at hiding.”  He was not talking about physically hiding, and I think anyone who has played hide and seek with me could attest to that.  What he meant is that I put up a front so convincing that it is difficult for other people to see the real me.  Well, I’m tired of doing that.  I need to start being who I am and not caring how other people react.   If other people don’t like it, they can leave me alone.   I’m done hiding.  After all, I’m getting a bit too old to play hide and seek.  Actually, if I’m being honest with myself, I’d kill for a game of hide and seek right now…
  19. Get back into photography.  As I touched on briefly in my last post, I finally have a camera again, which gives me the perfect chance to take some legit pictures… especially when I go to Europe!
  20. Go on a road trip with friends.  I fully expect to go on at least one road trip with my family this year because we have already planned one (we’re going to Disneyland!!!  No, seriously.)  But there is just something about taking road trips with friends.  So I feel like I need to go on at least one this year.  Even if it means that one of those friends will inevitably end up married in the near future.  Confused?  Stay tuned for my not-too-distant-future post about how everyone around me tends to get married.
  21. Stress management.  I want to be more optimistic this year.  I want to allow just a small part of the day to let myself be stressed, then spend the rest of my time thinking positive thoughts.  I want to not worry so much and allow myself to be happy.  It won’t be easy, but since I would like to actually live another 23 years, I think it will be worth it to better handle the everyday stresses of life.
  22. Make mistakes.  This should be easy!  So maybe I should say that I want to become more comfortable making mistakes.  After all, it is trohugh our mstiakes taht we lraen, rghit?
  23. Move on.  Last but not least, it is the simplest goal to say and yet the hardest to do.  I feel like I’m still hung up a lot on the past, but I will work this year to move past all that.

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And that’s it.  I’m glad I did this, even if it is ridiculously long.  I feel really hopeful about my 23rd year now.  This is going to be the year of Matthew!

Life According to the Killers

Music is one of my favorite things in this world.  I can’t really imagine what my life would be like without music.  If nothing else, life would be much more silent if music were not in it.  I listen to music while I exercise, when I’m in the car, to motivate myself while I’m working.  I connect music to memories ranging from family vacations to my first ever car crash, which actually took place earlier this week… but that is neither here nor there.

If music is one of my favorite things, then the Killers are one of my favorite providers of said music.  I just feel like I can really relate to their songs in a way that I can’t quite relate to other music.  Other bands may have the occasional catchy tune or inspirational ballad, but for me the Killers have always been consistent in writing songs that are not only catchy but inspirational. About a month ago, on November 30th, I had the opportunity to see the Killers in concert.  Best night ever wouldn’t quite do it justice.  Hearing their music so up close and personal like that really brought their songs to life for me.  Or, in the words of my very own journal entry written just days after the concert took place:

The-Killers-Runaways-608x608-608x400“I remember thinking throughout the concert that I couldn’t believe this was actually happening.  I couldn’t believe I was singing along to all my favorite songs, experiencing them in a way I had never experienced them before.”

As admittedly lame as it is for me to quote myself like that, the point is that I honestly can’t remember ever wanting anything to end less than I did that concert. The week following the concert, I found myself hard pressed to listen to anything besides the Killers.  During this time I gained an even greater appreciation for the lyrics of these songs and how much I could apply them to my life.  Thus this post will be dedicated to listing some of the best Killers lyrics and how those lyrics connect to my life on a personal level.  These will most likely not, however, be lyrics that most people are familiar with.  The two and a half people who read this will notice the absence of famous lyrics like “Somebody told me that you had a boyfriend who looked like a girlfriend that I had in February of last year” (what does that even mean???) or “Are we human, or are we dancer?”  Instead, I will look at some perhaps lesser known but definitely more poignant lyrics that only a true fan such as myself would catch.


And I’m sick of all my judges
So scared of letting me shine
-Sam’s Town

We all have our judges, people who constantly try to bring us down and keep us from reaching our full potential.  They might not even realize that they’re doing it, but the fact is that some people needlessly criticize and hold others to impossible expectations.  Why do we do that to each other?  Can’t we all just let everybody be themselves?  Why do we want so much for other people to be like us?  Constructive criticism can be good, but when we stop listening to those unnecessary outside voices, that is when we can truly shine bright like a diamond, as Rihanna would say.

And the decades disappear
Like sinking ships but we persevere
God gives us hope, but we still fear what we don’t know.
The mind is poison.
A Dustland Fairytale

Time goes so quickly.  Life is short and full of trials, yet we push forward.  In my life at least, I have come to learn that everything always works out for the best, but that doesn’t stop me from fearing the unknown–that is, the future.  The mind poisons us, creating a fear that does not need to be there.  We can choose to drive away the fear and have faith instead… faith that everything will turn out alright, just like it always does.

No sense in holding grudges
And it’s better to forgive
These are things that I must learn
To practice while I live.
-From Here on Out

Sometimes people are going to hurt us.  That’s just a part of life.  I’ve tried the whole holding grudges thing, and it’s no fun.  It really does just feel so much better to forgive.  That feeling of anger, that tension in my chest like something is about to burst… that is something that I never care to feel again.  So I work every day to forgive others for the pain they cause.  It really is much better than the alternative.  Trust me.

You never know
If you never learn
You never shine
If you never burn
Battle Born

These lyrics are what I like to call simple but powerful, especially the second half.  You never shine if you never burn… what I take from that is that we have to experience the refining fire of trials in order to become stronger, happier people who can also help others in their hardships. There’s really not much more I can say about that, is there?

Last but not least, I want to conclude with an entire song that I think speaks volumes to everybody’s lot in life.  This song has literally gotten me through some difficult times.  I’ll even admit that I actually shed some tears when I first heard it, and that’s a huge deal coming from a person who usually displays the emotional range of a shriveled mushroom.  Here it is, what I consider to be one of the best songs ever written:

May your limits be unknown
And may your efforts be your own
If you ever feel you can’t take it anymore…
Don’t break character
You’ve got a lot of heart.
Be Still

Honestly, I don’t really feel the need to give an explanation on this one.  The song pretty much speaks for itself.

Merry Christmas, everybody.