The Garden State is not a location.


I was born in Brooklyn.

It was in the year 2000 that my ex wife and I decided that we’d had enough of living in the city. The constant noise, dirt, crowds, attitudes and everything else was becoming a bit too much to bear on a daily basis. I believe it’s romanticized primarily because that’s what you do when you have no choice, but it’s not healthy. Combine that environment with an asshole boss and you have a recipe for premature death.

At first we tried looking just across the George Washington bridge to shorten our commute. That turned out to be a huge disappointment. The neighborhoods that were affordable were cramped and very close to industrial complexes. I believe we were in Roselle. This was during the summer and there was an ever present acidic toxic smell in the air. I was left asking myself how is it that these people are living here? Being from New York you hear the stories about New Jersey. Typically related to the crime in Newark or the stench on New Jersey Turnpike nearest to New York City. At that time, that was primarily my impression of how living in New Jersey would be. I was ready to give up until I spoke to a coworker of mine who also lived in New York and moved to New Jersey. She said to me you have to go further south if you want anything nice for a decent price. The real estate agent agreed, so my next adventure would take me further south down into Somerset.

We looked at two houses and my ex-wife was immediately sold on the second one without even going inside. It met all of our criteria plus the neighborhood was really beautiful and peaceful.

The only problem that remained was the commute. It would take a minimum of an hour and 45 minutes on a good day for me to get to work. This would also add an additional travel expense that I wasn’t too keen on. I’ll admit that if it were just left up to me, I probably would not have made the decision to stay, but seeing her being so excited about it, (we were also having issues) I felt like it would be therapeutic.

The previous year I’d seen The Matrix. There’s a scene where Neo wakes up and realizes that he is essentially a battery. That hit home with me. It eloquently personified how I felt about living in the city. Doing the same thing day in and day out, being plugged into the corporate machine with no sense of personal identity. That contrast was not fully realized until my first day of driving home from work to our new house. Once I got past a certain point on the turnpike it was like entering another dimension. There was this sense of order and calm that overcame me. I can honestly say this is something that I did not experience coming home in Brooklyn, leaving the work stress, dealing with the mass of people on the subway, and then going home and having to tolerate noise from neighbors. Day in and day out. For the first time in quite some time I was able to really think about myself. I became more centered. The quiet allowed me to contemplate what I was doing in life. Who am I? Why do I make the choices that I do?How can I bring this new sense of peace to other aspects of my life? It was in a word transformative.

I realized that living in the city I was constantly overstimulated. My brain wasn’t getting the breathing space to function nominally. I’ve come to realize that the meditative state should be the primary operating mode and not something you try to squeeze in to a few random minutes. It is in the garden of serenity where good ideas grow.

In keeping with tradition I am going to publish a couple of shots that I have taken since I last posted. I want to take the time to thank you for indulging me and hopefully enjoying the journey.

Divided we fall


Some truths are more profound than others. This is exceptionally true about the saying ‘united we stand, divided we fall’. It is being demonstrated every day on a large scale in America today. Everyone has a problem with someone else. Unbridled vitriol is rampant.

It would be easy to blame this on social media, but social media only plays the part of facilitator. Behind every mean and hostile post is a person determined to exact some measure of satisfaction from bringing someone else down.

Then there’s music..

Music transcends barriers. It brings people together.

I find this contrast intriguing.

Related:

I recently went to the park to do some shooting and happened upon a wedding that was just ending. It was one of the most culturally diverse gathering of people that I’ve experienced..It was a beautiful thing. There is a politician running for office in my state that said ‘diversity is crap’. No sir, the only crap present are the words coming from your mouth. Diversity is the beauty of life..

Slippin’


I can’t believe it.

Not a single like on my last post….deep. Is this the end of a love affair?? Is it something I said?

So much craziness going on. I don’t even want to go there. I was reading this post on Reddit about how people found out their significant other was cheating on them. I was tempted to drop the story there but I figured I’d share with you. Before I begin, I have to state that this is just one of a few situations where I was cheated on but this was one of the most damaging.

I met this woman online towards the end of my downward spiraling marriage. Thing is, it wasn’t even something that I even took seriously at the time. We met in a chat room. She was going through some shit with her boyfriend. She had 2 kids by him and he was fucking around with some other chick, not coming home, beating on her..all that. She was very articulate, intelligent and not bad looking. Everyone said she looked like Jennifer Connelly (she did). In the beginning it was just a sharing of the souls kind of thing. She lived in Australia and I was all but divorced living a miserable isolated life. It seemed safe because of the distance. We talked for 2 years before we agreed we needed to meet. Being the one with the means, I booked a trip to Hawaii and had her meet me there. We hit it off immediately, like literally at the airport. The whole thing was surreal. Things just progressed from there. I spent time in Australia and she here. It had gotten so serious that we were trying to work out who would move so we could live together.  There was the whole situation with her kids. Their father was being a dick about letting them coming to the states. He had moved and had gotten married. His new wife was also pregnant. So I’m like, what’s the deal? Let it go. I’m not trying to replace him as their father but I would be responsible for them as if they were my own. Sooo..one trip to Australia, we both decided to get tattoos. It was a first for both of us. I got one on my shoulder and she got one on her lower back..a blue dragon. During that trip, her ex was being extremely dickish and pestering. He kept texting her nonsense. It got so bad that we got into a heated argument over it. I was like why are you even responding to him? The kids were at her mom’s so if he needed any info on them, he should call her.. (red flag). Anyway, we patched things up and I proceeded to find a house for us. When she came here, to check it out, I didn’t see the same enthusiasm that she had all along about our future. I chalked it up to having to face the reality of leaving home for real. It wasn’t until she went home that I found out why. One day I was online looking at her Myspace page and I saw comments from him. So I took a look at his page. In his pictures was a shot of her tattoo..taken from her naked body. I fucking lost it. I confronted her with it and she just confessed and said that they’d slept together. I was devastated. Then came the bomb. She was pregnant. If there are levels of done, I was at the ultimate level of completely and utterly done. That shit hurt but in retrospect, I have to consider myself fortunate that it happened when it did. She could have lied and said the kid was mine (he was Black also). I dodged a nuclear bomb to be honest.

Ok so, as usual I will share some music with you. A new tune and remixes of some older takes

 

 

Hurricane of Bullshit


What’s up people? As always it’s been a minute. I hope this post finds you in good health.

Racism
You know where I’m going today. I try not to be political. Actually, I wouldn’t consider it political..more like a candid observation. Unless you are fortunate and have amnesia or a tumor, you know all about Donald Trump. If you’re a fan, you should probably stop here and get a taco instead. I am not. Never have been. I am from NY. We know him well. If you don’t know anything about his background there, just google the Central Park 5. I have been in a state of total disbelief and angst since the election. Now before you mentally label me, just know that I don’t subscribe to any political party. Political parties suck. I don’t wear labels. I prefer to base my opinions on facts and my own interpretation of them. If you disagree with me, that’s cool. You’re entitled to your wrong opinion. LOL. Seriously though, people immediately get defensive if you identify with a political party they don’t like. Shit’s gotten to the point of religious fervor. People are so brainwashed by propaganda that they can’t think straight anymore. I feel like I’m in some kind of science fiction movie. Regardless of platform, I can’t believe people voted for that clown. My shoe has more sense than he does. Dude is literally the equivalent of a crooked used car salesman with access to the nuclear codes. Scary shit if you ask me. This guy has given motivation to some very fucked up people in our society. Those Nazi bastards are feeling pretty empowered as of late. They’ll still get their asses kicked but nonetheless you don’t want to encourage their brand of hate. I don’t get how you can hate someone you’ve never met that has done nothing to you and treat them fucked up simply because they were birthed on a different spot on this ball of mud or have a different shade of skin. We all know that’s really just low self-esteem showing its ugly head. You can’t give these people any light. They need to stay in the dark..silenced. Stupid only breeds stupid. We’ve been through this before. The end result will be the same.

Houston
Seeing some of the stories out of Houston remind me of how much we take for granted. When you go through your day to day rituals of life, the last thing you think of is what to do if it all came crashing down. I’m sure that so many people have been traumatized by this disaster and are lost as to what to do next. It annoys me to see the politicians looking to score points on the misery of others instead of helping their situation. I’m seeing reports that some are proposing tying disaster aid to Texas to the debt ceiling legislation. It boggles the mind that one could be so callous and indifferent to those poor people who have already suffered enough.
To add insult to insult, you have Joel Osteen, vulture of the religious, not offering people a place to take shelter in that big ass money trap called a church. After the outrage started making headlines, he gets on TV with that shit eating grin and plays victim. The slick bastard appeared in front of a green screen to make it look like he was on site. What gets me is that even though he’s been exposed, after this dies down people will be flocking to him emptying out their life savings. Not to go on another rant but religion is bullshit. Why would a deity that created the entire universe with a thought need you to donate money? What the fuck does a god need money for? The church fosters guilt in its followers just so that it can take advantage of their need for absolution. It is nothing more than manipulation, just like politics.

As we here in the US focus on the disaster in Houston, there are so many other people around the world that are suffering from floods. The effects of climate change are becoming more and more devastating. Big oil is going to make sure that people are mislead and kept in the dark as to their role in the massive loss of life across this planet.

It will only be a matter of time before the lie has nowhere to hide..

A Share
I don’t have any musical offerings today but I have a couple of short videos I put together that I posted on my Instagram feed (@THP_PIX) and hosted on Vimeo

This is a tribute to my dear friend Lira aka Lola the Showgirl. She recently decided to drop from Twitter and IG. Whatever reasons, she is missed and I hope her journey is fruitful:

 

Lira from The Hargett Project on Vimeo.

This is a tribute to Nigerian model Uche Mba. I wanted to do soomething to celebrate women of color that do not get the mainstream exposure they deserve

Uche from The Hargett Project on Vimeo.

In that same spirit, another celebration of beauty

Beauty Is In The I from The Hargett Project on Vimeo.

 

Swing an episode..


Clinical depression is very hard to make people understand sometimes. Anyone that suffers from it knows exactly where I’m going. Having to explain that it isn’t “being sad”. That you have no control over what I call “episodes”. I have learned to manage them to a certain degree. During these phases I am especially keen on emotional triggers that can intensify that feeling of dread and emptiness. I find that certain distractions can help. Walks and fresh air help to some degree. I go through this mantra where I repeat in my head that what I am experiencing is not emotion but a reaction to chemical stimuli. That distinction helps me to make it to the other side. It is not foolproof. There are times when I become overwhelmed and I have to let go. It is frightening because I don’t want to get to a place where I want to hurt myself. I’ve been there. Once a very long time ago, I tried to end my life but luckily I was too stupid and just ended up very sick. I have to be conscious of the paths my mind can take. For me it helps to stay present but distracted. Weed helps but I have to be very selective on what I’m smoking. For those of you that don’t know this, not all weed is the same. Some can actually trigger depression. You have to know your body if you’re using weed as therapy. This is why I feel it is imperative that we legalize and make weed available to everyone so that they can educate and identify the strains that are best for them. Orgasms help. They release endorphins that help counteract your imbalance. This is a tough one though. It’s hard to get in the mood for sex or masturbate when you feel like there’s a hole in your soul.

Why am I going on about this? Well, yesterday I was posting some old videos on Instagram that I was unable to publish because of their new copyright policy. I found out that if you just sign that you are not in violation, then they will repost. I’m not trying to profit and I give credit to the artist in my tags so I feel like I’m doing the right thing. Anyway, I found this video I put together when I was feeling particularly emo over missing people that I have lost in my life. I decided to publish it but I was in the beginning phase of an episode and that shit hit me hard. I deleted it but I was triggered and I knew I was in trouble if I couldn’t clear my mind. I decided to knock myself out with a couple of glasses of wine (this is dangerous by the way). I have a low threshold so I knew it wouldn’t take much to get me drowsy. I managed after a few hours to go to sleep but I had fucked up dreams and woke up having slept with my bracelet on. I had my hand under my face and the metal had been pressing on the bone surrounding my eye socket. I was like wtf. That shit hurt. I was still feeling out of it. I tried to front it off but it wasn’t working. I should have taken the day off but I decided to work anyway. Bad move. Plus I was kinda fucked up to people that I care about so that wasn’t helpful either. It’s taken me a whole 24 hours to get where I am now where it’s manageable. I just wanted to share with the hopes that someone else out there might benefit from knowing they are not alone and maybe, just maybe it will strengthen their resolve.

So in the spirit of happy thoughts and appreciation, I have this little video I found that I have posted before..somewhere. It’s a mini tribute to some of my Tweeps that are dear to me.