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Hey, remember that time you lost your mind and told me to go to hell?

Or do you remember that other time when you called me a f** and acted like it didn’t happen or how that was something you could do cause it sounded like something you would do but couldn’t place cause you were a little drunk? Except only when you were trying to remember though, not when you said it.

“Fag.”

You see I’ve been called a f** before but not by someone that I’ve also called a friend. I’ve been called a f** by complete strangers, many times.

The words that come out of your mouth speak truth. Did you know that? The sound of fear and ignorance. Maybe they say more about you then you are willing to admit.

Like how I’m afraid to admit things about myself. For example, how I used to deny that I was a homosexual.

You see I really and truly believe I was born this way. I don’t exactly know when I really knew but some of my earliest memories are of my childhood crushes. There’s just something in the way Tom Cruise shakes a martini in Cocktail that just made me blush something fierce. I didn’t think my innocent crushes as anything perverse until someone as ignorant as you decided to point out the fact that they made me different.

That was in seventh or sixth grade maybe. I wonder about your maturity level sometimes myself?

Regardless, my understanding of my sexuality should have been my experience.

As soon as I was identified by my classmates as different. That’s when I began to feel different and identify myself as such. That’s when I learned shame and felt weak. It’s in piss poor judgement to go around throwing stones when there is so much else in the world that deserves your attention.

My taste in men should not be one of them.

Having said that, I know that my experience growing up is still quite different from other stories I have been told. I was never a victim of violence. I was lucky and the same cannot be said for others.

I punished myself in my own way until I figured out that nothing was wrong with me. You cannot easily teach someone to respect themselves, mind and body, once you’ve made it a point to make them understand they are not worthy of love and kindness. And no one is excluded from that pain. I file that under lessons learned and have since made it a point not to hate myself for being so fabulous although I still sometimes embarrass myself.

I have to remind myself daily that people as bold as you who still find ways to make me feel inferior to them are wrong. I’ll be a misfit every day of the week if it means I’m tough enough to stand up to bullies and say something when no one else is willing to speak. I am different because I’m not like you. I can be strong when you choose to be weak.

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Juicy Tracks : Grown Woman

Hey Beyonce, what the deuce?

I saw that Pepsi Ad and I heard that Timbaland song. I know you’re keeping Grown Woman from me. YouTube had it uploaded for one glorious day and it’s still floating around on the inter webs. I don’t know what you’re afraid of, this track is live!

A vibrant mash up of tribal chants and beat box grinding together into a feverish groove. A sass-mouthin’ declaration of independence, heavy on solidarity unlike the coarse Bow Down/I Been On. This rebel yell is full of gumption and years ahead of the Top 40 cat calls and party girl anthems.

“I know the world and I know who I am. ‘Bout time I show it.”

Grown Woman is rounding up the troops. A battle cry with a world beat to back it up. The glass ceiling hasn’t been broken but it has everyone moving in different directions. This song is about moving onwards and upwards. This beat is throwing punches at anyone that stands in her way.

“They love the way I walk cause I walk with a vengeance.”

If Girls Just Wanna Have Fun was all about the party, Grown Woman is about running the show. Divas and single ladies have been pumping their fists on the dance floor for Knowles since Say My NameGrown Woman is a stiletto stomping anthem. A knock out addition to Knowles hit list.

Mr. and Mrs. Carter have got all the attention they could ever ask for so this is the part where everyone finds out exactly what they have to say. Knowles has found her confidence but can she impart that wisdom to those who need it.

GaGa and Ke$ha are preaching about unity among every color, race, gender, and sexuality because that’s what they believe and their fans are listening. As a woman of color, Knowles has a unique perspective and it should not be wasted as some gimmick. She has a story to tell too and the pipes to sing all about it.

Before Britney put on a school girl uniform, Madonna told women to Express Yourself. I think it’s a shame Madonna hasn’t had anything relevant to say since. So what is Beyonce up to now?

Is this a call to arms or another stunt?

Between Teen Mom and Toddlers and Tiaras the world is short on role models. Female empowerment isn’t really on the table for discussion because the conversation got shut down. Sex has taken over. Attention is given to those who can glamour the public with their image and their perceived desirability. Pop Stars are becoming glorified strippers.

Beyonce is a grown woman and I think it’s time for her to start acting like the leader of the pack.

Best Coast

The complexities of human emotions are not for the faint of heart, but I believe Bethany Cosentino has a better understanding of them than I do.

The lovely Best Coast provides a special brand of stoner surfer rock that is nothing short of perfection. The duo are comprised of Bethany Cosentino, on vocals and guitar, and her better half Bobb Bruno, guitarist/multi-instrumentalist. Bruno handles a mean guitar on stage with Cosentino providing the lyrics and together they share their sunny disposition bringing good vibrations to the masses.

The voice of a post modern girl, admittedly scared and alone but not afraid to feel as such. More importantly the doom and gloom never wins because boyfriend or not Bethany will always have her beloved Snacks. While her lyrics detail the hazards and pitfalls of falling in love, she reminds us there isn’t anything a day at the beach couldn’t fix.

Her confessions are littered throughout remarkably honest and manic and both bitter and sweet. The kind of longing most people only feel comfortable admitting to themselves in the dark where they’re all alone, but Bethany stands on stage poised and pleased to share her innermost thoughts.

Cosentino is a hopeless romantic singing her heart out. She hypnotizes the crowd capturing the gaze of her adoring fans with a pair of wayfarers always on hand to hide behind.

Best Coast definitely share an affinity for their famed West Coast beaches, but they shine brightest when they are singing about heartache and her admissions of confusion and self doubt. She’s an open book wide eyed and searching for solace in a beach blanket. There is nothing to hold back and when Cosentino cuts loose who knows what she’ll say next.

After two previous botched appearances in Austin, Best Coast returned to play a solid set at the Mohawk May 26, 2013 . Cosentino admitted to having had a few too many on previous visits, but quick to say it wasn’t a big deal. True to herself, she doesn’t apologize as much as she offers an explanation where one is expected but unnecessary. She is never concerned with regret but eager and quick to make up for it with a stellar performance.

I’ve had the pleasure of attending three BC shows and I have never seen a more honest and gutsy performance by a female vocalist. Her sunny disposition is only rivaled but that of the lovely Mrs. Gwen Stefani, a fellow Golden State resident. Bobb Bruno strums a slow and steady guitar while Bethany rattles the mic with her lovelorn devotionals.

Do You Love Me Like You Used To, was the first song for the encore and definitely a new favorite of mine from their latest release, The Only Place. Relationships aren’t as easy as the crappy pop songs you hear on the radio make them out to be. They are messy and fun and Cosentino makes no qualms about that in any of her songs. This one in particular resonates with me and it seemed with Cosentino too as she smiled and strummed guitar before heading straight into a no brainer closer, Boyfriend.

Bethany Cosentino may not be your typical role model, but she’s definitely become a kindred spirit for all the other lonely hearts. She’s a voice of reason when it seems everyone else is lying to you about love. Cosentino has some understanding of the truth and like anyone else still succumbs to it for all the right and wrong reasons.

Juicy Tracks : We Can’t Stop

Miley Cyrus can easily be mistaken for many things, Billy Ray Cyrus’s daughter, Hannah Montana, or a one trick pony. I think she is more aware of that than anyone. Besides Party in the U.S.A. I would go so far as to say she doesn’t have a memorable hit to her name. Miss Cyrus doesn’t need a hit, she can go quietly into the night and have a lot to show for but seems to me she has other plans.

We Can’t Stop is a slow jam banger with sass and bite. A toast for red Solo cups to clink everywhere. Free love, strippers and blow are all the makings of a calamity but Cyrus doesn’t seem to be worried. She’s having a party and everybody is invited.

“It’s our house we can love who we want to.”

That’s right everybody, cause I’m pretty sure Cyrus just gave a monster shout out to all the Unicorns at the party. Cyrus is being ballsy and there’s nothing wrong with that, I applaud it. She is mixing up genres to make a delicious concoction with a sing-a-long chorus that demands your participation.

“And we can’t stop. And we won’t stop.”

We Can’t Stop may be a total rip on a famous hip hop sample, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five SuperRappin’ , although it doesn’t sound anything like this classic. This track has a sound of its own.

Cyrus may be borrowing or stealing depending on who you ask but at least she chose someone worthy of stealing from. Hip hop throwbacks aside Pharrell Williams has been clocking studio time with Cyrus as well and she probably has a few more tricks up her sleeves.

Cyrus demands twerking and everyone should abide. This isn’t just a summer jam. This is a new age party anthem teetering on chopped and screwed in all the right places. That rasp is deadly and gives her an edge over the meager competition. Cyrus doesn’t sound like her contemporaries, especially since they are all working the sexy jailbait angle.

Anyone eager to throw shade at her should just be happy she isn’t singing Come and Get It. A less than stellar entry from Selena Gomez that is more cock tease than it is a pop song.

It is currently being featured in a promo for ABC’s new drama Mistresses if you haven’t had a chance to hear it yet. :hard eyeroll:

You can thank Katy Perry for leveling the playing field with her cleavage and making it that much harder for a female to be recognized for anything besides bust size and their eagerness to display it.

Cyrus is a by the books child star with a Disney past and an opportunity to reinvent herself while avoiding the push up bra method. Reinvention is the key to success. Doesn’t matter what you’re saying if you don’t sound like something new or different you have failed. Seems to me Cyrus already has a plan of her own and I’m listening.

Say Anything

This essay is about catharsis and is an attempt at the expression of my confusion.

Instead of making this about my bitterness I want to explore how my countless attempts at creating a love interest for myself out of thin air has left me wading in a deceptively dark deep pool of my own undoing. I dedicate this essay to all the other pummeled hearts and all the idiots doing the pummeling because they probably aren’t even aware of their unfortunate disposition.

Sex has always been a secondary concern of mine because I have never shared a sexual encounter with someone I’ve actually been intimate with, as in sharing an actual emotional connection in addition to the sharing of bodily fluids.

Now let the record show I am not discounting the merits of a good old fashioned trip down to pound town. To clarify, I don’t think you have to be emotionally attached to have good sex with a stranger or lover. But numerous encounters with strangers and individuals who ended up being estranged to me has left me more than wanting.

Which brings me to the conundrum of my quest for intimacy and those individuals I have pursued in this quest. I guess in my mind, I always think that I’ll find someone enchanted enough by me to pull a Lloyd Dobler and show up outside my window with a boom box and a trench coat. In reality, it is I standing outside with a boom box playing my favorite song hoping in turn that they will declare their love for me. That they know that song too and they get it, they get me.

My latest misstep began as a playful crush and has inadvertently played itself out as some discarded soap opera storyline in which I’ve written my would be lover off the show with no resolution. I mean I legitimately have no explanation for what has occurred between us. Maybe he does…

Dear Would Be Lover,

I feel like everything was different before like I had this life that was separate from my ordinary day to day but then there was my time spent with you. With you the world just made perfect sense in ways that weren’t so obvious before. When we were apart and something happened and you weren’t there to laugh at the joke or enjoy the irony or my cleverness something felt off.

Being with you was too easy. I don’t know when it started making sense that I prefer doing everything with you and that everyone else was boring. Probably about the same time you wanted me to choose you before anyone else, that you were the only person worthy of my attention.

This other life, the one where we are awesome together, was converging with my reality. I guess that was the goal for me anyway. I felt like we kept crossing paths and that somehow I would fit the two together the way we fit together. I mean if you meet someone and when you are together everything just falls into place, why would you wanna be apart?

I make you laugh and that makes me smile. I guess that’s why I kept building this up in mind the way one does when there is something to look forward to. I began to only look forward to seeing you. I guess that was my first mistake. Seems I was giving you something you weren’t asking for but I didn’t know what else to do. My head was spinning between all the mixed signals and the attention from you I couldn’t get enough of.

I didn’t want to stop. I was slowly giving myself up to our lost cause. Now there were reasons I started with said pining in my defense.

Why did you think it was okay to sing me to sleep? I mean singing me to sleep is romantic, a late night serenade. You serenade someone when you want them to fall in love with you. Right?

I mean if you are wooing me and you don’t want me to be wooed I don’t think you should be singing to me. I’m not making fun of you. I love it when you sing to me. I wish you sang to me every night.

I should take more responsibility for our demise. And unfortunately now you remind me of an embarrassment, a lapse in judgement, I’ve made numerous times and come out none the wiser.

We made plans before and I used to look forward to our adventures but now I wish they would just come and go if they don’t involve some amicable reunion, something we have managed countless times before.

So I have to gather myself in hope that one day I might get it together. Today is not that day and I remind myself that perhaps this wasn’t the right time or that you weren’t the would be lover I was waiting for. I also consider that I could be completely deluded.

This playlist reminds me of us and also that “us” is no longer some idea we share together because now that is all over. It’s a brief selection of songs that serve as a reminder of how much I liked our mess and also that I’m perfectly fine without you to complicate my life. Especially since I enjoy complications so much more than I should.

The I Don’t Need This Shit Playlist

Track 1: Some Things Never Seem To Fucking Work – Solange Knowles

Track 2: Recover – Chvrches

Track 3: Forrest Gump – Frank Ocean

Track 4: (One of Those) Crazy Girls – Paramore

Track 5: Mirrors – Justin Timberlake

I offer up the these songs although I can name a dozen more that I have convinced myself are either about me or my feelings. They are about all the adverse and positive effects of making yourself vulnerable to someone. Especially if those feelings are not reciprocated, or kind of reciprocated but not really, or just enough to make you think otherwise and maybe act crazy.

Like how I feel when you sing to me and I like it so much it makes me nauseous or enough to stand outside your window with a boom box declaring to the world my devotion to you, just plain crazy. I guess you can kind of pick up that I’m still confused and probably will be for just a bit longer.

For now, I’ll prefer the heartbreak songs to the happily ever after songs and nurse my wounds. I still sympathize with the suffering but I’m not condoning the pummeling of hearts for anyone’s entertainment, it’s just nice to have some company.

The Juice Is Loose.

I want to be honest with you. I’m a little dramatic.

We should just clear the air so later on you won’t accuse me of something I’ve already admitted to. I’ve always had a lust for life. I mostly blame television and my sheltered upbringing.

I’m a basket case with larger than life aspirations.

Also I’ve always been a rather indulgent storyteller. I embellish every detail not only for my enjoyment as I tell the story but also because I don’t want it to diminish. I want it to become a vibrant memory we both share.

That’s what I want you to remember about me the most.

I’m a details guy not because I believe in perfection but because I want to capture that instant, that split second everyone else will easily forget.

I am not the voice of my generation and I don’t believe we have one yet because no one is willing to speak up, at least not for the right reasons. Everyone is so eager to say something or capture your attention but rarely is someone actually paying attention to what they are saying.  I just want to share my stories and perhaps point out a few things you may not be noticing.

I’ve always been intrigued with the idea of an ego. How can an entire generation be so fickle and indifferent and still have managed to become so ego driven, narcissistic, and privileged? So pleased with itself that it deserves a “selfie” to document every passing moment, stripping away its authenticity one shot at a time.

Floating away into a drop box in cyberspace awaiting recovery.

When I take a cheap shot at you don’t be alarmed. This exercise i.e. “The Juicebox” is mostly aimed at flirting with my ego and trying to remain true to my intentions and myself. No one is going to make fun of me as much as I’m about to make fun of myself. I don’t want your twitter beef, I want your undivided attention because I want to inspire change.

I think our perception of the world has been muddled with memes and a mobile-based techie lifestyle. The world lacks true connections. The alternatives to face to face communication are too many to count and the dynamics of interpersonal relationships are changing with a mixed bag of incendiary results. We are no longer required to engage each other by physical means alone and one can’t help but become out of touch not with just humanity but ourselves.

Bullies, recluses, stalkers, fanatics, divas – there are a slew of options to choose from so you can become anyone but yourself.

What is everyone hiding from?

I don’t have to portray myself as an over the top personality because that is who I am. I’ve always been a little bit too much and like my brother will always tell me, “Juice you’re at an 11, I need you at a 4.”

I expect you to do the same. We should have a dialogue. I have something to say and you are entitled to your opinion and more importantly you should have one about anything and everything.

A critical event is about to occur. Society will be asked to reconcile our overgrown egos and the direction we are heading with the behavior that has become the new normal. News tickers shoot across the screen detailing twitter spats for the day. The rattle and hum of our gossip-mongering news cycle doesn’t jive with the dangers of future shocks we have yet to endure.

There are plenty of evildoers lining up to take their shots at us and we shouldn’t be busy turning on each other.  We have to recover a sense of community. Too many devices are driving us apart and we need to begin using them to piece ourselves back together.  I decided that I could create this blog and share some personal essays and some ideas about things that I love like people and music and art.

My name is Jeremy Muniz and this is my blog: The Juicebox.

I’m not late to the party. I was just busy being a wallflower but now I’m ready to dance.