The Rite of Passage in L.A.

Sometimes poverty and addiction is all you see,

Is this the world I left behind to you,

Or is this what was left behind to me?

What I know is I hurt with you when you weep,

Broken promises that left you, scars we both keep.

Keep ya head up, they told me

Now it’s your turn.

Is that destiny?

You see you yourself are not a broken promise, though,

Homie.

But you have to make your way through brokenness,

To know

What’s truly free.

You’ll be free.

J.T.

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Anxious in Highland Park

Greetings Los Angeles,

Today I greet the people from Highland Park on the North-east side. It’s a positively gorgeous day, with glistening marine layers overseeing The City and teasing the possibility of a little more rainfall before Spring kicks in next week. It probably won’t rain, but it’s nice to see the remainder of a California winter grappling with the sunlight for control of the sky.

And what a magnificent thing it is, to think the Spring is just over the horizon. Through so much work and wandering about over the last couple of months, at some point I seem to have forgotten about the seasons and the way everything has its time.

Like anyone else, I’ve created a routine out of my time, and the routine has become so ingrained in my mind that it’s seemed like something of a permanent state, when in actuality it’s only the latest chapter in the midst of so many more which follow.

This might seem logical enough, but it’s actually been a challenge for me to place into perspective. I’ve been struggling with a sense of direction lately, feeling out of place at work, and questioning just where and how I want to focus my time and energy as more time passes. The experience has been daunting, and in certain moments, it’s been frightening.

At times, the fear has made it difficult to appreciate the beautiful things in my life, including the simplest things like a conversation with friends and family, or the sound of a bird’s chirping in the morning. It’s also created anxiety, which in its darkest seems to turn the future into an unbearable weight on the mind that isn’t just difficult to carry, but more difficult to let go of.

Fortunately, even through the depth of these emotions, I’ve been able to recognize that probably the best thing to do when I feel overwhelmed is to reach out to others. Each time, this has proved to be just right.

Though they might not fully know it, the people in my life are the heroes and saviors of my life, as even in the moments when I can’t fully be with them, they can be with me just enough for my senses to rise past fear and anxiety and join them in the world. This is the greatest gift of them all; as it happens when the sunlight overtakes the cloudy haze over the sky, the realization that I’m still here for people to hear from, and that the rest of the world is still there waiting for me to be a part of it is more precious than any of the things I can worry about.

And I can find this precious nature about the world in the whirl of a car passing by, or in the relief of an exhalation from my lungs. I can find it in the sight of strangers smiling at one another, or in the memory of my own moments smiling before my friends. I can also find it in the comfort of earbuds enclosing my eardrums, or in the sound of people chattering about in conversation as they resemble the birds chirping in the morning. Watching them, I know I’m just like a bird too, and that I’m just saving my song for another time to be inspired by theirs for a moment.

Everywhere there is this moment. Everywhere there is a friend, or a place, or some other resource to find hope and refuge in. Everywhere there is life rising from the depths of the universe in full force, and everywhere there is something just waiting to have such energy returned.

And so, as I look up and prepare to lift off, whether in rain or in shine the sky continues to support my dreams.

I can only be hopeful of how everything ahead will show this to us, but in the meantime, I thank again everyone who’s supported this ode to the people of Los Angeles.

With more soon,

J.T.

Bernie Sanders

I know politics are ugly, but there’s no way I can actually avoid talking about politics. In 2016, J.T. will have to, and in fact, I guess it starts here.

Bernie Sanders’s camp is said to have rallied a mass of supporters at the L.A. coliseum earlier tonight, which is great to hear in a city that elected its current mayor with only 12% of its registered voters.

Yet if Bernie Sanders were serious about change, he and his camp would recognize that their campaign will ultimately win and change nothing, and they’d thank the women of Black Lives Matter for honoring his podium with their movement, and join forces with them in lending attention to the failure of both democratic and republican parties to serve in the interests of The People’s History of the United States each time they’ve had the chance to honor (Black) Liberation Theory.

From Lincoln, to FDR, to Obama, ‘progressive leaders’ have never actually cared to institute meaningful policy for the success of ‘the minority’, perhaps figuring it just doesn’t make much political or mathematical sense since their constituents are self-interested and reductive of any policy seeking to build the whole country rather than a select group of it.

Opponents of those BLM members interrupting Bernie cite his ‘civil rights’ record as reason to let him speak, but let’s have the conversation with some integrity: a lot of ‘civil rights’ records look good on paper, but they mean nothing on the ground to the black and brown youth who still occupy openly segregated neighborhoods, classrooms, prison cells, and even segregated graveyards because of the legacy of poverty their parents and grandparents come from.

Until Bernie and his supporters acknowledge this, his campaign is vaguely reminiscent of ‘hope’, ‘change’, and other empty campaign slogans that I recall hearing this one other time I got excited about a presidential candidate.

Ultimately though, regardless of whether Sanders or his supporters acknowledge this, the truth is that the power dynamic in this country will simply never honor the people en masse.

Whether the advertisements don blue or red stripes, only one thing’s for sure: what the power dynamic will do is make great commercials about change, and design and execute great campaign rallies about change.

They will deliver this special effect through awesome stereo and television systems, and as the audience, we will (reluctantly) buy into these ads or illusions. Why? Because it’ll be simpler and maybe even more natural for us to do than to actually work towards change as a society. We’ll also buy the ads because it will just feel good, and because nothing will be able to beat a good feeling.

That is, until another ad comes along, compelling us toward another good feeling. By the time we’re disappointed with that false advertisement (Clinton/Bush/Whatever), it won’t matter, since we’ll have another movie –err– campaign rally to attend. This is the U.S.A after all, and if there’s one thing we do best in this country, it’s buying into illusions of power and grandeur.

I’m even doing it now, as I write this. In publishing this, a part of me believes it will change something, and that it’s going to rally people for some real transformation of the world. A bit farther in, some other part of me even thinks of this ‘piece’ as my own bid for the presidency. In fact –the hell with it– I’m just going to go for it:

This message was brought to you by JIMBO TIMES: The L.A. Storyteller. Vote for JIMBO TIMES, because it will just feel good, and because unlike the other candidates, J.T. promises to do nothing more than make you feel it.

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to you(s),

What is the road without a song to it? As I write, I’m on the Greyhound bus leaving Fort Worth for El Paso, Texas. In my earbuds, Max Richter’s The Trees fills the silence with a fiery collision between a piano and violin. In my mind, the instruments conjure images of light-bulbs floating through a night sky, each chasing the other in some aerial dance of perfection. Maybe it’s fitting. The night is on the horizon again.

Tonight I won’t have my laptop or phone at my disposal like the others. The socket in front of me is no good, so I’ll be hanging out old-school through the road. But I’m ready. This evening I feel stronger than I have during any other night. I’ve now observed myself through my time on the bus, and jotted down the little things about how I like to get by, and it’s simple:

A full stomach, a fresh body, and a little bit of a snack or two to fill the mind with some activity does the trick. Whether I snack on some reading or a bag of chips makes only a slight difference: I can devour both just fine. But now, with my trip in the homestretch, I don’t even need much of either. I’m going home, and home is pulling the strings now; no matter what happens, I’ll see my people at the end of it all.

And with this in mind, I dedicate the last bag of cookies in my backpack to all those who have supported me throughout this latest voyage of mine. We made it! And in doing so, we’ve extended the life of our community, which is a community made up of all ages, colors, and backgrounds, and which is spread throughout the West, South, and East coasts of our country. Tonight, we are all stronger together on this bus. And tonight, we are all going home.

Dear L.A.,

JIMBO TIMES is officially seven months old tomorrow, and seven months later, I’m just as ambitious about its potential as ever! I want to build, and build, and build higher ground with JT like the skyscrapers of L.A., and I want to design, and refine, and redefine what it means for the people who have supported my journey over the years.

In an effort to get one step closer to that next level, over the last two weeks I’ve sent out the link for JT to two different organizations in hopes of landing a good job with them. Finally, Rejection doesn’t mean any kind of failure to me. It only entails the process of going from one door to the next until I find the right one by which to burst onto the scene.

Maybe failure’s always meant that to me: a part of the process. At the end of the day, I don’t believe anything has ever really failed me in a full sense of the word. I think everything has worked cohesively with every other facet of the universe to lead me just to where I am.

And over the past seven months of working on JT, I’ve exposed myself to the world of creative forces out there like never before! But I’m just getting started. The two organizations I’ve sent the website to are only the tip of the iceberg; I’m going to take JT everywhere. At the same time, I can see my photography reaching new depths, and it’s not just that I’ve got a new camera to play with, but it’s also that I’m playing with more patience, subtlety, and simply more experience at shooting something and delivering it to viewers in an interesting way; it all adds up!

Of course, getting to this point hasn’t been a breezy walk in the park. Like the thousands of photos I’ve shot for the website, only a tiny fraction of them have made it to see the page. The same is true for moments like these; in a world with so many twists and turns for the mind, there’s only so much time to stop and say hey there to the rest of what’s going on! Still, here we are, and the few moments we get to share our hope with the world are made all the more precious by each of those moments we can only treasure for ourselves.

Tonight though, those moments are one in an absolutely marvelous feeling of hope. And so, from the sacred silence of my mom’s place here in L.A., on through the ends of the Milky Way: my hope is your hope, my love is your love, and our shared success is inevitable. Like the days of the new Spring ahead of us, we’re each just waiting to have our work blossom!

With everlasting hope for those days ahead,

Jimmy “JIMBO” Recinos

Rediscovering Los Angeles,

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Rampart Village, Los Angeles, CA

One of the best feelings in the world is discovering a new place where you know you’ll find yourself again because it’s somehow an integral part of you the instant you find yourself in its space. I felt this way the moment that I saw the radiant photo for JT, and I still feel this way about the site now, as I enter its 101st post with this text!

That feeling goes beyond the web-page though, as it extends across to so many of the places I find in my travels through the city. Earlier today I visited Miguel Contreras High School with The PLUS ME Project, and there was just such a brilliant sight there that I can still see it now: nestled just outside of downtown on 3rd street, the school has an absolutely magnificent view of another skyline besides downtown’s that a lot of L.A. aficionados aren’t as familiar with: that of Mount Baldy’s snow-covered mountain tops! It was galvanizing. And even now, to think that while I enjoyed the warmth of rich sunlight this morning in L.A., not far away there stood this an entirely polar universe of snow and temperatures below zero, I mean it was just humbling!

The world is so vast, but even for The L.A. Storyteller, there are moments where it feels like I’m just so crammed in by all the concrete and metal and fumes which surround me as I make my way through the city. Still, while it might be true that L.A.’s traffic can feel overwhelming at times, it’s also true that it just depends on the particular moment in which one finds themselves in.

For me today, as I stood on 3rd street in front of MCLC’s doors at 10:00 am, with the heavy morning commute out of the way and most people tucked into their offices, the entire place was free of traffic, noise, and the tensions that spring from these things. And as I took a breath before it all, it just dawned on me how no matter where we are we’re always just a small part of things there. The world and its movement are infinitely bigger than we are, but rather than sulking over this, it’s exciting to rejoice over any little bit of the universe that we get! And especially so if we get to stand amid sunshine and warmth on one end to muse at snow-covered mountain peaks on the other end!

And so it looks like I’ll have to go back to 3rd street soon, and not just for an appointment with the school there.

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Thank You Los Angeles, with Love

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Dear Friends, Family, and Other Members of this Community,

Today it is my distinct pleasure to inform you that together:

WE DID IT!

After fifteen days, we officially reached our fundraising goal this morning to make the impossible, just possible! Now, a new camera awaits the pages of JIMBO TIMES. And I hope you’ll stay tuned, because our journey together has only just begun. After all, JT is designed to tell ‘L.A. stories’ for the people of Los Angeles, making this first camera OUR investment.

Our fundraising effort is also a bookmark by which to remember that when people reach out to one another, they find not only that they’re not alone in this world, but that they are respected, appreciated, and ultimately loved by others who can recognize a fellow human being in need.

Thank you so much once more, and please know that all of you have a friend in both mom and I as we continue forward alongside The City. Together we wish you an amazing new year in peace, health, and magnificent success.

From another gorgeous day in ever sunny Los Angeles,

Jimmy “JIMBO” Recinos & Mama

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Dealing With Our News Cycle

It’s been difficult to write; more difficult than usual.

The news has been especially disturbing as of late, and I can still recall the days when I’d criticize mom for paying attention to the news on television, back when we still had it running in our home. Years later, I find myself clenched to my seat, unable to look away; scared, angered, and disheveled by the scene on the screen of my laptop all at once.

To make matters more difficult, I don’t know what else I can really say to anyone else at this point. For a long time, my writing’s operated on the premise that I could appeal to reason within others the way others have appealed to the reason within me, but now, I’m not so sure anymore.

Now, I don’t know who’s listening, or if anyone is listening. At the very least, I tell myself, the writing will go on some kind of record, for whatever that might count, except that there are so many records, and they’re all just so obsolete. They all just describe a moment of helplessness before the act of a great crime or tragedy against humanity, but they never really contest or fight back against the act of injustice itself; they just merely recount it.

The idea, then, that I can at least write to educate others about injustice in hopes of raising a general awareness to prevent more of the same offers little respite from the great sense of disappointment that my efforts at this have produced so far. Toni Morrison once said “the purpose of freedom is to free someone else,” but what’s the point of freeing one person’s mind if three times as many will still remain enchained at the end of the day?

Continue reading “Dealing With Our News Cycle”

When You Don’t Get the Job: How to take “No” for the Win

As seen on LinkedIn.

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As my job hunt continues, a few more ideas have come into perspective about the process. Below are a few tips I think can help my fellow job hunters out there following the application process!

    1. There is no such thing as a wasted application. Even when you don’t get the job, while you can look at the applications where you got a no as throwaways, they’re actually quite the opposite. Think about it this way: your portfolio is growing, and the more applications you have to review, the more templates you’ve got to build the one. After all, it’s likely that as you get more in touch with the kind of job you want, you’ll increasingly reach out to employers who will probably have the same requirements as the others, with slight variations; in turn, the more material you have to sift through which corresponds to the subtleties of these variations, the more likely you’ll create the application that reaches just the right employer when just the right time comes.
    2. There is no such thing as a wasted interview, because here’s a shocker: Learning how to rock an interview is just like learning how to ride a bicycle, tossing a frisbee, or dancing your heart out: it takes practice! And as always, the more practice you have, the better. But how can you measure whether you’re getting better or not, you ask? By recording your interviews. Do this by writing about the process, calling a friend or family member immediately after the interview wraps up to chat about it, or even by vocally recording your thoughts as soon as you get the chance. Make a note of what was asked during the interview, how you responded, and how you could have responded even better; just like the application, it’s going to help you track the oh-so-little things which can and will make all the difference next time.
    3. Always, always, always thank any potential employer who takes the time to speak with you. Saying ‘thanks anyway’ with a smile shows confidence and class, and it also makes you more competitive for potential opportunities at another time. This step might be the easiest to overlook, but it’s a crucial one. Unless you plan on job hunting for about a year before you hit the lottery and move to the Cayman Islands, you’re probably better off keeping a likable record with the employers that could have been so that at least you build rapport from the process. More importantly, it’s about constructive thinking: when you walk away from something, do so with hindsight, and let the experience enrich your perspective.
    4. Take all of these tips and use them to find yourself, believe in yourself, and narrow down your focus. As you review your applications, interviews, and thanks anyways’, think about what felt right about them and what didn’t. In my own experience, I’ve found that in certain cases where I wasn’t exactly feeling the job was the best fit, my skepticism showed in the applications and later even came off in my tone during interviews. For example: the earliest applications I sent out had quite a bit of fluff in them, and whereas before I didn’t know why potential employers didn’t “buy it”, I can now see that employers can easily spot the fluff. Yup. Two weeks later, that old fluff has been kicked to the curb, and it’s reflected in my latest applications as I’m now more sure of what I do have to offer and what I don’t. Call me overzealous, but I’m confident this can only make me a better applicant as I continue on.
    5. Cliche as it might be: Never give up! Ever! No matter how many “nos” you get, remember that history is filled with stories of successful individuals who got bouquets of “nos” before they finally got the “yes”. Now it’s your turn to receive, and I say you take those bouquets and thank every single one of the senders for helping you right along the way! Because you’re always on the way. Every single day. Believe it. You’re worth it. You. Freaking. Rock. Now get back out there. And win. It’s what you’re supposed to do.