The year is 2016. Normally that would mean nothing to me except that we finally reached an even number; this won’t be an “odd” year. I was relatively happy with 2015 except for a few minor hiccups. This year promised to bring the fruits of my labor, happiness, and a few extra pennies in my bank account. Hell, I worked hard for years. It’s finally time to see some real payoff. Yes, 2016 had so much promise. Then Prince died. I have to be honest. I wasn’t a huge Prince fan. purple-rain-key-artI liked Purple Rain the movie, and the song “When Doves Cry.” Why was Prince’s death so significant? It followed a series of untimely demises of our most beloved celebrities—deaths that started a chain reaction from the first day of this New Year, from Natalie Cole to David Bowie to Patty Duke to Keith Emerson.   I’m sure I wasn’t the only person who started to recognize this trend. It seemed someone iconic was passing away every week.

A good friend of mine called me the day Prince died and was touting Prince’s attributes. My friend was very affected by his death, and as I listened, trying to empathize, I realized I just didn’t know much about the artist. He was not on my radar like Maurice White (Earth Wind & Fire) or Natalie Cole . . . so I Googled him. This act of curiosity led me down a rabbit hole of unanswered questions and countless conspiracy theories. I saw commentary from Info Wars, old interviews, third person accounts; and they all pointed to a secret society called the Illuminati. Now, before I continue, I just want to say that I learned a lot about Prince. I already knew of his talent, but I had no idea he was as charitable as he was, or that he was profoundly religious (a Jehovah’s Witness). I also knew he had recently won back the rights to his music from Warner Bros, his former record label. I knew he had changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol, which preceded “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.” I learned that he fought for musicians’ rights. And yes, I do remember him performing once with the word “slave” written on the side of his face. It is all curious and fascinating. (Read Social Almanac‘s article on Prince and Bowie.)

Who doesn’t love a good story, especially one that is sinister, promising foul play? One thing all of these celebrities had in common was they died too early. At least it appeared that way.

Screen Grab from Google “Celebrity Deaths 2016”

Further investigation on Youtube left me unsettled. As I watched video after video, there was that common thread of Illuminati. I had heard years ago about this clandestine, secret society that makes these celebrities sell their soul for mega stardom. But they were warned. . . .

“Once you sign in blood, there is no turning back. And if you dare speak against the immortal secret society, you will end up dead.”

These rumors were floating around about Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, Robin Williams, and others. In fact the list of secret society actors, musicians, and politicians is mind blowing. So as a good little amateur sleuth, I kept investigating. The whole process really shook me up.

To make light of the situation, I posted something silly on my Facebook about it after I expressed my newfound concern. Have you ever eaten too much of a certain food only to become repulsed by it? Remember how you never wanted to taste that certain food ever again? Well, that’s exactly what happened to me. I had ingested way too much information, and it was depressing me. So I put a stop to it and went back to my normal carefree life of working out, running my businesses, dealing with my drama, etc. Then one day as I was checking a music video of mine online (I shamefully admit to peeping out the number of views I had), I noticed Youtube was suggesting videos on my channel. I really tried to ignore them. But finally, after several weeks of pretending I didn’t see them there, I clicked on one. It was themed “NWO,” which I quickly learned stood for New World Order. I watched it, and for the last few weeks I felt as if I had swallowed the red pill in the Matrix! For those of you who are not familiar with my comparison, just search The Matrix and the “red pill” online and read the synopsis.

“Things I thought I’d always known were in question.”

Screen Grab from Google “Illuminati”

This is what I call TMI, too much information.

My safety and constitutional rights seemed threatened. Our food is unsafe and unhealthy. Our government has been lying to us. Our news is not accurate. There’s a plot to kill 5.5 billion people to save the planet. They want to keep us distracted and make us stupid by poisoning us. All the people in power are part of this conspiracy to trick us into believing they are good when they’re actually lying through their teeth. 911 was our fault, not a so-called terrorist act. All the world wars were planned, and everybody was in cahoots. The Holocaust didn’t really happen, neither did the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. Two men control all the finances in the world. We are just sheep with our eyes closed. They’re spraying stuff in the air in attempts to kill off the population. There are re-education camps with portable graves just waiting for anyone who is hip to this so-called New World Order. Lastly, it is all prophesied in Revelations (the bible) and only the Christians will escape it. We are all going to die or be enslaved to this New World Order this fall. And 2017 will signal the end of time. Shall I go on? Please stop this roller coaster. I want to get off!

Screen Grab from Youtube “NWO”

The final video was the final straw. I obsessed, had nightmares, walked around agitated, warned my friends; I even looked at ways around the inevitable end of my existence as I once knew it to be. I accepted my fate. If I’m going to be held captive, killed for knowing too much, stripped of my possessions, or worse, I might as well do it while having a good time! If my time is so limited that I can’t really set long-term goals, then I’d better set short-term goals. What all this gloom and doom did for me was make me think about what was really important. If any of these conspiracies are true, what could little ol’ me do about it? I’m just one person.

“There’s a plot to kill 5.5 billion people to save the planet. They want to keep us distracted and make us stupid by poisoning us. All the people in power are part of this conspiracy to trick us into believing they are good when they’re actually lying through their teeth.”

We’re living in a time of unlimited information. And it’s hard to decipher truth from hype. Even Wikipedia needs to be edited from time to time—not all the information is accurate or relevant. The best thing we can do is hold on to our beliefs. Hold on to what makes us happy. Do what excites us. Because waiting for the world to come to an end is only going to make us unhappy, unhealthy, and no fun at all to be around. One thing is a fact, we will all die one day. Nobody lives forever. And even though it seemed those celebrities died too soon, if you research them, you will find that they did not live perfectly healthy lives. So . . . is there a New World Order? Probably. Are there secret societies? Definitely. Do we have to be a part of this subterfuge? Absolutely not! We are halfway through 2016 and there’s still another six months left. We have a presidential race to think about and pets to feed, children to raise, relationships to nurture, and bills to pay.

Kaylene Peoples Selfie “Red Nose Day”

Yes, 2016 is half over, but I choose to think of it as six more months of living out my excitement . . . not six more months of being terrified of my future.

Do something for somebody else.  Wear a red clown nose and help underprivileged children.  Spend time with an ailing parent. Let a friend cry on your shoulder.  Bird watch, worship, read a book, watch a silly movie.  It doesn’t matter what you do, just live again.  That’s exactly what I  plan to do.  First thing in the morning, I’m clearing my cache off Youtube;  and I challenge all of you conspiracy theorist junkies to do the same!