Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Putting it out there

While researching for an assignment the other day I came across a quote from New York Times Best-Selling Author Bill Clegg (his advice for aspiring writers), "Write!! And then write more. And keep it to yourself for as long as you can before sharing with others." 

It made me wonder--am I doing something wrong? 

When I write I cannot wait to share it with others (after I've written and revisited and reviewed, of course.)

I write for people.

I want what I say to make a difference in someone's day. I write to put a smile on his face, to put an idea on her mind.

Knowing that people will read what I've written is exciting. Putting it out there in the world is like breaking off a little piece of my mind and sharing it, like bread at the communion table. 

Should I be mulling over every word and phrase, agonizing over each syllable, crying over my laptop? 

Sure, writing is a process. But it doesn't always have to be a laborious, tedious process. 

Writing should be fun. It should bring joy both to the writer and the reader.

Why should I sweat over every minute detail? 

Will anyone actually care that I didn't spend the last ten years perfecting this blog post?

Writers everywhere--its time to end our suffering. 

Write what you want, when you want, how you want. And share it. 


Sunday, September 27, 2015

The facts of life (and death)

If you don't water your plants, they will die.

That is a fact. 

Keeping a plant alive is simple--your actions determine its fate. 

What isn't simple, is a human life. No matter what you do--your actions can't solve everything. 

That, is also a fact. 

No matter how much you love someone, no matter how many visits you make or don't make to the hospital, nothing changes the ending. The ending is always the same. The ending is always death.

There is no way to make a difference in death; it is only in life that the real difference can be made.

That's a lesson I'm trying to learn.

I can't go back and give her more time--I can't change how it happened. I have to remember the way she impacted my life. I have remember the way I impacted hers. 

Death is just the end of life.

Death does not kill memories.
Death does not kill happiness.
Death does not take everything away.

Death leaves her legacy behind--death lets us keep her spirit alive. 

If you don't water your plants, they will die. If you let death erase the good times--you will. 


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Four letters and a box

Like many college students I have no idea what my post-grad life will be like. Will I be working in my field? What will my field even be? Am I even going to get a job? Everyone knows exactly how I feel, if you don't, you might be lying to yourself.

Being the pro-active, go-getter that I am, I decided to schedule an appointment for myself at the campus Career Development Office. Better get started early, I thought to myself. I knew what to expect, they'd tell me to take a lot of general ed courses until something sparked my passion or something generic like that.

Guess what? I wasn't wrong.

During the course of my appointment I had the privilege of being introduced to personality testing. I'll figure out what to do with my life. This will be easy. Just do this test and it'll tell you what to do. 

I had heard of the Myers-Briggs personality test before but I'd never cared enough to take it. But that Monday afternoon in the career development office, I was excited.


That's who I am.

Four letters.

I'm "extraverted, intuitive, feeling, and judging."

Four letters and a box.

I'm The Giver. 

According to this test, I am suited well for careers in counseling, entertainment, childcare...
The list goes on, and I'll admit--the test is not wrong. I would likely excel in those areas.

But what if I don't care?

Tests like the Myers-Briggs are limiting. People are multi-faceted, people cannot be described by four letters. Why should I need this test to validate my personality? I know that I am a giving person, I've often thought about becoming a counselor, I know I'm an extrovert. Why did I feel so validated when the test matched my personal views of myself? Why should I need a test to tell me who I am when I've been myself my whole life?

Tests like these are relieving, they make us feel like we belong. But do we really belong in boxes?

No one can possibly be described by only four letters--there has to be a better way to guide people's futures.

We should encourage individuality, stress the importance of making our own choices, and start thinking outside the box.

Monday, September 21, 2015

An exercise in self-awareness

Today my English 101 professor instructed us to pull out of sheet of notebook paper.

"Rip it out of your notebook. I want you to write down all the words that stop you from doing what you want. All the negatives."

And so we did. I glanced around the room at my peers as they frantically scribbled--a flurry of pen against paper. I had my own list. It wasn't short yet it wasn't long. And I knew that everything I wrote wasn't really true. I'm not really stupid. I know that my ideas do matter. It's just easy to let those ideas fill your head on a cloudy day.

"Okay," she said, "take that paper and crush it."

As we did this she excitedly rushed around the room with the trash can and instructed us to throw these powerless words away.

"Words don't have power unless we give power to them," she told us.

The therapy session had begun. We had purged our minds of the negative. I thought to myself--okay Professor Nofsinger, where are you going with this? 

"Take out another paper and write down the words you want to hear most."

This was easy. No one likes to admit it but we all love having our egos fed. We all want to be considered smart, We all want to feel beautiful. We want people to listen to us when we have something to say. It's in our blood.

"Fold that paper nicely. Put it in your pocket, Put it in your purse. Keep it close to you. And when you find that paper later on, you won't need to read it over and over again because you'll understand the power those words have. That's the power you give them."

Okay, that's all well and good. Be positive, don't let things get to you, etc. I couldn't help but feel like I'd heard it all before. But as my classmates and I got up to leave (20 minutes early, I might add) I noticed that the entirety of the class had smiles on their faces. That small dose of positivity was exactly what they needed on this Monday afternoon.

I guess sometimes we need to examine the things that make us happy, or sad, or angry. Taking a moment to understand why we feel the way we do can be freeing.

Words only have power if we give power to them.

That's what I learned in college today.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

First Draft

I have tried and failed to write three other blogs, so it's a good thing that four is my lucky number.

At the moment this blog has no real purpose. It probably won't change your life. It probably won't make you question your beliefs. But maybe you will be entertained, maybe you will be interested, maybe you will even be inspired.

As a young, college student I have plenty of questions about the world we live in. Is the world fair? Is it possible that an entire planet can really be fair? Are most people inherently good? How do you even become a good person? Why do I like writing rhetorical questions so much? Basically once I get talking, I have a lot to say.

Throughout this blog you will learn about my life, you will hear about my passions, and you will see the world through my eyes. And maybe you won't like what you see, but it's worth a shot.