Archives for the month of: May, 2015

It’s easy to mentally imprison ourselves. I have heard so many people acknowledge a personality trait of theirs that they know isn’t desirable, that they are not proud to exhibit, and in the same breath they’ll say ‘but that’s the way I’ve always been’ or ‘I think I do this because of my parents’. Instead of viewing a discovered shortcoming as an opportunity for growth, it seems that it is almost human nature to brush aside and dismiss our flaws (even though we’re still not happy to have them).

Please don’t misinterpret my meaning: humans are flawed creatures. I have plenty of flaws and demons, some of which I’m sure I have not yet fully realized. What I am suggesting, though, is that we not become stagnant creatures. We have so much power to grow and strengthen, but if we want this betterment, we have to choose progress. Developing our best selves is not a simple road. In fact, it is a road without an end. Along the path, there are hills and valleys and smooth patches and forks where we get to select how we wish to continue. We can sit for a bit here and there to take a break when we are weary. If we stumble along the way, there’s truly no harm done. But it’s when we lie down and take a nap that we become ungrateful. We have this beautiful road before us; there are all sorts of discoveries to be made and lessons to be learned. Don’t we owe ourselves, don’t we owe the Universe, don’t we owe those less fortunate to explore?

Please don’t underestimate your potential. Please don’t become complacent. When we dismiss any part of our personality or behavior as something to which we are powerless, we do ourselves a disservice. It is a wonderful world we’re living in: there are places to discover, places to better understand, and there’s so much damage to undo. As with all things, start with yourself. Even small actions, especially once multiplied by millions and billions, can make a world of a difference. Be brave. Never stop moving forward.

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Lately, I have been thinking a lot about my place in society and my part in relationships. You see, I kind of hate to admit these things, but:

A) I am highly sensitive. I think I always have been, but have just recently realized it. I used to be better at reigning in the emotions (or at least I think I was) before my current relationship. My current relationship has been a long one- one for which I am very grateful. My boyfriend is an incredible human being and I love him very much. Maybe it is being in a relationship that has caused me to feel more emotionally vulnerable and expressive (something I’d really love to not be), or maybe it’s just that because I live with and interact so closely with my boyfriend, I feel more self-conscious about expressing my emotions, and therefore notice that I am experiencing them. Writing this makes me feel embarrassed. I am still learning about high sensitivity, but it seems so odd that I realize that I am generally sensitive, but am not sensitive to that fact. Sensitivity seems like a distinct weakness (and is, in my opinion, one of my greatest weaknesses), but since I don’t consider myself weak, I guess it makes sense that I am hesitant in my wanting to identify myself as such in any form.

B) I attract narcissists. (Okay, not uniformly, but if I attract someone, there is a pretty darn good chance that he is a narcissist. Yay.) And I attract them accidentally. And with magnetism- spellbinding, as it’s sometimes called. This, I have regarded as a strength. So much so that, as I type, I wonder if it is a good idea that I am revealing this. (Of course that’s another one of my iffy traits- my generally very honest… too honest, maybe, nature.) I’m not sure I see my appeal from the perspective of those (few) that I attract, but it is strong. And it makes me feel a little guilty, to be honest. Because I feel like, in maintaining a friendship with a person who admires me in a way I don’t reciprocate, I am somehow being manipulative. And I really, truly, 100% don’t want that. But I do want to be friends with people who are very kind to me. I try to make my intentions (or lack thereof) very clear, but also be kind and be a friend to these people. Who doesn’t like to feel appreciated? But again, it concerns me that I am being accidentally encouraging to unrequited feelings. If I felt certainty that I was worsening these people by continuing to communicate with them from time to time, I would readily and quickly halt all interaction with them.

C) I have a tendency to become spellbound. Perhaps this ties into my high sensitivity, but I have found that while I attract people (many of whom it seems are attracted to me for their own benefit- much like leeches) magnetically, I, too, am the type to fall prey to deeply magnetic figures. It is very hard for me when I happen to fall under the spell of someone who is narcissistic, and I believe this has happened twice so far, and hopefully never again. Especially hopefully never again because I can’t say with conviction (although of course I’d like to) that I have broken either of the spells to which I’ve fallen prey.

I have noticed that there are times, many times, when I somehow forget who I am. It sounds really bizarre if you haven’t experienced it, I know. I forget what my strengths and weaknesses are, I forget events that have helped shape me, and probably strangest of all, I sometimes find my own reflection a little foreign (despite the fact that I have looked almost exactly as I currently do for ten years). To best remedy this, I have found taking comprehensive personality tests satisfying. While I sometimes feel like I have forgotten who I am, I always remain myself, and to rediscover this through answering questions and having my answers electronically evaluated, though maybe shallow and strange, has proven to be very soothing for me. Life is such a blessing, such and opportunity for growth. I realize my own personal struggles may be exceedingly bizarre, but I am grateful for the lessons that come with them and feel certain that I am learning, perhaps slowly, all that I am meant to from this elaborate and unending experience.

There once was an apple. It was in its infancy, growing stronger each day. Every once in a while, a bird would come to peck at it as it grew, but the apple was tough and shook the birds off. The apple continued to grow, despite sometimes poor weather conditions, sometimes dull afternoons. The apple was determined and optimistic that one day all inconveniences would fall by the wayside and it would be fully and perfectly grown into its full potential. One day a small human came near the tree the apple grew upon. This human, out of its own frustration with its own inconveniences, took hold of the branches of the tree and began to shake them. The apple was put off by this, as this was likely the worst of all hindrances it had experienced, and yet it persisted in doing all it could to hold on; it was almost time for harvest. Day after day, this human returned to shake the tree. The apple held on as fervently as could be managed, but as it grew riper, it slowly lost its grip. One day, the human returned to give its usual shake. This day, the apple lost its hold and, among a couple of others, fell to the ground. The human, like always, walked away after the shake was over.  While the apple was somewhat disheartened by this eventual failure, it did not lose hope. It held a belief that by some miracle, some force would remove it from the ground. It watched the human return for its daily shakes; it sat and sat, through storms and sun and cold nights alike. One day, the human returned. Instead of shaking the tree as was its usual habit, it sat and wept. One by one, it picked up the apples it had shaken to the ground and tried to polish them off. Some could be saved, but when it got to our apple, once so strong and determined, it found that rot had set in. It was not the apple’s fault- the apple had sat in waiting for many days. Still, the apple felt sorrow, as though it had let the human down as it awaited the human’s selection. Upon seeing the rot, the human reacted with fury and cast the apple to the ground. After a bit of thought, the human picked the apple up once more, but still could not think up a way to improve the situation. The human stared, wallowing in self-pity. And then, gently this time, set the apple down, and walked away.

Just because you can’t think of a way to fix a situation does not mean that it cannot be fixed. Just because you don’t understand your own involvement in a problem doesn’t mean that you have not contributed. Just because you feel and/or act sorry now doesn’t mean you can alter the past.

You have to care. You have to actively seek what you desire. Good things come to those who act.

When all of the world is a hopeless jumble- when there are so many things, too many things, on your mind and you can’t bear to think them all. When you can’t make sense of your own troublings: write. Write and write until you have nothing more to say. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a comprehensive order, it doesn’t matter if you write something you’d be horrified for the world to hear or see. Write for yourself. The only way to feel better, to be rid of complications and thoughts when they become too much, is to write them down. Tell the page. The page will absorb and understand all that you give it. Just write.

Baltimore is one of the most-discussed social discourses I’ve ever witnessed. While the social discourse brings out hoards of people who tend to make me wish I could categorize myself as something other than human to avoid being categorized as anything remotely like them, I think it’s great that this is being talked about. I have spent a fair amount of time on social media, Facebook especially, reading people’s thoughts, generating my own, and also (as I mentioned) being utterly disgusted by willing ignorance, and so I am taking this opportunity to share with you some of my responses to topics that I have encountered in the midst of the aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death.

The joy expressed by the public upon the release of the film of the mother dressed in yellow removing her son from a protest group via physical violence.

I think at once, when I first saw the video, I realized this was a mother acting by whatever means necessary to save her son from a fate at the hands of police. It’s been very clear to me for a long long while that corruption within varied police forces truly exists and is something with which anyone, especially those of African-American descent, would do well to avoid contact… I think, if this mother (or a mother of any race) were beating her son ‘in a CVS’ as the article suggests as an alternative, general reception would be different not because of the location of the interaction, but because of the context. The (definitely hesitant) gladness I felt when I saw this mother’s interaction with her son was not a gladness to see someone of color be beaten (and actually that suggestion makes me feel such shame and disgust with myself, I can’t quite put it into words) but happiness that, in a world where there is known injustice, ESPECIALLY against African-Americans, delivered by police, a mother was willing to do whatever it took to extract her son from what could have easily become a far worse situation for him. Not because I condone police brutality and the measures it forces people to take, nor do I think we should societally accept it, but because I realize it exists whether I want it to or not and that exercising caution when entering into a hostile situation with police, like the one that exists in Baltimore right now, is more than just a good idea in the name of physical self-preservation.

I realize that I am white and cannot fully understand the plight of these people. I do not generally condone violence, but I realize that desperate times call for desperate measures and, while I dearly and urgently wish these weren’t desperate times, the fact that there is tension and danger within the tension cannot be ignored. So I am, contextually, somewhat happy for this mother and son. Not because he deserves to be physically abused in any way, not because I wish her the stress of having to make the difficult choice to take physical action against her son, not because institutionalized racism brings me any amount of gladness, but because she realizes the gravity of this dense situation and decided against passivity.

And, about the riots occurring in Baltimore:

The fact that peaceful protests happened and continue to happen but do not receive coverage makes a HUGE statement.

I can’t condone rioting, but it is almost as if your people are routinely punched in the face for years on end and, though many are able to remain civilized and simply state that they don’t approve of the discrimination they face, there are others who fly off the handle (the rioting group are, by far, the minority of those protesting). Is it right? No. Is looting acceptable? Definitely not. But where does it come from? Fear, pain, injustice, oppression. Passionate disagreement with institutionalized racism.
Too bad everyone is not awesome at being calmly oppressed, but I think if you punch 1,000 people and a couple punch you back… I mean, pretty good odds.