Monthly Archives: March 2013

Hit the books, they don’t hit back

Image

Sometimes re-reading a book that you knew when you were fourteen is equivalent to stepping into an entirely new book. When you’re young and sheltered, you can’t possibly understand the plight of others; you’re much more concerned with other pressing matters, such as confidently chatting with your crush in the hallways, or completing your study guide for Global History. Though some books we were subjected to actually are dry and inconsequential, others provide an eye-opening experience if revisited with our adult insight. Undoubtedly, we all know more about the human experience–our strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies–than we did in the ninth grade. Forty pages into Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, I noticed powerful words, phrases, and sections that my young mind deemed boring and irrelevant. I can’t wait to dissect more of the work I previously thought was “okay” and “too long.” Exposure to Southern mentality has peaked my interest in this novel, but the views on other topics also transcend to our contemporary lives and interests.

On southern towns: “People moved slowly then. They ambled across the square, shuffled in and out of stores around it, took their time about everything. A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer. There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County.”

On reading: “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”

On summer: “Summer was on the way; Jem and I awaited it with impatience. Summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the treehouse; summer was everything good to eat; it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape; but most of all, summer was Dill.”

On girls: “I was not so sure, but Jem told me I was being a girl, that girls always imagine things, that’s why other people hated them so, and if I started behaving like one I could just go off and find some to play with.”

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , ,

Tips for a Positive Life: A Follow-up

Image

 This chart is titled “60 Ways to Nurture Yourself,” courtesy of Suzanne E. Harill from Innerworks Counseling.  I received this in an informational meeting to use with difficult, distraught students. Naturally, I plan on laminating this and putting it on my fridge for personal use. These are some great answers for when someone says (or you think), “I’m so upset [or bored] that I don’t know what to do.”

Some of it is out of date–listen to tapes…? But beyond that, it seems there’s something constructive for everyone’s personal taste and preference. My favorites: Study ancient, esoteric wisdom teachings and Write a letter to someone who has hurt you, but do not send it. So next time you feel like curling up in your bed and hiding from the universe, choose one of these options instead. Because people that do things are a lot happier and more interesting than people that don’t.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Tips for Leading a Positive Life

Image

The old adage “ignorance is bliss” can be painfully true sometimes. Early on in my college experience, I ended up baking cookies with my friend and her ex-boyfriend, a summer flame from years past. We had intended for this ginger manchild to give us a lesson on how to make no-bake cookies; however, he attempted to lay some cosmic knowledge on us that he learned in his sketchy adventures across the globe. Long story short, we ended up discussing the complexities of humankind and the universe.  I’m not sure whether it was the weight of the air in the room, or the fatigue from laying on the beach all day, but we remember only bits and pieces of this dense conversation that took place as the cookies settled. Through a fog, I remember Lucie tapping me and asking, “Why are you staring at that family crest?” It was green and gold and meant nothing to me. I closed my eyes, shook my head, but still felt confined by the heat and pressure. I’m never one to have my head in the clouds, so we left immediately after eating the no-bake cookies. Looking back, this was a questionable choice. We only remember him repeating to me, “You’re a thinker.”

It didn’t matter how strange this surreal, out-of-body experience with this gingerman was; we always refer to his phrase, “You’re a thinker.” I always overanalyze things. I play out convoluted situations in my head after they happen, and I think of how the person reacted to every serious comment I made. I do this with happy occasions too, but overthinking can be a dangerous game in terms of regret. You start thinking of could-have, would-have, should-have circumstances and you get further from accepting what came of the situation. Despite this, I am a happy, upbeat person. I smile in uncomfortable situations; I help strangers because it hurts me to not to. I don’t understand people who think all of our society/world/universe is doomed. There is still beauty in the world, although many people around us cling to the negative. I agree with Anne Frank: People are inherently good, despite many aspects of evil in the world. At this time, I’m not prepared to help with the question: “Why do bad things happen to good people?” But, here’s a few ideas of how to deal with the world when you’re thinking, “Why does my life suck?”

1) There is no such thing as a bad day, week, month, or year. You only have bad moments. I’m sure something positive occurred during that time frame too. Saying you’re having a bad day might cause you to overlook good things.

2) Not “getting what you want” always has a marginal benefit to you. If things don’t work out the way you envisioned, talk it out with a friend or make a list of the things that can now happen because the said thing did not. This is particularly helpful with boys, jobs, apartments, etc.– really any missed opportunities.

3) Ask yourself if you’ll still care about this problem in 5 hours, 5 days, 5 months, and 5 years. Then react accordingly. You don’t need to call everyone you know for advice and sympathy about a temporary problem. Also, you probably shouldn’t waste your time grieving temporary uncertainties/issues.

4) Reach out to friends/family/strangers if you need help, or a good laugh. Too many people go with the urge to isolate themselves when they’re upset, and usually it doesn’t help. Friends and family provide us with support, but a nice stranger can really impact our views on human behavior.

5) Put your energy into something productive, creative, and tangible (if you’re that type of person). Do some play therapy: pick up a box of crayons and color; doodle on the back of your phone bill; freewrite your feelings or a story; build something; or finish a home project. Being silly and feeling accomplished goes a long way.

6) Plan a trip if you have money, a date if you have an exciting crush, and always a fancy dinner with a friend to reward yourself, because you deserve it.

Tagged , , , ,

“The weather can be my boyfriend, my job, my family, and confidant” yes please.

Thought Catalog

This past weekend, New York did that cruel thing it likes to do in March where it gives us two days of spring and then decides to take it away from us for another two months. It’s a bitter tease of what awaits us after months of enduring cold weather, enlarged bellies, and unhealthy hermit behavior. It also reminded me of how much happier I am when it’s summer and you can spend your days outside walking around the city. I love summer. I basically depend on it for my happiness. I depend on it to make up for the months of me being moody and feeling like shit and never wanting to leave my apartment. And you know what? It never lets me down. Not once.

Interestingly, the most depressing time of my life occurred in the summer. The heat seemed to magnify everything that was falling apart. My brain…

View original post 577 more words

Daily Prompt: This Week In Song

This week…

Got offered a full-time job for the summer, so honored and so excited and so surprised…

Found my first sundress of the season…

Saw the end of Silver Linings Playbook and evaluated my life…

Ate a full restaurant breakfast, waitresses and all, on my way home from the bar at 3am, and discussed Billy Joel’s potential for knighthood…

And then the sun came out in Albany and it wasn’t gray anymore…

Tagged , , , ,

Image

You can’t be afraid to make the life you want yours. Self-advocacy is one of the toughest parts of growing up, but that’s no reason to not get what you want. The National Equality March posted this photo earlier this week and I can’t even begin to do justice on how inspirational this is on the policy level, to unite an entire group of people fighting for one cause. In our personal lives, we can take a few notes from what has become a full-fledged civil rights movement. You have to empower yourself to make the smallest step, even if you have to crawl an inch closer to what you want.

If you have a question that’s been nagging you, you need to ask it. There will never be a time that you’re ready. So speak up, get out there, and do at least something for the answers you need in life. This could mean changing something you know is currently an unjust, or maybe it’s simply closure. Time won’t answer those questions, and if they’re the types that replay in your head when you’re alone or hear old songs, they won’t answer themselves. If you’re afraid of damaging your pride, there are too many boring, one-dimensional people out there anyway.

Earlier this week, I woke up a little earlier than usual. Naturally, I made the choice to finish watching Silver Linings Playbook, instead of making sure I wouldn’t have to run to catch the bus downtown. At the end of the film, everything miraculously comes together for B. Coop’s character. He ends the film with this expository insight: “The world will break your heart ten ways to Sunday, that’s guaranteed, and I can’t begin to explain that, or the craziness inside myself and everybody else but guess what? Sunday is my favorite day again. I think of everything everyone did for me and I feel like a very lucky guy.” The world is going to break your heart, but the key to all of this is keeping your heart open to everyone who won’t. You have to realize that there are awful, soul-sucking people that will grab hold of you sometimes. If you keep your heart open to the people that will lift you above this, you’ll enjoy Sunday again.

Answers

Tagged , , , , , ,