Listen to no voices, but hear all words

Learning to Dream

Today’s poem was written the summer before high school. I was doing a lot of thinking at this point in my life. Graduating eight grade was a big deal. My days attending Catholic school were over and faced a future of public high school.

To say I was nervous would be an understatement. I was about to go from having a class of 22 peers to a class of more than 140 peers. That number seemed huge to me, and I wondered what my experience would be.

20140423_070044-1

Of course, I was mentally done with high school before I began. Every day was just another step toward college. This poem comes from looking at that future and the type of person I wanted to be.

This poem was written on July 7th, 2004. I was 14-years-old.

Learning to Dream

I want to write about life

I want to tell people of joy

to give hope when their need draws near

I feel like I know so much

but in the face of the real world

it is but a fragment of what I must know

a fragment of what I must see, hear, feel and learn

all I can say is follow your dreams

follow your heart

but it doesn’t feel like enough

when in truth they probably know all

How are we to know how to live?

How are we to know how our life should be?

We know nothing.

Listen to no voices, but hear all words

use your brain to learn

and your heart to set your path

do not see, but feel

feel your soul

feel their soul

feel the life around

now, I am done

it’s up to you

you can feel the presence

use it

your path has been set.


This reads more like a conversation with myself than anything else. There’s a lot here. I list a lot of the things I want for my future, writing being the first thing I mentioned. I remember wanting to make people happy with my writing and being unsure if that was possible when I wasn’t happy myself.

I also touch on the dynamics of knowledge with what has yet to be learned. At this age, I already felt more mature than my peers. That isn’t meant to be a boastful statement. I saw my peers TPing houses and pulling crazy stunts while I was much more concerned about my books and GPA. One of the things I most looked forward to was being old enough to vote. How many 14-year-olds do you know who can’t wait to be of voting age? Those qualities made me feel different, but I was proud to have them.

Listen to no voices, but hear all words

use your brain to learn

and your heart to set your path

do not see, but feel

I think this says it all. As I’ve mentioned before, I was in the middle of developing my own moral code. While this did not always match what people told me was moral, I always made a point to listen. I tried to remove words from the speaker so I could examine them as they are. Some things make sense when they come from a parent or teacher. If you separate the words from the authority figure and look at them for what they are, you might see a different meaning. That’s what I tried to do. It wasn’t that I had no respect for authority, but that I wanted to make my own decision about what was right and wrong (even if I had no choice but to follow the words of authority in that moment).

I was reaching a point in my life where it was time for my heart to make the decisions. I would do all I could to be the ruler of my next chapter in life.

When did you first give serious thought to your future? How does your present life differ from what your younger self expected?

 

About these ads
I expect him to love me even after I have made him so angry he can barely stand to stay in the same room with me.

Sleeping on the Couch When Lover’s Quarrel

“I guess we know who’ll be sleeping in the couch tonight.”

Everyone once in a while, when joking around with friends, the boyfriend and I will toss sarcastic remarks back and forth. It’s all good-natured and usually ends when one of us gives the other a you’re-verging-on-unfunny-territory stare. This is the point at which a friend will joke about one of us sleeping on the couch tonight.

This can only be a joke because the boyfriend  and I don’t live together. Even if we did, there are very few situations during which I would tolerate one of us sleeping on the couch while the other sleeps in the bed.

  1. If one of us is sick and the other does not want to get sick, the healthy person can choose to sleep on the couch.
  2. If one of us has farts that smell so bad the other can’t possibly fall asleep, the non-flatulent person may choose to sleep on the couch.

That’s it. Fighting or being angry with each other is no reason to avoid ending the day and beginning the morning next to each other. Relationships are hard. Even the best couple will sometimes fight and/or go to bed angry. Despite these fights, I expect my life partner to stay with me. I expect him to love me even after I have made him so angry he can barely stand to stay in the same room with me. That’ no less than I expect of myself towards him.

I don’t feel like this is that tall of an order. I’m not demanding anything romantic. In fact, I would be perfectly fine if, in our anger, we slept facing away from each other, as close to the edge of the bed as possible. So long as we still came together at the end of the day and woke up together in the morning, I’m happy. In doing so, we are showing that, in spite of our anger, we are still dedicated to the relationship.

This photo, “Awkward” is copyright (c) 2014 louiscrusoe and made available under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license

A lot of the reason why I have this unwritten rule is because of family events. According to my parents, my aunt told her children, when they would call her for support in the middle of an argument with their spouse, to leave for a few weeks. No joke. She told them to stay with her for a few weeks and ‘see how they like it.’ It seems to me the only thing this would show any spouse is that the fleeing person is willing to leave in order to get their way. Someone who just walks out like that is not interested in a relationship; they’re interested in a dictatorship where they are the boss.

I’m sure none of you will be surprised to hear that those cousins have a lot of marital issues and/or divorce.

Managing a relationship is hard work, married or not. Adding anything to the mix which could further complicate things is unnecessary and unwise. On that list of unnecessary complications is walking out during a fight. Mature adults fight and come to civil compromises. Refusal to do so is a refusal to participate in the relationship.

I accept that people sometimes need air. Going for a walk alone or asking for some time alone in another room of the house to cool down is acceptable. Screaming at each other doesn’t get anything done. If those actions are necessary to continue the fight in a civil manner, so be it. I still expect my partner to return and sleep next to me, unless, of course, he is no longer interested in our relationship.

Right about now, you guys are probably thinking these are some big words for someone who has never lived with a lover before. This is true, which is why I wanted to put this idea out there. I wonder if other couples have similar expectations. If, during a fight, your partner stormed out and didn’t return until the next morning (or for a few days), what would you think? Is that a tolerable action? If you and your partner can’t avoid going to bed angry, would you insist on sleeping separately?

Cate connects relevant research to parenting techniques and has, in the process, created a blog that is as much about Psychology as child rearing.

Evaluating Millennial’s ‘Right to Party’

I am guest posting today at The Clear Parent. Even though I don’t have children, I love this blog. Cate connects relevant research to parenting techniques and has, in the process, created a blog that is as much about psychology and science as child rearing. 

Recently, she has expressed concern over America’s college drinking culture. When she asked for guest posts to answer her questions about students’s alleged ‘right to party,’ I couldn’t help but answer. My college years aren’t far behind me, having graduated in 2012 from the University of Iowa, a college which ranks pretty high on the list of top party colleges (it’s been as high as #3, but is down to #9 for the 2013-2014 school year).

This photo, “Drunk College Kids” is copyright (c) 2014 Gregg O’Connell and made available under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license

Despite being a millennial who is no stranger to a drink now and then, I felt I had a unique opinion to share. One of the two majors I earned at college was Journalism and Mass Communication. As such, I was always aware of the local news stories. Drinking was a hot topic, especially as visits to the emergency room for alcohol poisoning rose.

What’s with this ‘right to party?’ As Cate asks, “Why are students so interested in a “right to party,” binge drinking and rebellion against authority?”

Please stop by The Clear Parent to read my answer.

Comments have been disabled to encourage you all to check out the post at The Clear Parent. I’ll be hanging there, replying to all your lovely responses.

Proof of success is in how tired I am at the end of the week.

Stream of Consciousness 005

I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday weekend. On Thursday, I found out I had Friday off, which was fantastic. I read a bunch of manga, finished the first Harry Potter book and completed chapter five of my novel (still in draft form being physically written into a note-book). I even cleaned a little. All in all, I count this week as a resounding success.

  • I miss my FitBit Force. I mean, it did start to cause a rash on my wrist, but I loved that thing.
  • Every once in a while, life seems to boring and I wonder what it would be like to be within an inch of my life. Also, I wonder what it would be like to be super hero strong. These are the motivations behind my recent endeavor to complete both the 30-Day Ab Challenge and Insanity.
  • I’m a glutton for punishment
  • I actually did a little bit of everything this week. I read. I wrote. I gamed. I even got some workouts in and made a cheesy rice and zucchini meal. I’d call that a successful week.
  • All I want out of life is to sleep

Proof of success is in how tired I am at the end of the week. The more exhausted I am, the more I probably got done. I am so thankful for the three-day weekend. I need to rest up if I’m going to do it all over again next week.

Either we are an extremely arrogant race of beings, or very blessed.

Accuracy of a Homeless Jesus

Maybe it’s because Easter Just around the corner, but I’ve done a lot of thinking about homeless Jesus.

Burnett, John. N.d. St. Alban’s Episcopal, Davidson, N.C. NPR. Web. 17 Apr. 2014. <http://www.npr.org/2014/04/13/302019921/statue-of-a-homeless-jesus-startles-a-wealthy-community>.

While I may not be the biggest fan of Christianity, I do admire Jesus. When I first saw this image, I was taken aback. Clearly I wasn’t the only  one. A person called the police thinking this was a real person and others have called the statue creepy. The more I look at the above image, though, the more right it feels.

Who is Jesus to us today? Some may claim he is a stranger as more and more people turn away from organized religion. I, however, have met atheists and agnostics who seem to have far more respect for Jesus than most Christians seem to show. They are so distracted by the false idol of religion, that they neglect the  Divine spiritual relationship they should be prioritizing. While atheists may not believe in any spiritual reality, I’ve met many who have a high regard for Jesus, the person and the revolutionary.

Looking at this statute, I am reminded of the kinds of people Jesus embraced and the kind he rejected. Disgusted by the political and religious leaders of his time, he spent his time with the lowlifes and cast outs.

He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone.”

We don’t hear the stories of every person Jesus encountered. Did every prostitute who spoke to him cease his/her business at his word? Did every thief move on to an honorable life and every murderer turn him/herself in?  I’d bet that answer is no and I’d also bet Jesus and any God worth worshiping loved them no less.

Love is God and Love does not require complete perfection to exist. Human love has limits. For example, the parents of a mass murderer may no longer have the ability to love their child. Divinity is different. As God is limitless, so is Love (you know, because God is Love). Of all the horrendous deeds committed by humanity, somehow we still feel the love of Divinity. Either we are an extremely arrogant race of beings, or very blessed.

If we look at most world religions, we find there is a commonality in trying to be good, moral people. At their heart, they attempt to provide a blueprint towards peace. Part of that requires us to accept those who are different and treat them with kindness. Yet, there is so much hate in this world. Christianity isn’t alone in the way it too often looks down upon those who act or believe differently. Many other religions do the same. You needn’t look farther than Americans fear/hate of Muslims (and probably vice versa) to see that.

When I studied abroad in Northern Ireland, I was amazed to see religion used as a tool for conflict. Fighting between Protestants and Catholics isn’t new to the European continent, but this is the 21st century. I thought for sure most of that was in the past. The frequent bomb threats I heard about and the ugly look people sometimes gave me if they found out I came from a Catholic family told me otherwise.

These conflicts between religions are more complicated and often more political in nature. Still, religion seems to insist on involving itself with politics. What happened, in America, to freedom and equality for all? Obviously we don’t have complete freedom of religion, because I have been in a number of churches which observer equal marriage (or gay marriage if you must call it that), but their marriages aren’t recognized around the world.

When we see the above image of Jesus, we see him as a poor man in need of help but we can’t see his face. What if we could lift his blanket and look upon his face? What would you do if his complexion was Middle Eastern or Black? What if he told you he had prostituted himself for drugs the other night? What if he told you he took his girlfriend to have an abortion the other week? Would you drop the blanket in disgust and walk away, or would you still try to help him.

None of us are perfect. Not one of us have a perfect moral or view of the world. We can’t all understand why someone would do things we find horribly wrong. Does that mean we should hate them? What good does that do to turn away from someone in their time of need, regardless of their past? Do we think we are somehow above others because of our ethnicity, because we avoided pregnancy before marriage or because we never sought drugs for comfort?  Do we see ourselves as living the ‘right’ lifestyle and condemn others who live differently? That will do the world no good. Hate and haughtiness will only destroy us.

Who ever created that statue is a genius because it makes us really think about who Jesus is today. He is the poor, sick and  lonely. He is every person you ever condemned. He is in the people whose rights are taken away by misguided politicians. Maybe this statute will help people see that and cause them to think twice before they spread hate.

What do you think of this statue? Do you think it is a good representation? Do you think being in a wealthy community gives this statue any more or less impact?

My muses are nerds.

Mysteries of Motivation

What motivates us? I suppose the answer depends on what we are doing. In general, I assume most people are motivated to do the basic things in life because of their family, friends or partners. Some of us are motivated to go to work because we love it; most of us go because we need the money.

Beyond the general, everyday life, what motivates us? The other day, I saw a story on the news about a girl who’s not even out of high school yet who has written a book and has a movie deal. Once upon a time, the ‘Amazon Warehouse’ was little more than a garage and now they compete with. Now, they are a major competitor of almost ever business. Amazon is the Wal-Mart of the internet. Where

Lately, I’ve wondered if the motivation that causes people to go above and beyond is different from the motivation that gets us out of bed every morning. I imagine it has to be different, because these motivations work against each other. For example, I am motivated to earn money so I can go out with my boyfriend without relying on him to pay for everything. In short, part of my motivation is to spend time with the people I love.

The motivation that drives me to write this blog and work on my novel is the exact opposite. These aren’t activities that make me money and they certainly don’t make life easier. On top of it all, they require me to sacrifice time I could be spending with friends or with my boyfriend.

Perhaps that’s the reason we stand in awe of people who manage to accomplish these huge dreams. The sacrificial motivation they needed to get there required them to sacrifice time with precious people. Working against every day motivation, they worked without pay, without guarantee of success and they succeeded.

I can’t help but be jealous of those people. How did they accomplish such a feat? Didn’t they have to buy groceries or do laundry? Did they simply get used to living in disarray. You need only to ask my parents to know I am no stranger to a messy room, but certainly there’s a limit.

Through a few Twitter conversations, I’ve found I’m not the only one with questions about sacrificial motivation. More specifically, I’m not the only one with a huge amount of interests bidding for my attention.

As I’ve moved into adulthood, I’ve made friends who demand my attention (and I love them all). Gone are the days where I hung out with these friends in a classroom five days a week. Gone  the weekends where I am left alone. I don’t know what they see, but I’m apparently in high demand. It’s fantastic to be wanted, but it means most  of my solo hobbies fall off my radar. In fact, for a long period of time, I didn’t engage in a single one of my hobbies.

When I finally decided to give this book writing thing a shot, I discovered my muses were lost. As I sought out inspiration, I found my muses were simple, greedy beings. They lived within my book shelf and video game consoles.

This photo, “La danza d’Apollo con le Muse – Guilo Romano – Stengel” is copyright (c) 2014 Lynn and made available under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license

My muses are nerds. As I rediscovered each one of them, I realized they were each an essential part of my writing process. My pen could not move without them.

This year has been an exercise in balance as much as motivation. I cannot do everything every day. For a while, this plagued me. Weeks went by between writing sessions. Months went by with no more than one book being read. I made myself sick with exhaustion trying to fit it all in. This week has been particularly tiring, and yet I feel like I’m finally finding my balance.

Perhaps there is a day in my future where, having mastered sacrificial motivation, I will be the one making other dreamer jealous.

Do you think there is a difference between typical motivation and the kind of motivation that requires sacrifice?

I was incomplete because I was a mystery to myself.

The First Step in Finding Yourself is Understanding

It’s Wednesday, which means we are continuing the journey into young TK’s mind and how she came to understand herself. While today’s poem was not written with a name (I’ll give it one here), it is one of my better ones. Written on April 26th, 2004, when I was 14-years-old, this poem marks a very important step in my overall view of myself.

Understanding

Inside, I feel incomplete.

There is something missing.

There us a closed door in need of opening.

There is a person I have yet to meet.

There is a place I have let to see.

So many paths,

Sine right, and

so many wrong.

Which one is right for me?

Which one will lead me to success?

Which one will lead me to failure?

If I stay where I am, will I ever be satisfied?

Inside I am lonely.

Inside I am crowded.

Inside I understand.

Inside I know nothing.

Somewhere inside I am hiding.

Waiting for me to find me.

I am found and I am lost.

How am I to sort this all out?


 

Perhaps it seems odd to call this poem ‘Understanding.’ The author seems to be facing a great amount of confusion. Since I am an older and wiser version of this little writer, I can tell you that is not the case. What this poem really shows is how young TK was starting to recognize the contradictions in her life. My life was fully of people who cared, and yet I felt lonely. I knew and possessed so much, and yet I felt like I had nothing. These contradictions did not make sense to me, but I knew them for the mystery they were.

I was incomplete because I was a mystery to myself. Up until this point in my life, I followed others. Whatever my parents and teachers told me I should be, is what I strives to become. Through this poem, we see the beginnings of change in that drive. Notice the following sentence.

Which one is right for me?

20140415_192820

In discussing what path I should take in life,I did not simply ask which was right and which was wrong, as if trying to decipher a moral code handed down by the adults in my life. This was different. I was asking myself which paths were right or wrong for me. Just because a person found success down one path did not mean I would also find success there. Just because one person found something to be wrong for them, did not mean it would also be wrong for me.

Just like that, I started to think about where my own dreams could be found. While I hadn’t figured everything out, yet, I was beginning to understand that my dreams might not line up with the dreams others had for me. That realization would prove to be a double edged sword. Finding myself would prove joyous, but realizing my dreams didn’t fit with what everyone wanted would bring considerable sadness.

Years would pass before I understood I didn’t have to live up to everyone else’s dreams for me in order to be happy.

About these ads

“Everyone has talent. What's rare is the courage to follow it to the dark places where it leads.” ― Erica Jong

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,251 other followers