Selfless to Avoid Being Selfish

Most of my posts have been pertaining to graduation and senior year recently. It is most likely because I am chomping at the bit to graduate as it is happening in just two short weeks. I was reflecting over all the accomplishments I had achieved over my high school career when I realized something.

Those achievements mean nothing if you do not have people surrounding you to support you and cheer you on. Supporting one another and being genuinely happy for the accomplishments in which they achieve is what is beautiful about the situation. Unfortunately that does not occur very often. Instead, people become jealous.

I have been reading more the past couple weeks that I have in awhile. I have been hooked on poetry; I went to the bookstore and picked up the book “Milk and Honey” by Rupi Kaur. It is raw with emotion. It was not what I was expecting but it was brilliant. There was one page of her poetry that caught my eye towards the end.

“What terrifies me most is how we / foam at the mouth with envy / when other succeed / but sigh in relief / when they are failing / our struggle to / celebrate each other is / what’s proven most difficult / in being human” (Kaur).

I sat and stewed on that concept the words revealed. I realized that that is miraculously true. I was saddened by the reality that often times it is more accurate than someone being genuinely happy for a success of another human. I can even be honest in saying that I am a culprit of this on occasions.

I think that as I enter into a time of award ceremonies, graduation, and open houses, I want to celebrate people with my full heart. Like I mentioned earlier, the achievement mean so much more when there is a crowd of people beside you cheering you on along the way. I cannot even imagine what it would feel like to have a crowd of people cheering you along who are just as excited for you as if they themselves have achieved it.

My challenge for not only myself but also others is to appreciate the achievements of others–be proud of them like you are proud of yourself when you overcome an obstacle.

Be selfless in order to not be selfish.

Micro Fiction

When a story is able to draw emotion from the reader, it is considered successful. If a story is able to draw the emotion, using only a minuscule amount of words, it is brilliant. I read through the list of micro fiction examples in class; to say I was blown away would be an understatement. I was knocked off my feet. The description that is used in order to slowly reveal the true depth of story in a few sentences is profound. I have never been introduced to this genre until now.

As I read through the stories, there were several that locked down on my heart. One story that gripped my heart and clenched it in its’ fist was “The Swimming Pool.” As the reader read the description of the pool and the sentence following, they were able to conclude the event that her sister had drown but the way that she was able to make it known that her mother committed suicide in the very same pool was amazing. I devoured the words then turned back for a second helping of what I read. The inclusion of simply stating the paramedics were coming put the nail on the head that her deeper meaning within her description was her mother’s suicide.

The second story that captured my attention was “The White Picket Fence.” As I began to read the tone was set on a more positive scale but suddenly shifts to a much darker tone. It reveals the societal issue with the expectation that all families are perfect. A commonality between all the stories I read was that the last sentence always seemed to be the strongest. In this case, the last sentence was the first prize winner in a competition. The title was remarkable to the story as well, considering the white picket fence has been a common symbol for the family that is strived to be like.

The third story was one of which we studied in class. I, personally, have always enjoyed stories that have such a deep meaning hidden within their words that I have to reread the story to find it. It is like a treasure hunt. When it takes longer to find the treasure, the anticipation build, increasing the excitement when you find the treasure. That’s how the third story was for me. The story is called “Spider.” The metaphor that is the meat of the story is heart wrenching. Emotions consumed me while I read the short story that said so much without coming right out and saying it.

I admire this genre of literature. It makes the writer think about every single word that is included within the story. I was inspired when I read stories to write some of my own. I have written three though they are far from being as excellent as the ones I read.

Here is the link the examples in which I referenced.

Micro Fiction Stories

Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction Stories

Flash fiction is a short, yet precise in telling a story that has a great deal of meaning. I read three flash fiction stories (the link is above). I was able to connect with each story differently. I admire flash fiction because within each of the stories, it illustrates the concept of show rather than tell. Each story has a meaning rooted with the description and dialogue in the stories but is never said.

Within the first example, I took it as if the girl has a deeper hurt that is larger than the fear that the storm has caused. I connected to the stories. When I was younger, my parents divorced. I remember each time it stormed, I used it as an excuse to sleep within the safety and presence of my parents in their bedroom. After the divorce I devoured any chance I had at any extra time with them. Every time it even rained, I ran to my mom or my dad’s bedroom to sleep on a makeshift bed I made on the floor. The story represents a situation that is not about this but really about that. That phrase pretty much encompasses my whole life. The second example of flash fiction I read is about a damaged book. I have always loved the smell and the feel of an old book. The old book is almost portrayed in a negative way within the story but I admire the story each old book has hiding within its scars and tears. When I see someone with a battered Bible, I know that person has their relationship with Christ together. Everyone and everything is broken in some way or another. I appreciate the brokenness of everything because it reflects the stories that each of have. As an english nerd, stories from anything intrigue me. The third story never specifically said the meaning but it was clear there was a breakup involved.

The three examples and the reveal of a whole new genre of literature increased my love for reading and writing. It is amazing to think that I have discovered so many amazing pieces of literature, yet I have only seen a flash of what is available. (No pun intended.)

Poetry is Art

When I think of poetry, I think of words forming into a rhythm or the first step of creating a song. Growing up, I enjoyed poetry, but felt it was difficult to write as I felt that it was a requirement to rhyme. As my appreciation for poetry has grown so has my knowledge on the subject. Throughout my adventure of exploring poets, I have connected to one poet more than others. The one that made the most impact to me on a personal level is Maggie Nelson for multiple reasons.
Maggie Nelson’s bio on the website Lit Hub gripped my attention immediately. It stuck out like a neon shirt in a room full of people wearing black. The very first line explains that she questions the concept of profound poets becoming well known after they die. I immediately connected with her because I have asked myself that so many times. Walt Whitman never received the appreciation he deserved until a significant amount of time after he passed. The line that stuck out to me the most within her bio states, “It’s almost like people are finally awake to the news that poetry is reliably six seconds ahead of wherever this insane place called America is heading.” I reread that line multiple times before I was able to digest the true meaning. Poetry is ahead of the actions of this world. If you look at her poetry, she creates it almost in an artistic way. I love art so immediately I connected to her artistic ability. Many people do not realize that words can create art as well.
I love the way she formatted her words as well as how simple her poem is. She used simple words with a hint of more articulate words to form a product that had a deep meaning. Nelson writes, “I feel like the girl / in the late-night movie / who gazes up in horror / at the portrait of / her freaky ancestor / as she realizes / they wear the same / gaudy pendant / round their necks” (Nelson). I adore this line because it reminds me of a memory from when I was younger. I used to think that the pictures of people from history were intimidating. As I read her poem I could picture a snapshot immediately surfaced in my head. Her simple yet elegant style of getting her point across is refreshing. I would love to reflect some of my own poems to her works of art. She challenges me to look past the rhyming poems to something much more artistic.

Jumping at the Chance to be Vulnerable

Listening to Shame TedTalk

What if we jumped at the opportunity to open up and share to any stranger?

I think if that what if were applicable, the world would look very different. In a world where there are many people with many different backgrounds comes many different opinions. Somewhere along the line we lost sight that being different was okay. Society has created a right and wrong or black and white mentality. When someone does not conform to that, they are shunned. The truth of the matter is that there will never be a way to fit every person into two separate groups.

When we recognize that it is okay to be different, I think we run into a society where people are more apt to understand one another. When people aren’t afraid to be vulnerable, massive greatness could emerge. It is kind of like the domino effect; when people are vulnerable and share, others will find themselves understanding one another. That is when empathy is introduced. Brene Brown performs a TedTalk that exhibits the breakdown of vulnerability and the potential it has. Brown states, “If you put shame in a Petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence and judgment. If you put the same amount in a Petri dish and douse it with empathy, it can’t survive” (Brown).

Shame is within every human. Some may disagree with me, but I truly believe there is shame in the soul of every human; however, I think some choose to distract themselves from it. Shame is powerful because it silently cuts away at a person. As I mentioned earlier, we live among people who, regardless of there morality level or success, make mistakes. If everyone is making mistakes then why are we so afraid to share with one another?

It’s ironic because shame gains more power through silence, yet we remain silent. What if we as humans were able to win the battle against shame by simply fighting back? What if we made a mistake and we shared it with someone immediately? What if we jumped at every opportunity to open up with one another and seek comfort rather than shame? Brown states, “The two most powerful words when we’re in struggle: me too” (Brown).

Instead of slowly killing ourselves, lets stop talking and start listening. Once we are able to start listening, empathy will grow and there will be no room for shame. In my opinion, that is a life worth living.