Something Different

Today’s post is going to be short and sweet. I tend to be fluent in the language of over-analysis, but I want to stick with succinctness this time around.  When I began writing, I was 6 years old (I really mean when I began), and I was partial to poetry. In the first grade, I wrote my first poem called “Rushing Winds.”  It sounds better than it was. I do think I was a particularly deep thinker as a child, but… I mean, what could my mind really have been on? I’ll tell you: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Lincoln Logs. Best days of my life right there. Well, maybe simplest. Anyway, I’m going back to my roots a bit. Here’s a poem I wrote a few weeks ago called “Arbitrary” (not fully revised yet… may or may not happen):

Arbitrary

Sometimes my eye catches
the moon
in the daysky.

And I long to leave–
Leave home
Leave sadness disappointment anger–
Anything anchoring

All of everything
is out there.
All of nothing
is out there.

And yet–
I’m worried about
getting to work a minute late.

**In my notebook, I wrote this down next to the poem: “The mystery of everything is out there, and yet we confine ourselves to this country, this region, this city, this person, this thought, this arbitrary task. Don’t people see how big life is and how small day-to-day tasks can be?” Maybe that will help explain. Maybe I just ruined the fun of figuring out the poem. I guess this magician reveals her secrets.

What Death Does

“Mom, tell Molly I love her. Tell her to NEVER EVER EVER give up on her dreams. Tell her to keep going and that she can do it.”

The ocean is a big place: especially at night. My best friend Jacklyn discovered this the hard way. She and one of her friends had kayaked out a little too far off the coast, and were terrified they wouldn’t see the next morning.  It was nighttime. How do you find your way back when you’re surrounded by black sky and black water? Who would be there to save them if they fell in or got lost? Dozens of eels had appeared around their kayak already… who’s to say there weren’t other creatures lurking around? What if one of those creatures tipped them over? They were miles from shore. It would take them hours to find their way back. Luckily, Jacklyn had her phone, and the first people she called were her parents. I was shocked to find out that one of the things she felt so desperate to tell her parents had to do with me and my dreams (quote above).

Sometimes reality drops in like a wind– a gentle reminder of something you should already know. Other times, it charges at you– a bull with no intention of stopping.  I was blessed enough to receive a phone call from Jacklyn that night. Thankfully, she had made it back safely. Her voice was hurried and a few tones lower than normal. She explained her fear, but she also explained some revelations. She had never truly felt like she was near the end of her life before; that night, she was fully convinced that it could be over in a matter of seconds. She had been so inspired and overwhelmed by the thought of life once her own was in jeopardy. We are dreamers, yes, but we struggle with staying consistently focused. We both tend to get lost in life and its inevitable busyness. That night, something changed for her. A sharp reality check helped her realize that if she were going to die, she wouldn’t be afraid (because of her faith), but she wouldn’t be ready because there’s so much she hasn’t done yet, and so many people she hasn’t met or helped yet. She discovered that we MUST stay focused.

I have to admit I feel the very same way.  Reality’s horns were jabbing me right and left all through the phone call.

On a related note: over the past week, my friends have lost some very dear friends. People with whom they were very close died some brutal deaths. It’s sad when anyone of any age dies, but they were just so young. And none of them could’ve predicted or controlled how they went. That scares me; but, it also motivates me. I know I’m not done yet. I know that I can have an adventurous, full life if I choose to. My time could be up tomorrow. It could be up tonight. All I know is that if I live 70 more years and I haven’t chased my dreams, I might as well have died tonight. (That sounds really dramatic. But I guess the subject sort of is, anyway.) Those friends hardly had the chance to begin their adult lives; they hardly had enough time to wrap their fingers around their dreams. Why should I wait any longer to do what I feel destined to do? No one needs to wait even one second when considering following dreams or helping others.

Life is much like that ocean. Sometimes we get a little lost in it. It’s beautiful but it can be scary, and hopefully, its uncertainty can help us sort out our priorities (I typed that in Ron Weasely’s voice… I just ruined the moment). We need to recognize how short our time is, and we need to act upon whatever it is we feel called to do. No more waiting allowed. What if those had been Jacklyn’s last words? What would your last words be?

I would think mine would be something like this:

NEVER SETTLE. GIVE. REACH. Let’s go.

My Biggest Mistake Was Listening To You

^Couldn’t agree with this more! DREAM BIG!

Thought Catalog

I’ve never been like other people.

Maybe that’s too grand a statement. Maybe there are too many people in this big loud world for me to be an original. So allow me rephrase. What I mean to say is that I never felt like other people. And that was once my favorite thing about me. That I never lived in someone else’s version of the truth.

I used to feel bad for people like that. The kids who didn’t believe in magic. The teachers who said students who were good at writing simply couldn’t be good at math. The friends who told me I couldn’t possibly still feel a deceased Grandmother’s kiss on my forehead at night. The peers who scoffed when I said I wanted to be a writer. How dull a life they must lead I thought. A life without possibility. A life without imagination. A life without…

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Revelations (Part II of Who I am. Why I am.)

Alright, I still have a lot of explaining to do. In my second post, I talked about my best friend and I going to a rather life-changing concert. If you need to refer to that first, please feel free.

Anyway, after the concert, I felt like a new lens had been placed over everything I saw. I felt like I was on one of those Claritin commercials where the little strip gets pulled off out of the corner of the screen and suddenly everything is really clear. I had a clarifying Claritin moment. Suddenly I wanted to change everything. I wanted to touch everything around me and change it. I wanted to touch abstract thoughts and twist them up into little knots of ideas.  I had felt the sincerest form of kindness radiate out of a person (in this particular instance, Alfredo Flores’), and I wanted to pay that forward. At that moment, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life making others feel that way.

Secondly, I felt like I was fulfilling some kind of step in the path I’m on. I felt like I was supposed to go to that concert, and I was supposed to meet Alfredo, and I was supposed to have a Claritin moment. It all felt like I was picking up a line of figurative Cheerios one by one until I was led to something. I thought my journey of pivotal moments was over by then. I mean, what else could have been more influential than that?

Well, I found out. Jacklyn was trying out for The Voice in Chicago (she didn’t make it all the way through, but she got darn close! And has the voice of a sugary angel, I might add), so I decided to go with her. Our pivotal/Claritin moment from the concert had inspired her to move to Seattle to pursue her musical, world-changer dreams, so spending some time together in Chicago was our last hurrah before she left.

We thought we’d be spending our time on the Mag Mile, in that shop-til-you-drop fashion. Instead, we ended up sitting on the cold, January concrete with some people who were homeless. I literally cannot explain how it changed my life on this blog. In fact, I’m writing a book about it at the moment, which will be named something like Homeless or something more creative when I get the chance. There’s probably a book out there by that name already anyway.

Regardless, the concert gave me the notion that I’d be spending my life making people happy, and the trip to Chicago opened my eyes to which people that would be. The people I met were so beautiful inside and out, and had such heart-wrenching stories. It’s crazy how numb we are to those who are homeless or in need. I think sometimes we forget how human we all are. For example, there was Yvette. She was the first person I really talked to. As I got to know her a little more (after her tears dried), I found out that her one true vice was chocolate. She LOVED it and always chose it when we’d offer something to her. It was so adorable how her mood completely flipped when it was an option. I remember thinking that THAT’S how she really was; her true personality came out for that moment, and it was beautiful. Because she had fallen on hard times, that part of her was rarely unharnessed. I want to and will spend my life working to lift people up who have been shoved down.

I think the world is beautiful, but I think we mistreat it. I think everyone is a success story waiting to happen, but sometimes people need a push or some encouragement. I think there’s a lot of unnecessary negativity, but if we all give a little positivity, that can change. I think everyone deserves an equal opportunity, and I’d love to give it (ever heard of Pencils of Promise? CHECK IT OUT. That’s mostly what I’m talking about here… I’m also an English Education Major, so maybe that’s just me nerding out– I don’t know). I want to help change the world. Not in some narcissistic way; in fact, if I could stay in the background for my whole life, I’d really rather do it that way. I don’t need to be seen; I just need to do what I’m supposed to do. The way I see it, I was placed in this time in the history of humankind, and it would be a dishonor to my life to remain unresponsive to my calling. I have a responsibility. I want to help people. I want to hand out smiles. I want to bring a new perspective to others– to give them their own Claritin moment.