It Takes Courage To Be Yourself

Sometime back I remember having a conversation with my mother about life and just the nature of the world in general. This was one of many, sometimes hours-long conversations I have with her on these sorts of things. But in this conversation she told me something, which she has since repeated often. She stated in effect that you could never be the person you’re truly meant to be, because the world won’t let you.

This is something I’ve thought about often. Without question the freest time of your life is when you’re newly emerged—not simply because you lack responsibility, but because it is the period where you’re allowed to develop and simply be—without judgment. The moment that your cognitive abilities are deemed to be sufficiently developed you begin to enter the slow progression of what I call “the judgment zone” where your actions in accordance to society’s mores will be scrutinized.

Now I’m not going into the familiar refrain of how life sucks as an adult—blah, blah, blah—as I think that story is old enough. The point which I want to make is that in the face of mass conformity and condemnation the most courageous people out there aren’t necessarily those who go jumping into burning buildings (although those men and women are pretty damn amazing) but rather someone who has the courage to be themself—irrespective of whether that “self” is deemed popular; case in point Margaret Thatcher.

I’m not one of these people who likes to go on and on about my personal political views, but let me just say that I’m not a fan of “Thatcherism” or that type of dogmatic ideology. What I do respect and in some ways actually admire about Margaret Thatcher was that she was not afraid to act on her convictions, which in turn means that she was loved by some, but despised by many. During her tenure as Prime Minister of Great Britain, she had the second lowest approval rating of any premier; to this day she evokes such strong and often divisive passions—which you always run the risk of when you stop caring about public opinion.

Now my overall message isn’t to be like Thatcher—but rather to be courageous enough to face the hostility that may come your way when you stop living by the court of public opinion. My mother’s complaint on the impossibility of being you—in a world that dictates what that “you” should be is correct—if you allow it to be. I feel the greatest challenge, journey, and goal in this life is learning how to live and be comfortable in your own skin. It is having the courage of conviction to be you—no matter what.

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Poetic Reflection: A Journey Into Self

I am my life’s greatest friend. I am my life’s greatest enemy. This duality is a dance within me. It is the destiny of hope. And let not the destiny of what I’m destined to be—be choked by the demons that rob me of my belief.

 

To believe

When belief is so allusive

Is the essence of epiphany

When I have nothing

But a shroud of my own sorrow

And piles of broken-down dreams

I still have the last flight of hope

Gifted from Pandora

I still have the ability to believe

 

I want to fly and soar

Without limit

Beyond my imagination’s imagination

Regurgitating into the sphere of time

All the beauty

That paints my mind’s glorious eye

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Being A Rookie In All Things—Sucks Like Hell

At one point, every single thing on this earth was once new. Everything has its beginning, just as it does its end—and yet lately I’ve begun to feel like being labeled “new” is sort of like having the mark of Cain on your forehead. If we treated our newest members to society—babies—like we treat those who are simply emerging and trying to carve a name for themselves—humanity would cease to exist.

So what exactly am I talking about? I am speaking about how people emerging into their chosen fields, whether it is the professional corporate world, health industry, or artists or freelancers are increasingly being seen as individuals with the plague. It’s as if there is this unwritten rule—across the board and within most fields that says—rookies need not apply. Now granted, I doubt that there has ever been a time where someone just starting out or with limited experience ever had it easy. Unless you had connections that would make Rockefeller proud, it was always understood that you had to start at the bottom. The problem now a days is that even the bottom isn’t a guarantee anymore, as employers and industry folks are reluctant to give even that up to a newcomer.

This is something that I personally have experienced from multiple angles. As a recent graduate student way back in 2006, fresh with my MA in English, I could find no one in my chosen profession who would even offer me the basic. I spent the next six years hop-skipping in and out of various careers and finally unsatisfied (and with a tremendous degree of financial assistance) I ended up forgoing that completely, registered for a few classes in order to baby-step my way back into academia, and began my career as a freelance writer. And now at this end, I still find that there are insurmountable barriers being placed before me. Even just getting a basic review as a rookie is pretty damn difficult. Traditional and even nontraditional reviewers don’t want to touch you—and the ones that are open tend to be just as closed, due to the deluge of self-published thirsty authors rushing to them as if it was Free Friday on a buffet line. If that weren’t enough you have to go through each reviewer’s do’s and don’ts (or risk automatic deletion) and then try to find one that matches your genre. Some reviewers are so picky I often wonder why they even bother calling themselves that. The way they go about reviewing books, would be like Roger Ebert (may he RIP) stating, I only review 3 out of 300 romantic comedies and if you’re an action film without Jean-Claude Van Damme, then I don’t give a damn. The process is immensely frustrating.

I understand that rookies—from all fields—tend to be raw around the edges and are not a guarantee bet—but what will become of society if we make it nearly damn impossible for emerging, and often young talent trying to make their way in the world. Are we a generation without greatness because we were denied our start? All those who are now on top or established began at something—if we can’t give others reasonable means to hope—what will we become?

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Poetic Reflection: I Am Human After all

Sometimes people forget that people never forget—the pain that is so callously and thoughtlessly administered. I may mean nothing to you and you may not know me, but I—just like you—can feel.

Are we so different

That I am to be ignored

The object

Of your most thoughtless scorn

Are my desires

So vainglorious

That you crush

Without two seconds to look back

All my hopes and dreams

I simply ask to be

A chance to be me

Look—at me

I—AM—HERE

If it wasn’t so easy to forget

That your place is never guaranteed

Then perhaps

Perhaps

Those in their place

Could remember

What it feels like to bleed

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Goddammit I’m Thirty—How In The Hell Did That Happen: A Personal Reflection

So I have, as of recently, officially entered into the realm of 3-0; the number that in my childhood days, I used to view with carefree disdain, as the epitome of ancient. And yet—with the blink of time’s eye, I have arrived; I am now officially ancient. I must confess I was not enthusiastically looking forward to this. Mind you it had nothing to do with any sort of feminine vanity against ageing (okay, well maybe a little bit of that) but it had more to do with the fact that my life really hasn’t gone according to plan.

Why people continue to have this endless fascination to plan a life that is staunchly unpredictable is beyond me—but I count myself as one of those folks. Being of fruitful imagination and creative disposition, I’ve always had grandiose ideas of what exactly I was going to be. To say that these ideas haven’t come close to fruition would be the understatement of a century; everything in my life, from events to people—is far less than I imagined it to be.

So I kept looking at myself and feeling always that I came up short—if I came up at all. As a result of this I learned—quite astutely—to throw myself one hell of a pity party; life sucks—pure and simple. But you know the one thing about pity parties is that although decadent in their self-indulgence they honestly do nothing for you. One of the things that I used to hate—and still do to a degree—is when someone in an attempt to break up this pity party, would remind me that there are others who have it far worse. Like somehow thinking about all the starving children and adults eating out of a garbage can would be a perfect way to brighten up my mood. This type of rationale—reaping your self-worth in juxtaposition to others is exactly what puts you in a funk in the first place, because while they may be others that are worse off—there are definitely others that are better.

Thinking about this—and the screwed up perspective—I began to realize that my problem with life, and thirty, is that I was basing my happiness on a perception. The perception of success is one of the most powerful myths of mankind and there is not a single person that at some point in their life hasn’t been sucked into it. And for me, nothing creates more discontentment than that logic—because if you don’t measure up—and even if you do—your left with a feeling of emptiness at a loss that you had no hand in creating.

So it is with this—this concept that I take and embrace at my now thirty years of life. Do I still plan—yeah old habits are hard to break; but I do it with the knowledge of two things—I know nothing and I control nothing—so it is my task to simply live, and to learn from that which I live. And at thirty and counting, my story isn’t over—yet.

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Poetic Reflection: Finding The Pieces Of My Soul

The journey seems to be perpetual. I keep moving forward and feel as if I’m stumbling backward. I’m trying to find the essence of me. I’m trying to live as I see myself in my dreams.

I’ve grown older

Perhaps wiser

But time still seems to stand still

I see my whole life like I’ve already lived it

My heart, in its breath, has died a thousand times

And in this

In this sheer emptiness

I simply want to open my arms

Embrace the world

And live

Truly live

One day I woke up

And found

That I wasn’t a little girl anymore

And yet I felt just the same

Age seems to be the thing that keeps moving

While you stay still

In my effervescent epiphany

I enthusiastically embrace

My eternal self

I remember what is was to dream

And truly believe

To look at the sky

And know that I could touch it

To smile and really actually smile

Laugh, while not trying to hide my cry

Now, on this side

As time keeps on marching by,

I know

In my heart of hearts

That she/ I will never die

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The Journal Of Me: What I Say In My Words

Everyone’s heard of the famous phrase, a picture is worth a thousand words. Although I am not a visual artist this is something I have played around with. I recently joined Pinterest and have been having a grand old time uploading and searching for images that capture my fancy and my delightful eye. Looking at my boards and the images I displayed it amazes me how much of myself is represented in them. The pictures aren’t a reflection of my life—they are a reflection of my ideal life; and in that sense are more me, than anything else.

So if a picture can say all that then what can a word say? What is the worth of letters arranged in harmony, set up to convey a human thought? One of the things I’ve come to realize is that you really can never hide yourself. Whether you are an open book or fancy yourself to be a walking enigma you always leave residues of yourself, like your fingers leave prints of itself on objects that it touches. Everything that you are and in everything that you do, you bare a glimpse of your naked soul.

As a professional wordsmith, words are something that I pay a lot of attention to. For the longest time I saw myself as being somewhat mysterious—not in an obvious sort of way, but I was not, and still am not, the type of person that would let just anyone check out the book of my life. This was one of the reasons why I have never been much of a fan of journals. Aside from the fact that it felt strange to me to write things that I already knew, I was always paranoid that someone—especially my mother (hey I was a teenager after all) would find it—and  gasp—read it; then they would know, the truth about me.

What’s funny about that is that I didn’t exactly have something to hide—I was, and actually still am, a perpetual goody two-shoes—scots honor. I just didn’t want anyone to have access to my head. I look back on this with a smile as it’s so obvious to me now, how naïve I was. The thing that I once feared the most is the thing that has given me my greatest liberty. To free my mind—to in essence—let myself take shape in my words—is what has allowed me to embrace my own humanity. My stories, my poetry, this blog—is all a journal of my mind; and now, at this particular point in my womanhood, I no longer run away from that but embrace what sharing my true self has to offer. For after all, a picture may be worth a thousand words, but the actual word—is priceless.

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