Let’s Talk Perspective

Talking is something I do incredibly well, if I do say so myself. I have such a hard time holding my thoughts prisoner inside the silent penitentiary of my mind. They get lonely and bored; poor things. Needless to say, this characteristic gets me into trouble on occasion… okay maybe more than ‘on occasion.’ I’m quick to form opinions and even quicker to express them. Debating is as natural to me as breathing; unfortunately, some people would rather I asphyxiate. Although my teachers might not appreciate the constant distractions I present during class, I’ve learned that my addiction to expression isn’t really all that bad. It actually comes in handy when speaking becomes the only way to cross a chasm. I know, I know, my cryptic metaphors are making pretty much no sense at the moment, but I promise if you bear with me they’ll polish up nicely for you.

Silence doesn’t always express indifference. Tension, I’ve learned, is as silent as the grave, and behaves similarly to a volcano in addition. This combination produces a whole new set of concerns surrounding the phrase “silent but deadly.” Recently, I’ve experienced this first hand. And by recently I mean today. And by today I mean literally five hours ago. This wasn’t just your average, run of the mill friend to friend chat session, this was the culmination of nearly six months of tension. Now imagine a volcanic explosion six months in the making… terrifying right? That was my expectation, too, when my friend and I sat down on my shamefully unmade bed and grappled for a way to approach the topic without triggering an explosion. The chasm I referenced earlier was the topic at hand. A rift had formed between us, and isolated otherwise innocent bystanders on one of the two cliffs formed. We were, unknowingly and unintentionally, creating topography that didn’t need to exist in our otherwise Oklahoman eleven-year friendship. Yes folks you read right! We met in first grade, and this was our first big fight. Shocking it didn’t come sooner considering we’re both strong-willed and opinionated individuals. When it rains, it pours I suppose.

I promise there’s a point to all this, a life lesson if you please.

I very strongly believe in confrontation; rarely will I exhibit passive aggressive tendencies due to my absolute and utter lack of confidence in their ability to fix even something as simple as a paper cut… even though those really hurt. Now I know what you’re thinking, “If you’re such a confrontational person, why would you wait six months to sit down and talk to said lifelong comrade?” Valid point my friend, and I do have an answer! I’m an idiot. Merely five minutes into the conversation it became blindingly evident to me that I was a dunce for not trying such a tactic sooner! All was going splendidly. A few tears, some heartfelt words, and two hours later, we’d bulldozed the mountain and sewn up the fissure. While all my reasons for being violently pissed off and hers for being vengeful were accurate, we had both failed to see the other’s side in the war. So we decided to take a tour of the battlefield.

Perspective makes all the difference in the world. I don’t really think the content of the chat was as important as its outcome; after all, the outcome will affect us far longer than the oxygen we converted into carbon dioxide in the name of discussion will even remain in our short term memory. (if you haven’t figure this out by now, run-on sentences are my jam). I believe that people are slowly losing, if not the ability then the desire, to view a situation from a new perspective. Isn’t that what problem solving is all about in essence? While I was firm in defending my right to be upset, I was fully aware that that right didn’t make me…well…right. Letting go of pride and the desire to subordinate my adversary caused her to metamorphose into an ally. Instead of fighting each other to decide who was right or more scarred because of the other, we teamed up in the hopes of working together to find a solution. That is infinitely more productive.

Confrontation isn’t about winning, it’s about progressing. People need to stop viewing each other as opponents and antagonists. Instead we should all see our fellow human beings as just that, fellow human beings because, let’s be honest, no one really knows what they’re doing. It’s everyone’s first time around; life is a test run. We should be coming up alongside each other, as allies, and working in tandem toward betterment. Letting go of the need to be right was the most freeing thing I’ve done in a long time. Not only did it take the pressure of needing a solid justification for some unjustifiable acts off my shoulders, but it also saved a friendship. There was no need to be defensive, because no one was on the offensive; this provided an incredible amount of room for understanding, an essential part of problem solving.

In the end the whole ordeal was a cyclical issue. Circles are infinite, and so would have been our problems had we not sat down to sever the ring. I guess my point simply boils down to talk. Don’t get me wrong, listening is important to! But what’s there to listen to if no one says a word. The best (and by best I mean quality not quantity) talkers in this world are the best listeners, how else would one have anything substantial elaborate on? So talk it out. Words are the only way to pacify the mute volcano that is ‘tension.’ Be raw and real. Just don’t forget to survey the other side of the battle field before you take aim.

A New Direction

Since it’s conception merely days ago, I’ve been slaving over finding a direction to go with this blog. After all, I am new to this whole thing and have absolutely zero idea what on God’s green Earth I’m doing. First, I though about doing strictly poetry. Next, I contemplated posting only my short stories. Lastly, I though maybe I should just post whatever the heck came to mind. Considering those options only outlined the extremes of the spectrum (restrictive and stifling to recklessly unsupervised) I figured I should seek some guidance and structure.

Enter my dear friend and a gift bag.

For my birthday this year a really good friend of mine, and an equally amazing writer, gave me a writer’s devotional as encouragement. We had just recently gone to a writer’s conference together and been drilled with the HEAVY importance of daily writing to improve one’s craft; we were in this thing together and daily writing was going to become a part of both of our lives. (Oh and not to toot our own horns or anything, but she received the award for Most Promising Teen Writer and I received the Runner Up award. We were both kind of incredibly stoked.) I did two weeks of the devotional religiously, no pun intended, but I’ve fallen out of the routine as of late, so here’s my proposition. I will go through this devotional on a daily basis, as was intended. There are certain days with writing prompts and other days structured for reflection, editing, planning, and all that other important stuff; those days I won’t post. But the days with writing prompts, generally twice a week, I will write. I’m hoping that by making this commitment public, I will be more inclined to stick with it. Also, I would love for you to follow along this journey with me!

As I said before, I absolutely loved the first two weeks I did with this book. If you would like to take a look at it here is a link to the book on Amazon.com The Writer’s Devotional by Amy Peters . Peters’ writing style is so insightful and personal, two characteristics I find essential in motivation. I hope you will follow along and maybe even join in with me on my journey to becoming a better writer. Comments and critiques are always welcome!

Hello Everyone: We’re All Just Baby Giraffes You Know

It’s normal to not know what the heck you’re doing sometimes. It’s insanely scary, but it’s normal I suppose. And that’s where I’m at right about now.

I was just casually walking downstairs, minding my own business and what not, when I was brutally assaulted by the miracle of life via Animal Planet… awesome. Practically overtaken by shock I watched a poor baby giraffe plummet from the heavens into life. I feel like it’s common knowledge that a giraffe free falls right out of the womb, but seeing it happen is a whole other animal. Post-shock I immediately erupted into laughter at my initial reaction. Why is it that even when we know facts and figures, their physical manifestations never fail to surprise us? Why was I terrified for that baby giraffe when I knew what was happening was completely normal and, in fact, the most beneficial thing that had happened to the creature thus far in its life? People always say that taking a leap of faith is hard but worth it in the end. I wonder if those people think it would be easier to jump when armed with the knowledge of what one would be getting his/herself into. After my experience, I believe the answer might still be no.

Completely aware of the fact that the baby would be perfectly fine, I fretted over its safety. Normalcy and understanding did nothing to curb my gut reaction… fear. Falling never gets easier, that I am confident of. No amount of preparation can prevent the sensation of helplessness and disorientation (or sometimes a painfully clear orientation as you near the ground) that one feels when their foundation is rocked. Not to mention the fact that your crash landing is only immediately followed by the struggle to stand. If our tenacious little friend isn’t proof enough that the climb will indefinitely be long, difficult, and unsteady I don’t know what is. Rebuilding, moving on and up, is tough and honestly kind of awkward, but it’s so incredibly worth it for that moment of triumph when you’re able to stand on your own two, or four, feet again.

The more I look at my life the more I realize that I am pretty much the human equivalent of a baby giraffe. If I know where I’m going to land I’m afraid of the fall or how much it will hurt to hit the ground; if I don’t know where I’ll end up I’m afraid of the unknown. Either way falling, in all its symbolic and literal senses, produces the same initial reaction of gut-wrenching fear. Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid failure, hurt, disappointment, and all the other lovely realities associated with “falling,” but I can choose to see the fall differently. A rebirth, rather. Live, learn, and emerge a new creature. It’s not about the fall, but rather the way one choses to get up and move on. Sometimes I envy how driven by instinct animals are. There is no self-pity, no embarrassment, no regret plaguing them, bidding them to stay in the dirt. They do the most natural thing in the world, get up. Yet to us humans it seems to perverse. When did self-loathing and despondency become instinct?

Ridiculous as it may sound, I think we can learn a lot from our little friend the baby giraffe. Whether you’re taking a leap or being pushed down the rabbit hole, it’s not about where you are…it’s about what you do where you’ve landed. Get up.

So here I go. Wish me luck.