Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Who We Are

So many answers, responses, and takes on this topic! After my blog post, a slew of people began commenting on this topic all over various sites I visit. It started popping up everywhere!

A Scientist's point of view:
As individuals in a culture we are forever re-inventing, this collaboration of investigation with the universe is the very essence of a meaningful life. -Adam Frank

(Poorly phrased and with a comma splice, but in essence, we live because we keep questioning things and seeking answers.)

This ties in with my fellow writer's response on my facebook wall:

We are the sum of our experiences. That's who we are. It's an entirely different matter if the question that you're *really* asking is "What kind of person do I wish I were?" -August Rode

Hmmm. Some of my life's choices I choose to forget, therefore, as a sum of my experiences, who I am includes negative numbers!

We always look both back and forward. Therefore we see what we've made of ourselves and what (or who) we want to be. We set goals, we set benchmarks, we pat ourselves on the back when we reach those goals, often bragging, seeking confirmation from others that we are awesome, and we press on. (Hey, I just summarized life!)

On ficly.com, a challenge to include the line: "It's the choices that make us who we are."

Quotes from the entries:

It isn’t what we have that defines us,
It’s the choices that make us who we are. -In Night's Arms

“It’s the choices we make that defines who we are. Without that, we give up our responsibility to ourselves. If we choose to fight for a better world, we do it with open eyes knowing that we will pay a cost.” -Robert Quick

"You’ve got it mixed up. It’s who we are that determines the choices we make, not the other way around." - memento

Ah! So which comes first, the choices or who we are?

We make some choices without thinking, because of who we are,

Ex. running into a burning building instead of away

while we make others because of who we want to be.

Ex. The old me would have told my mother everything, but the new me wanted to keep this secret to build a better bond with my sister.
Some people can change who they are. They can give up old ways and take on new ones. We grow and mature from child to teenager to adult and change, don't we? Since we CAN change, then parts of us can be forgotten, at least mostly. Therefore, there is always hope for a better future.

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Let's Get Spiritual

My church's youth leader writes these one-page newsletters and hangs them in frames in the bathrooms. They are called "Stall Talk". Cute.

Anyway, she quoted Henri Nouwen (1) who says we all answer the question
Who Am I in one of three ways:
  • I am what I do
  • I am what I have
  • I am what other people say about me

Since I have been preoccupied with this question myself, and feel like a youth this newsletter is addressing, I thought it appropriate to ponder how an adult would answer these questions.

First, I thought about the
extremes of any one answer.

I am what I do.

I am a teacher, a mom, a tutor, a writer. I know plenty of people who claim a title like this and that is it. They are the ultimate That.

The ultimate Mom, giving their every waking moment to their kids. They wear tattered clothes, have disheveled hair, maybe let themselves get fat from unhealthy eating, maybe wrap themselves in home cooked meals, maybe stay up late washing clothes, taking care of pets, and cleaning house so they can get up early and run the kids to all their practices and lessons.

The ultimate teacher, at school 16 hours a day, copying, tutoring, researching, running 6 or 7 clubs and sports.

Can it be destructive? sure. Can it be rewarding? sure. It's how much and how far and how taxing on your health the stress of the title is.

I am what I have.

Greed. Power. Any of the billionaires with several estates and personal jets and maids and servants and lovers and money to throw at whatever vice amuses them at the time.

Or the fabled 'Joneses' who have to have the newest car, nicest house, best clothes, and perfect presentation.

I am what other people say about me.

Self-fulfilling prophecy, or worrier.

The way people talk behind your back! They think you are (insert adjective) and so you will be!
the extreme of this person changes to fit every social situation, often back-stabbing others and being two-faced, or this person is so worried about what others think, they get an ulcer!

But the idea here is that we are NOT these things. The idea is that we are a child of God.

(I know, I never get all religious up in here, and
God is a sticky subject on the internets. But it's Sunday. So I said it.)

The POINT is:

Saying that we are who we need to be breaks the cycle.

See, when you ARE one or all of these things; you are doing what you feel you are supposed to do, you have the things you feel you need, and people are saying nice things about you, you feel really uplifted and happy. When you start to slip from this precipice, you feel down and sad and wonder how to get that feeling back. It's cyclical.

But by looking at yourself through a different perspective (saying you are right where you need to be, you don't have to listen to naysayers, you can do something slightly different and make it work) you can break the cycle.

I can't count how many times something from my religion has been simply about doing or thinking things differently.


How many places can we go to get a different perspective? Just drop everything, the baggage, and stop in your tracks, your path, your cycle, and breathe and begin to gain new insights.

Perhaps in yoga or spiritual training or some kind. Perhaps in church or synagogue or meditation or prayer. Perhaps in therapy, or on the bus, or lying awake at night when everything is still and quiet and the tears have all dried on your cheeks.

These places and times are few and far between. At least going to church or a regular meeting increases the chances that one of these reflective moments will occur. If I am taking time to look at things with fresh eyes as often as once a week, I can center myself and break out of any cycles I am stuck in.

So, How would an adult answer these questions?

Pretty much the same as a teenager, but with more experience! These questions plague us just as much now as they did years ago. You constantly strive to become someone. You have to reset your goals and build up.

In Sapphique the character Jared says: "Life is a series of stairs up which we climb. ..Your horizons have moved." Thanks Catherine Fisher!

Who am I?
I am still learning. And that's okay!

1. Read about Henri's POV here.

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Blogger Interview: 10 Questions

1. As a blogger, what do you draw inspirations from for your posts?
Life, other blogs (like Dasia's where I stole this list from), rants, and other thoughts.

2. If you could swap blogs with another blogger for a post, who would you switch with and why?
This is why I have 3 blogs! I can talk about all my favorite things.. be different people..no, I am always me. One blog is for encouragement of others, one for writing topics, and one for being me.

3. If your blog had a theme song, what would it be? Why?
This blog, it would be my current favorite, 'Hey Hey' by Superchick.

4. What is your writing process for a post?
Lightning of inspiration strikes, I start typing, edit as I go, make it all sound pretty good, publish, re-edit when I notice mistakes. :)

5. Your blog requires a cute, new, mascot - what would it be?

Baby painted turtle. First of all, I had one, just like this one, that I rescued. Here's mine:

Plus, I'm all tough on the outside, or want to be, but really a softie in the inside.

6. Do you feel you express your "true self" on your blog?
I do. I have had to delete posts because I was too real on here, too embarrassingly real.

7. What is your biggest online pet-peeve?

Let me get back to you.. I can't just throw pet peeves around at every beck and call. I try to be tolerant, so I forget the things that annoy me. But when I find one, I'll let you know..

8. If you could live in a fictional universe, where would you live? Why?
I used to imagine part of my property growing up was Terebithia from the book, and part was a haven for the Ewoks. So, somewhere with a forest and friendly furry creatures. :)

9. You're having a bad day, you're upset, you're angry, or you're sad - what is your go-to comfort?
Chat friends. Ficly stories. Facebook posts. Something to get my mind off of it and cheer me up. Talking to people is often the best. I don't even have to talk about my problems, I could help them with theirs.
You thought I would say 'my husband', but often he has already had his say, or isn't really involved, or is too involved.

10. What is your favorite inspirational quote?
Oo! I just wrote down a new one:

No matter how you feel, Get Up, Dress Up, Show Up.

Unless of course you have the stomach flu, you should be active and present in your life. If I don't get dressed up and lounge around, I'm not going to be productive.

The rest of these questions dissolve into silliness, asking about vampires, the end of the world, movies based on your life, what would you change, etc.

Let me sum up with this:

  • I'd like my life to have a carefree sort of 'Eat, Pray, Love' vibe,
  • I have no idea who would play me, and if there was a movie about it, it would be boring.
  • 2012 should be about becoming who I want to be the next 30 years of my life.
  • I will try to keep all my bad habits out of my blog, because one thing I need to learn is to keep more personal details to myself!
Thanks Dasia for posting the original!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I Want to be Aunt Meg

I wrote this based on the character of Aunt Meg in Twister. Events are fictional.

When I ran away from home at the age of 9 with a Barbie suitcase, I went to her house.

When I and 3 of my best friends needed a place to sleep off a party, we crashed at Aunt Meg’s.

When I showed up at 2AM, soaking wet with nothing but the clothes on my back, she gave me an old t-shirt while she washed my clothes and let me use all the hot water to shower. Then she made whatever warm drink I pleased without asking about what brought me to her house at such an ungodly hour.

Best of all, when my mother called, ranting and raving, she calmed her down and didn’t make me talk to her if I didn’t feel like it.

Even if all she had in large enough quantity to feed me was pancake mix, it was the most delicious meal in the world.

She was technically my great-aunt, my grandmother’s older sister. She had long silver hair, which she wore however she pleased.

It wasn’t until her funeral today I learned her first name wasn’t Meg.

I want to reinvent myself into this character. :)

The first step is allowing people to come into my house and use or wreck my things and not get upset.. :/

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