I do not claim to be anything but an amateur writer. I know it is not the best, nor do I think it will lead me to get my name on the New York Best Sellers List. The reason I write is that I like it. Writing is freeing, and the words I write tell a story that may mean something to someone.
My life is as ordinary as it gets. I live in a small farm town. The most excitement we see is the Christmas Light Parade, or if we are lucky, some people may go by on horseback. Sure, I stay busy living life, but it is not glamorous or a high-profile gig.
I want to think that every life is worth writing about and every story is worth reading. Who gets to decide the worth of someone’s life story? If we feel anything matters, that should count for something. It only takes one to see the value of another’s story.
Each and every one of us brings an extraordinary contribution to the proverbial table of life. I often wonder what it would be like if we put higher precedence on ordinary people over striving to keep up with the celebrity Joneses. I think being able to relate to others who are like us is a more realistic venture. Reading stories of an underdog or seeing triumph come after obstacles makes for a compelling life lesson over the people whose sole job is to make a gain from winning us over on a gimmick. I will always pull for the heartstrings story when pitted against a publicity pull.
I get it. Not everyone enjoys reading, and even less enjoy writing. But, if more people wrote down their thoughts and feelings, I think those would be some of the most beautiful stories ever written. Imagine all the stories that will never be told because a person does not see value in their own life story.
It seemed like every summer (from elementary school through middle school) was going to be the start of my consistent journaling. It usually lasted about two weeks, if I was lucky. When journaling fizzled, I turned to write a book that I hoped would get published. As an eleven-year-old, I had no clue what went into writing a book, and I for sure did not know how to get a book published. Those reasons are precisely why I have an unfinished draft of a pipe dream tucked deep away for one to never see.
I said all of that to say this: whenever I tried to be a writer, it did not work out and was hard to do. When I turned to writing as a creative outlet to just say what was on my mind, it was as if I had just opened the door to a new realm. I learned it does not take having the title of a writer to simply write; it is a mindset. Before, I was forcing it too hard and was doing it for the wrong reasons. Now, I write for myself first with no intentions, and if it helps someone else in the process, I feel my writing has served a greater purpose and contributed to the world somehow. My way of journaling has morphed into something I never expected for myself, but I like where it has taken me. The organic flow of creativity and self-expression has proven to me that no matter what we say, do, and write, we have the sole power to make it meaningful in life’s journal.
©Inquisitive Perspectives 2018
Maya Angelou has a way of putting a positive spin on what other people see as a negative. We have often heard the saying, “your best is not good enough.” I do not like this perspective. There are many ways to evaluate progress and effort put forth, but arbitrarily comparing it to whatever value we place on enough is unfair.
An optimistic outlook makes it hard for me to adopt anything less than a positive take on the matter. There is undoubtedly going to be room for improvement, but until a person reaches the point of seeking self-evolution, we can only give what the current state of our best is. The only judge for determining our best is and should just be us.
I have been a firm believer that we will always be changing and learning as times and experiences come and go in life. And just like in many other things, we have choices to make. We can choose to stay ignorant, or we can want to rise to the challenge of improving ourselves. Between soul searching and investing an interest in taking learning by the reigns can jump-start the continuum of striving for better.
Perfection is not a goal I have ever had, and it is one I will never have. A goal I do have is bettering my life through effort and open-mindedness. The world we live in tries to sway us to think that a perfect life is better than a meaningful life. Seeing the stepping stones placed in an invested life of learning and dedication means more than clout in high society. We sit complacently in an easy life, but through challenges, character builds strong.
The growth we commit to in life is the only thing that will keep us going. Our actions and words will ring in an echo in history lessons to come, and if we fall to the demise of society’s disillusions, we have failed. Getting comfortable in a rut will continue to feed into the cycle of thinking everything is okay just because we do not know better or care to do better.
Why settle for mediocrity when our best can be better?
©Inquisitive Perspectives 2018
I live in a community with rich outreach and efforts to bring awareness to various philanthropic organizations. While some are more widely known and publicized, I am proud to see new ones emerge and take a stronghold in our community. This past fall, I had the great privilege to walk alongside dear friends at the Out of the Darkness event. It is an event and community outreach to bring awareness to and prevention of suicide. Suicide is a topic that is often shoved into a corner and considered to have a dark cloud hovering over it. While it is not an easy topic to talk about, it always deserves a voice.
Last year’s event was my first time attending my local Out of the Darkness event. I felt deep in my heart that I should go to support a friend, the cause, and my community. I had no idea what to expect. I did not know what kind of an impact spending a few hours in the presence of people who were grieving a loss and putting out a plea to keep others from feeling the same pain they were feeling would have on me. Personal stories were shared, and tears were shed. I stood there and could not even begin to imagine the emotions some people were feeling. As the ceremony took place, I observed. I observed what universal grief looked like. I observed what healing could do in the beginning stages to mend hearts. I observed a community making a commitment to be there for a cry for help to be heard.
It did not matter that I did not have a personal tie to being affected by suicide. A prerequisite to attending such an event or raising awareness does not have to include a direct tie to suicide. What is required though, is an open heart that can empathize with the pain and struggle that comes with processing a loss to suicide. It matters to me because no one should feel such a feeling that they are not good enough to continue living or that life has gotten too hard to push through. Feeling lonely in this world should not be an occurrence, but unfortunately for some people, the pressures of the world were too much to bear. Bullies and failures, alike, add negativity to the world, and someone is on the receiving end of those repercussions. It does not make sense to me, but it does not have to. Suicide is a real thing, and now more than ever we need to come together to be the voice for those who have not found the strength yet.
Mental health awareness and advocacy are essential. Organizations like the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention are crucial to the recognition of the validity of such issues. Mental health is an underfunded and vastly undermentioned topic in our society. We owe it to ourselves to practice good mental health in taking time out for self-care and ensuring we understand the warning signs of self-harm in others. We are capable of being there for someone in their darkest hour and helping them through it to see lighter times. It is about time we stop the stigma, end the shaming, and begin shedding light and giving support to people struggling with mental illnesses.
I have asked a couple of friends to share their perspective on this crucial matter.
As you can see, we all may have different reasons for supporting suicide prevention and spreading advocacy efforts, but when it is all said and done, we are working towards a day that does not include suicide having its place in society. Too often, we turn a blind eye because it does not affect us or because we do not understand it, but that is the precise reason we need to start talking about it. By talking about it, we are showing we care. By showing we care, it lets the people whom we love to know they have someone on their side. Until even the faintest of cries of help are heard, suicide awareness and prevention will always have a place in societal discussions.
Choose to keep going; you are not alone.
©Inquisitive Perspectives 2018
I feel like I have been living two separate school years in one. With attending school and working in schools, it also feels like summer has been an eternity away from being my sweet freedom. Today is my last Monday keeping me from summer. I still have the rest of the week to work, but Mondays sometimes seem to be the hardest day to get through because the weekends give such a tease.
Summer is highly sought after during the years of being a student, and now I see why teachers keep a countdown basically from day one. I look forward to having the downtime after a more than busy year at school. It makes me laugh when I think about all the years when I was in grade school that I wished away summer just so I could go back to school (because I loved it that much or I just wanted fresh school supplies). Since my years of college have arrived, I welcome summer with open arms and do not think twice about turning a blind eye to anything other than fun freedom of summer.
This summer I have plans to have no plans. Sure, I have a few responsibilities here and there, but overall, I enjoy having no pressures or deadlines. Pleasure reading is nearly a nonexistent thing while in school because textbooks and notes take priority. I think I will be well into retirement trying to knock down the pile of unread books in my stash at this rate. I also have the high hopes of writing as much as I can. The process is so therapeutic, and I love the feeling I get when I start with a blank page and end with a filled page that spilled from my mind. Traveling some would be the ultimate summer goal, but it will not be a major trip at this point in life if I get the chance to go this summer. I really need to see more of my own country after seeing parts of others. There are some gems right here, and I am missing out. Those may have to wait for a future summer road trip.
We work so hard through the fall, winter, and spring. It does not seem fair that our season of play is so short compared to the seasons of work. Although, that may align with the length of good weather the Midwest sees in a year’s time. It is too bad there is not a better summer ratio.
©Inquisitive Perspectives 2018