Plans for the Future

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Life is exciting. I have so many interesting things coming my way. So many adventures to embark on and epic paths to follow. To have a thousand dreams is to have a thousand fires burning in your heart.

This September is already shaping up to be another crazy learning experience. I’m going to be moving out on my own. Most of the summer I’ve been pretty much by myself, but not completely. And now… in a couple of days I’m going to go check out the cutest little cabin ever to see if I can rent it in the fall. It is seriously adorable. One room and heated with a woodstove… It has a claw foot bathtub instead of a shower and a sundeck and a tangled garden around it. I’m super excited to go see it in the flesh tomorrow. I think I can really make it feel like home.

And I’ve still got my wonderful job to look forward to, now a permanent part of life it seems. I have an amazing boss and I’m learning lots. And of course, there’s also the rising sum of my savings account. I figure by spring I’ll have enough to go travel Europe, which is something I’ve been dreaming of for what seems like forever, more and more intently.

With all of this, and also the excitement of my novel ahead of me, life is giving me enough to smile at. My novel is really shaping up, which I find surprising since I’ve recently decided to rewrite it. But it is still coming together, setbacks and all, piece by piece, word by word, glowing idea after glowing idea. I feel like I might have a chance at everything I’ve dreamed of. I might have a chance to be the author I want to be and change the world with my words. 

Of course, there are problems with my plans, big enough to occasionally wipe the hope from my heart. For one, the ever-present force of loneliness which has preceded over the majority of my life has come back from its temporary vacation leave. I am alone on a small island. I know very few people. My cabin – I’m already calling it that – will have no internet. I have no phone. And, most importantly, my friends are all busy anyways. What to do when you live on a rock in the middle of the ocean with no connections to anyone your age?

But I’ll get through the problems. Life isn’t prefect. It never will be. Things are coming together and that is what is important. Slowly but surely. Little by little. And I have only gratitude for that. 

Analogies for Broken Things

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You know how in cartoons the characters can usually run right off cliffs and then not fall until they look down? Well, sometimes I feel that that is the state of being in which society is currently living. It seems to me that humanity has been building a ladder since the beginning of our time, rung by rung, higher and higher. And we have been so busy focusing on building taller that we haven’t looked down and realized that each time we place a rung above our heads, one disappears beneath us. So now here we are, far, far up, resting precariously on a floating piece of ladder until such time as we all collectively look down, whisper “shit” and plummet. One can only hope we will be able to recover from the resulting injuries as well as cartoon characters can.

The world is a very broken place. The more I look the more I see it. Our cause and effect has been warped out of shape. For instance, one could argue that one of the biggest physical challenges humans face right now is overpopulation. It is the root of many things – poverty, famine, war, the rapid spread of disease and climate change, to name a few. One could also argue that one of the biggest mental and emotional challenges that humans face is loneliness. Now. Step back and look at those two things. Something doesn’t seem to add up. If there are more of us then ever, why are there also more of us feeling alone? If there are over seven billion people on this planet, why is there no longer any community?

And here society is, on its little piece of floating ladder, and all of our systems, emotional and physical, are resting on nothing. We have built our castles on pillars of sand and the tide is beginning to come in. Nothing makes sense anymore. There are more people, and more of them are alone. The more energy saving devices we seem to create, the harder everyone works. The more we have, the more unsatisfied we feel. Someday soon we are going to realize that maybe its the lack of oxygen that comes with being several kilometers farther up than we should be that is twisting our reality out of shape. Just maybe it would be better to look down and get this over with than to spend our lives climbing until we leave earth behind and find that we can no longer breath. 

It’s like we’re playing a giant game of jenga. But one of those ultimate versions, where every piece you take out you have to stack on top of the game again. We ran out of building materials a long time ago so we are relying on ripping out the foundation of our house and using it to create new levels. We only want to be taller. But I’ll tell you what. We need to stop sacrificing our roots for our branches before our foundation becomes so unstable that the entire jenga game comes crashing down in an avalanche of broken pieces.

That’s it. That’s all of the mixed metaphors I’ve got. Make what you will of them.  

Random Thought Gallery #3 (Or is it 4?)

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I have too many random thoughts swirling around in my head it seems. Though I suppose that might be thought of as a good thing.

* You can tell a lot about someone by how they walk through an automatic door. I’m seventeen and I still discretely wave a hand in front of me and command the door to open under my breath, just to watch it obey me like I’m magic.

* So today someone introduced me as a journalist and I was like (in my head obviously) “Wait. Wait, wait, wait. What? I’m a journalist? Holy shit, I am!”

* If I ever get a tattoo it’s going to be a Harry Potter quote translated into elvish characters. Just to screw with all the fandoms that I love.

* I don’t understand how people can be so defensive and sensitive all the time. It just seems like a lot of unnecessary work and stress. Having to freak out every time anyone said something even remotely irritating would drive me up the wall.

* I used to be like (insert whiny voice here) “But what if people judge me, oh they’re probably judging me!” And now I’m just like “But what if people-” *SLAP* “Shut up whiny voice, it’s their problem if they’re going to judge me. I can be whoever the frick I want and if people are going to judge me for it then it’s their loss not mine.” And then I proceed to sit crosslegged on the pavement of a ferry terminal, wearing a cloak and singing a Lord of the Ring’s song to myself.

* I am getting more and more excited about my travel plans. I want to see the world. I want to let it teach me. I want to get lost in Paris and I want to sleep in an abandoned movie theater in Venice and I want to learn new languages and make new friends and go on new journeys.

* And even though I want to do all this, a part of me is getting all nostalgic for back to school time and wishing I could just go to highschool and do homework and have extra long weekends.

Well, that is it for now. I hope you enjoyed the strange roamings of my head!

Labels

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No human, or at least, very few humans, maybe one in a hundred thousand, fits any label before it is given to them. Human spirits are too unique, to diverse and incredibly strange, to ever fit in a box, no matter what the box is. But even the act of being labelled changes a person. They begin to act differently, either to fit the label, because it makes them feel more accepted, or to rebel against it. Usually, it’s to fit the label, whether or not the change is subconscious. And of course, sometimes people get labelled the rebel so they act more and more like it.

I keep running into situations were people shut out all of their other sides just so they can fit a new label they have been given. They push away everything that doesn’t fit their new position. I did it to, for quite a long time. I still do it. I was labelled a wild child when I was little, so I pushed away my other sides. But the truth is, I love wearing dresses and feeling pretty just as much as I like hiking up a mountain under the stars in a shirt I’ve been wearing for three days. I was labelled a nerd, so I tried to forget all that was non-nerdy about me. But when I walked into a room today where a superhero movie was playing, my first thought was “ooohhh, that guy is hot!” Some wild child. Some nerd.

So I urge you please, do not limit yourself by what others – or even you yourself – decide you should be like. Be who you are, pure and unlabelled. Don’t suppress half of your identity because it doesn’t suit the restrictions you’ve drawn up for yourself.

Of course, I know from experience that refusing labels can be damn hard. It seems to me that the world is divided into cliques, and if you don’t squeeze yourself into a box then the only clique you will ever find to be part of is the misfit clique. And yet… the misfits are the best people. They are the ones whose souls are so vast and starry that any box they are put into breaks into splinters and lets them fly free. They are the people who are themselves, untainted by attempts to fit another person’s perceptions of them. To be a misfit is to live more wholesomely. The only trouble is finding the misfits – there are fewer of them.

If you find yourself losing your identity because it doesn’t fit the side of you that you think society will like better, stop right there and consider the sacrifice you are making. You don’t have to choose between two sides of yourself because you think that’s the only way to find your identity. I’m beginning to feel that our identities are with us when we are born, vast quantities of raw star dust, and as we stumble through life trying to “find ourselves” we end up distorting the image we began as into symmetricality. When we are born we are abstract art. This quest for self identity is a search to find a perfect photograph from among the splashes of colour and odd swirls of light that we begin as. But maybe we were never meant to be labelled and shaped. Maybe we were meant to remain abstract.

Growing up in Hogwarts

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So I’ve been thinking… do the teachers at Hogwarts have to have summer homes, ones they go to for the holidays, or do they just live at Hogwarts all year round? I imagine most would live permanently in the castle, because the school needs looking after anyways. So what happens if a teacher has a partner and kids? Kids too young to go to school at Hogwarts? Do they never get to see them? Or… and this is the good part…do the kids and the partner live at Hogwarts? I can see the teacher’s partner just wandering into Hogsmead and apperating to wherever they work each morning. And the kids would grow up with Hogwarts as their only home. By the time they were eleven and ready to attend the school, they’d know every secret passageway by heart. The teachers and headmaster – or mistress – would be like uncles and aunts to them. They’d have mentors among the ghosts and they’d have spent ages getting to know the portraits.

Imagine growing up in Hogwarts. Spending summers roaming the Forbidden Forest with your parents there to protect you, exploring the castle and hanging out in Hogsmead…Imagine how wonderful a play place the Room of Requirement would be. You could have as big of a jungle gym as you wanted. You could have a ballpit the size of a football field, or you could have an amusement park, or a waterslide, or a zipline.

And then each September when school started and both your parents were working, you’d spend your days being looked after by the house elves. You’d sit in the kitchens eating delicious food and playing games with the other teachers’ kids and with the elves. Every once in a while you’d go have tea with Hagrid, or go spend time roaming the castle with one of the ghosts. You would have friends among the older students, little-kid crushes, and you would hang out with them on weekends when they weren’t busy, because what student would refuse to babysit their teacher’s kid? And you’d always know all the passwords in and around the castle, so you’d have your baths in the prefect’s bathroom with a thousand different kinds of bubbles, and every time you felt like it you could swing by one of the common rooms and visit with people.

On your eleventh birthday the house elves would throw you a big party, and as you sat eating cake by the fire, the kitchen door would open and in would come Dumbledore, wading through the elves with a smile on his face. He’d sit right down beside you and offer you a thick envelope stamped with the Hogwarts crest. You’d rip it open and find your letter, no owl necessary.

It would be the most exciting thing, finally becoming a real part of the school. You’d be nervous too of course, because you would already know so many of the students and you’d already know what House you really, really wanted to be in. You’d go to Diagon Alley to get your school stuff same as everyone else, but on September 1st there would be no need to take any trains. You’d get Hagrid to take you with him down to the platform at Hogsmead and you’d stand and wait for the train with the kids who live in Hogsmead. Then you’d take the boats across the lake with everyone, trying to imagine what it would be like to see your home for the first time like all the other kids.

Half of your classmates would think you were brilliant, with your knowledge of the school, but half of them would be sure to call you a teacher’s pet. They would be losing out though, because despite the fact that your parents would ask you not to show anyone the Room of Requirement and the kitchens and all that, you wouldn’t keep your promise very long. You’d wander the school with your friends, taking them to all the secret places and introducing them to the house elves, ghosts and portraits that raised you. Hogwarts would be your home.

Opportunity

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When Opportunity comes knocking, you say good morning to it and take off on whatever adventure it feels like dragging you on. Don’t back down just because you think it could lead you to a hard path. Opportunity is a fickle friend; it appears only when it is in the mood to. Sometimes, if you chase it across the globe with a club, you can catch it on your own. Other times, you can become a mad science and build it out of nothing. But it is most perfect when it shows up, with a crooked smile and a beckoning finger, at your door. If you follow it, it will lead you to strange places, show you new things, and gift with you with odd wonders. It will pull you through trials you could have done without, but the reward is usually worth it.

If you resist it, it will call less and less. Opportunity has things to do, people to visit and lives to change. It can’t be bothered to keep knocking on a door that will give no answer. It doesn’t have time to coax the unwilling. Where one person shrinks away from its call, there will be another person searching the galaxies for it. It has no need to seduce those who won’t be seduced.

Have no fear if you hear it knock. If you sense Opportunity’s bright eyes on you, do not quiver under its gaze. Grab your coat from a hook on the wall and go off to adventure. Pack your bags with a map of the world and a compass to steer you. Set your heart on the dreams ahead. Set your feet on the path, set your eyes on the horizon, but most important, set your soul in the moment. There is a fine balance. Opportunity will show you wonders, if you aren’t too busy staring behind or ahead.

Sometimes, there are things worth staying home for. But give your decision the right weight. No one has ever made history by refusing Opportunity. What would have happened had Bilbo Baggins let the dwarves leave without him? What would have been the result had Harry Potter stayed with the Dursleys, too afraid to venture out of his prison? Smaug never would have been defeated. The wizarding world would have fallen. Choose wisely, for opportunity waits for nothing and no one. Opportunity cannot be tamed.

It Sounds Cliche, But Be Youself

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Life is better if you just don’t care what strangers think. I’ve gotten to the point where I really don’t mind if people think I’m odd, or weird, or ugly, or untalented. How does the opinion of someone I might never see again have any weight over me being me? Because really, I’m going to be myself regardless of whether or not I let the world see that self. So there isn’t any point in holding back.

It is incredibly liberating to not give a shit. I can sit down in a public place and start practicing my flute and singing. Some people might not like it. Their loss, not mine. Others will, and it will be good to hear their compliments. I’m not going to let fear of people not liking who I am stop me from being me. As Doctor Seuss says “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” In this overpopulated world, there are bound to be people who hate me. Nothing I can do about it. I’ve just got to be the very best version of myself that I can be and take the cards as they fall.

The ones who are important in life are the ones who accept me for myself. Hiding my true nature in masks will make it impossible to find those who are important. Sometimes I think that not being some typically gorgeous person is a blessing. Do I really want people flocking to me for something as shallow as my looks? No. Not being popular means that the people who do become my friends are more likely to be the right ones. They’re the ones who found me even when I wasn’t shining like a painted star.

What I’m trying to say, is go be yourself. Hold nothing back. The world deserves to see you as you are, imperfect and wonderfully weird. Not caring what other people think is so worth it. It cuts out a hell of a lot of unnecessary stress from life, and it helps you to find the people who are important. Go. Be free.