Writing 101 Day Seventeen: No one, Nothing, Small

When I was younger, I always felt like I could blend into the the background. I’d walk past people I didn’t even know and “know” what they were thinking. Those thought always boiled down to this; “You are no one, you are nothing, you are small.”.

I’ve grown to be much more self-aware, and less self-effacing since then. But every once in a while, those thoughts come back to me. My greatest fear is that those thoughts are all true, that everything I want, I can’t have. Sometimes I find myself withdrawing from the outside world, avoiding people because I think it will make those thoughts go away, but it never does. All it does, really, is make those thoughts come out, full force.

Not having the noise of other people, of music, or traffic, brings me back to those three thoughts. “You are no one, you are nothing, you are small.”

To tell the truth, I am small.

I stand at a whopping five foot one and a half. But my voice is not small. I’ve spoken up when no one else had the guts to do it. I’ve spoken out against what I believe to be injustices, and I’ve stood in front of a microphone on shaking legs and spoken to one of my idols (on tiptoe of course). If you give me an issue I’ll speak, and sometimes I don’t stop.

I may be no one to most people, but I know I’m someone to at least four, and that’s enough for me. I have family, and I have friends, and they all see me as someone. Someone to talk to, someone to laugh with, to argue with, to love. And I’m someone to those who hate me as well.

I most certainly am not nothing

If I was nothing, I wouldn’t be typing this right now. I wouldn’t be making a fool of myself for the whole world to see. And I certainly wouldn’t care enough to fear being nothing. I am a writer, I am a baker, and I am an aunt, it says so right on my profile, right under my picture.

But, despite my best efforts, my fear of being nothing, no one, and small keeps me from being the best person I can be. Fear has a funny way of doing things we would never want it to do. It can make us turn away from opportunities that could change our lives for the better; it makes us stop in our tracks and second guess what we’ve done before. But fear is something we can overcome. I’m living proof of that.

Two years ago this little blog of mine didn’t exist. It was still a seed in my head, growth stunted by fear. But now I’m sitting in front of my keyboard, baring my insecurities for something that not many people will read. But not many people is better than no one. A blog is better than nothing. and the internet is anything but small.

 

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Blogging 101 Day 11: Size matters

When I was 12 I lived in the same house I do now. Let’s not settle on this information, but on how I was back then. At twelve, I had only lived in this house for two years. Since I moved in at 10 years old, I’d had trouble fitting in with the kids who’d known each other since preschool. I’d really only moved to the other side of my small city, but apparently that was enough to make me the “new” kid in my fifth grade class. Middle school was no exception.

So, after a day of being ignored or straight out antagonized by the kids at my middle school (with very few exceptions), my home was my sanctuary. As soon as I got home, I’d go straight to my room. I found comfort in my day bed and the purple flowers stenciled on the doors to my closet. It was the first time I’d had a room to myself, and after two years, I still hadn’t quite gotten used to it. I plugged in my tiny radio and turned on the local rock station before sinking into the world of Harry Potter.

Now, a lot has changed. I’m still in that same room, but after eleven years I’ve found friends I can trust, and I don’t need to escape into a fantasy world to sustain me. Every once in a while, I still find comfort in the stenciled flowers, but only when I’ve reached an all time low. I’ve just found that my lows are happening much less often than before.

 

Writing 101 day 10: Childhood Meal

We’re at the park, surrounded by the crisp green grass and the sun beating down on our backs as we run around in the playground. In the distance, I see the picnic table full of food and my grandfather at the grill with my uncle, starting on their famous ribs. These sights and feeling will always mean one thing to me: Summer.

I’ll always savor the smell of sun on my skin, the itch in my ankles from sitting in the grass, and the taste of fresh watermelon as we wait for those ribs to cook. Parks in the summer will always bring me back to the Fourth of July celebrations where my mother’s family would have conversations, conversations that would enthrall my childhood mind. They would talk about the past, when they were children, and I couldn’t even fathom their existence before I was born.

The smell of the ribs would fill the air and I would find myself actually drooling with hunger, stealing glances at my grandfather and his son at the grill to see if there was a secret signal that they were done. I would watch my cousins as they played the complex hand games that I had yet to master. This was summer. The family, the food, and the conversation.

Writing 101 Day 1. Yes, I’m a rebel

this is going to be a relatively easy assignment, I write like this all the time, this is my bread and butter. I love stream of consciousness writing, it lets me air out my grievances whether they matter or not, and they usually don’t. I’m just gonna keep writing this until my train of thought brings me to something else. Is there a disorder that’s the opposite of ADD because I think that I have it. I think of one thing and I just can’t stop thinking about it, I become so focused on that one thing that I almost can’t do anything else. Which isn’t to say I can’t multitask. If I’m focused on two or more things I can do both pretty well without losing focus. It’s when I’m only focused on one thing that my mind goes into hyperfocus. Like when I’m reading a book and I’m also watching a show I’ve never seen before. When it goes to commercial, I’ll start reading the book and become so focused on it that I won’t look up until the moment the credits are rolling. God, that makes me think of texting and driving. How does that even happen? How is that something that happened so often and caused so many problems that we had to outlaw it? And how are some people still doing it? driving requires a ridiculous amount of focus, and losing that focus endangers the lives of everyone involved. How can people think it’s okay to center your focus on something else during something so important? It makes me sick. I can’t stand it when people willfully break the law for their own comfort.

I just looked at the clock, is that against the rules? Anyway I’ve been doing this for over ten minutes, and I gotta say reading through has made me think twice about my sanity. But that’s normal, right? Whatever. My mind is now blank, I’m desperately trying to find a topic to write about, it’s actually kinda hard for me to write for twenty minutes without something to write about.  God, watching my hands as I type is just a weird experience. normally I just glance at the letters but actively watching my fingers on each letter is messing me up.  I should probably finish my donut, but it’s so sweet. Something about the combination of chocolate and vanilla custard is just too rich for me. Now I sound like an old woman.

I probably should stop looking at the clock, it has to be cheating. I just realized how often I space my posts out, because the first paragraph I wrote just looks like a block of text. Maybe I should space that out later. This will probably be irrelevant when I publish this because that will probably be spaced out by then and everyone will think I wrote this after I spaced it out. I spend a lot of time worrying about what people think, probably because I’m so awkward that I put a lot of people off.

Writing 101 day 5: The letter, with my own twist

You Know Who you Are,

I found just enough time to write to you, so I have to make this fast. I know I haven’t said every word the way I should, or even said much at all, but that shouldn’t matter. All that matters is what you think of me, and right now, I’m afraid it’s not much. I’m writing this to change all of that, To see that look in your eye as we pass in the halls again. I’ve been trying as hard as I can to ignore you but you’re pulling me back with every averted glance, every blush I see when someone mentions my name, every hurried exit as I enter a room. i know you said this couldn’t work but I feel just foolish enough to try. And I said this would be brief but every fleeting thought of getting us back where we belong is making this letter longer. I wish I had more time, I wish we lived in a world where we were allowed to be free. Now I’m writing too fast because I can hear the clock ticking and our break is almost over. Just please, if you get this, do anything. Give me a nod in the cafeteria, or pass me a note in the hall, anything. I need you.

– You Know Who I Am

Writing 101 day 4: Writing about a loss part 1

When I was a teen, there was a year when I went to three funerals. It was already a confusing and rocky year for me, but that just put the icing on the dysfunction cake.

There was one that I will never forget. It was for a woman who had been a fixture at my grandmother’s church. Whenever I visited that church as a child, the woman would go out of her way to be as kind and caring to the children of the church as possible. She was loved and respected by everyone in the church, myself being no exception. As I got older, visiting the church, I always looked forward to seeing her. She was one of the kindest people I’d ever met.

And then she was gone.

I’ve started this post under false pretenses. This isn’t about the loss of such a respected, kind women, or even the two others who died that year.

It’s about my loss of faith.

I remember walking up to this woman’s casket for the viewing. I remember looking at her face and noting how much she looked unlike herself. I remember thinking that no God that I wanted to believe in would take this woman from the people she loved, from the community that adored her, so early.

I stopped believing in God that day.

My faith has always been a fine line for me. I now consider myself agnostic, and it took a lot for me to get to this point. To this day, I still have a problem with the idea of a god who would disown me because of my sexual orientation. Who would punish two heterosexual adults for having sex in a loving, monogamous relationship because they aren’t married. So for a long time I said that God didn’t exist.

But I think it’s more mature and honest to say that no one can possibly know that. You can’t know that this world isn’t the product of intelligent design, and you can’t know for a fact that it is.

You’ll notice that throughout this whole post, I capitalized “God”. This is not a statement of my belief, it’s out of respect for those who do believe. And no, I don’t have to do that, but it’s my personal choice. And I can only ask for that same respect in return.

Writing 101 day three (day one for me)

So today, I’m supposed to write about three songs that mean something to me. Along with a “twist”. I’ve never done one of these before, so bear with me. Anyway, here are my three songs:

  1. Landslide – Fleetwood Mac: I first heard this song as a cover by the Dixie Chicks, and i fell in love with it. I didn’t hear the original version of the song until a few years later, when I learned that the song I had fallen in love with was a cover. What made me love this song? Well, I always felt that the song was real and I mean real as in genuine, coming from a place of raw emotion that I had never reached in my own writing.  I have always viewed this song as a source of inspiration for my writing, and if I’m in a rut, I listen to it to bring me to that place, where I can forget everything else and write from raw emotion.
  2. Close to you – The Carpenters: I’ll say it straight out; this song reminds me of the Simpsons. Specifically, the episode where it shows how Marge and Homer met and fell in love. The song was featured heavily in that episode, and they used it so well that I will never, ever forget it. I will always remember how Homer and Marge met, and the song that brought them together. It sounds lame, but that’s it.
  3. Thrift Shop – Macklemore: Macklemore is one of the best new artists I’ve heard in a long time, and he, along with Ryan Lewis, could change the Hip hop world as we know it. Why specifically this song? Well, for one thing, it reached the billboard charts without being backed by a major label, which is huge. But there’s also the fact that it openly speaks out against the hip hop tradition of valuing money and status over character. Yes it does it in a funny and catchy way, but there are other artists already following in Macklemore’s footsteps. Without Thrift Shop, there would be no Royals, another song that is changing music. But that’s not the only thing Macklemore is speaking out against. He’s also calling artists out for there rampant homophobia, casual racism, and sexism, and the world is listening. Even if you don’t agree with his music, you have to appreciate that he’s trying to change the genre as a whole, and that it appears to be working.

Music has always been important to me, it’s something I turn to when I’m feeling lost, or scared, or happy. I use it to tune out the world around me when it becomes too much, I use it to help me write, and I use it to fall asleep. And I thik that the majority of people can say the same thing.

We need music, as a species, we’ve always had it. Be it in the form of tribal drums or chugging guitars, we have it all around the world. In some cases it’s ritualistic, in others it’s just background noise, but it has a way of drawing us in and planting itself in our head. And we don’t mind it being planted, we welcome it. When someone plays a new song, we can’t wait to hear it, and when we hear it we react. We can love the new sound, or we can hate it. and when we hate it, we offer a song of our own in the hopes that someone else will fall in love with it in the way that we did. In the hopes that someone else can’t live without that song in their head. And when other people don’t love our music, it devastates us.

I think that’s  why we value it so much. Why people are so attached to the music that they first heard in their youth. It helps us escape, but it also helps us feel. Music can evoke emotion in people the way that nothing else can. It can actively change our emotions the second we hear it, and it can help bring us back to the moment we heard it for the first time, even if we don’t remember that time.