Why Sometimes, It’s Not About the High Road

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Photo by Björn Grochla on Unsplash

“When people go for the low blow…”

You have two options here: you either take the high road OR you decide to go just a little bit lower.

So which way do you go?

The thing about taking the high road is that you get to have the full knowledge of what happened and still follow through on being a good person– maybe a little more cautions, but good nonetheless. It lets you be the bigger person, right?

But what about the other option, being petty and deciding to maybe go for the low blow back sometimes? Because if I’m being honest, taking the high road can make a person feel pretty small and maybe, maybe some days you deserve to fight back for yourself a little bit.

This week has been an absolute whirlwind and not necessarily a good one. Among everything else, I got an email on Monday telling me that I am almost at my graduation date… I wanted to delete that email. Because that means that I’m headed out into the real world soon or I at least need to know where I’m going.

I have no clue. Not really.

I mean, how do we figure that out when there are midterms and classes and auditions and articles and homework and work…

And then the drama, there’s always more drama isn’t there? Whether it’s drama in your work environment or even within your relationships, there’s always a little something to top it all off. My mom keeps telling me to take the high road– she’s right, as always, but maybe I want to be a young and slightly petty, reckless twenty-year old sometimes.

Because, well, college is hard.

Most of us are barely sleeping, let alone balancing that with the amount of work there is to do and things to keep track of. Of course, you can’t forget the fun in there somewhere too– with a day of 88 degrees in SLO today, you can bet half of the campus was at the beach.

There’s got to be some kind of balance in it all. And yes, I’m sure you know how I feel about finding that at this point; I talk about it a lot. But remember this: just because you find it, doesnt’ mean it’ll always hold.

Sometimes that balance breaks, into all these teeny tiny pieces that you get to clean up and rearrange all over again. Then it’s got a new weight and a new type of equilibrium to it, a new kind of balance.

Maybe you find that through taking the high road and being the bigger person.

Maybe you go for the low blow instead…

But is there some inbetween?

Like that in-between of being too nice versus being a narcissist. I’m more on the early end of that spectrum, therefore I get stepped on and taken advantage of a lot.

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Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

Maybe my inbetween means changing that.

Among the rest of it, this week has reminded me that some things truly are not always what they seem– authenticity is hard to find in everything we do, especially the people we surround ourselves with. Who knows, maybe I’ll take the low blow or maybe I’ll take the high road. Either way, the status quo here is changing.

So we will see whatever happens next.

Penny For My Poems

thought-catalog-470876-unsplash.jpgAnother day of poetry for you, here’s something new— short and sweet. I’ve been doing a whole lot of writing in the past few months, trying out new styles and working through what I can. What I’ve got for you today is a lot more recent, partially because my old writing is on my old phone, but also because this has been my headspace for a while now.

Though they may seem self-explanatory, I’d like to think there’s a lot of meaning in each line. Poem number one is a mirror of another poem I’ve written (shout out to you if you recognize that first line), but I changed the angles a bit. And that second one was written while not paying attention in English class– I’d like to think it was more important at the moment, but my professor may not agree. So give these a quick read and let me know what you think. Maybe you can figure out the full meaning along the way.


One

hernan-sanchez-160709-unsplashAs I lay my head to rest

I wonder if

you’re resting too.

I wonder if that rest is what

you needed, what

you knew

was coming. I have questions now

too many…

If only you

could come back home and answer them…

one thing I know

you can’t do.

Two

lucas-sankey-365365-unsplashCreep around my edges, careful that you be

around the glass, sharpened pieces

that have become of me.

Let your fingers ‘bout each door, who’s locks are

never shut, never hinged, confirmation

of which you may be sure.

I’ll let you in, let you close though

our fingers never touch, call to question

of your purpose here to show.

ornella-binni-148189-unsplash (1)For you are here, a lie to hold

within the brokenness I know; for your

beauty may never grow old.

But let your presence hold me steady,

bring me peace until you go; hold me up

till on my own, I can be ready.


Have a beautiful rest of the week everyone, see you Friday.

 

Lost in Translation– What now?

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I wanted to focus on Black History Month for all 4 of my posts this month, but I feel like this is important to talk through. In the midst of watching the world grow up around me, my goals and hopes rearranged with every step I take. I’ve got some big plans for my future, I know I have said that before.

But weeks like this make me wonder “what if I never get there?”

I used to follow every news story, whether it came out in class or late at night, I would go through each memorial and headline and tribute video down to the end. Call it an need to know, I’m not sure why I did that, but it felt important. I guess in some sense, I was trying to understand how we even got to where we were and where we are now, how it all happened. Each child, each sibling, each mother, each friend… To me, their losses felt personal.

Because they are.

When I look at the news, I have to acknowledge the fact that those could be my friends, my parents, my brothers, my classmates. I know it’s not just me; I’ve gotten a few extra calls from my parents this week, not because midterms have made these weeks so busy or for Valentines day ,but because they miss us. And I think they need a reminder that we’re still here.

That we’re okay. I’m sure my parents aren’t the only ones.

I’ve only been out of high school for almost two years now and it is astou

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nding to me how much I see changing. I remember the lock down drills we used to do– good for preparation but I don’t think we truly took them seriously enough in the weight of what we were possibly preparing for. Even as the last six years hold the 4/5 deadliest mass shootings in the US modern history, schools often being targeted, I know I was ignorant in my own security. Maybe I has the privilege of feeling that way, of not quite acknowledging the reality around me.

I can’t say students now have that luxury.

There’s a video circulating Twitter that’s been up for past two days; a Florida student is filming in a classroom as police come in to help a girl with a gunshot wound to the leg, before ushering others out through the halls. The officers keep telling them to stick close to the walls while they cry and run, passing unmoving friends and peers on the floor along the way out.

I wasn’t going to watch it, I didn’t want to. Yet I clicked play anyway, the need to understand more compelling than the need to be complacently ignorant. But in watching that video, nothing makes any more sense than how devastating it is to go through something like that. To accept the reality as it is for students and citizens trying to figure out where to go from here.

People are scared and I could not imagine being in middle school or even elementary school right now. Maybe comprehension at those ages isn’t as deep as it is for me now, but I think everyone knows something is wrong.

As a young black woman, I can be proud of the opportunities I have and the platforms I can reach in this day and age– fifty years ago, things were very different for people like me. Sometimes I get excited, thinking of the capability and creativity and intelligence I see in the presence of my generation. It can be humbling to acknowledge just how much I think we can do,

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with so much technology and capability at our fingertips.

But I also worry, about the lives we are coming into and the safety of our current state, the questions that come with it. I worry about the fear that now seems to haunt my generation and those coming after us. Because this uncertainty doesn’t discriminate by skin or gender or color or even political party. Every single one of us is living in this reality of yet another mass shooting just this year.

Shouldn’t just one be enough?

Something needs to change. There have been too many “prayers go out to…” or “my heart is with…” You can fill in whatever place you want there; it’s probably still on the ever growing list of places tragedy has struck. Yet nothing changes, people pray and lives are lost and it happens all over again. Now I’m not saying gun control is the solution, nor am I saying the opposite.

What I am saying is this: memorials and prayers and testimonies and thoughts are not enough. Though thoughts are great and we all have our own need for faith, neither is doing anything to change the future. We need to do something more than just watch more people lose their lives. Sure, I talk a lot about mental health because it’s important– these news headlines talk about mental health because it’s an excuse. This is just a factor. There’s more to these situations than that, than being “orphaned at 19” or having an “undiagnosed mental illness“.

We need to go deeper and find a way to fix the problem, whatever and how large this problem may be. Because it’s not going away.

Students shouldn’t have to be afraid to go to school. I wish I didn’t have all these plans in my life only to lie awake and night and wonder “what if I never get to finish that book?” or “when was the last time I told my parents I love them?”

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I don’t want to keep following these stories, the friends or the families or the lives, taking each loss personally when they aren’t and they are at the same time.

I just want to see things change– I don’t know how or when or what, but we can’t keep waiting. We can’t keep watching it all fall apart. I don’t want to live in a world where I look at the news and think “Oh, another one?”

And I know too many people feel this way too.

Behind the Curtain– What People Never Tell You

ihor-malytskyi-204553Have you ever seen those people on Instagram whose lives seem flawless, incredible travel destinations and the kind of daily life everyone hopes for? Of course you have, after all, social media is a breeding ground for high expectations and beauty on a whole new level.

But have you ever thought about everything that people don’t share on social media?

Trust me, I have. Growing up in a digital age where everything we do needs a picture or ends up online somewhere, I think it’s easy to lose track of living our own lives when we’re so busy focusing and comparing ourselves to others. I think we forget that things aren’t so cut and dry, they never have been.

We need to take a moment before judging to take a look behind the curtain.

That girl who just posted a picture with her family, all home for the holidays, as everyone smiles real big and pulls each other close… This is the first time they’ve all been smiling in the same space together in the last five years.

That boy who just tweeted about having the time of his life at the music concert of the year… He spent the last four months working overtime at three different jobs to pay for something other than his own school fees and housing. That was a gift from his boss.

pawel-janiak-312458Those adults you see, graduating, living, taking their first steps into the real world, excited to see what change they are capable of making in the next leg of their journey… Each and every one of them feels a little bit behind, worried about not finding a job, as they question whether they’re going to be secure in the future they’re heading towards.

Three job applications a day; two backup career paths lined up; one more cup of coffee with a side of optimism to keep them going.

These are the things you’re never going to see in a 280 character tweet, a beautiful instagram post, or a facebook check-in.

This is what people never tell you.

And I think we’ve strayed from this idea: that of being authentic.

I’m not saying that whenever I ring someone up at the University Store and tell them to have a good day, they need to mean it 100% when they say it back with a smile on their way out the door. People don’t need to air their dirty laundry online or talk about things they don’t want to talk about.

What I am saying is that if there are people in our lives that deserve to know we love them, or things we want to do, or a different kind of life we want to live, then why are we holding back? If someone wants to hide behind their curtain, if it’s better for them that way, then let them. But if you don’t want to automatically responddaniel-cheung-109141 “good, and yours?” when someone asks you how your day is, or dress up for a picture instead of dress down in sweatpants and be just fine, then by all means, live your life.

If you’re great, that’s fantastic. If you’re struggling, that is okay too.

Let yourself be authentic.

Because I feel like people hold themselves back too much, with friends or family or themselves. While there is a time and a place for everything, I do understand that, I think that with the right people in your life you shouldn’t have to feel the need to be anyone but yourself.

With the holiday season here and Thanksgiving only a week away, it’s a time to not only stop and think about those who have less than we do, but also to simply appreciate everything in our hands.

The family or the love or the hope or the food. Whatever we’ve got, this time of year is a reminder to appreciate it a little more, to hold on a little tighter as they say. As time goes by, things are going to change, and it’s better to have loved and lost than not at all.

You have to let people in behind that curtain and take time to be appreciative before that time slips away from you.

Preparing to head back home in two days, I think of the time that has passed and all the things that have changed. I haven’t seen half of my best friends since July, and for the other half it’s still been too long. Yet I think of the people I look forward to seeing– the ones I can be completely myself with– and I wonder about the rest of us.

For I hope you have people in your life who allow you to be genuinely yourself.

noah-silliman-407597As much as I have talked about the things in people’s lives that we don’t see, the struggles and the lives they live out of the public eye, it doesn’t mean we can’t all be a little kinder today while acknowledging our lives for what they are. We are flawed, each and every one of us, and we are not always going to know where we’re headed or what we are doing.

But in being unsure, trusting that we are all going the right direction and being thankful for the lessons along the way, one day that curtain is going to close and each one of us will have the people we need on our side of it.

If that’s not enough, I don’t know what is.