Sometimes I visit cemeteries

Sometimes I visit cemeteries.

Sometimes I walk through them, grass and headstones stretching as far as the eye can see.

Sometimes I count one row and try to guess the number of people I’m visiting.

Sometimes I read the faded names of those come to pass and calculate how old they were when they did. Sometimes I stand right in front of their stone, knowing I’m standing directly six feet above them. Sometimes I say hi.

Sometimes I have a conversation with the ghosts I can feel around me, wondering when the last time they had a visitor was.

Sometimes I just let the silence sink in, even though sometimes I hear birds chirping or cars driving; a reminder of life still keeping on.

But where I am, is quiet. The people I’m visiting are quiet except for in my head.

Sometimes I imagine what kind of life had been lived, and I imagine things that might have happened to that person and I realize that in the end, none of it mattered.

In the end, it doesn’t matter that you didn’t get the perfect GPA you wanted, or that you didn’t fold the laundry immediately after the drier finished.

In the end, it doesn’t matter that you were late for work that one time or that you keep too much clutter in your house.

In the end, it doesn’t matter that someone cut you off in traffic, or that you never had time to learn to quilt.

None of that matters when you’re sleeping under a grass blanket watching the stars at night.

What matters is the impression you left on the world and the people you shared your time with.

What matters is that you did your best and you had fun doing it without hurting anyone else.

What matters is that you lived with love in your heart and that people out there felt it.

What matters is that you lived and laughed and learned and loved.

Sometimes I think of all this and I feel the tension in my muscles relax, and my mind calm as the pressure of everyday living is relieved.

Sometimes I visit cemeteries, and I remember how to live.

 

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What is cultural appropriation?

I’m going to keep this post short and simple. I would also like to iterate that I am merely trying to start a harmless exchange of opinions.

I want someone to explain to me exactly what cultural appropriation is, and what it means to them.

I have a hard time believing it even exists. Is imitation not the sincerest form of flattery? If someone of another race dresses in your culture’s traditional clothing, for example, why is that bad? I can almost guarantee that person is not doing it because they think your traditional clothing is stupid.

Can’t we all share and love other cultures?

Meddling: Where is the line?

via Daily Prompt: Meddle 

I saw a prompt for the word “meddle” and I thought I’d give it a shot.

This topic kind of ties into a video I saw online yesterday. Basically, a man (an actor) would sneak up behind a woman (also an actor) in the middle of a busy area and grab her while she screamed. He put a cloth over her face and she would “pass out” and he would pick her up and carry her away somewhere. The result of the video was that almost no one helped this woman as they watched her get kidnapped. There were some obvious problems with this pseudo-experiment like the fact that chloroform would not actually knock someone out in one second flat, and maybe to someone who wasn’t staring during that one second it might have looked more like she passed out/got hurt on her own and the man was helping her. Still, it led me to ponder an important question:

When is an action just meddling and when is it your duty to help?

If someone was kidnapping me in broad daylight, I would like to think that someone would try to help me. I would not consider that meddling. So it surprised me when at the end of the video the man asked some bystanders why they didn’t help and the general response was that it “wasn’t their business”. Wasn’t your business?! If you were being kidnapped, I’m sure you would want me to make it my business, lady. But regardless, this is really how some people think. I understand not wanting to put yourself in danger in this specific situation, but still. Where is the line?

When does someone else’s business become your own?

Is it when a third party is involved? Do they need to be a family member? If someone is cheating on their wife, is it your duty to tell the wife or would that just be “meddling”? Would it make a difference if that wife was your best friend? Your sister? If you were a server and a pregnant woman ordered a glass of wine, would you smile and give it to her or would you tell her she shouldn’t be drinking while pregnant? Should that baby’s well-being be any of your concern or if that strictly the mother’s business?

I don’t have the answer to these questions. I generally believe in truth and justice above all else and yeah, I’m that person who would rat out a cheating spouse, but I know a lot of people who wouldn’t dare.

What do you think? Where’s the line between meddling and duty?

Old Flames

I had a thought today.

I’ve been working on my first novel, which is based roughly on my past. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, sometimes it’s hard to put myself back into the head space of where I was at that time because it was so hard for me then. Every time I write I feel like I’m dragging my soul back through the trenches and putting my mind back in that dark place. So, as you can imagine, I’ve been thinking a lot about my old flames, and especially one in particular who has a starring role in my novel.

Stirring up all these feelings again has been really tiring, but I want to be as accurate with my writing as I can and the only way I know how to do that is by putting myself back where I was. So, in the name of *cough* accuracy, I’ve been doing my fair share of cyber stalking.

I use the term ‘stalking’ loosely because I am in no way on bad terms with this person and we follow each other on social media anyway. And I’m not going to lie, it’s hard seeing him living his life. He’s doing exactly what I always imagined him to be doing, touring the world by himself, camping out wherever he can, and making human connections. It’s amazing. I can’t help but wonder what it would be like to be with him on that journey.

Now, don’t get me wrong here. I love my husband like crazy and I would never leave him even if an opportunity presented itself. And I know in my heart that I’m a city girl through and through and the novelty of sleeping in shacks with bugs and strangers in a place where I don’t speak the language would fizzle out pretty quickly for me. But still, I wonder.

I wonder if he’s happy. I wonder what I would be like if we had stayed together. I wonder if we could have been happy if things had been different. I saw a post he put on Instagram about saying goodbye to a woman who I presume had been his girlfriend in one of the countries he was in. I wondered if the things he wrote about her were ever things he thought about me.

But then I had that thought I mentioned earlier. The only people we ever wonder about are the people who we never got a “proper” chance with. People who we feel like our time with was cut short. They’re the people who broke up with or rejected us, not the other way around.

I thought back to some of my other exes, people who I had done the breaking up with. With them, I felt like the relationship had run its course and the was nothing left to explore. It wasn’t going to work, so I moved on. And it got me to thinking… how many of those guys thought about me the way I’ve been wondering about my old flame? How many of them feel like the relationship was cut short and they never really got a chance with me? We don’t think these things about people we ended it with.

So I realized, no, he probably never had those thoughts about me. To him, there was no future with us and there was no point in continuing things. He moved on while I struggled.

I feel like what keeps us thinking about people from our past is that nagging voice in our head saying that maybe they miss me, too. But when you really step back and think about it, no, they probably don’t. You can’t waste your time wondering.

I had already made my peace with this old flame, and again, I’m happily married now and wouldn’t have it any other way. But writing this book and revisiting these feelings, as of today, has finally given me a proper sense of closure. If we would have been happy, he wouldn’t have left. And that’s it.

Sometimes going to that dark place can bring you some light.

Never stop moving forward.

Regret and “Wasted” Time

I’m pretty sure it’s totally normal for people to have regrets. Although, I wouldn’t really know because I don’t have any.

No one does anything other than what they want, whether it’s related to a short term or long term goal. Anytime a person is presented with a situation, they weigh all possible options (even if it’s only subconsciously) and then take action. How can you regret something when it was your choice to make? Every choice that you’ve made was based on the information and knowledge that you had about the world at that time. You did your best. Now move on.

I believe that everything on this planet is connected and everything happens for a reason. Maybe you regret leaving that party early because your friend got really drunk and made her own bad decision. You can’t regret leaving early because I truly believe that it had to happen that way. If you feel badly, change that into positive energy in the form of a lesson learned. Next time you’ll know not to leave a friend. You couldn’t have possibly known something bad was going to happen and you can’t blame yourself for making the best decision you could based on the information you had at that time. Now that you’ve experienced a situation of that nature, you’ve learned something new you can now apply to a future situation.

If you made a choice and now you regret it, like taking a certain subject in school, then change! I’ve heard far too many people in my life say that it’s “too late” to change majors or that they’re “too old” to start learning gymnastics. Screw that! If you decide that you want to study a whole new field after you graduate, then do it! If you wish you’d taken gymnastics as a kid, find an adult beginners class! There is no such thing as “too late”.

There is also no such thing as wasted time. If you “wasted” time in school on a major you hated, now you’ve learned a very valuable lesson because of it and one can hardly call a life lesson a “waste” of time. If you were in a marriage that ended badly, those were not wasted years. You must have loved each other at some point, and just because it ended badly doesn’t mean the whole experience was bad. There must have been good days too. You can’t let those be tainted by a negative outlook on the person now. You had fun once. Just because a marriage only lasted 10 years doesn’t mean that those ten years were wasted. They were part of your life journey and lesson that you needed to learn.

I think we all need to learn to leave our regrets behind and start fresh with a useful new life lesson in hand. What do you regret?

xo

Being naive is not a bad thing.

Throughout my life, people have often described me as being naive. If someone decided to make up a silly story to tell me and I believed it, they would laugh that I was so gullible. I used to be ashamed when someone tricked me into believing them. But here’s the thing: being naive is not a bad trait.

Think about it. Why did I believe you in the first place? The only answers (probably) should be because a) you’re an authority figure or b) I trust you. If you’re an authority figure and you lie to someone who believes you anyway, then you’re an asshole. But if I trust you enough to buy into your ridiculous story and it turns out you were lying for fun, who’s the real loser here? Not only do I end up embarrassed, but you show your true face to the world.

Being a trusting person may not be the safest way to live your life, but it’s genuine. Of course, with time, everyone should learn who deserves immediate trust and who doesn’t. But when you’re dealing with a friend or family member, you shouldn’t have to screen their information. If you swear to me you saw an alien in your back yard I will testify in court on your behalf that it happened. I don’t think that makes me anything other than a true friend.

I once had a friend call me to tell me about how he failed his driver’s test and how annoyed and upset he was because of it. I patiently listened and offered my sympathy and then the next time I saw him he laughed and said he made it up. He had passed and gotten his license. He laughed like it was so funny that I believed him. That same friend came out to me a couple years later and asked how I never realized he was gay all those years. I said, “Well, I asked you point blank if you were gay and you swore to me you weren’t. You’re one of my best friends so I believed you on your word. Fuck me, right?” He was speechless for a second and then thanked me and apologized. I didn’t think it was fair that was the one to be made to feel stupid. Trusting people isn’t (always) stupid.

It’s a good thing to trust people automatically because the only person who would readily assume a person is lying is someone who lies. A person who can’t even imagine someone lying for no reason is a person who has never lied for no reason. It just doesn’t occur to them. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

Don’t let people tell you you’re weak because you trust. It may be a vulnerable way to live, but continue to live your life with an open heart and know that those who are closed off are the ones suffering, not you. You do you.

Growing as a person

Sometimes I wonder if people stop growing simply because they’ve aged and they are who they are, or because everyone else is too tired to help them grow anymore.

What age is too old to continue to correct poor behaviour? How often do you hear someone say something mean/stupid/racist etc. and then hear someone else say “that’s just how they are” or “that’s how they were raised” as if that’s an excuse? If a child says something mean, every adult in earshot will jump at the chance to say “No! We don’t say things like that. That’s mean.”

So why does this stop? Why do we decide that once a person is an adult we aren’t allowed to explain to them why something they said or did was inappropriate? Why do we assume that person even realize what they’ve said?

In high school if a friend of mine did something I didn’t like, they would hear about it, and vice versa. Now, I find that my friends would rather tell me in private about how so-and-so was so rude when we were out and don’t I agree because omg! When does it stop being acceptable to say “hey, that’s kind of offensive.”

Sure, there are times when a person knows exactly what they’re saying or doing and doesn’t care if it bothers someone. But what about the times a person genuinely doesn’t know they’ve offended you? Why can’t we tell them? And even if the person intended to hurt you, that doesn’t mean they should get off scot-free. Maybe a polite challenge will stop them from doing the same thing to someone else.

If we stop telling each other the truth and stop listening we stop growing. I believe you can teach and old dog new tricks. We shouldn’t give up on others and definitely shouldn’t give up on ourselves. Take in the world around you and always keep growing.

xo

 

Saving Things Forever

Recently I’ve been going through some old boxes and piles of things that are just taking up space. I found so much cool stuff! I found scrap booking supplies, random pieces of cool looking material, ticket stubs, stickers, etc. Everything salvageable, I keep.

But I have this habit where I never use things even when the opportunity arises. I know lots of people who say, “I’m going to keep this for a rainy day!” and then when that rainy day comes, they just forget about it. Not me. I remember it, but still don’t use it. For example, I have a large piece of paper that is blue with cool looking bubbles all over it with a peel off back to make it a sticker. I’ve been transporting this thing for years, through multiple moves and everything. I am determined to use it one day. But even if I thought to myself, “Hey, I should use it for -insert craft-!” I probably wouldn’t. I would keep it neat and clean and unfolded and store it away for a better opportunity to really get the most out of using it. What if I come up with a better, more perfect idea another day?

When I was a kid, I specifically remember seeing my friends use up all their stickers. My stickers? My stickers were all still on the page, unfolded, clean, and kept safely tucked away for the best time to use them. All those other kids were suckers for wasting their stickers on their math notebook. Bleh! I would save my stickers for something worthy.

Let me tell you, over the years I have found so many perfectly preserved sticker books and sheets from my childhood. Every time I find one I wonder to myself why I didn’t just use them when I was young enough to have fun doing it. What am I going to do with butterfly stickers now? I gave them all away to my friends with kids. I was pretty happy the day I saw a bunch of stickers all over my friend’s place after giving them to her daughter. At least someone got to use them.

I guess the moral of the story is that I should use my bubbly sticky paper up on the next idea –any idea- that comes along. What’s the point of having cool stuff if I never use it up? I don’t know the clinical reason for my crazy habit, but I’m sure there is one.

Do any of you out there keep random things for the best time to use them? In other words, please help me feel better about my weirdness. Thanks.

Pure Imagination

Reading is unique from any other form of media.

When you watch a TV show or movie, everyone else sees and hears the exact same things as you. But when you read a book, that’s completely not the case. We all see the same words and read the same descriptions, but what we see will be vastly different from what someone else sees.

How crazy is it that no one will ever imagine a story in the same way? It doesn’t matter how amazingly detailed an author’s description is, every reader will experience it differently.

That’s what makes reading so special. My version is mine alone and no one else will ever know it.

Thoughts from a Vegetarian

I am a vegetarian.

For some reason, vegetarians have this weird stigma around them and are looked down upon by many of the general population (at least in my experience). I don’t really know why this is. Maybe it’s because people are scared of what’s different, or because people think that if -insert diet here- was the best, then that would be their diet, too. Or maybe people automatically think that because someone has a different diet, they must think your diet is wrong so they go on the offensive. But, regardless of what you think, each vegetarian you meet believes that their diet is the best for them and I don’t believe in spreading unnecessary negativity. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Didn’t your mama teach you not to say anything if you have nothing nice to say?

So here are some thoughts.

When you meet a vegetarian, unless you are somewhat good friends with this person, don’t ask them why they don’t eat meat. Yes, we understand that this comes from a genuinely curious place, but you need to understand that we get this question all the time and it’s tiring to answer over and over again.

Don’t ask where they get their protein from. Protein comes from many places other than meat. Ever heard of nuts? Your vegetarian friend probably eats nuts.

Don’t tell them reason x-y-z that they should eat meat. They have heard these reasons before. If they thought they were good reasons, they would be eating meat. But they aren’t. So stop.

Don’t assume that your vegetarian friend knows nothing about nutrition. In fact, I’m willing to bet they know more about nutrition than you. I don’t say this because I believe that not eating meat is the healthiest way to live, but because constantly having their judgment questioned almost surely leads to more time spent researching vegetarian diets than you. Also, people usually don’t switch diets without doing at least a little research before hand, right?

Basically the point here is, someone else’s life is not your life. So let your veggie friends live their herbivore life and cut the judgment.

Spread the love, friends.