Category Archives: How to master your inner self

The flip side to “You do you”

You do you, but sometimes, do more…

It’s good to be yourself. Let your emotions go as they please. Be obnoxious. Sing out loud. Be average. Fail a couple tests. Ace a couple more. Read your texts out loud as you type them. Shave every day, or once a week. Whatever you is you.

But if you’re like me, and your average is getting over the top. You fail more than a couple tests. And rarely ace but one. It’s time to study. You never shave, because it takes too long, and you’d rather just wear pants. Shave every now and then. It feels awesome. You’re sick of being in the band, it’s time to stand up on the scaffolding, and be a leader. Or in your case, maybe the chorus is getting old, and it’s time to try for something more. You’re done with crying all the time. Do something to make you happier.

Quite clearly, it isn’t about anyone else. You’re sick of being the “you” that you don’t want to be. So be the you that you do want to be. Discover yourself. Change something that you do. Break a habit or two. Visit a friend that needs company, or hang out with someone you don’t know that well. Practice a skill. Maybe conducting, maybe singing, maybe playing an instrument or running. Practice and practice until you’ve striven as far as you can go. Study a week in advance for that test. Study and study until you could sleep for 15 hours. Then try. Go for it. Get involved. Chase your dreams. Succeed.

Because this is you that we’re talking about. Forget the percentages. Forget the judgment. Forget what people think. You do you. But even better, you be the you that you want to be.

A detrimental gloom of disappointment due to the colossal vitality of illusion

If there is one thing that I have learned for myself that has truly made me happier, its that mustering up any kind of expectation whatsoever (unless completely reasonable and controllable… like being treated with respect) can be detrimental to the experience.

A few personal cases come to mind…

Like when I thought homecoming would be so great. But when he didn’t dance with me, and he didn’t talk to me, and she showed up when she said she wasn’t going to, and the punch was all watered down… and they didn’t play that song… Well, let’s just say I was disappointed.

Or that time when we went to the zoo, but it rained, and your mom picked you up early, and my cute outfit wasn’t clean, and we were awkward… Well, that was disappointing too.

But then I realized maybe if I had told you, “Hey, let’s go to the zoo, and your parents can pick you up whenever you want, and who knows what the weather will be like, but if its sunny then great! And if it rains we can stand under an umbrella together and be all cute! And its okay if we are awkward, because that’s how it is, and it will be different someday.”

What if I had just accepted the “now”? Instead of expecting a romantic, sunny, perfect day. Why didn’t I prepare myself for the unexpected? Did it not even cross my mind that it might rain? Did it not even occur to me that realistically, we had never hung out alone before, and it was going to be awkward?

Because after the let down at homecoming, I went to Cotillion anyway. But I went to Cotillion without anything in mind. All I knew was that I had friends who loved me, and I had a beautiful outfit that I loved, and that I am capable of having fun if I want to. Who cares what music they play? If I don’t like it, I can go get a drink.  I came home from the dance with a huge smile on my face, realizing once and for all that no expectation at all is the best expectation to have.

Go with what you know. I’m not saying we shouldn’t dream. Dreaming is one of my favorite things to do. I am a dreamer. But there is a fine line between letting dreams take over, and having realistic dreams. Romantic dreams cause insanity. Realistic dreams come true.

So decide for yourself what is realistic and what isn’t. Nobody can categorize your dreams but you. No one can tell you what is unreachable. You decide what you will strive for, but make sure you know there’s a chance you might get there, and make sure you have a game plan, and a back-up plan, and a plan C, and a plan D…

“There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his
dreams
— not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone
beyond her, beyond everything” -Nick Carraway, The Great Gatsby

The funny thing about fear

Have you ever had an irrational fear? A sort of phobia that you just don’t understand, and neither does anyone else. To you and others, it seems like it would be so easily overcome, by just stepping out of your comfort zone, and trying. But you never do.

Why? Did something happen to you as a child, or a toddler? Something that was only so long ago that it is stored somewhere in your memory, but not quite recent enough for you to access. This something creates a fear, because this something went wrong. Seriously wrong.

I’ve had a couple fearful experiences growing up, that have affected me to this day, as follows:

I have a fear of roller coasters. Not the friendly, Disney world type. In fact, Mount Everest is my all time favorite ride. And that one is pretty scary, lesbi honest. But I am terrified of the big, Cedar Point monsters that fling your limbs all over the place and defy gravity. I could never do those, I have convinced myself, unless maybe its with my boyfriend (which I don’t currently have anyway). But why have I convinced myself of this? What even happened to me? The first memory I have of riding any rollercoaster whatsoever was at King’s Island, and it was so much fun! There is no psychological way that this happy experience could have caused a fear. But then I think a bit harder, and I remember my friends and even the media telling me that roller coasters can break down, and you can get stuck on them, maybe even at the top of a hill, and never come down. The cart could fly off the tracks and you could go explode! From a childhood standpoint, these visions were real. And they have remained real to me. Maybe one of my old favorite computer games is responsible for this fear. I used to love playing roller-coaster tycoon with my brother, and we definitely used to create malfunctioning roller-coasters just to kill the little animated people. It was so sick, and so wrong, I know. But we did, and I blame that pastime for my fear of these harmless thrillers. (I use the word harmless lightly, all of the things I mentioned, like death and malfunctioning, could very seriously happen, but only by a slim chance, and because I know very well that these occurrences are rare, I wonder why it is so hard for me to overcome)

I developed a hypo-thyroid problem somewhere along the road a few years ago, and I started going to Children’s hospital to get lab tests just to check the thyroid levels in my blood stream. Now, the very first time I went, they definitely missed my vein. They had it, and then they lost it, and it hurt like HELL. I cried a ton, and I’m about to cry just thinking about it. I still have to get blood tests, and I am not afraid of them. I still go to Children’s hospital, and I’m not afraid of it. But I AM afraid to give blood. Why am I okay with the thing that caused the fear? Why am I comfortable with the place the original fear occurred in, but I’m afraid to do something I haven’t even experienced? I wonder these things, because I have forced myself to be comfortable with lab tests, but I have convinced myself that I will never try giving blood, at least any time soon. I have no interest in prolonging a minute and a half of discomfort and pain into ten minutes of it. I go dizzy thinking about it.

Similarly, my sister refuses to wear anything with buttons attached. She has only forced herself to be comfortable with our school uniforms, because she has to wear them, just like I HAVE to get blood tests. But she WILL NOT wear anything with buttons by choice. She says this is because she choked on something when she was really little, with a shape and feeling similar to a button. I remember this day, when she choked. She was just young enough as to where she could never remember the exact event, but she knows it happened. And I was just old enough so that I could picture the event in my mind to this day. We were with our family friends, in a car, on the way to some event, and I was sitting on the floor of the van, because there were not enough seats. My sister was safely strapped in, thank goodness. The mother of my friends thought it would be a great idea to give all of us (around 5-7 years old or younger, some even 2 or 3) a mint to suck on! In a moving car. What strikes me as extremely odd is that she even gave one to my sister, not even 3 or 4 years old, and my sister choked. She choked badly. I remember us pulling over and my friend’s mom grabbing my sister and dramatically slapping her back (I laugh, because I thought she was just beating the crap out of my sister, and from my point of view, this experience was so odd). My sister was perfectly okay in the end, physically.  But this kind of early childhood experience can psychological scar you, whether you can access the memory or not. I somewhat feel bad for her, because there are a lot of cute shirts and blouses that I want to pass down to her, but she just can’t do it. Sometimes I wish I was old enough to have known what was going on, so I could prevent this traumatic experience from happening altogether. But it is what it is, and if she ever chooses to try, I know she could overcome it. Because I know I could overcome my fear of giving blood, or riding coasters. I just don’t.

The art of solving a dilemma

My friends. Sometimes, we are faced with a dilemma or two. Like those dreadful hours of the night when you know you have only done half of your homework and practice and studying and whatever else you need to do to be sufficiently prepared for the next day, but you know that sleeping is an important factor in having a successful day as well. So what do you do? Well, let me share my secret with YA’LL. It will impact your lives tremendously.

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NEITHER.

Don’t study.

Don’t work.

Don’t sleep.

Don’t practice.

Instead, try blogging about your dilemma. Because when your as indecisive as I am, nothing ever gets done. So tweet, post on all your friends’ walls on facebook, text, email, snapchat, ponder, read, write, whatever you do. Just don’t be productive. Not at this hour of the night.  Productivity doesn’t exist at this hour of the night. (or soon to be morning)

The art of optimism

PESSIMISM

Life’s a bitch and then you die.
Nas (Nasir Jones)

Life is divided into the horrible and the miserable.
Woody Allen

Life is just one damned thing after another.
Elbert Hubbard

(Feeling discouraged yet?)

Things I tend to complain about:

(And if you haven’t actually heard me complain about these things, its because I usually complain to myself)

  • How much time I waste at school
  • How counterproductive I am at school
  • How painful it is to sit in the hard plastic chairs for 7 hours straight at school
  • How little time I have to do everything I want and need to do
  • How little I eat every day
  • How little sleep I get every day
  • How annoying it is that I get so emotional over things
  • How my friends exaggerate and tell people personal things I trusted them with
  • I don’t have any money
  • The fact that it never snows anymore
  • The fact that I have a carpool to haul around
  • How rude the people in my carpool can be
  • The fact that the person I want to go to Cotillion with would never go with me
  • How people tell me I’m wrong when they are WRONGER (wronger is now a word)
  • How some people can be such hypocrites
  • How annoying and angry my parents can be
  • How my parents tell me my opinions and feelings are wrong
  • How my parents turn every conversation into a lesson on how to be a better person

OPTIMISM

Optimism is tricky. To successfully be optimistic, I have to magically turn all of my complaints into:

Things I have to be thankful for:

  • The fact that I go to a wonderful school and am taught wonderful values and skills and am surrounded by wonderful people
  • In the long run, I am very productive. In fact, with the amount of things I do with my life, my counter-productivity is very productive.
  • I have a chair to sit in all day. Because standing would be harder.
  • How many things I am able to do in my life, and with my time
  • I am able to eat every day.
  • I usually get a sufficient amount of sleep. And I have a bed, a pillow, and plenty of blankets.
  • I am able to express my emotion, and I’m not afraid of it. At least I feel. It’s good to feel.
  • I have friends to trust.
  • I have friends who will listen.
  • I have friends who care.
  • My parents provide me with everything I need, because I can’t provide for myself yet.
  • When it doesn’t snow, its warm, and I don’t have to scrape the ice off the windshield in the mornings.
  • It snows farther north from here.
  • I am fortunate enough to have a car, and I am helping a friend out by taking him to school when he can’t afford a car.
  • The people in my carpool are my friends and they love me.
  • At least someone asked me to Cotillion. And the person I want to go with loves me anyway.
  • The person who tells me I’m wrong helps me improve myself, and I have the opportunity to help them, too.
  • I have no optimistic view on hypocrites, except maybe for the reassuring fact that I am a hypocrite too, so I have no reason to complain.
  • I have parents.
  • They love me.
  • They care how I feel.
  • They want me to be the best I can be.

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
Theodore Roosevelt

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.
Albert Einstein

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is bliss, taste it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.
Mother Teresa

*Special Note: It took me longer to come up with my pessimistic complaints than it did for me to realize all the great things I am given. Does this mean I’m a generally optimistic person? I think yes! (But I have my days)

Now it’s your turn. Try it. Are you optimistic?

The art of maturity

Life is hard in high school. I’m not really sure why. I mean, we’ve been facing challenges and stress and emotion since we were born, in one way or another. When we were just born, we had no control over ourselves. We cried so much, it was the only emotion we knew. Everything was so new to us. It was overwhelming. When we were just tiny toddlers, we faced the ever frustrating challenge of taking our first step. And we fell. But we got back up again. A little older, and we learned to speak. We couldn’t always say what we wanted to say, and it was frustrating, but we pushed through. By age five, we were upset so easily. If someone took our toys or we missed our mom, we cried. We felt specific emotions, for specific things. But the years passed. And by middle school, we drowned in the most drama and emotion we’ve ever felt in our lives. And it continued into high school.

People tell me, “Don’t worry, these are the hardest years of your life. It will be better someday.”

Sometimes I wonder how we determine that these years are actually the hardest. Ever since we were born, we’ve been experiencing the same things we do today. When we graduate from high school, even college, we will continually face problems and emotional distress. So what actually determines whether life will get better?

When I think about it, when we are born, everything really is new. We don’t understand ourselves, or the world, or even know we exist for that matter. Again, we can’t even react, we don’t know how. We just cry. It’s the same thing right now. In high school, we get to a point where so much is thrown at us. And it’s all new! We experience love for the first time, heartbreak, emotions we never knew we could feel. Anger, hate, impatience. Instead of there only being two emotions, there are suddenly at least ten we feel daily, and we don’t know how to handle it. And sometimes, we just cry. So really, how will it get better?

Well, we fall. And its frustrating. But we get back up. It all depends on how we decide to handle ourselves. In every circumstance, situation, relationship, dilemma, we have a tendency to handle our emotions and reactions a certain way. In high school, we are given more than enough opportunities to decide who we are, and how we will handle ourselves in the new situations we face every day. We need to look at every experience as a way to learn. To learn who we are, who we want to be, and how we will get there. In the future, things really will be better. But only if we push ourselves now, when things are hard. We need to push ourselves to grow and learn from every experience. That is how things will get better.