Identity, Assumptions, and Hope – OH MY!

Identity, Assumptions, and Hope – OH MY!


One of the papers for my fantasy literature class detailing the ways fantasy can offer new perspectives, help people cope with trauma and problems, and encourage critical thinking.


A common thread found in fantasy literature is the transposition of societal issues into fantastical forms to use perspective to better comprehend and process these issues. This transposition distances the reader from reality and abstracts the issues, allowing them to be more easily explained and understood through metaphorical connections.  Contentious and significant issues such as racism, classism, terrorism, power, identity, discrimination and stereotypes can often be explored through fantasy literature parallels and reflections.  Critical thinking concepts and overarching values of humanity can also be presented and investigated to great effect though fantasy. There is no end to the range of societal issues fantasy literature can introduce and examine to reach beneficial comprehension and valuable meaning.

Fantasy is so valuable because it “invokes the possibility of living under different terms and conditions” (Whitley, 2000, p. 175), and “can engage seriously with key issues within contemporary culture” (Whitley, 2000, p. 182).  J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Nancy Farmer’s the House of the Scorpion are both excellent examples of demonstrating engagement with key contemporary cultural issues through living under different conditions.  Each book presents a narrative that challenges basic assumptions about identity, ambiguity, and power dynamics as well as encourages that the reader think more critically about and observe more carefully the interactions and interpretations around them.

Mistaken assumptions or interpretations and engrained stereotypes are present in each of these fantasy books.  In the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry is told that Sirius Black is evil and wants him dead, and he believes it is the truth.  He hears this well-established interpretation from people he trusts and people in power, and they are all wrong.  Assumptions were made and cemented, which led to a flawed communal perception. This radical example of the promotion of misinformation encourages the reader to ask questions and think more critically. An information source may purposefully and knowingly promote a false perception, but a source may just be ignorant of the truth.  Even if a source is trusted, the truth may be vastly different from society’s common perception.

Society’s common perception in Nancy Farmer’s book is one that clones are unintelligent beasts.  Certain viewpoints are taught about clones and identity that are false.  Matt proves many assumptions wrong when he meets people who hold the entrenched negative opinions regarding clones.  His characteristics are inconsistent with their pre-conceived assumptions.  Those in power actively choose to spread these assumptions about clones to take advantage of them.  In Rowling’s book, there are also people in power who knowingly endorse fictitious or deceptive explanations to their own benefit.

Such conscious misinformation emphasizes the inherent ambiguity within the nature of humanity, which becomes tangled and complex in both books.  The characters are often ambiguous and contradictory within both their true and their perceived identities.  The identity can be a fragile thing.  It can be shaped by, or discovered by observing negative assumptions and prejudices.  Matt’s identity was shaped by the negative limited perspectives to which he had access.  Because of the marginalization he experiences, his perspectives are impacted. Being a clone in his world is to be inferior and unclean.  In Harry Potter’s world, some believe that being a muggle, or muggle-born is to be inferior and unclean.  However, appearances can be deceiving, and appearance doesn’t always mean physical appearance, it can also mean identity or perceived identity. Hermione is harassed for her muggle-born status, Hagrid is discriminated against for being a half-giant with a (wrongful) criminal record, and Remus Lupin is treated with unfair prejudice and disgust for being a werewolf.  Humanity is not always simple, nor is it always reflective of outward appearance or commonly-held beliefs about identities.  Rowling’s books force children “to consider characterizations of goodness and badness” (Strimel, 2004, p. 45), and the consequences and implications of these characterizations.  The ambiguity inherent in the characterizations presents another opportunity to think critically about people and events, both real, and imaginary.

In each of these books, the impact of the fantastical transposition is amplified due to solid foundations in real issues. Fantasy literature needs to have substantiality to be most effective in exploring society’s problems and possibilities.  The wish-fulfilment that fantasy literature offers “needs to be grounded in something substantial if it is to become fully satisfying” (Whitley, 2000, p. 175). Farmer bases her story on circumstances and prejudices that already exist between differing peoples, and scientific advances that are already happening.  Science fiction such as this presents a unique opportunity to explore the ramifications of future societal issues and problems.  By looking to the hypothetical potential good and bad of the future, it is helpful to “open our minds to all possibilities” (Greenfield, 2003, p. 9).  Rowling also presents a wide range of hypothetical situations and possibilities, as well as utilizes widespread prejudice in which to base her world. In addition, her fantasy is grounded in reality through common mythological, religious, and cultural viewpoints and archetypes that are relatable and familiar.

From terrorism to depression, from identity to religion, fantasy is constantly offering new perspectives and the hope to overcome the perpetration of harmful perspectives, opinions, and stereotypes.  Both Rowling’s and Farmer’s fantasy books emphasize the misleading potential of a limited viewpoint.  Hope exists, and with a little knowledge, creativity, and guidance, perhaps fantasy literature can help lead society into tolerance, acceptance, and open-mindedness.


References

Cohen, Signe. (2016). A postmodern wizard: The religious bricolage of the Harry Potter series In Journal of religion and popular culture.  (pp. 54-66).

Crew, Hilary S. (2004). Not so brave a world: The representation of human cloning in science fiction for young adults, In The lion and the unicorn. (pp. 203-221.)

Farmer, Nancy. (2004). The house of the scorpion. New York: Simon Pulse.

Greenfield, Susan. (2003). The future: What is the problem? In Tomorrow’s people: How 21st century technology is changing the way we think and feel. (pp. 1-9). London: Allen Lane.

Rowling, J.K. (1999). Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. New York: Scholastic.

Strimel, Courtney B. (2004). The politics of terror: Rereading Harry Potter,” In Children’s literature in education. (pp. 35-52).

Whitley, D. (2000). Fantasy narratives and growing up. In Eve Bearne and Victor Watson (Eds), Where texts and children meet. (pp. 172-182.) New York: Routledge Press.

Yolen, Jane. (1996). Turtles all the way down.” In Sheila Egoff et al. (Eds) Only connect: Readings on children’s literature. (pp. 164-174). New York: Oxford University Press.

Apps for Naps

Apps for Naps:

THESE ARE ALL FREE (with options to upgrade, cause that’s how apps work)

Calm: The only app I actually paid for. This app has tons of music, meditations, and sleep stories to help with insomnia. I believe the free version had three or four sleep stories, and some basic meditations as well as “The 7 days of calm,” a week-long series of guided meditations focused on relaxation.  It keeps track of your statistics and has a variety of background moving images with sounds you can choose to activate or not. I tried the free app for about a month and really loved it! It quickly became an integral part of my night-time sleep ritual.  Finally, I made an investment in my well-being and bought a year-long subscription.  Totally worth it. The meditations are organized into categories such as ‘relationships,’ ‘calming anxiety,’ ‘forgiveness,’ and ‘deep sleep,’ then time, and most of them are guided – great for a beginner like me!  They also have many 7-day programs on different topics: ‘7 days of managing stress,’ 7 days of gratitude,’ ‘7 days of self-esteem,’ and more!  The sleep stories are awesome! They have a variety of readers reading a variety of types of stories of variety of lengths in soothing voices.

My favorite non-fictions are “Blue Gold,” a story read by Stephen Fry about harvesting lavender in France, “Scotland’s Hidden Hideaways,” a history of the bothies (free adapted shelters for hikers and travelers) of Scotland read by May Charters (yes, she has an accent!), and ‘The Sequoia,’ a nature essay about the Sequoia tree written by John Muir!  My favorite fiction sleep stories are many! They have Greek myths, childhood favorites, fairy tales and more! The Dragon Tamers by Edith Nesbit is my favorite new story!  I even bought her biography! But I am almost too into the sleep story to be able to fall asleep! Fortunately, the app provides a vast range in level of monotony.  There’s one story that is just the British shipping forecast.  “Dr. Orma’s Sleep Science” is also a great non-fiction one to listen to when your especially frustrated about sleep – it reassures you and dispels common myths about insomnia.  This app really makes me feel better about the time I spend in bed, not sleeping.  Because I am meditating during that time, I can see that I am accomplishing SOMETHING.

Relax Melodies – This app has a free 5 day meditation program to help you manage your sleep better and stay asleep longer so you wake up well rested and energized.  It teaches you about the benefits of meditation and each 10-minute meditation is designed to guide you to sleep.  There are a couple other meditation programs on this app that provide you with the first few free as well.  You can create your own custom combination of relaxing sounds to lull you to sleep and set them on a timer length of your choosing.  I didn’t know there were types of noise other than ‘white noise,’ but apparently there exists ‘pink noise’ as well as ‘brown noise?’ (Sounds gross…lol)  The melodies included are fairly simple and repetitive, but they get the job done.  They also include isochronic tones and binaural beats if you’re into that.

Atmosphere – An app to customize your atmosphere, this helpful tool provides a variety of sound options organized by environment.  So you can choose to hear rain as it sounds on the beach, in the forest, in the city, etc. You can also import your own sounds, program favorite combinations, and set the timer for whenever you want.  Like Relax Melodies, this app also includes binaural and isochronic sounds that are supposed to help reduce stress and anxiety and stimulate creativity and mental clarity.  There are some unusual sounds – who wants to fall asleep to the sound of construction, sirens, or a rooster? But hey – whatever floats your boat!

Sweet Sleep – This is another free app for your phone and/or tablet that plays soothing sounds and music. My favorite is ‘lullaby of the forest’ combined with ‘gentle rain’ and ‘morning beach.’  You can customize melody/nature sound combinations, adjust the volume of each one in your mix, and set them on a timer.  This app has somewhat more variety in music choices, which is nice.  And they are less repetitive as well in addition also too.

Forest – Not specifically for napping, but if one of your sleep-related obstacles is your phone, this can definitely help. Basically this app helps you reduce the wasting time on your phone, keeping you focused and in the present..  I tend to just browse or play games on my phone at night when I should be trying to sleep.  And we all know electronic devices are supposed to be a no-no at bedtime! With this app, you choose an amount of time to commit to being phone-free and you plant a ‘tree.’ As long as you leave your phone alone during this time the tree grows and flourishes.  But if you interact with your phone, your tree dies 🙁 and your forest is ugly. With your rewards you can buy fun trees shaped like octopi, or made out of candy, or with awesome treehouses in them.  ALSO, If you plant enough trees in your forests, the app is partnered with a tree planting organization that will plant a real tree! (Alas, I’m not focused enough for that yet…) But it is also a great way to commit to focusing on getting daily tasks done, studying more efficiently, working, etc.!

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….

Ella Enchanted and Being an Ordinary Hero

One of my ultimate favorite fantasy books as a child, and still today, is the reworked fairy tale, “Ella Enchanted” by Gail Carson Levine.  It retells the classic literary fairy tale of Cinderella with some new twists: Ella is, in fact, under a fairy’s gift (curse) to always be obedient.  The tale is a familiar one, but provides more depth and detail about the protagonist and her own journey to discover herself and break the curse herself.  In addition, it answers that question that was always infuriating to me about the size of Cinderella’s feet – surely there was more than one girl in the kingdom whose feet could fit the glass slipper!  Well, in this story, Ella has fairy ancestry, and fairies have significantly smaller-than-average sized feet, so THERE!  Levine’s attention to details such as these really grounded the story and made it more believable to me – it was definitely logical and made sense within the framework she created and expanded upon. While it certainly shares many patterns and characteristics with both more traditional fairy tales as well as reworked fairy tales, this is by far my favorite retelling of Cinderella.  I like that it addresses the real-life issues of the importance of being strong by making your own decisions, standing up for what you believe in, and the worth of sacrifice in relation to love and the protection of those you love.

“Ella Enchanted” provides a universe that is similar to one children have already experienced, but includes a great deal more in the way of explanations, possibilities and self-driven opportunity.  It is a great example of a way to challenge a reader to see beyond more simplistic explanations and search for new perspectives and explanations.  A retold fairy tale is a great example of this, because the concrete universe has already been established, and by telling the same tale from a new perspective, new questions can be unearthed, alternate mindsets discovered, and previously unconsidered horizons can be expanded.  This particular retelling is also consistent with the idea of concepts carrying over from the fantastical worlds to the real ones.  In “Ella Enchanted,” Ella is a real girl with a flaw that she has to work to overcome.  This is certainly a concept that is applicable to many people.  While Ella may not fit the traditional archetype of ‘hero,’ she is still heroic.  She becomes, through her own strength of will, her own knight in shining armor – in the process, saving herself, her prince, and the entire kingdom.  If someone as seemingly average and insignificant as Ella can create such a vast and positive impact, surely this will inspire those who read about her to feel hope and optimism that they, too, can overcome significant challenges and obstacles to create a positive impact on themselves and the world around them.

Fairy tales have been around for a long time.  And with each retelling, they have continued to change and grow ever since their inception.  “Ella Enchanted” is a distinctive example of 21st century fantasy with an alternate world that is still attached to a familiar and long-standing one.  While it may lack the grandeur of Tolkien, or the epic tragedy of Rowling, it is accessible in its realism and its message – one that, while not political or catastrophic, speaks to the more personal internal battles that still must be fought and are no less important than those larger-than-life clashes between good and evil.  “Ella Enchanted” has no evil villain to be abolished or grand quest to be completed.  There are good characters and bad characters, but the main struggle is simply one between a girl and the unwarranted chance restrictions and conditions to which she finds herself bound.  Ella is ordinary, but she is strong.  And it is that kind of inner strength and conviction that is an amazing resource in struggling through such challenges as anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

Read it.  Or else.

(If you were Ella, you’d HAVE to obey me, but as it is, you have the freedom of choosing.)

I’ve had this copy for NINETEEN YEARS! I think it looks pretty good considering how many times I’ve read it!

Music Monday: The Fighter – Gym Class Heroes

Music Monday!

Music can be a great source of comfort and inspiration when you’re feeling down.

Today’s song is: “The Fighter” by Gym Class Heroes

Listen to the song here:

Lyrics:

“Just waking up in the morning
And the be well
Quite honest with ya,
I ain’t really sleep well
Ya ever feel like your train of thought’s been derailed?
That’s when you press on Lee nails
Half the population’s just waitin’ to see me fail
Yeah right, you’re better off trying to freeze hell
Some of us do it for the females
And others do it for the retails

But I do it for the kids, life through the tower head on
Every time you fall it’s only making your chin strong

And I be in the corner like mick, baby, til the end
Or when you hear this song from that big lady
Until the referee rings the bell
Until both your eyes start to swell
Until the crowd goes home
What we gonna do y’all?
Give ’em hell, turn their heads
Gonna live life till we’re dead.
Give me scars, give me pain
Then just say to me, say to me, say to me
There goes a fighter, there goes a fighter
Here comes a fighter
That’s what they’ll say to me, say to me
Say to me, this one’s a fighter
And if I can last thirty rounds
There’s no reason you should ever have your head down
Six foot five, two hundred and twenty pounds
Hailing from rock bottom, Loserville, nothing town
Textbook version of the kid going nowhere fast
And now I’m yelling kiss my a**
It’s gonna take a couple right hooks, a few left jabs
For you to recognize that you really ain’t got it bad
Until the referee rings the bell
Until both your eyes start to swell
Until the crowd goes home
What we gonna do y’all?
Give ’em hell, turn their heads
Gonna live life til we’re dead
Give me scars, give me pain
Then just say to me, say to me, say to me
There goes a fighter, there goes a fighter
Here comes a fighter
That’s what they’ll say to me, say to me
Say to me, this one’s a fighter
Everybody put yo hands up
What we gonna do?
What we gonna do?
What we gonna do?
What we gonna do?
What we gonna do?
What we gonna do?
What we gonna do?
Y’all
If you fall pick yourself up off the floor (get up)
And when your bones can’t take no more
Just remember what you’re here for
‘Cause I know I’ma damn sure
Give ’em hell, turn their heads
Gonna live life till we’re dead
Give me scars, give me pain
Then just say to me, say to me, say to me
There goes a fighter, there goes a fighter
Here comes a fighter
That’s what they’ll say to me, say to me
Say to me, this one’s a fighter
Till the referee rings the bell
Till both ya eyes start to swell
Till the crowd goes home
What we gonna do kid?”
Why this song’s so cool:  Catchy and fun to sing along with in any mood, the only part that bothers me is the lyric “And if I can last thirty rounds, there’s no reason you should ever have your head down.”  I get that it’s supposed to be inspirational, but the reality is that everybody’s battle is different and we are all fighting different things.  Just because one person can win a fight against something doesn’t mean another person can do the same – because every situation is different.  Just because I can do one thing, doesn’t mean that you are not a fighter if you can’t do something similar . . .  or even something different.

Why this song’s helpful: A great reminder to keep fighting. And  just a great conceptual idea to think about especially if you are battling something not visible or physical.  Picturing depression as something you can physically punch in the face can help you take steps towards beating it.  It’s  a visualization tool and can be a helpful method when dealing with whatever you may be struggling with.  Just because you can’t see a struggle doesn’t mean that it’s not there – and overlaying a more visible aspect can enable you to find your fighter’s strength and realize that your fight matters.

More about Gym Class Heroes Here:    http://gymclassheroes.com/

Music Monday: The Middle

Music Monday!

Music can be a great source of comfort and inspiration when you’re feeling down.

Today’s song is: “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World

Listen to the song here:

Lyrics:

“Hey, don’t write yourself off yet
It’s only in your head you feel left out or looked down on.
Just try your best, try everything you can.
And don’t you worry what they tell themselves when you’re away.

It just takes some time,
Little girl, you’re in the middle of the ride.
Everything, everything will be just fine,
Everything, everything will be alright, alright.

Hey, you know they’re all the same.
You know you’re doing better on your own (on your own), so don’t buy in.
Live right now, yeah, just be yourself.
It doesn’t matter if it’s good enough (good enough) for someone else.

It just takes some time,
Little girl, you’re in the middle of the ride.
Everything, everything will be just fine,
Everything, everything will be alright, alright.
It just takes some time,
Little girl, you’re in the middle of the ride.
Everything, everything will be just fine,
Everything, everything will be alright, alright.

Hey, don’t write yourself off yet.
It’s only in your head you feel left out or looked down on.
Just do your best (just do your best), do everything you can (do everything you can).
And don’t you worry what the bitter hearts are gonna say.

It just takes some time,
Little girl, you’re in the middle of the ride.
Everything, everything will be just fine,
Everything, everything will be alright, alright.
It just takes some time,
Little girl, you’re in the middle of the ride.
Everything, everything will be just fine,
Everything, everything will be alright.”

Why this song’s so cool:  I like how it gently reminds you that often what you are feeling is about your own perception. You can’t control what other people do or think about you, but you can control what you do and think about yourself, and that is what is more important anyway.  It’s about having a positive attitude, but not only that, just hanging on until you get to the point where you CAN have a positive attitude, because that day WILL come.   Also, it’s totally okay to be different! Plus it’s got a good beat that is fun to head-bang and angry-sing to.

Why this song’s helpful: It has a simple, supportive and encouraging message that is easy to relate to. It reminds me of that strategy when you’re freaking out about something  and you do the five year rule gauge to ask yourself: “Will it matter in 5 years?”  If the answer is NO, and it usually is, then it’s probably not as important as you thought.


More about the five year gauge:

https://www.theodysseyonline.com/5-year-rule

More about Jimmy Eat World :

http://www.jimmyeatworld.com

Song Facts:

http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=2720

Fol-De-Rol and Fiddle Dee Dee

The Final Writing Assignment

(For this class anyway…)

FIRST PARAGRAPH:

“Fol-de-rol and fiddle dee dee and fiddley faddley foddle
all the wishes in the world are poppy cock and twoddle.
Fol-de-rol and fiddle dee dee and fiddley faddley foodle
all the dreamers in the world are dizzy in the noodle.”

This is what the sensible people of the world say, according to Cinderella’s fairy godmother in the Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s musical in a song they sing together about Cinderella’s wish to go to the ball.  But together, they discover by the end of the song, that “impossible” can be changed to “it’s possible” with creativity, imagination, hard work, and someone who loves you to help.  Like Cinderella and her fairy godmother, I am learning and exploring how to grant my own wish of forging a career doing what I love: writing, being creative, and helping others.  I don’t yet know what that career will be exactly, but every day I am making choices to steer myself down the path to get there.  And I plan to use every tool and asset I have to help shape my wish out of the supplies I have.  And with a little help, and a little magic, I know I will get to the ball!

SUMMARY:

Turning the impossible to the possible is a process – one that requires many things.  It requires creativity and imagination.  Every day, I am thinking and brainstorming, searching for different ways to achieve my goals.  I am on the lookout for new opportunities to embrace that will keep me moving forward, eyes focused on the path ahead. It requires commitment, dedication and hard work. Sometimes the path is thorny, or blocked by a tree.  I continue to apply my imagination to identify creative and efficient solutions to remove such obstacles.  It requires bravery, and it requires stepping out of your comfort zone.  There is a certain degree of anxiety about the uncertainty of where the path leads, but you can’t turn back. It also requires help and support. Not all of us have a fairy godmother to turn our everyday objects into the perfect materials to achieve our dreams.  But we do have people who love us. Asking for help is scary and hard, but it is something I plan on practicing. Most of all, it requires hope, and I plan on keeping that hope alive, nurturing it, and seeing it bloom and grow into something even more beautiful.

“But the world is full of zanies and fools who don’t believe in sensible rules
and won’t believe what sensible people say..
and because these daft and dewey eyed dopes keep building up impossible
hopes impossible things are happening every day!”

Therapy is Great!/Therapy is the Worst!

  • UGH talking to people – YUCK.

Especially about very personal things … crazy hard for a lot of people (including me.)  But, I’ve seen my counselor for many years.  Even when I didn’t feel like it was helping, it helped a little by making me feel like at least I was doing SOMETHING.  It’s very helpful to get the perspective of someone outside the immediate situation.  And explaining details about your life and experiences and feelings helps you solidify and understand yourself more. And it gets you out of the house at least once a week.

+1 to social interaction.

Pets: Joy VS Burden

You know what apparently helps people with depression and anxiety?

Having a cat. Or dog, or hamster, or whatever.  Something you can cuddle preferably, that is reliant on you, loves you unconditionally, and you think is totes adorbs.

Therapy animals are real, people.  This is the reason I adopted my cat, Brisco (Yes, he is named for Brisco County, Jr.) This is a tough one though, because there is definitely a balance that needs to be struck.  Ultimately, Brisco does help more than he hinders, but there have definitely been times when I wished I didn’t have him.  As with any creature, he can be annoying, persistent, in the way, etc.

derp

He meows at doors at night, knocks things over, gets in the way, tries to trip you, randomly jumps on your face, tries to eat your toes, attacks anything that moves, scratches you up, and will not let you read in peace!  OMG RIGHT NOW he thinks a great place to sit is directly in front of this computer screen!  So in the darkest time, sometimes a pet can be a definite added stressor and source of frustration/annoyance/helplessness.  That said, I am so grateful to have him in my life.  As I gain back more and more positivity, little by little, I see and feel the benefits.  He’s a non-judgmental listener.  He’s a distraction from my problems.  He is obsessed with me and always wants to be with me.  That’s pretty flattering and good for self-esteem.

 


6 Ways Pets Relieve Depression:
https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/05/19/6-ways-pets-relieve-depression/
Pets for Depression and Health:
http://www.webmd.com/depression/features/pets-depression#1
Depression, Anxiety and Pets
https://www.mentalhelp.net/articles/depression-anxiety-and-pets/
Awwww who can resist dat face… <3

A Gem By Any Other Name

A Gem By Any Other Name

(Yet another writing assignment)


I didn’t know his name.  But he knew mine.  It was written in clear, bold letters on the hard, plastic nametag that adorned my green apron.

He knew my name, but he wanted to change it.

“Isn’t Emerald a boy’s name?” he asked.

I was used to strange reactions to my rare and somewhat unusual name, so I laughed.  I didn’t choose my name, but I’ve learned to love it.

“No,” I replied, with a puzzled grin, only a little uncomfortably. Did he think I was a boy? My uniform was standardized regardless of gender, and my visor concealed most of my long hair, but I didn’t think I looked like a boy. Did I? My confusion bubbled up exponentially.  Why would he ask that?  What an odd thing to ask.  I’m a girl.  My name is Emerald. Emerald is a girl’s name.

I pushed aside my uneasiness and continued to assist him with a friendly smile.

I thought that was the end of it, but then he came to his unpleasant conclusion.

He told me he would call me “Emmy” instead. He didn’t ask.  He told.

“No,” I replied, still polite, but somewhat taken aback. Only those select few people very close to me called me by a nickname.  To hear those private syllables directed to me by a complete stranger was strange and jarring.  It felt wrong. I was confused. I felt that my personal rights had been infringed upon.  Surely he understood that a nickname is a sign of familiarity, of intimacy. I had never even seen this man before and he expected to be allowed to bastardize my name?  To reduce and minimize it, and therefore me, to fit his own personal inclination.  He didn’t have that right, did he?

Brashly, he nodded. “I’m going to call you Emmy,” he reiterated, regardless of my gentle protestation.

Had he not heard me? I had said no. I didn’t want him to call me Emmy.  He was old, maybe he had bad hearing? I stayed firm.

“I would really prefer you didn’t.  My name is Emerald.” I was still smiling, albeit more hesitantly, but inside I felt violated.  Customer service policy as well as common courtesy required that I treat this man with respect and kindness, so I did.  He followed no rules, written or socially implied.  No one required that he treat me with the same respect and kindness.

The truth was that it should have been my decision. It is my decision.  He was rude and he was wrong to insist on calling me a name that I didn’t feel comfortable with. I could have insisted on calling him a name he wasn’t comfortable with. Inconsiderate jerk, maybe? Or stupidhead mcfartface? How would he have felt then? Instead, I told him, I didn’t ask him, again not to call me Emmy, finished helping him, and he complained about me to my manager. He complained because I wasn’t okay with him disregarding my feelings and making me uncomfortable.

I didn’t know his name.  But I knew him. And I know I will meet him again in some other incarnation.  But I also know that I was right.  I am right.  It isn’t okay for anyone to call you a name you are not comfortable with.  And some things are more important than following a grocery store code of conduct.

Love deez grlllz

 

I Suck at Meditating

But I still try to do it.

You know when I thought about the topic for this blog?

WHEN I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE FREAKING MEDITATING.


Right now, I’m primarily using this app called ‘Calm,’ which is not that bad.  The free features are perfect for a beginner like me to keep busy I mean CALM.   After a couple of weeks, I decided to actually pay(!?!?) for the whole app, and I’m surprisingly glad I did.  There are  meditations for everything.  And for each category, you can choose what length of time works best for you.

My favorite feature is the sleep stories.  They’ re just someone reading a story in a soothing voice.  Sometimes it’s super boring.  Sometimes it’s a metaphor.  Whatever.  They’re great.  There’s one non-fiction one that I have never been able to stay awake through!  And there’s one fiction one about how cats basically came from dragons! LOVED IT!

Here’s some more information about meditation!

Meditation 101:
http://aboutmeditation.com/beginners-guide-to-meditation-tips-benefits-techniques/
More about meditation:
http://www.aboutmeditation.org/
If Ron Swanson can meditate, so can I.
Ron Swanson Meditates