WORDS, WORDS, powerful WORDS!

“Don’t ever diminish the power of words. Words move hearts and hearts move limbs.”
-Hamza Yusuf

Words are powerful.  And they are especially powerful in influencing and impacting young children, who have often not fully developed discerning critical thinking skills and are easily convinced that Santa is real, or eating carrots will make them see in the dark. Prevalent themes and topics in children’s literature are constantly changing – How these themes develop and change over time and how authors adapt to this transformation can be observed both in the progression of their individual works, as well as the progression of all literary works. The words about these themes and topics have the power to significantly influence people, not only about things trivial, or specific opinions, but also about beliefs, ideas, ways of thinking and how to be a human.

“Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs.”
-Pearl Strachan Hurd

Some consistently common topics and themes are those of obedience and questioning the traditional, looking beyond appearances, and envisioning and exploring the possibility of a better future.  While these overarching ideas have remained fairly stable in their appearance, associated opinions and perspectives regarding these portrayals are always in flux. With the power of words, the authors of children’s literature can spread awareness of current issues, encourage and develop new and modern viewpoints, and impact readers in a variety of ways.

“All I need is a sheet of paper and something to write with, and then I can turn the world upside down.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

Historically, viewpoints on obedience and tradition have been more positive and encouraging of these values.  Today, strict obedience is more and more frequently depicted as undesirable, and the questioning and challenging of the traditional is depicted as more acceptable -thank goodness! We need a little healthy rebellion in our lives every now and then in order to fight for the creation and development of positive advances and an altogether better world. Literary characters question their reality by choosing alternative paths and practice critical thinking about the world around them, especially in regards to appearances. Frequently, characters that look beautiful, are, in fact, villains, and those with physical or emotional differences or defects prove to be heroes or redeemably praiseworthy. Even words can be misjudged based on their appearance. Interpretation is already subjective, and even when an author’s intent seems clear, language exists in such a way that they may actually be saying something entirely different!

“The pen is mightier than the sword”
– Edward Bulwer-Lytton

The protagonist of Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials series, Lyra, is often disobedient and rebellious, and grows to be suspicious of beautiful and/or powerful people, but these behavior patterns are not depicted as inherently negative, and are actually regularly rewarded.  Many of Ursula Le Guin’s characters rebel in similar way against traditional societal behaviors, those of their constructed literary world, as well as those of the world outside the books.  The dragons even reject gender at all! Fantastic! Let us all be more open-minded, like dragons! Through these consistent rebellions and questions, (now) standard fantasy characters develop unique identities and supply valuable contributions to develop and enrich their worlds. In this way, authors can influence readers to aspire to similar identity development and enriching contributions. Powerful. And hopeful.

“Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”
– Rumi

It was initially a bit disheartening to read Ursula Le Guin’s intro of ‘Earthsea Revisited,’ just because it is sadly still so relevant that “women are seen in relation to heroes: as mother, wife, seducer, beloved, victim, or rescuable maiden” (1). She wrote this in 1999, and even today it is depressingly very applicable to the majority of ‘heroes’ in literature, film, and REAL LIFE!  It was really interesting to see how Le Guin herself was aware of society’s impact on her own writing choices in terms of female roles and limitations: “I simply lacked the courage to make my heroine doubly Other” (2).  Even when she included powerful female characters, they were not necessarily defined as typical heroes.  While Earthsea has a male-dominated society and emphasis, her series seems to develop over time in complexity and grow more organically inclusive.

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”
– Albus Dumbledore

Through the convincing and compelling enrichments of fantasy worlds, the outside world can be enriched simultaneously through new developments and insights.  The words used in the exploration of possible peaceful and harmonious futures can encourage peaceful and harmonious futures for modern society.  Even exploring dismal futures can inspire change, also encouraging a future of peace and harmony. Le Guin’s dominating theme of her first trilogy was “the quest for inner harmony and personal wholeness” (Marek Oziewicz, Rediscovering harmony: Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea sequence”), a thematic quest idea that is congruent with the search for a better future.  “Le Guin’s vision is neither Utopian nor dystopian, but rather what may be called ‘melioristic,’ meaning tending to betterment through human effort – or maybe through the opening of human hearts.” (Lenz, 2001, pp.77) Through the encouragement of the development of personal peace and harmony, in literary works as well as reflections upon those works, perhaps a future of real peace and harmony can be achieved.

That’d be hella sweet.

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”
– John Keating

I dunno… he’s telling me with words…. should I believe him?

… wait… I’m using words… Am I influencing YOU? Do I mean what I am saying? What message am I even communicating!!?

WORDCEPTION.

Music Monday: The Call

Music Monday!

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

Today’s song is: “the Call” by Regina Spektor

Listen to the song here (OR just watch Prince Caspian):

Oh… you prefer LIVE.  Well, here ya go then:

Lyrics:

“It started out as a feeling
Which then grew into a hope
Which then turned into a quiet thought
Which then turned into a quiet word
And then that word grew louder and louder
‘Til it was a battle cry
I’ll come back when you call me
No need to say goodbye

Just because everything’s changing
Doesn’t mean it’s never been this way before
All you can do is try to know who your friends are
As you head off to the war
Pick a star on the dark horizon and follow the light
You’ll come back when it’s over
No need to say goodbye
You’ll come back when it’s over
No need to say goodbye

Now we’re back to the beginning
It’s just a feeling and no one knows yet
But just because they can’t feel it too
Doesn’t mean that you have to forget
Let your memories grow stronger and stronger
‘Til they’re before your eyes
You’ll come back when they call you
No need to say goodbye
You’ll come back when they call you
No need to say goodbye”

Why this song’s so cool: It’s soooooo pwetty!

Why this song’s helpful: It’s chock-a-block FULL of inspirey messages and allusions.

Those who leave you never really leave you.

“Just because everything’s changing doesn’t mean it’s never been this way before.” YOU CAN DO IT! You will get through this. This too shall pass.

The war is your challenges and obstacles.  And you’ll come back to yourself and who you truly are once you’ve weathered the storm.

Follow the light.

A reminder that what is important to you may not be important to everyone but that’s okay.

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….

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!”

Music Monday: Dickhead

Music Monday!

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

Today’s song is: “Dickhead” by Kate Nash.

Listen to the song here:

Lyrics:

“Why are you being a dickhead for
Stop being a dickhead
Why are you being a dickhead for
You’re just fucking up situations

Why are you being a dickhead for
Stop being a dickhead
Why are you being a dickhead for
You’re just fucking up situations

Shiny floor, slippery feet
Lights are dim, my eyes can’t meet
The reflection that turns my images
Upside down so I can’t see

Think you know everything
You really don’t know nothing
I wish that you were more intelligent
So you could see that what you are doing
Is so shitty, to me

Thirty five
People couldn’t count
On two hands the amount of times you made me stop
Stop and think why are you being such a dickhead for

Stop being a dickhead,
Why are you being a dickhead for
You’re just fucking up situations
Why are you being a dickhead for
Stop being a dickhead,
Why you being a dickhead for
You’re just fucking up situations

Stop, now don’t show
Just have a think before you
Will you, stop, now don’t show
Just have a think before you

Will you stop, no don’t show
Just have a think before you
Will you stop, don’t show
Will you just have a think before you

My brain and my bones don’t want to take, this anymore
No my brain and my bones don’t want to take, this anymore
No my brain and my bones don’t want to take with this anymore
No my brain and my bones don’t want to take, this anymore, so

Why are you being a dickhead for
Stop being a dickhead
Why are you being a dickhead for
You’re just fucking up situations

Why are you being a dickhead for
Stop being a dickhead
Why you being a dickhead for
You’re just fucking up situations”

Why this song’s so cool:  Sometimes I get sad and just don’t understand why people do such dumb, shitty stuff and act like such… well… DICKHEADS! So it’s nice to know that someone else shares my confusion and frustration.

Why this song’s helpful: This song plays in my head whenever I think someone is being a stupid and hurtful dickhead.  This song plays in my head whenever I witness someone doing stuff without thinking and consequently hurting themselves and/or others.

STOP BEING A DICKHEAD!  STOP FUCKING UP SITUATIONS!

More about Kate Nash here:

http://www.katenash.com/

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

 

Brainy Trainers

Another Writing Assignment


Looking for a personal trainer? You’re in luck – you’ve found one!

Are you ready to stretch yourself every day farther than you’ve ever gone before? Are you ready to increase and expand your proficiency and dexterity? Are you ready to tone, condition, and build strength you didn’t know you had!? I can teach you to do all of that, and more!

The regimen I provide is varied – you’ll never get bored! It also easily adapts to fit the needs of any lifestyle. you already have the basic skills I can build on to help transform you into a strong, fast, confident champion! I focus on strength, flexibility, toning, cardio, and diet.

A diverse set of exercises is the ideal way to build up your stamina. Heavy lifting is important, but you can’t do that alone. You need a balance of a variety of drills and training in order to maximize your success! And, naturally, a planned and nutritious diet is key to your improvement. What you eat affects everything – your energy, actions, and results.

My program doesn’t focus on performance, but should that appeal to you, this program is a great foundation for high achievement. In addition, I can provide you with the basis to continue your own, personalized training program. I simply build on what you are already doing.

It’s my job to motivate and support my client. If you’re not confident about your abilities, my development system can easily change that! No sweat!

Although I may not be technically certified in the most typical way, and I only currently have one client, I am extremely experienced. Right now, I’m both the trainer and the trainee. Every day I perform innumerable complex exercises to train the most important muscle: my brain.

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