Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Joys and Frustrations of New Years' Resolutions: Happy 2015!

         The latest New Year's trend seems to be resolution-bashing; looks like many have lost faith on the idea of creating goals that they'll eventually give up on, and have taken instead to laughing at those who do make such goals. This may be a trivial thing -nice for some laughs- but discouraging someone from trying to progress and reach a point of ambition is never small or funny.
              So what if we never keep our New Year's resolutions? So what if we almost always give up?
That's just one of our proud and distinguishing traits as humans - we trip over an abnormally large number of times (I blame toes - does anyone really know any unique uses of toes? They're existence seems to depend on the pain they cause when they are stubbed on short tables). But giving up pon our goals, defaulting, and tripping down is not such a big deal. The underlying reason for goals is trying to become a better person. Their whole point is striving towards self-improvement -the feeling of acknowledgement is just an added bonus. The real gain of goals and resolutions and guidelines is from the growth and the learning and all those good things.
           So really, New Year is not the only time for fresh starts, you could wake up one morning and just decide to make new goals to strive towards. Make goals and resolutions. Break those goals and resolutions. Now start again.
             That's what life is all about- working your way up to being the best person you can be, and that person can change everyday (causing your goals to change everyday). Making goals for self-improvement creates purpose, and just the slightest hint of purpose makes happiness much easier to come by. You're living your life to the fullest when you're working towards making yourself the happiest person you can be.
          So I'm going to say Happy New Year even if January 1st isn't the only day for new beginnings. Make your resolutions, have a great time, and don't worry about times you fail or give up - because then you get to the fun part of starting again with new or similar goals.

The only thing to remember is that if in any case, the road to fulfilling a goal is making you miserable, it's time to stop. Goals are meant to create happiness: in the road to their fulfilliment, in the joy of their sense of accomplishment, or in the tepid frustration of the failure they create

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Truth in Your Eyes

             It’s winter solstice today- the apex of the cold and dying, and the beginning of the rejuvenation - a rebirth. But for now, the dying is all we have. The snow might be a happy distraction from it all in some places, but here in California, the bare trees shiver with the winds as the leaves lie browning on the ground.
               But it doesn’t matter really; Christmas is right around the corner, and my house is in full on Holiday mode. I walk around the house singing Joy to the World as my brother trips over the decorative red ribbon I’ve drapped artistically around my room. We have intense competitions (like coin flipping) to see who gets to lick the cake-dough-spatula (which, for the record, might be my favorite food in the world). The neighbors’ loud christmas music is translates through the walls into a soft background track, and the world is just a feel-good Holiday movie. Despite the dead world outside.
           Everyone is happy during Christmas time - even those hiding behind their Scrooge personas, but I find it to be fake. It is a happiness that is created by the holiday atmosphere, and this expectation of joy that is laid on this time of the year. This happiness is like a sugar high, lasts a few hours (days in this case), and then your dropped back into the mundanity of your normal life.

Nobody wants to talk about the gradually wearing away of this energy when they’re full of it. Except for eyes. Eyes just don’t seem to be fooled. They are the windows to the soul - an overused Bible verse (Matthew 6:22), but a hugely significant one.

              Eyes are the windows to the soul - they are the medium through which we can communicate our innermost feelings when our minds and our mouths simply won’t allow it. Even as lies flow out of your being like water, eyes shimmer with the truth.
              None of us are really brave enough to bare our souls, and pour out our raw emotions (with the exception of poets, though they do have their paper to hide behind). None of us can really walk around, being absolutely genuine. It’s a human thing, a societal thing - all our lives we’ve been told to cover up: clothes, etiquette, and the whole “Silence is golden” thing. We live in a world of lying to be perfect, but eyes just don’t conform to its rules, no matter how compliant the rest of the body is.
             Eyes tell the truth about a person when all of their body is trying its hardest to cover it up. Eyes have never conformed to the rules of society - when one is happy, they are happy; when one is sad, they are sad; when one is conflicted, they are conflicted. They bow to no expectations, and listen to no societal rules. Eyes are the original rebels, and they help keep us from over-complicating the world.

Behind your frequent and hollow laughs, your sing-song voice, and your silly puns, your dead eyes are sending out an SOS.
Your ragged clothes, and raspy voice combined with that angry expression on your face don’t scare me, because that haunted look in your eyes tells me that you’re scared yourself.

You bow your head, arrange your face into a sombre expression, and start talking again. More sternly this time. But there’s something there that wasn’t before; a jovial spark in your hawk-like eyes that tells me that the phone call that you just took gave you the best news of your life. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Recounting the Blessings: The Best Birthday Present I've ever Recieved

I've found a new way of coping with particularly hard days: counting my blessings (or recounting them to be precise). For a while now, my go-to reminiscable memory has been the morning of my 17th birthday (so basically a month ago). Here goes:

I woke up at 4 in the morning to a catch a 5 'o' clock bus for a 6 'o' clock class (No, I'm not one for time management. I try to do everything as early as possible).
          Breakfast was a drag - I chewed on a hard piece of pita bread in the partial light of my study room like some Arabian vagabond (I'm thinking Alladin) - but it was only the bad beginning scene to a great morning.
          I walked out into the cold, darkish, and empty streets to a playful wind, and an absolutely beautiful sky.  The wispy clouds were high and the first light was was escaping from below the horizon. The perfect song was playing in the backround of my mind, and I didn't even care that I must have looked ridiculous as I gaped up at the sky in awe.
         Maybe ten minutes after this glorious and peaceful pre-sunrise gazing, I found myself among the usual murmuring, coffee-equipped crowd on the bus. I don't remember what exactly I was thinking as I smiled comfortably out the window- it was something simplistic and grateful, something that was meant to be forgotten. Before I knew it, I was at the College.
        I walked purposefully for a short distance but got distracted by the gorgeous sight to my right - the much-awaited sunrise. My instincts studdenly took over (no lie. I actually felt a jolt in my middle) and forced me to take a detour along the more scenic route to the locker rooms, and, for once, my instincts did the right thing.
       I lingered on the lonely, out-of-the-way path (and ended up being late for class), and just took in the moment. There I was: all alone between three tall redwoods, surrounded by the most unintrusive but intrusive wind, and watching the sun set the clouds on fire. I unfortunately couldn't resist the urge to take pictures, and spent a good ten minutes just capturing the moment to take with me. That was a sight that brightened my eyes forever; of course, I couldn't resist trying to catch a piece of it for my pocket.
          The rest of the day was dull (maybe, just in comparison..maybe not), and I would rather it  be forgotten so as not to taint this beautiful early morning memory in comparison.

I considered keeping this my very own secret, but then I shared it on instagram (the teenager in me just can't resist). So here it is, the inadequate picture of the most beautiful birthday present I've ever recieved.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Quote of the Day ~ Warsan Shire

            I’m in my own little bubble where extracurriculars (ECs for short), work experience, and essay prompts matter, and you are in yours where maybe the boy with a nice smile, and pretty clothes matter. The news anchors chatter on in the background; we notice their perfect hair, and teeth much more than the words that burst out between their smiles.
           What will it take for us to look beyond our bubbles and notice the real world in all of its suffering and injustice? 

I think it would take an all-out revolution. To make people (me included) sit up and realize that there is a world beyond the end of their noses, I mean.
                Suffering is everywhere, and this is a ubiquitous fact. Everyone knows that the world is full of pain, but no one is doing anything about it...Apart from a few idle charity donations, and donation drives, the subject of poverty, injustice, or pain is general avoided. Normal conversations are all just a loud silence, they revolve inside the bubble and never reach out of it. Even when suffering bursts out in the form of demonstrations, when national debates on important issues are sparked, it feels like the average human just doesn’t care.
               Suffering is everywhere; we all suffer. It is this, our collective suffering, that we can try to alleviate if we would only just turn around and look, and see that everyone else is suffering too. If we only noticed others' suffering, we will be able to solve our problems together instead of slagging away on our own and digging ourselves into deeper holes as we struggle through our own problems, and suffering.