Anyone, Everything

I don’t know how you’re feeling. I don’t know who needs to hear this. And I don’t know how to make things right.

But if you, like me, are at a loss today: of understanding, of confidence, of words. Then I will speak for you:

You are enough.

You are not alone.

It’s okay to be scared of the future.

It’s okay to be angry and upset.

It’s okay to emote and not hide.

It’s okay not to feel anything at all.

Like I said, I don’t know what you’re feeling at this time. But I’m here to tell anyone, that feeling everything at once is okay. You’ve got a lot going on, and your plate is full. We have a lot going on, and our plate is full. So, drink deeply of your emotions and take one mouthful at a time.



Chasing Inspiration

I know this one is going to hurt, because it hurt me too, but inspiration is not your problem, although you would like to think it is. 

The reason that you haven’t created something isn’t because the room is too hot or cold, your computer is too dark or too bright, or even because “you’re just not feeling it now.” 

The reason is…well, we’ll get to that. First, I want to tell you about how I got to it. 

I went somewhere new this weekend, somewhere beautiful and thought-provoking. And I wasn’t trying to write or even document any part of my trip.  Of course, even though I wasn’t trying to, doesn’t necessarily mean that I wasn’t. I was just barely noticing the stream of words that were babbling by in my head, little lines from potential poems or half written articles for imaginary magazines. It had been awhile, I admit, but they were definitely there. 

And when I returned from my trip, the words were still there. They’re there now. It’s just that I haven’t done anything with them. I haven’t allowed myself the time to write them down. To see what they could eventually be. 

So, no. Inspiration isn’t the problem. Take a foot off your trodden, routine path and you will find inspiration. Heck, even look hard enough at the mundane and you can find the extraordinary. 

But what you can’t find so easily? The time to dedicate to your inspiration. But that’s the most important thing. Without doing something, you’ll never know how good you are. And without practice, you’ll never know how good you can be. 

So, chase inspiration. But ask it to leave you alone when the time is right to sit down and make use of your muses. 


How did you read the title of this blog post?

Did you read it as “compare-able”? As in, oranges and apples are not “compare-able” because they are obviously two different fruits, you knucklehead?

Or did you read it as “comprable”? As in, these M. Night Shyamalan movies are “comprable” because they both have terribly obvious “twist” endings.

I know, I know. The second pronunciation is correct, but for whatever reason, I say these words in different ways depending on my meaning. To me, “comprable” is something lesser. If something is “comprable,” you are compromising by choosing it. It’s like saying,
“I’ll have both if it makes you happy, but I’d really like the first one.” Whereas “compare-able” means something like, “Those two things are the same, and it doesn’t matter to me which one you pick.”

And quite literally, this is semantics…that I’ve made up in my head. There is some perceived distinction in wordplay within this word for me that isn’t there at all.

And yet, this word has completely ruled my life in an imaginary way. Until today.

Okay, here it is, plain and simple: I am a human, and so I compare myself to other humans. Not in a “why is she so rich and perfect and I’m not,” way. More like, “why am I so awkward, I just said “I’m good” when she didn’t say “how are you?” way. And so, I’m constantly wondering if people find me “compare-able,” as in someone similar to a person they have met before, but generally a dime a dozen, or if I am “comprable,” meaning that they could be hanging out with someone much cooler, but they’ve lost interest in their own life and they might as well compromise their best interests before they come to their senses.

But I realized something today: when you are truly yourself, when you are really who you are inside and out, you can’t be comparable or comparable. Because there is no one that will ever be exactly like you and you’re not compromising anything when you can be yourself.

And suddenly, the pressure was off. I didn’t have to think about being too this or too that. I could just be me, and there were no words to describe me, whether they had multiple pronunciations or not.

Because when you defy the boxes and labels that people try to put you in or on you, some members of the outside world become frightened or confused. But most people? They’re just dazzled that you have the confidence to be yourself. And they haven’t got any notion of what you were once or what you should be. You’re just you. And they’re speechless.

Read All Over

Did you know that reading can relax you in under six minutes?

That’s right. You can put down the bubble bath and candles. Although, not those bon-bons. You should keep eating them to deal with the crisis you are going to have while reading The Fault in Our Stars.

Thankful for its magical healing properties, I’ve taken to reading at any point during the day. In the morning, right before bed, even when someone has something written on the back of their shirt and I’m standing right behind them. I can’t stop, and I won’t stop.

But it does make me feel a little bit guilty. Because when I’m home and reading, I’m usually sprawled out on the couch, in sweatpants, warming myself by an open fire (but not too close that I burn the pages and never get to read the end). I’m all relaxed and consumed by the book when it suddenly crosses my mind that I could be working on just about anything else. My novel, my self-esteem, my laundry. In fact, reading gives me a guilty feeling that television may never provide: it’s usually a solitary activity. It makes me feel downright selfish for blocking out the world when I should be participating in it. And I don’t mean to glare at people when they interrupt me, either. It just sort of happens.

However, you should never, ever feel bad for reading. You should actually never feel bad for anything that makes you a better person. Because reading does. As I mentioned, it decreases your stress. But it also increases your vocabulary. It makes you understand someone else’s perspective, even one so foreign to your own. It gives you more things to think about and talk about. In fact, reading a book in public is like an invitation to someone else to connect with you on a common interest (unless it’s Fifty Shades of Grey. You may want to back away slowly if you see someone reading that.)

But best of all, reading is the easiest and cheapest way to get from point A to point B. You can fly halfway around the world and never feel as at home as you do reading a favorite book. And unlike even the best travel destination, you can visit it anytime you want, from anywhere.

Like life, books can enthrall us and enrage us if we let them. More like life, we need to see books to the end, no matter how terrible. We may never know what kind of ending they have in store.

To Kill a Language

I think about words a lot. I think about what I am going to say, and I think about what I said. I think about how words taste, how they feel when they roll around in your mouth. How they choke you when they are left unsaid. How they are so slippery sometimes that they slide right out. That’s why I try my best to choose the right ones when I need them, to use precise language when I am able to.

So, why doesn’t anyone else? I mean, I get it. We can all get a bit lazy with our speech, and sometimes, we can only reach the words that are in our grasp. So, we tend to repeat things. We tend to say things that don’t make any sense. We can even say things we don’t mean.

But what happens when we use a word so much that we warp its true meaning? What happens when we say a word so many times that it doesn’t seem to be a real word anymore? These things have consequences, you know.

And that’s where the monstrosity “literally” comes in. It is a cross between good intentions and mixed signals. Weirdly, it’s used to emphasize what we are saying by completely invalidating it. It means in “actuality” but we use it figuratively. So, we get ridiculousness like this:

“I literally died when I heard that.”

“She literally killed me.”

“I literally could not stop laughing.”

“I am literally starving.”

“You are literally the dumbest person on Earth.”

The problem is, if we don’t stop using “literally” in contexts that it should not be used, its meaning will change. Because that’s all our language is: transforming meanings and uses. Someone simply said “dinosaur” or “bulbous” enough times that it became attached to a specific image. Our language is simply made up of symbols that represent other symbols. And it is changing all of the time. That’s why we get 50/50 slang words like “bad,” which can also mean good.

However, the only way that we can preserve the integrity of our language is through saying what we mean. Inevitably, that means we need to mean what we say. And don’t get me wrong: I am in favor of free-styling. Go ahead, use LOL.

But don’t give a new meaning to a word that has never needed an upgrade in the first place. “Literally” should be reserved for clarifying puns, and not as an honorary curse word to give your sentence emphasis. Words are more than what meets the eye or rolls off the tongue, and we need to keep it that way.